The fire within.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

The barrel; nothing but the barrel, thick and menacing, held less than five inches away from my face. In that singular moment , the world died: the early jacaranda blooms died, the sounds of shrieking school children died, the hoarse cries of bus conductors announcing their destinations died. I stood alone with the barrel and the heaving soldier who grasped it tightly. I had been alive only ten minutes earlier albeit late for my duties at the school were I worked as a Learning Support Tutor. I had just approached the tall gate that shielded my estate community from the ‘horrors’ without when I heard the sound, throaty and shrill. It was the way men in my country called after women, an act that left me burning with shame.

This time it was a soldier who had demanded my attention but I forged ahead, regardless. Infuriated, he demanded that the guards at the gate obstruct my passage. I heaved my last breath as a child-like soul and turned around to find the soldier poised behind me with an AK-47 aimed at my face. He called me bad blood, rotten fruit, spoilt woman, but I heard him not. I only heard the sound of my own rage; silent and coursing through my veins like ice water. I was released five minutes later but it was an aged...

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