Digital art by © Thorn, Poland based artist Lukasz Poslad
It was too precious for me to give up, but he was too strong for me to overcome and cast away. He came home drunk on one of those days mother would stay so long at the yard of the house crying and laying her head on my brother’s grave. He had busted into the room one evening as I had rushed home from the bar to pick the account book lying on the table. I was frightened to see him; his eyes were red and he lurched around the room until he got to me and grabbed me. He flinged my small body on the bed, and covered my mouth as I was about to scream, then he used his other hand to open my legs and entered inside of me. I tried to push him away, I really tried, as I used my hands to beat him and swing my body. But he was strong, he just too strong that he beat me back and put my pants he taken off inside of my mouth. He went too deep, and I cried aloud for help, but no one heard me with my covered mouth. When he was satisfied, he stood up and zipped up his trousers, and then walked out of the room. The bed was stained with a little blood, and the pain from my underneath began to hurt badly. I walked slowly to the door and locked it; I took off the sheets of the bed, my pants and went to the bathroom where I washed up and took care of everything. I didn’t go back to the bar, since the person who ran the bar with me was there. I knew she was going to lock up when it was night. When it was dark, mother entered the house, she didn’t check on me, it was something she stopped doing after my brother’s death.
I sat on the floor all through the night crying, and wishing for death. I thought about how I had stories like this, but never thought they could happened. The next morning, I dressed up like nothing had happened, when I opened the door to leave home, father was in the small parlour listening to news; he had a small bottle of whiskey with him. I walked past him without greeting him.
“What has gotten inside of you this little girl? can’t you greet your father again?”
He said, as stopped and looked at him; I then hissed and walked away. How could he pretend like nothing had happened after what he had done to me last night? Father behaved like nothing had happened between us, and I too did carrying the shame in my heart, and feeling as if the world looked through me. Things were abnormally normal; it seemed father hadn’t remembered anything from that night. What a pathetic life! Three months later, after father had been crushed by the hit and run vehicle, I noticed I had missed my period. I began to spew most of the time, and sleep for longer hours.
Mother had taken notice one day when I ran to spew in my toilet; she followed me and stood at the front of the toilet while I spewed and finally washed up. Afterwards, she walked up to me, and touched my eyes to look at it, and then she asked:
“When last did you see your period?”
I looked at her and then started to count my fingers as if I hadn’t noticed that I missed it for two months.
“You this brat, you are pregnant; who is the father of the child or is the child a bastard?”
Mother said as she pulled me out of the toilet, and pounced on me and began to beat me up. I pleaded with her, but she was too deaf to listen. She bit my ear and I screamed; afterwards I said:
“I was raped; I was raped on my way from the bar one evening”
She stopped beating me, and sat on the bed and asked:
“Were you wearing one of those skimpy dresses? Why didn’t you tell me? Do you know the man that raped you?
“I don’t dress in skimpy dresses, mother you know me; I cannot recognize the man” I said in tears.
How could I dare to look her in the face and tell her it was her husband, my father who I was with a child for?
“Tomorrow, I would help you get rid of that thing, what do you want people to say about us? Mother said. She left me on the bed as I cried myself to sleep; if my journey in life is going to be a wretched path, let my creator have pity on me and cut it short, I said to myself till I fell asleep.
The next morning, after I had taken a cup of pap, mother gave me a cup with a liquid substance to drink, it was very bitter and whenever I tried to stop drinking it, she shouted at me to finish it. She then took me to the toilet and laid me on the floor, my stomach began to tumble and blood began to flow to my legs; she put the iron hanger in her hands and then into my underneath to remove the foetus. I cried aloud because it was more than pain. Gently, she removed the foetus and
threw it in the toilet. The toilet was filled with blood and I was bleeding. She used clean wool to clean me up, and took me to bed, and then she took care of everything. Days later I was still bleeding, and she gave me another liquid substance to drink from a calabash. The bleeding stopped and I whole again; mother had gotten rid of the problem, and I had stained my innocence at sixteen.
Adapted from the collection of my short story