Married at 15, having already lived a “full life”. No quinceañera, no prom, no pictures to capture the accomplishments of her life. The oldest in a large family. Her Momma always busy, sick and/or pregnant. The daily chores overwhelming for anyone, let alone a little girl. In this culture large families were the norm. The eldest would soon be helping out around the house, especially if she was a girl. She did it all, and was a Mom to her siblings, more so than their own Mother. As if the household chores weren’t enough, she would be demanded to help out tending to the land along with her Father and brothers. How did she do it all? She would say with pride, “I was like one of the boys to our Dad.” She took pride in being able to do what the boys could do, at times faster and better. So why did Dad beat her so mercilessly?
Grown up and married now, with children of her own and her own household to tend to. You’d think this would have earned her freedom from all the responsibilities of her “childhood home”. No, not in this culture. The hats just kept piling on.
There was a “hardness” about her, yet the caring soul within her managed to come through time and again. Every now and then a tear dared to escape from her eyes, almost shattering that impregnable armor. With one hard swoop she would yank it from her face in defiance and resolve not to let this happen again. Who told her she shouldn’t cry?
I wonder if all her collections were part of her “living” in a world she had never known; she had never had? There was that miniature tea set in the midst of other miniature figures. There was her collection of Monchhichis (Japanese stuffed toys) – always sitting pretty on her especially made shelves.
Everything sat pretty, clean, protected. The stuffed toys encased in plastic bags to preserve their beauty. Lots and lots of porcelain figurines, especially dolls. She would clean them with care.
What was going through her mind?
What was brewing inside of her?
Forty plus one, was the number of her years. Such a short life! She finally broke beyond repair. Unanswered questions remain…how I miss this beautiful soul!