November 2008; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Admin Block B. There she stood a confused and scared little girl, the crowds, the long unending queues, not a single familiar face, everybody seemed to be bent on this clearance today, hence the pushing and shuffling, she had never seen something like this before, she had never seen soo many people in one place before.
All thanks to the solitary life only found in boarding schools; but she had discovered early enough that she was a girl on a mission, so it didn’t really bother her.
The more time she had to herself, the better. She didn’t make nor keep friends, they were a distraction. To her girls were too petty, no talk of the future, careers, business or even ideas, It was always talks of boys.
It was as if the whole point of even getting an education will be so some boy could find them marriable. Even though she was a popular girl in school, thanks to her dancing skills, she would rather bury herself in a novel at a dark corner than to spend time with the bunch who never stop fantasizing about boys.
Soon enough, she was labeled. “The girl who thinks she is better than everyone else”.
Being locked away does that to the mind, at least she could excuse that but she definitely did not have time for that neither did she bother to fix their complexity issues.
She smiled at the memories as she raised her face to feel the sun that has suddenly made her its focus. She was going to make history or rewrite the story which she was just about to become a part of.
But it had all happened so fast….. The squeaky clean WAEC, The jamb result, The admission notification from UNIZIK.
This was a dream come true for many, but not for the big dreamer and ambitious Queen. She had hidden it all and planned for a re-sit, but then here she stood, settling; Life had happened.
It was the second week of September 2008, Today, Unlike most Saturdays; It was unusually and awfully quiet, the weather strangely too cold for a September morning.
She pondered on recent events as she stood at the window in her dimly lit mirrored bedroom. She loved mirrors, The only things that had kept her going.
The mirrors listen to her as no one else would, it was a large family but everyone was so caught up in self to have time for the middle one.
The mirrors, they have always been there to listen, just listen, no judgment and always did a great job of reminding her of who exactly she was.
And today as she stood staring into them, it wasn’t herself she saw, and they definitely were not listening to her.
It was her turn to listen to the mirrors, so she looked on harder. Every suppressed memory, every detail of sordid events, her worst fears and hunted mind,her family, the place she once called home.
It didn’t start from when it all began, it started from when she was old enough to make sense of things. How they had always been at each other, it just never seems to end.
Some flashes of memory of her mom throwing her down as a baby as she tried to escape from him.
Well, she didn’t, and so the cycle continued. The fights, the quarrels, the doors locking and breaking. It was a triangle with no escape route, like living with strangers that all bore the same name. if the drama wasn’t caused by Ada, it was caused by Obinna.
But this one had nothing to do with the kids, It was all about the two grownups that were supposed to be in charge of the kids.
Queen had grown to understand that once one person does something wrong, everyone else partakes in the process of punishment, the memories of the nights she had slept out in the cold with her younger ones because Ada had run away from home again were still crisps in her memory.
And so everybody was sent out too, nobody returns home until she is found. It was in one of such nights that it had dawned on her, the realization that some children were planned for and expected while some others may have just arrived this world by accident.
At least that was what it all looked like. Hours have passed, she was still standing and staring into the mirrors, seeing, knowing and believing.
Her heart was in a thousand pieces, her mind weak and her legs numb. They always said she was the non-conformist but it didn’t seem so now, she was trapped in a cage created in her own mind.
And as she stood there all of her nightmares started to unfold, In one swift move he had kicked down the door, took a long hard look at her and turned back the way he came.
Like in a trance Queen followed suit and watched every one of his actions. Changing the locks on the doors, throwing out his wife’s personal belongings in the street as he sweated profusely cursing and swearing under his breath. “This is it” he finally said out loud, “this is the last straw”.
He turned and looked at her as he continued “unless you want to return to the village like your siblings, You had better go and process that admission of yours, am putting this place up for rent”.
Queen thought she saw tears in his eyes as he spoke, but then she knew she had been seeing things all morning. And as he walked out the door into the quiet street, Queen let herself sit on the floor, she could cry, she wanted to, she tried to, but tears had failed her just as words had failed her too.
There was this quiet and calmness in her now.
For the first time in her 17 years of life, she knew it was finally over. Or so she thought. She wasn’t entirely sure if she had sat there for two months straight, but her mind finally decided to move on and two months later here she stood in a hellish queue for her clearance.
And as she made a move to sneak up to the front, just some steps away someone grabbed her by the arm “hey I know you” he said, smiling…..
………… To be Continued……