Hello everyone. Happy holidays for those of us in Nigeria.
No, I didn't have writer's block. Lol. I just didn't want to rush and write something that might not make much meaning, so I decided to think something through, before putting pen to paper; or do I say, finger to keyboard. Lol. Thanks so much for always reading the stories on the blog. It keeps me encouraged!
Lots of Love.
Please enjoy this new series I've titled: SPOKEN FOR.
Her hands shook vigorously as she pressed the sachet of capsules that the doctor had prescribed. Rita had taken her to see the roadside doctor. His shop was just beside the mechanic's stand and the woman that sold recharge cards. But his shop required some further trekking into the bush. Rita had promised her that she wouldn't have to undergo any kind of operation to get it out.
"Kemi hurry up now! We have to go soon." Rita yelled at her.
Kemi shivered. She shivered so much that some water spilled from the big stainless cup that the doctor had given to her.
"You think say I wan kill you?" The doctor said. "Rita why you bring this kain customer come for here?"
"Why are you wasting time for God's sake!" Rita yelled at her again.
She shut her eyes as the four pills; the four different colored bitter pills, went down her throat. She shook her head several times. She felt like throwing up. Rita collected the stainless cup from her and went to the rusted sink to pour away the water that remained. There was a small bug in it and some sediments. The underneath of the cup was rusty too. It didn't bother Rita though, because that was her reality. She lived with her two parents and seven siblings in a one bedroom there in Ipetumodu and she wasn't used to looking out for dirt or anything. She just lived.
Kemi grabbed her purse, brought out two thousand Naira, handed it to the doctor, who also was the nurse and admin staff and everything. In a few minutes, they were back on the road, waiting for a cab or bike to get them back to school. By the time they got back to the school premises, Kemi's driver was already waiting, ready to take her home to Lagos. The school was getting sparsely populated already. It was the third term vacation and parents had started coming to get their wards.
She hugged Rita goodbye before she got into the backseat of the SUV, and then, the driver started to reverse so he could drive out. Rita was from an entirely poor background, but somehow, she was never transparent about it. She tried to act like all the other rich girls in school like they all had equal opportunities. She'd come into the College under the payroll of the church they attended. A rich church member had offered to help out of the promising young girls in church, and Rita had been lucky. The rich woman had promised to help Rita up till University if she was of good behaviour. She had just a year to go before it was time for University, all things being equal.
She had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room where she had been watching TV with her younger sisters. It was probably the movie they'd been watching, because in her dream, Kemi had also seen the Incredible Hulk. He had been coming towards her in all his might and fury. She searched for a hiding place but couldn't find any. He got to her in no time and started to hit her stomach. She kicked back but he continued to hit her harder. Then she let out a loud scream and when she opened her eyes, her sisters had gathered beside her.
"Are you okay?" Kitan asked. Kitan was her immediate and Kofo was the last child.
Kemi sighed, placing her hands on her stomach.
"I...I'm fine." She said.
She stood up to leave but then she crumbled to the floor. She felt so much pain in her abdomen. Extreme pain. But she was screaming more for her life than for the pain. She didn't want to die. She had been skeptical about that shack that Rita had taken her to, but she couldn't bear the shame and wrath of her parents if they found out that she was pregnant; pregnant at only fifteen years of age.
The next time she became conscious, she was on a hospital bed, and her mother and sisters were in the room. She looked around her as she tried to sit up.
"Mom," Kemi said.
Her mother shook her head and then told Kitan and Kofo to go wait outside while she spoke to Kemi. Kemi's heart begun to race faster than a sports car. Maybe something had gone wrong. Maybe the road side doctor had damaged her womb. Maybe they'd found out she tried to abort the baby...
"How do you feel now?" Her mother asked, after the girls had left.
"Good. Because you have to explain to me how you are pregnant and who the boy is!"
Kemi held on to the bed sheet, like though her life depended on it, or as though holding it could save her from her mother's anger.
"No...I...I'm not..." She stuttered.
"Where on earth did you go to?! What did you try to do? You ingested drugs so you could kill the child?"
Kemi started to cry. That was the only sound she could utter in response to her mother's questions.
"Answer me when I'm talking to you, young woman!"
"Mummy I'm sorry. I thought...I'm not supposed to be pregnant anymore. I had already gotten rid of it."
"Well you didn't get rid of anything because you're a week past your first trimester. Gosh I should have come for your visiting days! If I had I would have known this..." She placed her hands on her head.
"What do you think your father is going to say about this?"
Kemi was confused. The road side doctor had told her the drugs had killed the baby the moment she swallowed them. She'd thought things would go back to normal and she wouldn't have to deal with the consequences associated; from her parents' anger, to actually having to birth and take care of a baby.
"I don't even know what to do right now. Kemi what have you done! What's your father going to say? He won't tolerate this."
Kemi kept on crying.
"Who is responsible?" The big question came.
It was November. It was a month short of the end of the year. She'd had her baby that night, at a good hospital. Her mother had paid for it, and had somehow managed to sneak out of the house to be by her side.
