Written By: Lizzy Oyebola Oyekunle
“I hate you bitch!”
I heard myself scream at Ava and I swallowed almost immediately.
Where did I pick the word from?
When did I start using swear words?
As I panted angrily, I racked my brain to remember who used that word close to me in recent times and dropped the word in my brain.
The last time I remembered, no one dared throw stones at goats and dogs in our yard talk less of throwing bad words at them!
“Wow! See the effects of walking with Bella?” She said obviously very sad but I wasn’t in the mood for it.
Fine, walking with Bella as my best friend for two weeks had been having serious effects on me, I can very well understand but how dare Ava point that out to me?!
“Ava, while coming to school, I wasn’t sent to be guarded and shielded around by a mother. I am a mature lady who can take good care of herself. See…” I was charging at her when she gulped silently and fell into her bed, dropping her crutches beside her.
“I know you can! I know!” She threw her hands into the air and looking closely, I saw tears in her eyes.
“I don’t know for real why you have been avoiding me these days. You don’t go to the chapel when I invite you and even when CSA holds morning devotions, you don’t join. I asked the simple question now and you are…”
“Stop there and stop acting the innocent lady. I am not attending any of your meetings because I am not going to allow my head to be bowed in meetings being led by some witches and wizards who have just been destined to destroy my life!” I said and watched the tears in her eyes drop.
“That is the new strategy? That we are witches and wizards? Destroy your life, really?” She asked like she was talking about something I couldn’t understand.
“I don’t know what you are talking about, really but Ava, I have told you not once or twice before, leave me alone! See, even if you see me entering fire, as long as it is not your fire, allow me! If not, what I will show you in this school, will take more than your broken leg!” I said rashly, picked up my bag and stormed out of the room not caring to look at her face to check the effect of my words.
“Have a wonderful day Miss” The door said as I jumped out through it but I wasn’t in the smiling mood to reply as I always did.
The very thing I hate much in the world is jealousy and competition!
If I used to love you and then I start to smell jealousy and rivalry, I would be very far from you and deal madly with you!
I was more than crazy the week before when I heard Ava discussing with her dad about the fact that she wanted to attend the medical conference too. What if I was not chosen? Would she have felt like participating too?
And then her friends changed towards me. Whenever they met me on the way, they would raise their noses as if I was one odour to avoid!
Oh how my pride was hurt!
As I was dressing up on ‘resuming’ into our room after few days of staying in a coursemate’s room, she walked up to me and asked:
“Still going for the medical conference?”
It was the simple question that aroused the anger in me and made me present a sizeable punishment to her.
Why was she so concerned about the medical conference thing?
The medical conference was postponed till after a week so that the main doctor in charge, Dr. Earl would be able to attend.
I checked at the hospital the day before but he wasn’t available. They said he’d been discharged and then I got his message on Whatsapp saying I should meet him in front of the senate building so I could attend the medical conference.
I hastened my steps- I loved trekking even though my friends pay for ‘drop’. Why can’t I walk few miles when I have walked more miles than athe fastest car in SMC has ever covered?!
I passed the back of the cafeteria so I would be there more quickly.
Looking at my wristwatch, it was about ten minutes to 8- almost time.
I raised my head and there he was in his car, just right behind the senate building. My face broke into a smile as I saw him in his lovely blue top, beaming with health!
His face was powdery dark and as he locked his car, a tab in his right hand, I hastened to play some hide and seek with him.
As I tiptoed, he suddenly turned and saw me. He burst out laughing out loud as I pouted.
I was caught!
“You look good sir” I said and he smiled as I genuflected before him.
“Glory to God my dear. You look awesome too” He said and I did blush as I fumbled with the belt of my shirt.
“How do you feel now sir? I was so concerned that I came to check again yesterday but I was told you’d been discharged.” I said and he smiled again as he grabbed my right hand.
“Let’s go have our seats there. We still have about fifteen minutes before the conference” He said and I nodded.
My wristwatch was obviously five minutes fast.
I was feeling very funny as he held my hand but I just couldn’t place my feelings.
Could I be having feelings for my teacher?
Or is it pity?
Whatever I was feeling, I had never felt it before in my entire life.
I was lost in thoughts so much that I didn’t even see him talk less of stop him from wiping the gossip chair for me.
“Sit down Miss” He said and I came back to my environs. I sat down and he did same.
From the side of my eye, I could see him looking into my face for a long time. The silence was awkward!
“Thank you darling. Thank you!” He said eventually and I gasped.
“Its a pleasure sir.”
“I know of a truth that God used you for me Beverly. He used you! If you were not there, I could have died!” He continued and my inside couldn’t resist the dancing.
If Dr. Earl wouldn’t stop, I could do some crazy stuffs.
“I am indebted to you forever! I will always remember this kind deed. Everyone who heard about the incident praised you! You are very rare!” He said again and I smiled on.
“Thanks for the compliments sir” I said and bowed slightly.
“Can we be friends? I mean, I want to know you better. Will you allow me?” He asked and I frowned slightly, coming back to my senses.
