ONLY A GIRL
She was only a girl. That was why her father shook his head in disappointment after the doctor gave him what he, the doctor, felt was a good news ‘Your wife has just delivered a beautiful baby girl.’ He was never there for her when she needed him, always waiting for her to grow up a little, so that he would dispose her to the highest bidder. He wanted a boy who will become a man, something, worthy. Not a girl, nothing, worthless.
She was only a girl. That was why the several times she came first in her class, her father would smile one of those his incomplete smiles, those ones that meant less than nothing. A smile that was missing its most important ingredient – happiness, he only had them on when he needed to fulfill all righteousness, when he needed to act as if it mattered. He would tepidly say to her: ‘Clap for yourself,’ as if ‘clap for yourself,’ was reward enough for coming top in a class of eighty five students.
She was only a girl. That was why on her fifteenth birthday, her father introduced her to the man with whom she will continue the rest of her life with, he said: ‘This is your husband, he will take care of you.’ But she did not know him, he was too old for her, besides, she was not finished with school; she wanted to go to the university then obtain a doctorate degree and become a lecturer and impact knowledge on the future. But her father had sold her off, like an object. Like a farmer would sell his hen – he feeds it until it is old enough and then he sells it off – it means absolutely nothing to him, the farmer. She means nothing to him, her father.
She was only a girl. That was why despite all his initial promises, her husband did not enroll her in school, and she was not able to complete her secondary education. While all of her friends were still in school, she became a house wife. ‘You now have a family to think about,’ her husband said. ‘You do not need to go to school; I will provide everything for you. You are now a woman. A woman’s place is by her husband, not in school.’ But she was sixteen. She wept. She blamed her father, it was his fault that all of these happened, it was his fault that she was not in school; She was not good enough for him, he wanted a boy who will become a man, something, worthy. Not a girl, nothing, worthless.
First published on oyamag.