I grew up today. I wish I could un-know everything Mama told me, but I’ve got no magic lamp.
My fourteenth birthday party is over. We played games then ate chocolate cake and strawberry ice cream. After my cousins and aunts went back to their homes on our farm, and my five brothers and sisters went to bed, Mama said we had to talk.
‘Course I wondered what I did wrong, ’cause talking usually meant trouble. My instinct was dead-on. She told me I was a woman now and it was time I knew things. In ten minutes, she stole my childhood and ruined my life.
It’s all ‘cause of Uncle Damian. They say he’s a prophet, which makes him an enigma to the outside world. People believe he speaks the Lord’s words. Damian preaches that the best way to honor God is to multiply our flock and to avoid the outside world. He warned that the world persecutes what they don’t understand.
Uncle Damian is in jail. Today, I learned he’s my father. I loved Papa as the dead man in a photo Mama keeps in her dresser. Now I know that man is Mama’s daddy. Mama said he doesn’t talk to us ’cause “we’re all sinners damned to Hell.” Papa’s still dead to me.
So, my cousins are my half-brothers and half-sisters, and the seven women I knew as aunts are… I don’t really know what they are. I cried when I found out Damian’s blood filled my veins. I want to get it out of me- all of it.
Then, Mama handed down my sentence: marriage to Derek, my oldest cousin (half-brother, I guess) in one year. He’s twenty-nine and already has four children, two more on the way. I said “no” but she said it’s my time to honor God.
God, I don’t want to be fourteen. I want to be fifteen even less.
Today I grew up. I have 364 days to get out.
enig·ma noun\i-ˈnig-mə, e-\ – an inscrutable or mysterious person
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