SHADES

abused-woman

Nothing could ever dim from my memory the calmness of that cool afternoon. It was right after my second lesson when my Uncle Frank came to whisk me from boarding school.
“Oroife, Your uncle is here to see you”. My teacher; Miss Okere called.
With a huge smile spreading across my face, I popped out of my seat in my timberland boots and walked out like I was about to miss my flight. Miss Okere gazed after me with sad eyes but I was too over the moon to notice.

When I got out, My Uncle Frank was standing by his wife; my favourite aunt.  I ran as fast as my legs would let, to give her a bear hug. That was when I noticed that they had come with a Soldier escort. My innocent mind was too lost in excitement to worry about the soldier. I jumped into the car, and in seconds my aunt was feeding me with as many cookies and candies that my body would allow. I ate so much that I slept off; forgetting to ask why I was taken home unexpectedly.
I woke up to the cry of a baby. I was heading to my aunt’s room to ask whose baby that was when I saw a number of people in the living room, crying and shaking their heads.
 *Did they find a baby in a dumpster? *

I thought, as I went to find my aunt. She was in the kitchen making tea.

“Aunty what’s happening?” I asked

“Oh you are awake.”

“Yes. The cry of the baby woke me up” I said twisting my face in displeasure.

“Sorry dear. Babies can be loud.” she smiled sadly then asked  “do you want some tea?”

“No thank you ma. So whose baby is crying?” she stayed quiet as if she was giving my question a moment of silence, then she spoke

“That’s your brother”. My eyes lit up again
“Mummy is back?” I squealed and began to run out. She pulled me back gently

“Your mummy is not really back.”  I looked at her, my mind lost in a sea of confusion.  “Your dad went to get your mum and new baby brother from the Airport” she looked at me forlornly before saying her next words “they had a fatal accident. Miraculously, your baby brother survived”.

My innocent mind couldn’t grasp the idea that my beautiful mum was gone, I started to shiver then opened my mouth to let out a primal scream. My drew me close, holding me in her arms as if that would make things better.
I never got over my parents death but I learnt to live with their absence.

I christened my brother Ifeobi (love of parents). Very poetic; I know. I grew up loving my brother so much that I was convinced he was the reason I still had breath in my lungs. I felt like he was a message from our parents. Their one final gift to me before they left the land of mortals.

* * *

Right now, I’m in the United States of America because….Do I really want to write about this? Well, I’ve heard that writing takes some load off so here I go…

After my parents death, I spent so many nights soaking my pillow with hot tears. On those nights my aunt would come in and wrap me in her warm arms.

But this one night, she wasn’t there to offer the warmth of her comfort.  She was away on Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and this is how my horror began.
Uncle Frank chose to step into her shoes that night’ offering me faux warmth and comfort but the moment I began to doze off, I felt his hands in my underpants and I knew that was the last time I’d feel my innocence.  I was only 13 but that night became the first of many, I wept like I
had lost my life. My clothes were drenched in tears, I forgot I was bleeding. My eyes felt like a tumor. I could only breathe with my heart, it needed air.  I had nowhere to go. He was all the family I knew. He always seemed helpless whenever he came to me. I  couldn’t tell aunty; I didn’t want anything to jeopardize my her marriage so I kept mum. Cold days and
colder nights rolled by and I knew I was losing a part of me, my sanity.

And  although my parents christened me  Oroife (the thing about love) because they had me  long before they got married and they could foresee what a beautiful young woman I would be, I changed my name to Charlotte,  something easier for my American friends. Even with my parents long gone, I have everything any young girl can ever want, lovely clothes, good shoes, access to money. They left enough wealth to last me and my brother a lifetime and I’m glad Uncle never kept it from us. But all these could never repair my damaged emotions.

I’ve met a few friends here in the states but I miss Ifeobi so much, I hardly comb my hair. I’m leading my class in school as a law student. It’s where I pump all my energy. A discipline I chose because one day, I’ll reveal who Uncle Frank truly is, and I will persecute him.

My Baby brother will also become a soldier, and I’ll make sure he wields the gun that snuffs life out of my uncle at his execution. Perfect! Isn’t it?
I won’t ever get married, Uncle Frank ruined any form of attachment for me and I hope my brother saves himself from a world of hurt and doesn’t get married either. The only love that exists in the entire world is the one between me and Oroife; every other love is claptrap.
Oh I must tell you, I have a neighbour, I know loves me; He has never said hello but I know he wants to. I see it in his eyes. I have written all about him here (https://laryoo.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/call-me-crazy/).

I’m calling the police; I just left my neighbour in a pool of blood.  Help! I don’t know what’s wrong with him.

By Oyindamola @TheTailor and Seyi @sunkit1

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