“Tunde raped you?” Josephine asked in horror, staring at her.
Fatihat laughed bitterly, swinging her legs off the chaise and lit a cigar. She dragged on it with all her strength and blew the smoke out slowly. “That was the beginning of my woes.” She grinned at her friend.
“The beginning? How else could it get worse?” Josephine asked bitterly.
“I got pregnant.” She said solemnly and Josephine’s jaw dropped this time around!
Tunde rolled off the screaming girl and felt sick to the bottom of his stomach. His judgment had been so wrong, so wrong this time around. He turned away as fatihat dragged herself from his bed and left his room, sobbing wretchedly. He stared at her and then at his bloodstained bedspread. After that, he burnt everything that was stained in his bedroom and went back to bed, feeling feverish.
He fell critically sick and was on admission for three good days. His best friend, Olayiwola Douglas came to see him at the hospital and was surprised to see him in such a state.
“What happened to you? I’m sure you are not sick, Tunde, you don’t fall sick.” He pulled a chair over to his bedside immediately his mother left the hospital premises.
“Can you remember our new house girl? The one I told you about?”Tunde sat up in bed and lay on the pillow.
“The pretty one whose picture was on your phone? I think I remember. What about her? Did you finally sleep with her or what?” He asked impatiently and he nodded solemnly.
“She was a virgin.” He added quietly and his friend’s jaw dropped in shock.
“You don’t mean it? She looked so worldly..….”Ola’s voice trailed away as he stared at his friend.
“You are right. That was my impression too but I find out I was wrong. I felt like shit.” His voice was full of misery.
“You should. Anyway, the deed is done; guy. We’ve done worst things. Pull yourself together and move on. I’m sure she won’t die, there is always a first time for everything.”Ola said with a grin.
“But I will be discharged from this cell tomorrow, how will I face her.?” He looked at his friend.
“Is it not you, Tunde Abeeb? You will survive”Ola’s grin widened and he grinned back.
Tunde avoided fatihat in the house after his discharge from the hospital and they exchanged not a single word, even when they meet.
Fortunately, he got admission into the University a few weeks later, so he packed his bags and went back to Port Harcourt to start a new life.
However, Fatihat was facing a new set of trouble entirely. The term was coming to an end and she tried to put that horrible event behind her as she worked hard for her final exam but it wasn’t an easy task.
Her hard work paid off. She got an excellent report at the end of the session after which she was promoted to her final year in school.
She hasn’t experienced her menstrual period in the past few weeks. She also noticed other changes in her body that were getting her worried. Her breasts were growing bigger and tender and she got tired easily after doing a few house chores.
She didn’t know what to do or who to confide in. Her worst fear was confirmed finally when one of her boss’s friend, Mrs. Kafilat Akintola, a former matron in a teaching hospital came visiting.
Yemi was taking her breakfast when her friend drove into her compound and fatihat ran out of the kitchen to open the front door for her. She dropped her bag on the sitting room settee and went into the kitchen to get her drinks.
“How are you, madam? Please join me.”She said with a smile.
“Thank you. I have already taken my breakfast. Is that your house girl?” Kafilat Akintola asked casually as she strolled in and sat opposite her friend.
“Yes, she is. Is something wrong with her?” Yemi asked with a frown as she sat back.
“She is a beautiful young girl and she must have hordes of admirers. Have you noticed anything about her?” She asked quietly.
“What is wrong with her?”Yemi asked puzzled.
“I’m fairly sure she is pregnant.” She stated with confidence.
“Are you serious?”Yemi asked in disbelief.
“She should be about three or four months gone by now. She will start showing very soon.”
Yemi burst into laughter, a harsh bitter one. “I know it. I know it will come to this. She is too beautiful for her own good.”Yemi said coldly as Fatihat came out of the kitchen and dropped the tray of Cold Drinks on the Dining room table.
“Fatihat, when was the last time you saw your menstrual flow?”Kafilat asked quietly.
