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FCMB 3337311015 SAVINGS EGBECHO F.
Will it be OK if you give this passage a title?
When women have become more, wives very plenty but mothers really few, my mother, Mrs. Erika stood out as an extension of the goddess of Discipline.
In my dream, my holiday dream, there was an unending rainbow in the midst of lightening. I found myself shorter than who I was but surprisingly, my hand could stretch to any length. As the rain drenched me, out of curiosity, I threw my right hand up extending my short fingers to reach the beautiful rainbow above. I aimed the highest, stretching further and farther, almost there. Until, teasing objects opened my eyes to the light of day.
“Believe can you quickly get your little fingers out of my face.”
She giggled and retreated. Younger sister trouble. She ran away as I strolled to my rest room. I had a long relieve of myself sinking lovingly into the marsh of my rainbow dream till I remembered time.
It was seven minutes pass 8am. I rushed to the kitchen but my mother was already washing the plates. She laughed wickedly after saying a mock good morning to me. Believe joined her too. The whole laughter was because Samuel would have to sweep the whole house and scrub all the bathrooms in conjunction with the toilets as well as the toilets in the apartments of our left and right neighbours for waking up after 8am. My name is Samuel actually and my mother was the queen of all punishments.
To her, rising up late is the sure route to failure. Mrs. Erika expected me and my only sibling also known as chukie little sister to wake up every day at 6am whether we are heading out or not. She was doing well in the training and my father supported her firmly like a brassiere supports the bosoms of a woman. I never got into her toilets washing punishments but for few times during holiday and it was Salah holiday yet someone could not just chill.
In two hours, I quickly executed the sweeping and scrubbing at home. There were three rest rooms in my apartment, meaning, the other apartments had three restrooms each. Nine toilets to be scrubbed by a 14-year-old just for running late while waking up.
When I got to the apartment by our right, the kids mocked me as usual. Toby shouted from the room, “Hi man Samuel. I knew you will be our houseboy today. It’s holiday and it rained last night.” He laughed at me and the laugh was plenty and painful. To that I replied, “Hi man Toby, your mother goes to the market with my mother these days, I bet she will be talking to her about implementing this kind of civil punishment in her home.” Toby screamed Oluwa forbid!
The apartment by our left was the one that brought me joy. Mrs. Ngozi, a trader occupied there with her only child Mercy. Mercy was my classmate and the only girl I played with. She was very calm, pretty and had the longest hair in class still there was a shortcoming. Mercy, the coconut head. Whenever I got to her home everywhere was ok but I would scrub them anyway as mother had instructed. Her mother often laughed at my mother’s sense of discipline. Happily, I knocked on their door but no one came. No one was home.
Mercy was not in school the next day and we did a test. I was very disturbed. I felt so malnourished. As soon as they rang the bell for closure, I heard her calling me from the class dwarf window. I was perplexed that she was in her uniform but was not in class all day. She looked so pale and worried as she spoke to me carefully at the extreme of the classrooms.
“I’m pregnant.” She began.
“Pregnant? What is pregnant?” I replied illogically.
“Yes I am pregnant, you are the only one I play with and now I am pregnant. You can even see it from my panty.”
“How can I see it from your panty Mercy? I have not seen it from your panty before.”
“I don’t know Sam but I just know that I am pregnant. You are responsible or are you not?”
To that I replied hastily and carelessly “I am not responsible.
She cried a little and replied, “Ok. If you are not responsible let me go and look for another man to play with so that he can be responsible for the pregnancy if not my mother will kill me. Let me hurry before she comes back from the market.” I thought I wanted to tell her wait but she was already gone.
Tears filled and refilled my eyes. At home, I could not undo the buttons of my clothes. I was not only scared of what had happened but I was afraid for her playing and laughing with another boy so that he can be responsible. I wondered why I didn’t say that I was responsible. Guilt choked me for getting her into more trouble. My parents came in; they were teachers in my school. I deleted the tears on my face immediately I heard the door. My father called me angrily like he used to when I did something wrong or maybe he heard that I got someone pregnant. I said the shortest prayer on earth and dissolved to his presence.
