The Walk Down the Aisle

She walked down the aisle, smiling. Not a very wide smile. It was a small smile, demure, shy…just like her sister had instructed. You don’t want people to think you are too happy, she had said.

So she walked down the aisle, smiling a small smile, with her neck and shoulders straight and eyes cast down. This way people could get a clear look and the photographer could get pretty shots of her. Do not bow your head down! her aunt had warned her. You don’t want people to think you are gauche.

So she walked down the aisle, smiling a small smile, shoulders straight, eyes down. Her gharara was bothering her but she didn’t touch it. At least she won’t fall down. Her sisters and cousins were holding it up from both sides. They walked slowly. You don’t want to run to the stage, do you? her cousin had asked, laughing as she and her sisters and aunts told her how to behave on her big day.

So she walked down the aisle, smiling a small smile, shoulders straight, eyes down, slowly, when her sister suddenly told her to stop. This was the third time they had come to a standstill. She dared to lift her eyes up a fraction and caught sight of her father smiling widely with tears in his eyes. He is happy, she thought. Just like he said he was the day my result came out. Ama had just smiled. She was happy too, but not as happy as she was today. Her daughter was finally going away, to her real home. Life couldn’t be better.

She remembered the tearful pleas. She had begged. I am not ready, she had told both Ama and Abba again and again. Ama said she was ready, she just didn’t know it. But she did! she had insisted. She wasn’t a child now. All the more reason, Ama refuted. This is not what I was born for, she screamed. I cannot be bound. That’s when Ama said she didn’t know any better. How could she rebel against society? How will she face people? They will taunt you forever, her sister had threatened. I don’t care, she had retorted. People can say what they like. They like to talk. They like to hurt.

They won’t just talk about you, you fool. Her sister was angry at her sister-in-law’s decision to get a divorce. Look at the shame she is bringing upon her parents, you want to do the same? You are just like her, you want to put your family in peril.

As cameras flashed in her face and people marveled at her perfection and agreed this was her ultimate destiny, she searched for happiness inside. Her heart wasn’t beating too enthusiastically. But her family was safe right? Safe from the devil that was society which was not ashamed that it had crushed another flower. So she walked down the aisle, smiling a small smile, shoulders straight, eyes down, slowly. The way society had told her.

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