He said her ‘cocoyams’ were ripe. That was all the reason he needed to approach Halima’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. The smile on Adamu’s face was disgusting and not because it was hard deciphering how much of his teeth his lips covered for they were of like shade and colour. Worse still was watching Hassan, Halima’s father, nodding, giggling demonically and embracing his new ‘son-in-law’ after hearing his proposal.
The entire marriage process was quicker than it took for him to spot her and ‘like’ her in the first place. Pervert! With two wives and six children, half of which were older than Halima, waiting for him at home, I wondered what he needed her for.
Girl as she was, Halima looked on like some young untried knight as her mother broke the news of her marriage to her. And then all she could do was see the world through her mother’s eyes, because her own had been extinguished before they even got a chance to open. She wanted to cry but there was no time, her wedding date was fixed for the week after. She learned something at that moment; that whatever opinions she had about anything at all were mere feelings – a dream, a dream about someone else in some other country.
She endured the news and the days that came after with a calmness, fortitude and resignation which are the best proofs of the innocence of her life.
And so Adamu married Halima and he ate her ‘cocoyam’ that his throat had so longed for. But he would find out that as with unripe cocoyam no matter how much oil you eat it with, it can never taste or feel like one in season. He insisted and arrived eventually, but it was like arriving in a desert after almost drowning.
Exhausted from screaming, hurting and bleeding scarlet light, Halima slept through the night when he eventually let her sleep and only woke when the morning rain had turned to evaporating diamonds in the afternoon heat.
Long story short, six months later Halima was in labour in the local health centre. At first glance, lying on that hospital bed, it was hard to believe Halima was thirteen. At second glance, it was hard to believe she was ever a child. Her voice was sad whenever she spoke and tears bedimmed her loving eyes. You could tell she used to be beautiful.
When the doctor eventually came it was too late, she succumbed to the intense pain and pressure common with child delivery. Her body could not bear it as she did Adamu’s weight that first night and several other nights that followed. Halima stopped breathing and suddenly there was no longer any need for her to fear death by dreaming.
Children can be the nicest people in the world, but like children they should not be overburdened with responsibility, much worse the responsibility that comes with marriage. Truly, civilization is a thin veneer. For what have we to distinguish us from the beasts of the field? Besides, of course, an immortal soul? Manners and suitable attire?
#IAmScopeman says NO to #ChildMarriage #ChildBride