Book cover of “My Arranged Marriage“ by Chichi meliss

My Arranged Marriage

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Chichi meliss
They barely know each other but are not involved in an arranged marriage… Ousmane Cherif Haïdara is forced by his elders to marry his cousin’s young widow, Hawa. He wants to object, but it’s too late — the marriage is already sealed. Ousmane is furious because he has a fiancée, Zayate, who has already been planning their wedding, and now, he is ... 

Chapter 1

Ousmane’s POV

I looked at my uncles as well as my mother. How could they make decisions for me? I wondered what era these old people thought they were in.

I looked at the assembly before looking back at the woman sitting on the carpet with her head down, her immaculate white bazin covering her completely. I had never seen her before, and even if I had seen her, how would I recognize her, considering that she was all covered and stubbornly kept her head lowered on her legs? I was pulled from my thoughts by my uncle Saliou.

“Ousmane, I know that we are presenting you with a fait accompli, but in the face of destiny, we are powerless. Destiny is inevitable, my boy,” he said, pausing for a moment and looking at the others, who all nodded. “Your brother would have never wanted to die and leave his family, wives, and children. He would have never wanted this life for his family, but Allah alone remains the master decider. Death is inevitable, it’s a path we will all take one day, sooner or later, but I pray to the Lord that it will be as late as possible.”

“Amen!” answered the assembly.

“Ousmane, my boy, it is up to you to take care of her. She is your wife now, and you are her husband,” continued my uncle.

“Uncle, excuse me for interrupting you, but I can’t take another wife. You know I’m getting married in a month, and I don’t want polygamy. It’s no life for a man like me. I cannot be fair between the two. I love my fiancée and no other,” I replied.

“I understand completely. You lived among the white men, and you tend to think like them,” my uncle said. “Yes, I know we can’t do anything against it, but you’re the only one who has only one wife, or rather a fiancée. The others already have too many burdens, and only a younger brother of her late husband can marry her. Birama was my nephew, and I could not take his wife, as well as all the others present. She is his youngest wife, and being the eldest of this family, we have decided that she will be your wife. You cannot refuse, Ousmane.”

No, there must be someone else to take her. Otherwise, they should return her to her parents. I just can’t marry my cousin’s wife. I didn’t even know him well. I may have seen her once or twice, and they want to put that burden on me?

In addition, she is the wife of a villager, and we all know that a villager marries a villager. I can’t mix with those kind of people. Not that I consider myself superior to them, but I have to be honest with myself. I do what I can for everyone in my family who lives in the country, but it stops here.

We all had a standard of living and aspirations for our future, and mine was not to marry a woman from the village and, moreover, become polygamous. It was not in my plans, and it was not about to change. I had already found my other half.

I looked at this woman to judge and get an idea of the kind of person she was. But I couldn’t see anything but the soles of her feet. She was sitting on the living room carpet barefoot. Her feet were very clean and pretty, though. Her fingernails were covered in polish, and she had applied henna flower and leaf designs that extended from her big toe down to her ankles.

Her ebony skin was shiny, and it looked like velvet. She was black in complexion, and this simple criterion already disqualified her. I didn’t like black women. I liked women who were fair and voluptuous; the fairer, the better. It was the first thing that attracted me in a woman.

Instead of asking for my opinion, they married her and sent her to me. In Europe, when you tell others that your wife is back home, they don’t believe you. You can’t find yourself getting married overnight there. But here, your family can find a complete stranger, tell you that she’s your wife, and you have to do everything to bring her next to you, and you don’t have the right to refuse; otherwise, your whole family will be on your back.

In short, I continued my inspection, but that’s all I saw and nothing else.

“My uncles, I am sincerely sorry, but I cannot respond favorably to this request. I already have a woman that I love, and I’m not going to get into a polygamous relationship. As you know, it never ends well. And as I told you, I will be getting married soon. I don’t want to lose my inner peace and risk dying young. No, really, it’s not for me. I can’t handle two women,” I said.

“If it’s only about sleeping peacefully, my boy. You see, since Birama married her, even his co-wives sang her praises though she was the youngest. My son, in the name of God, that’s why we are offering her to you. Otherwise, we would have taken her back to her parents a long time ago. She is a submissive woman who has no problem. Even if you trample on her, she will ask you for forgiveness to avoid conflict. She is very sweet and kind,” Uncle Fodé said.

I thought, rolling my eyes, that she was everything I hated in a woman. I hated those blessed yes-yes, those insipid women without any character.

“No, thank you. I don’t want her. I like assertive women who have their heads on their shoulders and are not shy. I like women who stand up to me when necessary, like my tigress, my Zayate,” I said firmly. “Uncle, I’m sorry, but my answer remains unchanged. It’s a no.”

“Ousmane,” said Uncle Fodé. “What Saliou refuses to tell you is that if you refuse to take this girl as a wife, you will leave an orphan and a widow at the mercy of the vagaries of life without any support, any sources of income, without people to help her. I know the white men must have taught you that. But we must not abandon the orphan and the widow as the Koran teaches us, right? Not to deny them our help as long as we can. Or am I wrong?” he asked.

“Yes, but…”

“Okay, we understand that you don’t want her as a wife. Unfortunately, she was given to you. She is your wife now. Even if you don’t want her as a wife, you have to keep her and take care of her until we find a better solution for her.”

“What solution, Uncle?”

“Until she has another man to take her as a wife or at least she finishes her apprenticeship in sewing. We are afraid of sin, Ousmane. This girl no longer has a mother or father. Djènaba explained to us under what conditions she became Birama’s fourth wife. For God’s sake, she is an orphan. We can’t leave her to her fate because her husband died. No, we can’t do that. You are the only one who doesn’t have many loads like all of us. You can help her better than the rest of us. So please keep her at least until another man wants her or she is able to take care of herself.”

I remained silent.

“Please, Ousmane. It’s a good compromise. I cannot leave this child to suffer just because of your refusal. Have mercy, please.”

“Okay, but she stays at your place, and I’ll take care of her there,” I answered.

“Alright, but since your fiancée isn’t here, wouldn’t it be better if she stays at your place while waiting and helping Oumou? Plus, you’re going to get to know each other better, and so you’ll know how to help her, right?”

I didn’t know what to say.

“For God’s sake, boy!” They all got into it.

“Okay, I accept, but she should not consider herself my wife. I’m just taking care of her like I would have taken care of my little sister if I had one. I’ll finance her training, and we’re even, agreed?”

“Alright.”

“And she stays in her place. My wife is my wife, and she is to be respected. I don’t want to hear one day that she fussed with her. Did I make myself understood?”

“Yes, very well, she will stay in her place,” answered my uncle.

“I want to hear it from her.”

“Hawa,” my uncle called.

“Yes, I understood. I will never fuss with her,” she answered in a rather soft voice without raising her head.

In any case, if her behavior remains like this, we should not have a problem.

“And I want the ties of marriage to be broken today.”

“We can’t do it right away. It’s against nature, Ousmane! The marriage has just been sealed.”

“If it’s not done by my fiancée’s return, I’ll wash my hands of all commitments. I’m warning you.”

“Okay, before your wedding, we will break your ties.”

“Alright then, as everything is clear now, I’ll be on my way. I have a meeting in a short time. I’m going back to the office.”

“Okay, but you have to arrange her moving, right?” Mom said.

“Yes, Oumou will help her arrange her stuff in the guest room,” I said, standing up.

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