“So, condoms?” I said throwing the package on the center table. My sister was with her “friends” smoking. Oh God, I didn’t even know she smoked. They looked at her and she looked at them and then, signaled to them to excuse us and they did. “I see some tongues have refused to stop wagging,” she said hitting the butt of her cigar on the ashtray. “Does it matter? Did the tongues wag correctly?” I said raising my voice. My sister looked at me quickly and looked around her as if searching for who I was addressing and in a voice that was dangerously calm she asked “Na me you dey follow talk like that?” I froze. Her “accent” was gone and staring into her eyes, I couldn’t recognize who was sitting in front of me. She asked again “Ngozi, I say na me you dey follow talk like that?” I tried to speak but she hushed me. “You think say I no know? All the things wey you been follow all these small small boys do? Nkiru tell me now, she tell me. You come dey form Mary Amaka for here”. My legs shook truly, who was I deceiving? She took a long drag of her cigar, looked at me and hissed as she walked out.
I sat down and tears rolled down my eyes once again. Memories rushed into my head, memories that I have pushed out for so long and worthlessness washed over me again. I remembered it all. I remembered how Hassel turned me to something else, how I would cook, wash and sleep with him and he would still cheat on me and give me scars. I stole from my poor parents for that boy, I failed courses, missed exams, I did everything for that boy and yet. Guilt that I have not known since Amaka told me, “you are in Christ now, you are a new creature, it’s all over, you are forgiven”, lured me into a dance. I felt choked up. Was I really forgiven? am I truly a new creature or the same old Ngozi that was kept in check by Amaka like a dog on a leash. I remembered the last examination we wrote and how I desperately wanted to cheat, I remembered all the nights I watched videos I shouldn’t be watching and did things that…, I remembered all the things I have done that I was not proud of. Did I really change? and if I should decide to leave, would she let me? if she did, where would I go? back home to Papa and Mama and the debts that hung on our necks. I was torn between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Guilt that I have not known since Amaka told me, “you are in Christ now, you are a new creature, it’s all over, you are forgiven” lured me into a dance. I felt choked up. Was I really forgiven? am I truly a new creature or the same old Ngozi that was kept in check by Amaka like a dog on a leash. I remembered the last examination we wrote and how I desperately wanted to cheat, I remembered all the nights I watched videos I shouldn’t be watching, I remembered all the things I have done that I was not proud of. Did I really change?
The room felt so suffocating, I need fresh air, I needed to clear my head, to think, to breathe. I looked around the house for Ada and told her I was going for a walk. She didn’t even honor me with a look, she just asked one of her boys to go with me since I was new here, let’s call him Mr. X. I said I would be fine without him but of course she ignored me. As I stepped out of the gate, I had not walked up to ten steps when a car driving towards me, slowed down and the car glass was whined down. I slowed down too, it was the familiar woman from the store. I rolled my eyes and resumed my walk but then, she called my name “Ngozi”. In shock, I spun around so fast I nearly tripped Mr.X tried to steady me but, quickly removed his hands from me when I gave him a stern look. “How did you know my name?” I asked her. She sighed and asked me to come into her car for a minute, Mr.X quickly moved and stood between me and the car. The woman looked at him for a few seconds then came out of her car and pleaded with him to give her a minute with me. He looked resistant at first but, after a while, he sighed and stepped aside. “She no go follow you go anywhere” he stuttered with so much effort. “I promise you” the woman reassured him then pulled me slightly by my arm few feet away from him, looked me in the eye and said “I know Amaka”. The tears flowed out of my eyes like a river, without warning.
Hiiii, I can’t tell you how glad I am that you took out your time to read this post. If you have been following Ngozi’s story, you would have noticed that I went MIA for a very long while. Well, what can I say? life happened and I forgot how important this is to me, how important you are to me. But, I am here now and hopefully here to stay this time around.