Does he have feelings for me?
What kind of friends can one have with a man?
Just suddenly, when I couldn’t hold it, when I remembered who I was and where I was coming from, I held my tummy for a while and gasped.
My tummy went sour at once and my eyes became misty.
Who was I to even dream of having feelings towards Dr. Earl?
I stood up and faced him.
“I am very sorry sir” I said, genuflecting. Of course he looked shocked as he signalled for me to sit down.
I did obey but I sat very far away from him.
“I have a stitch on my tummy. If you notice, I wear peplums most of the time so that my obvious tummy isn’t revealed” I started. He frowned a bit and blinked thereafter.
“Is it an issue? What’s wrong with you?” He asked, obviously confused about the digression of the whole matter.
“Its from a caeseraean section. I have a child, his name is Somto, he will be a year old next month.” I said and he looked really shocked.
If the feelings I was having was mutual, I wanted him to look away from me and focus so that I could be focused also!
When I looked into his eyes, I saw they had reddened!
He wants to cry?…oops!
“I am a wayward girl. When I re-wrote my final exams last year, I was already pregnant! I am that bad!” I said again and his brows carved, a weird smile on his face.
“Sir, say something.” I said almost sharply. He blinked and pulled in his lower lip.
“Why are you telling me this?” He asked and I blinked. What reason would I give him?
I wasn’t used to telling lies and I definitely couldn’t start at that moment.
“Sir, the truth is that I…” I was saying when a voice interrupted.
“Dr. Earl, the conference is commencing now” A young man in a doctor’s coat announced and I couldn’t start thanking him.
“Thanks for telling me such confidential thing about you. We definitely will be friends for a long time” He said and I swallowed as we headed for the senate building.
“Let me add this…” He said as he turned to look at me almost immediately. I stood still.
“Are you friends with Jesus?” He asked and I frowned slightly.
“Sir?” I asked. I wasn’t definitely expecting that kind of question.
I was so shocked to find out that a very handsome man like him could be sold out to religion!
I felt irritated.
“Jesus is real! He is so real! He loves you. Give Him your life.” He said again and I pursed my lips.
I wasn’t comfortable again. I just wanted to leave him alone.
“I have given Christ numerous reasons not to love me but none of them has changed His mind! He is sweet like that!” He concluded, gave me a thumbs up and entered.
I followed him inside and the sight that greeted my face was mind-blowing!
There were up to a hundred people in doctor’s coat seated comfortably on eurosoft chairs in a dimly lit hall. As I entered, the citrus scent of the air freshener wafted into my nose and the air conditioner blew right into my marrows.
As the debate went on, I looked up from the front seat where I was to quickly peep at Beverly on the lobby where she was seated.
The first time I heard her voice was when she was being welcomed and chosen by her coursemates as the class governor.
It was her voice that stopped me in my steps that made me listen to all they asked her that very day.
After the class quiz competition, I couldn’t but help to say that she had something special in her.
When she treated me in the cell and fought till I got attended to, I was then convinced that she had more than I can ever imagine inside of her!
“Its from a caeseraean section. I have a child, his name is Somto, he will be a year old next month.”
I Smiled ruefully as I heard that.
‘Interesting!’ I exclaimed before realizing that I had a boom mic on my top.
“Its very interesting but we want you to tell us what your plan is as regards the issue” Prof Kana said and I smiled. No one knew what thought-land I have visited within the short time.
Miss Laura, the second daughter of the Nigeria’s president was having an issue with her intestines and she needed an intestine transplant.
Any mistake in the whole procedure will be a problem on the part of the school and SmallVille International in general.
Prof. Bello asked me to be in charge of the surgery and I was shocked. He would never speak to me nor allow me do anything major in the theatre before.
Any mistake from my end on Miss Laura will definitely put me in jail!- My dad probably wanted that!
It was the third time the intestines would become diseased and the president didn’t want Laura flown abroad because the general elections was drawing near and it would make a good campaign programme.
“Dr. Joel, what approach are you planning on using for the enteroanastamosis” I asked after Dr. Joel had defended his former procedure.
“That is of course by connecting the small and large intestines via end to end anastomosis…” He said and I frowned.
That method would be very risy!
“If you connect the small and large intestines, you can’t make an intestinal fistula. What plans do you have for post observation of the small intestines?” I asked again.
“Not that alone, there’s something more important that enteroanastomosis.” I added, picked a remote control and zoomed the image on the huge screen.
“The more important thing is the blood vessel anastomosis (connecting vessels). Luckily in case of Miss Laura, there are uninfected aorta and caval vein, I understand. During the small bowel transplant from her sister, if you connect fixed vessels like aorta and caval vein, the connection can boomerang so the probability of failure is high” I added, viewing the procedure in my head.
“Permit me to add to what Dr. Earl has said…” I heard the voice from across the room and my breath became frozen.
“I think taking the area with mobility such as microvessels and conducting enterostomosis with them will increase the probability of success.” She said very briefly and accurately.
