Continuing “Tin Hinan”, Chapter 1, Part 2

tunisia

 

I didn’t know how well this story would interest readers because so many of us don’t have the time to settle down and read books or longer stories.  Our lives have become so busy and frantic.  We have been acclimatized to short bursts of writing on Twitter and Facebook  and other social media.  I believe that our attention span is becoming shorter and we are more impatient.  So it was with a shock  today I checked the stats and found  many people around the world are reading this story!  I am so grateful, because, well, most of us are just storytellers and we love to weave out a good story.  “Tin Hinan” is a long story, but I think it will entertain each reader. At least, that has been my objective in writing this.  My gratitude also goes, first of all, to my Berber friends who guided me in this novel with their own traditions and stories.

Lady Nyo

——–

Chapter 1, Part 2 of this chapter:

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.  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; 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 back 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, 2007-2013

 

 

 

 

 

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