New Fiction by Ebele Mogo

Ebele MogoEleven-year-old Veronica died in labour. Her kinsmen said that starting her period earlier than the rest of us made her a woman. Her cervix had insisted otherwise.

It’s not as if I was so surprised when they married her off.  Everyone admired her supple skin, her baby face, her petite frame. But be careful when the person whose gaze you hold is a man. He won’t only admire you, he will desire you. If he is old and rich enough to be taken seriously, soon desire will grow into an uncontrollable urge as it is wont to. One ordinary sunrise will then find him taking concrete steps to own you.

I first met Veronica when we were looking for someone to braid our hair for school. She came to our house in her loose fitting Ankara wrapper and blouse. She was about my age but how she acted like a woman who had lived long enough to be confident in her skin I do not know. She was also astute, and I remember her calculating how much she was owed without a calculator. She braided my hair into neat cornrows that lasted for two weeks at least. She was very professional – she always came on time and she never made excuses. I became her regular customer. Read the rest of the story here.



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