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Added: Mar 04, 2017
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MARGARET

She had been down with malaria since the previous day and chose not to go to her restaurant that day. She had been taking a nap on the couch in the living and had only woken up when Ima returned with Faith from school.



Thanks to Faith’s playing around and being naughty with Ima, she had found it difficult to return to sleep.



Looking back at the past weeks, she was particularly glad the girl finally overcame the whole sad event and had gotten back to feet.



For once in a long time, she had a smart girl around the house to confide in and char with.



Faith and the girl got along well, with the later taking the former like an elder sister she never had.


After confiding in Mrs Caroline and Micheal, she had finally decided to unofficially adopt the girl.


Having just graduated from secondary school and with the next academic session for university still in September, the girl had been helping to babysit Faith while occasionally making appearances at the restaurant. Reconciliation attempts with the girl, her parents and her child would come much later.



Everything was going on well. Business was good and Micheal was his best and Faith was off her neck preferring to be with Ima. But her son’s arrival from school this Friday afternoon changed all that again.


The sound of a body crashing to the ground and the sudden shout of “Aunty Aunty” by Faith made her to sit up on the couch. Looking towards their position at the entrance of the house, she saw the body of Ima on the floor.



She almost had an attack as she ran towards the door catching her wrapper halfway. At the same time Faith got down from the arms of her brother and began to shake the unconscious body of Ima.
“This girl won’t kill me” she swore in Efik as she got to where Ima la!d. All the while Emem stood motionless by the entrance without making any move to check out what was wrong. Bending down she kept calling the girl “Ima Ima Ima” while shaking her body.
“I think she fainted” Emem finally said in Efik
“My God. Help me carry her inside. Faith quickly bring me water from the fridge” she instructed both her children.

Minutes later she had emptied the bottle of water on the girl’s face, neck and chest. She pick up a magazine she had been reading before sleeping off and began to fan the girl.


Emem just stood and watched and she mistook to the worried look on his face for genuine concern or confusion. Faith on her part just sat on the couch and watched silently.

After the cold water and some minutes of fanning failed to revive the girl, she remembered she had a tin of glucose on the table and stood up to get it. She was just about to squat by the girl to feed some amount into her mouth when she saw the girl’s opened eyes. She quickly knelt by her side and lifted her into a sitting position. The doctor had told her she had cleared the girl’s vaginal wall and uterus to prevent pregnancy. So what then is the matter she wondered.
“Ima… Talk to me. What’s the matter? Hoe are you feeling?” Then she noticed streams of tears begin to flow down the girl’s eyes. At this point, she noticed Emem walk out of the living room. Initially she thought he wanted to bring in his bags, but not until the girl began to talk did she realize he didn’t come back in.

Because of her own state of health, she was already about to lose her patience with the girl who kept sobbing when girl finally spoke.
“When he came into the cab that night and sat next to me, I looked at him and responded to his greetings. In his eyes I saw a depressed young boy who had was probably facing certain challenges because I didn’t understand why such a fine young boy his age would be drinking local gin at that time of the night. Curiously his partner had said he was hungry and had gone to eat. He broke eye contact before I did and then we both looked away.


Don’t know when or where he pulled out the handkerchief or tissue paper from, but I just saw him charge at me and cover my nose. In that brief moment before I lost consciousness, our eyes met again. I couldn’t scream because my mouth was also covered but even with the darkness in the car, I paid attention to every detail of his face. His beards, and what appeared to be a cut on his nose”
Then when l regained consciousness and heard their leader asked him to take me, his price, I knew I was going to be raped. But I made a decisions deep within me that I wasn’t going to die, at least not like that. Although the room was faintly lit, and they all had a mask, I was still able to see the cut on his nose and that look of pity in his eyes while I begged him. More like if he had his way he wouldn’t be there with them. I promised myself I would survive and that if I did, I was going to look for that face for the rest of my life. It burned into my memory. Though when the test started taking their turns with me, I begged them to kill me”.

The tears kept flowing as she continued ” But I guess fate had a different plan for me, for us.



I survived, you found me and cleaned me up and took me in like your own. Showing me love I’ve forgotten ever existed…”
“Ima why all this now again?” she cut the girl short
The young girl’s sobbing suddenly increased as she asked her “How do I tell the lady who picked me from the streets of Lagos that her son was the one who put me there?”
She quickly pushed the girl away from body hoping she misconstrued the girl’s last statement. “What do you mean Ima?” She asked hoping for the best
The girl who had now started crying out said it more explicitly more like she was fighting the words, “Emem and his friends kidnapped and raped me”
“Emem…..” She screamed out his name.
Filled with disgust at what the girl just said and terrified at the idea of her son admitting to the crime, she turned to the girl and said “Ima, think about what you’re saying right now. Are you sure you no what you are saying?” And the girl nodded affirmatively.
She was still hopeful Emem would come back in and deny the allegations, but when she repeated his name and he didn’t answer, she began to fear the worst. Going out to check when he wouldn’t answer and seeing he had left with his luggage was all she needed to confirm the girl was saying the truth.



The disappointment and disgust was so much that she felt nauseous and ran for the toilet where she puked. Cleaning up, she returned to the living room and seat back next to the girl on the floor. Hold her to her b0s0m, both of them wept in silence. Faith in her confused state, left the couch and joined them on the floor telling both of them”Sorry na”
Where did she go wrong? What did she do to deserve this? She no longer knew who her son was. In a split second, this revelation had turned her whole world upside down and changed it forever as she wondered how she had been able to pay attention to every other kid but her own. Life was so unfair she thought

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