The rope was just resilient. The whole concentrated mass of your body, based on gravity, could not hack through the clutch of those twisted strands of hemp that formed the rope. You struggled. With legs shaking, profusely, life crawled slowly. Slowly away. That protruded branch of the tree where you tied the rope did not disappoint. It supported your weight till the deed was done. You went. Never to return. Minutes later, someone is stunned on meeting this sight. The screams begun.
Now, your chronicle.
You were ever of the opinion that marriage had to be consensual. Albeit, a going-over of those around indicated otherwise. Yours was not to be any different. Your Father hijacked your autonomy via the media of invectives, threats upon threats of disowning you and subsequently never blessing your eventual marriage.
Using being enlightened and a good Christian as the crux of your defence, you were comforted. Emboldened even. You retorted that you had the right to pick your future partner, discarding their concerns particularly as the rationale was mystical. You adamantly went ahead. Neglecting, rather unflinchingly, the routine knocking on the door ceremony, traditional marriage ceremony and other marriage rites. To hell! You ‘settled down’ contentedly with the church and court wedding using bought over witnesses. You consummated it.
The tears and fears were made worth it when the nurse handed her over to you. She was a cutie and your first. Your husband was later ushered in. With great joy, he was in consonance, about her looks. All materialized in the region of a year from your honeymoon. Months passed and life could not have been more wholesome. Then it hit you. Badly.
You, out of the blue, become regulars at the hospital. The incessant relapse of your bundle of joy was not pleasing. At first you mistook it for childhood fever, while your hubby thought the child missed out on a major vaccine. Erroneously! The doctor after several tests and wrong prognosis, suggested genotype testing. You and your spouse were the least worried about that. We took care of that before marriage, you thought. When the results came in, you passed out. Your hubby had subtle doubts about the paternity of the child, since the child’s genotype was SS. A sickler. Both of you had to do a re-test. The truth, unmasked!
You had been tested in a laboratory close to your church, as part of the mandatory checks to confirm the compatibility of partners before marriage. Your education spoke the need as well, though you didn’t double-check or go to a veritable center. It was within your means, close-by and was just good. Maybe not out-and-out, but you never anticipated any slip! The results had said your genotype was AA. Since your spouse had earlier mentioned his to be AS, your joy knew no bounds. Being fully aware of the implications, if yours turned same as his. There would be one-quarter chance of giving birth to a warrior, your first was. You were a victim. Wrong diagnosis.
Labelled warriors, considering the lives fate have them lead, science advises that their red blood cells harbour a defective protein, giving them shorter life span than normal cells. The cells are stiffened, getting stuck and blocking blood flow to an organ, muscle or bone. Your daughter suffered same, her stomach and limbs. She was so young yet her pains could be likened to what you had to go through during her birth. Excruciating! After three more years of fighting, doses of narcotics, cries: whispers and screeches, laughs and interim reliefs, fate took what was yours.
You wept till you couldn’t anymore. You blamed yourself for everything. The sympathy you received meant nothing. All were cold comfort. You enlivened, tried to have another. Days into months, months into years. You could not bear another. You wondered why. You were not deflowered, a young blood whose center of conception was undamaged when you consummated. What was happening? Was your father’s disfavour towards the union the root? You prayed, fervently, even sought means outside your religion, all to no avail. The pressure got to your husband. He had a sidekick and it was fruitful. Yours was taken. Again.
Life suddenly lost its meaning. That’s if it ever had. You thought of ending it all. You remembered a young girl you had read about the week before. She had done the thing. Her face was oval. Eyebrows very dark, blessed with those deep blue eyes only common with Albinos and the Oyinbos, foreigners. These were made more notable with her fair complexion. However, three vertical, three horizontal, deeply rooted, evenly spaced, ever-refusing-to-fade tribal marks shattered her self-esteem. Though some persons still thought her beautiful, the deed had been done. Her perception was rigid. She wondered why her parents still went on with such, in this era. They still had thought it fashionable. She had after several failed relationships, unending prejudice and name-calling, ended the battle. You rebuked her then. Immensely.
Her story that you read was on a national daily. Aside the trade of words and members of opposition parties, where words like berate, impunity, cross carpeting had become conventional. You also read about suicide bombers. Taking their lives for whatever cause. You condemned them, bluntly. Yet, when it happened, to you, you did not think twice of taking what was yours. Honour was even attached.