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“Now you listen here,” my mother said, in her smooth native dialect, setting my bags down with a soft thud. “To be a young woman as privileged as you is a blessing. Do not take this for granted.”

She held my face for a second and squeezed my hand. “Your skin is whiter than milk and your hair as black as the night sky. You are lucky to be such a natural beauty. It was easy to marry you off to a good family.”

A few seconds away, a small carriage was approaching, led by a young foal.

“Remember to bite your tongue; do not talk back to your new mother-in-law.”

The door opened.

“And don’t come back to us.”

A small foot stepped out.

“You won’t be our daughter anymore, but your new family’s.”

A veiled woman drenched in silk walked towards us. “Make us proud to have made you.” my mother whispered in my ear, like a soft song I would never forget.

I felt her shuffle past me as I inhaled the last of our family’s memories. And then with an exhale, they were gone.

My new mother walked to me and smiled.

 “Come, my child."

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