Saturday, August 14, 2010
RUNNING IN ERROR
In the heart of all men lies a burden of words of their feelings tied together in a knot, waiting to be let loose. I am fifteen years old, but I feel fifty, my bones crack in protest each time I move my bulging stomach, my pillow cry out to be relieved of my weight upon it. I sit in idleness every day, counting the minutes as it crawls into hours. I come from a “humble” home; my father is a poor man who makes a living from washing other people’s clothes. The meager some he makes from it is used for feeding his wife and six children. I am the second child, the only girl in my family. I hungered to see my family’s poor state reformed. It was this desire for a better life that made me wander away from home, into the hand of a boy whom fate has forced into a man.
Truthfully, I thought Hassan had what it takes to make my future bright in a split second, at least that was what he used to tell me each time I met him after school. He boasted about his father’s wealth; this led me to give myself freely to him without thinking twice about the consequences. I knew there was no turning back the day the doctor confirmed that I was three months pregnant. I only packed my bags and fled from school, into the home of my lover and friend. Hassan welcomed me with open arms thinking it was for the usual Night of bliss, but after I let the cat out of the bag, he lovingly stared into my eyes and begged me to abort the child. “Bisi, you are too young to be a mother, and at twenty I don’t think I am ready to take up the responsibility of a father,” Hassan said sadly.
“But I thought you love me, and you promised to give up anything to be with me.” I cried until I had no strength left for tears. I was perplexed. Did my parents look for me? Only my mother did, my father had no room for unconditional love.
Today marks the eleventh month since I left home, to me, it seems like a decade. As usual, my Mother is babysitting my daughters, Hassanatu and Halimatu.
“A twin brings healthy wealth to all who loves them,” she keeps telling my broken heart. Hassan is out working, and I am supposed to be resting. Rest? I know I will never find it. The devil with his long tail has used me in destroying the future of a young boy who has now been disowned by his father for rubbing his name in the mud of irresponsibility diluted with immorality. I have devastated my world, which until now was secured and bright in its little light. “A wasted investment” is what my elder brother calls me. I have brought two children into this world when I can barely take care of myself, and now another is on the way. What was it my Mother said? “Oh! My baby is manufacturing babies!” What a sad reality.
I tell myself every morning that it will get better, the fears and tears will be gone tomorrow, but I know these are lies I tell to help cover up my wound of shame. Now I understand why my father always say that life can only be fair when we play our role well in it. I have run in error, a race I pray no girl ever run again. I do not know how to begin. This is the story.
(c) Jennifer Ehidiamen