Fall seven times and stand up eight.
- Japanese Proverb
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“What the hell is this?’’ She said as she tossed and turned in pain. Her pillows soaked with the tears that streamed down her face.
“I am alone in this world. I have no friends or people who deem me special. It’s the eve of my birthday! In ten minutes, it would be the dawn of June 6th, 1988 and there are no calls, texts, gifts or surprises lurking around the corner yet’’ She sobbed!
‘’It’s a hard truth but then it seems like I have nobody!’’ She continued. ‘’Well, the day has just begun. Let me see how many of my so-called pals would be reminded of their own accord’’ She encouraged herself.
Chioma was melancholic and phlegmatic. She was what a layman would call “Introvert’s Introvert’’. She also was choleric which helped her build strong walls around her soft personality. This made her vulnerable on the inside and hard on the outside. It both protected her and scared people away. She was not friendly and seemed rigid to the friendly ones. As a result of her strong personality and awful experiences, she had no friend. Sometimes, she felt that loneliness is bliss and at other times she realized that no man is an island. She was an ebony black skinned girl with red lips. A beauty paragon that hailed from Rivers State, the biggest state in Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Throughout her schooling, she was mean. Her presence terrified her classmates and amazed her teachers. She was more mature than her age. To her peer group, she was a dragon but to elders, she was a lamb.
Well, one good thing about her was that she knew herself. She was more of a chameleon than a dragon or lamb. Any good work or her love for you could trigger her kindness and any evil deed could stir up her callousness. Anyway, she was a self leader and so controlling her two sides was not a difficult task. This was why she was mostly kind to both those who do good and evil. Despite that, the unrepentant evil doers faced the full force of her wrath in due time.
She was tired of this lifestyle but then she couldn’t open the gates of her life again. No! Not after what Ngozi did to her on the 6th of June, 1985.
Ngozi and a few other friends had organized a birthday party for their beautiful friend, Chioma as she turned 18. A lot of people were invited but it was kept as a surprise package for Chioma. Everything was planned and everyone waited in anticipation.
The big day arrived and the party was on fleek. Chioma couldn’t have asked for anything better. Everyone ate and drank to their full. Things just went as planned! Chioma was so happy that she was moved to tears to see that such friends still existed in this world. The party ended exactly at 9:00 pm. Since Ngozi was going to sleep over at Chioma’s place, they went home together. They chattered all the way. Soon, they came to a lonely road and no one was in sight. All of a sudden, they heard gunshots. They tried to run but then a voice from behind ordered them not to move. They became so afraid and they were shivering in terror. Something was injected into them and they slept off.
“Where am I?’’ Chioma yelled. “ Will you shut up!’’ Ngozi said. Chioma was startled to see her best friend who had just surprised her with an awesome birthday party talk rudely to her. She managed to put herself together. She tried to figure out what she had done to Ngozi to deserve this and she got no answer. She tried to move and she felt pain in her private part. She tried her best to move but discovered that she was lying in a pool of her own blood. She wondered what could cause this but she couldn’t just figure it out.
Ngozi who had been watching her for a while walked in with a broad smile on her face. After pacing around the room for a few seconds, she extended her hands to Chioma as though she wanted to shake hands with her and said “Welcome to the club!’’
“What’s going on Ng baby? What club?’’ Chioma asked. “You thought you could keep the strength of womanhood at the expense of other girls like me? Well, not when I am still alive!’’ Ngozi proudly said. “Noooooooooooooooooo! Tell me this is not true!’’ Chioma groaned in pains. “You have been deflowered! At least, we could now be equal as friends or don’t you think so? Ngozi said. Chioma felt emotionally disorientated. She could not imagine a life without her pride. She could not bear the fact that her marriage would not be graced by her virginity! She fainted.
“Ngozi, what did i do to you’’ she muttered as she regained her consciousness. She opened her eyes and she found herself on that same lonely road. She managed to stagger back home in her blood-stained dress. She snuck in, gets her outfit changed and laid down to rest. “Mummmmmy! Sister is back!’’ Ebuka screamed in ecstasy as he moved into the room and saw his elder sister. Mum, Dad and all the rest of her siblings ran to the room to confirm what Ebuka had said. “Heeeeeey! My daughter’’ mum said as she sat beside me. Chioma opened her eyes to see joy in the eyes of each member of her family. They thought she was kidnapped and they waited eagerly for the call of her abductors so they could know the ransom to be paid for her release. She saw it written all over them and she wished it was true. She wished that that traitor took money from her parents rather than take away her pride. She cried as these ran through her mind and they thought it was tears of joy.
Her phone beeps and she suddenly realizes that she had been thinking all day. She grasped her phone to see who it was that remembered her. Well, to her utmost dismay, it was BSNL customer care. Irritated, she had the urge of smashing the phone that moment but then she could not for it was a Motorola Dynatac 8000k. Do you know how much that cost? “Umm...let me see the time.’’ She said to herself. She checked the wall clock by her bedside and saw that it was 12 noon already. She realized that no messages, cards or presents came in and so she decided to go downstairs and see what her family was up to. She opened her room door and saw her mum pacing around the parlor as though she was on a distress call. But when her mum saw her, she told the caller thus “she is out!”
“Oh no! Mum was not at this again! She called the Psychologist. She wondered if mum thought that she was depressed again! “I have moved on!” she said to herself. Then a still small voice asks her “are you sure of what you are saying?” She regained consciousness as her mother called her younger brother, Ebuka with her mezzo-soprano voice.
“Eeeebbbbuuuuukkkaaa!” Mrs. Gina called out more loudly. “Yes mum”, he replied as he ran down to the living room from the topmost floor of the house where he and the other siblings were planning a surprise dinner party by 6 pm to celebrate the birthday of their Beloved Sister, Chioma.
“Go and call your siblings so we could pray for Naomi. Also, tell them to get dressed so we could all go out for a fun-filled outing to make her happy”, Mrs. Gina ordered.
Ebuka runs back to the topmost floor and informs his siblings of mum’s plan. They all run down within fifteen minutes looking all dressed up as though they were getting Chioma married.