I glanced at the big wall clock in my class room. The time was 3.30pm, i sighed deeply as the bell that signifies the end of another school day rang. My class mates jumped up happily, i stood up and propped my back against my desk, my arms folded in front of my chest. I watched my class mates trouping out of the class eager to go home. Someone tapped me on my shoulder and i looked back.
” How far babe, make we waka nau” my beautiful class mate and best friend said.
” Juliet you and pidgin English ehn.”
She laughed. ” Ify let’s go home”.
I looked away. How do i tell her i was relunctant to go home because i was scared of my mother_my own mom! ” Jules you may go”
She sat down staring into my eyes. I hate when Juliet does this her thing of looking into my eyes, it was like she could see into my mind and see all my hidden fears and scars.
” We are best friends Ify, when will you learn to trust me and confide in me.”
” I can’t talk about it just yet please.” My voice shook with emotion.
” Is it about home? what is going on at home? Your parents are getting a divorce?”
How i wish it was that easy.” Let’s go home”.
I opened the door to our four bedroom flat and entered the cool air conditioned large sitting room. Pictures of my parents, my younger brother and i was hung on the wall. I stared at the one of my dad and i. We were sitting in a park laughing into the camera. That picture was taken last summer.
” Madame welcome”
I whirled around in fright. ” Good afternoon mom”.
” What says the time?” She screamed. ” Where are you coming from? ”
” Mom i walked home with Juliet, we_”
She gave me a slap and i shriek in pain. She followed it with slaps after slaps until i lost count.
” You will not kill me! I swear i will kill you before you kill me!” She dragged me on the floor onto the settee and spread my legs apart. She took hold of my p@anties and rendered the silky material into two.
” Who gave you this fine pant!” She slapped me over and over while i tried to block it with both of my hands. ” You have started having sex abi!” She sat on me raining blows on me.
” Mom please! Please! ask Juliet! We…we walked home together and she gave me the set of p@anties for my birthday”
She forced my legs apart again, exposing my young puvssy to the cool air. I yelped in pain as she forced her middle finger into me.” You are no longer tight! You have been fooling around with dirty boys ” she said slapping my face.
” Mom leave her alone” my baby brother Toby who was only seven years old said. I wondered if he had seen the whole thing, i wondered if Toby had witnessed my humiliation. My mother got up and faced him. ” Sweet pie please go back into your room”.
” I hate you! I hate you mommy” Toby said running out of the sitting room.
” You! stand up! You are going to shop for some groceries “.
She went into Toby’ s room to placate him. I got up and picked my tattered p@anties, my insides hurt. Why does mom hate me so much? if i hadn’t seen her ( mine) pregnancy shower photos i would have been convinced that i was adopted. Fresh tears assailed me as i got up tentatively. My chest heaved as the sobs racked my body.
I walked into the dinning area in my school uniform. My Dad was seated nursing a mug of steamy coffee. I pulled out a chair and sat down after exchanging greetings with him.
” My God! What happened to your face?” Dad asked looking up for the first time that morning. Due to the tedious nature of his job he comes home late after we would have gone to bed.
” Answer me Ify! What happened?”
” I fell sir…..in the bathroom. Where’s mom?” I didn’t want my parents to fight over me again. After each of those fights i was the one who ends up taking the brunt of it.
” She took Toby to school. Ify you are almost sixteen years old so you have to be more cautious. Imagine a big girl like you falling in the bathroom and bruising your face so nastily!”
” OK dad. ” i sighed in relieve.” Dad my allowance”.
” Your mother did not give you? i gave her five thousand naira which is your allowance for the week.” He brought out his wallet and gave me a thousand naira” i don’t understand that woman anymore.”
How could mom be so cruel to me? she had refused to give me even transport fare when i asked her for my allowance. I kissed my dad on the cheek and hurried out before mom comes back and seize the thousand naira from me.
I had been standing for hours but no one stopped in front of me. This night madam gave us a mini skirt and spaghetti top. The night was chilled and i shivered. Terry g’ s totori was blasting from pekas which was few feets away from where i stood. The old timers were still hostile towards us because we were young and fresh. They were afraid we would snatch away their customers. This wasn’t the life i wanted but since life has thrown me on this path and i am in an unknown land without no where to go what could i do?
My friends Monica, Chika, Nonye, Chinwe and Ngo also stood few feets away from where i stood. Monica is the most beautiful of us all so it was little wonder that two men had already had a short time with her. I shivered again as i remembered how Madam had beaten us viciously the previous day, my body still bore the scars.
” Ebere i Don tire ooo, na since we dey stand nobody even stop carry us!” Chika wailed.
” No worry, God go do am”
” Abi make we pray?”
I nodded and held her hand. ” God please pity us, have mercy us. Please bring customer for us too”.
” Amen” She said.” Ebere make i no lie, i no like this work. No be wetin madam tell us before carry us come o.”
” Chi girl, God go remove us. He go help us. Make we sabi our way, then we go go back” . she walked back to her post.
” Yarinya! Come! ”
I walked to the Hausa man on a bike. He looked like something from a horror movie, his face was badly scared and his teeth or what was left of the broken, scattered teeth was rotten and he reeked of garlic and booze.
” short time N500″ he said.
My face burned with anger. Imagine the pig! but I kept my cool and smiled. ” Na N1500″
He laughed spewing spittle on my face. ” Kai Yarinya you too cost! Walahi na N500 me dey do am”. He grabbed my b00bs giving it a quick sq££ze” Yo wa! e stand! Me go give you N550″
I walked back to my post seething but suddenly Madam B’ s face flashed before my eyes and i found myself walking back to him. He motioned me to get on the bike and i did. He drove down to Awoshika and stopped in front of a closed shop. We both went to the dark part of the closed shop and i lifted up my tiny skirt. Lord please forgive. I charged him an extra fifty naira for the condom we were about to use. He held my waist and forced his long deek into me with a thrust. Tears streamed down my face as he went in and out of me furiously. I walked back to Pekas with a gait in my steps. I bought pure water and walked down the lonely dark street.I stopped short when i heard shouts and wails. Is the police around again? a part of me wanted to take cover but i had to find out if my friends were alright.
I saw crowds gathered at the spot my friends and i were relegated to.
” Wetin happen? ” I asked an old lady who had almost bleached her soul away. She was the oldest hustler at Allen, i heard she trained all her children in the university but when they became successful they chased her way afraid her past would come hunt them. And to the streets she returned.
” Some cultist were fighting, they used one of the girls to shield them self as they ran to their car. No way the poor girl can survive those bottle stabs”.
My heart beat accelerated and i forced my way through the crowd. God are you seeing these? why are you letting these things happen? Chika lay in a pool of her own blood several large shards of bottle was embedded into her stomach and upper arms.The other girls were sobbing. I got on my knees and lifted her head up.
” Water” she whispered.
” Make nobody give her water ooo” the crowd shouted. ” She go just die at once! ”
If they cared so much why did they stand watching her bleed to death. I tore the pure water in my hand with my teeth and poured the water down her throat. Some dribbled out of her mouth.
” Thank……..you” her neck dropped to the back and the crowd began to wail at the top of their voices. I shook her and placed my ear on her chest but her heart beat was gone. Chika my childhood friend, my confidant, my sister. I called onto God to save my friend. I think God was asleep that night.