We didn’t have Mathematics today. Mr Tikolo is ill, so he couldn’t make it to school early enough. Same old story today, Dear Diary…Khadijat has not been able to get the ‘pregnancy flusher’. During recess, we all sat to ponder over Ozomma’s growing zygote. Whether we all like it or not, the pregnancy is growing daily. We need to do something as soon as possible.
I attended the mid-week choir rehearsals today and when we were asked to pray to God for just one thing troubling our hearts, I prayed for Ozomma. I prayed that the Lord will intervene in this situation.
Ozomma! You know this pregnancy is not for me. I am not the one who impregnated you. Please do not ruin my life; you know if my uncle finds out about this, he would just send me back to the village. Please go and look for the person who impregnated you o! The light-skinned young man who had been screaming at Ozomma walked away angrily and Ozomma whose pregnancy is now very obvious, and looking so unkempt, walked towards an uncompleted building crying profusely.
I woke up. That dream was terrible. What does it mean? Wasn’t that Ozomma’s trader boyfriend saying that he is not responsible for the pregnancy? Could that be true? Who then is responsible for the pregnancy? What kind of dream is this?
Today was such a busy day at school; the only time I got to talk to Tammy was when I asked her for an extra pen in class. There was no free period at all, and even during recess, Mr Tikolo taught us to make up for our lost period yesterday.
I narrated the dream I had to Tammy and Khadijat. “Do you know we never asked Ozomma who is responsible for her pregnancy” Tammy noted.
“That’s true, we just concluded that her trader boyfriend is the one responsible,” I added.
“So who then could be responsible for it now? This is getting all messed up” Khadijat added.
Ozomma was not in school, so our urge to find out what the truth is was kept on hold.
Aunty Kike left for school very early this morning; I am going to miss her. No one to help me with my chores in the house again. I left for choir rehearsals later in the evening and on my way home, I met Khadijat who gave me an envelope containing a letter she said she got this morning and had to pass across to me. I noticed she said this with teary eyes but before I could ask what the matter was, she had walked away hurriedly, refusing to answer when I called her back. I settled in my room after dinner to read the letter:
My Dear Friends,
I write this letter with my heart full of depression and regrets and as you read this I am most likely on my way out of Lagos for reasons you will find out as you read on. True, you guys know I am pregnant but contrary to what you guys think; Eze my boyfriend is NOT responsible for the pregnancy. In fact, to him, I am a virgin, his cute, little, innocent girlfriend but to uncle Chibuzor, my aunt’s husband (whom I live with) I am already an overused rag.
Since the death of my parents and as soon as I moved in to stay with my aunt, Uncle Chibuzor started abusing me sexually – this started exactly 3 years ago. Each day I come to school trying to cope with the daily struggle of pretending that all is fine. School was my only escape and you guys were my rock. The only times I laugh, play and I am sincerely happy are the moments I spend with you guys.
Uncle Chibuzor slowly stripped me of everything I was and will ever be. He played with my emotions until I didn’t know what or how to feel anymore. I used to fight but as time went by I got too tired to fight. I just lay there like a log of wood, tears flowing silently down my cheek.
You think I should have told my aunt, right? But how could I have told her when she didn’t even trust me with her pot of soup. How could I have told her when the first statement she said to me when I got to her house was: “Don’t come and ruin my family the way you ruined yours o”.
To her, I am the witch who killed my parents. I never ever found the strength to talk to her.
You also think I should have confided in you guys, right? I was scared of losing you. I was too ashamed of myself and I couldn’t bring myself to be the black sheep among decent girls like you people. I know we never hide things from each other, but this is different. Besides, the Devil warned me, he warned me never to tell anyone or that will be the end of my life.
I decided to write this letter in order to save my life, to lighten this burden that has been on me and to escape before you people even get the chance to read it. I am going really far away from home so don’t bother looking for me, because you won’t find me.
Yours in pain,
I woke up this morning with pains all over my body; especially my eyes. They hurt… I had cried myself to sleep after reading Ozomma’s letter. I folded it neatly and kept in the middle of my bible. And immediately after church service, I looked for Tammy and gave her. I warned her not to read it in church because Tammy is known to be the weakest amongst us when it comes to matters of the heart. We usually wait till the last minute before we tell her things like these. If she had read the letter in church, she would have cried so loud Ozomma would run back from wherever she was.
Khadijat, Tammy and I looked around for Ozomma in school today even when we were aware of what had happened. We were just hoping that it would turn out to be a lie or even a trick or something. As we headed to her class, looking around for her, I prayed silently “ Lord, please let Ozomma be in class”,
On getting to her class, instead of Ozomma, we saw her aunt talking to her class teacher. My heart skipped. Immediately, I knew the letter we got was true. She was here to let the school authorities know that her niece whom she never cared about was missing. Upon noticing us, Ozomma’s class teacher called all three of us and asked that we go to the principal’s office. We were Ozomma’s closest friends in school, so we were important in this matter.
The principal and vice principal were in a meeting with the school proprietor, so we had to go and see the school counsellor instead. I was relieved, the counselor is a more likable person and I would rather talk to her than the principal. She asked us simple questions like “When was the last time we saw her?” She asked if we knew her whereabouts. We answered both questions sincerely but we didn’t mention a thing about the letter. We couldn’t talk about it right there – in front of the Devil’s wife…NO!
I couldn’t sleep at all till this morning. I was up at 4am and my mum was there in her room ready to listen to me, immediately I asked for a little time.
Dear Diary, I narrated everything that happened to her amidst tears. I started from the time Ozomma fainted on the assembly ground – when she told us about the pregnancy – how we searched for the pregnancy flusher to help our friend flush out the growing zygote – how we got the letter and how Ozomma’s aunt came to report to the school authorities that our friend is missing.
She assured me that I was only acting my age and trying to be a good friend, but then I and my friends made a big mistake by not involving a trusted adult all the while. She encouraged me to convince Tammy and Khadijat to report the case as soon as possible and I promised to do so. She then stressed the fact that we could have killed our friend by offering her the solution we call ‘pregnancy flusher’ to drink.
She explained that different medicines react differently in different bodies. Unhygienic substances mixed together to flush out pregnancy can cause damage- such substances are dangerous and can kill. Many young people have lost their lives because of this kind of concoction. I couldn’t wait to share the testimony with my friends; at least Ozomma is still alive to write us a letter. Thank God!
It’s been busy days in school recently. Exams are approaching. Immediately I got the opportunity to hang out with my friends today I implored them to let us talk to someone, a trusted adult – maybe the counselor. She is our friend. They agreed and we wanted to leave for her office immediately but we remembered that we needed the proof, which is the letter that Ozomma wrote to us. Tammy would bring it tomorrow and we would go straight to the counselor’s office and show it to her. Meanwhile, we all agreed to always be close to our parents’ phones incase Ozomma decides to call any of us. She is the only one that has a phone. Her trader boyfriend, Eze, bought it for her as her birthday gift. I tried to use mum’s phone to call her many times, but the number was switched off.