Once upon a time, I lived in a castle of hope. I had a mother and a father. Then father died.
Mother needed a man in the castle to take care of her and her baby, me! So she got married. She married a man alright. His name was Bill. Bill shattered our castle and with the castle went my hope.
I remember when Bill met my mother. We were walking down memory lane, on our way to visit Papa’s grave. We were carrying flowers, and I was carrying a broom to clean the smooth marble surface that covered his coffin.
Bill greeted us and walked alongside my mother. I remember I had a feeling of doom as my mother slowly started smiling and soon her graceful neck stood once more in its former stately glory.
Soon, Bill became a permanent fixture in our lives, showing up every morning to drive me to school and back.
I could barely stand him, and I sat in the farthest corner of his tiny corolla as I could.
Papa had never owned a car, but I would have walked with him to the end of the world rather than ride in a Limousine with this tall, dark, and brutally handsome stranger.
The day my life became a nightmare however was the day my mother married Bill. She was so happy. She told me as we walked down the aisle together, “You will see. We will be okay!”
I paid the price for her happiness.
Every night as soon as my mother fell asleep, I was handcuffed to my bed and raped.
I cried myself to sleep for 14 years. From 1994 to 2008.
I was 10 and I endured this until I was 24, and by that time I was heartless. I feared no one and nothing. I could talk back to Bill during the day, ugly words that drove a wedge between my mother and I. She could not understand why I hated the man she loved so much.
With time I hated her too. She, by marrying Bill had murdered me. I had nothing left in me. I had a cavity where my heart should have been.
When I turned 20, I applied for a visa to study in the USA. I had acquired a significant amount of paper sleeping with my stepfather. I called it guilt money.
I told no one about what had happened to me. The process stalled for a long time but finally in 2009, I got the money and left, vowing never to return. My mother cried all the way to the airport. I remember what I told her. I said, “Shut up woman, you are embarrassing yourself.”
She only cried louder of course.
As soon as I got on the airplane I asked for the emergency phone system. The stewardess looked at me oddly but gave me the phone. I called the police.
I broke down and cried as I mumbled incoherently about my ordeal. The police were alarmed, as were the stewardesses. They informed the pilots who had just started the takeoff process.
I was removed from the plane and hurried to the airport police post.
Bill was arrested and my mother, who was in shock, went into premature labour. Yes, she was pregnant. Bill’s fifth child, or would have been if I hadn’t been forced to abort the other four.
My mother never fully recovered, she succumbed to Celebral Malaria and died early in January 2012.
I testified against Bill in June last year and I can safely say he will never harm anyone as he got life without parole.
I went back to high school at home. I believe I am the richest and oldest Senior Four student my school has ever had. I will stay here and face my demons.
I have to rebuild Father’s castle, from pain back to hope.