Prose Poetry

My Dirtiest Secret

I shivered as the cool breeze from the evening brushed my skin
The trees swayed from left to right in the same manner as if rehearsed
Birds perched from one tree to another as they sang independently and melodiously
Tranquility and serenity engulfed the atmosphere but my mind was in great turmoil
I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Buba approach me with rage burning in his eyes
He flung his hand and pulled at my hair as he barked loudly at me with a heavy slap across my face
My linen blouse tore from the pressure of his hold on it as he dragged me into the house
I coughed out blood as I tried to explain to my uncle that I was innocent
And blameless of all the accusations he made against me, but my mouth went dry
Tears welled up in my eyes and fear gripped me as I watched him unbuckle his belt
Realization dawned on me that what I feared the most was about to happen again which I could not prohibit
I succumbed in pain and helplessness as he got his satiety at my expense
He moaned in satisfaction as he relieved himself while I gnashed my teeth in agony
More batterings and imprecations followed suit after he had had his fill on me
Then leaving me to lament shamelessly in self pity and disgust
This had always been predominant anytime Buba came back home
I had nowhere to go to and no one to run to, I couldn’t leave Buba, he was the only relative I had

I awoke to the morning crow of the cock with a throbbing headache
Buba’s yell jerked me out of the mat I laid on at the corner of the room
And I ran to answer his call with wobbly legs and unbalanced movement
He struck my head hard with his fist and complained of my excessive sleeping
I endured the ache and grieved at how little time I had left to sleep after labouring all through the day
He looked at me furiously, I immediately hurried to begin my ever numerous duties of the day
Failure to do his biddings and orders would provoke more of his wrath and fire
I picked up a calabash and rushed down the lonely road with my head hung down and shoulders falling
I arrived the stream to find other maidens like me but apparently they were happier and disburdened
A step closer to the stream and I scooped with my calabash a generous fill but some water spilled on the feet of a fair complexioned maiden beside me
I tried to send my apologies but she wasted no time to flare up in anger
Ranting and cursing like a wounded lion and other maidens joined in to humiliate me
Derogatory remarks were made towards me and I was called an outcast…
“Was I really an outcast? If not, why was I treated as one?” I asked myself in agony
The bellowings ceased at the sound of a voice, loud and gentle, it sounded divine
Every maiden turned to find a young handsome man standing confidently beside an opepe tree
“Why do you prosecute the young lady?” he asked with a placid voice
The hearts of the maidens were instantly drawn to him as they gazed at lustfully
How could a man be this striking, long-legged and with broad shoulders?
He politely dismissed the other ladies and strode up to me with an aura of confidence

I trembled in fear for what he planned to do to me or force me to do
No one had ever defended or fought for me, he could not have done that without asking for something in return
He stretched his big right hand towards me for a handshake with a broad smile planted on his face
I hesitated but the calmness of his eyes brought me out of my shell
I placed my right palm on his outstretched palm and immediately felt soothed in my nerves
“My name is Pawel, and you, my lady?”
His name rang in my head unending
And wait, did he just address me as his lady? Pink coloured my cheek
I uttered my name in a very low pitch that I was surprised he heard it
And remarked on what a beautiful name I had, which no one had ever told me before
Then he carried my calabash of water and volunteered to help me with it to my house
I was dumbstruck, I could not speak, I stared at him in shock
“How was it possible for a man as honorable and noble as he was offer to help me carry my calabash of water?”
I refused vehemently and tried to collect my calabash from him with the intention of fleeing
But he did not budge, he still persisted and pleaded with sincere eyes that were incredibly irresistible
I gave up, then began to walk the path I had earlier trod while he followed with the calabash on his shoulder
He divulged numerous things to me, interesting, inspiring and amusing
I listened with rapt attention to his words and laughed so hard at his jokes
We talked about so many things, the town, the city, the weather, people and nature. He was highly knowledgeable
I could hardly remember when last I truly felt exuberant and cheerful
As soon as we arrived at my uncle’s house, I withdrew the calabash from his hands and dropped it at my feet
I thanked him profusely for his help with a genuine smile adorning my face
He smiled sweetly and brushed a strand of hair from my face, that single act made me shudder
“You are like a beautiful wild flower, my lady and it’s my pleasure to help you”
My cheek suffused with a blush, my eyes revealed coyness and I remained reticent
He turned around and left quietly, I stood watching his departing figure as I soon realized that happiness had left me

My heart kept for joy as I saw him the next day sitting at the foot of a tree at the stream
He walked straight to me with a warm smile when he saw me, I smiled back sheepishly
I could feel the stinging peering eyes of the other maidens on us as we talked and laughed
I was happy for once in my life, Pawel had brought a ray of sunlight to my seemingly dark life
Our relationship blossomed like a wild flower planted by the riverside
He became my rock which I leaned on for comfort and consolations during my sad days After the loss of my parents at a tender age, I was left alone with my father’s unmarried brother
I had never felt loved in my life but now I was beginning to have a taste of love
Its taste was pleasant in my heart and I could not get enough of it
Pawel became my muse and delight, I was smitten and captivated by the love he freely gave
Anytime I looked into his eyes, I was consumed by the tenderness it expressed
He caressed and cuddled me lovingly, making me feel cherished and treasured
If all these were only a show of pretense then he was the greatest actor ever lived
He attended to my every needs and desires like they were his main priority
Everyday I hoped and prayed to God that I never lose him
Because life itself would be worse than hell if that happened
I told Pawel everything about my life and how my uncle treated me unfairly, this made him even more concerned about me
He pleaded with me to elude with him or allow him meet my uncle but I refused because I knew my uncle would kill us
Our meetings were still in secret for Buba must never find out about him
I still hid one thing from Pawel, my dirtiest secret which still occurred regularly alongside the batterings
But I was convinced that someday I would tell him when I am bolder and stronger to face his abandonment.

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