As a child I was taught that pain was the only path to success, as such I embraced the cruelty of all of life’s elements. It is the way we live, it is the way I lived.
Growing up my home was adorned with pearl-like tears; wailing was a steady song. I remember once praying for blood to flow down my cheeks in place of tears. My father said he would not stop his violent lashing until I cried blood. He eventually did even though my eyes failed to bleed. I was grateful for his compassion.
I broke a glass cup one Saturday morning. It was my mother’s favourite – aunty Efe had given it to her, she said it was London made, not our common chinaware. I begged the heavens not to be flogged that day. The heavens seemed not to have heard me, even after I had cut myself like one of the prophets of Baal. My mother showed no mercy.
I learnt to be humble and not complain. It was expected of me not to raise my voice at my elders, especially the ones with beards and a rope dangling between their legs. It was for this reason that I did not utter a word when Pa Michael caressed my tender breasts. I tried to tell him stop but my voice ceased the moment he entered me.
Seven months after Pa Michael touched me for the second time, I pushed life into this dark world. My family abandoned me, threw me out like the horrid water that was used to wash fresh meat. I was indeed a disgrace. I was not worthy of their affection.
My child died before I could give him a name. My parents refused to welcome their prodigal daughter home. Pa Michael’s wife laughed at my misfortune. She described me as a “witch without wings.” After all, I coveted her husband- a man old enough to be my father. I was to blame.