I trudged into our flat, as usual Maria-my step mother was sitting; cross legged in the parlor.
“Ekun le oo”I said trying to sound cheerful
“Maami good evening.”I greeted her again,
She did not reply, she glued her eyes to the television.
That’s your problem, I shrugged, and walked towards my room.
“Oshi!- Devil!”I heard her say, I quickly turned to look at her.
“Aje- witch!”she added again.
I became apprehensive, trouble in the air.
“go and tell your fellow witches that my head is too strong for them o”she clapped.
Is this woman okay? I asked myself, I moved towards my room but stopped again when something struck my head from behind.
The sharp pain surged through my body, I let out an ear-deafening scream- thats my major talent.
She pulled me roughly,”let me warn you, if you tell your father anything, I’ll kill you!”
I stood still, staring at her.
“Take your winchy eyes off me jare! Oya go and fetch water for me.”
“okay, let me pull off my uniform.”
I moved towards my room, tears streaming down cheeks.
“which uniform? Go like that jor!”she pushed me roughly.
I dashed to the kitchen, picked a bucket and made for the bore-h0le, to prevent more beating and insults.
The boreh0le was about 20 blocks from our flat, I filled my bucket,and made towards home.
I wished my dad would just come back, he’s gone for his so-called ‘business trips’. If he’d been around, I wouldn’t fetch water, he made sure we buy from water vendors.
“Tejumola Benson!”someone called from behind me. I turned sharply and saw Bisi my classmate running towards me.
Here comes she over sabi-sabi, I rolled my eyes.
“So you fetch water too?”she asked. I didn’t reply.
“you should have changed from your uniform first now.”she added.
Over sabi-sabi mind your business now, I wanted to tell her.
“Thanks for your concern”I replied with sarcasm
“Its alright”she gave me a donkey smile. awww!
“Let me help you, I’m going down the road.”she collected the bucket of water, balanced it on her head and we walked home.
“Teju, you were funny during french class, that day, hmm.”she said.
I simply grunted.
“You see this house?”she said as we walked past a huge mansion.
“sheeey you know David ko? The assistant head boy, ehen, the house belongs to his father, they all live inside.”Bisi explained.
“Ehhn! Tell me something.”I said in a gossip like fashion.
“Hmm, you mean you don’t know? His father has three wives now, David is the only son, with about 15 sisters. My dear, each of them have a well furnished room. You know their father is a senator”Bisi rattled on.
“Thanks for the info”I was sarcastic again. Thank God she didn’t notice
“not at all, if you need any story, just call me, I know almost everything.”she said dropping my bucket of water right in front of my house.
“Thanks”I wore a plastic smile.
Amebo number 1, I wanted to tell her
I watched her leave before taking my bucket of water into the house.
“How many hours did it take you to fetch just a bucket of water?”Maria snarled.
I turned the water into a drum and made to walk past her.
She pushed me and I toppled over, bashing my head on the floor, I shrieked in pain.
“! I will make this house miserable for you, so far as you and your witches won’t let me give birth.”
“I didn’t hold your womb, go and ask the doctor who helped you abort so many babies when you were a love peddler in town.”I blurted out, I was surprised at myself.
Wow! I’m now grown,not the little girl she used to molest. 14 yrs no be beans, I’m not called Tejumola for nothing.
She stared at me surprised, hate pain and anger written all over her face.
I backed a way slowly, too slow enough for her to grab me.
She beat, scratched and pulled my cornrows. I begged and begged to no avail. Sensing she might kill me, i stopped begging.
I held unto her tightly, brought my mouth close to her ear and screamed with all my might.
She quickly released me because my scream could make her go deaf, it was piercing and irritating.
I ran out of the kitchen, into my room. I quickly bolted it, locked it with keys.
She banged at my door.
“Teju open the door, I’l kill you today.”she yelled.
“Ashewo kobo kobo no market today?”I screamed back at her
she fell silent, I could hear her sob, winchy-wincho! I hissed.
I examined my injuries, just then I remembered i was hungry.
There was no way maami is gonna feed me today, I will wait till she is asleep, then I’ll steal some packs of indomie.
Man pikin dey suffer! I told myself after gulping down three cups of water.
To be continued