“Are you praying for cousin Oni as granny grans requested?”
Larry asked.
“I prayed for him on Sunday in church.” Jerry replied, munching
an apple.
“We haven’t heard anything from Godwin since he left, isn’t
that strange?”
“Yes…very strange. Mommy said he may have gone to daddy’s
house.”
“Should we have organized a search for him?”
“Why? He left on his own accord and was not kidnapped”
“So? Does that mean he shouldn’t be searched for?”
“I really don’t know, let’s hurry up and get home. You know
we have chores to do at home. Let’s hope that our brothers, Yomi and Godwin are
safe wherever they are. Besides Yomi clocks twenty this year and Godwin will
turn fifteen, so they are big enough to fend for themselves.” Jerry sighed.
His twin brother nodded and they both walked the short
distance home, together.
****
Yemisi spat in the gutter and felt like crap. ‘Was this how
pregnancy felt like?’ She asked herself repeatedly. Some days it was as if she
was so woozy that she might collapse at any minute, other days, she felt so
sick that she couldn’t get out of bed. A few times, she vomited and it wasn’t a
pleasant experience at all, lately, she had started feeling cramps around her
waist line.
“Yemi…there’s someone here to see you.” Said Nkechi, another
pregnant teenager.
“Who?” She asked, wondering who had come to pay her a visit,
her dad was her only frequent visitor.
“I don’t know but the receptionist said I should call you.”
“Okay…”
“Are you taking the classes?”
“What classes?”
“They organized teachers for us to help us catch up when we
eventually go back to school.” Nkechi said.
“I’m not interested… my life will never be the same after
the birth of this child. I doubt that I would be able to live in my father’s
house anymore.”
“Did your dad tell you not to come back home? If he did,
then that’s not fair.” Nkechi said vehemently.
“No he never said anything about that but come to think of
it, my body is changing rapidly and I don’t understand what I am going through
right now. I wish someone could carry this baby on my behalf and release me
from this burden.” Yemisi sniffed while tears fell from her eyes.
“It’s a pity that we never listened to words of advice or
warnings. I remember how my parents warned me against men, they told me never
to even go close to them but I did the opposite and tasted the forbidden fruit
now, here I am. Okey, my boyfriend eagerly denied the pregnancy and is living a
care-free life while I’m here struggling. Did you know that it’s my set that’s
preparing for this year’s junior WAEC?” Nkechi sobbed.
The two girls held each other in an embrace while tears fell
fast from their eyes, suddenly the megaphone coughed to life and Yemisi’s name
was mentioned. Yemisi waved to Nkechi and walked back into the Foundation
building.
She had just entered the reception when she saw her, it was
her mother. All the pain, anger and bitterness that she had buried grudgingly a
while ago due to her father’s insistence stemmed up again.
“What do you want?” Yemisi asked her mother.
“I am here to see you.” Was her mother’s reply.
“I don’t want to see you, please go!” Yemisi said.
‘Can we atleast talk privately for a while?”
“No!”
“Just five minutes of your time, that’s all I ask.”
“Why are you here? I know daddy forced you to come and
that’s why you have come to see me.”
“No…he didn’t force me to come. Infact he doesn’t sleep in
the house anymore, he has moved to granny grans house.” Her mother replied.
“What? Why?” Yemisi said with tears in her eyes.
“He calls me a bad mother and that’s what I am. A bad
mother, I should have taken action immediately you came home that day… I should
have…but I was scared… I…” Her mother stuttered and burst into tears.
Yemisi ran to give her mother a hug and the two of them
clung to each other. Ten minutes later, they were seated in the private
reception and as Yemisi tried to avoid the topic that had brought her mother to
the Foundation, her mother was bent on speaking to her about it.
“That day… you came home with your uniform torn and you
were… were…in tears, I remembered what happened to me a long time ago. I was
fifteen then, a year younger than you are now and I went through exactly what
you went through. I was raped at the tender age of fifteen.” Her mother stopped
to wipe the tears off her face. “It was after school hours and I had stayed
back to do my homework when my class teacher came into the classroom. I can remember
his eyes so vividly and how his voice sounded when he said he wanted to help
with my homework. I happily obliged and we did the homework together, somehowI
lost track of time. The next time I stared at my watch, it was almost six pm and
I told him that I had to go home. There was no one in the school as everyone
had gone home immediately after school. As soon as I started packing up my
books, he pleaded with me to stay a while but I refused, confused at his
request. Before I knew it, I was fighting his hands off me and within minutes
my clothes were torn and there…he….” She couldn’t finish as she burst out in
tears.
