She’s pregnant again. It’s going to be child number five and this time she seems sure it’s finally a boy. She says she feels like it’s bigger and heavier and is sitting lower than the other five. The last one nearly killed us all, and I was hoping that maybe she’s decided to call it quits. But I know and she knows that she doesn’t get to make that decision. They think I’m made of spandex. That I can expand and contract at will, and where I won’t stretch they can tear me and sow me up. Good as new. I’m pretty tired of all this. I want to catch a break. Maybe for a year or ten, where people just leave me alone. She doesn’t bother much with me, to be honest. It’s everyone else that I’m sick and tired of. I was pleased when we went to see a doctor, a real one with a degree and a stethoscope and everything. With clean hands and a gentle voice. But she took one look at me and her face changed. She murmured something to Leila-I couldn’t hear what, but it sounded serious. It was a bit weird being out there in the open. I want to say I enjoyed the rush of cool air from the fan in the room, but it’s such an unfamiliar feeling I didn’t know what to make of it. It was nice to be looked at though. And to get some attention. I heard birth control mentioned, and if I had hands I would clap. If I had lips I would whistle. If I had lips…But then it’s hard to miss what you never had right? Maybe they’re overrated. I heard Leila and some other women at the village talk about women in the cities, in the big towns and across the sea. Apparently they don’t cut anything off. They have all this stuff all over the place. They say it’s dirty to have all that, and all the women with Leila spit in disgust. Good thing I’m not dirty, I think. Maybe it’s easier to manage without all the stuff. Maybe all the stuff that’s cut off interferes with childbirth, I don’t know. There must be a good reason why it’s done, otherwise why would they do it? I don’t even remember how it felt when they cut the stuff off. No one recounts it really. Maybe that’s a good thing. The children are asleep, and I can hear his heavy footsteps approaching. I don’t know how big the pregnancy is at this stage-maybe he will leave us alone if it looks really big. I wish she would distend her stomach so that it looks big and he leaves us alone. They’re talking. No, it’s still early in the pregnancy so here goes. I wish people would just leave us alone. Me especially.
Thank the gods of good sense she’s wearing cotton today. Whoever invented thongs should be hung by one. Oh it’s the granny panties. Period panties. I don’t get why the period is a reason not to put on the nice panties. Although I have to say on the face of a pad, a thong is highly impractical. I am glad it is cotton but the tight jeans aren’t helping much at all. It’s such a hot day. And I wish she would just stop shaving me. I know she found some of his porn and all she saw was shaved ones but for goodness sakes, this is becoming unbearable. The razor bumps are irritating and I feel so moody. And cold. It felt nice with the hair still on. But I guess if Jimmy doesn’t like it then neither does she. But nobody asks me, no one. All these things are done to me but no one pays attention to my complaints. It’s been six days since I had thrush, but no, out come the razors and the thongs as soon as the period is over. For a smart woman Karen has this incredible inability of listening to what he body is telling her. I love it when I bleed, because I get some peace. No shaving, poking or prodding of any kind, and warm fuzzy cotton granny panties. If it wouldn’t kill Karen I’d bleed everyday just to get some peace. And that Jimmy needs to go. All that porn watching has him thinking that I’m ready to go as soon as he pinches her nipple. The last time was especially painful and had me bruised for a week. Maybe two. It’s hard to tell between the endless poking and the thrush in between. I wish someone would tell her that this is not how it should be. I have no idea how it should, but I know that this is not it. I am sure of that. Yes Jimmy is her first and she doesn’t want to be known as a slut, but really Karen? Really? Quit this before you kill us both with pain and thrush. Oh thank goodness she’s going to visit her family in the village for a month. She can’t let her mum find her thongs so it’s granny pantie month! Hallelujah! And no Jimmy either. Holiday, here I come!
