On the opening evening of the 2017 AIHEC Student Conference in Rapid City, students from an array of TCUs entertained conference goers with the spoken word at the annual poetry slam. Watch the video →
Watching the sun go down made me feel warm inside, seeing how the colors look on the mesas. What beautiful colors the sunlight makes, like purple on the lower layer, turning to a soft pink color. His arm around my shoulder made me feel warm like the sunset. The colors were dimming, telling us we ought to go home soon.
“I don’t want to go home,” I sigh while looking down the mesa.
I hear his chuckle, “Me neither.”
We both get up from where we’re sitting and say our goodbyes with a kiss. Walking halfway towards my home I see a wagon, making me guess we have a visitor. Getting closer, I notice it is a man. My father smiling and laughing with the guy lets me know they know each other. I get close to the hogan, wanting to pick up my pace so I can go inside quickly. But my father quickly notices me and tells me to come over. He introduces me to who he says is his old friend, John Begay. We shake hands and I kindly excuse myself to go inside. I walk inside and the first thing I notice are my mother and grandmother talking while they make dinner. I walk over to my mother and ask her if she needs help with anything. She tells me to set the table and get ready for dinner. While sitting down for dinner, I notice my mother and grandma are quiet. My father breaks the silence.
“Marie, there is something I decided for you.” I look at him with a confused look and then look back to my mother. While waiting, my grandmother takes my hand and starts to gently squeeze. Then my father says, “I have decided to have an arranged marriage for you.”
I feel as if my heart stops and sinks into my stomach. I look at my mother and back to my father. “NO!” I scream out loud while standing up. “You know I love someone else, I won’t do it.”
My father stands up, “You have no choice! Mr. John Begay and I have agreed. You are going to marry his son and that’s final.”
My mother and my grandmother look at me with tears in their eyes. I look at my father and feel as if there is a lump in my throat while I am trying to hold back my tears. I can’t hold it in, I run out of the hogan with tears running down my face. Running past the shed I stop and look up. I see the moon so bright and blurry through my tears. Why is this happening to me? Why?
My arranged marriage was being planned before my eyes. I feel nothing, I am just a stone. I do not know anything about the man I am going to marry; all I know is that he is 18 years old and this is the only information that my family has told me. He is three years older than me. When I first saw him he looked like he never smiled in his life, he had this serious face that made me feel uneasy.
The next morning I can feel many eyes on me while I try to concentrate on what the medicine man wants us to do. He ties our hands together and starts the blessing.
Trying to hold tears back through the whole ceremony, praying that something will happen, but nothing does. Finally the ceremony is over. I walk towards the hogan to cry in peace until I hear a familiar voice saying, “I still love you, I always will it doesn’t matter if you’re married.” I look back and start crying and run into his arms. I stay in his arms for a good minute, letting his nice smell fill my heart. I tell him he has to go before we get caught. He leaves but steals a small sweet kiss from my lips. I have no choice but to smile, until I watch him walk away. I can feel my tears coming so I hurry into the hogan to cry in peace.
My husband’s parents have already arranged a brand new place for us. We move in that night. It’s quiet, there is no sound; all I hear is silence. He asks me if I am hungry or thirsty. I tell him no. He is the first to go to bed. I stay up and many thoughts swarm inside my head until it starts to hurt. Then my eyes close with exhaustion.
The warmth of the sun is on my face until it goes behind the mesa and then the warm feeling is gone. I walk towards the hogan trying to take my time, but hearing my baby crying makes me rush inside. My baby boy, he is so beautiful, so perfect, and my only happiness. Holding my baby in my arms, soothing him back to sleep so I can get started with dinner, calms me. As I finish dinner on time, I can hear the wagon approaching. While getting the table ready, he comes in and walks over to give me a kiss on the cheek and then heads over to our son to give him a kiss also. He comes over and sits by my side. I can feel his eyes looking at me; it is making me feel uneasy.
In the middle of dinner I notice he is nervous about something, and then finally he reaches over and takes hold of my hand and my heart races.
We look at each other and for the first time in two years, this man smiles.
Geneva Wauneka attends Navajo Technical University where she is majoring in nursing. She has chosen her major because she loves to take care of people and because the Navajo Nation needs more nurses in tribal hospitals. A proud mother of a two-year-old, she enjoys writing horror, memoirs, and stories about love.