Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who Has Come for Me?


“You should be glad,” she says to me while still holding my hands. We’re sitting on my old bed. My books and clothes have all been packaged away inside a box. The room is empty as if the owner no longer exists.

I hear her voice again, “Be glad, happy that they’re coming for you. With a family like theirs, all our worries are of the past.” She continues, smoothing the palms of my hands with hers. “Don’t you see what this means to your father and I, and even to you? We’ve been the talk of the town since this arrangement was made public. Every woman at the market wants to sell me their pepper and wants me to buy from their rice. You my daughter, it’s you have pulled the covers of shame from the face of this family. I know your father doesn’t say this regularly but he is very proud of you. You are our good luck, Lima.”

“But why are you not speaking my daughter? Talk to me, does this upset you to this extent?” she asks but I have been doing just that; talking, but they’ve been the ones not listening and now I have grown dumb. She looks at the table in front us and sighs, “You didn’t even touch the food? Everyone is already eating. You have to put something in your stomach because today will be very hectic. You will need your strength.” 

When she sees that Im not responding, she starts to cry. She weeps as if she has lost a husband. But I remain quiet; I’ve done much worse than the act shes displaying in front of me. I’ve cried myself to numbness as if I’ve lost a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a lover, and most of all, myself.

“This saddens me too,” she says, wiping her face with the hem of the expensive wrapper she tied around her round figure. “I will miss you my baby girl. I don’t want to see you go but this is something honorable that must happen in every girls life. I remember when my mother brought me to your father; I was much younger than you are right now. I was sad too, I didn’t want to leave home but once I left, I never thought of coming back.”

She’s lying to me but she doesn’t know that I know this. I’ve heard her in the middle of the night facing the moon and cursing my father, the man who stole her youth, and then the next morning she makes him pap before he leaves for work. She doesn’t know this too but I have also caught her with one of my books, struggling to read words she does’t understand under this same moon.

“How can I make you feel better?” she asks wearily, “Do you want me to come stay with you for a week after you leave?” Did her own mother follow her to my father’s house too? My mother who is only thirty-one keeps secrets from me. She lies about her age. She lies about my father’s age too but his gray hair doesn’t lie. He has them all over his head and face. But his heavily muscled body has helped my mother disguise his age. She lies too much and I hate it!

She nudges my shoulder with hers playfully like a friend would. I look at her for the first time since she came in this afternoon and in her eyes, there is clarity. She doesn’t want this for me as much as I don’t want it for myself. She doesn’t have control over this and neither do I. Her eyes become watery again with tears and I see she has been crying with me all through and now I am pressed to make her happy. So I ask, “Which of them is coming, the father or the son?”

“The father and the all his sons.” she replies.

          “But for me, who is coming?” I ask just in time for my father to land two solid knocks on my door.

“They’re here, please come quick!” He is excited as he marches into the room. He is wearing his finest outfit today, paid for by his new in-laws. He turns around and asks me to examine his look and I give him a nod and he picks me up and says, “My daughter, I am the proudest father today and you have made it so.” He then leaves with my mother to welcome our guests.

I rush to the window after they shut the door behind. I am neither excited nor nervous, I am only curious to see what I am worth. Then I see them: two jeeps, three Range Rovers, one Hummer, and a Benz. All present to buy this little girl from her home. I am delighted to see my mother’s face appear to greet our guests who wasted no time in showing their faces. The men are all dressed in white Brocade Agbada attire. Their shoes that touch my father’s sandy compound could buy my whole family and that terrifies me. I hear the sound of music and other family members rushing out with songs in their mouth to greet our guests. My father goes to shake the hands of the father and then hugs the sons. But who has come for me?


THE END…

4 comments:

  1. Eeeyaaa
    Child marriage !
    Even a full grown woman is kinda overwhelmed by the very thought of het father's house then talk more of a child .
    I just wish someone will rise up against this act. Like Mary Slessor who stopped the killing of twins

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. * overwhelmed by the very thought of leaving her father's house

      Delete
    2. My goal is to play a big part in the eradication of child marriages especially in Africa. If we can't stop it there are many ways to help victima escape and live a better quality of life. Mary Slessor definitely did her part and now it's time for us to do ours.

      Delete

Thank you guys for always reading,