“Tin Hinan”, Chapter 1, Part 2 (of three)

Yesterday presented a necessary detour from posting more of “Tin Hinan” on the blog.  That was  because there were people  in this community who took principled stands and they were up against a very consolidated and at times, arrogant force.  I have used my blog before for these kind of things, as anyone who has been a long-term reader here knows.  Thanks to the fortitude of Lisa, Laurel, Billy, Anne, and other people unnamed, they made a necessary statement  heard by others.  I think the Beltline people, the City of Atlanta, etc. will reconsider their tactics and perhaps we will ultimately begin to work together in better and more respectful ways.  We can only try.

Changing gears here…..

“Tin Hinan” probably will be completed and published this late fall. I am enjoying the comments, both private and posted on the blog as they give me a sense of what hits and misses with readers.  This is part of a very important learning process for writers.  And it makes it more fun.

TIN HINAN,   Still Chapter 1, Part 2 of 3.

There was a young man who was part of a neighboring tribe a day away.  During marriages, celebrations and festivals, I would see him and he would look for me.  We are modest women, but we do stare in the eyes of a man we are interested in marrying. We even wink at them.  Are you shocked?  Well, we did.   We had many customs, but  Berber women, before the hated Arabs, had much freedom.

Hasim was his name, and he was a tall man, taller than I was.  I thought only proper I be married to a tall man. What woman wants to look down on her husband?  It sets a bad example for a woman.  She starts looking down on him in other things.  Hasim was a few years older and at one marriage celebration, I danced a line dance with other maidens and gave him one of my bracelets.  This was an accepted way of flirting. When the musicians took a rest, I went to get my silver bracelet back, and he slipped it down the front of his robe. He crossed his arms over his chest and smiled boldly. I should have known then Hasim was trouble, but my foolish heart flip-flopped.  Ah! Girls can be so silly.

Hasim was handsome, already a man though only about twenty-two years of age.  He had golden skin where the sun had not burned him dark and black eyes like deep shaded pools of water in the oasis.  His nose was long and slightly bent, like the hunting hawk, and his mouth was full and red, like a split pomegranate.  His teeth were white like bleached bones in the desert.

How do I know this, if our men are veiled?  My Hasim, for I already claimed him mine with the certainty that he would be…. had unwrapped his indigo blue veil from his face. And yes, his cheeks were stained a light blue where his beard would be.  I should have known that the Zar blood was deep in him, not just on the surface, but Isis! How was I to know then?

“Come, little sister, fish deep in my waters and you will find your bangle.  You want your precious silver back, do you not?”

Ah! My father would kill him if he heard his words!  But Hasim just grinned, playing a man’s game and my head whirled inside.  Other parts of me were disturbed, but I only knew of this by our women’s bridal parties before the weddings.  My heart flipped and my stomach turned over, too.

I am not known for being shy, perhaps it is because I am so tall, but shy I was before Hasim.

He reached out his hand and traced my cheek to my chin, gently pushing the back of his thumb over my lips.  My eyes were locked to his and I could not pull away. I must have looked like a little fool, for my mouth opened a bit with the firm  pressure of his finger.

Hasim dipped into his chest and reluctantly pulled out my bracelet.  “Little sister, be careful in what hands you place your silver. .  You might come across one who will take more than your jewelry.”

I heard his voice off in the distance.  He closed his eyes slightly, his long, black lashes brushing downwards, and the spell was broken.  I staggered a bit, and he threw out a hand to steady me, an enigmatic smile on his face.

I saw Hasim a few times after this first occasion and each time grew dizzy by the sight him.  During the last harvest festival, Hasim was mounted on a large, white camel as he raced across the desert with the other riders.  The groans and bellows of the beasts, the yelling of the men placing their wagers and the dust churned up from many feet made it hard for me to concentrate.  I could only follow the white of his camel for he was surrounded by mounted men.

