Rachel had a lot on her
mind as she walked the short distance from the bustop to her house. Things hadn’t
happened as she’d planned. She hasn’t made any new friends and worst of all,
the girl she really wanted to be her friend didn’t want anything to do with
her. Mira was a big snob and she hadn’t failed to rub her wealth in Rachel’s face. She was beginning to think that investing in this lesson was a big
mistake. She walked over to her house and saw a police vehicle outside her gate
and two police officers standing outside. There was a crowd of people in the
compound and she wondered what was going on. 
She opened her mouth in shock when she saw her being father dragged out of the
house in cuffs while her mother followed him behind, wailing and heaping curses
on him.

Rachel ran to the policemen
who held on to her father and started dragging them away from him.
“Leave him alone! He’s my
dad! Leave him alone!” She screamed.
“So you have a daughter eh?”
One of the policemen shouted. “So you have a daughter like this and you went
about defiling another man’s daughter. God has caught you today…all your
escapades have been finally exposed.”

“I didn’t know she’s underage.” Daddy said in plea.

“What did he do?” Rachel
asked in tears. “Daddy!” She cried.
Her father stared at her but said nothing, he felt so ashamed.

“Daddy! Talk to me! What happened?”

She watched helplessly as
her father was pushed into the waiting vehicle and driven away.
“Mummy! Why did you let
them take him away? Why?” She cried.
Her mother hugged her and
they cried together. Neighbours looked at them and hissed, not even offering a
word of sympathy. They kept saying to one another.
“Everyday for the thief but one day for the owner of the house.”
“It’s high time he’s thought a lesson and a big one at that. Imagine the old thing!” Another neighbour said.
Rachel and her mother walked into the house and Rachel kept saying.
“We have to get him out of
there mom…we have to.” She cried.
“Listen to me…your father
has finally met his match and no matter what we do, he’s going to have to face
the full consequences of the law.”
“Why are you saying that?
He’s innocent, I know he is.” She cried louder.
“No, he’s not…we’ve always
argued about this, I mean…I’ve never gone against his ways but dating a minor?
That’s not right.” Her mother said.
“He what?” Rachel asked in
shock.
“Your dad was caught with a
minor. He ran home when the girl’s dad caught him red-handed but her father
sent the police here. The money your uncle sent is what he’s been spending on
these small girls.”
Rachel knew her dad
womanised but she never imagined he’d date a minor.
“I know it’s hard to
believe but it’s true and with the way the country is and all these human
rights stuff going around, it’s only a matter of time and his name and photo
would be on the papers. That’s why I want us to stick together at this period
and not answer any questions from anyone.”
“The media? The papers?
What happens to my reputation? If his name comes out in the newspapers, it’s
just a matter of time before the press shows up at my new summer school and I’ll be excommunicated.” Rachel cried.
“That’s why we are going to
keep quiet and not answer any questions. I want us to move away from here for a
while and return when school begins.”
“No mom, we can’t move
away. And to where? What of my lesson? What of my life here?”
“Don’t you see that people
already know what happened and tongues are already wagging?”
“I suggest we stay here and
raise our heads high, besides, it’s dad who made the mistake and not us.”
Rachel said.
“I still think we should go
for a bit, even if I don’t go because of my business, I need you and your
brother to go to my sister’s place.”
“No mom! No!” Rachel said
and hurried off to her room in tears.
*********
Mira alighted from the car
and walked into the very quiet apartment she shared with her family. The house boasted of modern facilities, big bedrooms, well-equipped baths and many more but it really didn’t seem like luxury to her. Mira was used to being left home alone as her parents went to work every week day and most times on weekends as well. She was used to being alone and she couldn’t
wait to be through with school and go to the university where she’ll be allowed
to live on her own. She hated the house, she hated everything and now that she
was stuck in the country, she was very angry.
She stepped into the house
and saw her mother walk out of her room with a luggage.
“Mom? I thought you’re at
