Vignette

I read Patricia's McCormick's "Sold" while living in Hyderabad, India for my Language and Literature course. The novel tells a series of stories based off of real life issues like arranged marriages, sex slavery, and limited eduacation affecting women in vulnerable countries like India, Nepal, and various countries in Africa. One of the stories depicted showed how a mother's advice to a daughter can impact their future. The vignette below is my own take on a Brazilian mother telling her daughter that she must make the choice to either play the game or to be played. 

Are You Going to Play? 

Before today, Mãe says, you are too young and unknowing to understand, let alone play, the games of grownups.

Now, she says, you must calculate every moment, observe every move, and predict future plays on the board.

Never loose your temper.

Never allow yourself to be underestimated.

And never speak profanely or let your tongue curse when in the presence of someone of high status.

Otherwise they will underestimate the validity of your voice.

Once you are married, she says, you must be smart like an owl, as sleek as a fox, and as unnoticed as a whisper on a breeze.

If he is too quiet, it is a sign that he is doing something that he shouldn’t.

If you dream of purple, life’s many incidents have brought him to betray you.

If he decides to cook for a special occasion to display his culinary “skills”, you must clean up after him. 

If he miraculously decides to help, he is either very sick or has hopes of having a treat later on.

If you have a daughter, do not name her after his mother. Nobody wants a second dosage of that.

I ask Mãe why, “Why must I play so?”

“You can either choose to let the struggles life gives drag you down or you can use them to make your life more entertaining”, she says, “So, are you going to play?”