‘I said do you people have a lift?’ I screamed at the restaurant staff again. Before they could answer, me, I glanced at the staircase and my mother was no longer visible. She had probably finished the first half of the stairs and was almost at the bottom. I took off my shoes and ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the staircase. I finished the first half, got to the second half and saw her almost at the door of the restaurant. I ran towards the door in a bid to make it through before she did, brushing her in the process. This woman pulled me back by my hair and yelled, ‘So you now want to push me down abi?’ and she gave me a knock. Which kain wahala be this? Just kill me now let me die sharp sharp, not the one that I am awaiting judgement from my father, and you will still be beating me on top. I walked slowly ahead of Mrs Ifeora and my mum, found the car and stood by it while they talked.
After about 30 minutes of waiting, my legs started hurting but fear did not allow me ask my mother to open the door for me to sit down. It was obvious that my mother was getting tired of the conversation, but every time they seemed to be rounding up and my mother tried to leave, Mrs Ifeora would bring up new gist. I didn’t blame her sha, her husband was deceased and her three children were married, so she was home alone. Any company she could get was important to her. They soon wrapped up their discussion and my mother walked to the car and opened it. I opened the back door to stay at the back, before I will sit in front now, my mother will be tearing me slap as she’s driving. The next thing I heard was ‘Look at this child. Come on come to the front. Do I look like your driver?’ my mother said. I was still trying to gather myself and move forward when she said again ‘You better don’t allow the devil use you to test my patience this night. Come on hurry up’. See me see trouble o, when she was gossiping, the devil was not testing her patience o, now that I was just using 30 seconds to transition, it was a problem.
I moved to the front and we began our journey home, trust my mother not to keep quiet. She kept making random side comments about how I had disgraced her in front of her friend, that the other friends will soon hear, blah blah blah. I wasn’t even listening to her, facing my father was the only thing that concerned me. I wished the journey home would take longer than usual. As the odds were against me that day, there was no traffic on our way and we were home in no time. I was too scared to come down from the car, until my mother shouted ‘Come down let me lock my door biko’. I came down from the car, walked straight to my room, got in and washed off my make up. My father couldn’t see me with a face beat like that, with all the gbege I was in already, he will just kill me. I changed out of my skimpy clothes into a decent dress, ready to meet my father. I sat on my bed, and waited to hear one of them scream my name, so I could go and receive my judgement. 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, no call. What was happening? Why wasn’t my father angrily screaming my name yet?
I had never been so scared in my life. I tried to distract myself with my phone, but it didn’t work. Instead, I was seeing African parent memes everywhere on Instagram. I dropped the phone and decided to go and see if my judgement was forth coming. I got to the door of my parents’ room and opened the door slightly so I could peep into the room and see what they were up to, only to see them fast asleep. Which kain life abeg? They were supposed to be punishing me for Christ’s sake, not sleeping. Why didn’t they just save all of us the stress and get it over and done with that night? Now I won’t be able to sleep because I would be thinking of what my father was going to say or do. I walked backed to my room, laid on my bed and began to think about all the things my father was going to say or the punishment he would give. With all those thoughts in head, one would think that sleep would be far from me, but alas, I fell asleep in the twinkle of an eye.
‘Wake up Ifunaya. Your father wants to talk to you’ I heard my mother say as she tapped me continuously. I woke up, sat on the bed and looked at the time, only to see that it was 4am in the morning. On top all the punishment I would get, sleep was also taken away from me. I walked out of the room to the living room and met my father already there, reading his bible in his favourite chair. ‘Good morning sir’ I greeted him. He didn’t even look up from his bible, he just grunted a response under his breath. I knew there was trouble. I went back to my room to get my bible and by the time I returned, my mother was already seated beside him. We began our morning prayers with singing, then read the daily readings from the bible. God now blessed my soul, the reading was talking about honouring parents, the perfect tagline for my parents to use against me. We normally start our morning prayers at 6am and end at about 7am, but for my parents to start the prayers at 4am, it was definitely because they wanted to have enough time to trash out my matter. After the readings, it was time for the exaltation aka judgement time. My father finished talking about the other aspects of the readings, got to the part of honouring your parents and that was the beginning of my misery.
He faced me directly and told me that I was not honouring them as my parents and that I was a disgrace to the family. ‘You are not the first daughter I sent to school. Your other two sisters never did anything like this while they were in school. When it comes to your turn, the story is always different. I don’t know if it’s a spiritual attack or what exactly your problem is. Look at how you just disgraced your mother in front of her friend’ he said. ‘You will not kill me o, Ifunaya. I did not kill my mother, so you will not kill me. With your 3.55 GPA, you’re still fooling yourself up and down. Instead of you to sit down and read your book, you’re busy following men. It’s a pity’ My mother added. ‘Get up from that chair and kneel down’ My father said, with so much anger in his eyes. After I had knelt down, my father said ‘You must tell us what your problem is today or I will beat the living daylight out of you’. He stood up and made his way to his room.
This man came back to the living room with a belt. Before I could even say a word, he was already lashing me all over my body. I was just screaming and screaming, I didn’t even know who was talking again. My mother will say her own, my father will say his own. At a point one of them said ‘You’re not even crying, so you’re hard hearted like this? That means you are not even sorry’, that’s how the beating intensified. Is this not what they call child abuse? Even at my age, they’re still flogging me like this. Slowly, the tears came gushing out and the beating stopped. ‘Don’t let me hear hostel again from your mouth. You will go to school from home everyday, till you graduate. Since we cannot trust you to live alone, you will come and stay with us until you have sense’ My dad said.
That’s how I moved back home from the hostel o. I started jumping bus to school everyday, missing 6pm classes so I could get home before my 7pm curfew. I had to maintain and be a good child so that my parents would take their eyes off me. In final year, I cleared my mother’s doubt and moved my GPA to 4.0. She was happy ehnn, they started giving me breathing space, but I refused to take it. I was still the good girl o, coming back home before 7pm, upholding the family name and even going to mass everyday. I graduated from school with a Second Class Upper. I was home everyday, went out only in the day because I couldn’t sleep outside the house. I became tired of the good girl life. I needed a miracle and NYSC happened, I got sent off to the big city, Abuja, alone. You won’t believe who I found there.