Sayraa’s mother glides a finger over each nail, as if to check the manicure. With her hands obscuring of her face, she addresses Sayraa. “Congratulations, you’re a mother. The miracle of life blossoms inside you.”
For a moment she sees soft hills of golden poppies, but the idyllic scene decays into bare rock and parched skeletons. She screams. “Mama, I was raped!”
Sayraa reaches out, but her mother’s limp arms reflect her own helplessness since this all began.
Laughing boys grabbed Sayraa, hands around her thin arms, arms around her legs, lifting her in the air.
“Be careful of my books.”
Strange, she thought, boys usually ignore the girls carrying books. They carried her down the hall, past lockers, classrooms, the principal’s office. She was unaccustomed to so much attention.
“Put me down!”
Dropped on the floor, Sayraa saw toilets, sinks, urinals! Too late, she fought, straining every muscle. They slapped her. “Relax bitch!”
With her remaining strength, she forced her eyes open. She memorized every pocked face, clumsy touch, harsh gasp, rancid kiss and foul stench.
“I wish you died in your mother’s womb!”
She heard a man shout. “What’s going on?” The boys vanished. "Oh, my God, not again."
The principal knelt beside her. "It's over."
He brushed the hair back from her wet cheeks. "You're going to be okay."
Later uniformed Fertility Officers lifted her by her arms and legs into a gurney. “Relax, if you’re pregnant, it will be better for the baby. You’re okay now.”
There was no “okay." There would never be "okay" again. Not for Sayraa.
Sirens announced her arrival at the
Her mother’s voice interrupted.
“But, you’re pregnant! Think of all those empty desks at school, those empty houses, those boys and girls who can’t have children. Be proud!”
Her mother’s hands move towards Sayraa’s cold shoulders, but get stuck mid way. Sayraa stares at the blood-red claws.
“Sayraa baby, not knowing your father didn’t stop me from loving you. Besides, now that you have a baby you won’t be drafted for Maternity Service.”
Sayraa’s fingers meet her mother’s, but this is not enough. She stands up and clasps the frail body against her thumping heart, breast to breast, belly to belly, tears trickling down her cheeks.
"Oh, mama! What do we know about love?"
She hiccups, taking a breath.
"That’s why all those babies die in their mother’s womb: no love! Mama, we’ll never be real mothers, neither one of us.”
The story is continued here.