Kemi's father had found out about the pregnancy and every little feeling of affection that he had ever had for his daughter vanished into the air. He had ranted on and on about how he would not allow a bastard into his home and how Kemi and her sisters were no good. They were female children and nothing good could come out of them. He had even let the cat out of the bag himself that he had another wife who had given him two sons. Her mother had been heart broken, and so were her little sisters. Kemi felt horrible. She couldn't stand living in the house, knowing that she had been the reason for everything that had gone wrong. And so, when her father declared that he had disowned her and he never wanted to set eyes on her or her bastard child, she was glad to leave. She didn't know what was planned ahead for her, but she just wanted to walk away from this mess.
Her mother had rented a two bedroom flat for her on the Island. The place wasn't too far from her church. She had purposely picked the place so she could spend time with her on Sundays. Kemi's father never attended church, so it wasn't going to be a problem.
The baby was a beautiful and healthy girl. She cried out with her healthy lungs as the doctors held her and then gave her to Kemi to hold. Kemi had tears in her eyes, as she stared at the baby who was crying on and on. She wanted to cuddle her and kiss her, but she was void of the emotion. All she wanted was to throw it away. She didn't want it. It had caused and cost her so much. First, her father had sent her away and cut off all responsibilities. Her mother had put a lot of money into renting that apartment for her, and in also sending her upkeep money. She'd kissed SS.3 goodbye. The school authority had found out what happened and had expelled her. And now she had nothing.
"She's so adorable!" Kemi's mother said, as she held the child. She looked at Kemi who was frowning and looking away.
"Are you okay? Don't you want to hold her?"
"I don't want it. I don't want to have anything to do with this thing!"
Her mother opened her mouth in surprise.
"How can you not love your own child? Your own flesh and blood? How is that even possible? It's natural!"
"I don't! Dad was right. It's a bastard."
"Will you shut up?" Her mother yelled.
Kemi shut up. She shut her eyes, trying not to cry. The last months had been a roller coaster for her. Everything that had seemed perfect had now fallen apart. And she didn't even have a plan for her future. She was just fifteen years old. She was just a child.
She remembered that day at the boarding house. She had stayed back after classes while every one left to go back to their different hostels. A few people passed by and some came into the classroom, but she pretended to be studying, with her Biology text book opened on her desk.
In a little while, the coast was clear. She closed her text book and walked out of the classroom, then straight down, till she got to the Chemistry Lab. She tried to open the door but it was locked. Then quickly, after a few seconds, someone opened it and she went inside, then he locked it again. It was just two of them inside.
"You're so beautiful, Kemi." Uncle James said, as he started to kiss her neck and her face.
For the first time, Kemi actually believed those words, especially because they were not coming from her mother who was obliged to say so.
All her life, Kemi knew she wasn't exactly a pretty one. She wasn't as pretty as her younger sisters. No boy ever approached her. Even her dad never really showed her emotional affection. He merely did his duties as a father, and expected all his children to fear and respect him. When all her friends had started to have boyfriends, no boy even looked her way. So the minute Uncle James, the new Chemistry teacher who was a Youth Corper, had started to pay a little attention to her, she felt on top of the world. She couldn't forget the day she went to submit her Lab book in his office which was in a corner at the Chemistry Lab. He'd held her hand and told her she was pretty. Then the second time, he'd kissed her cheek. She couldn't help it. She believed every word he said because he was more mature than all the small secondary school boys she had been bothered about.
Uncle James had told her he really liked her. He had bought a card for her on Valentine's day and even though the words had come with the card, and not that they were handwritten by him, she lingered on every single word, as though they proceeded from his very mouth.
She bought a card too, and then she gave it to him during lunch break. He had smiled and winked at her and told her to come to his office after school hours, when every one had left.
Uncle James deflowered her. She had cried, but at the same time, she was happy that Uncle James found her worthy of this. He kissed and touched her and she never wanted to go back to the hostel. She wanted to marry Uncle James, so they could do this every day. He was a Youth Corper and he was going to be leaving soon. As soon as he was through with service, she imagined he would get a big job that would pay him big salary and by then, she would be studying at the University. Then as soon as she graduated, they would get married and live happily ever after.
She saw a small red flower that had fallen off from the bunch on his table, as though to symbolize the act of deflowering that had just happened between them, on the cold black rug in his small office. She was shy. She looked away, as she played with the flower. He got up and begun to pull his trousers.
"Go to your hostel now." He said. His voice seemed different; a totally different tone from how he had been speaking pre-deflowerisation.
She stood up timidly. He looked at her and threw a handkerchief to her so she could clean up herself. She didn't like the way he was looking at her. It had this mass of disgust in it.
"Did I do something wrong, Uncle James?" She asked, just before she left.
"No. Just go. And don't tell anyone about this." He said.
Then the next day, at Chemistry class, he hadn't even looked at her. He stopped talking to her and started to ask Ijeoma, another girl in her class, to see him in his office.
It was November. The baby had been born. The baby she felt no love for. It was almost the end of the year, except for the hope of December, as though December was a last shot to do what had not been done throughout the whole year.
Kemi shut her eyes.