Harmony Chapter 5: Customs

Filed: Harmony @ 6:32am on November 16, 2010 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 1,027
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This entry is part 5 of 28 in the series Harmony

One of the older women stepped forward from the crowd.

“Why are you wearing clothes ? Are you trying to insult our customs and laws ? Even if you are a just visitor, you need to follow the rules”

I quickly added it all up in my mind and knowing I couldn’t back down, decided to adapt to my new environment.

I swiftly pulled my shirt off followed by a rapid removal of my pants. I was now in my underwear, but that didn’t remain long. I unhooked my bra and while it was dropping to the floor of the shuttle, removed the cleanest panties I had found before leaving the ship.

I kept my socks and shoes, but otherwise, I was just as naked as my new sisters were.

“I am sorry if I offended anyone. I was unsure when I would be allowed to undress. I was forced to wear clothes on the ship I came in and was afraid the surface port authorities would react the same way. Rest assured I didn’t mean any disrespect. I am an immigrant who sincerely wish to integrate into your fine society.”

The old lady looked at me and turned around to address the crowd. “She is one of us. Let’s welcome her by helping her get rid of her sinful past”.

I was told to bring my clothes with me to the town center. I walked with the crowd, blending in, a little unease at my public nudity but it somehow felt natural because every other women was just like me.

Once we reached a plaza in what seemed to be the center of the town, I was told to put all my clothes in what could only be described as a communal fireplace, surrounded by benches.

Horrified, I saw a man put small branches in the pit before another used a lighter to burn the little clothing I had on the ship.

I still had my ticket in my hand as well as the money my parents had given me before I left, but the old lady insisted I threw it all in the fire, saying I didn’t need anything at all from my old life. She didn’t say anything about my sneakers or my socks.

As I watched almost all of my tiny possessions burn, a great sadness settled in my heart which contrasted with the cries of joy of the fellow town folks.

Some citizens brought food for sharing with everyone, including me. There were fresh loaves of bread as well as grapes and apples. I hadn’t seen such fruits in over a year now because of their difficulty in long term storage, leaving only preserves and jellies to be carried on board the ship.

I tried my best to fit in the crowd. They seemed genuinely happy and many people introduces themselves announcing that they were my new best friends as well as giving an indication of where they lived, hoping to invite me over. Both women and men were excited to meet me and I couldn’t detect a single hint of female rivalry.

I did notice that not a single person was fat, even the older people. On earth, the upper class usually ate well and had personal trainers to look good but the middle class tended to generally be obese.

Slowly, the party thinned out and most of the citizens returned to their occupations. I was sitting on a bench, in front of the dead fire and noticed the old lady was still there, sitting on one of the other benches.

When we made eye contact, she sat next to me.

“You look confused”

“I am touched by your affection. I seemed to have made the right choice in coming here, but I am also overwhelmed. What do I need to do now ?”

“If you provide to the share, the share will provide for you. You will need to find your role in our community and once you will fill in, the rest will follow. I am the wise women of the village. I help people who are confused, like you. Men usually work away from the town, like in the mines or on the solar panels. Women work in the fields or in the town. You will need to find your task, your calling and we will know where you fit.”

“But there will I live ? What will I eat ? You had me burn all my money.”

“Young one, we do not need money. The share will provide for you until you are ready to give back. Trust the share. Tonight, we will have a banquet to honour your arrival and you will tell us why you decided to join us. From your testimony, families will offer to host you until you are ready to choose your new family.”

Did she mean get married ? Possibly…

“Do I need to choose a family ? Can’t I start a new one ?”

“I don’t understand young one your question. By choosing your family, you will start a new one.”

She looked just as confused as I was.

“And if I am not ready to choose one ?”

“Then you will live from one family to another until you are ready.”

So much for answers !

I attacked on another front.

“I understand and accept that women do not wear clothes but I would like to know why.”

“Well, because we are women. It’s that simple. Clothes are for men.”

“But on other planets, women wear clothes too”

“Yes young one. And on other planets, women are abandoned, beaten, mistreated. Here, women are nude, taken care of and respected. This is the way of the share. It was always like that and always will be”

Great. They had a tradition. Perhaps the first women who immigrated was a nudist and her husband wasn’t and the tradition was settled.

“What about money ?”

“Young one, you are full of questions. Trust the share. Do not burden yourself. We are a tight community. We have opened our arms to you and will not let you fall. At the banquet, choose a family you like and they will shelter you for the night. If you still like them in the morning, stay with them. Otherwise, find another family. Everyone will understand.”

The older woman left me alone to think.

Series Navigation«Harmony Chapter 4: LandingHarmony Chapter 6: The city»

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