That autumn, my mother and father called me before them, and announced that it was time I marry.  I of course had no choice, I was of age, but I noticed an exchange of smiles between my parents.  Unknown to me, my father had consulted with the marriage broker and a visit had been made to Hasim’s parents.  He was considered a good prospect, and with the status of our tribe and that of my father, I was considered a likely bride for Hasim.

My heart was light and leaping about in my chest.  I walked now with confidence, my breasts pushed out and a smile upon my face.  I would have the status of a wife, not just a common, unmarried girl.  There were many things to settle, preparations to make and issues far beyond my concern.  These were the matters of the elders and my mother’s family. But I was to be a bride!  Finally, I would take my place in the tribe with all the authority of a wedded woman.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

POSTSCRIPT: I mentioned Berber Line Dancing in “Tin Hinan”…and found a couple of videos  readers might want to check out.  The ‘style’ of singing is a verbal sparring between men and women….but here, sung only by a woman.  Notice the jewelry on the chests of the Berber women.  The point is to make the necklaces bob up and down and to keep the shoulders moving.  It’s a very energetic form of  dancing, but beautiful, also.


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4 Responses to ““Tin Hinan”, Chapter 1, Part 2 (of three)”

  1. JulieDunsmore Says:

    Hi, Jane, I enjoyed reading this chapter in your book about the Berber woman. Also agreed completely with your assessment about the crazy tire sculpture blighting our community. This is the first time I connect from the Capitol View Homeowners listserve.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Julie!

    I love comments, but I ESPECIALLY love comments from local people! I can sometimes put a face to the name! I do know you!

    Thank you for reading this chapter of “Tin Hinan”. It was two years in the writing, but it’s one of my favorite books. I will publish this probably late fall or early winter. It’s in the queue.

    That ‘sculpture’! LOL!…Those architects are young, and I wish them the best, but that thing is God-Awful!!

    However, I got two versions of how it came to be in Adair Park from the same resident.
    First, it was approved..and now this person is saying it wasn’t.

    Oh….it’s such a bother! But I would think that the Beltline people, and Fred Y. aren’t lying. They know it would boomerang back on them and cause serious issues down the road.

    And in all honesty…I don’t think they would put such a monstrosity up there on Allene and Catherine (and can be seen in marvelous profile from the AP historian’s porch) without some approval from Adair Park. Even if they owned the space, which they do.

    For me, it boils down to this: ANY concept (that I can think of…) using old, dirty tires is bound to fail! We dispose of them. We don’t ‘glorify’ them.

    Though our neighborhoods certainly are interconnected…it’s of the first order for the residents of Adair Park to complain and to push for its removal. We can help and support, but I think we need to take a secondary role to Adair Park residents. They have a social responsibility here, and they need to own it. We can help, but again, we need to stand behind them….not direct the battle. Just my opinion.

    “Tin Hinan” gets complicated. The first chapter is 5000 words long, and no one can sit and read that much, so I broke it up into pieces. I just finished Book II, Chapter I, so it’s a work in progress…but as my editor sez: “Bring it to a finish!”

    LOL! I’m trying!!!

    Thanks again, Julie. I’m no longer on the CVH listserve, but I appreciate knowing people there are reading the blog.



  3. Malcolm Miller Says:

    I love reading this. It really puts you among the fascinating Berber people. You must have done a lot of research.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi, Malcolm. Well, yes, but I don’t remember much of it. Part of the research was actually talking to Berbers in the dance venues….kitchen help, etc.

    But as my husband has just pointed out…..I was beginning to play around with Hyperarousal Trance…..so that is a portal into this particular ‘life’.

    It surprises me too, but perhaps because of the belly dancing, the research really was more….life?

    Thank you so much for reading and posting a comment. It really helps to see IF and how this story (or any story, writing) is received.

    Oh! and Chapter Two is very dramatic…rather a shocker. Well, it had Penrose wincing!

    That’s a good sign. LOL!



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