Bound by chains 2

By Khulekani

She was like a lost sheep. Wondering in the wilderness of her turmoil with no shepherd to rescue her. Her life had become a pallet of troubles, a dumping site for any extra cruelty that the world had nowhere to place. Was there ever going to be light at the end of the tunnel in her life. The darkness and sombreness proved to be endless.


Married off to an old gold panner and living in the shacks of the Domboshava area, Patricia grappled with this new chapter of her life. An ever unavailable husband, who only came twice per week to scold and beat her up was the cycle she was now used to. It did not even occur to the man he had a human in his household to take care of. To him, it was an object he just married to satisfy his sexual cravings and leave on to enjoy his life and proceedings he got from the rivers of Mberengwa. At home in Domboshava, Patricia had become best friends with hunger and sitting on a rising popularity platform as a certified beggar. The husband did not want her to go out to work.


With a few dollars she borrowed from her next door neighbor, the desperate young woman managed to make a call to her maternal aunt. She had only heard of her existence but the two had never exchanged words in person before. Upon receiving a call from her “lost” daughter, mama Grace sounded delighted and said she would arrange for Patricia to run away and join her in Harare where she stays. Finally, the heavens had smiled down on Patricia and she was soon to leave her den of lions. She happily packed her bags, left a note to her husband not to look for her because she would be safe where she would be and took the first bus on a Saturday morning headed for Harare.


Mama Grace warmly welcomed her into her home and ushered her into the new chapter of her life. For the first time in ages Patricia started to dream again. She was finally going to go back to school, get her degree and go on to do the profession she had wished to do. She became very excited at this silent realization. However, the stars had already painted a different story for her destiny. The chains that had seemingly gone off were to bind her again.


It first of all started from Patricia being forbidden to wear certain clothes. The reason, which was noble enough was that she would seduce Mama Grace’s husband. Patricia however complied to all the rules that she was given. She had become  an unpaid maid for the household, waking up at four in the morning and being the last person to turn of the kitchen light at twelve midnight after having wrestled the biggest pile of dishes. Mama Grace had two other daughters who were not allowed to do any work around the house. As if that was not enough, Patricia was not allowed to go to school. This shattered the only dream that she had hoped to achieve. Rivers of sorrow would flow down her cheeks all day long. The heavens had turned their faces off her. Again.


One day, Patricia had been left home cleaning when her uncle walked in on her. He began to touch her, fondling her breasts and saying how much he had been admiring her ever since she came into the household. The man grabbed her forcefully as she tried to escape and raped the powerless soul which just lay down crying in pain. He then threatened her never to tell anyone or else something bad would happen to her.


Patricia cried everyday but kept the secret concealed as she feared what would happen. Months passed and she could no longer hide the belly which had now grown. Mama Grace noticed it, confronted her, beat her up for lying about her husband and send her back to her grandfather who scolded her again for leaving her husband in the first place.


Stuck with a human being growing in her belly and nowhere to go, she looked up to the evening sky crying. She was on her own against the world. In her mental state of confusion, she stood up and walked not knowing where she was headed. All she could think of leaving…

15 March, 2023