October 11, 2014 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
Today he asked me to marry him.
The words buzzed in my ear as the woman resisted the lure of the dark while the girl indulged the fantasy of the rogue. I must have misheard him.
“Why?” I ask
“Because you are quiet.”
Woman: But, I am not quiet. Perhaps he believed me to be quiet because like the chameleon I blended in with my ever changing surroundings. I lurked in the shadows quietly, where I was seen, but not heard. The water swirling in my lungs silenced my voice as his deep baritone bounced off the walls. The voice buried deep within me restrained the words that would have opened the floodgates of accidental run-ins with clenched fists. My quiet mirrored that of the still-calm sea that harbors untold dangers beneath. Do I tell him that my muffled squeaks have become a resounding shout? I have gained my voice, so I must show him.
Girl: No, you must not. We are the manifestations of the ideal. We are so much more when we blend in so well with our surroundings that we become part of the furnishings. The chairs become us and we become the carpet. Inanimate furnishings don’t have voices and that is what we have become. His voice becomes ours.
“Why” the girl betrays me by only articulating a question instead of an opinion.
“Because you are fragile.”
Woman: Fragility is not a virtue I claim to possess, but my easily bruised flesh gives off the impression of “delicate.” Maybe it is the force of raised bats and flying kicks that come in contact with my bones that showcase this fragility. I don’t crack like the egg when thrown to the floor neither do I shatter like the glass when bashed against the wall. If I don’t crack or shatter, can I still be considered fragile? I must tell him that I am not fragile.
Girl: We are fragile. Our fragility allows us the luxury of tears even when we don’t crack or shatter. Our fragile arms cannot bear the weight of retaliation. Our fragile legs cannot carry us to the door of escape. Our fragile heart recognizes the beat of tormented obsessive love that consumes everything in its path. You see, we are fragile.
“Why” I can only repeat.
“Because you are obedient.”
Woman: Obedience? Obedient? What is that? It is a recipe for the dish of abandoned potential at the croak of a command. The mirage of dreams crushed in the service of his ego. The trembling and writhing in the throes of fear the only expressions of the unquestioning obedience. I go left when asked to, but only because there is a long leash dragging me in the desired direction. Is that what he considers obedience?
Girl: Abandoned dreams are a testament to our capability to obey. The leash does not restrain us; it only guides us in the delicate art of compliance.
Woman: He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t want to marry me. He wants the idealized image he has created in his head and cherished for five long years. He loves the girl that never was, expressed any opinion, or challenged his dominance. I must shatter the illusion by crumbling the image he has built in his head. I can say no to his command by rejecting his proposal of doom. That should crack the mirror in this never-ending dance of toxicity and casualty.
Girl: He knows all he needs to know, for he knows himself and we are but an extension of his being. I am you, you are me, and we are him.
“If you say no, I will hate you forever.”
Woman: Hate is too strong a passion.
Girl: Hate is an inversion of love.
Today he proposed a marriage of unholy socializations.
Today, I once again became the quiet, fragile, obedient girl he thought he knew.
Today, I said yes.