We followed him sheepishly to our fate but the sight of it and the accompanying shock made me cry the more.
“I want them sparkling clean” he ordered and left.
Staring at such stinky and dirty toilets before me, I wished he had just flogged me mercilessly. I was still wallowing in self pity when I remembered my test. I immediately went to work, scrubbing and cussing as hard and fast as I could. I was done maybe an hour later and raced off to class.
The class was near empty with the hallways extremely busy. It was filled with group of students standing, gossiping and running about. I instantly realised it was break time and with a little enquiry I was informed I had missed the test.
Oh! I cried!!!
Most of my classmates couldn’t wrap their head around my constant lateness to school. Some kept asking if I was getting to class at that hour?, many bullied and called me names while others laughed at my unkempt looks. My legs were so dry and rough even though it wasn’t yet harmattan. It was as if I never had my bath nor ever creamed them. I was so ashamed of myself and lost every atom of confidence in me. I gradually became a loner.
My loss of self esteem forced me to always stay quiet in a corner. I had no personal school chair and locker and always had to beg my classmates to squat with them. Many would mock me scornfully while the few who would agree would just let me sit for few days, and then throw me out. I was the only one who constantly had to stand by the window to write my exams.
I was the only I.
I have missed yet another test and I knew I was doomed to perform poorly again at the end of the term.
Deep in my heart I just kept thinking “How I just wish someone could just help!!” I needed that little help…
I got home from school ten minutes late and I knew in my heart that I was in a hot soup. Walking home proved quite difficult today because I was very hungry. I couldn’t bring myself to walk as fast as I used to. I walked into my guardian’s presence. Mama and aunt Oby was seated outside apparently waiting for my return. Once the duo are seated out like that, I would just know that I’ve done something wrong. I murmured a greeting while stepping onto the brief stairs but my aunt’s furious eyeballs made me stop.
“I asked you to fill up my buckets and you just filled three, why? ” she asked
“I was running late aunty but I will fill them all up once I change” I begged
“change what? ” she barked
“drop your school bag” she ordered and that I did in an instant.
“carry those buckets from my room and fetch water for me right now, and you must do that in your uniform” she commanded.
I felt weak. I was sad. I felt empty and helpless. I knew once I walk that distance I would meet my school mates who would bully me the more the next day in school. My hungry stomach had quietly filled up itself as it had realized I wouldn’t have any meal unless I was through with my chores. I looked up at my aunt with a pleading eyes but her eyeballs were as red as a raging fire. I knew I had no option than to obey.
I went upstairs to her room, brought out her empty buckets and turned to leave.
“please let her just change her school uniform” mama pleaded. I stopped instantly in high hopes.
“No!” aunty refused. “next time she won’t defy my orders”
“Biko nwa m (please my child), please” mama insisted.
Aunty stared at me for sometime, sprang up and walked towards the staircase. She went underneath it which was where I kept my dirty clothes, and brought out a very dirty stinking gown. The stench from it forced her to cover her nostrils with her left palm. She headed back and handed it over to me.
“change into these and go fetch my water right now” she was enraged like a bull. Mama screamed as she perceived the stench but surprisingly burst out laughing.
“dirty pig! ” she cursed as I picked up the gown.
Life has been very unfair to me that I know. Love is something life has denied me, which has left me craving for it like my life depends on it. I wished mama and her family would love me and treat me like a human.
Today has been awkward. The constant headache and my aching stomach has left me speechless but I dare not complain. My head was pounding like a mortar being hit with a pestle. Aunt Oby and her fiance were upstairs watching a movie.
Oh! did I forget to mention they were cohabiting? My aunt’s fiance lives with her in the family home!
I guess mama noticed my pale face and was pushed to ask me what was wrong, but I simply answered “nothing”. I managed to carry out my chores to the last despite the kind of twinging pain I felt in my stomach. Once done, I had my bath and tied my badly torn wrapper. I didn’t have much clothes so I always substitute with this single wrapper especially when I’m home. I laid down on the bare floor and tried to stop the tears forming in my eyes. I was in serious pain. Thankfully, I didn’t realize when I dozed off.
I awoke minutes later to begin preparations for the night but my laps felt so wet. I sprang up with fearful thoughts that I had urinated unconsciously but a touch on my laps proved me wrong, rather than urine, my fingers were red….
I wanted to scream but I couldn’t, all I could think of was the beating I was going to get, the abuse, the curses and the pain. My pants were stained so was my wrapper. I ran off with fears to have them changed. I put on my spare pant as I had only two. I kept wondering how I had hurt myself especially as there was no physical injury. I was still thinking of what to do when I heard the door open downstairs and mama walked right in. I knew right away that I was in grave danger. Just as I was pondering on what to say to her, I felt another hot gush of blood. I was transfixed and lost on what to do next. But in a flash, I remembered I could hide, at least until I think of what to say, and that I just did.
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