Skull and Shackles
Feruzi 9 Rova
I really should have expected something like this but I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon so I was a little horrified when I woke up and found that my mother (at least, I assume it was her) FILLED the hut with fertility idols. Merrill thought they are just what he calls “knickknacks” and he turned the oddest color when I explained. He said the thought Chopper was just joking so I told him, well, Chopper maybe was but my mother is DEAD SERIOUS. She probably started planning out her grandchildren when I was two years old if not sooner and it is only a mercy that she waited this long to start her campaign. Merrill told me “I don’t want to upset your mother but . . .” and I interrupted him and said “It doesn’t matter what you want” so he says “Pardon me, I think it does!” so I was all, “no, you don’t understand, I don’t mean we should actually, well, make a baby RIGHT NOW just to make her happy but for goodness sake don’t SAY anything like that to her. If she wants to give you advice, you just smile and nod and wait until she talks herself out. DON’T antagonize her or who knows WHAT she might do she is NOT in her right mind about this.” I could see he still did not believe me so I told him to at least ask my father before he went and did anything stupid and got himself turned into a frog or worse. Well, she would turn him back eventually but I don’t think Merrill spending the rest of our visit as an amphibian would help matters any.
Merrill asked me did I want to have children and I said, well, of course didn’t he want children? and he got really quiet and stared at the ground for a long time and I started to get upset then he said he’d never really thought about it before. Not seriously, anyway. I didn’t understand and when he tried to explain we just got all tangled up and now both of us are confused and upset and I’m starting to wonder if frog wouldn’t be the better option. Father came in and asked if Merrill was going to come do Man Stuff with the other warriors. I could tell Merrill was about to ask me what he should do so I said “well, here’s your chance to avoid my mother until dinner time” and he got the hint and went along. I wish I could go along but I don’t want to be an amphibian, either. I was tempted to let Merrill stew all day but I changed my mind and shooed Father out and spent some time making sure he knew I wasn’t angry with him.
I do not think Mother has stopped giving me advice for five solid minutes, which is actually somewhat amusing because she keeps asking me questions about Merrill and Chopper and everyone and then interrupting the answer before I’ve really started. Ukele is here and has taken to mimicking Mother behind her back so I have to keep making excuses to go outside so I won’t start laughing and bring down the wrath of frog on both of us. Fortunately Mother seems to think that my scribbling means I am writing down her sage advice for later so now she is pestering Ukele instead. Mother seems to have decided that Ukele is not going to settle down (what a shock) so now she’s talking about sending her (Ukele) to become a Sacred Woman which I think would be a good thing but I know better than to give my opinion so I will just have to see how this turns out.
The men came back finally and Mother started right in on them. Merrill put up with this for about three minutes, then he walked over and put his hands on my mother’s shoulders and said “Thank you for trying to help us, Madam, but I love your daughter too much to take anyone’s advice but hers,” and I thought, oh, no, here we go but Mother just got all teary-eyed and patted his cheek and now Merrill can Do No Wrong in her eyes and she even told off Ukele for criticizing him. How does he DO that?! So unfair. Although I suppose I should not complain because so far he only uses his powers for good. Mother even left off pestering me she said I was in good hands and she’s not worried any more. Unbelievable. I asked Merrill though and he said he’d been working on that line all day and he was relieved it went over so well so maybe it isn’t as easy as he makes it look.
Of course, next what does he do but say he wants to talk to me and finish our discussion from earlier and I don’t know what to say so we go out for a walk to get some privacy and he says, “Feruzi, do you love me?” all serious. So I thought about it for a while which I could tell was not helping matters and I finally said “Not exactly” and Merrill says “I see . . . so why did you marry me, then?”. I said “It’s complicated and I don’t know how to explain” and he said “Try.” So we ended up standing there for maybe five minutes while I tried to think and failed so Merrill kissed me and started to head back and I said “I don’t know how I feel about you but I know marrying you was the right thing to do because you make me . . . be myself, somehow. Properly. Better than I was. I don’t know if that’s love or not but I didn’t want to say it and have it not be true,” and I started to cry which was stupid but Merrill didn’t seem upset he just came back and kissed me again and said he didn’t understand but maybe it didn’t matter and he would eventually. I told him Mother always says that you can’t really know if you love someone until you’ve already married them and really learned who they are but the way you start to know is that you find out things about them that you never thought you wanted but it turns out now you do. Merrill said “That is EXACTLY how I feel about you.” so I told him “I know, I’m just slow,” and he smiled and now I’m not upset any more.