DOZ Issue 43 May 2019 - Page 37

While the meeting lasted, a lot of finger food and drinks were passed around, and although I ate and drank because I did not want to draw attention to myself by my refusal to do so, I did not really taste any of it as I kept wondering if Uncle Akpo actually meant to tell all the men present the story of my life once their deliberation on Edafe’s predicament had come to an end. I hoped he would not, I was already humiliated as it was and had to keep my head constantly bowed as that was the only way I could avoid locking eyes with the men who were glancing in my direction every now and then. The meeting lasted over two hours and came to an end just after midnight. Thankfully, Uncle Akpo did not mention my case and the men started to leave one after the other. I waited for him to rise so we could leave but he made no move to do so and so I sat and watched as the room emptied and finally only Uncle Akpo, Edafe and I were left. Then Uncle Akpo spoke up. “My brother,” he began, “I said earlier, that this young lady here is our daughter. I already mentioned her father’s name and so you know that she is our own flesh and blood. I did not want to shame her by telling her story to all who were present here tonight, but I want to tell you because you are a young man and your age is closer to hers than mine is, so I believe you will be able to join me in advising her. I have spoken to her on two occasions, but she refused to take my advice. Maybe she will listen to you, please help me talk some sense into her head, after all she is not only my daughter, she is also your daughter.” Uncle Akpo went ahead and narrated to Edafe the THE MEETING LASTED OVER TWO HOURS AND CAME TO AN END JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT. THANKFULLY, UNCLE AKPO DID NOT MENTION MY CASE AND THE MEN STARTED TO LEAVE ONE AFTER THE OTHER. entire story of my admission into the university and his decision to sponsor me, and how I started to befriend wealthy men despite his warnings, and finally became a prostitute on the streets. “I know where this problem is coming from, Edafe, it is our brother Mudiaga and his wife that are encouraging this nonsense, because when she goes to sell her body she buys second hand clothes for them, with which they move around Ughelli with their shoulders raised. Yes, I know it, they are the culprits, and they would have destroyed the life of their own daughter before they realise what they are doing. When the young lady’s activities came to my knowledge, I wanted to call my brother and report the matter to him but I decided 37 against it. I said to myself, let me see if Mudiaga will notice changes in his daughter and report the matter to me, not just because I am older than he is but because I was the one sponsoring the girl in the university. My brother never came to me and I began to notice a change in their lifestyle. The girl herself, unceremoniously stopped coming to me for the monthly upkeep money, which was part of her scholarship from me, without anyone questioning her. Then I realised that her parents, Mudiaga and his wife, were supporters of the evil practise. I decided to hold my peace and watch to see where it would lead, and this is where it has led, our own daughter is on the streets as a prostitute. Edafe, you should have been there to see the way she ran into my car and jumped on my laps before she realised I was not a customer.” By the time Uncle Akpo was done talking, my eyes had filled with tears. Edafe began to speak. He wanted me to tell him how I had transitioned from the decent university undergraduate sponsored by uncle Akpo, to a prostitute on the streets. I told everything and hid nothing, and when I was done, Edafe asked a question. “Rukevwe, are you not thinking of getting married and settling down?” “Oh, ho!” Uncle Akpo exclaimed even before I could answer. “Who is going to marry her when she has become a prostitute on the streets in Lagos; please tell me, my brother, which responsible man from a responsible family will marry her? And Mudiaga and his wife are in Ughelli, drinking tea and eating bread and wearing okrika clothes and are not asking themselves DOZ Magazine | May 2019