Her sky blue eyes scanned the document, barely absorbing a single word of it. Her right hand was gripping her fountain pen made of pure gold shakily. Signing this deal would be like signing her own death sentence. It's not that she despised romance; no, that's not it, she loved romance! It's just that she could almost bet that there would not be a single decent boy in middle school or probably even high school!
Signing this contract would mean that she would have to get married by the age of 16. Not signing this contract means that her parents would probably, no definitely, disown her. And if she didn't fulfil the requirements of the deal… She wouldn't even want to think about. She just knew one simple fact; her family was insane!
She pushed away her thoughts; every single bit of it. The fingernails of her left hand dug into her skin on her right hand. She gritted her teeth. Most of the girls in her family were too intimidated by their parents, or even older siblings, to not sign this document, to not accept the deal. But she wasn't one of those.
She felt like ripping the paper apart into small pieces. Throwing it away. Dipping it in water until it was so soaked that no one could touch it without destroying it. Burning the paper. Scribbling on it. But fact remains; it was just a piece of paper with words printed on it; with the words that would need her to sign her own death sentence. If she did anything with the paper, they could always reprint it; but she would be punished first, severely.
She dug her fingernails deeper into her skin. The fingernails cut her skin and deep red blood started oozing out of the wound. Despite that fact, she just dug her fingernails further into her skin to relieve some of the mixed feelings that she had. She looked up slowly. Her parents were eyeing her every move.
She immediately dropped her head and pretended to read the words printed on the document. No matter how hard she tried, the words kept swimming across her eyes. She only managed to get a glimpse of several words including 'chosen', 'wedding' and 'consequences'.
Her fingernails dug slightly deeper into her and the deep red blood started flowing more prominently from her wound. The blood from the wound made several small blotches of blood on the document that she was supposed to sign.
Her eyes started getting watery, tears were already swelling quickly in her eyes; but she forcefully held it back. She didn't want anyone in her family to feel satisfied to see her cry.
Her wounded hand purposely swept across her face to wipe of the tears that were already streaming across her face. A tear-stained face would make the members of her family feel even more satisfied. No, a voice screamed inside her head. She shut her eyes.
Several locks of light brown hair fell across her face. She looked up yet again. Her brother was grinning stupidly, with a look of mischief in his eyes. She turned to look into her sister's eyes and saw pity and concern in those beautiful hazel brown eyes. Her sister mouthed the words 'Don't worry' to her. She felt her eyes go watery. She immediately dropped her head down and her long light brown hair fell across her face; her family could not see her crying face anymore.
She gripped her fountain pen harder. Some of the ink spilled out. It made huge black blotches on the document, staining it more than it already was; some mixed with dried blood. She lowered her pen carefully until its tip touched the document, only just slightly. She was about to move the pen to sign the document, but she hesitated. She gripped the pen harder for a mere split second, and more ink spilled out.
"Do you want to sign it," her father asked.
It sounded more like a command than an option. She moved her hand slightly across the document. She looked up; her eyes pleading, no begging, for help from either of her siblings. Her brother merely shrugged; a smug look spreading across his face. She looked at her sister with a very hopeful expression. Having a 3 years age difference, they were very close.
Her sister had almost always looked out for her. Her sister put a foot forward, trying to step forward towards her, she knew she could always count on her sister, but her mother reached out her hand to block her sister from going any closer.
"Don't," her mother muttered.
"Why?" she heard her sister breathed.
But no one else heard her.
Her sister wanted to look out for her, but her parents were not allowing that. She had always been the family's 'black sheep'. Her sister was her parents' favourite. She was the least favourite. The one hated by everyone. She closed her eyes shut.
She moved her pen slowly across the document to spell her name as slowly as possible; to buy all the time she can. After about 1 long minute, she lifted the golden fountain pen. Her fingernails were already digging so deep into her skin that even her bright yellow flowing dress was stained with blood.
Her father approached her if not carefully and quickly slipped the stained document into the transparent folder that he was carrying that was already filled with wads of paper. He immediately made a beeline for the door and left the room; followed by her mother and brother. Only her sister stayed behind, probably to try and comfort her.
Her legs gave way and she fell onto the floor. She broke into silent sobs as she always does when she has too much emotion bottled up inside of her; tears were spilling uncontrollably out of her eyes. Blood was still oozing out of her wound. The wound was already remarkably deep for a 'fingernail' wound; but it relived her slightly from her nervousness, anger and stress. She wiped away some of the tears in her eyes with her wounded hand. Some blood was diluted by the tears and the mixture was splattered all over the spotless white marble floor. She heard her sister's soft footsteps approaching her.
"Don't cry. Everything will be alright," her sister whispered into her ear, patting her on her back, trying to calm her, a 10-year-old girl down.
"No," she breathed as she shook her head," No!"
She said the word so suddenly and with such force and hatred that her sister jerked away from her.
"See," she said in a whisper," Nobody likes me, not even you sis."
"That's not true," her sister started.
"Just leave will you?"
Her sister sighed in disappointment, but she seemed to understand. Her sister pulled out a thick packet of tissue. Her sister took out some tissue and dabbed away most of the liquid on the floor. She passed the rest of the tissues to her and stood up, leaving the room silently with her head dropped down. She left the door ajar and walked away from the room.
