“I will not be a slave to you

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This young man is a son of a king who would not be without a slave. He is a
son of a slave who would not be without a king. My heart and soul are
captivated with the thought that I might soon possess a son of my own on the
far shores of the Nile Delta. I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a cousin,
daughter, and sister-in-law. And I have fallen in love with a husband, a
slave, a king, and a servant.

“You have not chosen?” His face is solemn as he stares at me in silence. I
am shocked to see this man who has come to the palace and waited for me
before. The one who has served him and knows his every thought. Who has
watched him grow in stature and maturity. Who has watched as he mastered
pain, hardship, and sorrow. This man has become an extension of his slave’s
dreams.

“I will not be your slave. This is my place.” I can no longer bear the
silence that has taken my breath away. The silence that has trapped my
heart. “I am an Egyptian. My home is on the banks of the Nile. I am Egyptian
through and through. I will not be a slave.” My hands are fists now. “I will
no longer be a slave to you.” At this, he chuckles a humorless laugh and
shakes his head, his voice deep, but taunting.

“Do you know why your mother named you Yusef? She was told that her father
breathed his last breaths into your body while you were still a little boy.”
The words are barely audible. They echo against the room.

“I know why no matter how hard your heart might seek to remain ignorant,
you must know the truth. Even now you are my king. I will not be a slave.”
His face does not change. But his eyes do. The eyes of a lion.

I am afraid of him.

“It is not what you hear, nor what you think. My mother was given a choice.
She was permitted to choose a husband for her son. She chose me over her
father. I knew it was a risk, but I thought if I could find my way into the
kingdom, then a son could be born to me. I would be a powerful man.”

I try not to cringe. Even now I believe that this is just idle words,
words without truth and meaning.

“You would do this? A child of your own was to be born to you? You would
give that away? You would take the child that was to be born into his mother’s
lap?” My gaze is hard as I gaze at the man as if he is a stranger to me.
“It is not what you think. My mother was already barren. She was to give
birth to a son. I was not only to be the son. The child was to be born with
a strong father who would teach him. A father who would see to it that he
learned responsibility and discipline. A father who would take him into his
care. I did not say any of this to my mother. I did not say any of it to you.
If I wanted to, I could have said it. I did not say any of it to you. I am
not a slave.”

My breath has caught in my throat. His words are like daggers in my heart.
I hate him for his lies and for bringing this agony about. I hate him for
his arrogance that blinds him from reality. I hate him for the way he
tricked my mother and made her think that she had chosen him over her
father. I hate him for the way he turned my dreams and visions into lies. I
hate him for trying to make me love him.

“Your father was a fool!” I shout. “Your mother was a fool! You are a fool!
You lied to me! I was not given a choice!”

He laughs. “I told you a true lie once. I did not tell you the whole truth.
But the lies were true enough.” His words are calm and without anger.

“You lie to yourself and you hate me for it. That is your real shame.” My
voice is angry with him.

“Do you not see what happens? Because you do not know me, you cannot know
my heart. Because you have been deceived, you cannot feel my emotion. I
wish you would not be angry with me. Anger is a weakness. If you are to be
my friend, then you must know me and then you must feel my emotions.” He
smiles, knowing that I am furious with him. He wants my anger to turn and
flee from him so that he can continue his lies without my anger.

“I wish you would not be my friend.” My eyes are hard and I do not look at
him. “I wish you would be my enemy. I wish you would be my nightmare. So
that I can be rid of you. You will never be rid of me.”

He does not speak as he walks out the door, but he does not turn around. He
does not look back. I want to hold him, but my body resists me. I am a
lump of flesh and blood. My body is weak. My lungs and heart are weak. “How
cunning of you, my friend! No matter how many lies I have told, you know that
they are lies. No matter how many times I have told lies, they are truths. I
can be your friend or I can be your enemy. I can be yours or I can be mine.
Your love is all that I want in this world. It is enough. I do not need your
love. Your love is not enough.

Lies. Lies. Lies. Lies.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

I want to be free of you. I want my life to be the way it was when I met you.
All that I have ever wanted in life to be is gone.

I want to be free of you.

I want my life to be my own again.

The world is a prison and I am a prisoner.

I want to be free.

I want to be free.

I want to be free.

I want to be free now.

I want to be free now.

I want to be free now.

I want to be free now! I want to be free now!

I want to be free. I want to be free. I want to be free.”

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