An arranged marriage

They were arguing again, papa shouted and paced, mama cowered in the corner, watching, ready to run if he moved an inch closer, he slapped her and said she deserved it.

Papa thought it was time, mama didn’t agree, so she said I was 12, I was 14, she said I was yet to be circumcised, she had promised me she wouldn’t, she said I was too skinny, I needed to be fattened up, there was no way I was going to be kept in a room, pampered day and night and fed cholesterol inducing foods just to up my bride price.

Another slap, mama began to cry, ‘get her ready, you have two years from today’

‘Sidi – come here! Write this down – Sidi will be married two years from today’

‘Yes sir’, I said, as I hurriedly wrote down the date.

I silently thanked my mum, she had just bought me two years and a stint in the fattening room, I hear things have changed and they teach girls how to cook and please their husbands, maybe it won’t be so bad after all, maybe we’ll get a good price and my mother’s pain won’t be for nothing


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