She used to bend down to greet elders. She used to run errands for older people too until her father’s age mate stole her pride after she dropped the MTN recharge card on the blue table in his self-contain apartment.
She used to confide in elders until the elder’s wife called her a liar and a home wrecker.
“This girl must have seduced my poor husband.” The woman with the wrapper always tied around her waist cried. As if her husband was a naïve day old baby!
Oh yes! I know that girl.
She was the girl with the brown slippers, a bible tucked under her arm as she ran to attend evening fellowship. She was that good girl everyone gossiped about when her tummy started to bulge.
She was the girl no one desired to hear her side of the story. The ones that listened did so with only one ear. Even that one ear had stones in it.
I remembered that girl today.
I was passing by a bar when I saw a man slap a young girl. She should be around sixteen years old.
It reminded me of how that good girl was interrogated with slaps by her uncle. He would beat her and ask her to confess to a crime she never committed.
Her aunty was behind him, ready to rub pepper all over her private part if she didn’t confess to her atrocities, to how she had been eyeing Daddy Kunle and how she had sneaked into his room and seduced him till the old man could not resist her and fell into her trap.
She wanted to tell her aunt that her uncle had tried to be like Daddy Kunle on several nights while she was away on vigils but her bites and scratches had rescued her. She wanted to tell her aunt that she, Chidera was the one that gave her uncle the big teeth mark on his right hand. The one he claimed he awoke with after a terrible dream. The one that the whole house had embarked on one week dry fasting for to chase away the evil spirit. She wanted to tell her that the evil spirit was still in her house. In fact, it was kneeling down in front of her with blood all over its face. The spirit now had a swollen black eye.
When she got tired of the torture, she accepted her ‘crimes’.
She accepted she was possessed.
She accepted she was a seductress.
She accepted she was a home wrecker.
She accepted she was a bad girl.
And the beatings stopped. They had gotten what they wanted- the confession.
That night, when everyone was asleep, her uncle came again.
He had come for his own ‘share’. Daddy Kunle cannot enjoy alone. The one that tended the garden should also eat of its fruit.
She was weak and he was strong. He covered her mouth and unbuckled his belt.
She had tasted defilement once. It was bitter. She wasn’t going to have that food again.
She stretched her hand and reached for the forgotten knife that had been used to frighten her during her interrogation. She stuck it deep into his side.
She knew she was in trouble.
No one would believe her. They didn’t believe her the first time.
She staggered out of the room.
Adrenaline made her fly a flight of stairs.
She sprained her ankle but she had to keep going.
She dragged her left leg along.
She ran and ran and ran.
Then, she stopped. She was far away enough.
Far away to start afresh. Faraway to become everything she confessed to be.
As she watched her blood flow, her first fruit being snatched away after her fall, she touched the blood between her thighs.
It was time to become everything her innocent self was accused of.
Being a good girl doesn’t pay. Being a bad girl might.
So, when next you see a girl with short red gown the colour of her lips.
When next you hear of a girl that flags down cars.
Maybe Chidera’s story would make you less judgmental and more sympathetic.
Maybe you’d care to know the story behind everything gory.
Maybe, you wouldn’t just term her unsavable.
Maybe you’d think- she was once a good girl too.
Maybe you’d understand why I’m writing my life story.
To let you know that this slay queen was once a good girl too.