I couldn’t believe my nine months journey was for nothing, my mother held my hands, I was in tears, after all the hours of labour, how did I deserve any of these, a marriage I was forced into,that child would have been my only consolation and joy,,,
Big mama was around, she was really sad about the news, she encouraged me and told me it shall be well. big mama and my mother took me home, Alhaji Usman was already with friends celebrating and waiting for the good news
when we arrived without the child he asked us about the baby, and big mama calmly told him it was a stillbirth, but he shouted at me “nonsense, this girl must be cursed, that something like this has never happened in my family, my five other wives had good and healthy babies ,she is useless and curse
“haba magi da, don’t talk like that, she’s just a child, more over she just went through a difficult phase, she needs encouragement and support “big mama sai
“will you keep quiet, she needs support, not only support, she needs an award, for birthing a dead child,, that girl is a small witch “alhaji said and by then i was already in tears,the pains and public shame was getting on me, Halima was busy enjoying the show and laughing….
“Magi da (my husband) please stop, she’s a child, and non of this is her fault, big mama Insiste
“oh get out of here Aisha if you have nothing reasonable to say, how old was my beautiful Halima when I married her three years ago,14, and she has two children for me already ” oh my world,you needed to see Halima,she was raising her shoulders like she just won a lottery,,
this girl is the reason the baby died, Alhaji continued, each time I go to her at Night to perform my duties as her husband,she would always cry and cry, so how do you expect such a child to live, a child who was formed while his mother was in tears,,, ZAINAB killed her baby,, I couldn’t believe such words could come out from Alhaji Usman..
My mother couldn’t believe all she saw, she was disappointed at Alhaji’s reaction,,,she knelt down and pleaded with hi
“Alhaji, please pardon ZAINAB, she’s very very sorry,I beg of yo
please Alhaji, big mama joined too, what a world,my mother was begging Alhaji because I had a stillbirth,like it were my doing
“thank you Alhaji, Alhaji please I will like to beg of you for another favour,,please let me take ZAINAB home, so i can nurse her back to healt
okay no problem you can, Alhaji granted,,, I was so happy to go home with mother,at least to be with those who love me
Getting home,my father was happy to see me,he welcomed me home,so did my brothers, mother had me bath with hot water,and then made a hot cup of tea,she held my hands,and said, ZAINAB,I am sorry for all you are passing through I know i have failed you as a mother,I am very sorry my chil
“no mother,this is not your fault,I know if you had your way,you would never allowed me go through all these,I hold nothing against you mother,you have always been my pillar of support..
The next day, uncle suleman came to the house. so you could not even give birth to a living child ZAINAB, look at my daughter, your little cousin,who married at 13,she’s 14 years plus,and already has a child,you that is a full grown woman,almost 16, you couldn’t even birth a living child,,,uncle suleman quarrelle
Haba magi da Suleiman, don’t you think ZAINAB doesn’t deserve all these right now, at least not from us her immediate family ” mother sai
oh stop it Fatima,you are the one spoiling this girl,you keep protecting her,now Alhaji Usman is angry,the money he promised me,am sure he would no longer give me,,uncle suleman said alot and left angrily, I was really angry at him,but there was nothing I could do.
It was two weeks, and Alhaji was at our place,,,father and mother greeted him cheerfully with a smile, but he didn’t reciprocate the greetin
“why have you people refused to bring my wife home? he asked angril
we are sorry Alhaji, we only wanted her to get better “mother sai
“get better, what did she do, so birthing a dead child is a now difficult,,if she that gave birth to a dead child can be nursed this long, then women who gives birth to living babies should be nursed for a year, ZAINAB, he shouted, get your things ,we are leaving immediately,,, Alhaji Usman dragged me home like a she goat for sale, indeed that was what I was to him, I cried as much as my eyes could give, but nothing was happening,,there was pains in my mother’s eyes,she really wished she could do something….
Getting to Alhaji Usman house, only big mama was happy to see me, she hugged me warmly and gave me some words of encouragemen
thank you big mama” I had said..
