by Nana Ama Gyasiwaa Asare

She felt as light as a feather as the wind moved her frail body in whichever direction it wanted her to go. Her mind was in turmoil. She had so many questions in her head -- questions she could not ask. She was afraid of the answers she might get. She was afraid she was not going to get any answers. Asibi rubbed her hands in her black hair as she walked down the path that led to her house. She walked as though she had been hypnotized by an unknown force. She stared blankly ahead and tried hard to fight back the tears. She failed. A lone tear snaked it's way across her cheeks. She wiped it with the back of her hand. She felt a sting in between her legs. She winced. She wished she could just vanish and reappear in the comfort of her bed, safe and far away from where pain could reach. Her adrenal glands were over working. She broke out into a sweat and felt her heart thumping wildly. Then she ran. She ran in no particular direction. She had no destination in mind. The village was empty. The villagers were gathered at the market square waiting for the new women to arrive. The stray goats left her path as she approached with speed. Asibi had never ever in her sixteen years of existence thought this day would turn out this way.

A special day was coming, her mother had told her when Asibi saw the sight of blood in her underwear six market days ago. She was going to be made whole on that day, at least that was what her mother told her. She anticipated the day with great joy. If she had known the horror that awaited her, she would have fled the village. But no! Asibi was ignorant of the pain which came with being a complete woman. Her elder sister, Adiza, had looked at her with pity written all over her face earlier that morning. She had told Asibi to be strong and she had wondered what she would be needing that strength for. The day indeed turned out to be special because on that day her trust was betrayed.

On that special morning, her mother woke her up earlier than usual and told her she was sending her on an errand. Despite her pleas that her elder sister be sent, her mother insisted on sending her. With a frown on her face and sucking air through her teeth, she completed her chores and set of for her grandmother's house with a basket balanced on her head. Unknown to her, she was carrying the basket of doom. Though she was in no mood to walk the long distance, she consoled herself with the fact that she would get cooked guinea fowl eggs to eat at her grandmother's end.

Asibi was surprised to see so many people at her grandmother's house. There were people sitting in a circle in the middle of the compound drumming and dancing. Fear gripped her heart. Several thoughts run through her head. Was her grandmother dead? she wondered. Like an answer to her thoughts, her grandmother came out from one of the rooms and saw Asibi. Asibi greeted her with relief and gave the basket to her grandmother. Right at that point, she heard a shriek coming from one of the rooms. It was very piercing. Her instincts told her to run. Just as she turned, two strong hands out of nowhere grabbed her and pinned her arms to her back. She looked at her grandmother who did nothing to save her from the heavyset man holding her. Her grandmother ordered the man to take her to the room she had heard the scream come from. She had her first taste of betrayal there and then. Asibi knew her pleas were not going to be heard. Even her father's ghost was not going to save her. It finally dawned on her. Her flesh was going to be cut. The drumming and dancing was to drown screams of pain which was coming from the room. The man handed her over to three women in the room. They pinned Asibi down onto the table and one was practically sitting on her chest. They shoved a dirty cloth into her mouth to prevent her from screaming. They blindfolded her but not before she caught sight of a very sharp knife with blood dripping from the blade-the blood of other girls. She felt a sharp pain and it was all over. She had been cut. Blood oozed down her thighs and the cut felt raw. Her flesh had been cut. She caught sight of her grandmother and she noticed with disgust that the old lady was smiling.

"Mrs. Andani...Madam...", she hears a voice call out. She feels a warm hand on her arm. Asibi snaps back to the present. She is facing a man in a white coat. Then she remembers. It is a Monday morning. Ken, her husband, had practically forced her to see a shrink.

"What did you say doc?", Asibi asks the shrink. She could not really place a finger on what they were talking about.

The doctor sighs. "I asked you to tell me what you think may be wrong with your marriage...especially your sex life", the psychologist repeats.

Asibi has that blank look on her face again and stares at her hands whiles fidgeting with her fingers. The doctor waits patiently for her answer. As though she has been spellbound, she slowly rises from her chair and walks towards the door. The doctor knows this session is going to end like the rest. He removes his glasses in frustration. Just as Asibi reaches for the door knob, she turns and heads back to the table.

She draws in a deep breath and lets it out loudly. "I am what is wrong." she says cooly. The shrink nods in a bid to encourage her to say more.

"What was to make me whole made me..." she continues and leaves her sentence hanging. Then she walks towards the door and opens the door. She stands in the doorway for about ten seconds.

"....incomplete!" she said almost shouting. Then she walks out of the door.

Nana Ama Gyasiwaa Asare .