BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR
For the first time, she saw his face. She beheld the face of her perfect stranger. She beheld the face of this good shepherd whom she knew nothing about, but would always offer 2 rams to Kuuku whenever he sent her out to prostitute her at the market place. She beheld the face of this courtly man who treated her with so much respect although she felt like she was undeserving.
She had vowed never to look at his face since she felt cheapened by being prostituted every time by Kuuku. But for the first time, she saw his face, and looked at him in the eyes.
Sama quickly got up and looked away. Wrapping her arms around herself, she felt embarrassed. She wished that the earth would open up and swallow her up in a flash.
It was a glance, but she wished not to have beheld him.
“Your water poured away. You look drained. I have water here. Please, take some. You will feel refreshed.”
“No!” She said strongly still looking away. This perfect stranger subtly was defying all that Kuuku made her feel like she was. She had come to believe that she was despicable, pitiful and a wretch as Kuuku made her feel like she was.
But this stranger, who happened to be a keeper of sheep always made her feel respected. He was gentle towards her and cared for her without making any sexual advances towards her.
Sama hurriedly fetched her hoe and her basket, then started to walk away.
“What does he want from me?” she asked herself as she briskly walked away. “How did he find me?”
She remembered how on the first encounter he had rescued her by offering two rams to Kuuku in the market when she was being prostituted.
She remembered all the 4 occasions afterwards that he had come again to her rescue whenever Kuuku went to prostitute her at the market place. On some days this perfect stranger gave goats, and sometimes sheep. And truly, if he had not won the bargain on all those occasions, some other men would have given to Kuuku very worthless items and would have had access to her to molest her throughout the night.
On all these five occasions, he never touched her intimately. He rather gave her food, water to bath and a warm bedding for the night. On all these five occasions Sama never had the courage to look at his face. She felt worthless to do that. But she became familiar with his voice: his soothing and gentle voice.
Now beholding him for the first time, she wished that she hadn’t looked. And as Sama walked away with all of these thoughts running through her head, she suddenly began to feel dizzy. Her head felt cold and the skies seemed to spin before her eyes. In a blink, Sama blacked out and fell on the path.
©Dorothy Budu-Arthur, 2017