I knew of life the way I was raised. I was surprised to find out there was a completely different way of life. somehow it never dawned on me that father was not the only man around. We were not allowed to even be in the same area as our brothers. We didn’t know they were even in the same house.
From the time I could remember, we only could be on the second floor of the house unless we were called down to speak to father. There were twelve of us on the second floor, not including the mothers. There were four of those. I didn’t understand why the mothers were so much older than us and they showed very little interest in us as well. Sometimes there was a visitor who would walk around and then tell father that everything in this house was perfectly to the way the prophet wanted. They wanted the blueprints of the house so others may follow our fathers devotion.
We did sewing all day. A simple life. Sometimes we helped with the food as well. My father was always pleased with this, as we were there to be taught. Sometimes the older sisters went down to see father, and they never came back. This seemed to make the mothers happy as they would box up the sisters belongings and then we were never to speak of them again. The talk of new blessings upon the house was all they would ever say.
I wasn’t supposed to ask questions, but that was all I could do. I spent many days in my space often with the mothers standing watch over me, telling me I was wrong for not listening to the most basic of things. All I wanted to know was where the sisters went too. Did they go to Zion? Did they now have the freedom of having their own house? All I was ever told was I needed to keep my mouth shut and never speak of them again. They were no longer a part of our family.
I decided not to speak. I refused to open my mouth again while dealing the mothers. Somehow this did not please them, but they did not force the issue anymore. To them, the idea of having a mute for a daughter was better than them having to deal with my questions. I still watched. I still had the questions but I never would speak. Soon the other sisters all saw me for my defiance other than my resourcefulness in trying not to make the mothers angry again. The sisters soon turned from me as well.
I was in the middle of all the other children in age. The day came that I was the oldest on the floor. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was called down to father’s office. When I received the note from father, I was fourteen years old by my count though we didn’t celebrate our birthdays. We didn’t celebrate much of anything on the floor. I had not spoken in four years at this point. I could not imagine what my own voice sounded like.
The mothers were very happy when I received the note from father. I was not. However, I wanted and watched and, more importantly, listened to the mothers as they finally answered most of the questions I had asked years prior. I tried to let the idea that they could have saved us all a headache a long time ago if they had just told me then but it was too hard to let go. The news was I was to be married. That was the secret that they refused to tell me. The secret that cost me four years of the use of my voice. The secret I would have to keep as well.
On the morning of the meeting, I donned my best dress that I had fixed up the days prior. Had my hair off my face and pulled back. I waited at the door when a young man appeared and told me to follow him. he looked like father, and I was surprised.
“Who are you?” I asked as I looked at him.
“Your brother, Jacob.” He replied without looking at me.
“Brother?” I asked.
“Boys on the first-floor girls on the second,” Jacob repeated. “Father is the best at keeping us all separate.”
“You look like father,” I said softly.
“I hope to be like him one day as well,” Jacob said proudly as we walked to a set of large doors. Jacob pulled on one of them and then waited as I was called in. He shut them with a click behind me. As I walked in, there was father behind a desk in the middle of the room with two other men sitting in front of him with their backs to me.
“Come,” Father said as I was beckoned forward, and I only nodded. “This one is different. She does not speak.”
“Is there something wrong with her?” the older man said as he looked over me with glowing eyes that almost made me sick to my stomach. The younger man who didn’t look old at all was just watching the whole thing.
“Nothing wrong with her. As a child, she spoke often. She often asked many questions, and my wives would have to speak to her of her holding her tongue.” Father said with a slight laugh. “This one on her own decision not to bother to just hold it when asking questions but to hold it forever.”
“Defiant.” The older man said, “I hope you have another offering to offer besides her.”
“She will be a good wife.” Father said easily, “ Her mother bore me seventeen children, and most were daughters.”
“I do not want a defiant wife.” The older man said. “I want one who is meek.”
“Father.” The younger man said. “I think the pact could be fulfilled regardless of you marring the child.”
“And how is that?” the older man asked.
“I will marry this one.” The younger man stated, “it is time I took a wife. She will be the first.”
“You wish to have this child?” The older man asked.
