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IN THE HIDDEN HILLS

I: Looks aren’t everything

In the hidden hills of my birth place, the sunrise is never actually visible. For most of the day we do not actually see the sun. We see its shining rays very early in the day, as it lights up the steep sides of the rocky mountain our village is settled on. Then much later at late noon, the sun almost suddenly appears overhead and instantly it is quite hot and very bright. The hills closely clustered on the eastern and western sides of the mountain also make it impossible to see the distant horizons from these sides of the high mountain top.

The vast expanse of the mountain top is edged out like a rough hollow bowl. On a hot day, the rocky surface of the hills’ smoldering heat burns and dries up our hunted bird meat. Only children dare out to play in the hot sunlight, at that time of day. Our days are short and the twilights long. It is almost like every one of our shaded dawns and dusks are perpetually prolonged. Just like in the morning sun rise, at dusk, the sun just falls and hides behind the hills on the western side.

The northern side of the mountain, high up and barely hidden by the clouds, is covered by all sorts of large fruit trees and dense vegetation, while the southern side is completely hard smooth rock. The southern side rises gently upwards and then sharply downwards to form the steepest side of the whole mountain sides. And because of this, long before night falls, the village is already in dark pleasant shadows.

We all literally grew up with eyes that were not very tolerant of the harsh sun light, because we stayed in the shadows most of our lives. A long time in the breezy shade of our shelters, out of the blazing sun light at mid day, was hardly the way to get used to sun light when it does appear. As such the number of generations that grew up in the village on the mountain had this blurry conditioned eyes defect.

Then early in my teens, I had the misfortune of being singled out as a result of an unfortunate happening and for more weeks than I could count, my father will not even talk to me. He simply looks away when I appear. Mother only smiles politely but said little. I felt my family’s pain. I knew it too well because I was the source of it and it consumed the whole of me. Many stories I had heard over time, had not prepared me for the kind of pain I was to experience. My sisters before me and my lone brother’s bride’s puberty ushered experiences, which they had spoken of always, had not educated me enough.

I heard it is always an anxious time to wait for the groom to make his claim of the girl’s germinated seed. For only him, it is said, will know and recognize his seed. He planted it from the rear, in-between her twin ridged mould as she sprawled on her four limbs, waiting for the pain of his dominant penetration that nature had cursed her to suffer.

Our grandmother told us long ago that the father of the village saw the gullible bearded goats mount their female from behind and they taught him this way only. It was in his early days as a Herd boy on the flat plains beneath the mountain; when he was still with his own people. She said he was mocked for his bad speech, caused by a badly cut lower lip he was born with. He was then a very lonely early teenage orphan, daily watching over his powerful uncle’s large flock.

He chose to run away when four goats drowned while he slept on his watch. Much earlier he had been starved and caned for a whole week when only one small kid had broken a limb once. Surely if he had stayed he would have been starved to death this time. So he ran up the mountain on self exile. For two days he struggled to climb up the only route he had painstakingly discovered up the huge mountain our village is now incredibly well settled on. This was the very same mountain his own people revered and worshiped for much longer than the oldest living generation on the plains could remember.

Our tradition demands that the last rain must have dried up for weeks before the oldest man in the village calls out all the free, newly readied girls to him. They stayed with him all day to listen to his teachings, until the sun goes down over the rocky western hills, for another long dusk. Then he sends them away to find a spot in the northern vegetation, to kneel and wait for the pain of penetration.

With the real onset of night fall, the oldest man permits the variously aged free boys and men to pursue the girls to their chosen kneeling spots. The race is short and it ends with each male’s return back to the oldest man afterwards, to confirm a successful penetration. For a couple of weeks afterwards, many free girls walked wrongly, with some strange discomfort that showed they were in pain for days.

Mothers make these girls sit on their bare upper legs’ rear cheeks with their knees apart and pointed up, as they position themselves closely spaced and all seated on the hot rocks at sun up. The older married men enjoy these very revealing sights but kept straight faces and never point in the seated girls’ direction, as they also appear to sun themselves in this daily solidarity pastime. Then five weeks pass by and some of these successfully ‘Penetrated’ free girls do not need to hide for a few days in their home shelters, like they had done for a few days before; each and every four weeks.

They don’t make sand seats or sit still all day long or change bloodied sand seats, because they did not bleed naturally for weeks. Soon the bare flesh above the bushy triangles around their hips’ frontal centre and beneath their firm liberally exposed breasts begins to swell. Then the very anxious wait for the groom to make a claim starts. A wait so tasking and unfair. It becomes a pastime of the girl’s whole family. All young or older free male visitors to the family’s home shelter are hopefully welcomed until their mission is stated. I found my own wait quite unfair because I knew my discreet groom was watching and keeping away deliberately, for his own malicious reason.

