The driver had stopped abruptly to avoid hitting a little girl. From the stories gathered, The mother of the girl had left her in the car and went across the road to buy beverages. Her phone in the car rang and the girl happily rushed to go give it to her mother because her dad was on the line. She came out in such a way that the driver didn’t see her, but we thank God that he hadn’t hit her either. You needed to see the way her mum immediately hugged her with so much fear, passion and love.
Everyone recovered from the shock and we continued our journey with sighs and words of pity or prayer for the family. In as much as the occupants of the bus had different opinions and cares about what happened, I chose to think in the weirdest way possible. I wished at that moment that I was that little girl. I saw the show of love and concern from the mother’s eyes, plus the fact that it was her father’s call that made her run out that way, not caring that she might die. I wanted to be in that position where I had no care in the world because things fell in place for me, or because I had a family I wanted to die, knowing that I’m loved and adored, that I am part of something. It was crazy, but these thoughts lit a little smile from the side of my lips like a candle. I mesmerized and held on to that possibility.
Eventually, through other hurdles on the road, the bus came to a stop. I looked around and realised some places were still familiar to me. The roads, the trees, the signboards. It was like the people didn’t want nothing to change. Apart from the new stores and markets close by, there wasn’t really much difference from what I remembered.
I was kidnapped by my mother from school when I was nine years old. Before then, she had come to my grandmother’s place where I was playing with my cousin. My dad’s mum was my best family ever! She saved me most times from my uncles and aunts who to kill me seemed to be their life goal. So each time they left for work, I’d go down and stay with her. She was mostly the reason I was bold enough to return after the expulsion. The day my mother came, I didn’t know who she was. I had always thought that my Father’s sister was my mother because they made it look so, though the treatments said otherwise. So imagine the shock on my face when I was interrupted by this tall, fair, beautiful lady who after accepting my greeting told me point blank that she was my mother. I was so confused. The story around this episode that day might be longer than this, so I’ll just skip it for now. Long story short, she wanted me to follow her and I refused. Don’t get me wrong, I thought of escaping my present predicament, but I was just so used to it that it kinda felt safe. How depressing is that? She gave me some money and left. Money my uncle burnt.
Next day in school, she appeared again and convinced my teacher that she is my mother. The teacher who I trusted asked me to follow her, that she’ll give me something that I’ll bring back for her. I innocently went with her, hoping to get back before school dismisses. But that was the last time in six years that I saw my school or my grandmother again. I remember crying terribly, asking her to take me back when I realized we were leaving town entirely. But she had her plans, so my tears meant nothing to her.
So coming back home gave me some nostalgia. I wondered how my grandmother fared or my cousin. I wondered if my uncle had grown huger and if he had started beating his sons they way he beat me. They were still very little when I disappeared. As I rode the tiny tires of my box through the tarred road down to the house, my heart skipped a million times faster. “What will they do to me?” “Will they even recognize me?” “Am I still welcome?” I got to the gate, exhaled and entered the compound. I headed straight to my grandmother’s place. She had her own bungalow in the same compound. I greeted her and she responded coldly. I told her who I was and it took her time to understand me. It’s been six years plus some months, so I don’t blame her. Then I heard my name from the top floor of my Father’s building. It was my uncle’s wife. She ran down in such frenzy that you’ll think we were best of friends when I lived there. She hugged me with almost the same passion as that lady did with her daughter. I knew it might be a facade, but I relished the moment and cried. My grandmother finally remembered and hugged me too, crying and praising God. She loved me dearly, and I knew it. My dad was her favorite child and being his only child made me her favorite grandchild too.
After the welcome, I went up to wait for my uncle. I still didn’t know what to expect, but my fingers were crossed. It seemed they missed me after all. Later that evening, my uncle came back. He expressed more shock and surprise, than gratitude for my presence. He sat me down and started throwing all these questions at me. About where I’ve been, why I left. Damn! It was unbelievable to hear those as his first words to me after about six and half years. What made him think I left is what I couldn’t fathom. I have never left home before despite everything. They are the ones moving me from one place to another. After I told him what happened, the question got switched to that of my mother. I tried to ask him why they didn’t look for me, he said they knew it was her that took me. Really?! Well, I answered all his questions and told him exactly what brought me home. He was angry that I didn’t come back earlier till this happened. I wondered when I would have come back and how since I was still really young.
I already told you that this part of my family values education, so my uncle was willing to put me in school. I was going to be a senior after all. I jumped and hugged him. He gave me terms and conditions and I didn’t mind any of them. I just wanted to go to school. *Those terms later affected me in life*
Coincidentally, I met one of the Rev sisters from the school I was expelled. She was walking my street to church. The world can really be so small! I called her attention and we exchanged pleasantries. She apologized for what I went through. It has been some weeks since I came home and according to her, the girls that got expelled alongside were called back. They got in touch with my mother who came to the school and was surprised I didn’t come back to her. But she didn’t look for me either. I invited the sister to meet my uncle and they both talked. She told him about the neglect I experienced and urged him not to do the same. He convinced her that he was the best and would do everything to make my life better. Only if she knew that I had been here before, I grew up here and there was no view of such better life. But I had hoped and believed it might be different this time and it was, just not in a way that favoured me.
Anyway, I was finally registered to a private high school after much argument and quarrels by the family on whether to go to a public school or not. I’m still grateful for that Rev sister, it was her input that made the difference. I finally got to my highschool after years of being so out of reach. I went ahead to be the best student, both academically and socially. It seemed I didn’t have be secluded anymore because my opinion mattered. I was made class head and put in charge of activities. This should be the beginning of a little stability in my life until one fateful Easter Sunday. But until then, I was finally set on the path to become anything I wanted. Anything at all.
I am Queendalyn