My heart was beating fast as I headed straight for the hospital. I met Dr Eki in her office. I handed over the school permit and informed her that I was going to Warri to see my Uncle. I had decided to accept his offer. She was surprised;
Dr Eki: “what happened? Why the sudden change of heart?” she asked, staring at me curiously.
Princess: “what choice do I have? I have nothing. I can’t go back to Kano with that pervert I thought to be my uncle… I can’t leave with Uncle Maximus and watch Mama fade away. I need to find my own way. Maybe my mother’s people will give me an opportunity.” I replied angrily. She nodded understandingly.
Dr Eki: “I thought you would have loved to spend more time with Teddy. He likes you, and my job doesn’t give me enough time to be with him.” she said.
Princess: “I am not a good person to be around right now. In case, the headmistress of his school calls, tell her I meant what I said.” I said standing up and heading to the door.
Dr Eki: “wait…” she said. She opened her purse and brought out a brand new phone and gave it to me. “It is not a gift in case you are thinking of refusing it. I just want Teddy to be able to talk to you.” she said.
It was good to meet someone who was what they said they are for the first time in my life. I thanked her
Princess: “please look after her for me. She is all I have. I promise to pay you when I have money.” I replied, looking for hope in her eyes.
Dr Eki: “don’t worry I will do the best I can to help.” She replied. Her phone started ringing. She looked at me; “what did you tell the headmistress?” she asked.
I opened the door and ran out.
I arrived in Warri in no time and headed immediately to my father’s shop, now my Uncle Maximus’ shop. When I entered, I saw Aunty Ebube seated behind the counter, watching television. She smiled on seeing me but I had no smile for her.
Princess: “where is your husband?” I asked, without even greeting her. She frowned at the tone of my voice.
Aunty Ebube: “hello Princess, is that how you talk to your elders? What has come over you? What happened to the respect your parents brought you up with?” she asked, surprised.
Princess: “whatever respect I had for you died when you betrayed me. I came to you as someone I could trust but you betrayed me. Well I am not surprised; if my own uncle can try to molest me then what is betrayal. Abeg where is your husband?” I asked.
Her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. I didn’t care what she thought of me. People tend to think that youths are idiots. We are young not stupid. I turned as my uncle entered the shop;
Uncle Maximus: “ha… Princess what brings you to Warri?” he asked on seeing me.
Princess: “I will accept your offer on two conditions.” I said.
Uncle Maximus: “what are the conditions?”He asked.
Princess: “on the condition that my mother is catered for and protected until she gets better or until I find my own feet and come to take care of her. Also I don’t want your brother Jonathan or your wife, anywhere near her.” I replied.
Aunty Ebube raised her head sharply at my words but I didn’t care. I used to feel pity for her but I have come to realise that she is as manipulative and deceptive as my uncle.
Uncle Maximus: “done.” He chuckled. He walked behind the counter and brought a file then he motioned to me; “let’s get to the lawyer and make the necessary amendments then sign.” He said.
Princess: “I am not a legal; what can I sign? Dr Eki will sign for me as my ward.” I replied. Uncle Maximus shrugged.
We both left the shop and went to the lawyer’s office. An hour, forty-five minutes later, Dr Eki drove into the office premises. She entered the office frowning;
Dr Eki: “young lady don’t go about threatening to break people’s legs on my behalf. I have had to listen to that woman say all sort of rubbish because of your threat.” She said angrily.
Princess: “did he eat his lunch?” I asked softly.
Dr Eki: “yes. You are his hero.” She replied, anger fleeing her face. She shrugged; “where am I signing?” she asked.
Uncle Maximus looked from me to her but we were not saying anything to him. So I got my father’s mistress to sign away my inheritance to protect my mother from being tossed to the gutter while I set out on my own journey to find myself. Was I too young to go on such a journey alone? Maybe. Did I have a choice? No I didn’t.
After getting the address of my grandfather’s house in Lagos, I left with Dr Eki. She encouraged me to go home with her, promising to take me to the park first thing the next day. Teddy was happy to see me and we played a bit before his grandmother came to take him to bed.
The next morning, Dr Eki drove me to the park. After buying my ticket, I called Oke. We had not spoken since I left Kano but now that I had a phone I could reach him with the number he gave to me. I told him of my intentions to go to Lagos and asked him to pray for me as I have lost the zeal to pray for myself. He promised to do that and asked me to take care of myself.
Dr Eki stood by her car when I turned away from the ticket office. I went to join her at the car and watched as people came to buy tickets.
Dr Eki: “what are your plans?” she asked.
Princess: “I am going to tell him that I am his granddaughter and tell him that his daughter is sick and needs his help.” I replied. I had thought about it a lot.
Dr Eki: “what if he doesn’t want to see you? What if he is dead and your mother’s siblings are not interested?” she asked.
Princess: “Mama told me to look for one of her sisters; she will be able to help, I guess.” I replied.
Dr Eki: “you have to be careful. Most men do not take women serious especially young girls like you. You have to be smart and you have to be prepared. Your father never said nice things about your mother’s family.” She said.
Princess: “he told you about Mama’s family? What did he say about them?” I asked.
Dr Eki: “he said once that your mother did not marry him because she loved him. she married him to escape.” She replied, staring at the road as cars passed.
Princess: “to escape what?” I asked, my heart beating fast.
Dr Eki: “he said your mother claims that someone in the family, whom she refused to name, molested her from when she was twelve. He said she had done two abortions for the person by the time she was twenty. She married your father to escape that torment.” She said.
My head swelled like a balloon, blood filled my eyes. “No wonder she never spoke about her family or contacted them? Jesus! What do I do?” I thought to myself, my heart was beating fast; it felt like it would fall out of my chest.
Dr Eki: “do not let this stop you from your path. Maybe it is God’s will that you reveal secrets and break the chains that has broken your family.” She added.
Princess: “are my uncles and aunties aware of this?” I asked. She shook her head. I breathed freely.
Question: Do you think Princess is strong enough to fight her mother’s battles? Or maybe she should stay back in Benin and try to face her own battles?