I started to wish I hadn’t been penetrated like many other free girls, who pretended for weeks that they had been. It wasn’t until the customary few months had passed and I was the only free girl, who was visibly successful with child, that hadn’t been claimed by her supposed responsible spouse, that my father stopped talking to me. He looked away when I came into view and my reluctantly compliant mother only smiled at me politely, like all the other women did too.

This was a totally new situation, quite unusual and it was completely unheard of in the well detailed verbal history of the listed generations of the mountain top village, as passed down. No other pregnant bride in the meticulously passed down history of our village had ever remained unclaimed, that is before me. Soon all the revered old men in the naked community were said to be holding constant secret talks about the unique situation. It was clear that my case presented them with a situation they were quite unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.

The whole nude village is peopled by one spiral large family, all descendants from that one self exiled Herd boy that climbed up the sacred mountain so long ago. He had lived alone in the natural weathered carvings and cracks in the rough rocky hills and basked in the luxuriously fertile vegetation on the mountain, for many seasons on his very own. He lived off the plentiful produce of the rich fruit trees and drank the collected very frequent rain water or the daily dew drops, just like the whole village still does now because there are no water falls, brooks, streams or rivers up on the mountain.

I became the main talking point of the village and boldly they point at me as I walked by, doing my daily chores of collecting dew drops or gathering fruits. These simple tasks didn’t give me the pleasure they used to because of the many staring eyes and pointing fingers. It hurts even more because I hardly knew what was to become of me and my yet to be seen child, still visibly buried within me. But I’m pretty; I knew this in my own deliberately arrogant immodest way.

As a young maiden I had a very dark clear skin, with little body hair. My ears were cut well, with three spaces on each earlobe for my flowers. My mother had asked the village ear-cutter to make two extra cuts on each of my ears, not just the conventional usual one on each ear. She wanted something different and she paid him well for the extra cuts. She also sought to ease his apprehension since his concerns were well founded, because it had never been done before. He had to succumb because the handsome price of two large pieces of dried vulture meat for just four extra cuts was too tempting to refuse.

I grew up being able to fit in more plant blossoms into the holes in my earlobes than every other woman in the village. Sometimes I wonder if these extra ear spaces are not the reason for my misfortune. Just maybe my mother’s hasty deed is the source of my worries. But it only served me well in my envied fame as the prettiest girl in the village. I was especially spectacular on celebrative occasions.

On dance days, story nights or burial vigils; I was always the most colourful maiden around, with lots of flowers and feathers stuffed into my broad earlobes. My clean shaven head was always well oiled with palm oil and shinning in the sun or moon light. I always stood out and everyone looked at me with admiration. I actually thought every girl was my friend and everyone in the whole village liked me.

I talked very little and enjoyed all the free boys’ attention, which I mostly learnt to ignore. I worked hard for my family and tried to be very respectful to all my elders at all times. I knew lots of erring free girls were told to be more like me and that felt good. I danced very well, like my mother had taught me. In the quiet dampness and half darkness of our home covering, my mother had taught me how to twist and turn my body, how to bend down low with my head and shoulders close to my knees and my bare rear leg-cheeks raised up to the crowd; exposing the slit in its middle divide. She taught me to shake, swing and dangle my bare breasts in time with my arms.

She taught me how to stand up-right and kick my legs up and down, not just straight and horizontal from the ground and front-like; this only showed little of my highest leg partings. It should be side ways as I bend my waist in the opposite direction, so that the crowd can see the centre of my legs well enough. She taught me to jump with my hands on my head, it always gives my breasts a very full look, frees them and hardens them so that they are more erect and vibrate well in their frontal fatty response to my irregular jumps sharp energetic vertical rapid hops. The crowd cheers each time I dance and the free boys and men watched with mouths agape, as they cross and uncross their legs repeatedly in an obvious display of masculine discomfort.

None of my teeth is bad or missing and is revealed as evenly yellow when I smile, and I smile quite a lot. My sweaty smooth skin was the best in the whole village and every one knew this. I thought I was loved and every free girl appeared to want me to be her main friend.

I made plans with different girls on how I would lead in ceremonial dances and sing special songs at these graceful occasions. My speech was clearer than most of the other villagers and I sang like the morning pretty little birds. My family was highly respected and we lived in one of the largest home shelters in the village. My looks spoke for me and my family also spoke for me with its revered status.

With that rash quest to be acknowledged I inherited from my mother, my looks also spoke for me last of all and I felt appreciated. I had a good body and I entertained sights as well as imaginations with it. I sang with a sweet clear voice and I danced flirty steps that made mourning men forget to frown at burial vigils. Yet there I remained, unwanted and left to pine with a fatherless pregnancy. My son;

‘Looks aren’t everything,
But certainly something.
For they do speak first
And last too in their haste.’

(3 PARTS TO GO)

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