Leave Her Alone!

I still cannot believe what I did. How could i be so mean? She really loved to be around me and was proud to call me her friend. I mean, she’s just too young for such a trauma and I shouldn’t have betrayed her. She trusted me for everything………

My family and I were used to moving from one state to another and yet again, it was time to move to the north. Though my siblings and I were used to not being stable in a school but this movement came all of a sudden.

Hadiza happened to be the daughter of mallam Hamza the sweet seller who owned a mini, tattered and smelly kiosk across our house (but it didn’t bother him – it was just to make ends meet). Hadiza was pretty ma age mate or I was a little older. She seemed to be very fond of me that whenever I returned from school she always came out of their kiosk with so much eagerness and expectant to hear an interesting gist that happened in my school (whether fabricated or not) since she attended an Islamic school very close to the house and to her there was barely anything new happening each day that passes. Lest i forget, Hadiza loves beads. She  actually inspired my love for beads because no matter how torn and smelly her clothes looked, there was always the right bead for it and she was willing to make some for me whether I was in the mood for it or not. She also was good at filling her hands with sweets from mallam Hamza’s shop all for me. Humm…I loved her. We got used to having her around   my house and that prompted the idea of letting out my clothes especially dresses, which I dreaded to wear except for Sundays or when my mother enforces them on me. On the other hand, Hadiza loved to wear dresses; easy way to let go of my dresses and truth was she loved me more for letting them go.

As time went on, she became my best friend but one day, I had a couple of my school friends come around to sleep over for the weekend. Hadiza came around but this time she really needed to talk to me but I was ashamed to show her to ma friends for fear of them making fun of me. She left my house sad and so I was. Sad because i made her less important in my life; I never knew I would never have an opportunity to see her again. How could I have sent out a girl who knew me for who I was? I was eagerly waiting for the weekend to be over for me to find out what or why she came around.

The new week began and i couldn’t wait to see her. I really was burning with guilt and I needed to make every wrongs right; but unfortunately her mom gave me the shocker of my life.  In her words, she said: “Hadiza e go husband house for kano”. WHAT!!!! She’s just 12. She can’t be married!!! I guess that was what she wanted to tell me before leaving. I also heard the wedding was that afternoon she came around.OMG! I guess that was what she needed me to know- I really felt I sold my friend out for no cause.

Few years down, I gained admission into the university which meant I had to be away from home for a while but at that, even while I was at school thoughts of her kept coming to me, how she was fairing. The holidays came and I just couldn’t wait to find out about her were about. I got home and her mom again told me she was already with kids but she has been ill for a while due to the complications she faced during delivery. And she was going to be the 8th wife of this so-called business man! I was not able to see my friend but i ponder on when the problem of early marriage would end in Nigeria. There are many people like Hadiza who never survived their first child. It’s about time we stand up to defend these young girls from untimely death. It’s about time…..

#ChildnotBride

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