I liken myself to honey that attracts ants. I would rather be a flower that attracts hardworking bees, though. They say I was not a beautiful baby, but they also say that that is a blessing, because it means that I will grow up into a beautiful adult. Only, that does not seem to be happening.

Father looks at me and sneers.

“Your fingers are like the spaghetti sticks I cook for Mr. Andrew, too skinny for any ring to fit. Even the custom-made ones… A man would have to pay a jeweller a lot of money just to make a ring for you.”

I direct my gaze to my thin fingers and think that there has to be a reason for the way they look. They cannot just be an accident.

Honey is good, even though it streams out of an ugly beehive. I am good. My insides are okay. I am happy most times, especially when Father has gone to cook for Mr. Andrew. I love people. I smile at them and wave at them. I cuddle the dogs when they fall sick. I feed the rats and spare them the maize meal mixed with Indocid that Father tries to kill them with. I usually look for it and, when I cannot find it, I place bowls and bowls of water around the house, to save their lives. I pray for the safety of the rainbow, the clouds, moon, Sun and stars. They hang loose from the sky without hooks, and I fear they may fall and hurt themselves. I am good. But because I do not look good on the outside, people think I must also not be good on the inside.

“Your mother was beautiful,” Father likes to remind me, “Ahhhhhhhh from her hips and her legs to her toes and fingernails. I do not know how we produced a child like you.”

My mother was pretty. That is what everyone says with wonder when they look at me. She left, though, immediately after she saw me, they say, a girl with bony fingers, a big head, one eye shut and a concave belly. No one knows where she went, not even her family, which is also Father’s family. Father and mother are cousins. Her mother and his father were brother and sister. They died as soon as I was born.

Father says it is entirely my fault that I made mother run and killed half my grandparents with my first cry. He also says it is my fault that no man will ever want me and that he may have to get drunk to do what Lot did so that I may experience “love”.

“Who is Lot?” I ask.

“Just a man in the Big Book. His wife turned into salt and so he got drunk and slept with his daughters.”

Love, love, love. From what I know, a girl has to be beautiful to experience love. And then when a man has loved a woman, a baby comes out.If love is what Father had with my mother then I do not want Father to love me either.

If love will make a baby come out that looks like me, then I will never want love.

© Linda  Musita 2022