The travail of a determined and unprepared village chap

A woman old enough to be my mother, was right in his bed clung to him like an octopus, they were both half naked and in the middle of…
“karkka pkapka”

The fufu and vegetable soup I brought for him in my father’s favourite stainless plate, came crashing to the ground making a clanging sound that startled them to attention. They saw me and began adjusting their clothes in a hurry.

“What!!!! What is this non-sense, Emi?” The woman screamed at the top of her voice and slapped him. It seemed like the slap readjusted his thinking as well, as he turned to my direction.

“Can’t you knock before entering? And why are you just bringing the food by this time?” He yelled at me.
I was still in shock, when his statement hit me so hard and almost sent me rock bottom.
He then turned back to the woman and said, “Baby, I’m sorry. She’s one of the cleaners that work in the compound. I asked her to help me get some food right before you came in.”

I was stunned; rooted to the spot – speechless. I felt like dying right there, I looked at myself from head to toe. Ironically admiring the shame of a dress I wore; Mary-Amaka clothes I had thought were the in-thing then.

“Why would a young girl like this be a cleaner? And in men’s quarters? I need to see the landlord,” the woman said, furious.
“Why are you still standing there?” He shouted at me again.

I felt so ashamed and degraded. I felt used like a rag used to clean vomit that cannot be washed and was thrown away. I couldn’t believe someone that said sweet words to me every minute I was with him, could turn around and act like that to me.

It suddenly became clear to me why he never allowed me to come visit him on weekends. I never had the inkling that he was cheating on me, or using me as a side chic; the gullible one he could always deceive, he must have thought. To think that I usually cooked for him out of the little papa and I had to share at home was more annoying.

I finally made it out of his room, and for the very first time I cried because I was truly heartbroken. If I had heard by rumour or at least suspected, it would have been better, but in this case, I never suspected a thing. I was played the fool completely, I felt devastated and rejected. Being poor was a disease indeed. I almost got hit by a car on my way back home. I was depressed and just kept walking like a zombie; mindless of the road or where I was going. I cried half of the way home. But on getting closer to my house, I had to clean my tears before anyone in the village would notice my pain and start to ask questions.

I wasn’t expecting my father to be home. But he was home already and was sitting in front of the porch waiting for me. As soon as I raised my head up, it was already too late. I thought of running to the backyard and lie that I was coming from Ada’s house, but he was looking straight at me as our eyeballs met.

How was I supposed to explain the direction I was coming from?

“Ozioma,” He called my name in a rather cool manner as I approached the door step where he was seated.
“Yes papa, good evening.”
“Welcome,” he said. “I am not going to ask you where you are coming from so you won’t lie to me. I am only going to tell you one thing: all men want is to have their way with a girl, and as soon as they are done, they leave you to your fate. They would go extra miles to see that they achieve this purpose: ‘you are fine, you are beautiful, you are everything’; these are sweet words they will shower on you just to deceive you, my dear daughter. They are all lies. Make sure you have achieved something meaningful in your life before you allow any man deceive you totally.”

That was the first and the last advice my father gave me concerning men. But then it was too late. I had gone beyond what my father was explaining to me; at least my experience that day had thought me a great lesson.

I was done with men, or so I thought. I truly detested them at that point, and I avoided them the best I could. I automatically became a snob, and was even more thankful my admission into the same university with him, wasn’t successful.

I hadn’t seen Emeka since that day. If I had seen him, I would have given him the kind of beating that would also teach him a lesson not to deal with a village beauty queen like that.

I got admitted into a polytechnic to study food technology as first choice. My father couldn’t have been happier. It didn’t matter to him if it was University or college of education. Although he had wished I had gained admission into a University, nevertheless, he was still proud of me, and that was all I needed.

Ada my secondary school best friend who also wrote Jamb with me got into the University of Lagos. I couldn’t believe she was admitted in that university. We all knew how hard it was getting in, I was really happy for her.

For the first time, I was going to leave my father for a very long time as I had to be on campus, considering the distance between the town where the polytechnic was located and my village
It was a very emotional moment for both of us, yet he never cried. But I did. I loved him dearly. He was the first man I knew that could sacrifice his life just to keep me alive and well.

To be continued….

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