Still, a gift
I am not sure if the children know it. Because, a story is like a bullet. Those who know say when it hits you – the bullet – it is not as if you hear the gunshot. You just see the blood gushing. So, stories are like that. You hardly know what the word in the street is, about you.
But, I am sure; they will come to the point of knowing. Their mother, or maybe just her mother because the actual focus will eventually end up being one person—a young daughter, tells this story to a few. She says it is owning the narrative.
Like, that moment when you do some mistake and someone thinks they can hold it against you, what is a best way than to just tell it yourself?
But, I should be clear, this was not a mistake. It will never be a mistake.
It was not as if she went out, got drunk, left for the home of a stranger. And, even if that had been the case, it would not have been a mistake.
It was someone she trusted. The actual relationship? Well, I do not get to hear of it. The one, who tells me the story, because it is more than a third-party, does not say.
However, like those cliché abuse stories, it was someone she trusted.
She did not go to meet him prepared, or even with caution. She thought, like a routine, the two would meet and whatever had to be discussed would be discussed and then maybe a hug then a compliment then she goes off.
That day it was different.
Perhaps, it started like all the other days: talking about novels. It was that time of novels. Then, maybe, it started raining. Like kind soft drops at first before they eventually started falling with heaviness like God had just been offended, or disappointed – that He had to cry.
Maybe, he said: ‘I should close the door.’
And, she still did not think much of it. She just thought that it was rational with those rains.
Then, when he came to sit, he sat closer than before. Maybe she could hear his heavy deep breathing. And, she shifted from her initial position. Creating distance.
Who knows? Maybe he said what most of them always say:
‘Have I ever told you that you are beautiful?’
And, she was young. Had not looked at him with those eyes. Had looked at him with that respect. She did not know how to respond to that.
‘Can I leave?’ maybe she said.
‘In these rains?’ like the rains have teeth, and claws, and devour people and chew them and spit them out just with their name, stripped of all dignity. Like, after being drenched by rains, nobody gets dry and forgets they were ever drenched.
‘I would think umbrellas were made for this. I will manage. I should go…’
But, again, he made reference to the rains. And her hair. And pretended to be caring. Said he could not let her leave, drench that beautiful hair and ruin her appearance.
As he was saying this, I would think, he must have been thinning the distance between him and her. That she did not even realise that his hands— we should call them claws—were on her.
She tried to fight him off, but he was powerful.
Shouting? There are two things here: it is raining heavily and, also, there is always that shame when eventually help comes through. Have you ever heard those people who say ‘what was she doing, all alone, at a bachelor’s place? She invited it upon herself’?
I will tell you this information, also, because it is relevant: he knew she was almost a virgin—and, yes, almost counts here—so he did not bother protecting himself.
Well, that last part read wrong. He just did not care, anyway, about her.
She realised she was pregnant after some time.
It is there where the story now stops resting on assumptions. It is from there that it gets told.
She was young, a schoolgirl, and was confused. She told an aunt she trusted. Simply told her: ‘aunt, I think I am pregnant’. She should have known better, the story reached her mother long before she had even finished explaining why she thought she was pregnant.
Her mother told her that there would be hell to pay, for her and the father of ‘that bastard’— her words. And, she was a woman of her words. There certainly would have been hell to pay had she not stood on the truth and disclosed the father of ‘that bastard’.
That disclosure shushed her, of course, after moments of protest that she was just lying. Then, she made a suggestion—or a command: abort. Get this off our backs and we will all pretend nothing happened, nothing got lost. And, who knows? Maybe she also promised to be a good mother from then onwards.
That suggestion, however, did not sit well with her. Or, rather, her religious disposition.
From the religious teachings that she followed, and still follows, life starts at conception. Those debates, those arguments, she does not even bother to spend time hearing them out. Her mind was made, a long time ago, and still stands being made.
She stood her ground, told her mother that the child was not going anywhere, it was going to be born.
There was chaos afterwards. She was not really chased from home but she was not also welcomed at home.
She stood still. At nine months, she gave birth to her: a beautiful young girl with hair that has a masculine disposition in the edges and certainly not suitable for a 10-year-old girl, although her mother likes to do those natural locks on it.
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