It was a boring Saturday morning, and Eloho stirred awake as she felt the morning sun kissing her face through her bedroom window and immediately chided herself for leaving the curtain open. She hated the fact that she had woken up, she wished she could sleep one day and not wake up the next. Her life was a mess…of course she knew what could make that wish come true, but she was a coward; she had been for 10 miserable years of her life, or maybe it was Nkem, whom she loved with everything in her that kept going. She stretched her hand to check the time on her wristwatch lying across the headboard. 10:10 a.m! She realised that she had been asleep since 5 p.m yesterday when her father or like she preferred to think of him: the man-who-mated-with-her-mother-to-give-birth-to-her went on a business trip that would last for two weeks. She slumped back on the bed, in a supine position and stared at the white ceiling in despair. What will she do with herself today? Thank God the wolf himself wasn’t home, she could atleast breathe freely and perhaps visit Nkem her sweetheart.
She was so tired of this house; her mother who was an uneducated business woman was always busy and hardly thought of anything but money, had returned from her own 3 months business trip to Cotonou last night would soon come banging on her door to nag about her lack of productivity. Atleast, she had rather live with that than her father’s…
“Shuo! Eloho!? Na by dis time all your mates dem dey sleep? Make you show for dis kitchen na na na before I con da your room o. You dey hear me so…?” Shit… so soon? When would she have peace in this godforsaken house sef? Oh well, she had no choice but to roll out of bed and heed her mother’s call. “Milee…I dey come…” She hardly spoke English at home with her mother, because it was a total waste of time. The woman will stubbornly keep on with her Warri pidgin. On her way out of the room, she stopped and spied herself in the standing mirror beside her wardrobe. Goodness! She looked like she’d been through hell. Well… this was hell, the hell she had been living in. How come guys found her beautiful sef ? ” At 16 years old, her curves and shapes had become much firmer and rounder and she hated it, hated the way she was always stared at everywhere by guys. “Perverts! The whole lot of them” She spat out in a voice laced with hatred. She untied her wrapper to examine her stomach like she had been doing for the past three months after she found out… it was getting rounder and fuller too. She had been ignoring the signs and keeping it to herself. What was she supposed to do ehn? She was too scared to do what Nkem had been suggesting. Would her mother even notice? She didn’t want to think of the chaos it would cause in their family. For all she knew, her mother might not believe her, she might say something like: “Osanobua! Eloho, you don dey let boy dey toush you? Which time da one start na? Na so I teach you? Ehn!? Na me you wan disgrace for dis street wey aproko people full so? You go show me that boy wey don dey enter you today, you hear!” And she would drag her by the ears till she confessed who the boy was. It amused her; the manner with which Nigerian parents handled delicate matters such as this. She shrugged and headed for the kitchen before her mother would come after her with a pestle or something.
“Milee…good morning. Sorry say I no wake on time, I no too well laidat” she quickly gave an explanation, if not she would receive a one hour plus lecture and she really needed to see Nkem, the only one whose attention brought her joy. Her mother who was measuring cups of rice into a plastic bowl suddenly stopped and looked at her quizically. “Doo…wetin dey sick you? You for tell your Papa make he carry you go hospital na… Eloho you nor be pikin again o, make you sef arrange yourself wella. You no sey I no get time for smeh smeh”
“Yes ma.” Eloho wanted to say something else but refrained from it. What does it matter.
“Oya start to dey wash all those plate wey dey for sink. I no like all this kind meke meke wey you dey do oo. Dis rice suppose don done since, you dey there dey sleep like pregnant goat.” Her mother said with a disapproving stare, then she walked towards the LG freezer bought by her father to placate her mother during their big fight; a fight which was caused by his infidelity. That had been the first time Eloho had seen her mother hurt, angry and broken all at once. She threatened to leave the house for him and his numerous girlfriends, and she wished her mother would react like that too when she found out about the secret she had been hiding for three months.
A very strong odour hit Eloho’s nostrils as she picked up the sponge to do the dishes; it was the smell of fresh fish, and it nauseated her so much that she began to feel saliva gathering in her mouth. Oh no, this wasn’t happening. Why couldn’t the stupid morning sickness attack her some other time? She dropped the sponge and hastily ran to the bathroom to throw up in the sink , then she washed her face and rinsed residues from her mouth. In her haste, the wrapper which had been tied lazily across her chest had slipped to her waist, and as she turned to secure it back on her chest she noticed her mother standing by the door with an incredulous look on her face. “Eloho you don carry bele abi? Answer me! No be queshion I ask you so?” When Eloho didn’t reply, she moved closer and slapped her across the face. It stung and stunned her; the slap and disappointment she could already see in her mother’s eyes, and out of anger she replied “Y…e…s ma…I…”
“Who be the useless person wey you open leg for ehn?? Eloho! Make you start to dey talk before I go kill you dis morning!”
What was she to do now? She just wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. Her mother would never believe her, she was sure of it now. “N..na…na…mile na your husband.” She replied with tears streaming down her face. There was silence, then her mother shouted “EHN???…”