DOZ Issue 43 May 2019 - Page 39

share with your parents, spend it wisely. You don’t know when you’ll be able to get a job so don’t be lavish in spending, have you heard?” I nodded and got out of the car. The driver waited until I was inside my flat and the door shut behind me before moving the car. I had been completely brainwashed by Uncle Akpo and Edafe so I did not consult with my mother, which was extremely unlike me. As soon as I entered my small flat I began to pack my things. I didn’t sleep despite being tired and in dire need of some rest. By the time the day broke I was through with packing and I went around the other flats looking for neighbours to buy my furnishings. I wanted my money that instant so I sold them at ridiculous prices. My neighbours were quite surprised, and I explained that there was an emergency at home that required my attention urgently, and I didn’t know when I would return. I still had a few months’ rent unused but I was willing to let it go, I locked up the empty flat and handed the keys to the caretaker who also lived in the premises. Finally, at about 2:00pm, I left for the motor park with only my suitcases. I did not call Isoken or any of the other girls I hung out with on the streets, and I planned to change my phone number once I reached Ughelli as I wanted to cut off all ties with my period of prostitution in Lagos. I knew they would eventually hear from my neighbours that I had returned home to Ughelli. As I left Lagos I felt a peace in my heart, I knew that Uncle Akpo and Edafe had told me the truth and that I’d made the right decision for my life by listening to them. I didn’t know how my parents would react though, but I really didn’t care. Uncle Akpo was right, I was their responsibility and so were my brothers. No longer would I destroy my life to help build the life of another person. From now on, it would be every man for himself. I had some money in the bank as well as cash on me, which I had received from Uncle Akpo and the sale of my properties. If I spent the cash on me wisely, it would be sometime before I would need to touch what was in the bank. I had not called my parents to tell them that I was coming, and so as you can imagine, they were quite surprised to see me, especially as I arrived at about 9pm with four large suitcases, two medium sized bags and an overnight case. My brothers were very excited to see me. No doubt they thought my coming home meant plenty of goodies would be made available. If only they knew. My parents were also happy to see me but somewhat apprehensive, and as my brothers carried my things inside the house to my bedroom, they demanded to know what the matter was. I simply replied that all was well, but I had decided to return home. My mother’s half smile immediately became a frown and she eyed me from head to toe. “And what does that mean?” She asked, but my father snapped at her before I could think of a response. “Ufuoma, go and get the child something to eat and then let her go to bed. Can’t you see that it is late and she is tired having made a long journey? Tomorrow is another day for questions and answers.” “Thank you, Papa.” I said, relieved that I would not need to answer any more questions, as I was tired and in need of a good night’s rest. I had not slept the previous night, and by this time, my head ached and my body felt 39 sore. I craved my bed. Being the only girl amongst my mother’s children meant that I had the privilege of having my own room, which my brothers sometimes used when I was away. All of my seven brothers shared one room. My room was quite comfortable, as I had furnished it tastefully while I was dating Emeka, and for that I was now grateful. At least I would have a little comfort while I lived in my father’s house, and as Uncle Akpo had stressed repeatedly, I was not permitted to leave until I married. So I wasn’t even thinking of getting any type of work outside of Ughelli. I wondered who would employ me, as I hadn’t participated in the National Youths Service upon completion of my degree programme. As soon as I had eaten I retired to my bedroom and locked the door behind me because I didn’t want to entertain any unwanted visitors. Whoever wanted to see me or discuss anything with me would have to wait until the following day. I had a good night’s sleep and by the time I got up in the morning, only my mother and stepmothers were in the compound, every other person had disappeared. My mother made me breakfast. I ate in my room and just before I finished, she joined me. Apparently, the suspense was driving her up the wall and she could bear it no longer. I ignored her and carried on eating my food as she entered the room and sat down, looking at my suitcases and bags. They were still unpacked. Then she turned to look at me and sighed. Footnote: Okrika means second-hand clothing. ……to be continued in the next issue. DOZ Magazine | May 2019