My eyes scanned through the whole room and I realized that almost everyone was looking at her!- even Prof Bello!
If Beverely should continue jumping into issues like this, she might eventually find herself in soup!
“I apologize for the rudeness of my student please” I said when I found my voice and there was murmur from all sides.
If they called the matter insurbodination, Beverly might eventually face the disciplinary committee.
As I was almost moving to the podium to address everyone, I heard a loud, authoritative clap from a side of the room.
We almost immediately turned to look at who it was- Prof Bello!
“Nigerians tend to focus on the negative part of a thing while shying away from the positive areas. Here is a teenager who is obviously a newbie in this school. How could she have handled enteroanastamosis this beautifully and then we all look past it?” He asked as he moved to the podium.
There was grave silence!
“I am amazed at the intelligence of this little princess and I am very sure beyond all reasonable doubts that she will soon blow! If you are envious of this wonderful girl, ride on! Nemesis will catch up with you!” He added.
I looked up at Beverly who was beaming with smiles, nodding with confidence as she looked at the final authority of the school backing her up!
I smiled too even though I was beginning to be suspicious.
I hated any occasion where my father became very excited!
Something very bad usually happens when he is!
“Miss Beverly has given us another clue to the surgery that will be conducted next week. We will get Miss Laura’s people to sign the papers so that we can start on Monday.” He said and everyone chorused ‘Okay sir!’
“Miss Beverly will be in attendance at the surgery” He added and I was so shocked myself.
Even after finishing my housemanship, this very man never allowed me to attend surgeries!
What is his fascination about?
Of course, he was amassing enemies for the poor girl and she probably was blind to that fact!
I stopped the car and removed the key.
My dad sent me a message very early this morning to meet him in his office in the evening and I wondered why.
If he wanted me to do something on the website-(I was the one managing the school’s website), he would have told me on phone.
I actually told him about the acquisition of the Shelton Estate in Lekki last month and he promised to get it for me. It could be that he had gotten that for me!
Chai, that would mean serious wealth for me!
I knew I wasn’t meant to be a medical student but since my father remained the head of one of the largest private hospital and the best highly tech Private University in West Africa, I could get whatever I wanted!
Earl could be the first boy in his own way but I needed to show the whole world that there is a difference between a bastard and a real child!
As I walked across the lawns, I saw Beverly and Bella walking across the other road, giggling as they went!
I hissed quietly and ignored them. I couldn’t bring myself to liking the poor newbie in my class!
How could someone be poor and proud???
And then, how she carried herself as if she was the mother of the whole school beats me hands down!
She only could become proud this way because of my dad’s influence, nothing more.
“Cole” I heard Bella call out my name but I couldn’t answer her.
How could she choose to be a friend to a girl her big bro detests?
I hurriedly entered the lobby of my dad’s office and pressed the bell.
The secretary led me into his inner chamber after we had exchanged some pleasantries.
The whole table was filled with different delicacies!
It was a first class course and my mouth started watering as my dad led me to sit down by the table.
“Dad, this is very crazy! Like seriously? Who should finish all these?” I asked so excited as I picked up a lap of well grilled, almost crispy chicken and tore at it hungrily.
“If you eat, don’t talk, if you talk, don’t eat, if you eat and talk…” He started singing, pointing his right index finger at me.
“You are a monkey!” We chorused together, my finger pointed into his point too as if referring to him.
“Your dad is a monkey right?” He asked with a kinda serious face. I burst out laughter, my mouth full of red meat.
“You said I am a monkey dad. Monkeys aren’t given birth to by donkeys, yapp…we are monkeys” I said and he burst out laughing too, slapping my shoulder jokingly.
“Better accept Jesus into your life dude” He said, obviously deep into his laughter.
“After you pop-man!” I replied him.
I loved the fact that my dad was my closest pal! The perfect look alike of my dad is Earl and then Me. The ladies all looked like our mum.
He loved me most of His children, followed by Bella. Ava and Earl would never be in his heart again because they are ‘Jesus Holy Holy’ People…hahaha
“Ah, dude,we will go to hell o” He joked on and I sniffed in my wet nose, still laughing.
“It will be good as long as you are there with me” I said too. We banged the table almost together as we resumed another fit of laughter.
We laughed, dined and wined till we were so full!
I yawned as I stood up from my computerized notebook. Examination was drawing near and I wanted to break the set record.
After listening to different gists about how the the school organized award ceremonies after each semester and the wonderful gifts they would give to the awardees, I desired to make it and even break it!
I moved to the fridge, picked a bottle of SMC Water, jumped into my queen-sized bed and started scrolling through my phone.
I was the only one in the room- Bella had gone to the salon and Ava went for a prayer meeting.
As I scrolled through my phone, I saw a picture of Somto and a pang of pain ran through my bowel.
My throat got clogged with phelgm as I remembered that I am a mother. A mother to a big, healthy boy.
I tried to sit down as my breasts tightened. I remembered I had not extracted breastmilk that very day.
