The Seventh Wife Part II
Unleash Family Secrets
Chapter V: Family Secrets
Secrets can sabotage the reconciliation of trust. It’s what nurtures the murkiness of our souls and harbors doubt in character. It can drive us mad by being a burden barrel and destroy a relationship from its core. It may be the sneaky funk lurking in our guilt or the explanation of protection.
Jonas’s secret he cradles haunts me. Just the thought of my family plotting an under the table arrangement before I was born bewilders me. Even though my relationship is touch and go with my father, I’m hoping our unspoken bond will withstand the truth.
We sit in thick silence like an old married couple. Jonas drives his faded lime green pickup truck down the bumpy dirt road with me tossed in the passenger seat. Our destination, my father’s home in the compound I called home for eighteen years.
His childish antics become evident as he glances in my direction, then looks away once I am on to him. Even as I am hurt and afraid he still manages me to force my hand over my mouth so I avoid laughing out loud.
“What an old goof!” I think
Before calling him out, we reach the compound.
“I’ll drop ya off at your daddy’s house now while I pay a visit to the Prophet, I’ll return soon”, Jonas reassures.
“Alright, thank you for driving me”, I mention.
As Jonas drives away, to my surprise, my father is waiting for me just outside the front door. He knows it is time to air out the dirty laundry in plain sight of his daughter.
He acts cordial even though we had not touched base in months.
“Do you want to come inside for breakfast?” my father asks while pointing his finger inside the house.
“You know why I am here and it is not for a fluffy breakfast!” I snap.
My arms are gridlocked…tucked firmly underneath my sternum as I shuffle my feet meeting him halfway.
“You want to know why you had to marry Jonas”, he calmly sighs like he does when he knows he has to own up to something.
“Yes and then some!” I sharply conclude.
“You know it wasn’t suppose to be like this”, my father begins.
“Funny, Jonas said the same thing”, I bounce back.
“Are you sure you want to know everything? The truth may not bring you comfort”, my father warns.
“I don’t seek comfort. I want the ugly truth so help me God or you’ll be dead to me”, I bark.
“Okay. A while back….” my father begins. I am infuriated.
“Spare me the once upon the time part…I want to know the truth without all the sugar coating!” I yell.
“Alright. Jonas and your mother were engaged to be married and…..” my father tries to begin again with a fresh deep dive into the unfamiliar.
“What!” I interrupt.
“Please try to hold back any words until I am finished child!” my father challenges back.
“Okay I’ll try…its just shocking that’s all…I mean what did my mother see in him…his tummy is larger than life….his hair takes up most of the Utah landscape and…..”, I ramble on.
“Are you finished!” my father interjects.
“Yeah, I guess”, I grunt.
“Let me start yet again. They were engaged.
Your mother postponed the wedding and that is when we reunited. We were childhood sweethearts but when I was ordered to go on a mission out of the country we had lost touch. We fell in love again and she broke off the engagement with Jonas. I in turn proposed to your mother and she accepted. The Prophet and council found out what we had done and thought it was wrong so they ordered a judgment. After some time it was decided that we could get married but we had to promise our first born daughter to Jonas as his future wife once she turned eighteen. We adamantly refused the idea at first but Jonas was the one that convinced us it was right. The arrangement did not tickle his feathers, but HE promised he would take care of you, protect you and vie for your happiness every day of his life. We signed the agreement with our own selfish blood. I’m sorry…I’m so very sorry”, my father cries.
“Wow…all I can say is wow. What you guys did was so pathetic, cruel and wrong even if it was in the name of love”, I barely utter.
“I know, but what is done is done, I just hope one day you can forgive us for what we did”, he begs.
“What makes this more confusing is how come I was never told. I mean you could have at least filled me in before all of this went down!” I anger up again.
“There are no excuses that will satisfy your rationality, all that can be said is that once your mother died I became a lost for words. So many times I tried to tell you but the timing was never right. Then you met Elijah and I couldn’t bear the thought of telling you because I wanted you to experience that butterfly feeling of being in love”, my father explains with a heavy heart.
“I’m still in love with Elijah! Is there any way this can be revoked?” I ask desperately.
“No, it cannot. Jonas is your husband…you will never be with Elijah again”, my father quickly replies.
