By Adeola Nissi
I closed the lid of my diary as warm tears glistened in my eyes. I willed them to go away but as usual, they rolled unhindered down my cheeks. I did not waste time brushing them away, knowing fully well that it would be a futile effort. A warm hand touched my left shoulder affectionately, bringing me back to my surroundings. The cameras were already in place and five pair of eyes looked at me with concerned expressions.
“Are you ready?” the Manager asked softly.
I shivered, nodded and turned to the camera. “Hello” I said as the tape started rolling. “My name is Amara Peters, and this… is my story”….
Never have I fathomed in the four corners of my little mind that I would be derailed from my goals. My eyes have always been fixed on that glorious spot. I always spied my neighbour’s television just to be able to listen to the news, see beautiful people and aspire to be like them, but everything changed all of a sudden. My focus was diverted, my brain was hacked by a stronger device and I was left with only one thing to drive my every action – my emotions. Corper Bello appeared and he became the driver of my every action, because he held the key to my heart……
My legs dragged sluggishly on the fanciful Abuja road as I forced myself to keep the pace my parents were setting. We have spent three days here in Abuja, doing only one thing – searching for Corper Alex Bello. I can’t believe all that is happening and waking up from this nightmare seems practically impossible. My legs throbbed and my waists seemed strained from excessive walking. Every pedestrian I saw was gaily dressed, looking like the ones I saw on television. Even though this was my first time out of the confines of my little village, I was not enjoying myself, simply because there is nothing to enjoy.
“Move faster pregnant woman and stop dragging your foot on the floor.” Dad snapped. People walking past turned round to stare at me but I kept my head bowed as shame overtook me again. Yes, I am pregnant for Corper Bello. Dad never stops reminding me, like I can ever forget. How can I forget the news that trauncated my dreams and brought shame to my face?
“You this useless thing, when you knew you could not handle the rigors of pregnancy, why did you spread your legs wide like a satellite dish?”
Stung, I blinked back tears and walked on with my head bowed. Thoughts vacated my head as I walked lifelessly behind my parents.
“Ahn Ahn, Nnayi” my mum murmured defensively.
“You better shut up woman” Dad countered. “Look at you, like mother like daughter.” He hissed. “You better pray we find the useless guy that impregnated your daughter today, if not, you both would leave my house.” He hissed again facing me. “I wonder where you got your waywardness; it is definitely from your mother’s family because we don’t have sluts in my family.” he said emphatically.
Pain sliced through me like a million knives. I had gone from being the pride of my family to being a shameful example in every family in the village just by one single act. I had cried a lot during the past few weeks but now, now all I have is hope that this momentary pain I am feeling is worth it. Tears burn in my eyes as I remember my dreams, the dreams I have always had of becoming a high class medical doctor. All these dreams are not destroyed, I tell myself. I am confident, without a doubt that Corper Alex would accept me and my unborn child. I place my hand on my tummy protectively, trying to close my baby’s ears against the harsh words of its grandfather, as my dad continued to rain curses. My anxiety lifts a little as I remember the words of love that came out of Corper Alex’s mouth as he made sweet love to me. He had worshipped my body with his hands and his mouth, saying words that brought tears to my eyes. It had been the most exhilarating experience of my life. Corper Bello loves me and would definitely accept this child, I told myself again. We just need to find his father’s house, which we have been searching for, for the past three days. We discovered that his father is the famous Senator Bello, and that discovery seemed to reduce my dad’s wrath.
We arrived at a massive gate and paused. I checked the address again, very sure that there must be a mistake. This can’t be Corper Alex’s father’s house, can it? From the gate alone, I could tell the inside would be bigger than my entire village.
“Is this the place?” My dad asked, also awed as we all stared at the massive gate.
I checked the address again and mum also checked the paper with me. “I think it is the place Papa” I said hesitantly.