I had read in books that if one leaves a child that one doesn’t intend to wean at that moment, extracting the breastmilk will communicate to the body that a baby still sucks and it would keep producing.
So, early in the morning, mid afternoon and late night, with the door to the bathroom locked, I would extract all the breastmilk till almost nothing comes out, flush down the toilet and move out.
I wanted to make sure I have something left for Somto to suck whenever I eventually left for home but the semester had been so tedious!
There was little or no time for myself talkless of travelling down home and oh how I miss my family!
“I hope they are all doing well. Its even been over a week since I called them. I have been bad o” I said aloud as I scrolled down my phone for my dad’s phone number.
All the four times I had heard from home, my dad had been the one calling me. My mum never for once carried her phone talkless of dialing my phone number!
I would never forgive her, never!
“Hello daddy…can you hear me?…daddy…this is Beverly…”
“How are you?” His voice came bleakly and curtly.
“I am fine dad…is anything the matter? You do not sound good at all” I asked, very worried.
“I am fine. How is school?” He asked sharply again and I couldn’t hold it again. I stood up and walked to the mirrow at a corner in the room as if I could see my home from inside there.
“Please give the phone to Beth.” I said hurriedly
“No need to…” He was trying to say when I screamed with all the strength in me.
“Give the phone to Beth!” I screamed and soon I heard Beth’s voice at the end.
“What’s going on at home?” I asked urgently.
“Everything is very fine” She said and my heart started racing. The Beth I knew would have just said “Going on as how?” if all was well. I was so sure they were trying to conceal something from me.
I had to start guessing.
“How is dad’s eyes”
“How is your mother?”
“How is Somto?”
“Should I send you people money?”
“No” She replied and I almost ran mad. What could be the matter?
“Has Bailey stopped the housemaid job?”
“Is she there with you?”
“Where is she?”
“She went on an errand”
“What did you eat in the morning and afternoon?”
“Rice in the morning and Garri and Egusi just now”
“Are you sure you aren’t hiding anything from me?”
“I am sure” She said and I sighed again.
“Mama…dada…papa…tata…tete” I heard from the background and I got glued to a spot.
“Is that Somto? He now talks?” I asked, tears gathering in my eyes.
“Has he started walking?” I asked.
“He took few steps yesterday” She said and I became frozen at the time.
“Why didn’t you call me then? Why didn’t you tell me that my baby walked?”
“Ah ah…Beth see, if something is happening and you are not talking because dad said you shouldn’t talk, God will punish you. Say amen” I said, very frustrated.
“Ah ah…what’s the curse for?” I heard my dad from the background.
“Why won’t I place a curse on all of you when you keep lying to me? If its something I can help with, better talk before God’s thunder descends on you all!” I said sharply.
My dad started laughing, coughing as he did.
“I put a gift in your bag. Have you started using it?” He asked and I racked my brain.
I kept something in your bag also. Thank you my daughter. Thank you Beverly
The words he said while I was leaving for school then rung in my ears at once and I started nodding as if I had found something important which got lost.
“I haven’t o daddy. Let me go and check it now sir. It must be far inside my box” I said and the call dropped.
I placed my phone on the bed and quickly moved to the large wardrobe I singly owned. I dragged out my box and started digging till my hand hit something hard like a book.
I pulled the ‘book’ out and it was well wrapped with the inscription ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light to my path always, to guide and to save me from sin and show me the heavenly way’.
I was filled with questions as to what the parcel contained and started unwrapping!
Holy Bible, King James Version
I almost hissed when I saw it.
Why was my dad taking it personally if the only thing he did keep in my bag was a Bible?
I stood up and was walking to my bed when the door opened immediately.
It was Bella with her gorgeous hairstyle. I smiled as she walked towards me.
“How do I look?” She asked sweetly and I smiled.
“Amazing” I said and she covered her face in a shy manner.
“What’s the cost?” I asked
“200” She said nonchalantly as she started removing her clothes. She obviously wanted to have a bath.
“200 naira?” I asked, so shocked.
“200K na…hehe…the hair is 180k and I paid the stylist 20k” She said and I went closer to her, touching the curly hair on her head.
True, it looked really nice but 200k?!
“Bella, in my area in Boki, we can get a land as low as 150 thousand naira but…” I was complaining disheartedly when she pouted.
“My boyfriend likes me looking good. My dad also and if I don’t do this, what example do I lay as a child of Professor Bello?” She asked, not really genuinely.
“Have you ever done any humanitarian work if you want to show off really. Post online that your hair is 200k and see the kinda comments you’d get. But visit a motherless babies’ home and put the pictures online. See how people will bless you! I know you have too much that you don’t know how to spend it but ask me for sense. I have quite enough sense in here” I pointed at my head and she nodded on, not even minding my insults.
“Where is Boki?” She asked
“Cross River state”
“There are motherless babies’ homes there right?” she asked and I nodded.
“Thank you! We can visit there during the summer break right?” She asked and my eyes widened.
“We?” I asked and she nodded.
