Walking, walking and waiting. Waiting and walking. The dusty plains beneath my feet, cracking evermore with my weight. I wasn't heavy, I wasn't light. We had a good year with the crops that year, we all fed well. Yet it was still my job to collect the water. Across plains and long brown grass, which crunched under the bare soles of my feet. I loved that feeling. The feeling of being free, the smell of the fresh air and the sounds of the various animals and the people. The people all walking around with their bottles and barrels, their feet slapping the dusty plains along with mine. We were all going to the same place, all looking for the same thing. Water. At the time it was just water.
Who knew that before long we would be hoping for something else, hoping for one human right that we should all be able to enjoy, love.
My father came with me on more than one occasion. He was one of those rare fathers that actually spent time with their daughters, not just their sons. But then again, I was the only one. My mother and father never wanted another, which surprised everyone else. Normally us girls were only used to marry off, then have sons and do housework. Cooking and cleaning. And cooking and cleaning. never getting a day off. I never appreciated what my mother did for me until it was my turn to learn the trade. Which involved me getting the water.
Yawning I began walking back, the water but on my shoulder, leaning against my head. The weight of the one liquid that we knew of, the one to keep us alive, was unbearable. But I didn't have a choice but to carry it back across the plains where my father would meet me and take it. As I walked along, people all around me, smiling and joking. It was fun, I loved that part of my day. the gossiping and the laughs, the stories and the arranged marriages. The pregnancies were the things that caught most people's attention. Who was pregnant now? What did they think it was a boy or a girl? Do you want a boy? And the answer to that last one was always yes. Everyone wanted a boy. A boy they could send to become a warrior. A saviour for their village. To be honest sometimes, being a girl, you felt disgraced, as if nobody wanted you. As I said. We were just here to cook, clean and give birth to boys.
Shaking my head I felt the broken grass and the scratch of the dirt beneath, coat my bare feet. I could hear the snakes that slivered around, feasting on banquets of dead insects and mice, other snakes and god knows what else. The gazelles that jumped around and ran from the lions and cheetahs and tigers. The people that killed them and fried them up as food, wore their skins as capes and made jewellery out of their bones. Nobody cared about the animals like I did, um, I do. The way they played together, taught their young how to fight.
just like the way the boys were taught to fight for their families, their tribes, their villages. That was their duty as men, as boys. To fight for those who needed it the most, to save those who needed saving, to get married and be blessed with sons.
Who knew that for many people in my village, none of that would happen. Many women would go unmarried, many men will never get to fight for their tribe...
I shake miserable thoughts out of my head as I walk back into my hut, the open door frame crumbling from the heat. It would be my mother and I who's job it would be to correct that. Keeping care of the home, external and internal. Setting the barrel of fresh water down to the side where we always keep it, I look over at my small part in the one room we all share. The mat I sleep on, made of a tigers skin, the various oils and powders I have to make body paints for when there are celebrations in the tribe, when there is that small time when we are all happy, even just for a small moment.
Insects crawl over my feet, between my toes, up my legs. The feeling is horrible. The feeling of small legs, thousands of small legs that don't care if you are a person, they only care that you are a surface, something to crawl on, nest in. I am just another surface, another nobody. just another thing for them to dig their feet into, another warm surface. Another warm hot surface...