“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!” I screamed in excitement.
Though smiling, mum furrowed her brows.
“C’mon mum, thats a new way of saying yes. it depicts extreme excitement.”
mum raised her nose, “Is that so?”
“hian! Nnenna, if I hear that word in this house again, I will withdraw you from school. Now go and get dressed, we have to leave now.”
Oh yes, my dad was getting released from prison today. I have a lot to talk to him about, like what I wanted to be when I grew up and how we were going to raise money for my junior waec.
Suddenly, a part of me brightened up, got filled. I think the right word to use is overwhelmed. i noticed that mum had put on light makeup and her hair was neatly packed, ponytail fashion. she even had on her best dress, I wore mine and off we went to bring dad home. before i tell you of the dark cloud that later enveloped our lives, permit me to say that I can only hope to be have the kind of love my parents have for each other. But for now, I’ll do anything to be successful not just for me, but for my family and community. Have you ever feel like you were born to be a saviour of some sorts? I feel that way every second of every minute in every hour. God help my young fourteen year old soul
Though we had little money, there was so much love. the only downside was the federal government had not legalised the use of love as currency or a medium of exchange. hmmm! my parents love for me was not going to get my junior waec fees paid.
Dad was doing his best, I saw him struggling everyday to raise money. He even made a wheelbarrow which he used in carrying heavy goods for people in exchange for very little money. Mum was selling her beautiful wrappers but people were giving her little money for it. No matter how hard I hoped, hope seemed not to be enough. mom suggested I pray but it seemed like God was silent. Dad was silent too.
Dejected, I went to school the next day, all my mates had paid their fees, even pregnant Dorcas.
Mr. Sam, my mathematics teacher called me into his office during break time. “Nnenna, dont you want to continue with your education?”
“I do sir”
“If thats the case, why havent you paid your waec fees?”
“My parents do not have any money.”
“What about you?”
I looked up at him, what a atrange question, I thought, ” I dont have any money sir”
He smiled. ” Stop lying to me. how can a beautiful girl like you not have any money?”
I was mute, mostly because I was confused.
“Okay, come to my house this evening? if you make me fwel good, I’ll give you a lot of money but dont tell anybody.”
Still confused, I thanked him then left his office. I was in deep thought all day. How can I make my teacher happy, should I learn all the formulars off heart, or should l dance? I would have asked my dad but Mr Sam said not to tell anyone.
After school, I found my way to his house. He was happy. I was scared. He offered me palmwine, my fear increased as I turned it down. he came closer. I shifted backwards. his eyes hardened, “You’re not making me happy. First lesson in life, everything comes at a price cos nobody owes you anything. I never forgot that lesson my entire life. To cut the long story short, he was in the process of removing my shirt when my mom walked in. She had solicit his help in begging the headmaster to loan her some money. in return, she would clean the school everyday till her labour equalled the loan. You’re probably wondering what she did to me that day, lol. She beat all the way home. In the dead of the night, she woke me up and talked and prayed and talked all night: Money and education are very important but there are things more important, one of which is integrity. Dad was with her, he held my hand tightly, “Baby, my baby, the means is as important as the end, You’re the strongest little girl I know, dont crack. I love you”
after the talk, I decided to forget about taking my junior weac that year. Yes, the headmaster had turned my mom down.
Two days to the expiration date for registration, it was announced that a certain philanthropist was sponsoring the Junior waec of poor children in rural communities. My name was included. I laughed and cried when the headmaster told him. Running all the way home, I hugged my parents tight.
They wiped my tears and I asked, “Mum, dad, does God have to wait for the eleventh hour?”
Dad smiled, “Baby, sometimes God breaks us inorder to make us”
He would know. It turned out, he had made peace with his maker but that didn’t stop him from beating up Mr. Sam
And suddenly, there’s a new beginning. Mom’s not finding my teenage years easy, not since dad told her I have a crush on a boy.
To be continued…
By Kehinde Anita
Kehinde Anita is the author of a christian romance novel, “Why Won’t She Have Sex?” Its available on okadabooks app for N700 only.