The moment she had been groomed for all her life was imminent. Lillian was shaking with anticipation, but she tried to hide the telltale signs by sitting on her hands to squash the tremors. She mustn’t worry so much. It would all be perfect and wonderful.
Dear Lord, in just a few moments she’d meet her future husband. He would marry her, he would be loving and caring, and he would be the most wonderful man that ever existed on this earth. In turn, she would adore him, worship him, and eventually she would love him with all her heart.
Nobody expected her to love him right away, but she would in time. Wasn’t that what her mother had told her? After all, she was just a silly girl, she didn’t understand the wisdom behind the choices made for her. Choices made by men. They always knew what was right. It was not her place to questions their motives, or those of her future husband for that matter. All she knew was that this great man had agreed to marry her, although she was a nobody, a young girl from down south who knew nothing of the world. She only knew life as it was on her father’s secluded Bright Desert Light compound, hidden somewhere in the mountain range that separated Arizona and New Mexico.
She had never been allowed to leave this small family community, had never accompanied him on his numerous trips to the big cities called Albuquerque and Phoenix, like some of her sisters. For some reason, she always had to stay behind. When he got ready for one of his journeys, she and her seventeen half-sisters lined up in front of the main dorm. Their father would walk down the line, scratching his long beard while his eyes wandered up and down each daughter, inspecting them with the same intensity he displayed when it was time to choose one of the pigs for slaughter. Lillian knew what he was looking for in the animals, they needed to be fat and round and healthy, but she could never figure out what he was looking for when he picked the lucky one who was allowed to hop in his truck and go with him. She assumed he wanted her to be modest and demure, so she always tried to look submissive when he came closer. But he never picked her.
With the boys it was different. They went with him everywhere. They went hunting in the mountains with him, coming back with bloody carcasses in the back of the truck. They spent time camping in the desert, bringing home sticky dripping honeycomb, fleshy cactus and agave’s leaves or other delicacies suitable for drying or making juices or medicine. They went with him to the cities to do business, an activity she had no concept of. Business was a serious and nearly holy matter, one of the mothers had once explained to her, because it usually involved meeting one of the Church Elders.
All this didn’t matter now. Her father had finally taken her and her birth mother on a journey with him.
To be married to the man the Elders had selected for her.
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