“I will marry this one.” The younger man stated. “You may see if the father has another close in age for you.”
“Do you?” The older man asked father.
“You are in luck. I do have a daughter a week younger than this one. She is exactly what you wish for, meek. Her mother was also.” Father said as he looked me over. “if your son wishes to take this one, I will be happy to offer you the other, and our pact will be upheld.”
“I will take the other.” The older man said. “My boy can have that one.”
“You truly wish to take this girl as your first wife?” Father asked as he looked at the younger man.
“I do. However, I do wish to speak with her first.” The man said as he turned to look at me as I stood there and thought of the whole conversation as they were treating me like a sheep or pig in the farmyard I had seen from the window.
“That is not normal,” Father said as he looked at the man.
“She is not normal.” The man countered, “You know that she will be hard to marry off any other way.”
“True. You may have fifteen minutes in front of the house. Then I must have your decision.” Father said as the younger man rose from his chair. As he neared me, he placed out his arm for me to take as he opened the doors to the office. He took me to the front of the house.
“Do you really not speak at all.” He asked.
“I can,” I replied.
“Somehow, I knew you could.” The man chuckled. “You are ready to marry?”
“No.” I replied, “however, it is my duty, or so the mothers said so.”
“I have an idea.” He said with a grin forming. “You will be fine either way.”
“Do you wish to marry?” I asked.
“It is my duty.” He said softly, “I was not expecting to have to marry so soon, though. I will, though to save you from my father.”
“Save me?” I asked.
“in time, you will understand.” He replied. “We do not have much more time. I do have a plan though. One that will save both of us for some time.”
“I will do as you ask,” I replied as I hung my head lower.
“I do not wish to see that again.” He said as he lifted my head to meet his gaze, “if you are to be my wife, you shall never fear me or be afraid to speak again.”
“I understand,” I said as I looked at him.
“Good. Now we shall go back in, and I will lay down my terms for having you.” He said as he took me back inside to my father’s office. “I will take this one without questions, but the terms of my father’s contract and pact with you will have to be redrawn.”
“Son?” his father asked.
“You wished for a meek wife father. This one will not suit you or her place in your household. Since I am still a part of your household, I will need more time to find a house and secure a net around it.” He said as he placed his hand on my back, “We will pledge ourselves to each other in front of the prophet today, and then she will remain here but in a different place then she had been. I will visit her when I chose and when I have secured a house and things we will need. We will be married. however I will take care of her in the meantime as well.”
“Since you will be pledging yourselves in front of the prophet, I will accept this offer,” Father said as he waited for my sister Mary to be brought down to meet the older man. When she was brought in, Mary looked at me with huge eyes and then around. I looked at the man by my side and he nodded to me. Mary stepped forward toward father’s desk.
“Father, you wished to see me?” Mary asked.
“Child, I would like you to meet your chosen husband,” Father said, and Mary turned to the younger man whom I was now paired off too. “No, my dear that is to be your son by proxy and your sister is now his chosen wife. This man is your chosen one.”
Mary’s eyes went wide, and then she bowed her head toward the older man. “I am sorry, sir.” She said humbly.
“There is no issue, child.” He said as he looked her over. “Yes, this one will do well in my household.”
“Well, then I should summon the prophet to oversee these blessings,” Father said as he stood and then walked out of the room. When he came back in a few minutes later, he was smiling, “A half an hour, no more, and he will be here. Then you both shall have your new lives as their wives.”
The older man was eyeing Mary closely as he seemed to be devouring her with her clothes on. “I should hope he is early.”
“Ready to take my daughter?” Father chuckled.
“She will be perfect, and I will give her many children starting this month.” The older man said. I felt the slight tremble in the younger man beside me as I looked up to him.
“Will I have children soon?” I asked him.
“When I have set up what we need.” He replied with a smile. “I am sure you will be fine until then.”
“What is your name?” I asked.
“Micha.” He said with a soft smile, “Yours?”
“Sara,” I replied.
“Now, we wait for the prophet. Be a good girl until then.” Micha said as he looked down at me with something dancing around in his golden eyes.