Doctor: “And how is my patient doing this morning?”
Justina: “I am fine, doctor”.
Doctor: “You have been discharged. I will advise that you take your medications as instructed and make sure you are very careful when walking on high roads and when crossing the road. You know, you are a very lucky girl. Even though you lost so much blood before you got here, the foetus in your womb is intact. Take care of your unborn child”.
Justina: “Doctor, you mean, you mean that I am still…”
Doctor: “Yes, I mean that your baby is alive. You must be very happy now. Take care of yourself and your baby “. She walked out leaving Justina disappointed. When she woke up from coma after the surgery, she had been happy thinking that she had lost the pregnancy. In her heart, she made up her mind to abort the baby at all cost.
A week after Justina got back from the hospital, her parent summoned her to their sitting room.
Baba Justina: “Thank God that you are fully recovered now. It is now time for you to go to your husband’s house”.
Justina: “Which husband, Papa? I don’t understand what you are talking about “.
Baba Justina: “I am talking about the father of your unborn child, you have to go and meet that carpenter that got you pregnant. Take your pregnancy there, you can’t continue to live here anymore”.
Justina: “Papa, I am not going anywhere. This is my papa’s house and I will remain here. Instead you guys should go your own papa house. How can I marry an ordinary carpenter when my mates are in school? I want to go to the University o, I can’t marry now”.
Mama Justina: What did you just say now? Whose Papa House?
Justina: Yes na! Both of you can go to your own Papa house.
Baba Justina: “Hmm… yeyedey smell. Then you should have thought of that before getting pregnant. My decision is final, you are leaving to your husband’s house tomorrow. Your current state is a source of embarrassment to me.
That night, Justina gathered her few belongings and while her parents were still asleep early the next morning, she left for the park and took the first bus to Abuja. She had gotten the address of Vicky, her secondary school mate who had gone to live in Abuja from Tolu and she decided to put up with her until she could stand on her feet. Earlier in the day, she had tried to call Vicky to inform her of her visit but Vicky’s number had been switched off. She was determined to start a new life in the city where nobody knows anything about her.
Her parents woke up the next morning and when they couldn’t find her, they came upon a letter that she had written to them. Her father picked it up and read it to his wife.
“Mama and Papa, I know you will be wondering where I have gone to this early in the morning.
You don’t have to worry about me. I have decided to leave this village for good.
I am going to the city where I intend to start life afresh.
I will only return when I have made enough money to take care of you all.
As for this thing in my womb, you don’t have to worry about it.
Whether it likes it or not, I shall terminate it.
The same way it started growing in my womb without my knowledge is the same way I will flush it out without its knowledge.
Don’t bother looking for me because by the time you will be reading this, I will be far gone.
Please, pray for me. Bye. Your lovely daughter, Justina”.
As soon as her husband finished reading the letter, Mama Justina crumbled on the sofa and began to weep.
Mama Justina: “This girl has killed me; she has killed me before my time. Who does she know in the city that she is going there? How can she cope with the pregnancy? God, what have I done to deserve this? Baba Justina, you are responsible for my daughter going away. If you had not insisted on sending her to that carpenter’s house, my daughter wouldn’t have run away from the house”.
Baba Justina: “What is wrong with you, woman? What wrong did I do by asking her to go and join the man who got her pregnant? If she doesn’t love him enough for marriage, why did she get pregnant for him?”
Mama Justina: “I don’t care what explanation you give to it, just go and look for my daughter and bring her back here”.
Baba Justina: “Go and look for her from where? Do I know where she has gone to? I can see that you are the one who spoilt that girl. So because I reprimanded her for being promiscuous, you are blaming me, who knows if she has eloped with one of her boyfriends”.
Mama Justina got up and grabbed her husband on the shirt. “You must kill me today if you don’t want to go and bring my daughter for me. Just kill me and let me die”.
Baba Justina: “Woman, get your hands off me! Do not provoke me to hit you”.
