I am 12 years old and I know soon old men will start showing interest in me as father is envisioning and I am scared of that fact. I am scared of the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed to enjoy my childhood in peace and educate myself as I want to be a career lady as my teacher has always addressed it .

Young girls in my village have such a short life span which has been laid down for you right from birth marriage, childbirth and death. I have watched my step sisters become widows at early age and others dying at child birth with their dreams being trampled upon. Some acquiring HIV from their old husbands due to multiple sexual partners and the rest old at a very young age and I didn’t want that to happen to me neither did mama.

Mama told me she wouldn’t allow that to happen to me but I know she had less control and no money at all if I should decide to run away. in school I have seen some of my classmates being dragged off during school hours for marriages they are unaware of which has been arranged secretly by their parents with their education coming to an abrupt end .

I have dreams of being a career woman like the lady doctor in the hospital not a baby making machine but now there was little I could do and I wished no man will ever show interest in me but somehow they were starting to pay attention to me as if I had a ripe tag on my forehead indicating I was ready.

Mum said I was pretty and I will grow up to be a beautiful lady only if tradition will allow me to grow, but I was too young to know what beauty really consists of, I always wondered if it was my big lips or long legs and dark ebony skin which makes me pretty I had no idea but hearing it from father who was a man of few words really meant I was pretty. I only overhead it say it once to the farmer who has been looking t me weirdly when my instincts told me he wanted me as his third wife.

I wasn’t proud about my beauty as it will be a hindrance. With My only friend Eli being married off makes me lonely with no one to share my fears with apart from mama. I just wish I knew someone I could run to but my extended families lived in the village with us and leaving was really out of question or so I thought.

Some of the girls who didn’t want to get married flee to the capital city where they will be free but our parents told us most of them are killed by the gods and we would die if we try to run away from tradition. It instilled fear in us and nobody dared mention it as an option.

I had decided on running away myself even after hearing the supposed scary story but when the dead body of a girl who run away was returned to the village for funeral it really got down to me and I only hope someone comes to save me from the claws of tradition which is suffocating my existence.

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