TRIGGER warning – cult abuse, morbid jealousy.
This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.
Princess, 6 years old:
Under the green foliage, everything is peaceful. Snow is melting on the ground and from the trees fall drops of ice cold water. It’s spring. I inhale sweet, crisp air and feel my eyes tear up with happiness.
”Are you sad?” Elijah asks.
”I’m so happy I’m crying!” I exclaim. He guffaws, I join him and soon he too is laughing so much he’s crying.
”We’re free now!” I shout.
”Free! Free! Free!” We scream together, over and over. This is so good, we need to do our special jump: straight up, as high as we can, and a twirl once we’re airborne. On our way back from the forest, Elijah shakes snow from some branches, making it rain like confetti over us. I feel this is the best day of our lives. Nobody can touch us now. No one.
I can’t remember how we learned it, but the Society has a rule: married people do not have to perform sexual services outside matrimony. If you’re married, you belong to your spouse and he or she can forbid you from having sexual relations with others. In a couple, the one who has the highest standing in the Society is the one who decides things like that.
”It will probably be me”, Elijah said. ”Because boys always get higher status. Almost always. But I’ll protect you!”
”I’ll protect you too!”
”You won’t have to: nobody can touch us now we’re married!” I feel like flying as we emerge from the trees. We did it! Two fir trees were witnesses and a squirrel was our priest. He kept himself hidden in a pine tree during most of the ceremony, but we imagined he gave a grand speech. Then the squirrel solemnly asked if we wanted to marry each other and we said yes! Elijah told me we’d have to kiss. None of us like kisses, but to our surprise, kissing each other wasn’t grouse. It was just his lips, unthreatening, and once they touched mine I was free from Timothy’s control. Timothy always said he was my father and father’s decide everything about their daughters. Until the daughter is married, that is. Elijah gave me a ring of twinned grass and I gave one to him. We spun in circles, holding our hands to the sky so sunlight made the yellow straws glimmer. Our rings were just like gold, almost.
Some things in life are beautiful and pure. Even if they do not last long, nothing can undo them. Those moments when we truly believed ourselves to be out of the Society, on our way to live together in freedom…it was such a beautiful, pure thing. It cannot be undone. As we returned to the preschool Timothy and Barbie mocked us, claiming our marriage was invalid because we couldn’t consummate it. They informed we were prohibited to marry before the age of 18 and the Society still considered childhood to last until the age of 21. Furthermore, we’d always need obey whoever was the leader of our bloodline.
”Everyone is a slave”, Timothy explained. ”Slaves for life! You can still be happy. You just need to enjoy slavery – that’s what it’s all about!” But when he learned I still considered my marriage valid and would no longer obey him, he strangled me so much I nearly died. I didn’t dare keep insisting after that. Later he discovered the name Marian and ordered me to just forget it too. Elijah would have a lethal accident if I kept resisting him, Timothy. I understood I needed to let Timothy’s words become my truth or Elijah could get seriously hurt. So I did my best to forget everything. I couldn’t. In the end I settled on only thinking about it when Timothy wasn’t near. Letting my thoughts stray to anything but him was dangerous – he’d fly into a rage and accuse me of thinking about other boys. (As if he was a boy!)
I was worried we’d loose Elijah’s friendship, now Princess had been ordered to avoid him. So I taught Elijah how to call on me, giving my back a knock. Together we defied Prince John and ran away as often as we were able to. I tried to explain Princess was trying to protect him by staying away, but he couldn’t understand he needed protection.
”My parents would never let anything happen to me”, he affirmed. But if Timothy gave Elijah an accident, it would be too late for his parents to save him. I saw Timothy’s madness growing by the day and longed for autumn when we’d go to school instead of kindergarten.
Memory loss is like snow covering a winter landscape. Snowflakes tumble from the sky and hide everything – be it gold, dirt or flowers – beneath a cold, white blanket. But the memories, the pretty and the ugly, are still there underneath it. One day spring arrives, it starts to thaw. Like flowers, breathing for the first time in years, all parts of me soak up the sunlight.
I can feel my soul returning. It was a long winter. I’m awake now.