Yemisi opened her eyes and stared at the wall, she had been
camped out in the Foundation for weeks now and she was tired of the life it
offered. Each day held no surprises as they went about their routines the same
way. The bell rung at five, prayers lasted till six and every girl had chores
to do. There were different wards and the one she had been placed in was the
ward for pregnant young girls. Yemisi was baffled at the number of pregnant
teenagers residing in the Foundation, they were over eighty young pregnant
teenagers. Some were about fourteen years of age. She stared down at her
abdomen and felt nostalgic, all of a sudden, she wanted to throw-up. Hastily,
she rushed out of bed and ran down to hall to the bathroom where she emptied
her dinner into the toilet.
“Morning sickness huh?”
Yemisi jumped and stared at the girl who she never knew was
there.
“Yea… I guess so…” Yemisi croaked.
“Your first time?” The girl asked.
Yemisi nodded as tears threatened to fall.
“The first time is never easy. How old are you?”
“I’ll be seventeen in April…” Yemisi replied.
“Hmmm…you must be a good girl, my first pregnancy was when I
was fourteen. Now I’m seventeen going on eighteen.” The girl said.
Yemisi stared at her incredulously.
“How many pregnancies have you had?”
“Three…”
“Where are…”
“My kids?” The girl said chuckling softly.
“Yes…” Yemisi replied.
“Oh… that… I don’t know where they are…” The girl replied,
“By the way, I’m Joan…”
“I’m Yem….” Yemisi started
“Yemisi…I know your name already. No one can ignore the Aje
Butters that flood this place.”
“Aje Butters? I don’t understand.” Yemisi was puzzled.
“Yep… a lot of rich families can’t face the huge scandal their
daughters bring so they dispose them here for nine months, contribute immensely
to the Foundation’s growth and pretend that they are its patrons. As soon as
their daughters give birth, they whisk them away and abandon the kids they give
birth to.”
“What happens to the kids?” Yemisi asks.
“What happens to orphanages?” Joan asked rhetorically.
“Oh…I see…”
“So what would you do to your thing when it gets out?” Joan
asks.
“My thing?” Yemisi replies confused.
“The baby…what happens to it when you spill it out?”
“I honestly don’t know…” Yemisi answered.
At that moment, a young girl walks into the bathroom, she
eyes them and sits on the toilet bowl. Yemisi stared at the girl and was
shocked at the size of her abdomen, feet and face, she looked like a swollen
balloon. Disgust must have been written on Yemisi’s face because the girl
started raining insults on her.
“Why are you looking at me? Am I the only pregnant one in
this bathroom? Your time is coming, you good for nothing She-Goat. When you’d
start crawling all over the place because of your pregnancy, you’ll remember
how your face was when you saw me today. Idiot! Pig!” The girl continued.
“Let’s get out of here.’ Said Joan.
Yemisi followed her and they walked out of the bathroom and
headed to the back of the compound. Joan led the way and they stopped beside a
small shack at the far rear of the huge compound. Suddenly, Joan started
searching for something underneath a huge stone and when she found it, she
sighed in pleasure. It was when she lit it that Yemisi realized what it was.
“Are you supposed to smoke?” Yemisi asked.
“Tell that to the birds, I won’t stop having fun because I’m
pregnant.” Joan said.
“Would I be all swollen up when I advance in my pregnancy?”
Yemisi asked.
“What do you think?” Joan replied.
Yemisi shrugged and stared up at a lone bird on the tree, it
looked so sad and it whistled softly. The bird reminded her of herself and she
wondered what would be happening in school at this moment.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing…just life…school… everything. I wonder how I ended
up this way.”
“You ended up this way when you decided to have sex.”
‘I didn’t…” Yemisi started but stopped talking.
“Hmmm… what’s your story?” Joan asked.
“That’s for another day…” Yemisi replied.
****
image source: ynaija.com
Tara was angry and it burned deep within her. She felt so
hurt that immediately she got back home that Thursday evening, she ran into her
room, and picked up a pen and a piece of paper and wrote in bold letters;
‘I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM!’ and at
the other side of the paper, she wrote, ‘I HATE
HER! I HATE HER! I HATE HER!’
Why did things refuse to work for her own good? She had
asked herself. Even now as she lay on her bed and nurtured her hurting heart,
she felt hot burning anger, dry up her joy.
“Wake up…it’s Saturday.” The would-be Temi said, as she
walked over to Tara’s bed.
“Get out!” Tara hissed.
“Do you expect me to apologize? Robert loves me and not you
so, live with it.”
“I said get-out!” Tara warned again.
“Momsy gave us chores and it must be done.”
Tara didn’t reply, she closed her eyes and ignored her.
Suddenly she felt the nasty pinch on her arm.
“Oww! What did you do that for?” Tara screamed.
“Get up and get to work.” The would-be Temi shouted.
