The moment I first set eyes on him,
I knew he was the one for me.
He whispered sweet nothings to me,
brought me flowers every other day
and beads to adorn my graceful neck.
I had visions of a wonderful future with him.
We would have children together,
He would cherish me and be my Prince.
Many years down the line,
I smile a bitter smile, because
my romantic dreams turned out a mirage.
They have become nightmares,
before my very eyes.
He slaps me around and tells me I am no good.
He rapes me every time he is drunk, which is often,
and tells me I’m lucky to have him.
A useless piece of shit like me deserves no better.
I cannot bear to look at myself in the mirror,
I have become so haggard,
He makes me feel like dirt, and I wonder why,
why do I stay with him?
God hates divorce, I justify.
It is my fate in life, my destiny,
God knows best.
My friends are deserting me,
after years of telling me to stop taking shit from him.
“You deserve more than this" they counselled.
"You need to stand up for your rights,
for your sake and for your children.”
I tell them, “ who will take me if I leave him?”
Look how unattractive and haggard I am,
I have no job, no chance of survival without him.”
I have to stick with him, he is my fate.
They force me to look at pictures
I would rather never see again.
Of myself as a beautiful young woman,
the toast of the land,
for whose hand all the men were vying.
Alas, that is no longer real to me.
I can hardly believe there was a time like that.
I have now become a by-word,
People shake their heads in pity when they see me pass.
“God forbid that your fate turns out like that of…..”
is the standard prayer for new brides.
I have no control over my children,
I think my 20 year old is a yahoo boy,
and my Precious is somewhere in Italy…..
The little ones tell me “Mummy, you’re useless.”
“ Please don’t follow us into town.”
“ We don’t want people to know you are our mother.”
I know that I deserve what is happening to me.
I know that there is nothing I can do about it.
Or is there?
My name is Nigeria.