“I wanted to have a liposuction during summer in Germany. I have even booked appointment already but hearing your talk this evening, I think it should go to the needy” she said and I nodded abentmindedly.
“Liposuction? Why? I look at you and I see beauty. Why liposuction? Isn’t that plastic surgery?”
“Kinda” she said curtly and started wrapping a towel round her beautifully round body.
“Talk to me” I said, pulling her close to me.
“Leave me!” She said suddenly and turned her back at me. She slipped into her bathroom flops and started moving towards the bathroom.
“Inferiority complex?” I asked suddenly and almost immediately, she threw the small music player she was holding at the wall. She pulled off the bedsheets and duvet from her bed, slapped the wall like twice or more and was moving to the fridge when I caught her hands and pulled her with me to my bed.
She had serious anger problems and I did wonder what the importance of her riches was!
One day, she dropped the call while her mum was telling her that she was getting fat and that she should cut down on her carbonated drinks.
The Iphone was smashed to pieces, her latest apple laptop was smashed till the motherboard spilt, she even smashed an umbrella at the plasma and it had to be replaced immediately.
I knew almost immediately that she had issues with accepting herself and it was very dangerous for her!
“Some say my shade of black is devilish” she started as she started struggling from my grip.
“Some tell me that my calves are too huge. Some plainly call my legs yams!” She started crying again.
“Some compare me with Ava and say I am obese” She said and I looked at her body again.
“Obese? So what am I? I am more than obese then” I said and she swallowed as she continued.
“My lips, my nose, my eyeballs, my height, my fingers and toes, they are all ugly! Really when I see beautiful ladies, I begin to wonder why I was made this way. Why did mother nature make me this way? Its sad!” She said and I sighed.
“Bella, can I talk?” I asked, letting go of her hands little by little.
“You will listen?” I asked again and she nodded.
“Low self esteem is like driving through your life with the hand-break of your car on” I said and she watched on, supporting her chin with her two hands.
“If you don’t love yourself, nobody will Bella!” I stressed each word and she sniffed.
“You are a lady that I instantly loved physically when I met you. I love your black, your height, your accent, your carriage, your roundness, you are someone who intimidated me when I met you.” I said and she chuckled.
“Really? You?” She wiped her tears and chuckled again. I knew she loved it.
“Are you saying all these to make me happy?” She asked and I smiled.
“I have used your pictures more than twenty times now on my Whatsapp statuses as my Woman Crush Everyday. See, it doesn’t come easy! You have the money many do not have. Some are praying to have one hundredth of your whole assets. The countries you have gotten to, many people in the world haven’t reached one of them!” I said again and she looked so amazed.
“To be fair, if I have met two awesomely amazing humans on earth, you are one!” I added and she smiled the more.
“C’mon gimme a hug” She said and she leapt forward, drawing me into her arms.
She stood up immediately we disengaged.
“That reminds me. I got you a wrap of Sharwama” She said and I was dumbfounded.
It was the first time I would taste the sumptuous SMC Sharwama. I collected it from her and eventually found out it was only one she even bought.
“There’s love in sharing” She said after reading my questioning face.
I started laughing.
“Your love language must be words of affirmation” I said and she looked lost.
“What’s that?” She asked and I slapped her bum.
“Read more books girl! Read!” I said as she pulled me with her towards the bathroom.
I struggled with her for while, both of us reeling with laughter for a while.
She could be an awesome lady though!
Of a truth, even a rock has its soft spot, its achielles heel!
“Dad, to be fair, I am very angry with you” I heard Bailey say as I heard footsteps approaching.
“Beth just told me that big sis called and you all refused to tell her what’s going on in this house. Daddy why?”
She was obviously angry!
“I am sorry my daugh…” I was saying when she caught in.
“I have contracted syphilis from your mum. She has eventually packed out of the house to start living with another man, the landlord has come to chase us out of our house, we have moved to the restaurant Dr. Oladejo opened for us as our home. Business isn’t moving and we have spent all the money you gave us on drugs and hospital tests. Is it very difficult to tell her like this dad? Is it?” Bailey asked, obviously crying.
I threw my hands open so that the children around me could come close but they didn’t.
“Dad, I am tired of the kind of foolish life we are living here. If God really cares about us, why do we have to suffer? Why dad?” Beth burst out too and I couldn’t believe my ears.
Were my children revolting?
“If you had told her, the little way she can…”
“If it were you, would you be glad if a trailer of bad news were pushed into your chest like that?” I burst out too and there was silence.
“We all saw the timetable she sent to us and it is her exam period. Why should I tell her something that will make her run home? Don’t you know that Beverly could do some dangerous stuffs like that, ehn?” I asked, already shaking with sadness.
There was still grave darkness.
“And God isn’t bad to us. If we don’t have issues like this, how do we know that we are limitless on our own? How do we eventually enjoy goodness if we don’t first suffer sadness?” I asked and I felt the two girls sit near me. They placed their heads on my shoulders. I knew Bailey was one but who was the second girl?
Beth? Bethany? Brooke? Becky?
