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Nonso: “You still haven’t said anything. I truly love you and would want us to be together. I fell in love with you the first time you came to see my sister. It was love at first sight for me. Just give me this opportunity please”.
Justina: “I am sorry, that won’t work “.
Nonso: “What won’t it work and why? “
Justina: “You and I loving each other in a serious relationship. I mean, you don’t even stay in Nigeria, you stay far away in the US so how will it work? “
Nonso: “Are you telling me that you have never heard of long distance relationship before? In this 21st century, why won’t it work? When there are different platforms for us to communicate with?”
Justina: “I am not ready to be deceived. You men are all the same, you deceive us into loving you and then you leave us hanging and heartbroken. I am sure that you will forget me as soon as you go back to the States. Besides, I have a boyfriend that I love. If only he is rich, I won’t be cheating on him. I would rather we do friends with benefits”.
Nonso was discouraged but he decided not to show it. “What do you mean by friends with benefits? “ He asked.
Justina: “That’s FWB. A sort of convenience relationship whereby I give you what you want and you give me what I want, no strings attached”.
Nonso: “Oh,I see. You mean… “
Justina: “Listen, my parents are very poor. They managed to see me through secondary school. I have younger ones and they are all looking up to me for sustenance. I am not qualified to seek for any good job. So, I have to use what I have to get what I want. I cannot be looking at my body like this while my people suffer”.
That was how she started sleeping with him anytime he wanted her and he in turn gave her money for upkeep. She used the money to buy food and other necessary things in the house.
Justina ran out of the community clinic in their village and preceded her mother home. She couldn’t believe that she was pregnant; she didn’t know that it was easy for people to get pregnant that easily. She was determined to abort the pregnancy because it had come at a time when she was enjoying her life having discovered the manipulative powers she wielded over men anytime she satisfied them on bed. When she got home, she ran into the room she shared with her younger ones to think of her next line of action. Her mother returned from the hospital all furious.
Mama Justina: “Where is that useless girl that calls herself my daughter? Come out here o, where are you hiding?”
Her husband who was behind the compound preparing yam seedlings for the next planting season rushed to where his wife was in the middle of the compound shouting.
Baba Justina: “What is it? Why are you shouting like that?”
Mama Justina: “Why won’t I shout, ehn my husband? Our daughter is bent on putting us to shame in this village”.
Baba Justina: “What do you mean? What has she done again?”
Mama Justina: “Justina is pregnant o. Our daughter is pregnant outside wedlock”.
Baba Justina: “What! Mo gbe, moku, modaran. What are you telling me this afternoon?”
Mama Justina: “I started noticing the signs in her some weeks ago. She has been vomiting, she sleeps a lot and I noticed her looking pale, when I confronted her, she denied sleeping with any man. So, I took her to the community health center for some malaria and typhoid tests and it was confirmed that she was pregnant.”
Baba Justina: “What! Who spoilt my daughter for me? Who is that animal that couldn’t take his eyes and hands off my innocent daughter? Where are you? Justina come out here before the gods of my fathers strike you down this minute”.
With head bowed low and tears ridden eyes, Justina walked out of the room and knelt before her father.
“See her like one good girl, that is how she deceived me with her gentle looks and I never knew that she was already sleeping with a man. You, Justina. At your age, I was already in my husband house and I married him a virgin and he is the only man that I know till today”. Her mother said.
Baba Justina: “Woman, will you keep quiet and allow me talk?” “Now, you, who is responsible for this pregnancy?”
Justina kept quiet and continued to sob.
Mama Justina: “Will you tell us who is responsible so that we will know what to do?
Have you suddenly gone deaf and dumb? Her father overcome with anger gave her a slap that sent her crashing on the floor.
Justina began to shed tears. Here she is, pregnant at a time when she thought she was beginning to enjoy life. The past few months of her life had been very eventful and she didn’t know that things could change this soon. If only she had known about this pregnancy before her mother found out, she would have done anything possible to terminate it.
“Will you open your mouth and talk before I descend on you this minute!” her father’s harsh words jerked her back to reality.
Justina: “Papa, I don’t know”. She couldn’t bring herself to tell them that the money she had been using to buy food stuff was gotten from her frolicking with different men.
Mama Justina: “What do you mean by you don’t know. Yay, this girl has killed me. So, you have been going about opening your dirty legs for men?”
Justina: “Mama, I…”
Baba Justina: “Shut up there! If you think I am going to have a bastard as a grandchild, then you are sick. How many men touched you?” He thundered.
Justina: “About four. One is Nonso, Chief Agu’s son who lives in the state. The other is…”
Mama Justina: “What! You mean you are pregnant for the son of the wealthy Chief? Ah, I am so lucky o, so I am going to have a rich son in law”, she began to dance. “Oya, get in and dress up, we are going to give them the good news”.
Justina: “Mama, I didn’t say he is responsible. We used pro…protection when he touched me”.
Mama Justina: “Shut up there. What do you know about the paternity of a child? Whether you like it or not, he is the father of your child and that is what you will tell everyone. Oh, you think I don’t know that you have been moving around with that local village carpenter? Is that the person you want to give this child to? So you want us to continue in this poverty? When you have the opportunity of getting married to a rich family? Before I open my eyes and close it, you have dressed up”.
Question: Who is responsible for Justina’s pregnancy? Will she tell her parents the reason why she became wayward? Will Nonso accept the baby?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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