I took the girl to a clinic where she was treated, i suggested she report the case to the authorities but she refused. She lay on my couch staring at the ceiling. I brought the food i had just made into the living room.
” Food is ready”
” Thank you, am not eating”
” You have to eat, i slaved in the kitchen to make you this food so you have to eat.”
She sat up and began eating the food mechanically. She looked so much like Chika. She looked up and our eyes met.
” Thank you”.
We bonded well over the following weeks, she came into my life the time i needed a friend the most. I missed Dayo, i cried into my pillow every night, i moaned every day about how life had dealt miserably with me.I was amazed at how resilient Ify was, she was a friend, a sister, and i found myself leaning on her shoulder often.
I waited for Dayo’ s calls or text messages, just a beep that he was alright and that he didn’t forget me but none came. I told her about my profession and my decision to quit.she didn’t even blink an eye in judgment. I was impressed when she told me she would get a job to support us but it was a long time coming.
The money in my bank slowly ran out, i knew there was only an option left. We had to survive. One evening i dressed up and picked my working tools, condom, pepper spray, some change and went to work. My colleagues were happy to see, they had thought i went out of the country on assignment. The next day i went to Benin with some girls for a private party and i retuned home with five hundred thousand naira in cash.
I paid the house rent although it wasn’t due for another six months. I started noticing the changes in my body gradually, i got easily irritated, i lost apettite for food and all i wanted to do was to sleep. Ify insisted that i should go for a check up. The nurse called my name and i went in to get the results. I had run a test for malaria, HIV, typhoid fever and pregnancy at the nurse’ s insistence.
My hands shook as i opened each of the envelops, Hiv, negative, malaria, negative, I breathed in relief. I stared blankly at the last result, how could it be? how could it be? i wondered. The nurse gave me a wide smile patting my hand in a congratulatory manner. I stood up and walked back to the reception, my insides churned and for the first time in my young life i felt alone. Ify collected the results and glanced through each of them. She stared at the last one trading looks with me. We were both afraid.
” How long will you keep up with this behavior?” I shouted in exasperation. Ebere had been holed up inside since we came back from the hospital three days ago. ” What we need now is solutions! What do we do? how do we go about it?”
” Please go away” she whispered, her puffed up face pressed into the pillow on the bed. I started laying her clothes on the bed. ” What are you doing?”
” We are going to see Dayo.You said he’s likely to be home on weekend. Today is Friday, if we don’t see him today, we will go back tomorrow ”
” Ify how do i face him? his mother….”
I didn’t let her finish. ” You have no business with her! Come on get up!”
” Am afraid”
” What are you afraid of Ebere?” I asked softly.
” Am afraid he would want to do the right thing, he’s an only child and his parents have high expectations for him. Ify just look at me!” She sobbed. I pulled her up.
” There is nothing wrong with you, come on get up”
We took a cab to Omole phase 1 and walked the short distance to Dayo’ s house. The gate was opened immediately we knocked.
” Madam how you dey!” The gate man said cheerfully.
It was a good omen. I smiled brightly at him.
” I dey, how u dey?” Ebere said. ” Your Oga nko?”
He scratched his head and i lost my smile. Bad omen.
” Oga papa no well, so Oga go see am for America.” He looked back into the compound nervously. ” Madam talk say Oga no go come back again, she say hin go continue hin study for there.”
I could hear Ebere’ s heartbeat as surely as i could hear mine.
” Wetin do hin phone? you get hin foreign number? ”
” Ah no oo! Madam dey inside, make i go ask her?”
Ebere and i both said at the same time. She thanked the gate man and we went back home dejectedly.
” I have decided to determinate it” She said later that night.
” Have you thought about it well?
” Have i thought of it?” She shouted, ” do i have a choice?! ”
She went into the bathroom and locked the door.
” Ebere am sorry” i knocked softly on the door.
” It is not your fault Ify……… I ought to have known better! how could i have been so stupid? ” She sobbed.
” No one is above mistake. Please open the door”
” I don’t want to……to die! am only nineteen years old! God please help me”.
I wondered why life was so fair to some, perfect family, perfect life, is God angry with us? She continued sobbing late into the night and i went into the bedroom to do some sobbing of my own. Is God really up there? i pondered over and over.
To be continued