“Samuel Onyekem why did you score 15 over 20 today in your test? I just got your script from Mr Agama. For Biology you scored 15? An aspiring Doctor like you or have you forgotten your compass? Have you forgotten the rules and regulations in this house?” He was flinging my test script here and there as he screamed. Mother was there with Believe. With their eyes they helped Daddy caution me to death. I quivered in silence.
“Samuel!” he barked my name.
“Yes Daddy. I know the rules and regulations but I am not well and you taught us about saying the truth.”
“Yes? How does that connect to scoring zero in Biology? What is the truth?”
“Daddy it is 15 not zero.”
“Shut up!” Before he could continue I yelled out my crucifixion. “Someone is pregnant. I mean Mercy is pregnant and I am responsible. I won’t lie and……” I didn’t know what I was saying again but I continued. My mother quickly told Believe to run to her room.
“Daddy and Mummy you two are good people and you two teach in the same school and do discipline and this family is so fried. So boring, rules upon rules but I am not a liar and I am not the son of the devil and I am your son, your truthful son but I cannot lie. Mercy is pregnant and I told her I am not responsible but I am really responsible and she has gone away to play with boys so that they can be responsible. Let us go find her or her mother so that she cannot……” I froze.
My parents looked at each other many times trying to comprehend the talker. My father was overturned with anger and my mother gave me a dirty slap.
Toby and his siblings watched from their apartment as my mother toiled me to Mercy’s house. My father marched from behind. They were going to determine my fate in the court of law. Before we got there, a bigger drama was going on. Mercy was yelling “You will kill me. You will kill me.” I knew her mother was killing her and it was just the both of them, the Killer and the Killed. No Jesus Christ to play Saviour. Instantly, I puked green things that looked like death as Mrs. Ngozi opened the door and the gate.
Inside, Mercy coiled up at a corner sobbing.
“Ngozi what is the problem?” My mother asked intelligently.
“It is Mercy. This small Mercy wants to disgrace me. She is pregnant and I am beating her to tell me who got her pregnant and the stupid girl is not talking.” My parents turned to me.
“Have you done the pregnancy test to confirm?” My father asked. The women grazed him with their eyes but Mrs. Ngozi replied anyway. “I never do test o. she came to tell me herself that she is pregnant and she is looking for the man that got her pregnant abi the men that got her pregnant. Imagine this small girl playing about with boys.”
“Mummy I did not play about with boys. It is only Samuel that I played with. We used to play a lot and the things he used to teach me, sometimes I don’t understand.”
All eyes descended on me again.
“I am honest and Mercy is honest. I love that.” I said to myself on the cross of Calvary.
My father punished my ear and I wept in anger and humiliation while my mother quietly walked to Mercy. She touched her here and there and opened her eyes looking closely but Mercy spoke.
“Aunty you won’t know from my eyes, it’s from my panty. There is blood in my panty since last night and I have been changing panty but the blood is not going. I have been playing games with Samuel especially Whot and Ludo. He is the only one I play those games with that’s why he is responsible. He is the one that got me pregnant.”
I yelled down the building. “Mercy must you show everybody that you don’t understand everything they teach in our class? Daddy! That is menstruation; you got your menstruation, your period, the women’s curse. That is the period, the puberty period that Mr. Agama taught us in Biology.”
“Oh! Is that period? I thought the period is the white something in my panty and blood is pregnancy.” She got up smiling little by little in the middle of our electrified parents.
I continued bravely to let my parents know that I was not a disappointment. “Yes! That is period and why didn’t you tell your mother? Mr. Agama told us to always tell our parents about any change in our body just like I told my father about the wet dreams I had.”
With their four vampire eyes, the two women grazed down my father again. He ran away.