He turned and knocked the gate. I adjusted my small wrapper and waited patiently. The small pedestrian squeaked and opened and a guy came out. He sized us up, looking at us from head to toe and his eyes returned with a frown. “Yes, what do you want?” he growled.
Dad glared at him. “Where is your oga? We are here to see Senator Bello”
The guy looked at us again and laughed. “People like you can’t see the honourable Senator. Are you sure you know who you are looking for?” he asked incredulously.
“Ogini” mum intervened. “What is your job? Is it not to attend to visitors? C’mon open the gate”
“You can’t come in, the Senator is in a meeting”
Dad hissed and pushed the gateman out of the way forcefully. They struggled, and during the struggle, mum pulled me inside with her. The gateman’s noise rang in my ears as mum dragged me along. I wasfaced with a massive house and I wondered where the entrance was located. Dad joined us almost immediately and the gateman raced into the house, wanting to alert them, I guess. Before we got to the entrance, the gateman appeared with a woman who was artfully dressed from her head to her feet. She looked exceedingly stunning. Immediately she saw us, she stared at us like little insects.
“What may I do for you please?” she asked, more out of curtesy.
Dad hissed. “Get out of my face woman. I am here to see that Senator Bello and his son, I don’t need a woman running her mouth in front of me”, he grated out.
The woman gasped angrily. “What do you want with my husband? He does not mingle with your kind” she said in disgust.
“Hey, you better shut up your mouth there or else I would shout and the whole world would know just how irresponsible you are. Shameless people” he hissed. “I am here to see the Senator and his good for nothing son, and the earlier you take us to him, the better.”
The silence in the massive sittingroom was worse than a graveyard. The only sounds were the occasional clicking of the Senator’s shoes, as he paced the sitting room in nervous anticipation. The news of my pregnancy has been delivered and after various bouts of arguments, the Senator had called his son on phone. I glanced at the door endlessly in anticipation, wanting to see Corper Bello and have him reassure me that everything would be fine. I have really missed him, I want to see his tall, handsome features again; those dark eyes, that curled hair which never failed to gain my attention, those perfectly formed full lips which could awaken all the nerves in my body with just one kiss; yes, I have really missed him.
The door swung open and the person I saw was definitely Corper Bello but he looked totally different. He was obviously not in his uniform since he had already finished service. Even though it was only two months ago that he left, he seemed to have changed completely. Maybe because I never saw him in anything but his Corper’s uniform. Corper Bello stood at the entrance, staring at me in complete surprise. I squirmed a little from the intensity of his intimidating gaze. He looked completely handsome and all I wanted to do was fling myself into his arms.
“Alex, what are you doing there? Come inside” the Senator’s wife said softly.
Corper Bello turned to gaze at his mum before silently proceeding into the sitting room fully. The atmosphere in the large room seemed to change as his presence seemed to dominate the entire place. He always had this effect everywhere he got to, I acknowledged and my heart skipped with love and pride. He kissed his mum’s cheeks and she pinkened. He merely greeted his father before turning to stare at us where we were seated.
“Son” his dad began. “Do you know that girl over there?”
His eyes held no expression at all. I swallowed hard as he stared impassively at me.
“Corper Bello” I breathed. Why is he looking at me like that, I wondered. He merely glanced at my parents before turning back to face his dad.
“She was one of the students I met during service” he stated calmly. Despite his calm appearance, his jaw seemed really tense. “What is going on dad?”
“What is going on?” my dad interrupted. “So you are the shameless boy that had the audacity to break my daughter’s virginity and leave her pregnant right?” he roared.
The shock that Corper Bello experienced was palpable. His eyes flew to me instantly and I suddenly wished I could vanish. As his eyes darted to my stomach, I had the incredible urge to protect my unborn child.
“Why blame my son” the Senator’s wife interjected. “Why not blame the slut of a daughter that you have. Did my son rape her? She willingly gave herself to him, right?”
