“Nothing good comes easy my daughter, gold only glitters after passing through fire.” Those were mama’s word as she tended to my wound that night. I fixed my gaze on the bowl of hot water trying to find sense in her words. I wanted to ask if the money she got could buy my pride back but I kept quiet.
“Don’t worry I will ask Alhaji to go easy on you next time.” I was jolted by a thousand volt of current the moment those words dropped. I looked into her eyes searching for any logical reason she would make me journey through hell again but found none.
“You are a blessing to me Fatima and I can’t stop thanking God for giving me such an inestimable Jewel.” She said pulling me close and resting my head on her shoulder. A drop of tears trickled down my eyes and landed on the yellow mat but she didn’t see it or maybe she never wanted to.
All I got was a four days break, my pelvic never got the chance to fully heal before I was sent back to the lion’s den and Alhaji made sure he had his fill before letting me go.
Soon I became his constant meal. He would request for me anytime he was hungry, mama would serve me on a plate of gold and be handsomely rewarded. None of them considered how I was faring on the inside.
As days turned into weeks and weeks to months, pieces of my personality kept chipping away until I couldn’t really recognize who I was anymore. The frequent cash made mama so greedy that she forgot Alhaji already had four wives and the likelihood of retaliation from any of them.
I was ambushed on my way to fetch water from the community tap. The ruthless assailants left no part of my body untouched by their fury, I was rushed to the maternity by a good Samaritan who saw me where I fainted.
I would have sat mama down and told her I wasn’t no longer interested in being her sacrificial lamb and lived with whatever consequence my decision brings but it was already too late.
My heart weighed a thousand kilo when the doctor pronounced me three weeks pregnant. I wasn’t sure if mama was in her right frame of mind when I saw her dancing at the news of my pregnancy.
“Congratulations Fatima, this is a divine blessing.” She said but had no idea how badly I wished the stupid foetus would vanish from my stomach. Even though every fiber inside me wanted an abortion, mama made sure nothing happened to the pregnancy and Alhaji’s gifts and cash never ceased.
Lying on the maternity bed, post delivery pain was shooting through my body. I glanced at the baby sleeping peacefully in the court beside me and all I saw was the face of the monster that stole my innocence.
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I didn’t know what I was expected to do with the kid when I was still considered a teenager. Alhaji finally had the son he had always wanted and Mama became an in-law to one of the Richest man in town. Everyone got what they wanted except me.
Still, in pain, I rose from bed, made my way to the toilet, removed few louvers from the window and took the leap of freedom.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe