Oct 8, 2009, 5:56 AM
Assiyatou was just wed to an old man old enough to be her father. She did everything within her might to escape such a misfortune, but to no avail.
It was her wedding night and Pa Ousman her husband, leaned back on his wooden chair; eyelids closed as he chewed on a bitter cola. As he munched on the bitter cola, some of its juice escaped from his mouth and ran down his chin. He used the back of his hand to wipe it. He lazily got up, languorously stretched his plump being and took three strides toward Assiyatou.
She was sitting at the far corner of the house and taking a few unconscious nods before she heard him grunting. She violently got up and sat up straight.
Heart racing, she brought her arms around her knees and anticipated her misfortune. He leaped onto her and forcefully pulled her towards him. She struggled, but he pinned her down with his weight. She bit the underside of his fat cheek before he could reach for her knickers. He gave a loud scream and rained insults on her in different incomprehensible languages. Still breathing down on her with his bad breath and yellowing teeth, she managed to push half of his weight aside and kicked him in the groin. He groaned helplessly and slumped on the hard cemented floor. She made for the door and unlatched the lock. She ran as if the devil himself was pursuing her.
When she reached a bend in the middle of the night, she stopped and panted; clinging onto dear life. If she were in her parents' house, she would be tucked in bed and never even think of going this far in the dead of the night, and alone for that matter, she thought. She had to, to save her life, she told herself. Quickly, she looked left and right and took to her heels again. She didn't know where to go, but she knew that she wasn't going back, not even to her parents. They would send her back to her matrimonial home and never want to talk to her again after the shame she had brought upon them.
She heard scary wails like that of a young banshee's, but that didn't stop her. As one of the fastest sprinters in her village, Assiyatou didn't get tired. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her.
Tired and spent, she stopped at the foot of a big tree. She sat down and quickly fell asleep.
It was at the crack of dawn when Nasira an old woman was going to the forest to fetch firewood. She immediately stopped when she saw Assiyatou at the foot of the tree. She immediately took a liking to her as she admired her angelic face. She watched her sleep with mouth slightly opened.
As if by instinct, she noticed that someone was watching her sleep and woke up.
Nasira was kind to her and Assiyatou explained her plight to her. Nasira who was once a victim of early marriage understood and decided to take her in as her own daughter.