African StoriesKenyan StoriesLife and General Fiction StoriesShort Stories

Is It A Crime That I Bleed?

Fear. Shame. Regret. Ten years under the earth’s scorching sun and I never knew blood could be unaccompanied by a wound. And wounds bring pain. Pain brings along fear. And fear brings shame. Why is it possible that I am ashamed of the fear in my thoughts? Or maybe the shame is from the tears that do not tear.

Sometimes crying is the only way I let my mind scream when my lips are too numb to utter words in defense. The silent screams. But courageous girls do not let their tears seen; they stare at the skies to let rays vapourise their grief while tears flow back into the stomach, deep, where the salty waters reflect bitter memories inside.

The ten years under the sun gave me enough experience to learn how to clean up wounds, never to own up wounds. See, I put few drops of surgical spirit in a piece of cotton to try nurse the wound between my thighs. I sigh and regret, my voice melancholic, my imaginations alcoholic. And the wound won’t stop bleeding.

Who hurt me?

I hate the pain of knives in my stomach, tearing up my intestines. Is it because I didn’t deworm lately that Sir Tapeworm cuts the inner me into pieces? See, I am sorry for myself that I can’t reach the scars that give too much blood oozing.

Random boys in my class think that it is funny I just sit and the chair pierces my behind, so that’s why my dress is blood stained. No, I can’t blame them. Teacher always said that if you sit for too long, chairs grow nails. But that was then.

Random girls in my class think that if I put on a long bandage, perhaps my wounds will heal and the scars will not be seen. We always did that when we hurt. But I’m not hurt.

Mother said it happens because I am a woman. No, I can’t buy that. I’m just ten. And women are grown ups who have children like aunties. She says it always happen every month. But how is it, because I swear I never saw any stained dress before?

See, I am scared because I’m told I should never play with boys again. Or maybe, it is them that injure girl’s stomachs so they bleed? But daddy always sleep with mummy to defend her from nightmares at night. Does she also bleed? Is daddy too bad to pierce her so her dress too is stained?

Menstration. Frustration. Deep conversations. I hate that maturity has to steal so much innocence from me. That I have guilt tattooed at the back of my dress. That blood is a living, breathing thing. Yet put together between my legs it becomes a beast. A beast I am going to learn how to tame for the rest of the years.
I am sorry I messed up. Though next time you found me in this unspeakable tragedy, don’t let tears set a wide rift between me and my survival. I don’t apologize I was born a girl. I only asked if it is wrong that I bleed.

Support a girl. Pay for her sanitary towels.

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