That night I couldn’t sleep,I was thinking about everything,and my life in general,,while I was lost in thought I didn’t notice when Alhaji Usman walked into my room, he was smiling sheepishly,I wondered what his business was been there that night,,,soon he started removing his clothes,and the BEAST was soon stacked naked,for Allah’s sake I had a child less that 14 days ago,,,I couldn’t believe this man wants to have his way with me already,,,
I really wanted to use something to hit this old man,so that he could die,but I had a second thought,I couldn’t possibly become a murderer, that will break my mother’s heart into countless pieces, more over I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in jail, looking up at him, he was smiling, I managed to fake a smile, because according to him,the reason my child had died was because I was always crying when ever he came to me, me smiling back at him made him felt I wanted him,he jumped on me with his big pot belly and started to go into me, he didn’t think of going gently since I went through the labor room just days ago, I was going through several pain, but I dared not cry,,I tried to hold back the tears, but some tear drops betrayed me and came dow
Haba ZAINAB you have started crying again?he asked m
oh no magi da (my husband) they are tears of jo
oh really that’s wonderful, in that case you want more, Alhaji Usman went over it the second time, oh I almost died..
My life was a mess to me, Amimate was the only one from school that still kept In touch with me, she was really sorry for all I was doing through, they were now in senior secondary school 2, looking at her in her beautiful senior uniforms whenever she Comes visiting, always make me wished my life wasn’t such a disaster.,
Soon Alhaji Usman noticed I always felt bad and unhappy when ever Aminat came visiting, he stopped her from coming to the house,and warned me never to be seen with her, that was how I lost a true friend..I had nothing to hold on to,and no one to share my worried with.
After a few months ,I was pregnant again,I made sure I smiled whenever Alhaji came at night,I did all what mama sukurat says,I ate vegetables and fruits,I really wanted to have a healthy baby. mama sukurat would always check me and say my baby and I were fine..
Before I know what was happening,9 months was here,I was rushed to mama sukurats , she said i was in labour,I did my best to push,so that it wouldn’t take too much time, according to mama sukurats,my first baby died because of my delay, that the baby became tired,,,I didn’t want history to repeat itself,so I did all I could humanly possible, some minutes later I was delivered of a bouncing baby boy,,,big mama jumped for joy, soon my mother was around she was very happy that the baby and I were doing great,she danced for joy,and sang beautiful songs in Thanksgiving
Alhaji was very very happy,we had so many people around,there was rejoicing and everyone was merry, Alhaji sang my praises,he carried his son in happiness and thanked me for birthing him a wonderful son in his age
I became the queen in Alhaji’s kingdom,he practically worshiped me and the baby,but all those didn’t matter to me,my son was my pride and only consolation,he was my everything.
Halima and the other wives except big mama were going crazy, they were not happy about the way Alhaji was taking care of me,how I wished they know Alhaji was not my problem.
Few months on,my son fell very ill, mama sukurat was not around,she had travelled to the big city to nurse her child who had put to birth in the city,the village health center was empty,my son was running out of temperature,he was growing worse by the day,I didn’t know what to do, different people gave different ideals,and herbs, but non seems to be working,I prayed and prayed for God to please save my son,, but unfortunately i lost him at 6months,not again I cried,who did I offend,how can God abandon me like this,what wrong did I commit,how can a teenage girl like me be going through all these in life..
The death of my son was the beginning of my misery, Alhaji,the other wives and some villagers had labeled me a witch that I was the one eating my own children,I was beating like a slave,and asked to confess, confess what I didn’t know, how can I confess to what I know nothing about,I kept my pleading I knew nothing about what they were saying
I was forbidden of sleeping inside the house,a little hut without roof nor doors was made for me to stay outside, Alhaji kept insisting I confess what I was using his children for,I stayed in the hut for three nights,with no one coming for my help…
On the fourth day, mama,and baba came to beg him to have Mercy on me,after all the plead,some cleanings were done on me,before Alhaji allowed me into his home,,,,,
Months on,I was pregnant again, Alhaji didn’t show me love this time,he kept insulting me and Calling me a witch,that I should not dare kill that baby,else he was going to kill me himself,, fast forward to nine months I had my child,it was a beautiful girl child..,
After one week of her birth,she died in her sleep,, waking up,my baby didn’t move,I thought she was asleep, but after waiting for some hours without a sound from her,I tried to wake her up,after much effort,I cried for help,and she was confirmed dead,I was then forced to believe what people were saying about me,that perhaps I was a witch.