“Who is this, my daughter?” I tried to touch her and instead of an answer, there was quietness again.
Suddenly, there was a loud cry from her.
“You don’t deserve to be blind dad. How can you have children like this and you can’t even see them? You don’t deserve to be cheated dad? You don’t deserve to be married to mum. You don’t deserve the many heartaches!” She burst out and I knew then that it was Beth.
She wasn’t a girl to get angry but when she did, it was always brutal.
“Who deserves it then Beth?” I asked and she became quiet, sniffing wetly as she did.
“God didn’t make a world of sorrow but sin tainted the perfect world the Lord created. When we give our lives to the Lord Jesus then, our lives are renewed in the Lord. The blindness you can see in my eyes is light to my soul!”
“Hmmm…Dad will definitely still preach” Bailey said, somehow dejectedly.
“See my princesses, some people can see but all they see is darkness, no light on their paths but I am blind so I can see and daughters, all I see is light! The Light of the world!” I said and they started crying all together.
Lord, comfort Your children! Lord, talk to them so that they will understand that You are the high and great Lord!
Luke 24 verse 26
I heard it like I did hear from time to time. Times when words elude me, I asked the Lord for help and He would drop a verse in my heart for them.
“Is there a Bible there?” I asked and they didn’t answer me.
“Girls!” I called out. They mumbled at first and then I heard some beeps on my phone.
“On your phone” Bailey answered curtly.
“Good. Read Luke chapter 24 verse 26 aloud” I said and she started pressing my phone.
“Ought not Christ to have suffered this things and enter into His Glory?” She read out.
My eyes welled up.
“Again.” I said.
Ought not Christ to have suffered this things and enter into His Glory?
Ought not Christ to have suffered this things and enter into His Glory?
As she read, I realized she was sniffing too.
“Thank You Jesus!” I cried out at once.
“Oh God!” Beth cried out too as she placed her hand on my chest.
“My dad is crying Lord!” Bailey said as if she could see the Lord.
“I am praising. I am rejoicing! It isn’t all about sadness. It is about the glory of God! Thank You Jesus!” I started crying out.
It was overewhelming really but I knew of a truth that my Redeemer liveth!
“Dad, I wish we could see what you are seeing. What is making you trust in the Lord even in this state. I wish we could see it too” Bailey said and I drew their faces to myself as we wept together.
Lord, open their eyes! Lord, save my daughters! The four daughters of Philip prophesied, make my six daughters prophesy oh Lord! Make them see! Save them!
I brought out the big Bible from under my pillow and frowned a bit as I saw the price tag of 8,500 naira.
How could my father spend so much to get me a Bible?
Where did he even get the money from?
What does the Bible contain so much that one would put so much in It?
As I wondered and wondered, my phone rung and I picked it- Dr Earl.
“Hi miss. How are you doing?” He asked and I smiled as I sat down on my bed.
“I hope you had a nice time in the theatre yesterday” He asked and I actually did enjoy it! Miss Laura’s intestine transplant went on very successfully.
“Oh yes I did. Thanks for the favour. I am indebted to you and Prof. Bello” I said and there was silence
“Are you busy right now? I was thinking if we could study some few pages of the Bible together” He said and I frowned.
“Erm…actually sir, I just loosed my hair. It is untidy right now and you know I have an interschool competition tomorrow. I want to wash, dry and make it before dusk” I lied so fluently and I wondered why and how it flowed.
“Oh…alright then. I wish you the very best in the competition. May the Lord go with you and grant you success” He said and I nodded.
“Do have a nice day sir” I said curtly and dropped the call.
Was he trying to be friends with me and thereafter draw me into a relationship?
Guys who behaved smart pissed me off and when they appeared to be religious fanatics, I throw them into the bin!
SMC is the winner
The winner is SMC
Winning is the thing we do
And winning winning winning all the time!
The supporting team that went with me carried me in the air and continued singing and chanting till we got to the school bus.
“Hip hip hip” The chief cheerleader cried out.
“Hurray!” Came the reply.
I was so elated.
There were over fifty aristocratic schools present and I beat all of them hands down!
I was given a gold plaque and fifty thousand naira cash gift!
I would send some money home first thing the next day so they could get some things also.
“Congrats on your conquest” Dr. Earl said calmly as he extended his hand. I shook it, smiled and nodded.
We entered the bus and soon, we started our journey back to school.
My eyes couldn’t leave Dr. Earl who was seated directly in front of me. He exuded such aura of greatness that I wondered what it was.
And he was always quiet and formal with everyone except me!
Did he see something in me that he wasn’t seeing in others?
The TV suddenly popped up and interrrupted my many thoughts.
We all looked up at the TV set just on the roof of the car and watched on as a picture popped up on the screen.
I looked closer at the picture and it was a familiar face though a filter covered his face.
For the sexual assault of Miss S of the preliminary class of the medicical department two months ago, Dr. Earl Bello, the Class Caretaker has been summoned to face the Students and Staff Disciplinary Committee tomorrow morning. This information should be communicated to the affected person as all attempts to reach him has failed. Thank you!
