” Ifeoma Ambrose”
I looked up from my biology text book. Mrs Anene our vice principal stood in front of my classroom. No wonder the noisy class had suddenly gone quiet. ” Ma” i stood up.
” See me in my office during recess” She walked out of the class. Juliet gave me the ” what have you done this time” look and i replied her with the” I don’t know” expression. It is amazing how you can communicate with your bestfriend without uttering a single word.During recess i went to the VP’ s office and knocked on her door, she beckoned me in.
” Sit down. Your year tutor brought it to my notice that your grades are dropping badly.You were once the most brilliant girl in this school! are you keeping company with bad girls?”
My eyes dropped to my thighs. ” No ma”
” Talk to me…..what is the problem?”
My eyes misted with tears. ” My mom has never liked me, but these past few days her hatred for me has intensified. She finds a reason to beat me, at home i am always doing a chore or the other. She does not give me time to study or even do my assignment. ”
” Your mother doesn’t hate you. She is only bringing you up as a good mother should. That is no excuse for you to fail any subject again or score below 60 marks!”
” OK Ma.” I said. Maybe this is the way every parents treat their child, but why is my dad not mean to me?
” You may go back to your class, study extra hard girl!”
” Thank you ma.” I went back to my class.
On the way home i couldn’t resist asking Juliet if her mother also beats her for no good reason.
” No, she tells me to go to my room when i do something bad. Or i won’t be allowed to watch TV for a week!”
” Really? you are lucky!”
She opened her bag and brought out a set of perfume. It was so cute and girly. Katy perry.
” Bro Jeff said i should give this to you”
” Awww. It is so cute but i can’t accept it.”
Bro Jeff was Juliet’ s elder brother, he was always buying us something. If i had an elder brother i would want him to be as nice and generous as Bro Jeff but i have a little brother and he is a good brother too.
” Why?! He got me one too!”
” Jules please i can’t accept it. Please thank him for me.”
She put it back it her school bag as we stopped a bike. My feet had never stepped into my mom’ s car before, when dad had the time he takes me to school but those were on some rare occasions. The biker stopped in front of my gate and i paid him. Juliet lives in the house next to mine so we see often outside school. I went into the sitting room, Toby was asleep on the settee and i carried him into his room.
Mom called me from the kitchen, i ran into the kitchen afraid she would box my ears if she called me twice. “Good afternoon Mom, i took Toby into his room”.
” How are you sweetie?”
I was stunned. ” Am fine ma”
” Come, i have something for you, come closer”.
I moved closer to her, is this for real? She asked me to give her my hand, before i could realize her intention she had forced my hand into a steaming bowl of water she had in front of her. I yelped in pain trying to snatch my hand away but her grip on mine was too tight. Some of the hot water splashed on her and she gave me a back hand slap with her free hand.
” How dare you! how dare you report me to your Vice principal! That holier_ than_ thou woman called me preaching to me! so i don’t know how to train my own child ehn!” She screamed.
” What is going on here?” Dad asked. His eyes taking in the scene before his eyes, my cries could be heard miles away. My hand which was held tightly into the hot water had lost all its skin looking like chicken b—-t. He pushed her away with a force and she landed on her rump.
He scooped me into his arms and ran out of the flat. He placed me gently on the back seat of his car and drove me to the nearest clinic. Is this normal? is this also part of godly upbringing? i closed my eyes as the pain became unbearable for me. Please i want to die.
I tossed and turned all night, dad came to check up on me frequently. He kept saying Nne ndo, touching my hair, asking if i was alright. In the morning he brought me a cup of tea and i took my pain killers and antibiotics. He took me into the bathroom and cleaned my body with warm water. My left hand looked hidious and it was patched with wool which had already turned yellow. Dad had told them at the pharmacy that I had mistakenly put my hand into a bowl of hot water. The old lady had berated me severely as she was treating the wound.
Dad carried me into my bed. He placed some money under my pillow and left for work. Minutes later i heard my door creak open slowly and i closed my eyes pretending to be asleep. Mom came into the room and sat beside me on the bed. I tried to relax my features like i was truly sleeping. Her blackberry phone rang and she answered the call.
” Hello” She said.
” Please i beg you in the name of God. Where will i get such amount of money! I have sold all my jewelries……i have nothing else to sell!”
” What did you do with the one millionaira i gave you just last week! Biko have mercy on me nau! hello! hello!”
She stood up and left my room banging the door after her. Who was at the other end? Mom sounded so frightened, i never knew anything could rattle her or anyone for that matter.
Chika’ s corpse was by the roadside for three days, when Madam came to pick us that night she asked us to pretend Chika was not one of us. She made us stay back home for three days sorting out her wardrobe. I walked around with the guilt of my best friend’ s death on my young shoulders. I missed my mother, i missed my best friend Chika. Madam was complaining daily about how we are not making her any money.
When we resumed working we heard the government had come for the body. The nights were cold and the pay was very small. Some men would say they want to f* uck you with a bottle, the old timers gradually accepted us into their circle and showed us the ropes. We were inducted about the pros and cons, we were also told we need contacts because only roadside hustling doesn’t pay. With their influence we were allowed into Pekas where the big men and yahoo guys came to spend their money.
You have to act like you know because nobody likes a novice and clients need to know they won’t be wasting their hard earned money on some mommy and daddy f*uck. You dont just stand expecting a customer to walk up to you, you have to advertise your wares and lay emphasis on your skills, he ( Client) should be able to c—-x with the mental pictures you have created.
First your clothes has to be on point, you have to move with the bigger girls and establish contacts. Always go an extra mile to please a client. Make the police your friend and watch everything work together for your good……a client is refusing to pay? Call them! Client gave you half payment? call them! want to scam a client? Call them! stay away from other people’ s client and you don’t have to watch your back. Ignore people. Those tiny legged girls claiming holy? ignore them! Those women in their flashy cars who slowed down just to stare at you and use you to set a bad example to their kids when they get home? Ignore them!those fake pastors who comes to shout fire and brimestone? Ignore them? When you are on duty and you see any one you know! Ignore! Your mother saw you and called your name? Ignore! those women who nods their head accusingly, ignore! those women from the Saint Leo church round the corner….. You know what to do. The worst mistake to make is to fall in love with a client or let him do you skinny! always insist on using a condom!
I bought dye of different colors and changed the colors of the clothes i brought with me from the village. I modified most of them, a shred here or there with blade, a cut or two in a jean or blouse to give it a Kanye West design look. I kept back some of the meager money i made and saved religiously for a Brazilian hair. I was ready to make it big time in this business. I yearned to be known as one of the queens of the street. People like Madam B would pay for everything they had ever done to me. I never forget a face or name.
To be continued..