It was thursday, our lecture free day. We were at the terrace, thinking up what to do with our free time.
Kamsi: Let’s just go out, since you can now drive, we’ll just go sight seeing.
Me: I want to visit my house.
Kamsi: The Okoye’s?
Me: Yes. I want to know how they’re doing and also know how they’re keeping the house.
Kamsi: You miss them?
Kamsi: Its alright. We’ll go but we won’t tell anybody. From there, we’ll now go sightseeing. And dress in your best so they’ll know you’re living fine now.
I laughed and thanked her.
Kamsi: Big mouth Chine, I’ve not seen her since school resumed.
Me: That’s why I want to go and see them.
Kamsi looked at her phone.
Kamsi: Its 9:45 already, let’s go and get ready.
We both went down to our rooms and I started rummaging through my clothes to know the one I’m going to wear. I finally settled for a pink top, jean trouser and a pink boot so in the next 95 minutes, we were on our way to the location where my terror started with me behind the wheels.
We got to our location and rode into the streets of housing estate. As I drove past each street,I remembered that night I had bade them goodbye. The pastures were greener and looked like it noticed my presence. I stopped beside a school, two streets from the Okoye’s house and let my tears fall. Kamsi allowed me for a good number of minutes before she spoke up.
Kamsi: Don’t you think you should be praising God instead of crying? What if you had died that day? But he kept you alive, so that people will know your story and praise Him for His goodness? You shouldn’t be crying Amy because I’m sure you’ve overcome your fears by wanting to see them.
Kamsi: Don’t speak.
She helped me dab my face with her bandana and using the make up in her purse, she remade my face.
Kamsi: Stop crying. Let’s go and see your family.
I nodded and brought the engine back to life. I wasn’t perfect yet as we still had the L letter attached to the car and I drove carefully.
We got to the house and I honked, expecting the gateman to come out and open the gate but we were there for some minutes, yet nobody showed up.
Kamsi: I’ll see.
She got down and went towards the gate. She opened the small gate and went in, then opened the big one for me to drive in.
I drove into the familiar compound. Nothing had changed. Everywhere was littered with dried leaves from the fruit tree that stood in the middle of the compound. I got out of the car and joined Kamsi.
Kamsi: This place looks isolated.
Me: You sure they still live…..
Chine: You don’t talk to me because you put me in this situation.
Kamsi and I turned to the direction of the voice and saw Chine, coming out from the backyard with a baby bump. She saw us and froze.
Mrs Okoye: Who drove in?
She joined her daughter and she couldn’t hide the shock on her face.
Kamsi and I greeted her.
Mrs Okoye: Amanda?
Me: Yes mum.
Mrs Okoye: What are you doing here?
Me: Uhm….we came to see a friend who lived in the estate so we decided to come and see you.
Kamsi: Yes madam.
Chine ran into the house without turning back.
Me: I’m sorry mum but you people didn’t inform us that Chine was married.
Mrs Okoye hissed and I looked at Kamsi.
Mrs Okoye: Don’t mind that girl. She got pregnant and she doesn’t know who’s responsible. I don’t know what I’m going to do with her. Since then, she’s refused to be polite to anybody.
Kamsi: Doesn’t make sense. How can she not know who’s responsible for her child?
Mrs Okoye: My dear,you two should come in. How’s your mother?
Kamsi: She’s fine.
We followed her inside where she offered us seats. The interior still looked wonderful and I was grateful for that.
Mrs Okoye: What do I offer you girls? You people are now big girls so I don’t know if you still take juice.
Kamsi: We’re fine. We’re filled.
Mrs Okoye: Ah! At least, take something.
Kamsi: We’ll leave with a pack of juice.
Mrs Okoye: That’s better so how’s school?
Kamsi: We’re fine. School is fine. Just….
Me: Mum, can we go and see Chine?
Mrs Okoye: Uhm… Yes.. Why not? Its your house
Kamsi and I quickly ran up the stairs, very well aware of the eyes that followed us. I led the way to where I know was Chine’s room and after a knock, I pushed the door open and we both went in. Chine was lying on her side. I bolted the door because I knew that we three had issues to settle.
She sat up and threw us wicked glances.
Chine: Get out of here now.
Kamsi scoffed and folded her hands below her breasts.
Chine: You both are just here to mock me so just get out.
Kamsi: If I were you, I’ll be quiet and listen.
Me: Kamsi please.
Chine started sobbing audibly and I cast Kamsi a pleading look.
Me: We’re not here to mock you. We don’t even know you’re pregnant
Chine looked at me.
Chine: You didn’t know I was pregnant?
Me: Not at all. We’ve both missed you, worse still, school resumed properly last week but we didn’t see you around so we decided to come and check on you.
Me: Yes. We can never mock you. We’re all women and don’t know what our future will be like.
Kamsi sat down beside Chine and I smiled inwardly.
Chine: You’ve got a goof heart Amanda. I wonder why I’ve being blind to the truth all these years.
Kamsi looked at me and I knew she wanted to say something
Kamsi: Everything has a right time. Maybe this is your own time to see a change.
Me: Yes. You were just blind all those years because you loved your mother and….
Chine : And she put me in this condition. I hate her. She’s not my mother.
Kamsi: What? What are you saying?
Me: Chine, tell us. What are you saying?
Chine : We’ve run bankrupt. We don’t have anything now except this house. She’s sold everything father had. When she realised she couldn’t sell the ones in your name, she started sleeping with father’s friends. I didn’t say anything so long as she put food on our table. I was in the sitting room one night when she came in with a man, introduced him to me as her classmate way back in the university. She left both of us to talk and went into her room. That night, this man took advantage of me and no matter how much I screamed, mum never came out to help me.
Chine: It was when he was ready to leave that I knew they staged it.
Chine: He dropped twenty thousand on the table and asked me to give it to my mum, then he gave me five thousand saying I wasn’t as good as my mum had said.
Tears ran down my eyes. How can a mother do this to her own child? I understood it when it was me, but her own child?
Chine: When I realised I was pregnant, I told mum and she said she would call him. I later found out that she doesn’t even have his number let alone knowing who he was.
Kamsi: Oh my God. Did you go for a lab test?..
Chine: I did. I treated gonorrhea for weeks.
Kamsi: I’m sorry to say this but your mother is wicked.
Chine: She’s not my mother. I regret the day she conceived me.
I had to stop crying and we three went into a warm embrace.
Chine: Please forgive me. She poisoned my mind against you,saying your mother was a witch and tried to kill her while she was pregnant. That was why I was against you.
Me: I knew there was no smoke without fire. Let’s not talk about the past anymore. Let’s look for a way forward.
Kamsi: Yes. Let’s not discuss the past anymore. We’ll go home and think of a way to help you out.
Chine: Please, come and take me out of here. please.
Kamsi: Don’t worry. It will be over soon.
Kamsi and I gave her some money before she escorted us out. Mrs Okoye was no longer in the sitting room so we just left the house without bothering to look for her.
We spent the rest of the day at new berries, talking about the Okoye’s family.