When she got to me, she looked as if something was amiss.
“You are Tatu?”
“Yes I am.
“This is going to seem awkward but the taxi guy has no change. If you can pay it up for me then we sort it out… “
“That’s fine with me,” I say, not minding if she gives it back.
I look at her as she walks back. She still seems a bit in thought. She presses the sanitizer bottle and when it’s all in hand and about to clean her hands, her phone rings. She pulls it from her back pocket, holds it to the ear with her shoulder and talks as she walks towards me, sanitizing.
“My dad raped me. I was eight (8) when he started.”
She moves her seat closer to me. Looks me in the eyes, tears balancing.
“I was the only child then and my parents had issues. This later turned out to a separation and mom had to keep me with her but I could spend two days a week at dad’s place.”
With co-parenting being some type of witchcraft now, that her parents were willing to give it a go at that time, sounded great. It’s all cat fights today and to me this was a good beginning for their time.
“Every time he picked me up, he made sure I was home on time so he didn’t have reasons to quarrel with mom. He paid my fees and bought me everything I wanted. He’d cook for me or take me out for a meal. He’d watch movies with me, read books with and for me…he was cool.”
She liked being at her dad’s place but slowly things changed.
“When I turned 9, he started touching me and warned me never to tell mom. He then moved me from my room to his. He would force his manhood in me and said I would soon get used to it and I’d like it.”
I look at her. Silence between us.
“He threatened me about telling mom. He said mom would never talk to me again if I told her. I was scared so I kept quiet.”
I hold her closer to me and hug her.
“See, every time I tried to tell mom, she didn’t listen. She never had time for me. Also, once I just mentioned that dad touched me she didn’t believe me. She told me I was ridiculous. I needed to think before I said anything about him and that I should stop being disrespectful to him.”
She still looked hurt. She spoke with a lot of pauses, tears and then composed herself again.
“The sad bit is that my own mother didn’t believe me and wouldn’t let me stay home instead of going to my father.”
My phone rings. I have another interview coming up but I make changes. A girl looks distraught and I hate it, but life…
“I dreaded the two days to stay at my father’s house. I cried every time he pushed himself into me. He covered my mouth with his hands and always said he was entitled to me as he was my blood.”
There’s silence between us. I order for a coffee and she, water. She sips and then holds my hand. She looks into my eyes as if to say something, as if not to.
“Tatu, I got pregnant for my father at thirteen. One time at his house, I became very sick and he requested mom to allow me stay with him for the week as he lived closer to a hospital. He knew I was pregnant. He put me on some tablets and they flushed out the pregnancy. Then when I stopped bleeding, we went back to his normal-raping me.”
I’m getting emotional. What much is enough for a thirteen-year-old to go through?
“So the cycle was rape, pregnancy, abortion, repeat. I became aloof. I wanted to be alone always. My grades drastically went down at school. I was just an unhappy child while my mom was focusing on a new relationship she was getting in. One day, I just broke down. I think I had gone through enough. I sat down, wrote a letter to my mom. I said what I had been trying to tell her all along. I told her that I knew she’d not believe me but I was just letting her know that in case I commit suicide, she knows that I tried to make her listen to me but she didn’t.”
Her face brightens up a little.
“My mother believed me this time.”
So the mom helps her press charges and the dad is jailed. Not any child’s favorite thing to do but the scars left behind.
“My dad messed my childhood. My mom, I haven’t had a relationship with her for years. Now in my thirties, I still feel that had she listened from the word go, we wouldn’t have gotten that far.”
I ask her about what she thinks should be the biggest life-saving skill that every human should learn. A big loud or a small censored fart. She laughs.
I hug her again and hope adulting helped her.
“It’s one thing to forgive but another to let him pay for his actions. I don’t visit him. I don’t intend to. I have gone through therapy, I have gone through fertility tests and so on. I have since struggled to trust men. I have memories here and there and I still break down 20 years later.
My mom is married and I now have siblings. I really watch out on them. No one deserves to go through what I did. There’s how this kills you inside that you can only hope no one else goes through the same.”
“Big fart, small fart?” I ask, just to make her somehow forget this story.
She laughs again and asks if I’m in a fat fart business as she could send clients my way. It’s time for my next meeting.