“What do I do? I cannot just walk away from mama like this. If I left Uncle Jonathan, I might never be able to see the only person in this world who had shown me love, untainted by selfish interest. Where do I start from?” I thought to myself as I stood at the junction to my street in the night. The air was cold and damp. I shivered inside the big t-shirt I had stolen from Uncle Jonathan’s wardrobe. I turned around, worried about being alone in the night. The whole place was as silent as a grave. I decided to go to the church. I had walked halfway, when I saw a light. At first I thought they were policemen but when I looked closely, I realised that they were vigilantes. There was no way I was going to get passed them without drawing their attention. I have learnt not to trust men once they are in a place where no one could see their actions. I debated within myself for a minute; should I go to Oke’s place? But I had pushed him away. What if that ugly girl is there with him?” I questioned myself, still staring at the torch light shining in the distance. There was no way I was going back to that house this night. So I turned and trekked to Oke’s place.
Oke’s compound was dark and silent. The only noise about was the distant sound of a generator, a frog croaking and several crickets chirping in the dark. I walked to the door and knocked. I had forgotten my small phone at home, in my bid to escape my uncle. I knocked again and again then suddenly the window curtain pulled aside and a sleepy Oke stared at me in surprise. The door soon clicked as he opened the door and welcomed me in.
Princess: “please can I sleep here this night?” I asked.
He smiled and nodded his head. He went into the room and came out with a pillow and a wrapper. He didn’t ask me why I was here at that time of the night; he didn’t ask me what had happened, he just welcomed me. I stared at him curiously as I took the pillow from his hands. He smiled and patted me
Oke: “we will talk tomorrow.” He said and left me to my thoughts.
I laid on the chair in the sitting room and thought about my uncle’s actions and the words he had uttered as I ran away from the house.
The next morning, I woke up to find Oke sitting across me, staring at me speculatively. I smiled and sat up.
Oke: “your uncle was here this morning.” he said.
I stood up quickly, my eyes going to the door. He shook his head
Oke: “I told him you and I had quarreled; that I don’t know where you are.” He added.
I felt the tension leave my body, so I sat back down.
Oke: “he said you stole from him and that he caught you with abortion drugs and that you are the cause of your mother’s madness.” He continued, looking at me closely.
Princess: “what do you think?” I asked him. He had not handed me over to my uncle so it meant that he didn’t believe his story.
Oke: “he walked in a funny way; like he had a boil in his private part or something.” He replied.
Princess: “he was lucky. I would have pulled his penis off its roots, the pervert!” I replied, hotly.
Oke: “hmmm… that is harsh. What did he do to deserve such injury and hate?” He asked, smiling.
Princess: “what do you men want from women when you think they are alone and helpless?” I asked him, irritated by the laughter in his eyes.
Oke: “your uncle wanted you like that? That’s disgusting!” he replied, his eyes widening in shock.
Princess: “please… stop acting like it has never crossed your mind. All you men are the same. You think we women are made for one purpose only.” I replied, getting angry.
Oke: “you don’t know me as much as you think you do, Princess.” He replied, a frown appearing on his face.
We sit quiet for a while. I tugged at an edge of the wrapper on my knee, wondering on what to do with my life.
Oke: “why was your mother when this happened?” he suddenly asked.
Princess: “my mother is in a psychiatric hospital. I doubt she would be able to help me now and I don’t trust my father’s family. They have managed to take everything from me and my mother. I can’t go to them.” I replied sadly.
Oke: “what about your mother’s family? Don’t you know where they are?” he asked. I shook my head. Mama had never spoken about her family to me. I could pass them on the road and I won’t know any better. “Don’t you want to find them? You need your family around you. Even if you do not do it for you, then do it for your mother. She might not be safe where she is.” He added.
I had not thought about that but Oke was making sense. “What if they try to murder Mama in the hospital? Uncle Maximus and his siblings are thieves. They might even have a hand in Mama’s state sef.” I thought to myself.
Princess: “I need to go to Benin and see my mother. I need to ask her some questions.” I said.
Oke: “I thought you said, she was in a mental institution? How will you interact with her?”He asked.
Princess: “I am hoping to find her better.” I reply.
Oke: “you are placing a lot on a hope o.” he replied.
Princess: “what do I do? As you suggested, I am the only one who can help my mother now and I can’t do that without causing some certain stupid actions of mine to come to light. I need to find her family. Who will know about her family more than her? I have to go to that hospital.” I replied.
Oke: “well find your mother’s maiden name first then check Facebook for people bearing the name. That will be a start.” He replied.
Princess: “that’s a long process. I know what to do. Can you loan me some money?” I asked.
Oke: “what are you going to do?” he asked, curious.
Princess: “I am going to Warri. I am going to pay someone a visit.” I replied.
Question: do you think it is a good idea for Princess to go looking for her mother’s family?
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