Yemisi cried too as she tried hard to console her mother but
her tears lodged solidly in her throat.
“I ran home after the deed leaving my books and bags behind.
I got home and the first person I saw was my mother, she was in the kitchen and
I fell at her feet in tears as I told her what had happened to me. She…she
hurried into the house and later came out with a long cane which she used on
me. She beat me till I could cry no more and told me what a taboo it was, and
how it was a sacrilege to let a man that I hardly knew, defile me, she called
me names and made me swear not to utter a word to anyone. Luckily enough I
never became pregnant but I have had nightmares of that day till date. I became
a teacher because I wanted to help protect young girls who could fall into such
trap but unfortunately I never did, I didn’t have the nerve to talk to any girl
about rape or molestation, it made me remember the horror I went through. When
you walked in that day, I knew that history had repeated itself and I wanted to
clean it…to erase the memory that had killed my innocence for good.”
“Did you tell dad about this?” Yemisi asked, her eyes
reddened with tears.
“No… I tried to, but he didn’t listen…”
“When he comes tomorrow, I’ll like you to come too so that
we could tell him together. You shouldn’t bear this pain alone, we’re a family,
one family.” Yemisi stressed.
“I wouldn’t wait for him to come, I want you back home with
us. We are a big family, and nothing will break our bond.” Yemisi’s mother
said.
“What about the pregnancy…everyone will see…” Yemisi
started.
“And learn from our mistakes. Don’t worry, we would stick
together through this and it doesn’t matter what people say.” Yemisi’s mother
said.
“Really? Mom? I can come back home? I really want to go
home, I have missed everyone.” Yemisi cried in relief.
Mother and daughter hugged.
****
“How dare you?” Screamed Tara’s dad.
Everyone was seated in the sitting room and their father had
just walked into the house, he had not even dropped his briefcase before going
to town on his wife.
“What is the meaning of this? Why the screams?” Tara’s
step-mother asked.
“Why did you send that nasty text message to my secretary?”
“What nasty text message?” Tara’s step-mother asked.
“So you want me to spell out the irritating message you sent
to her right? I’ll quote your words for you…according to your text message and I
quote “Husband snatcher! Hope you got him a Val gift since you have stolen him
from me?”
“Me? You must be mad for that statement, do I have your
secretary’s number? Did I even send any texts today?” Screamed Tara’s
step-mother.
“Me? Mad? I saw your phone number and your name was written
under the text message or do I have two wives?”
“Woman wrapper! Please clear up that dusty head of yours
before speaking to me…it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m not ready to listen to
rubbish…”
She was cut short by a huge slap which resounded miles away.
Tara was shocked, as she watched her parents fight. Her step-mother wailed as
she grabbed the table vase and lunged it at her husband while her husband
ducked and grabbed her waist roughly. The would-be Temi screamed as she tried
to drag her mother away from her enraged father and all Tara’s siblings cried
as they kept begging their father to stop hitting their mother. Tara was the
only one still seated, she knew it was all her fault, she had done just as her
birth mother had asked.
****
“do you
think she’ll forgive me?” Robert asked as he walked into Tara’s compound with
his brother in tow.
“I really don’t know but you
could give it a try, girls are really unpredictable.” His brother replied.
“That’s her house over
there…her friend told me that it’s the first storey building at the left side
of the house.” Robert said as he pointed at the building.
“Hope the cake hasn’t
melted…”
“No…it’s still quite cold.”
“Okay…let’s ermmm… climb
upstairs and knock at the door.”
The two boys were standing
infront of Tara’s father’s house and staring at the windows.
“Why didn’t you give her the
cake in school?”
“I didn’t want to be embarrassed
by her silence and I knew I had a better chance of winning her over if I came
to her house….” Robert started.
You’re really brave…what if her
parents see you? You could be…” Robert’s brother started but was cut short by
the loud crash of Tara’s house window and his huge eyes widened when a huge
iron fell down right in front of them.
“Let’s get out of here…” Robert’s
brother screamed.

Robert flung the cake to the
ground and turning back, he and his brother ran out of the compound in fear.

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