Tonight, I had a baby girl, another baby girl, a seventh baby girl. The midwives hired by my husband had left me immediately the baby came out. They knew Oke would not pay for their services as usual since it was not the heir he so much wanted.
Blinking mechanically, more consciously than unconsciously, I tried to fight the barrage of emotions inside of me. I could feel myself floating upon water, wondering if this was the end of it all, if I was dying. In that single moment of perceived transition, I enjoyed pure bliss for the first time. To die would be better than facing mockery again. I still had debts in the market incurred from buying food for my daughters whom Oke had sworn not to feed. If death should possess me, then I would be eternally free from looming travails.
Still, as I drifted away, I could hear a voice drawing me back to life, it was the baby. Her cries reminded me of Ada, my Ada who Oke had given out without my consent in marriage. When finally I opened my eyes, I saw Oke, staring at me blankly. I knew this was it, I was in trouble.
‘Get up and clean this mess’ was all he said and he turned to leave. I could hear the baby cry no more making me conclude someone had taken her for cleaning.
In the morning when I could talk, I called out to one of my daughters to bring the baby for some milk but she stood, rooted to the spot. ‘Baby m, bring your baby to suck or are you jealous?’ I said trying to sound humorous. But she still made no move, then I sat up, ready to go get the baby myself.
‘Papa don sell the baby’ she whispered. I turned to look at her and she repeated again ‘papa don sell the baby’. ‘One two man woman come carry baby inside big motor and give papa big money inside big container’.
I dropped back to bed and told her to leave the room. As I lay in bed that night thinking, I began to hear sounds from the room behind. When I got close to the window, I knew what it was. Having mastered the sound of moans erupting from my husband’s room, I could tell by the pauses between the moans which woman he was committing the brazen act with.
I turned back, left the room and went to the kitchen. Lifting the water calabash, I picked the dagger wrapped in the banana leaves which supported it and carefully concealed it in my faded wrapper. Then I took the calabash, carefully balanced on my head and went down the stream. The only befitting burial place for my body would be the stream, where I could travel far and wide to the places I could never afford in my lifetime. Even better, I would cause fear upon arrival, something I never could cause. I was a mere rag, an unwanted article, a rejected gift, all my life.
Hi, I’m Binogun Winifred, an art enthusiast and student at the University of Ibadan. I blog and write to keep my fingers away from food. That’s how I stay fit mentally and physically. I was absent at the Nigerian Writers Award due to unbelief in myself but as the Creator would have it, I was announced the NWA CHILD/TEENAGE WRITER OF THE YEAR” 2015. Just believe…