Aberrant Maia

I am a child bride

A close up of an African girls face.

I was bought for some kola nuts,
A scrawny goat, a bag of rice, 
And a sewing machine.
My schooling came to an abrupt halt.
My dreams?
They sailed with the wind, 
Never to return. 
By the way, 
My name is Afi,
A thirteen year old girl, 
And I am a child bride. 

I cried for hours
before I left my house for good. 
My father beat me 
till I understood my place. 
"Stupid girl! 
Don't you know 
I can't afford to feed you?"
That bastard called poverty 
Is the cause of this whole mess. 

Now all I do is cook, clean, 
and have sex. 
From dawn till dusk, 
My frail body
bears the burden of work. 
I hide my face whenever
the schoolgirls return from school. 
That should have been me. 
I spit in the ground 
And continue stirring the soup
for my husband. 

Now, I'm pregnant and scared. 
My hips are not wide enough 
For a baby
to be pushed through my vagina. 
"Push!" "Push!" "Push!"
Beads of sweat highlight my forehead. 
My shouts of pain are heard by all.
And then, it's all over. 

"A baby girl," they tell me.
My heart sinks. 
Is the cycle going to be continued?
"What would you name her?", they ask. 
My arms cradle her fragile form.
I pause. 
I think. 
I know. 
"Her name is Bashira."
It means bringer of good tidings."

She is my only light. 
She will be the one
to break this vicious cycle. 
Bashira. My hope. My pride. 
Welcome, my dear child. 

- Ayeyi O. A

Photo credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Disclaimer: The photo used at the top is not the story of the girl used. (Photo Credit: Sudarsam Raghavan/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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