By Ifedayo Ward

He pushes me violently to the wall and rips off my dress.
His breath stinks of cheap liquor and tobacco.
Saliva drips from the side of his mouth as he laughs greedily at my efforts to shove him off…I cry helplessly as I hear my mother shout greetings to neighbors across the street.

My sisters and cousins told me I’d “enjoy” him. “I don’t want this!” I shout aloud hysterically.
He tears my underpants too. He forces himself on me and tries to reassure me that I’d beg him not to stop. Hot tears run down my face as he forces his way into me in quick succession.
I’m overwhelmed with pain and hate.

“Miss Ngulinga!” I shout.

Is Ngulinga not in this hall?

Blessing, the food seller, slaps the back of my neck and I’m jerked back to reality.

I ran away from my village to a local clinic some kilometers away, it was setup by the local missionaries two months ago . You see, a girl had tested HIV positive after being disvirgined by the same hyena that ripped my hymen months ago.

I was led to a small, dark room and a sheet of paper was pushed into my hand by a local volunteer. She gives me a piece of cloth and tells me to wait for a doctor to address me. A beautiful woman comes into the room and introduces herself as the doctor, I didn’t realize women could be doctors. She tells me slowly that I have a disease that cannot be cured but I won’t die. She tells me I tested HIV positive.

The fan above me spins slowly.
My head is too heavy for my head.
My throat begs to be torn from my body.
My wobbly legs give way.
The world blacks out.

to be continued…