“Last month ma.”She lied through numbed lips.
“Are you sure? Come here.” She moved closer. Kafilat checked her pupils and her palms. “Do you know you are pregnant? You can be menstruating and be pregnant at the same time. When was the last time you had sex?”She looked down at her feet in shame.
Before she could answer, Yemi gave her a hard slap from behind and she went sprawling on the floor.
“Take it easy please, Yemi.”Kafilat cautioned her.
“So you’ve been sleeping with a man under my roof, isn’t it? I’ve always known you are a born harlot. You’ve been flaunting your beautiful body around the street and opening your legs wide for anything in trousers that comes your way. Shame on you! You are not even smart enough to protect yourself. Whore!” Yemi said with a sneer.
“I wasn’t sleeping around.”She protested with a sob and Yemi gave her a hard kick. She scrambled to her feet and moved several feet away from her boss, crying in earnest. “For your information, I’m not going to start taking care of you and that bastard in your womb. You will have to leave this house for me.”Yemi told her in a final tone.
“I wasn’t sleeping around ma. Please believe me. It was Tunde who raped me some weeks ago.”Fatihat fell on her knees, begging desperately.
“You, gold-digging harlot! You are even lying against my son after I told you to stay away from them. You are crazy, girl.”She slapped her again and the young girl cried raggedly. Kafilat turned away and walked into the kitchen. Yemi picked up her purse and brought out some naira notes which she flung at her. “I’m going out with my friend now. Please don’t let me meet you in this house when I come back or else you will regret ever being born. Kafilat, please let’s go.” She took her bag and walked out, closely followed by her friend.
She was thrown into the street, helpless and homeless with another being growing inside her. She wished she could terminate the unwanted baby but she had no clue how to go about it neither did she know where to go. She had neither a relative nor friend to go to, even for the main time. She thought of sleeping under the bridge but she was terrified of rapists who took advantage of helpless young girls, so she started sleeping in different mosques from day to day as she moved around.
Her baby was growing and her clothes were getting tighter while she was equally running out of funds. She worked in the market at times, helping people to carry their commodities to the car or their shops and she got paid for it. She would then spend the night in an open store.
Towards the end of her third trimester, she worked on construction sites as she was able to earn more there and spent the night in the building of the site where she has worked during the day.
She woke up one morning in an abandoned building when she felt the first labor pain. The intense back pain graduated into painful contraction around her abdomen and pelvic girdle.
She sat up slowly and saw water trickling down her legs. The pains subsided a little and she felt the urge to visit the toilet. She picked up a used paper and waddled to the back of the building.
Immediately she bent down, she saw the head of the baby and stifled a terrified scream. She looked around furtively but nobody was in sight to help her.
For the first time in her life, she felt she was truly lonely and alone in the world. It was the scariest moment of her life. She knelt down carefully and prayed to God for help, mercy, and guidance.
Fortunately for her, it was an easy birth and the baby came screaming into the world. It was a baby girl. She felt nothing for the tiny pink bundle. She wrapped the baby up in numerous ragged clothing and walked far away from the building. She left the baby on an isolated and deserted pathway and retraced her step to the building to rest.
She got the shock of her life in the evening when she started having another contraction and gave birth to the second baby. It was a boy this time around.
It was quite dark by then and she couldn’t go out again. She spent the whole night rocking and watching the baby, noticing little things about him. The baby stared at her face as if he could actually see her and she felt a twinge of guilt for his unknown fate.
Early the following morning, she bundled the baby into warm clothing and placed her carefully in front of the neglected building, then she packed her few belongings and wandered aimlessly away, trying not to think of what will happen to her babies.
She walked into the heart of Lagos, listlessly with no destination in mind until dusk fell and sank into the side of the road. When next she opened her eyes, it was broad daylight and a young lady was peering curiously into her face. It was Josephine Bob!