She stood up shakily. She knew her family would die to see her in such a desperate situation. She hastily wiped away the tears in her eyes away with the back of her hand. She took out some tissue from its packet and wiped her tear-stained face. I must not let them rule over me, over my life she thought. Her trembling knees stopped shaking. Her tears slowly stopped spilling out of her eyes. She inhaled deeply and sighed loudly. Then, slowly and quietly, she walked towards the door that was left ajar and slipped out of the room.
~~~ ♥ ~~ ♥ ~~ ♥ ~~~
She clutched the handle of the rattan basket tightly. She walked down the long aisle steadily, tossing handfuls of red rose petals into the air along the way. She reached the end of the aisle after a long two minutes of walking on a 3-inch-high pair of heels. She spun around just in time to see her sister reach the end of the aisle just beside her.
The wedding minister was saying something to her sister's fiancée and her sister, but she didn't have a care in the world to listen. She didn't care if she interrupted the wedding ceremony, but she had to say something, she just simply had to. Slowly, she rose up her hand shakily.
Everyone in the church turned to look at her, eyeing her suspiciously as though she was some sort of threat or something. She cleared her throat.
"I do not approve," a voice a lot braver than how she actually feel escaped her throat," Why should we get married at 16? We're way too young! We barely graduate from school; what more say achieve our goals and dreams! I think achieving our dreams before getting married is a lot more convenient and practical. We still have two more years in school before we graduate; then there's university, and we have to get married?!"
Everyone started whispering and chattering among themselves; they all looked at her in shock, with widened eyes. Her father looked like he was going to stand up.
"I am not done with my speech! This contract, this deal! It's all so impractical! It's a stupid thing you're trying to force us to do! Ridiculous!"
Everyone in the church fell silent; pin-dropping silence. She was on the verge of crying. Huge drops of tears threatened to spill out, but she cleverly held it back with all her might. Her father stood up so suddenly in frustration that everyone turned their attention to him instead.
"Stop," her father started.
"No!" she interrupted," I will not listen to the likes of you!"
Her father opened his mouth to say something, but once again, she interrupted him.
"You're not the boss of me! You were never the boss of me! You're not the boss of my life! No one's the boss of my life! I am, the one and only! Only I can make choices for my own life!" she snapped.
She threw the rattan basket filled with red rose petals onto the floor and dashed out of the church before anyone could stop her or say anything at all. She ran for a couple of yards away from the huge church building into a large clearing.
Not being able to control her emotions anymore, she broke down into silent sobs; large drops of tears streaming down her face. With her make-up smeared all over her face, she looked terribly desperate. She dropped to the grassy ground and buried her head between her legs.
Her 'break down' had taken her to a trip down memory lane. "There are many terrible people in life," her sister had told her once. "Life is unfair," her sister had told her another time. Life is indeed unfair, she thought, All those smack talk about life are all being fair, they're all just rubbish!
The loud rumbling of thunder could be heard. It was going to rain. The noise made her recall what she had done during the wedding; she was absolutely sure that she was going to receive a very heavy punishment when they went back, but surprisingly, even to herself, she felt relieved, glad that she had done just that. The sky darkened. She walked across the clearing in short, quick steps to get to a tree stump.
Suddenly, she felt a sharp pain shooting up her left leg. Her ankle was throbbing. She looked down. There was an incredibly long and sharp branch lying a few inches away from her left foot. Groaning, she bent down and removed her 3-inch-high heels. She noticed that there was some warm, red, sticky liquid on her left shoe. Her left ankle was bleeding.
As the red liquid continuously oozed out of the wound, she fished out a small, knitted handkerchief from the satchel she was carrying. She wrapped it tightly around the wound. The handkerchief began to soak all the blood that was flowing out of the wound as she went over to the tree stump to sit down.
She desperately wanted to think many things over. She had to act smart; she just knew it. She knew that she needed her parents, and everybody else to like her; she simply had to put on the 'good girl' attitude. She knew that she needed to choose a boy, just one boy, to marry before her 16th birthday. She knew that in order to attract the boy she would like, she would need to build her reputation up from scratch, especially when she starts high school at the age of 15; which was a mere 2 years away. It was that simple right? She sighed.
She wouldn't let them take over her life; not her parents, not anyone! She had to make her own choices; make the choices that would suit her the most.
"I will achieve all that I can before 16," she murmured," And show everyone just how wrong they have been for underestimating me."
She felt fire burning inside of her. She was outraged. Outraged at her sister. Outraged at her parents. Outraged at her family. Outraged at the deal. Outraged at everyone around her. Outraged at herself.
She would most definitely prove to everyone that she can find the person that she would truly love forever by the age of 16. Not just hastily choose anyone like all the other girls on her family.
She would definitely climb to the top of the social ladder in school without being one of those snobbish cheerleaders; everyone would know who she was. She would be the school's genius. Everyone would love her; and that was the way she wanted it. It was time to stop being just a mere chess piece and start playing the game herself. Two could play at that game. She would achieve everything she could before 16.
"No one's the boss of me except me."
She knew that once she made a decision, there was no way out. At this point in life, all the decisions that she make would be very critical.
"All these decisions, all these choices that I make, I will achieve them," she said with a brave expression on her tear-stained face," Because there is no turning back."