Oh God I smell so bad. But Tafa knows how to sit just so that people don’t catch a whiff. I know it’s no one’s fault that there aren’t any pads in these parts, but truth be told, even if there were pads she couldn’t afford them anyway. The torn towel strips will have to suffice. I’m glad she’s not staying away from school because of this, smart girl. Plus it’s the story of every other girl here so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I hate it when I bleed. It’s so stuffy, and the smell…I hate the smell. She’s on her second to last day so this will be over soon. Oooooh Tafa likes someone! She’s been having those dreams that make me moisten up in the middle of the night. She cries when she wakes up and finds me wet. Then she curses me and asks God what’s wrong with her. I wish she could speak to someone. She likes her science teacher a lot, maybe she should talk to her, and find that it’s normal. I can’t help myself, she’s the one that dreams those dreams and I just react accordingly. Anyway, maybe she will learn one day. Good thing her mother is not suspicious because she would be in for a beating for sure. One day, I don’t know what Tafa and the rest of them were doing, but she tore her school uniform, and you can imagine there was hell to pay. Her mother went at her with a leather belt, and in Tafa’s attempts at dodging the lashes, I caught the sting of the buckle. It was excruciating, and I bled a little. And I’m not looking forward to another beating, and neither is Tafa I hope. Okay here come some of her friends, it’s lunch time I think. Most of the girls when on their periods sit together a bit further from the rest and have their lunch there. Tafa and some girls are sitting under a tree and sharing their lunch. Wait, what’s going on. I’m moistening up! Maybe it’s the period…no it’s not, this is definitely arousal! So whoever Tafa has been dreaming of is right here! I wish I had eyes to see her! It is a her…Tafa aren’t you full of surprises! Don’t you worry girl, your secret is safe with me.
Alois-33-Democratic Republic of Congo
Bottles, spoons, sticks and stones-name it. Just name it. The butt of a gun too. And a maize cob. You know how people say they have seen it all? Well I have. I don’t have eyes, but I have seen it all. All of it. There’s nothing you can show me, or put inside me that will make me wonder what is going on. That’s the thing with being me, in a place like this. People think I am a letter box, a pigeon hole, a place where you put things that you don’t like, or things that you don’t want to see. Me, I have seen it all. And I don’t even live in the bad parts, I just end up in the wrong places at the wrong times. I must have been 12 the first time something was forced inside me. That really hurt. No warning, no time to lubricate, no pleasure. From then on the number and type of things that were forced inside me changed. Alois is a prostitute now. People say she should be called a sex worker. But the truth is that some of the things they do to me have nothing to do with sex. And definitely nothing to do with pleasure. I’m used to it now. So is Alois. It was the group of policemen and their guns that I think killed all feeling inside me. It was one thing to have all those men take turns with me for days. It was another thing to have them put their guns inside me. There was one that liked to do that-put things inside me. To see how far I can stretch. There was a big, cold, brown, empty bottle of beer that he was forcing inside me, when gunfire saved me. Ha! Saved by gunfire. That is funny. People like Alois. Because of the little feeling I have now, Alois is not picky. Anyone will do. And anyone can do anything. I hear there are people far away that have meetings and talk about what happens to us, to me. I don’t know what it changes because nothing has changed for me. The sun is going down. It will be time to go work soon. Alois has three children that she must send money home for. She has not seen them in many years. But the letters tell her they are fine. She does not know who their fathers are. I don’t think she cares. But she still provides for them. Well, I provide for them. But we are one and the same yes? I have to go. The customers are coming.
This fucking shit again? Again!? He’s been fucking around again that fucking bastard. The last time the doctor said that if I catch this one more time Etta is going to loose her eggs. Something like that. Won’t have kids or something like that. It sounds cruel but with the fucking shit that she has to put up with from that asshole, maybe losing her eggs is a good thing. She can’t bring kids into this mess. Why the fuck won’t she listen to me? Ek verstan nie. This has been going on for nine fucking years now. He stopped the beating and knocking her around and shit, but now with the fucking cheating? I don’t know what is worse. Maybe I’m being selfish because the sickness affects me more than the beatings did…but still. Everyone has told her that she deserves better than this idiot, but apparently the heart wants what it wants. Such fucking bullshit. I want to spend a year without itching the walls off myself and smelling like this. That’s what I want. And what I want makes everyone happy. It so strange that for something that people go through a lot of shit for, no one seems to care what’s going on with me ek se. People don’t see the connection ne? Between me and fucking global warming. Okay so maybe not global warming, but almost everything else. Let’s say for a second that we formed a union. Yes a fucking union. Then we all went on strike and say no kids are coming out of here, not one baby. Not one. Yeah let’s see what the world does then ek se. Let’s see. In fact, when I think of it that way, we have a lot to do with global warming after all! All these people were forced to produce affect the ozone or something right? I fucking knew we had something to do with global warming! I hope he’s travelled for work. I hope his car crashes and he gets amnesia and he forgets Etta. I hope Etta gets fucking amnesia too. I’m sick of this.