Shhh, do not talk. Do not speak of this to anyone. You are all right. You are fine. You are still a virgin.
I closed my eyes, as my mother bathed me in scalding hot water. Scrubbing. Scrubbing. Scrubbing. Especially down there…down where I felt his flesh enter me forcefully, tearing my skin until it felt like I was going to die.
I wish I’d died, but I didn’t.
He’d gotten off of me, kissed me on the top of my head and called me gurriya*, like he always did. And I loved him. Oh, how much I loved him.
He was after all the only man who cared to play a significant role in my life.
He was my mother’s sister’s husband.
He was my uncle.
And he was the only man who loved me.
The water in the bathtub is bright red. I cannot stop bleeding.
I look at my mother’s face, tear-stricken and worn out from crying so much. Her kohl made straight streaks on her cheeks, and her lipstick made her lips look like a clown’s. I wanted to laugh but I was in too much agony.
How could you let this happen? Tell me, how?!
I don’t know. I thought he wanted to play with me when he told me I had ghosts in my clothes. I know he was teasing, but I still got scared. You know how scared I am of jinns.
B-But you are eight years old! You are not a stupid child! You should have just come to me. But you didn’t. You listened to him. You lured him. And now you’re violated. Stained. Torn. Who will marry you now? I will have to lie. Yes, I will lie and say you put a tampon in the wrong way. They will believe me. Yes, yes, they will believe me.
What will happen to him?
Nothing will happen to him. He will carry on with his life, with my blind-sighted sister and their two children. They will all pretend like nothing happened.
You know, he cradled me the day I was born.
He was the first man to hold me in his arms, when my father didn’t care the day he found out he was expecting me — a girl; a daughter. I never mattered, even though I was merely just a fetus inside my mother’s womb.
But my uncle. He cared. He called me, “daughter.”
But, it was a lie.
It was all a big, fucking lie.