I had never been sorrier. That moment, I wished I had actually remained stubborn, that I had slapped Emy when I threatened to if he touched me, but I let him conquer me, and it happened along that bushy path, where all were covered by green. Somehow, I kept time. It lasted just seven minutes.
He claimed he was quick so no one would see, and promised to me something better the next time. Not that I minded though. Much later, it felt good that I had him – the Emy that every girl had something fierce to say about. Next to it was that I would finally stop having those intense flushes whenever I saw him.
The excitement that clouded my judgement for those few minutes meant nothing as I stared at her, feeling sorry for the both of us. She sat there, my sister whom I called aunty, on the wooden kitchen stool already darkened by smoke. My breathing was slow, yet I was nervous. The rise and fall of my chest couldn’t let me think straight. For sure, she’ll make me have the baby.
My naturally sad-looking face looked like something worse. Moping at her and giving my nails undeserving chews, I let out, with lips barely open, “I’m pregnant,” then grimaced, lips pursed.
She looked up at me, eyes blinking successively like she was expecting it. She dropped the filer she filed her long, multi-coloured nails with in an attempt to stand but a greater force pushed her back to the stool. Her knees shook. Then, I started sniffling into my handerkerchief.
“Amaka,” she called, furrowing her brows, ‘cherekwa, what do you mean?’
It was then my turn to be confused. I expected her to understand what it meant to be pregnant.
“I’m preg…,” the feeling of an angry palm on my left cheek silenced me, two others followed. I fell on the chair and waited to regain my auditory perception.
“Shut up! Will you shut your public trap before I kill you! You even have the guts to repeat it. How dare you? Chiamaka, how dare you?”
“Aunty, please,” My attempt at touching her was returned with a push.
“How could you do this? You know how much I’m suffering just to see you through school. Just when I thought someone better would come out of this family. For chrissake, I dropped out so you could continue! I go out there every night and allow those men fondle my breasts! I allow them…,” she made a tight fist, fighting back the tears.
“Get out!” Another push followed suit. “You’re very stupid. OK, you are pregnant. What do you want me to do? That means you are open for the business na. Yessss.” She gave the ‘yes’ a stretch, like one who had uncovered something huge. “Who is responsible?”
“I said who is responsible?” My silence was met with a deafening shout.
“It’s Emy,” I faced downwards, feeling the already roughened edges of my nails.
“This same Emy I asked you to stay away from.” The next slap landed on my back. “This same Emy. I gave up school, so you could continue and you bring me this? You bring me this?” Successive hits were directed at my stomach like she tried to cause a manual abortion. I could only but whimper. I was too ashamed to shout. She stopped, stuffing a cigarette out of its packet.
“You’ll have to leave school because you’re never aborting that baby. I was willing to go to waste so you could become somebody. It’s a good thing you now know how to make babies many babies. It means you are ripe for work and hardship. First thing tomorrow morning, you will match straight to that Emy’s place. He must take responsibility for you and that child or I will make sure he won’t have a manhood to shove inside any girl again. You already know what your aunty can do.”
She lit the cigarette, a ring of smoke moving upwards. Then she injected puffs and puffs of smoke into the clear air, through every narrow opening on her face until I couldn’t breathe.
I woke up to my things neatly packed into my brown box in the earliest hours of the next morning. Then I lead the way.
This is an updated version of the story. Read the first version here: Seven Minutes
Also Read: No Greater Love
Photo credit: ©Sean Kitt
Mostly Read: 9ine Months