The Plight of a Rose: The Nemesis.
By Shidoo Takaa
Kate knew her wares were her priority for the day. It was a hot day, the Sun was blazing hot, almost burning the rubber slippers she had on, she was tired and hungry. Her meal ticket was to sell all the groundout her aunty had placed on the tray that morning with strict instructions: “Make sure you sell all of them before you come back”. As she trekked in the scorching September afternoon, images of her life journey began to flash in her mind. As far as she can remember, thirteen years of her life on earth has been a struggle for her, she has never been happy. Her mother died while giving birth to her and her father… well, no one knew who he was; she had been an unwanted pregnancy. So the woman, she grew up to call Mummy, was her Aunty Mfe, a nurse at the general hospital Makurdi who was married with two little children Mandy, the first a girl who looked like she had swallowed a horse, as a result of eating a lot and Terry who had an insatiable appetite for play. Kate smiled as she thought about the kids. Her Aunty has never seen her as her child or treated her as one. At this thought tears uncontrollably rolled down her face as she walked slowly across the street, kicking the sand as she went. She was the last to eat and sleep in the house because of the chores she had to do and the first to wake up. She never knew what rest or play was and had never seen the four walls of a classroom.
Lost in her thoughts, Kate was hurled back to reality by the Sharp blazing horns of a car that had just turned the street and was approaching her, forcing her to hurriedly run to the other side of the street as the driver rained insults on her. Just then she was reminded of the need to call out for buyers if she wanted to sell anything at all that day. At the top of her voice, she called out “Buy groundnut, sweet groundnut, no water-water, jara plenty” repeatedly. Then she saw him, standing in front of a gate, he beckoned on her, as she approached him he asked: “How much for your groundnut?” One cup na ten Naira” she responded “pour ten cups for me”, he said, She hurriedly packed the requested quantity for him, then he said, “Okay, follow me inside make you collect your money”. Kate was scared, but selling ten cups of groundnut meant a lot to her and it won’t take long to follow him and get her money, little did she know that that was a decision she will regret for the rest of her life. The deed was done in less than fifteen minutes. as she stepped into the compound with the stranger, he dragged her into his room, while covering her mouth and nearly choking her, Kate tried to scream but couldn’t and from the silence that greeted them as she stepped into the compound, she knew she was alone with this evil stranger. The more she tried to scream, the more she was choked out of breath, tired of fighting she gave up and he had his way with her. When he was done, he passed five hundred Naira to her with a strong warning to her not to tell anyone or she will die, threatening her with a lot of fetish objects in his room. With tears in her eyes, she left the room. Luckily for Kate her tray of groundnut was still outside the gate, at least she won’t face her Aunty’s wrath but she lost something more valuable that day, her innocence and virginity. Scared for her life, Kate told no one.
A month later, the worst happened. It started like a fever, then Kate experienced weakness of her body like never before, then the vomiting began. Her Aunty gave her some drugs, which didn’t make her better and then she decided on a pregnancy test which came out positive. As expected, her aunty was furious with her, giving her the beating of her life. She called her and her dead mother all sorts of names and finally throwing her out of the house to go look for the father of her baby. She knew who the father of the child was, but she knew she could not go to him. Of course, poor Kate was left homeless, pregnant and sad with no idea what to do. She wandered from place to place for months begging to eat, sometimes she found a roof over her head and most times she slept on the street in the dark, scared. She prayed often. Then her due date arrived, she woke up at night with pains like she had never experienced before in the course of her pregnancy, she had no idea what was causing the pain and worse still, she was on the streets with no one to turn to. Then her water broke, all she could do was scream in pain and cry out but no one was close. She thought this was the end. She woke up in a hospital. She had been found by two women on their way to the market early in the morning. The women called the attention of neighbours who took her to the hospital, among the kind neighbours was Madam Kasev, a known philanthropist in the town, who heard about Kate’s predicament, felt pity for her and paid for all the bills and the operation to enable Kate to give birth to her baby girl. From that day Kate’s life changed.
…To be Continued