The journey to Abuja was hectic as Justina felt feverish and kept throwing up all through the journey. Since she couldn’t afford the transportation fare for the luxurious buses, she had boarded a rickety bus over loaded with passengers and goods that swayed on the road like a leaf on a cold hammattan morning. She sat in between two enormous women who pressed her so much that she thought she was going to faint for lack of air. One of the women who had been eating different things ever since the journey started was releasing fart shamelessly and silently Justina cursed the baby in her womb for subjecting her to such a torturous journey.
Justina: “Madam, can you please adjust a little, it feels so tight in here”. She summoned courage and spoke to the woman on her left hand side who sat with her legs apart like one in the comfort of his sitting room.
Woman: “Where you want make I shift go again? You know see say chance don Finish? Abi you want make I enter the motor body?”
Justina: “Ma, you could just adjust your legs to make a little room for me. I don’t…”
Woman: “Ehnen, just hold it there. Wetin carry your eyes go my leg place? As you see me so, I no reach to born you? You dey here dey speak Oyibo. I no stop you o, if heat worry you for there, open your legs too. I dey like make breeze they blow reach that side”.
Justina: “For God’s sake the windows are locked. One can just choke in here “. Turning to the woman that has been eating and releasing fart, she said. “Please, open the window now, this place is stuffy, let us not come and die here.
Woman 2: “Egba mi o, why I go open window when catarrh dey worry me? Abeg o, na because I like to dey free to do anything wey I like, that is why I dey always siddon for back seat anytime wey I want travel. So that I no go disturb anybody and make anybody for no disturb me. Abeg, face your front, just carry your mouth commot from my matter because e no go funny you if I face you.
When they got to Jabi park, Justina checked her Nokia torch light phone for her friend’s address. After gulping two sachets of cold water, she decided to ask for directions to Kubwa where her friend lives.
“Oga, please I want to go to Kubwa, how can I find my way from here?” she asked a passerby.
Man: “Shuu, nawa for you o. You no dey hear as them dey shout Kubwa express across the road? Enter the car tell the driver where you dey go na”, he replied arrogantly and walked away. She thanked him and crossed the road. “Driver, na Kubwa you dey go?”
Driver: “Yes, enter aunty. Na Kubwa village car be this, we don dey move be that, na only one chance remain”.
Justina: “Okay. You will drop me in Phase III Junction, I don’t know there “.
Driver: “No wahala, your money na N200, hold change o, I no get change”.
They drive off 10 minutes later after the driver had filled his taxi with passengers. As soon as the driver started the car, Justina tired and exhausted fell asleep.
“Come down na, this na the last bus stop”, the driver woke her up. Justina opened her eyes and noticed that there were in another park and it was already very dark. She glanced at her phone, 8:45pm, it read.
Justina: “Is this the Phase III Junction?”
Driver: “Which phase 3 Junction? This na El Rufai park and na our last busstop be this. So, bring your money “.
Justina: “Haba, but this is unfair now. I told you I am going to Phase III and you promised to tell me when we get there”.
Driver: “Abeg abeg, which kind yeye talk be this? How I wan take remember where you dey go if you no remind me? Just pay me my money before I change am for you here. Look my face well, I no get patience o”.
Justina: Hmm… nawaooo. Ok oo! Abeg where my change?
Driver: Which Change? You be BUHARI?
Justina: I gave you N200 na. I’m to collect N50 change
Driver: No be only N50 change you go collect. Na APC change I go give you. Mtccheewww. E be like say Sleep still dey worry you. You never even pay me sef and you are here chanting “APC Change”
Justina: Haa! Sorry oo Driver. I thought I might have paid you
She paid him his money and took a bike to Vicky’s house after the bike man had sworn to her that he knows the address she showed him. After she paid him off, she tapped on the door and when she didn’t get any response, she tapped harder. A young girl in a black bum short and pink t-shirt opened the door and sized Justina who is holding a Ghana must go bag from head to toe. “Yes, how may I help you? Why are you knocking on my door as if I owe you?”
Justina became speechless as she stood face to face with this hostile stranger.
Question: Is Justina in the wrong address? What will she do? Where will she pass the night?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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