Based on a true story
People gathered in the yard, glances swept her up and down, mumbles in the crowd ringed like an old church bell in her ears. She sat there, an old bag of bones, in the past five years she had went from a child to a women. She had been only 11 the first time the man they all gathered for today raped her. She glanced at the casket that was placed in the middle of the room, not knowing whether to smile because death had finally rescued her from her misery or to weep for herself, because death stood a glance away from her.
“Such things do not happen, now keep quiet and never say mention it again”.
These words kept echoing in Mildia’s head. They where the words she had said to Lisa the first time she came running to her, sobbing, after her step-father had turned her into a weekend sex slave in her mother's absence. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at the bag of bones that sat next to her. She looked around and all she saw was ruins, it was a warm summer morning but the chill of death lingered all around her. Her home turned house was slowly fading, brick by brick this house would crumble down and would be no more. Not a single one of them would be left behind.
On finding out her daughter was being raped every night by her husband, she thought about all the good things he provided for them. The cars she drove, the clothes she wore, the extravagant house she lived in, she thought of where she came from… her mother's little mud hut with a fire place surrounded by thorn bushes.
“I deserve this good life, I have come too far to let it all go”
No thoughts of her daughter’s innocence came to mind no pity felt for the brittle little girl who could not save herself.
‘We all have to sacrifice to have good things, something has to give, and if it is you that Paul wants, then so be it, let him have you, but I will not let you ruin this for me.’ She said to her daughter the fourth time she came complaining about her step father.
Lisa decided to take matters into her own hands. She decided she would go to her uncle, her mothers brother and seek refuge in him, he had always been so loving. Two months with her uncle she realized her situation had just went from bad to worse. The same uncle she had put all her trust in had become the same monster she had run away from and even worse. He would pass Lisa around, used her with his friends and at times some men would just come to watch her as she was passed around like a bag of candy each getting his own fill and passing to the next one.
She decided one man was better so she went back to the devil she knew. Her first few weeks were the worst. Its was as if he got his strength from her shrieks, inflicted pain on her, called her names
“You wanted your uncle to have you, didn’t you? that is why you ran away and now you are back because he has had his fill and wants nothing to do with you anymore, you want this you brought it upon yourself.” Her step-father would say as he had her way with her.
She was now 16 and had grown numb to the pain, no tear fell from her eye anymore, she knew no one would save her from her horrible situation. She lived with it, a sex-slave under her own mother's roof. She got sick that year, lost the little weight that she had, become frail, she looked like a scare crow, her step-father didn’t touch her any more though, and she was grateful for this sickness, she was in pain but the peace she had made it a little more bearable. That same year her uncle passed away, and two months after her uncles passing her step-father got sick as well.
He was too stubborn to go to the hospital, and he drowned his pain in alcohol. He yelled at Lisa saying she had made him sick. Lisa got worse, and eventually decided it was time she go to the hospital where she was diagnosed with HIV. She did not know much of this disease only that she would soon die. She was told her situation was hopeless and medication would do her no help so she went home and awaited her death.
As her step father situation deteriorated her mother too fell sick same symptoms, Mildia realized then what she had done, she had let her daughter live in her husbands hell, had single handedly delivered her to her brother. And because of that they would all die. “I have killed my daughter she said to herself,” a whirlwind of thoughts circling her head.
“I could have ended it, I wouldn’t be dying, my daughter would be healthy, she would still be a child, she would have a bright future ahead of her.”
She had basically watched the world use her daughter, she had ruined her daughter's life, killed her dreams, the light she had delivered on that hospital bed was now gone and all that remained was darkness.
She watched as the people walked in and out the room to pay their last respects to her husband, and as they took the coffin out of the house to his last resting place, she knew she had killed them by not putting an end to it.
By Tshwetso Kaan