Marriage was never a question in my mind.
I’ve never spent time wondering whether or not I will get married. For me, I always worried about when and who I would get married to.
On a lazy Saturday when my parents were away, my two aunts showed up unannounced. It was just my sisters and I left to our devices. My parents had given no warning that we’d be expecting any guests, so we were already on edge. They sat tentatively, the obligatory salutations batted back and forth like a never-ending tennis match. Then, silence.
It cloaked the entire room for what felt like forever.
“There is something we need to tell you, girls, as aunts,” they said. I thought possibly this was the sex talk I’d never received from my parents. What happened next, I would have never guessed.
“You are cursed. Every relationship you have is doomed to fail. It is the fate of the women in our family.” I couldn’t help but giggle and I was met with a steely gaze. They were dead serious. None of them were happily married but that was down to choices, right?
I could not fathom that I was cursed. My life wasn’t an episode of Vampire Diaries. Yet, the seriousness of the situation echoed in the emptiness of our living room. The way they clutched their purses tightly, their veins visibly throbbing. My sisters’ faces had the same disbelieving look.
They explained how happiness would evade us, along with love. The men who entered our lives would do nothing except steal, cheat, and lie to us.
One spoke about her own experience in her marriage how he had simply left and taken all her things. My sisters and I stole glances from each other. We’d been told this story but not like this.
From our recollection, relatives had told her that the man she was about to marry was a con artist, but she went ahead and married him anyway. She’d come home to an empty house with no furniture.
My other aunt, her husband had died. I was too young to comprehend anything they were saying. Would a long-lost ancestor grow so bitter because of her own failed marriage, that she would curse her future generations?
The story was, a long-lost ancestor had grown bitter and angry in her marriage. She’d found nothing but hardship and tribulation that she never wanted the women in her family to feel as she did. So, she’d gone up to the mountains and made a deal with a witch doctor, to curse any women in her family to never get married.
However, the more I pondered on it and went down the list of all my aunts and their marriages, a feeling of uneasiness clouded over me. I began to believe what they were saying. The way they weaved the tale and strung together the evidence of all my aunts who were alone.
In looking at them, I thought I saw my future.
Would I really end up alone? Not just alone, though, but bitter.
Suddenly every interaction I’d ever had with a boy raced through my mind. Had they not liked me because I was cursed? I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions and I could feel the panic in the tension in my eyes. Would I never get to have a wedding?
The thought consumed me, and my aunt’s words were drowned out in a sea of my fated misery. “Don’t cry, it’s just the way things are.”
I drew my attention back to my aunts, saddened by this revelation until I caught a glint in her eye. She was enjoying this. At that moment I realized they didn’t want to inform us, but rather scare us.
As soon as they left the house, my sisters and I looked at each other. Our confused eyes bouncing between our unsaid words. We spoke about it, confused and barely able to believe it. My sister thought it was true but I was skeptical. I didn’t dwell on it too long, I didn’t want to give power to a spirit that didn’t exist. We went our separate ways both on opposite sides.
Well, apparently, I’m cursed, and I’ll never be married.
I wonder if it’s true and question myself whenever my feelings aren’t reciprocated, or I get dribbled like a basketball. I can’t help but think that each time I was ghosted, the spirit of my ancestor was cackling. That each night I cried myself to sleep thinking I would die alone, she was rejoicing at her victory.
For a time I bought into it and decided I would fight this curse. I began taking tips from friends in relationships and reading books about marriage.
But then I sat down and thought back to that glint in my aunt’s eye. Not all kin is family. I am the master of my own destiny. No-one, not even my ‘family’ can tell me what my life will be like. I won’t let this curse be a cloud over my life. My aunt’s struggles aren’t mine. They made choices in their lives that led them to were they are.
Men who were liars, abusers and cruel took advantage of them, and for that my heart weeps. However, their history isn’t my future. You don’t inherit failed marriages.
One day, I’m going to walk down a calla lily strewn aisle, in a Pnina Tornai gown, with my face beat, and say ‘I do’.