“Shhh” Mama shushed me, placing her index finger to the centre of her mouth. She dragged me away from Martha’s door, leading me to my room.
She sat with me on the bed, saying nothing. I looked into her eyes to see if she was as shocked as I was, but I saw nothing, not anger, not pain, not betrayal, not disappointment. We kept staring at each other.
She knew. I shook my head in disbelief.
She knew all along. I used the back of my hand to clear my vision.
How can she know and do nothing. I stared blankly at her, waiting for an explanation.
“You must tell no one about this. Do you hear me? No one must know about it.” It sounded more like a warning. She drew me close to her bosom.
I stared at the frame on the wall.
‘Lilies’. I whispered, closing my eyes to hold back the tear that is starting to build up in my eyes.
“He likes them young.” That was all she said for me to understand.
“That could be me.” My voice sounded croaky.
“Don’t worry, I will keep you safe. I promise. Let him have his fun while he can.”
I bit at my tongue to know if the pain would wake me up and I would wake up in my bed, drenched of sweat from the nightmare.
“Please, tell me this is all a dream. Mama, wake me up.” I sniffed back the tears even as my voice trembled.
“Shhh. It is enough.” She kept rubbing my back as if it will take away the anger I feel. She drew me back a little, “Now, this is what you will do. You will stand up and clean yourself up and be the good girl you have always been.”
She walked to the door, turned the knob, “I will be in the kitchen if you need me.” She closed the door behind her, gently.
I dragged myself into the bathroom scrubbing my body than usual. I got tired of scrubbing when I realized the memories of what I saw would obviously not leave me. I allowed the water pour from my head down to my feet till they began to feel numb and the tears I’ve been holding got washed away with the water.
Now I understand why Mama keeps changing the girls with her and why we keep moving for one place to the other. This time won’t be different.
I walked into the kitchen to see Mama putting something into her back pocket.
“I’m here.” Mama fidgeted when she heard me.
“I promised you, didn’t I?” she placed the food on a tray. “Get me a glass cup and a bottle of water.”
I watched her back as she carried her husband’s food out of the kitchen, wondering how she would save me and the other innocent girls from the hand of a predator she calls a husband.