Some time had passed since her last visit from the demon. Maybe a week or more. Enough time that she had begun to have faith in her theory that hard work would keep her safe. That as long as she was showing appreciation for her life, she would not be visited by any more demons and the torment would stop.
Rosaria noticed how hard she was working and on this particular day encouraged her to slow down and to go and play soccer with the other children. Cordalia tried to explain that she just wanted to help, but there was only so many words that could be said before they were interpreted as insubordinate. As Cordalia reluctantly turned to leave the homestead, Rosaria, as if she were inside of her daughter’s head, explained that being happy and playful was also part of what it is to be daughter, or else what was the point of the hard work of the parents.
She also reminded her that she would have plenty of work to do the next day as she would have to mind the homestead while the rest of the family went to town to celebrate one of her cousin’s birthdays.
These words lightened Cordi’s heart and she was able to run towards the soccer field without guilt, with excitement, even. She enjoyed the speed that her growing body was allowing her to move with. She moved through the deep sand and maneuvered through the trees with ease and grace. Her feet struck the earth so lightly they barely left behind prints in their wake.
She was embraced by her siblings and cousins at the field. Cordalia laughed as some of them argued as to who was going to get her on their team. Moments like these removed doubts she sometimes had of her belonging. Sometimes at school, she would be reminded of her complexion, or her slightly different facial features. Or that she was too tall and dark to be a San, but too light skinned for a Kwangali. The comparisons were endless. Sometime they implied she was beautiful and sometimes the opposite. But always while playing with her family, she was just Cordalia. She was fast, strong, and smart. She was loved.
There was an energy in the air for that entire day, as even after dinner, the children were allowed to stay up late. They danced and sang songs in the moonlight while their elders watched them and held conversations. Even after the children were sent to bed, the sound of Rosaria’s and Haingura’s voices could be heard as they sat talking to each other deep into the night, as if they were two young lovers who didn’t want to admit they were tired in order to get every last minute together. So that they couldn’t leave any space for another person to swoop in and take one from the other.
Cordalia loved hearing the sound of their voices come through walls of the hut. She never focused on what they were saying, only the vibrations of their voices. Smiling with their laughter and letting the cadence of their speech guide the rhythm of her breath. Never was the bond between two people ever felt more than during their conversations. These two who had seldomly spent more than a couple days away from each in the twenty five years they had been married. Cordalia didn’t think much about boys at this point in her life, but she knew she wanted to have with someone something like these two had with each other.
Despite the long night, the entire family was up and moving early in the morning as they had to get ready for a trip into town. The eldest son arrived first thing with his pick-up truck and loaded five children in the bed, along with the bags of food and other items for the party. Before Rosaria got into the cab of her son’s truck, she went over the instructions for Cordalia.
She was informed that Haingura had gone out to the farm to slaughter a goat for the birthday party and would be coming back to the homestead to collect some things before going to town. She was to be nearby in case he needed help. This delighted Cordalia, as she was always happy to help Haingura and she didn’t get a lot of time with him by herself. Otherwise she was to keep the gates to the homestead locked and to stay inside the premises for the day. The family was going to be home later in the evening, so she was to have a meal ready when they all returned.
After everyone left and the homestead was quiet she got to work. This time not so much to keep the demons away, but to keep her mind occupied while she awaited for Haingura’s return.
****back at it after a few days off.Hoping to build some good momentum this week, especially after what should unfold tomorrow.