She flung her bag and ran, hoping that they would just take her phone and her money, but still they chased after her.
She increased her pace, and ran as far as her legs could carry her, fear in her heart for what they would do to her if they caught up with her.
“Please God, save me” she muttered a prayer as she ran.
She looked up too late and saw that one of them had taken a short cut and was in front of her. She screamed just as the stick he was holding, came down on her head.
She fell down in a heap, and the ferocious looking men gathered around her, with sinister looks on their face.
“Who told you, you could ever run away from us?” their leader said and beckoned to the others. They carried her on their shoulders and went away to their confraternity house.
“Iya Simi, why are you sitting like a widow whose husband died of a terrible disease?” A tall dark skinned man, walked up to a woman, who was sitting on the couch with a television remote control in her hand, and the other hand supporting her jaw.
She was staring at the large flat screen television, but her thoughts were not on the musician singing and twerking. Her face was drenched in worry, but she stirred when she heard the man, who was her husband.
“God forbid Baba Simi. You will not die of a terrible disease” she rolled her hand over her head and flung it away. “Stop joking with such things”
“All right, so, what is the matter?” He came to sit beside his wife on the couch, and turned to face her.
“I am worried about our Simi. She has never been away from home before. Besides when she leaves, this house is going to be lonely” she pouted.
“How can it ever be lonely when you have me”
“Olowo ori mi, you are my husband, but Simi is my child. I don’t know why God did not give us another child”
“Now, don’t go there” he pulled her closer, nestling her head on his shoulder. They both became lost in thoughts, thinking of the past and their travails.
They had been married for more than twenty five (25) years, but got a child late. Through the years of trying for a child, their bond had become stronger. After they were blessed with Simi, they wanted another child, but the doctors had said, it would be a miracle for Iya Simi to conceive again.
Iya Simi asked her husband to get a surrogate mother to help carry their child, but he had refused.
“If you didn’t carry the child, I don’t want it” he had said.
The truth was, he was contented with Simi. Who wouldn’t be? Simi was a lovely child, with creamy fair skin, which she got from her mother, and dark eyes, like the midnight sky, which she got from her father. Aside her physical attributes, she was a brilliant child, who brought respect and honour to her parents, through the numerous accolades she received.
There was no young adult who did not know Simi, as she was always seen on television. At the tender age of fifteen (15), Simi founded a talk show on the national television, NTA. There, she talked about issues affecting teens, and young adults.
Simi had a passion for broadcasting, but her mother wanted her to be a gynaecologist, so she could help women who had problems with conceiving. After excelling in her O’ level and A’ level examinations, Simi chose Medicine and Surgery as her first choice of course. She also chose University of Ibadan because, she had lived in Lagos all her life, and wanted to live in a new place.
Iya Simi didn’t like that her daughter wanted to school in Nigeria, even though they could afford an education in America.
“Mother I don’t want to school abroad, just because we can afford it, buy Naija” she teased her mother.
Aside being so brilliant and beautiful, Simi was kindhearted and empathetic. Her weekends were spent, volunteering and giving out food and used clothes to orphanages. So, it was not a surprise to her parents that she wanted to school in Nigeria just because there were people who couldn’t afford abroad education.
The morning of her departure to school, Simi woke up in her king size bed, with butterflies in her stomach. It was the beginning of a new life for her and she was ecstatic about it. After bathing with warm water from the water heater, in her state-of-the-art bathroom, she donned her clothes, and went downstairs, to join her parents.
“Simi my daughter, now you are starting a new life, but remember all the values we have instilled in you. Never live a life that will bring shame to your family” her mother admonished her.
“Your mother has said it all. Go and bring us a certificate and nothing less. Be a good ambassador of the Durojaiye family” her father put in.
Afterwards, they prayed with her, and then they put her and her luggage in the car, for the short voyage to the old city of Ibadan.
In faraway Anambra, a girl was shoved awake by her mother, who tied a wrapper around her chest.
“Adaku, wake up, or you will miss the bus”
The young, dark skinned girl roused from sleep, rubbing her eyes wearily. The early morning chillness made sleeping glorious, but it was scary when she had to think of bathing with water from the open well in front of their house.
As Adaku stood in the outbuilding which served as a bathroom, to bathe herself, she thought of her life, and going away to school. It was not like there were no good schools in the East, and even Anambra where she lived with her mother. But the current civil unrest, was pushing her out. Going to school in a faraway place was freedom.
Freedom from the civil unrest ravaging the South East, and freedom from her mother, whose face bore the tale of their hard life.
Every time she looked at her mother, she cursed herself for coming into the world, as the daughter of a reckless man, who cared only for continuing his lineage.
Her father had abandoned her mother when she gave birth to a girl. For years, they had tried for children, but every pregnancy had been a stillbirth. The only child that stayed, was a girl, and for the sake of the continuity of his lineage, her father abandoned her mother and went away to marry another woman.
Her mother worked tirelessly from sunrise to sunset, to put food on their table, and clothes on their back. From her meagre earnings, she put Adaku through secondary school, and even saved up for her first year in school. How she would continue after her first year, was still uncertain.
But Adaku was determined to relieve her mother of he financial burden,when she went away to school. She had watched movies on their box television, and saw how girls made men sponsor their lifestyle, and she had decided that she would use her beauty to make money for herself and her mother.
“God didn’t give me all these assets for nothing” she thought as she took a look at herself in the floor length mirror in the bedroom she shared with her mother.
Her dark skin shone like polished Rose wood, and her body looked more mature than the body of a seventeen year old girl, with lots of nubile promises. She had the exact features of her mother, who was the shadow of her younger self.
Adaku and her mother trekked the short distance to the bus park, where she would board the bus to Ibadan. While they waited for the bus to fill up, Adaku’s mother admonished her.
“Adaku, my oyoyo, I believe in you, that is why I am sending you to school. Get education, so that you can liberate us from this poverty. Face your studies and don’t allow the boys distract you”
“Yes mama” Adaku turned away, so her mother would not see the tears that were threatening to overflow.
She would miss her mother, as she had been the only family she knew.
But her mother was happy knowing that her daughter was leaving. If the crisis escalated and she died, she would die happy, knowing that her daughter was safe and getting an education.
Olowo ori mi – Phrase used by Yoruba wives to praise their husbands because he paid bride price on their head.
Iya – Mother in Yoruba Language.
Baba – Father in Yoruba Language.
Oyoyo – Pet name in Igbo used to praise God or a child.
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