Tara stood up from the bed and pushed the would-be Temi
hard. Temi shoved her back to the bed and the two girls fell on each other in a
huge cat fight.
“What is going on in here?” Demanded Tara’s father.
The two girls separated and stared at their father
fearfully.
“Who started the fight?”
“She did” The girls chorused.
“Tara what happened?” Her father asked.
“It’s her…she …” Tara begun but was cut short by her
step-mother who had followed their father closely behind.
“Will you shut-up? Doesn’t she have a name? Her name is Temi
and you will address her by that name or hell would be let loose in this house.
“Mummy…I didn’t do anything…it’s Tara. She has a boyfriend
and …” The would-be Temi started in a cat-like voice.
“A what?” Shouted their father.
“No it’s a lie daddy…I have no boyfriend.” Tara started.
“That’s so not true. I have her diary where she writes stuff
about boys…” The would-be Temi continued.
“Give me the diary…” Tara’s father demanded.
The would-be Temi ran to her bed and retrieved the diary
which she gave to her father.
“Tara! Is this what you learn in school? Is this what I pay
your school fees for? To have boyfriends? Is it not enough that Yemisi is
pregnant and …I can’t believe this!” Her father exploded.
“No daddy…it’s not true… it’s just a crush and I stopped
crushing on him a long time ago…please listen to me…” Tara pleaded as she
watched her father give her an angry look.
It was no secret that Tara’s father loved her more than all
his children and Tara had lived her whole life striving to please him.
“I’ll read this diary and we’ll talk about this later. You
girls should get to your chores.” Her father said.
“No… you have to punish her! Since this girl was born, you
have never hit her with a cane or spanked her. If it were Temi that had a
boyfriend, you would have killed her…” Tara’s step-mother screamed at her
husband.
“Didn’t Temi run off with a man for almost a month? Did I
ever punish her for doing that? I have not even asked her anything about that
since she returned. What are you talking about?” Tara’s father said to his
wife.
“Well…Temi has lost her memory so you can’t punish her, but
Tara here, has all the memory in the world, it wouldn’t be bad to give her a
beating for her offence.” His wife retorted.
“If we are all beaten for all our offences, would we be able
to stand? I have told you that I will handle it my way and I will do just
that.” Her husband fired back.
“I do not want Tara in this house. Send her back to her
mother’s place, I can’t have this disrespectful girl in my home anymore. I want
this house to be filled with my children….my children alone!” Screamed Tara’s
step-mother.
“Tara is my child and yours as well, whether you like it or
not!” Tara’s father retorted.
“Tara is a bastard!” His wife screamed with blazing eyes.
“I am not a bastard…your would-be daughter is. She is not a
part of this family and I have proof…she is not Temi Dolapo.” Screamed Tara.
Tara’s father walked over to Tara and gave her a loud slap.
****
Temi quietly walked out of the hospital with Bee, it had
been two days since she was admitted and the doctor had pronounced her stable
and fit to go home. ‘Home’ that word sounded more like a myth. ‘Did I ever have
a home?’ she asked herself.
“You will come back for check-up every week. I have assured
that the doctor takes a good look at you.” Bee said as she held on to her hand.
Temi looked at Bee and smiled, she was a nice lady and she
had spent two nights at her side.
“Are you my mother?” Temi asked.
Bee shook her head. Temi nodded in understanding, besides,
Bee was too young to have given birth to her, she shouldn’t be more than
twenty-nine.
“What would you like for lunch? Do you have any favourite
food?” Bee asked.
“I don’t know…” Temi replied.
“Okay… Jud…” Bee said.
“Jud? Is that my name?” Temi asked.
“You said your name is Judith so I reckoned that your
nickname should be Jud… or don’t you like the name?” Bee asked.
“It’s fine… that’s my name…Judith.” Temi replied while
asking herself why that name sounded strange.
As soon as they left the hospital building, a car pulled
over to meet them, they stepped into the car and zoomed off.
****
Image source: premiumtimesng.com 
Godwin ran after the moving vehicle, sweating profusely, the
man in the car quickly collected the pure water in his hand and drove off
without giving him the money. Godwin almost cried in despair, this was the
third time this week since someone had robbed him of his wares.
“Oh boy! Dem don do you again?” Asked his friend who sold
oranges.
“It’s not fair…how do I survive with this sort of
treatment?” Godwin replied.
“You are not sharp ooo… look at the bruises on your body and
the lumps on your head. Omo guy this is Lagos and you gat to shine ya eye ooo…
no dey let agbero finish you like dat.”
“I have tried hiding from them to no avail. Last week they
pounced on me in my sleep and took away all that I had on me.” Godwin said.
“Maybe you should look for another place if not, dem go kee
you for Lagos ooo.”

Godwin nodded and his stomach growled in hunger. It was four
months since he left his home and he was certain that no one missed him. Not
even his mother.

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