“How can I ever love Jonas…he is a stranger more than twice my age?” I weep.
“ If I say trust me it will sound condescending, so I say this…give it time and you will find he is the love of your life”, my father speaks with without a hint of deception.
Chapter VI: The Meaning Of Marriage
Four months later…
I’m still waiting for that lighting bolt of love my father promised I would feel. So far very little sparks have flown in my direction and when they do they fizzle out with the shape of Elijah’s face.
Jonas patience is wearing thin each time I deny him safe passage into my bed. I have, however granted him small samples of my affection.
A flirty fast peck on the lips warms his heart, along with the newly added shoulder or foot rubs at night. I have allowed him to accompany me during long walks. I had made strong suggestions for him to groom better but he had ignored them until today.
He walks into the house with a new found confidence. He appears to be a younger and more attractive version of himself. He shaved the grizzly bear squatting on his face, cut his locks into a shortly styled mane and shed a few pounds around the mid drift. This big bad gray wolf is trying to blow my house down.
The worst part about being married is not him trying to creep into bed or steal a glimpse of me showering…it is the sister wives with the claws out.
Rather than being kind and supporting…they are, on most days… hurtful, vindictive and jealous creatures. Their hospitality is as warm and toasty as an avalanche. I get grief when I ask for help because I can’t cook. Trying to get them to guide me in the art of stitching is far too demanding because they say I’m “undisciplined”. I am not permitted to teach the children anything because they are more mature than me. Here is the run down of the wives, chapters of terror.
First wife is the entitled Ruth. They should call her ruthless. She gets everything, but gives nothing. She runs the show with such a negative attitude, but she is always “right”.
The second wife is baby maker Eunice with the record for the most children bared five. She likes to control what ALL the children do without consulting the other wives. She also likes to stretch the truth more than taffy.
The third wife is Nora Lynn. She manipulates everyone into doing her chores because she is “ill” all the time. When she is awake and well she is transparent.
Fourth wife Joy has a short circuit temper. Blowing up the place is her contribution to the household. She complains that her anger stems from not getting enough time with Jonas (I wonder why). She has it out for me because she believes I do not belong here. She had said “I am not worthy of Jonas’s time”.
Almost there…I get tired just counting. Fifth wife is Joanna, the crafty and creative one. She ignores me most of the time because she feels she is superior to me and what I say is dumb. She is the only one who earned her GED and bakes more than she tends to the children.
Finally there is Grace, sixth wife. She complains about not having the best room in the house since she is pregnant. She seems like she is competing with the wives. She is kind to my face but once away will change her tune.
I feel rejected in this trapped household. Getting clawed by your wives can be an emotionally draining experience. I like him and don’t want to object him to the pain, but mysteriously he knows exactly what is going on. He claims he has friends in low places that will notify him if there is trouble in paradise.
He calls for a family meeting to set the record straight.
“Let me start by saying I am very disappointed in my wives right now. Colette, my seventh wife is part of this family yet she is treated with the up most disrespect. I expect more from you. You will lead by example and help her settle in. You will guide her if she has problems in completing the household chores. Starting right this second YOU WILL respect her as an equal in this family. YOU WILL love her as the Lord loves you. YOU WILL support her and be there when she falters. Remember to be humble and everything will fall into place. Having said that I know having another wife has been tough on all of you, but I want you to know I’m committed to this family more than ever. I will make strides to improve the quality of time together and proclaim my love to each and every one of you day by day until I am below the earth. I’m a lucky man and I could never want more, that is why Colette will be my last wife”, Jonas speaks.
The wives gasp and cry in approval. It had been told that he would take twelve wives before his death. He made a choice…I think a very compassionate choice. It is in this moment I fall madly in love with this man.
CHAPTER VII: Run Away
It did not take much time for the wives to fall in line. This really showed how much they respected and loved Jonas. I am now willing to march in his parade. I am now ready to allow Jonas to take my body as one with his. Making love to him was something I never thought I would entertain in a million years, but my father was right. He is a good man and now I see what my mother saw in him…a strong unwavering heart.
Before Jonas was to retire in my room, third wife Nora Lynn asks kindly if I can take the dog out. I agree without hesitation, I’m just thrilled to help with anything. Her smile is sincere as I lead Scruffy, the Border collie mix out to do his business.
