No one asked her if she wanted to marry him. No one asked if she wanted to marry at all. They told her that she was to marry him and that she had no choice. He was Papa’s choice. He had Mama’s approval. Even Uncle Ikemba, who was usually known to be disagreeable in all matters, had grunted his acquiescence when Papa had told him. He was the one for her, that was what they all said.
But he wasn’t the one she wanted.
He wasn’t what she wanted.
Yet, when day broke tomorrow, she would marry him. She would follow him to his home and she would become his. His to do as he pleased. His to honour, obey and serve. His, in body, heart and even soul, if he so wanted.
And it would not matter that she did not want to be his.
It would not matter that she did not want to belong to any man. That she did not want to be a piece of furniture that could be acquired by a man and be done with as he pleased and disposed of if it ever pleased him. It would not matter that she did not want to be a tool for pleasure and procreation.
It would not matter that she wanted to be a human, not just a woman. But a human. A human with a mind, and a heart, and a soul that would be seen, heard and respected.
It would not matter that as a human, not just a woman, she had dreams and aspirations and ambitions and visions.
It would not matter that she wanted to do something. Something other than lie on her back to provide pleasure, or stoop same back to provide service.
It would not matter that she was a woman, a human like he was, and not less than he was. A being created equally as he.
None of these would matter, and only because what mattered was what her father wanted and demanded of her. For her, his word was law. If he has chosen, then she, and in her lesser state of reason as they think, should applaud his choice, welcome it and make it her own choice. Whatever else she wanted did not matter and all because she had no right to want anything other than what her wise father wanted for her.
Papa expected him and his kinsmen tomorrow. Mama was preparing, and along with all the women in the family, to lavishly welcome and entertain him and his kinsmen. The entire clan was puffed with pride and thrilled with the joy that their daughter had made a fine bargain, a bargain that would benefit them all.
It did not matter that she was neither proud nor joyful.
When day broke, and he and his kinsmen arrived, she would be handed over to him, sold, and her father and his kinsmen would pocket the price paid for her.
She was woman, and so they think, she had had no rights, or choice.
When a woman’s right is taken from her, it is one of the saddest cases of injustice.