All eyes turned to look at Dr. Earl who could only smile.
Two months ago?
“What! Do they mean Shirley? What sexual assault?!” I screamed out loudly.
He looked back at me and smiled.
“It is well dear. Just stay away please” He said and I frowned.
Why did he like saying I should stay away?
When he was dying and bleeding the other time, he asked me to stay away also and not go with him to the hospital.
Why is this guy strange?
“Students, we brought back the cup. Isn’t it wonderful?” He asked out of the blues but no one responded.
“I still can’t believe this strange acccusation” One of the girls burst out.
“How is it possible that our Chapel Patron sexually assault someone?” Another asked.
“Let’s assume he isn’t even a chapel patron. Dr. Earl would never do that! Never!”
“Let’s maintain decorum students. We are entering the school already” He said and I swallowed.
I just couldn’t believe the allegation.
Our bus was waved down as soon as we got inside the school and I sighted a black maria with ‘SDC’ written on it. Some uniformed men walked to our bus.
Were they going to cuff him and lead him away?
“You must have seen the news Dr. Earl. Please alight from the bus” One of the policemen said and Dr. Earl opened the front door. He hadn’t gotten down before heavy-looking cuffs were wrapped round his fists.
There were camera flashes all over the place too as photographers encamped round him.
I couldn’t just believe my ears. And to think that he was the first son of Professor Bello beat me hands down.
Why would one allow one’s child to go through hell this way no matter what?
I knew my father would never do this! Never!
I moved towards the main door and realized it wasn’t the type one would pull or push. It had so many buttons. I was about pressing the ‘open’ button when Dr. Earl banged the body of the bus.
“Go please. Drive off. Press the central lock” He said and I looked up at him. He gave me a sad look and shook his head repeatedly.
“Stop! Stop!” He kept repeating silently as the bus drove off.
I was mad as I watched his moving lips!
The only witness he has is me! How could I ever stop and have my peace??
“Wonderful ladies and gentlemen, have a wonderful luncheon. You have done us well” Professor Bello said and I sighed silently.
It had been two hours of celebration for winning at the competition. I had been given some cash awards and plaques as well. I was supposed to be very happy but I just couldn’t place it.
If Dr. Earl asked me to stop, shouldn’t I stop bothering and concentrate, enjoying the moment?
“You are supposed to go study law” My dad had teased me a lot of times because of my nature. I just couldn’t stand anything called injustice.
The mic sounded again and I looked up then. It was an associate prof from my department- Prof Shittu.
I glanced through the people sitting on the high table and felt like vomitting when my eyes rested on Prof Bello.
He looked so happy and fresh as he laughed and shook hands with some people on the high table. Hadn’t he heard of his son’s arrest and humiliation?
“Miss Beverly. The planning committee has given a chance to you to ask for anything you want as pertaining to your academics and SMC in general” Prof Shittu said and I sighed for the umpteenth time.
“Be reminded that the newsmen from different news agencies are around and would love to have an interview with you at the end of the luncheon today.”
I needed so many things.
How about asking for free meal tickets till I graduate; or some hundreds of thousands so my family’s business can blossom a bit?
What exactly is my pressing need?
I fumbled with the microphone I was holding.
This is a blank cheque Bev!
I looked into Dr. Bello’s smiling face again and instantly knew what I was going to ask for!
He looked so confident as if he was God!
“I want something big and I hope it will be granted me since the planning committee and the reps from news agencies are around” I started and there was silence as different camerapersons faced me with their tools.
“I want a fair trial for Dr. Earl, I want to be his witness in the court of law and I want the school to get him a good lawyer” I said and the whole hall broke out into a loud noise.
It seemed that everyone present at the luncheon hadn’t heard about the issue.
“Dr. Earl? Isn’t that supposed to be Prof Bello’s first son?”
“Talk to me Bev, you mean my big bro was arrested? By who?? For what?” Ava was almost crying.
“Witness? What is the case on ground?”
The many questions filled my ears and mind so much that I couldn’t stay in the hall again. As I walked towards the door, Prof. Bello stood at the walkway. He gave me a seemingly wicked smile, a thumbs up and walked away.
Who does that?
I buried my face in my cupped hands and gasped for breath a bit.
The Bello’s family is just one of its kind!- filled with weird happenings!
Cole would insult his elder brother anyhow even in the class, Bella is rude and has inferiority complex, Ava is religious and introverted, Earl moves from one problem to another, their dad seems to be tilted towards Bella and Cole alone!
As I grabbed a chair to sit in, some reporters swarmed round me and I sighed.
“You want an interview?” I asked in a tone my mum would use to talk to us whenever she was drunk.
“Yes” They almost replied at once.
As the stones of questions were thrown at me, I threw the answers back at them, asking for justice for Dr. Earl.
I desired sincerely to get to the root of the matter!
Two things have I required of Thee, deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full and deny Thee, and say Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal, and take the Name of my God in vain
Proverbs 30: 7-9
Those were some of the verses my dad underlined in the new Bible he gave to me and I got the message right away!