The cool air feels comfortable as the soft breeze flickers my dress. I imagine what making love to Jonas will feel like as I touch my own skin. I drift into a dreamy state until the dog starts barking.
It is dark but I can make out a silhouette walking towards me. Within a few feet I realize it is Elijah.
“What are you doing here?” I question in a panic.
“I had to see you…I have missed you so much”, Elijah captivates while brushing his hand across my still cheek.
“I have missed you too”, I respond.
My feelings for him don’t make me shutter like they used to, but still I cared for him.
“Run away with me RIGHT now!” he demands with a swift smile.
“Run away? I am married and you have wives with children”, I point out while Scruffy is making circles to pee on his shoes.
“I don’t care. You are all I have ever wanted. I love you! Please I’m begging you…run away with me”, Elijah repeats now tugging my arms forward.
I shrug him off and take a step back.
“Elijah, I am in love with Jonas”, I blurt out.
Those words buzzing from my lips burn true and free me from Elijah’s hold.
“Why would you say something like that, I know with every ounce of my being it is a lie!” Elijah snarls.
“I’m sorry Elijah, I am going to fulfill my prophecy and love him for the rest of my life. Please leave before someone sees you”, I softly respond.
Telling him I flat out did not love him anymore would be too catastrophic, but it didn’t matter he was livid.
“If you do not come with me right now I will kill everyone in that household starting with the children”, Elijah speaks darkly.
His eyes change to emptiness; I never thought he would be capable of such hatred.
“You spit out evil Elijah! I cry.
I don’t know what to do until Scruffy takes a hold of Elijah’s paints and gnaws at his legs. I frantically run into the house screaming.
Jonas runs to my aid and holds me tightly in his arms.
“What happened?” he asks while taking my face into his soft hands.
“It’s Elijah…he is in the back yard. He asked me to run away with him and when I refused he told me he would kill everyone starting with the children!” I sob.
“You refused him?” Jonas asks.
“Yes, I love you Jonas. I will never leave you”, I answer back.
“He will not hurt anyone under this roof!” Jonas bellows out.
CHAPTER VIII: Sweet Surrender
Jonas stares back at me one last time before stepping out to confront Elijah. All is quiet, there is no commotion, and I don’t hear a peep.
“Are they talking it out or fighting it out?” I think.
The man just threatened his family…maybe Jonas buried Elijah alive…hammering him into the soggy ground until the silence pleases his ears. I take a quick peek out the window as the wives comfort the gathered children in the attic.
I view Jonas and Elijah standing toe to toe. I don’t see any wrestling or punches just a good old fashioned western stare down. I fear Jonas did not bring a gun to a gun flight or has the strength to take on Elijah. Elijah is very solid and is young…Jonas is a bit pudgy and older.
Suddenly Elijah strikes Jonas across the face, but Jonas takes the hit without moving…he actually turns the other cheek. Elijah tries again…this time with a bit more force but again Jonas stands tall and firm almost as if taunting Elijah. Just before throwing another punch Jonas effortlessly lifts up Elijah and throws him over his right shoulder carrying him to the truck. Jonas placed out of breath Elijah in the bed of his truck and drives away.
Jonas is gone until the early morning hours. He greets his scared and tired wives with the children sleeping in their arms. He tells them all to return to their rooms because Elijah is no longer a threat to them.
Once he made his rounds, he approaches my room. I cry in relief and wrap my arms around him. I give him a lasting real kiss and caress the back of his neck with my fingertips.
“What happened to Elijah?” I ask not really wanting to know the answer.
“He is gone”, Jonas simply speaks.
I am inclined to ask him to elaborate, but I don’t want to hinder the mood. I lead him gently to the bed and offer myself to him formally as his wife.
“You mean the wait is finally over?” he asks with a corny smile.
“Yes, I am ready to consummate this marriage”, I proudly confess while signaling him to unsnap my dress from behind.
“I promise to be gentle”, Jonas murmurs while unsnapping my dress and kissing my tender nape.
“Who said anything about being gentle…we are going to give this mattress a run for its money”, I laugh.
“I’m glad you are to be my last wife because I fear my heart can’t handle another one”, Jonas speaks.