You Were Just Fifteen.

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Esther Godwin Ogechi
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You Were Just Fifteen.

Post by Esther Godwin Ogechi »

You were just fifteen.

You hurried across the road with a tray of oranges balanced on your head.

Out of nowhere, a bicycle smashed into you. The tray slid off your head, the oranges flying off from it, plunging, then rolling down the dirt road.

“Wicked man!” you cussed the cyclist as he didn't stop. You gripped the arm that the bicycle had slammed into, as a sharp pain surged from it.

Pressing down your fingers on the sensitive spot on your arm, so it wouldn’t swell later, you crouched to pick up your tray, then turned in your intended direction. You didn’t bother to pick the oranges because they had turned muddy with filth and because your customer, Mr. Bibiola, would replace them.

You rounded a few bends, then trudged down a wide ghettoized street, your legs gliding and turning on their own with such familiarity. You knew you were close when your ears detected the rattling of aged engines used for milling corn. Barely thirty steps later, you knocked once on the door of a shack.

The door swung open instantly, like the owner had been standing behind it, waiting for you.

“You’re here…” the owner, Mr. Bibiola, said. He was a man of forty-eight whose face was a darker shade than the rest of his body because of constant exposure to the sun and was furrowed with stress lines. The corners of his eyes crinkled into twisted trails when he spoke. Crooked brown teeth peeked out of his dark lips, shrouded by the gray hair that covered his chin.

No sooner had you stepped into his scanty room, which held only a bed and a little table, than he pulled you close, peppering your face with kisses. He mouthed on your lips, his tongue poking, begging for entrance, and you grimaced at his musty taste.

The earth had turned dull with darkness by the time you arrived home. Mama sat in the parlor, a cigarette stick on her fingers, pouted lips puffing out a familiar thick smoke. Her bra was uncuffed, telling you that a customer had just left.

“Good evening ma,” you muttered, but she ignored the greeting for the money, counting them. Being complete, she tossed them beside her on the couch. You sighed, relieved that Mr. Bibiola had given you 1,000 Naira, with which you had completed the oranges' money you lost. You would rather crawl on broken glass than lose Mama’s money. The few times you did, she hit you until you retched blood, then she threw you out of the house; you had to look for means to repay her. Mr. Bibiola, a buyer of your oranges, had lured you at those desperate moments.

You turned and ambled down the corridor, to the room. Your lips stretched into a smile as you stepped in because Uche, your little brother, was on the bed, coating his face with pancake that he had stolen from Mama’s room. Uche was lanky and light-skinned. His limbs moved with such grace, poised by his effeminacy.

“Aunty Ego!” he called when he saw you, although he was just two years younger. You rushed forward and hugged him, your heart tingling. You always felt the need to protect him from harm. From those vicious children in your street who slurred “Homo!” at him and erroneously accused him of touching their little brothers, and Mama's customers. Those pot-bellied men disliked him because he acted girly. You didn’t care about yourself, or that one of those men had raped you. Or that when you told Mama a week later because your vagina itched, she had given you a black, bitter liquid to drink after she had her fill of accusing you of seducing the man. Sometimes, you would sit and ponder why Mama was apathetic toward you and Uche. You wondered if it would be different if your father was around; he ran off with another woman just after Uche was birthed, and you were just two. Everyone said it had driven Mama to men and cheap drugs.

The next morning, as Mama hoisted a tray of oranges on your head, she paused, her eyes starting holes in your breasts.

“You’re pregnant,” she declared with certainty, cupping one of your breasts with her palm. You froze, your breathing ceasing and your heart thumping much faster.

Thirty minutes later, you were at a patent medicine shop, your face drenched with tears as you refuted that no one had touched you. The chemist had asked you to pee into a pen-like tube. You didn’t miss the sly yet familiar way he squeezed Mama’s bum as he passed her.

“She is pregnant,” he announced much later as he handed Mama the result.

An hour later, you staggered down a road with Mama swearing behind you.

“It’s here!” you notified before you knocked on the door. It was flung open by Mr. Bibiola who paused, face paling and eyes widening as he gazed at Mama.

“Ogadi!” he mumbled, and your face crumpled as you wondered why he was calling Mama by her name.

“Pa–pa Ego!” Mama stuttered. Looking from you to Mr. Bibiola, her eyes expanded with bitterness, confusion, realization, then horror before she slumped to the ground.

“What is wrong?” Mr. Bibiola cried, panicked, yet you paid him no attention. Mama’s face had told you everything you needed to know but didn’t want to know. The baby in your tummy is your brother.

In a far distance, a dog was running after a goat. A two-year-old boy slammed his palm on the feces he had defecated. An old prostitute was shaking her butt in front of an overdressed road preacher. A man was walking down a road, hands in pockets, stylishly scratching his itching groin. A shy boy was buying a pack of condoms, and another squeezed a crumpled 500 Naira note into his girlfriend’s palm. A madman was chasing some kids, and the sun was retreating gently, pulling its rays with it.

Everything was normal, everything, except you.
For I know the thought I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11
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Kezia Hall 1
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Post by Kezia Hall 1 »

This story is a really sad story, but it can also be used to help girls.
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Mira Cle
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Post by Mira Cle »

Kezia Hall 1 wrote: 07 Apr 2023, 01:49 This story is a really sad story, but it can also be used to help girls.
Yeah it really is, and the fact that this is becoming common in our society is alarming and heartbreaking.
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Seetha E
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Post by Seetha E »

Sad story. Well written.
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Post by Joseph Nj Joseph »

So sad
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Post by Geremew Dubale »

expressing emotion in sadly circumstances.
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Post by HA_Funk »

Is English a second language? This is a good example of 2nd person narrative voice. It feels disembodied or surreal which truly suits the closing sentence. 2nd person is the hardest point of view to master. Good job! Consider a film short to further develop it. Maybe?
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