Even if I didn’t agree with my father’s religious inclinations, I agreed with the fact that the prayer in the above verses were deep!
“Proverbs 17:1 says, Better is a dry morsel and quietness therewith than a house full of sacrifices with strife.” My father’s words rang in my ears.
“Some rich kids are dying to have the kind of your low life because money isn’t all that matters. They want their parents’ acceptance, they want to play with their siblings and just make it silently. Stop coveting things that you will still get satisfactorily after a while!” He told us one day very sternly.
We had compared ourselves so much that we ended up crying and regretting, condemning our own family. It was the first day my dad beat us!
With all that I had experienced in SMC, I could say of a surety, that I understood my father more!
“Dad, you said what?” I screamed at him, jumping up from my cozy bed.
What sort of bomb did he come to drop this early morning?
“You wouldn’t seem to amaze me papi! You are in my dorm just to tell me this crap?” I asked angrily.
“Cole, it ain’t no crap man!” He said, walking towards me.
“Its what then? See, there are many ladies on this campus, why must it be her? I have told you of how rude she is, she isn’t my type popman! I can’t date her!” I walked farther from him.
“I am not asking you to date her son” He said and I stopped in my track.
“So?” I turned slowly towards him, smiling expectantly!
“I want you to marry her!”
My heart sunk at that.
My dad must be crazy!
“Dad, are you fine? I mean is all well with you?” I asked, feeling really devastated.
My dad obviously looked serious.
“You don’t want to marry?” He asked and I was dumbfounded. What went wrong by the way?
“You know my age. I am going to be 21 next month. I am your third child. The first and second aren’t even married yet. What’s up dad?” I was obviously screaming at him.
He went to my dining section, pulled out a chair and sat down.
“And even if I must get married by force, why must it be Beverly? That girl is damn rude, proud and she feels she is better and wiser than everyone! We aren’t even friends. I mean, we are sworn enemies, dad! She doesn’t care if fire is burning me, neither do I give a damn what’s up with her! I can never marry her sir!” I bowed slightly before him and he started laughing.
When he started coughing and it wouldn’t subside, I had to rush to the fridge to get him a bottle of water.
“I don’t really think it’s funny dad. Please stop laughing!” I ordered and he stopped after a while, gulped down some water and stood up.
He pulled me to his very front and I looked straight into his blood-shot, teary eyes.
He looked angry!
Did Beverly offend him?
Or is it my refusal that’s maddening?
“A child who is too young to get a woman and marry her isn’t a man yet! A man who is using age as an excuse to run away from responsibilities is even too young to drive a car!…to young to own a thing…too young to…”
My heart dropped!
If my dad turned his back against anybody no matter how close they used to be, such person is gone from his heart forever!
After seeing how cold his heart had grown towards his very favorite son, Earl, I knew how easy it would be to hate me!
I went on my knees instantly before him.
“I will not grant your request of the Power bike and the estate anymore if…”
“I will marry sir!” I screamed so my voice would overshadow his.
“What?” He screamed out loud again and I repeated my decision fearlessly.
Better fall into the hands of a ‘witchy’ wife that into the hungry mouth of angry Prof Bello!
He calmed down at last and sat down.
“Thanks for believing in me, son!” He said after a while and I nodded.
But Beverly… Ah!
“But she’s tough dad. How do I even be friends with her talk less of propose to her?” I was very pessimistic about the whole thing. Looking at the way she had been charging at me since she became a student in our school, it had been scary for me.
“Forget about all those. Just follow the instructions. During summer, you will both get married in Dubai. Get set” He said and I became bewildered.
“Which summer dad?” I asked, very shocked.
“This very one! Be in my office tomorrow morning to sign some document” He said, dropped about five bales of dollars on my bed and walked to the door.
“Dad, stop!” I called at once and he did stop, his back facing me.
“Summer is just two months away dad and I was wondering if you know that” I stammered through.
“Get her parents’ consent, her consent and all within two weeks so you can start your short courtship. Come summer, you must be man and wife” He said and I combed my fingers through my hair.
“Dad, may I ask why? May I ask why you want me to marry Beverly within the short time possible” I asked, my nostrils already feeling wet.
“I love Beverly for you alone! I can’t allow her to be lost to anyone else!”
“Dad, what about Nkechi?” I asked and he turned to look into my face.
Nkechi was the only daughter of Lafag Incorporation and he was the one who said I must get her. She had been my girlfriend for four years.
“Beverly is bigger than her! Just do what I say!” He said and stormed out leaving me to the darkness of my confusion.
Bigger than Nkechi?
Why take it that personally?
How would the news greet the whole world? Beverly weds Cole!
Where the heck is Earl?
I felt the time I needed his many preachings was at the moment!
I was hot from inside!
Beverly. Witch. Wicked. Evil.
(Watch out for the next episode.)
30%Non-fiction+ 70%Fiction= 100% SMALLVILLE COLLEGEl