TW // Microaggression, Premeditated Harm
Date: December 20th, 2019
This is my first time writing on or even owning one. I guess you should feel privileged or something. My mum says I’m so secretive and that I should hang out with friends more often. The thing is, I don’t want to. People are stupid. I prefer being alone, just me and the countless universes in my head. But at the same time, I know I need to get a lot of things off my chest, to talk to someone (or something), hence your coming about. So, whether you like it or not, dude, we’re stuck together. From now on, you’ll be my best friend and most trusted confidant.
So how’s this done? I merely know how to initiate a chat with my colleagues; I wonder how I’ll keep up conversation with you. I know we can work something out though. So, no hurries.
Hmm. I just laughed now. I just realized my life has gotten so weird, to the point that I’ve made my longest conversation in a long while with a book. I told you we’ll work something out.
My name is Chibusomma Anyasi. My mum and every other person that has ever known me has shortened it to “Somma”. When I asked why, my mum told me that my beauty was too radiant that it spoke volumes of my personality than my voice ever did, hence “Somma”, which means “just beautiful”. I’m 15 years, very petite, currently in my first year of senior secondary school. I’m generally considered to be very gentle, calm and reserved. Like I mentioned earlier, I hate being in the company of other people. I recently accepted that I’ll always be different from the rest of the world and it has never disturbed me. My personality has given people the notion that I can barely harm a fly. It didn’t seem possible that this very shy small girl could be guilty of anything.
Another notable thing you should know about me is that I belong to one of the many overlooked minorities in this country; I’m an albino. Being albino has somewhat become more like a curse to me than a physical condition. Despite having to deal with my crossed eyes, sensitive skin and photophobia, I also had to endure discrimination and stigmatization from classmates and extended families, particularly from my dad’s side. Among my dad’s siblings, I’m considered a witch, a demon.
But the truth, dear diary, is; I’M A MONSTER.
Yes, Diary. I really am. I have done terrible things. I’ve razed down buildings, I’ve been the cause of domestic accidents, I’ve wrongly implicated people in both small and serious crimes; and yes, dear diary, I’ve killed people. All these I’ve done without even being considered a suspect, thanks to the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian Police Force. Like I said, it didn’t seem possible that this very shy small pale-coloured girl could be guilty of anything.
Do I love who I am now? I kind of do. I like to think that I was forced to be this. I’ve always hated being looked at with pity because of my size or with disgust, because of my condition. It made me feel I was weak and I hate being considered weak. It meant me a prey for bullies. I should know. I was always a victim back in primary school.
There was this girl then who wouldn’t let me be – Dabere. She always found a reason to make me the laughing stock of the class. I hated her. When I’m on my own, Dabere and her squad would slap my ear from behind and pretend they weren’t the ones; everyone would laugh. If I wanted to sit, Dabere would remove my chair and I would fall to the floor; everyone would laugh. If I was passing by Dabere’s desk, she would stick out her leg so I would trip and fall, and everyone would laugh. But that’s not even why I consider her horrible. One time, in my Grade 4, our form teacher at the time, Mrs. Iwe, asked us to bring out all our note books and place on our desk for her to grade as is the custom every 2 weeks to each term examinations. This I did, all 8 subjects completed, carefully stacked on my desk. Because I was pressed, I took permission from Mrs. Iwe and left to use the restroom which was just next door to the class. Coming back, I couldn’t find my books again, not even one. Confusingly, I opened my desk and searched for it, it wasn’t there. Then I turned to Dabere, and there she was, laughing. Her friends were too. To cut the long story short; with the help of one of my classmates, I found all my notes in the waste bin, torn beyond salvation. All my hardwork over the term, gone, just like that. The worst part was that I couldn’t even report the issue because I had never felt brave enough to speak up. My notes weren’t graded that term and my result position dropped so much as I wasn’t able to read for the exams. Another time, Dabere had slapped me, simply because I wasn’t looking at her when she spoke to me. Another time, she had broken my eyeglass frame which caused me headache for one week till I got a new one. I had to lie to my parents that I fell and broke it in school.
The teachers were afraid of punishing Dabere because her parents were top contributors to the school. The last time she was punished, her parents succeeded in demanding the sacking of the teacher who punished her. All Dabere’s rough pranks I endured. I felt like crying most of the time but I didn’t understand why the tears refused to drop. I deeply hated her.
