Charity awakes that morning feeling nervous. It is the day of her UTME examination. Although she had prepared well for the exams, she is nervous that she may not do well. She had prayed over the night that God grants her success as her father had warned her that he will send her off to learn a trade if she scored anything less than 200 in the UTME exams. Charity knows more than enough to joke with her father’s words. She knows that the man is not one to be joked with. Her father, Mr Jide is a retired civil servant who lost his first wife, her mother when she was giving birth to Charity. Her father under the influence of his family members had married another wife called Iyabo when Charity was less than two years old. Ten months after he married Iyabo, she had given birth to a boy who died few days after his birth and since then, she had been unable to conceive despite visiting several hospitals and spiritual homes. Iyabo is a very heartless woman who is embittered by her inability to have another child and each day, Charity prays to secure admission into the university so that she can leave the house for them.
On that day, Charity wakes up earlier than usual so that she can finish up her house chores and meet up with the exams schedule. After she finished all the house chores, she goes and kneels down to greet her parents.
Charity: “Daddy, good morning, sir. Mummy, Good morning, ma”.
Mr Jide: “Good morning, my dear. Are you set to leave?”
Charity: “Yes, sir. The exams start in an hour’s time but I want to go there and revise what I have read before the time”.
Mr Jide: “Okay o, iyawo mi. Make sure you write well o, you know how I suffered to get the money that you registered with. I won’t suffer like that again next year o, if you don’t pass well, I will have no option than to enroll with Iya Bisi to learn tailoring or aunty Dora, the hairdresser. You and my younger brother in the village are the only people I have in the world and I want you to be serious with your studies o. God knows that I love your mother very much before the cold hands of death snatched her away from my hands”.
Charity: “Daddy, it’s okay, I promise you that I would do my best to ensure that I do excellently well. You don’t have to remind me of my mother, I wish I know and each time you remind me of her, there is this vacuum in my heart that broadens”.
Mr Jide: “It’s okay, my dear. You can go now”.
Iyabo: “She can go where? Exams is starting by 9:00am, this is 8:05 and you say she can leave. Leave to where, I ask again”.
Mr Jide: “Leave for the exams venue, now. Didn’t you hear what she said?”
Iyabo: “No, I didn’t hear what she said, since I am now deaf. She said she wants to go and revise what she read and you believe her, is that how fathers spoil their children? All the book that she has been reading since, e never do her, it is the one that she will revise today that will make her pass, abi?”
Charity: “But, mama”.
Iyabo: “Shut up your gutter of a mouth there. Who is your mama? Ehn, no answer me. Do I look like somebody that will die during childbirth? So why do you call me your mother?”
Mr Jide: “That was harsh, my dear. This girl means no harm and reminding her of her late mother on a day such as this could have a negative psychological effect on her. She needs all the love and support we can give her on a day such as this”.
Iyabo: “Mr Oyibo, well done o. Negative psychocochical hiffect abi kini o kpe. You know I didn’t go to plenty school so I don’t know and don’t care to know what you are talking about. All I am saying is that if you don’t get tough with this girl, she will become a spoilt child and she will bring shame and disgrace upon this family”.
Mr Jide: “No way, my daughter is a decent girl, she cannot do that”.
Iyabo: “Decent girl indeed. The same girl that I always see talking to boys around? Do you know how many calls she receives from men in a day? Oh, you are surprised. You won’t know, now. I am the woman here and it is my job to monitor her”.
Mr Jide: “Ngbo, Charity, is it true?”
Iyabo: “Do you expect her to say it is true? Is she a baby? A girl of 18 years and you are here talking to her as if she is a baby. Haven’t you noticed that she wears new things these days? Where does she get the money to buy all these things if not from men? God knows that no daughter of mine can try this maybe that is why he didn’t even give me a daughter. If I have a child and she behaves like this girl, I will grind pepper and put it in her private part, which will cure the urge that is attracting her to men”.
Mr Jide: “You won’t try that with my daughter. Go and give birth to your own daughter and kill her if you wish”.
