The Aphorisms of
pauser [ pow SEHR ], (verb) -- to allow what must be, to be; to
acquiesce without rancor, resentment or struggle. Often mistakenly
translated by aliens with an implication of victimhood
"Will you never go back to the Summer
Tryst and find yourself another wife?" asked my great-aunt, head of our
My daughter, my only daughter, was sitting
in an oval of sunlight on the studio floor, combing the hair on her doll.
She had inherited her mother's elegant curls and golden fur, soft and fine
as a mist on her skin. I watched her self-possessed grace and turned back
to my family's head. "I loved Sejzena."
"And Sejzena loved you," Great-aunt said.
"But she's been gone ten years now, and she gave you only this one child."
I smiled. "She is enough."
"She is treasure," Great-aunt said. "But
surely you wonder why I've brought her to the city."
I did... my family was irimked to a
country family, a good family, rithked and thus above the Wall of Birth
but fairly low in that heirarchy. We had served them for generations; I
was one of the few who had left the country, following the demands of my
--my caste-rank spirit--to become a public servant artist.
After Marul's birth we had split our time between home and the city, but
once Sejzena died I sent Marul to the family. My solitary life was no way
for a child to live.
Great-aunt brought her to see the city
every season's turn. It was now the middle of summer. I glanced at Marul
and saw again that dignified manner. "You had her ishas
"I took her before our lord," my head of
family said, "Who sent me to her lord. They are in agreement."
I looked at her.
is not irimkedi, but
I sat back. "A decoration."
"Dancer, living statue, bed-warmer,"
Great-Aunt said. "Still in the Servant caste, but... not one of us. Our
lord's lord thinks she will be an amazing sight once she is done being
schooled and has offered to sponsor her. She will be a rank below us, but
she will live in one of the finest Houses in the city, dress more richly
than ever we could afford, want for nothing. It needs only your
acquiescence and we will begin the preparations."
Fathriked were true prizes to their
masters, but they parted from their families to belong to them. They did
not even keep their names. "We will not see her again," I whispered.
"Rarely," Great-aunt said.
I understood her remark then about the
Summer Tryst. If I married again, I would have other children to comfort
me and enrich the family.
"You do acquiesce, yes?" the head of
It was not a formality--I could say no,
particularly since this represented a downgrade in rank. But if her
truly was fathrikedi...
"Yes," I said.
"And you'll think about another wife."
"I'll consider it," I said, and went to
play with my daughter while she was still mine. Later, after they'd gone,
I thought of the mist-sweet softness of her fur and wrote: There is no
love greater than family.
And perhaps I wept, a little... but only
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© 2007, M. C. A. Hogarth