Sixteen days. Sixteen stories about Her from my diary.
Day 11 & 12: Lara & Zara
Lara and Zara were sisters. Zara was two years older than Lara. Yet, with society’s perceptions, Zara was the ‘prettier’ and more attractive of the two. She was taller, and had lighter colour skin, her hair was light, her body and facial features were in what society today considers ‘perfect’ proportions.
I cannot think of a word to describe Lara, the younger of the two sisters, other than warm. She had warmth in her presence, warmths in her words, and warmth in her feelings towards others. The darker colour skin perfectly accommodated her features, smaller eyes were framed by glasses, and there was always a large smile showing two front teeth with a few millimetres of overlap.
Lara had a suitor who she happened to love dearly, he sent his mother to ask for Lara’s hand. She was content, and for days felt like she was walking on pink clouds.
Fast forward a few weeks, Lara’s father refused for Lara to marry before her older sister, and instead recommended that Zara married the suitor instead, because he was a ‘perfect young man’ to just go by.
I met Lara in this exact phase of her life, as she was looking to speak to a social worker or psycologist. The idea of her lover being a brother in law could not be comprehended, a sister marrying her lover did not make sense, and her father recommending someone else to her suitor seemed unfair.
I realised then, the idea of the elder girl marrying before the younger was part of the local culture, I learned that some women do not mind taking their sister’s suitor if he was handsome and wealthy. I also learned some men can sell their love for what society deemed a ‘prettier’ option in just a few days.
Lara’s story is not the worst that I have come across, but violence comes in different colours. I wonder how many girls are judged for their appearance? How many girls are compromised because of cultural values? How many girls are hurt by the closest to them because of self interest?
Zara did marry her sister’s suitor.
It is complicated. I was just as confused as you might be right now.