By Kur Wël Kur, Adelaide, Australia
January 16, 2017 (SSB) — Elizabeth Aliet Kuot was a double orphan; both parents and siblings died of civil war related causes. At the age of eleven, her newly wedded paternal uncle adopted her so she became her uncle’s first child. The problem was her uncle’s wife, a jealous and mean woman; Akuol Manguak was a middle-height, with ostrich’s egg-shaped face, a wet-looking haired, nineteen-year old woman; her teeth were as white as cotton-boll.
As soon as she moved into her own house, Akuol Manguak [her uncle’s wife], took Elizabeth Aliet with her. In darkness of the house and privacy of a newly wedded life, she abused her verbally and physically. “lift your ass off the ground, you little lazy ‘thing’”, she would seize her butts pushing and sending her to glide horizontally mid-air.
Sometimes, on Elizabeth Aliet’s unlucky days, she would land on misplaced objects. Her arms, calves, and even her belly, sustained bruises; bruises she blamed on the Civil war. Without civil war that claimed her kind, hardworking and most beautiful mum, she wouldn’t have been in the hands of that heartless and barren woman.
In the privacy of her soul, Elizabeth Aliet called her uncle’s wife childless because since five years of her marriage, Akuol Manguak’s womb has failed many times to hold a foetus beyond three months. Those scores of miscarriages gave Akuol lots of fits and angers toward an orphan, a vulnerable being, Elizabeth Aliet.
“God whose Angel of death came for my parents, in Your Name, I pray to grant the power of bearing a child to Akuol Manguak, my uncle’s wife”, she would mumble to the empty path on her way to the river. Those were her best wishes to her uncle’s wife because she thought Akuol Manguak had no experience of a child rifting through amniotic sac at the childbirth. So, if she would experience one, the pain her own child would cause at childbirth would cleanse her darkest soul of hatred.
On some days, Elizabeth would curse her calling upon the godmother, the giver of children to seal Akuol Manguak’s womb. To her, the power of bearing children is only for women with the purest hearts, hearts that accommodate children of all types, even cockroaches’. But heartless women like her uncle’s wife shouldn’t see the innocent smiles of the infants.
From all those ill-treatments, Elizabeth Aliet had forged unbreakable will, forged untarnished character, and lived a life that cherished hard work; by the age of 13 years old, the pressure she dived under day in day out, moulded her into a strong young woman.
Gossips the village women whispered that always snaked around in corridors of friendship allegiances, got relayed and hauled into Elizabeth Aliet’s uncle’s ears. Her uncle, a pure hearted man whose education and military tactics earned him every rung in his rank. As a cadet, he gained a tittle of being referred to as a military operations tactician so he graduated with the rank of 1st lieutenant; and in couple of battles he directed and easily won by his battalion. The C-in-C summoned him to the military headquarters and got promoted to the rank of a lieutenant commander.
Nhials Kech was tall and svelte man who spoke rarely. He hated to quarrel with people especially the civilians. He thought about all the gossips he received from all sort of gossips delivery men and women; all the scars that blemished the lower body of his niece troubled his mind. So, when Elizabeth Aliet turned 12 years, he asked his wife to fetch herself a niece as a companion.
“Get your sister’s daughter or lose Elizabeth Aliet,” he said with the grumpiness of gossips that had swamped his mind.
The words that fired across to find her ears shot out of her husband half request half orders; Nhials Kech sent his gaze to the horizon where dark orange-looking Sun was disappearing behind the spinning planet.
Through Nhials’ words, Akuol Manguak sensed the emptiness of their marriage. She beat herself up; thinking that she got mistreated because of her childless marriage. She was getting up to prepare the dinner, but her husband sprang up, flanked by his four bodyguards and left.
After that conversation in 1988, her guilt that was portrayed in her husband’s words, compelled Akuol Manguak to adopt her sister’s daughter, the cousin [in law] to Elizabeth Aliet who would mock her when she offered drinking water to Zacchaeus years later. Aliet, this desperation for new boyfriends will get you killed. Elizabeth Aliet’s memory echoed the stinging words sometimes….
You can reach the author via his email: makuei kur <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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