Then my Dad died and everything changed for me. I was 11 at the time, 4 years ago, 2015. I was in my 2nd term of Grade 5. My dad went to vote during the 2015 general election. Some hoodlums attacked the polling centre where he was to vote and in a bid to further scare the voters, they shot in the air and my dad was among the 7 who lost their lives that day. My mum mourned deeply. I did too. I cried so much it hurt. My dad was the one who made me feel safe from the world; who made me feel special for being albino. According to him, I was his “onye ocha princess”. Our closeness made me forget what Dabere did on a daily. He was my safe haven.
After a heart wrenching funeral, I went back to school more reserved than ever. By then, it was the 3rd Term. I wouldn’t talk in school, I wouldn’t answer questions in class, I wouldn’t reply teachers who asked me how I was or even looked at me with sympathy, I wouldn’t even talk to any of my fellow students; I was basically a mute. Then Dabere allowed the devil use her.
It was 3 weeks after I had returned to school; I just came into class that morning and I was about to sit down. Dabere as usual, removed my chair when I wasn’t looking and I fell to the floor hard; my glasses falling on the floor and it’s handle dismembered from the frame. This time, most of the students didn’t find it funny, out of sympathy for me. But Dabere and her friends laughed hard at me
“Ah, Dabere, that is not fair now” One of my classmates voiced.
“Don’t you know that she’s still mourning her father?” Another said.
I hated the fact that all of a sudden, what Dabere did was unfair just because I was in mourning. These guys were the same people who laughed at me when she played those stupid pranks, they would tell her she’s funny but now, they’ve magically gotten a moral compass, simply because my father died.
I just got up from the floor with a very stern face. I brought myself up, arranged my chair and sat.
“Biko, leave me. Her father died, ehe? And so what? Is she the only one that’s lost her father?” That was Dabere. The nerve. It further infuriated me but I didn’t show it much. I was going to give her a piece of my mind soon. That I knew, just didn’t know how.
Class went on as usual; English, Math, Social Studies, then it was leisure time. After that, it was Primary Science class. The form mistress, Aunty Nneka was teaching climate change. Then she asked us to all move to the window in the class so as to further elaborate her lesson.
Trust me, I never planned to do it prior to that moment. I just got that feeling that this is it. While everyone noisily moved to the window, Dabere did too. She was in the midst of the crowd looking up at the sky from there. Now, I was yet to go. I stood up and began to move. I fixed my sight on Dabere so as not to lose sight of where she was, my eyes quickly took a short glance at a pen on top of a desk. Not caring who the desk belonged to, I picked the pen and moved. I didn’t think, I didn’t want to. I just knew what had to be done. A voice kept nudging me on. On getting there, because of my very small size, I was able to make my way to her amidst the noisy cluster. I was directly behind her now. With a force, I pushed the writing end of the pen into the small of her back, I made sure it was deep enough. I heard her scream “MY BACK!” but amidst the noise, no one heard it. I smuggled my way to the back and then to the far end front of the crowd so that I was not close to her at all. It was when Dabere fell that there was panicking. There was blood smeared on every student around her. I checked myself thoroughly, not a single blood.
After rushing her to the hospital, the question of who did it was the main talk of the entire school. It happened that the pen belonged to Sarah, one of her squad member. Luckily for me, Sarah had more motive to do it. First of all, she had a dangerous anger issue. Secondly, she and Dabere were in a serious physical altercation with each other the day before about God knows what and Sarah had been heard saying; “If not for our classmates eh, I would have killed you today”. Isn’t that motive enough for the Nigerian Police despite the fact that the both of them had made up and she was among those who laughed at me this morning? The story would be that she never really forgave Dabere and was waiting for the right moment to strike. I maintained my normal self throughout the rest of the day. And not even a single soul would suspect me. I mean, I was the quiet kid who wouldn’t harm a bird after all.
The next day, my classmates all looked glum. Some still had evidence that they had cried because of what happened. This was the first time we all had seen a stab victim. News got to us that Dabere was out of surgery. She wouldn’t be able to walk again for the rest of her life as the stab affected her spine badly.
The police called each of us to an empty class room to give our individual account of what happened. When asked who we thought did it, most students pointed at Sarah. When I was asked, I said I didn’t know.
Sarah, despite denying it, was expelled. What happened to her after that remains unknown to all of us to this day.
I know what you’ll ask me dear diary; don’t I feel any sort of remorse over what I did? The truth is, I don’t. I felt I had to do it and I did it. I tried feeling regret but I seriously don’t think I’m capable of regret.
So why did I do it? I did it for love. I love myself and I love my dad. No one makes my dad’s passing seem ordinary and is forgiven.
But if you think this is the worst I could have done, think again, because trust me, I’M A MONSTER.