I was fourteen. 

… And then everything stopped, and something snapped.

As the air stood still and the song of the cricket seized, his labored grunt was the only sound that pierced the night. The beautiful smile he always wore was now twisted in a face that looked like it was in pain. There was no trace of the man I knew, all that remained was this monster. But it was him nonetheless – one and  the same. And in his eyes was a look I would never forget. It was empty. There was no reason, no pleasure, no humanity… Just a savage hunger.

 A cold tear slowly dribbled down my bloodied cheek, and in that moment of utter helplessness I thought about my mother. 

I was born in these streets, my body naked now as it was then. I was born in sweat and blood and tears. The way aunty tells the story, I killed my mother!  She was a beautiful young woman whose only sin was trusting a man. That was my entrance into the world, and when most children were met with the loving smile of their mothers, I was met with the corpse of mine. And from that moment and everyday for fourteen years, I paid for that in sweat and blood and tears. You see,   life was unforgiving and cruel, life was aunty.  

So I should  have known better than trust a man. This man, who always spared me a smile, who always bought my okpa and paid more than it was worth. I should have known it was never about the okpa, I should have seen how his eyes always lingered, or how his fingers always stayed a second too late. I should have… Or maybe I knew, but I was his favourite girl – the envy of my peers.

And I was fourteen. 


She looked down at the baby and had to admit, he was beautiful.

“Nwa m” she muttered under her breath, over and over, until her voice drowned into silent tears. Her son – but she felt nothing like a mother. She was after all, still a child.

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