he never saw beauty so deformed. as he cuddled her warmly, both of them listening to joshua kadison sing: You’re my peace of mind/In this crazy world/You’re everything I’ve tried to find/Your love is a pearl/You’re my Mona Lisa/You’re my rainbow skies/And my only prayer is that you realize…/You’ll always be beautiful in my eye,[1] he remembered how he saw her as she lay on a bed, for the first time three years ago. first he saw only her beauty, and was blinded by it. hugged by the silk bed-sheet, she had the most beautiful body he had ever imagined. the silk bedsheet was slightly off her shoulder revealing one breast. he stood immobile and speechless, looking at her, his face half-smiling with wonder. he has never seen a body look so stunning under a bed-sheet. he caught a whiff of her perfume – gentle and sweet like her. she smelt him – masculine, musky, and woody. then the memories came flooding back: the old woman takes the stone from the fire and then presses it against her breast – she screams a blood-curdling scream. she feels her breast go weak, and start to melt like fat. then she feels the breast retreat into her body …

what will he think when he sees my nipple? my breast? my body? she could tell he wanted her, but as he went towards her, she lifted her hands in a little pleading movement. he looked at her face, and stopped.

her big black eyes were watching him like a doe caught in a trap, only she was still and resigned and loving. she lay as if she had given herself up to sacrifice. he couldn’t imagine what it would be like. he had no past recollections of cosummation. he was confused – there was her body for him, but the look in her eyes, like that of a creature awaiting immolation, arrested him, and all his blood flowed back.

            “are you sure you want me?” he cleared his throat.

            “yes.” she said it so sharply, he didn’t know what to make of it. if he wasn’t looking at her he wouldn’t have known the response came from her.

he has heard this could be painful. but she was very quiet, very calm – like she was used to pain. did she just only realize that she was doing this only for him? the thought made his heart ache. this was her – the one he loved with all his heart. he had waited and preserved himself for her all his life. in spite of his own sacrifice, he couldn’t bear the thought that she was lying on the bed to be sacrificed for him because she loved him so much. and he must sacrifice her – she was asking him to.

she pulled the sheet back and revealed both breasts – one was larger than the other. the smaller one had an inverted nipple. his body went cold. the tear welled up in her eyes when she noticed his reaction. it was fleeting, but she caught it. she had mentally prepared herself for this moment. like they say, your thoughts become you. but she became her thoughts from childhood. he stood impaled in one spot wishing he was sexless or dead. she looked at him and the memories came flooding back: “we are going somewhere,” she whispers. she is just six years old. she is blindfolded. she can smell the leaves, the dirt, and everything around. she knows they are no longer in a home setting. she can hear loud drumming and older women singing songs she is too young to understand. she can also hear other kids crying out in pain … they drag her to a fence covered with leaves, and they take the blindfold off. she can see the other girls bleeding and sobbing in pain. she sees an old woman holding a knife so sharp she can see the drops of blood sliding down the edge. it is the blood of the other girls. six women stand over her pinning her to the bed, one sitting on her chest, covering her mouth as the knife holder begins to cut her. the cutter hold on to her clitoris, cuts it and scrapes everything else that come with it — all of the labia. all the while, their faces are devoid of emotions – empty, like she is not a human being. no anesthetic is used … in spite of the strength of the women pinning her down, her body instinctively convulses, causing deeper and longer incisions.

 thankfully the cutting is very fast, but the pain is indescribable – they just cut away the part of her body with the most nerve endings. then everything went black. she is woken up by the screams of the other girls being cut – including her one-year old sister. after all the girls in her group are cut, they leave them to bleed into little dirt holes for hours. finally, when it becomes dark, they are taken to the home of the cutter and crowded into one room to heal …

she smiled tearfully and threw the bed-sheet back fully, she was ebony naked. he couldn’t bring himself to look at her womanhood a second time. he shut his eyes, and his blood flowed back again – he never saw beauty so deformed.

Copyright © Fani-Kayode Omoregie 2016

[1] Kadison, Joshua. (1994). Beautiful in My Eyes. Painted Desert Serenade. Capitol, SBK.

LET’S STOP/FIGHT FGM.

Read this and other stories from my collection of short stories – Deuces.