I sat on the floor in tears,, Halima was the first to shout calling the attention of Alhaji Usma
“haba ZAINAB, must you kill all your children, must you, how can you be this wicked, if you can kill your own child in her sleep,then our kids are not safe with you in this house “Halima said and the other wives joined in the insults and condemmnation, big mama didn’t say a word, but am sure she was shocked as to the deaths of the baby,though she didn’t say a word, soon Alhaji was in my room, what’s going on here ? he aske
“Magi daaaa, hmmmm is it not the witch we have in this house, she has killed yet again another child, what has this little baby done to ZAINAB that she had to kill her in her sleep,a baby that was very healthy yesterday night, refuse to wake up this morning “Halima answered hi
What!, Alhaji shouted, you mean a child I saw yesterday is dead, ZAINAB,what did you do to her
“Alhaji, nothing, what could I have possibly done to my own chillllllll, Alhaji didn’t allow me finish the statement before he landed a very hot slap on my cheek, you witch, you have given my family a bad name, I am now refereed to as that man whose babies keep dying, I have 17 children from my 5 wives, I have never buried any child before, but you brought your badlock to my home,, I curse the day I chose to marry yo
“Alhaji please ,I am not a witch, I am innocent, I can’t possibly kill my own child,,I tried to hold Alhaji’s feet, but another slap landed on my cheek.
Alhaji ordered some of his boys to drag me to my father’s house like a goat, while he walked behind us…. getting to my father’s house, I was already very weak from all the dragging, I was a nursing mother of just a week,, I was just 17 years plus then, but I had seen so much in life ,,, my father was suprised to see me, same was mother, she ran to me and held me, MENE, what is it ZAINAB? my mother asked but I was too weak to answer her nor say a word
“Fatai and Fatima, so you two think I am a fool, you allowed me marry your witch of a daughter, and took my money and everything I have given to this cursed family,, you do not know who you are dealing with, I am Alhaji Usman, and I shall deal with you unless you pay me back for all i have ever given to this family,,
“Haba Alhaji, what has ZAINAB done, please tell me, we can settle it, please Alhaji “father aske
what has she not done, of course the witch has eaten yet another offspring of mine, a child I saw yesterday, died in her sleep, how do you explain tha
“Allah ya kiya, mother shouted, ZAINAB, what happened to your daughter, my granddaughter, what happened ZAINAB,, but I was too weak, I had no strength left in me to defend myself,,, by now, people had gathered in my father’s compound, because Alhaji was making a scen
“she has nothing to say, nothing, she has eaten the child up as usual, just as she had eaten the other two,,now listen Fatai and Fatima, you have five days to make the calculations of everything I have spent on this family, and bring to me, else you two would be sorry, that also includes everything I gave to your brother Suleiman, because if I wasn’t married to ZAINAB, I certainly would have had no business with Suleiman, no week passes by without him extorting money from me, yet you people had the effontory to give me a witch for a wife,,,,I shall take my leave now, but you shall hear from me,,,and you all, Alhaji turned to the crowd of people who had come to watch the show, be careful with this family, else they would eat your children,, Allah ya kiyaye, many shouted,,they started saying very mean words to me, as they went to their various houses..
My parents stared at me not knowing exactly what to say I guess,,,I knew there were many questions going through their heads, could our child possibly be a witch, father finally broke the silence and asked mothe
“Haba magida,why would you say a thing like that, you and I know ZAINAB more than anyone else, and am sure you know she’s not what they are saying she i
then how do you explain all the lost of her babies, uncle suleman asked as he walked in, apparently he had heard what happened from some of those who withnesseed Alhaji’s action.,
Please my daughter is not a witch, mama corrected immediatel
“oh keep quiet Fatima I won’t be surprised if you gave her witchcraft,, yess,,, nothing like this has ever happened in our family, you and your daughter are cursed,,,you are nothing but badlocks “uncle suleman sai
“Magi da, mother called Dad, trying to bring his attention to what his brother was saying, but he looked awa
“well for the records, I have heard all Alhaji said, I don’t have a penny to give him in return for all he had giving me, so you people should figure how you will sought all these “uncle suleman sai
“haba suleman, we have to come together and think of how to resolve all these “father told hi
“Fatai I do not have a job, neither do I know what to say, I have never birthed a witch for a child, rubbish, he said and walked away…..
Five days came like a flash, and Alhaji came as be had promised,,he was asking for return of everything he had given my family, my father didn’t have , neither did mother, nor uncle Suleiman, Alhaji ordered his boys to take father away, we begged him to let him go, but all our plead feel on deaf ears, father was carried away like a baby,
Two days on father was brought back, but with so many bruises, Alhaji’s boys had dealt with him, he was beaten to stupor, and left without food for two days,he was half-dead.. uncle Suleiman didn’t allow me a minute rest, he was always accusing me of been curse to the family ,and been responsible for my father’s misfortune, I was labeled evil, and curse, when I walk in the village, women gossip about me, children throw stones and sands on me, no body talks to me, nobody sells anything to me, my family was going through alot all because of me…
The whole pain was too much for me, I couldn’t find peace anywhere, then I knew I needed to end it