The Girl with Dreams

The Girl with Dreams
Faiq Raedaya

I was once a girl with dreams – aspirations to become someone special. Like any other girl, I attended school. Unlike most others, I was passionate in science. I had great ambitions to become a doctor to help the sickly in my village.

All those dreams died when I was forcefully married.

One day, my parents suddenly told me to leave school for ‘other purposes’. I wasn’t in a position to complain and simply obeyed. I cried as I watched other kids skip to school from the window of my room.

A week after I left school, my grandmother revealed that I was to be married in a few weeks. I shuddered in dread. I didn’t yet know what it meant to marry young– but I knew my dreams had died that day.

I had never met my husband, but my parents were assured he was the right choice. A good man with a good job and a good house, they said. But nothing could ease the pain of my loss.

After weeks of fear, the day finally came.

A hundred smiling faces, happily dancing and eating.  Yet I had never felt more miserable as I uttered the words that would bind my life to my husband’s forever.

I lost my virginity the following night.

I was unprepared for this new life, for the expectation of providing a child for my husband. I didn’t fight back, but I cried in the morning, knowing I had lost something.

Several months later, I started to feel sick and dizzy. My husband took me to the hospital where I was told I was three months pregnant. I felt overwhelmed as I started to think about the future of our family. I worried for myself, my husband, and especially my unborn child.

A complicated birth followed my difficult pregnancy;  there was a risk of either me or my child dying. A part of me prayed for God to take both of us away. But thankfully, Sania was born healthy.

Years later, I have accustomed to my life. I care for my family as a wife and a mother.

Sometimes I wonder about what would have happened had I not been married so early. But as I held Sania in my arms, I promised that I would not let her undergo the same pain I went through.

The girl with dreams died long ago, leaving a teenage mother in her stead.