Going to school was the worst, I had to beg papa for money every morning because I needed to board a bus, Sometimes I felt it wasn’t asking for money but indeed slavish attention, as if he fed on my pathetic attempt to beg for money. He would later call me and ask why my skirt was below my knee, why my thighs were visible, why I looked indecorous, these unannounced interrogations followed the excruciating sound of my uniform tearing to pieces.
Quarreling, pummeling, smashing objects, screaming.
This was my coffee every morning due to lack of love, peace and unity in my divided family. It always began with mama yelling and throwing hostile glares , saying he was a cheat and meanly avaricious, thereafter, I would hear flying objects against the wall followed by smashing of wine bottles and plates. Sometimes papa would decide to go further in his quest of quenching his fire by beating mama to pulp leaving us with a purpled eyed woman and open wounds scattered around her body, she always cried till her eyes turned bloodshot.
While mama was a teetotaler, papa was a staunch alcoholic, he occasionally came home staggering on his feet, holding the poor walls for stance. Sometimes he voiced a ditty using an unconventional rhythm leaving us to hold our ears tightly for fear of our hearing-impaired. He came home with the smell of rotten eggs conveying it to our 2 room apartment and of course mama always bemoaned about it. Our residence was quite old, the two rooms were connected to the living room, the bathroom and toilet were together, the kitchen was very small. I was the only child so it became a custom for me to hide my disdain behind a feigned smile on my lips everyday, I no longer lived with parents rather strangers.
Going to school was the worst, I had to beg papa for money every morning because I needed to board a bus, Sometimes I felt it wasn’t asking for money but indeed slavish attention, as if he fed on my pathetic attempt to beg for money. He would later call me and ask why my skirt was below my knee, why my thighs were visible, why I looked indecorous, these unannounced interrogations followed the excruciating sound of my uniform tearing to pieces. I learned my lesson that day and always left the house before he woke up, I would sell sachet water and keep the change. When I arrived at school I was seen with my patched uniform, my leather satchel that had holes and my sandal that was buckle-less leaving me to welcome dust between my feet.
I was in my junior secondary school three, having only three friends wasn’t much of a struggle. With unsympathetic and judging stares my other classmates would skim through my attire looking for circles of stain and holes, they would feign innocence and approach me confidently, asking why I had such stains, perhaps you forgot to bath?, they would ask or how many cloths do you have?. My friends Marcel ,Vincent and Uchenna would assemble in front of me with their hands cocked confidently behind their hips throwing hostile glares at any body planning on saying anything to me. They were always ready to speak for me when necessary and attack those that decided to go extra mile to bully me, they always asked how my parents were and why I always came to school late running like a cheetah with sweat dripping down my face and body. Initially, I hesitated to tell them for weeks but eventually I summoned courage and explained why I was always this way, for a fleeting second they stayed seated with their mouths wide open and wide eyes filled with shock, almost immediately like igniting fire they started accusing me of not telling them earlier and how I could handle such heavy load, they also planned to match into my house, pack my bags and carry me to their houses. But of course I refused, I couldn’t leave my family and run away, I wanted to stay till the end, even though it might drain the little amount of life left. My friends adamantly persisted in their quest but I silently rejected, I loved them so much I couldn’t burden them with my worries.
From that day onwards they followed me to and from school, told me to stop hawking and paid my bus fares. Albeit I refused, they still opened my bag every morning, without my knowledge, and put large amounts of money.
When junior waec was approaching I knew papa and mama would throw insults at me if I decided to bring the subject of money so I started hawking again.
When Vincent found out, for he saw me crossing the road with a bucket of sachet water placed on my head, he was furious with me and told Uchenna and Marcel. They all shouted at the top of their voices screaming that I should trust them, i cried and cried and couldn’t stop crying for the thought of them leaving me was like my heart being forced out of my chest, eventually, they showed pity upon me and softly explained to me why they were angry, we reconciled that night and went our separate ways, it was very late in the night when we separated so I decided to pass a short-cut on my way home. It was a narrow, dark and scary path filled with bushes. I quickened my pace when I remembered the disgusting stories I heard of this place. I was too distracted by the thought of the events of these past weeks that I failed to hear quickly the crunching sounds of the leaves in the bush. I stopped for a second to make sure I heard wrongly and I was proven right so I walked faster, almost reaching the end I slowed down a bit to rest a little. I once again heard the crunching sound but this time more distinct and near, I was frozen to the spot, my heart was beating so fast, I thought my rib cage would break, I was shaking like the leaves that were taken unannounced by the wind, I was frigid. I tried looking back but was stopped midway when a hand seized my mouth, I noticed immediately that he smelt like alcohol and my fear skyrocketed, I screamed and screamed but it was useless, I tried hitting him but failed because of his enormous muscles, he held me effortlessly like I was a leaf and dragged me to the bushes, I continued hitting and hitting and biting his hands but it was useless, he threw me on the floor then brought out a cloth to tie my lips, I used that opportunity to scream but regretted it when I received a life changing slap, my cheeks felt so hot, it was stinging so bad I wanted to shed tears but wouldn’t because I needed to be strong.
Luckily for me I wore my tight trousers with belt so it was difficult for him to pull down, he started grunting and sighing loudly due to impatience, he brought out a blade from his pocket and started tearing bit by bit, I felt the night cold engulf me with its soothing presence so i knew the tearing process was over, he started stripping in front of me and I knew it was over, I cried and cried and tried to scream but it was pointless, he removed his boxers and I was left with the disgusting sight of his dangling grasshopper like manhood, I tried to look at his face but I was left with a silhouette, he knelt down and tore my pants and I prayed to God to help me, the repulsive man looked at me and i immediately jolted back from the worst daydreaming I had ever had, I found myself still standing on the spot when I heard the crunching sound, I decided not to look back and ran for my life.