Iyabo: “Are you insulting me because of her? Me your wife, is it my fault that I have only one son who died? Is it not what you put inside me that will come out? Ehn, will I impregnant myself or do you want me to go out and meet other men?” she says sobbing. “Because of this girl that I saw entering corper Kingsley’s room in their mama Bisi compound the day I went there to grind beans”. Iyabo mentioned having a son as a way to console herself that she’s not barren, though she lost him at Child-birth.
Mr Jide: “Ehn! My daughter has started going to visit men in their homes? Charity! Yeeeee, ori mi o. This girl has killed me. How many times will I tell you that it is a taboo for a young girl to lose her virginity before marriage in my place? Do you want the oracle of my father’s house to visit you with their wrath? Do you want my lineage to be wiped away?”
Charity is in tears as the pain of her going late to the exams rocks her innocent heart.
Charity: “Daddy, I swear, I don’t know any man. The only time I went to ‘corper’ Kingsley’s house was the day I went to get textbooks from him since you said you don’t have money to give me for textbooks. I didn’t even sit down in his room and I didn’t go alone, I went with my friends after lesson that day”.
Mr Jide: “So, where do you get all the money for to buy the new clothes your mother is talking about?”
Charity: “It is the aunty that parked into our house some minutes ago that gave me. I help her wash her clothes and clean the house when she is not around and she has been giving me her clothes and shoes that she doesn’t need any more”.
Mr Jide: “Listen to me, my daughter, you must be very careful. Guard your virginity as if it is your life, if you lose it before marriage, you lose your life”. Turning to his wife, he says. “My beautiful Iyabo, the mother of my only son, even though your son died at infancy, he remains my son even in death and I appreciate you for that, I still believe that God will bless us with another son soon. E ma binu, sho gbo? I need your help to bring this girl up appropriately; you are the only mother she has, please learn to be a little bit more tolerant with her. And please, any day you see her receiving any call or talking to any man or going to any man’s house, even if the man is a pastor, tell me. That day is the day that I will marry her off. I already have many men asking me for her hand in marriage, all I need do is put a call across to any of them that I like. I will marry her off before she breaks her virginity and put me in trouble”.
Iyabo: “Don’t worry my husband. Just relax, I will put an eye on her for you, you will soon find out the truth”.
Charity left for the examination venue at 8:40am. With just about 20 minutes to the commencement of the exam and with no bike in site, she comes nervous. “I know that this is my step mother’s plan. She wanted to delay me so that I will miss the exams but it won’t work. Mtcheww”, she curses under her breathe. She gazes up to the sky as she notices the sudden change in weather, dark clouds were gathering up in the sky and it is threatening to rain. She hastens up and begins to walk as it dawns on her that getting a bike will be difficult with the people outside and the weather. She has just walked for about ten minutes when the sky released its contents, caught unawares, she is beaten by the torrential rainfall before she can think of a place to seek shelter. She runs to a shade on the road where she meets some other people taking shelter from the heavy rain. It keeps on raining heavily for over ten minutes and Charity becomes restless. She thinks of going under the rain but the torrent of the rain and the heavy wind that accompanies it scares her from going into it. “I am sure even the UTME people will wait, they can’t conduct any exams inside this rain”, she assures herself.
As soon as the rain stops, she jumps on a bike coming her way and offers to pay him triple fare for him to take her to the examination venue.
Charity: “Sir, please allow me to go in, I left home very early but the heavy rain caught me on the road”.
Supervisor: “No way, you can’t go in, Examinations started about twenty minutes ago and it is against the rule to allow you go in now”. He barks baring the door to the examination hall.
Charity: “Sir, please…”
Supervisor: “My friend will you get out of here before I call on the security men to throw you out?”
He is still talking when he realizes that Charity has slumped.
Supervisor: “Somebody help! Water! Help, A candidate has fainted!”
Question: What could be wrong with Charity? Did she lie to her father about her virginity?
…SEE Episode 2 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)
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