“How could you do this son?” The Senator interjected, facing his son, who still had his eyes on my stomach. “How could you do this? Do you know the kind of scandal that this can create? I am running for a second term in the Senate and this could be a disaster if it gets to the press. How could you be so senseless?” he roared.
Alex swallowed. “I can’t be responsible for her pregnancy, did she say I am?”
“What?” I gasped in horror. “Corper Bello”. This is the very last thing I expected.
“For God’s sake woman, shut up. I am no longer a corp member, my name is Alex Bello” he almost yelled as he ran his hand through his hair in frustration.
My mouth felt dry and my heart raced wildly. “How can you say something like that? Have you forgotten that afternoon? That afternoon at the copper’s lounge?” I swallowed heavily, not wanting to discuss something I considered sacred in the presence of so many people. “You took my innocence Corper Bello, you said you loved me, how could you deny paternity of my child now when you were the only man in my life?” tears burned in my eyes.
Alex Bello hissed. “And you were stupid enough to believe that I love you?” he laughed strangely. “Those words were said in a fit of passion and sexual satisfaction, surely you are not dumb enough to believe that I could love you” he said with intense irritation that I instantly felt like a piece of trash. Tears slipped down my eyes. “Look at you” his eyes roamed my body. “You are not even fit to be a maid in my house” he declared. “You came all the way from your little village to the Federal capital in wrappers and slippers, and you still think that i love you? I have never loved you. I only needed a willing body and you volunteered. That is all”
Stunned silence fell and cold gripped me. I think i am going to be sick. Tears trickled down my cheeks. No! It can’t be happening to me. Everyone can’t turn their backs on me, especially not the originator of this turmoil. There must be a mistake. I stood on shaky legs, allowing my legs take me a bit closer to him. “Corp, it is me, your Ama.” I said shakily. “You told me you love me, have you forgotten? You told me you loved village girls like me because we are well cultured. You promised to marry me and make my dreams come true. You said-”
“Please spare me all that bulls***” Alex retorted sharply. “You are a fool if you believe all that crap. All I wanted was to have a good time while I was in service. Lisa is the woman I love, I would never change, got it. As for that thing in your tummy, you are not so dumb, you should know what you can do about it. What you need is money right? I would give you money to take care of it and a little compensation to lead a good life. Is that OK?”
I froze and I think my face is as white as A4 paper. How could he suggest such a thing? Better still, how could I have been so stupid? Staring at him, the person who was supposed to make me smile became a monster.
“Amadioha strike that mouth of yours” my mum flared up. “How dare you ask my daughter to abort her child? My daughter would never do that. Over my dead body”
Dad stood up. “Did you think we came here to play? You have only one option open to you, and that is to marry her, if not, I would create enough scandal to last a lifetime. Imagine, you used my daughter to relieve your sexual urges. It is not your fault, if not for the senseless daughter I have”
“Never! I would never marry her” he declared.
“Of course you won’t” his mum declared, glaring at my parents and I. I swallowed. The pain I was feeling in my chest was burning.
“You will” the Senator declared and everyone turned to him. I didn’t give a damn what he said.
“What are you saying dad? I am supposed to marry Lisa and I will. I love her” he said with finality.
“You should have thought of your love for her before sleeping with another woman. You must face the consequences of your actions, you won’t make me lose my election because of your foolishness.” He said sternly. “Come with me” he stormed out of the sitting room. Copper and his mum followed instantly and copper Bello looked like someone going to war.
Tears flowed freely and dad did not waste the opportunity to rain insults on me for bringing shame to him. Mum tried to console me but I was totally shattered. I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. How could my life suddenly turn to a horror movie within the twinkling of an eye.
I don’t know how long we waited, probably minutes or hours but suddenly, they all came in. Corper Bello looked strained and terribly angry but I was past caring.
“Get all the preparations ready, they would get married next week” the Senator declared.
“Better” my dad declared.
“Well there is no need for any preparation because I would not marry Corper Bello” I declared.
…to be continued