work.” She said.
“No…I…err…have to go
somewhere.” Her mother said.
“Where are you going to?”
Mira asked.
“How was school today?” Her
mother said, swiftly changing the topic.
“Cool…it was fine.” Mira
said.
“Good. Err…I’ll be out for
a bit but I’ll be back soon…okay.” Her mother said.
Mira stood before her
mother, and stared at her unflinchingly.
“What’s wrong mom? Why are
you wearing sunglasses?” She asked.
“It’s nothing honey…I have
a minor problem with my eyes so…everything seems so bright and I suddenly want
my environment to be a shade darker.”
Mira was a foot taller than
her mom, she walked up to her mother and quickly removed the glasses. There
were bruises on her mother’s face.
“Mira!” Her mother said in
shock.
“What happened to you mom?”
Mira asked in despair.
“Nothing my darling…mommy
is fine…just give me back the glasses.”
“I thought you and daddy
had stopped fighting…” Mira asked as she began to cry.
“Shhhhh…honey…shhhh…”
“Stop it mom! Stop cooing
as if I’m a baby cos I’m not! I know it’s daddy that did this to you.” Mira
cried.
“Don’t worry your sweet
head about this…”
“I will…how can he do this
to you? I thought he’d stopped beating you. I thought you guys had stopped fighting.” Mira said as she recalled the nights she and her sisters heard their parents scream at each other and her dad hit her mom only to emerge the next morning as pleasant as ever.
Her mother looked at her
and held out her arms to her and she rushed to hug her.
“Daddy and I care so much
about each other but we have failed to reach a compromise.” Her mother said.
“Take me with you mommy…please…take
me with you.” Mirabel cried.
“No honey, your daddy won’t
allow that and besides, who would take care of the house when I’m away?”
Mira looked at her mother
and cried louder.
“If it’s because I hate the
summer school you enrolled me in, I’m sorry. I’ll try to like it there and make
friends.” Mira said, hoping it will change her mother’s mind.
“Look at me Mira.” Her
mother said sternly. “All this, is not your fault. Am I clear?”
Mira nodded and hugged her
mother again.
“When are you coming back?”
“I don’t know darling…I
really don’t know.”
“What happened between you
and daddy? Why are you both fighting again?”
Her mother sat down on the
chair and pulled her to seat beside her.
“I can’t hide anything from
you any longer, you are my last child but you’re a big girl and you need to know
the truth.” Her mother said. “You see…here in this part of the world, people
love having children and they see kids as a blessing to them but some people,
mostly men, like it when they have not just female kids but males as well. Your
father and I wanted just two kids- a girl and a boy- but after I had your eldest sister, the next
child was your immediate elder sister and we waited a while, hoping that the
third will be a male child but we ended up having a girl again. If you notice,
I foot most of your bills and of recent, I’ve been owed salaries at work, that’s why
I couldn’t fund your trip abroad and had to enroll you in summer school. I don’t
even know where your next school fees will come from, hopefully your dad will
settle it but if he doesn’t I’ll try all I can to settle it.” Her mother said.
Mira couldn’t believe her
ears. Her dad was hitting her mom because she had all female children? She
thought.
“But this doesn’t make
sense. What does he want you to do? Have more kids? Or change us to boys? What? I thought men are the ones who determine the sex of the child at least I learnt that in biology.”
Mira said.
“Well, we’ve been going for
treatments and….I’ve been told not to try for more kids.” Her mother said
as tears fell from her eyes.
“I don’t understand this…I
thought couples should love each other no matter what! Why’s daddy like this?
What’s really going on?”
“I have to go dear, I’m
going to miss my flight to Abuja.” Her mother sniffed.
“You’re going to Abuja?”
“Only for a while baby…”
“But…what of me? What
happens to me?”
“This is where I expect you
to put on your big girls pants. There’ll be a lot of changes in the coming
weeks and I want you to be strong as you face those changes. As I said earlier, your dad and I couldn’t reach a compromise so I’m leaving but just for a while.”
“Changes? What changes mom?”
“Your dad’s bringing in a
new woman into this house and she’s coming with their teenage son.”
Mira’s eyes widened like
saucers, she couldn’t believe what she had heard.

To be continued
next week…

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