A hand grabbed one of my breasts
It was masculine- big and strong!
It wasn’t Joshua’s hand, so it definitely was….
Oh my God!
It couldn’t be…not at all!
We were having the morning devotion.
We were just five in the sitting room- Dad, mum, Bobo, Sissy and I
And it couldn’t be dad!
He was the only hope I had in the whole wide world
He couldn’t just come and burst my balloon like that…
I was already crushed!
My maternity and paternity had not been confirmed till date- I was found at the doorstep of the house at about 8 months old in a basket with a ‘Help this baby’ note but dad had fought for my stay in the house.
Mum had made my stay in the house hell and she had made it so clear that I was not a part of them.
If there was a meat stolen in the pot, it would be Mercy
Even the name Mercy crushed me most time. It reminded me that I was just in the house at their mercy.
If something happened anyhow in the house, my name would rent the whole air.
Even the twins –Bobo and Sissy that I was about five years older than, accused, blamed and insulted me at the slightest opportunity.
At 15, I still bedwet!
Because of this, I was banished from the room I shared with Sissy to the balcony!
Last night, the breeze had been too much for me that I knew that by the time I would wake up, I would find myself in the pool of my own urine!
Anytime I was being flogged by mum, dad would step in.
And anytime he did step in, the next statement that would follow is ‘If this girl doesn’t eventually cause our breakup Sam, call me a bastard!’
In school, my self-esteem had been crushed too.
Mum had come to school before for me to be disgraced on the assembly because I had wet the bed the night before.
Since then, I was called the ‘Wee-wee girl’
Everywhere I went to, I was being looked at as a thief, a wee-wee girl, a wicked soul, a witch, and any evil you could imagine
If you are close to the Bridget family and you have not heard about the ‘messy mercy’, it’s because you are dead!
Everyone knew me!
Everyone hated me!
The only one person who told me that ‘I understand you’
‘You look good;
‘You are beautiful;
‘What a nice result you have here;
‘You are a great genius’
Was the only one person I called ‘Dad’ and meant it- Mr Bridget!
But fumbling with my breast?!
I was bending over a stool as a punishment for bedwetting again and I had dozed off.
The ‘operation’ on my flesh had woken me up and with sleepy eyes, I looked at Dad beside me.
There were his eyes
He was glaring at me!
It wasn’t a dream
Daddy was really smooching me!
He winked and smiled at me as he brought his hand close to me again despite singing ‘Worthy is the lamb, seated on the throne’ as he led the devotion
The infuriation that rose from my inside due to the great disappointment that I was met with this early morning (7th July) threw me off balance
Within the twinkling of an eye, I had deposited two dirty slaps in his face to the amazement of my spirit, soul and body!
“What!” he exclaimed loudly
All eyes were on me
“Mercy, are you mad?” Mum asked, looking so shocked
By the time I realised what I had done, mum had stood up to pounce on me with Oloriburuku, aje, emere, ogbanje, elemi okunkun, witch, gbokogboko and other abusive names flying in the air.
Dad looked at me with a great shock
But was I dreaming?
He was touching me really!…it wasn’t a dream
Why couldn’t he acknowledge and tell everyone what he had done wrong?
My tears flowed uncontrollably
It was not the bites, the slap, the kicks, the painful pulls that me to cry.
It was daddy!
The fact that he could try to harass me!
The fact he could make me feel this weak and hopeless
“Why Mercy? Why?” he asked on as tears ran down his face
I was running mad!
What an act!
“What did he do to you? Exactly what would make you slap him? Talk to me ogbanje…yellow pawpaw!” she screamed
I couldn’t talk
What else could I have to say?
Who would believe me?
I held my chest in pain as I closed my eyes firmly
God, please vindicate me!
After so many slaps and ‘What did he do?’ cry from her, I slumped to the ground from exhaustion, panting hard
I saw as daddy stood up from the chair and pulled me up
“You have been always right honey. There is something about this girl that I have to unravel. Leave her for me. Get the children ready for school” he said as he pulled me away.
“Orisirisi!’ mum said as she clapped her hands together, obviously shaken
“My breast…he touched my breast” I said but my voice wasn’t loud enough
“Don’t let me meet that thing by the time I come back from work o…don’t ever let me!” she shouted behind us as i was being dragged away like a sack of beans
He locked the door behind us and smiled devilishly at me.
“Before those guys that didn’t labour over you start their businesses on your body, you don’t want to give daddy that trained you from babyhood till ‘big-girlhood’ a chance baby?” he talked like cartoon in my ears and I could only pant
It was only a very bad dream!
Grabbing me by the hair, he swung me with his muscular arms before throwing me unto the bed.
I hit my head on the head of the bed and screamed loudly
It felt like the earth was spinning so quick.
Blood seemed to rush into my eyes and nose
“Dad, just kill me sir. Kill me” I screamed as he dug his hands into my body
“Omo rada rada” mum said as she walked past the room.
She must be on the way to the bathroom
Couldn’t she guess what her husband would be doing with a girl alone in the room?
Despite the names they called me and the bad reputation they had given me, couldn’t she think deep that I had never raised my hands to beat even the naughty bobo, talk less of daddy?
Couldn’t she think?
“Remove your clothes and lets pray” I heard and my already heavy head became heavier.
This couldn’t just be true!
Who do I call on?
Who do I pray to?
Of course not!
Not the same Jesus that the Bridget’s worshipped!
“You are crushed!” he laughed devilishly and he looked like a vampire as I beheld him.
That was the word!
The word to describe how ravished I had become
He covered my mouth with the pillow as he dug at my blouse, like a Mephistophelian lion!
The whole earth ceased moving as I counted my breath- slowly!
(Based on a true life story
By: Lizzy Oyebola Oyekunle)
Dedicated to girls who have been robbed of their voices and who daily soak their pillows with tears due to the crushing of their bodies, hopes, spirits and souls by closest relatives and family members with no visible help within reach.
I love you!