“You saved my life. I will forever be indebted to you for giving me a reason to live, Jose.” Fatihat said with a grateful smile.
“Did I? I thought you have newly turn mad or something when I first saw you lying by the roadside. Especially with the tattered clothing, you wore that day but my instinct screamed at me to draw closer.” Josephine smiled ruefully and she grinned at her. “But you told me you are Delilah Smith. Now I know you are not. What is your real name, Lilah?”Josephine asked quietly.
“My initial name is Fatihat Ali but I don’t bear that name any longer.” she said firmly. Josephine lay back on the chaise and stared into the night thoughtfully. “What is on your mind, Jose?”Fatihat asked after a moment, curiously.
“I have a lot on my mind, baby sis. The day I watched my only sister died of malaria, I felt so hopeless and so lonely and I thought it was the height of suffering and wretchedness in this world but you’ve been through the worst. You are so brave, girl!”She ended in a whisper.
“So?”Fatihat sensed there was more and she gave a slightly nervous laugh.
“You seem to know the Abeeb family quite well. From the little I’ve heard so far about them, I’m not impressed at all.” She raised her glass cup and drained the content.
“Hmmm. I hope you are not thinking of dumping your boyfriend? Tunde is different from Wale. You cannot judge a whole family by the action of only one or perhaps two of them. “Fatihat cautioned quietly.
“Come off your high horse, kid sister. Is that not what you are doing too?” Josephine shot right back.
“Love one tin tin. Shebi na you wan marry, you should be ready to bear the consequence. Abeg, move to your room or wherever, I want to sleep.” She told her, rudely.
Josephine got to her feet and stretched her body. “I have an early morning lecture tomorrow. I can curse that lecturer.” She complained bitterly.
“That reminds me. I have a test tomorrow. I’m in trouble. mo gbe ‘o.”Fatihat vaulted to her feet in haste.
“It is you, Delilah Smith. I know you will always lead the class either you read or not.” She shouted after her.
“I can’t even bring myself to sleep with the rotten teeth lecturer and I’m so broke I can’t get fuel into my car. So how will I pass his exam?” Fatihat shot back as she changed into jeans and t-shirt and headed for the study room.
“Have you forgotten you have a photographic brain?’ Josephine chuckled in amusement. ‘I really pray that my baby have your kind of brain.’ She added in a loud voice and Fatihat came back to her surprise.
“Are you pregnant?” She asked in a solemn tone. “What if I am?” She challenged her and was shocked to see something close to fear enter her sister’s eyes. “Are you serious? You are expecting a baby truly?” She asked in a whisper.
“No. I’m just joking. What is it to you anyway? Am I too old or too young to have one?” Josephine asked puzzled.
Fatihat heaved a visible sigh of relief and hit her sharply in the middle of her back. Josephine staggered and stared at her in shock.
“That is for scaring me to death, you moron.”Fatihat told her and started down the staircase again. Josephine went after her and pulled her back by her wrist. “Why are you scared of my having a baby? Aren’t you supposed to be glad for me?” She stared into her eyes and she looked away.
“Well, I don’t want you to have a baby now because I am not ready to share you with anyone yet. You are the only loved one I have in my life and I am not ashamed to say that.” Fatihat told her solemnly and tugged at her wrist to move away. Josephine closed the gap between them and engulfed her in a warm tight hug. She stiffened for a moment before she hugged her back.
“You can never lose me to anything except to death like you once told me. I will always share everything I have in life with you including my baby. I love you, bad girl, and so much.” She took the beautiful, innocent looking face in her palms and placed a kiss on her forehead.
“Don’t share your man with me. I don’t want him.”Fatihat said with a grin and slipped away before Josephine could smack her. “He is the only thing I won’t and can’t share with you.” She yelled at her and laughed. Fatihat burst into laughter too before closing the study room door.
Josephine Bob was just two years older than she was but they have become quite close they met several years ago and their relationship hasn’t changed since then.
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