9

Family functions were a depressing for me and we couldn't avoid them as it was an unwritten rule to attend unless you were on your death bed. As much as the elders approved of me it did not mean others did too. As the daughter in law of the family l was expected to help out. The constant evil eyes insults hurled at me and their acts left me wishing to drown in a river somewhere. And it was always always Uncle Geofrey's eldest daughter Danai and her friend Shenai who were the ring leaders. Putting too much salt in my food leaving me to the mountain of dishes alone (it’s a really big family) or tripping me and almost hitting my head on a stone as l went about my business. Why they were so against me l will never understand.

It was at one of the cousin’s lobola negotiations that l truly had enough. All this time l had been quiet but this when they started to hurl their insults calling me an opportunistic gold digging whore who wasn't even worthy of being married properly l had had enough. Standing up to them had been such a rush all of a minute before Danai slapped me and Shenai threw a pot of water on me that had been on the stove. Thank goodness it had not been switched on yet otherwise this would have been a different story.

Uncle Tau's wife all of a minute before Danai slapped me and Shenai threw a pot of water on me that had been on the stove. Thank goodness it had not been switched on yet otherwise this would have been a different story.

Uncle Tau's wife Mai Kuda heard the commotion and came to check only to find Danai on top of me busy trying to kill me. Well lm exaggerating but it felt like that. Breaking the fight she quickly took me to her bedroom. 

"Cloud l have watched you take hit after hit from these people and yet you never say anything back why?" She asks handing me a towel so l can dry myself. My cheeks hurt and l can’t stop the tears.

"Because these people are more your family than mine. Because l am useless human being only useful for her womb. Why should l fight my destiny? Tell me aunty why should l!"

"Oh Cloud is this what you really think? That we don't consider you a member of this family? Are you calling my husband and his brothers liars for publicly stating you are our daughter? Yes how you came to be ours is not the best but we still want accepted you. The same kid who showed such bravery and determination. Where is that girl?"

"I don't know maybe hidden under all this make up..." l try a pitifully smile but a sob comes out instead. I was so tired of having to fight the world to see and accept me.

"Cloud you are the eldest daughter of the Murezva family and this family does not accept weaklings otherwise it will chew you up. Either you man up and take up that title or roll over and forever be a doormat to everyone. You have such a fighting spirit l wish to see that again. You have every right to tell people to back off or come to the elders who are your fathers also and complain. Believe me Cloud you are wanted and are precious to us." She dries my tears and hugs me not caring how wet l still am.

"Why isn't Gift saying anything? Are you guys doing okay?" She asks the million dollar question l have been hoping to avoid answering. Even though we are civil to each other didn't mean we were any were close to being friends.

"I…l…well…" l couldn't think of anything to say to l shut my mouth. 

Sighing she mumbles something about giving him a hiding which l know will end up being problematic with him.

"Aunty promise me you won’t say anything. I swear we are okay it’s just taking time to get to know each other" l plead. For a while she doesn't say anything till she sighs again and hugs me.

"I will not say anything if you promise you will not be a pushover anymore and fight." Weeping softly l nod and she gets up.

"Okay go and change before you fall sick. Also take some painkillers Danai's slaps are brutal. Ask her brother" we laugh and l feel somewhat better.

That night l expected Gift to ask what happened to my swollen cheek but nope nothing. He didn't even look at me. Another thing the family functions are nightmare. We are always given a bedroom that makes it impossible to sleep on the floor. He tried the first time forcing me to sleep there but l was not having it and threatened to tell the elders. So we sleep on the bed but at home we go back to separate bedrooms. The when we have visitors its back to the leather sofa l am starting to hate. The whole back and forth is becoming tiresome.

Muling over what aunty said l found myself agreeing with her. I might be quiet and probably a pushover but l never let people use me as their own personal mat. Somehow living with Gift in this situation l had given up. My spirit felt too low to continue fighting. I just didn't know how to change that.


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