Hearts Abroad / Hearts Abroad (Diasporas on love) / Immigrant Life / Novel / Writing

Prompt # 5 – remarriage

More Notes from the Canadian honey jar

… on the 2nd/late in life marriage of the 2 longtime lovebirds separated in youth…

May 06, 2017

So, the story … back when the woman was young, before she married the man she married (and with whom she had children), she had a sweetheart. But neither her family nor his would agree to let them marry. Ethnic bullshit, etc. So he went on to marry someone else. And she went on to marry someone else. Back then, marrying someone without your parents’/family’s approval was unthinkable. No matter how much pain it caused you, you obeyed. The decision of the families was final. You could be as in love as you wanted, but if the family said no, then that was it! It could be an open secret in the whole city that you and he/she are an item, when the men go to ask for her hand she knows that if her father does not agree to the marriage, she has to obey him without hesitation, no matter how much pain it causes her.

…so say the families said no so she and her sweetheart went on to marry other people and have families. He moved to the US, she stayed in Ethiopia. He got divorced late in life, she was ‘widowed’ early in life. Then, when they were single and in their fifties, they happened to be in Addis, say a hotel lobby, at the same time. Did they recognize each other? Or did they get re-introduced by the people they both knew? A matter of a few minutes either way, and the reunion would never have happened. I bet they recognized each other. She was considered a great beauty in her day. And even in her current age she had striking sharp features and always looked glamorous. She had even posed for Afewerk Tekle perhaps, was the model for Tizita or Meskel Flower (why not?? That would be a great layering to make! She was the model for Tizita YES! And in her posing, she was thinking of the lover she’d had to relinquish out of respect for her family’s wishes??)

…Remarrying is less of a taboo now, but back when she became ‘widowed’, and maybe because of the political climate, i.e. not knowing whether her husband was alive or dead! What if he’s been alive all this time, what if he fled the country on foot, as many do, and has been living abroad all this time (also a possible direction to take the fiction in). But what kind of man would do that, willingly abandon his wife and children? Well, many do, for reasons a lot less pressing than death. Few get such an opportunity as being presumed dead. Like that Postsecret note: everyone who knew me before 9/11 thinks I’m dead. Wow.

So by the time they reunited, it had been over 20 years since her husband’s disappearance. Plenty of time has passed for the taboo to not matter anymore. She’s ‘earned’ her freedom to remarry. And that it is not a new man, but someone from her own past, someone she might have married, even better. There’s an unspoken permission granted. From who?? Maybe that was how it was meant to be all along, a long separation, so that their children and grandchildren could come into being.

…they had a party to celebrate their wedding. If anyone deserved those enormous commotion weddings people have, it was them. They’d earned it. Yet there they were, those two, having seen life and then some, having a small, classy, intimate wedding party lasting no more than a few hours. Perfection.

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