She was the woman who worshiped serpents. Some called her a witch who practiced dark magic. Others claimed to have seen her walking naked near the serpent shrine some nights. I had seen her only from far, she looked the same now and many years earlier when I had seen her for the first time as a boy. Her skin was dusky, her flowing hair swayed with her hips, an unruly mass of oiled black curls. She was seen placing milk near the shrine at twilight, for the snakes to feed on.
Vasugi. The woman who held mystery in her eyes and the only one who enticed me with her charms. Dark magic? I do not know. Nor do I care. In many ways, we were both misfits, sticking out like a sore thumb in a small village of like minded souls. I was married for a short while, till my wife decided to run away with an old lover. They said it was because I couldn't give her a child. Impotent. The jibes continued to follow me wherever I went.
That night, I don't know what led me to her hut. Was it the rain that threatened to drown out my entire village that led me to seek shelter near the shrine? I like to call it destiny. There she was drenched to the bone, petting a snake that lay crawling by her feet. What happened next is still unclear to me. She got up and went, after one look at me, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Was she so arrogantly sure that I would follow her?
The inside of her hut was sparsely furnished. A tiny cot at the corner, some vessels in another. A few placed strategically to catch the rain water leaking from the thatched roof. She took my hands and placed it on her bare skin, skin that should have been cold, but was burning like fire. I traced the contours of her face, the hollow in her neck, her closed eyelids. I kissed the raindrops in her hair.
That night, in her, I lived. In her mystique depths, I finally felt like a man. A year later, she gave birth to my daughter. With her curls and my toothy grin. We still attract looks and hushed whispers wherever we go. But I was no longer termed impotent. There were others who said that the child was not mine, but a boon that was bestowed upon her by the snakes. As for her, she turned a deaf ear to them and continued to worship the serpents, the only God that she believed in. For me, she was no longer just the woman who worshiped serpents. She was the air that I breathed.