Written By “ Shalomdee ”
She changed into her yellow maternity night gown that allowed her to breast feed at night. She recalled how many times Pamshak had called it annoying and unattractive because it was big and opaque. He was fond of criticising her dress sense and compared her to other girls in the vicinity they lived.
“How old are you now? Just 19 , and already you dress like a mother of 6 . Shut up ! When I am correcting you that ’ s the time you bring up your excuses . Buy tight fitting gowns and skirts that will reveal your shape. That is how to keep your man . ” He would say to her when she changed into her night gown . Then he would let out a hiss so long that if it could be measured it would be the distance of Jos to Kaduna . “ Wear fitting dresses , ina. Put on earrings , I have to remind you first . Make your hair to look attractive , even that is too difficult for you and there are girls that make hair around here . Look I am tired of all this , your dressing is too Deeper Life for my liking. ”
“And what ’s wrong in looking Deeper Life ? Look how he is talking as if he gives me money to make myself presentable . Soup wey sweet , na money kill am . ”
He would then stare at her so intensely without saying anything that would send shivers to her brain . She would climb the bed silently and say her prayers without bothering to ask him to join, he did not believe in prayers or the like . Then she would lie down facing her child anticipating when he would wake up to suck , Junior would not wake up to suck so soon but she would rather face her little child than the grown up woman beater behind her. She would soon fall asleep only to be jerked awake late in the night by Pamshak.
A wry smile lighted up her face as she sank into the warm blanket as soft as fur and thick as the earth. There would be no one to jerk her awake anymore, no one to cause her insides to be sore and no one to slap her if her shrieks were starting to sound louder . She was free from tyranny. For many months now she had imagined a world free from Pamshak . It had not seemed possible then because he had threatened that if she ever left him he would find her , kill her and take away his son . But she was brave enough to plot an escape and it had been successful. Pamshak would be too scared to come looking for her among her people, besides he did not know Aunt Gloria’ s house .
He would probably just miss them a little and get over it. In a year to come she knew he would have already settled with another girl who he would assault and mug . She took a deep breath and exhaled as her mind took a reverse turn to the time they both met .
They were both students of Noble Minds Academy in Rukuba road, the school fees was high but her mother always managed to pull the money together to pay as she believed the school really helped towards Jane’ s academic aptitude . Jane worked hard at school and was top of the science class in SS 1 A. In second term they had a new student , he was tall , lanky , fair and was good in cracking jokes . What he lacked in good looks , he made up in smooth talk and great dress sense. Jane did not take much notice of him even though many of her female class mates hung around him during recess . However she was surprised one day when the new boy walked up to her during closing and said “Excuse me Ma ’ am , I would like to be your escort for today. ”
She turned to look at him intending to rebuff his offer but when he extended his hand to collect her Winnie the Pooh bag , she felt all of a sudden dazzled by his presence, his camaraderie and his cool flamboyance . He was not so handsome in appearance but he made a good show to impress with his neatly ironed uniform and his sweet smelling perfume that sent her brain to Neptune . His hair was shaved to compliment his lanky look and Jane noticed he applied white powder and lip gloss to his face. “I really do not need anyone to be my escort ”. She managed to say .
He insisted , “I have noticed since I came to this school that you don ’ t leave in the company of
anyone . ”
“So I have decided to be your personal chaperon. ”
“Don ’ t you have important things to do , I live a little bit far from the school. ”
“If you have not observed, we live close to ourselves in Sparkling Street. ”
“Oh , ” Jane said a little flushed and began walking. Pamshak followed suite with her bag in his left hand and her heart in his right .
Days on they were what students referred to as five and six. They came to school together, hung together during recess and when school closed they accompanied each other home . Months went by and Pamshak swore his undying love to Jane. His words enthralled her , she had never met a poet as pleasant and charming with words as he was and soon she agreed to be his girlfriend . He wrote love poems for her occasionally and his texts were always poetic . Jane struggled not to lose her grades but could not stop the gradual descent of her scores right up from Maths to Biology . She could not help it, her head was in the clouds . Each time she opened a book to read she imagined Pamshak’ s sweet word ’ s penned down in beautiful calligraphy . She was always fantasizing her life with him and how they would raise their family . Her mother noticed her daughter ’ s nonchalance towards studies and the fondness she displayed for Pamshak who she sensed was a bad influence to her daughter. She took to caning Jane and nagging at her.
Jane too was worried about her studies but she could not concentrate on her books especially as Pamshak had introduced smooching to their relationship . He had told her it was harmless but it always made her feel so high and even when she left him she missed it and wanted it badly . By the time she was in SS 3 , she had dropped from third in her class to fourteenth . During the break that preceded her WAEC and NECO exams , Pamshak travelled to the village to get money from his uncles . This absence of her boyfriend had given her the chance to study hard, he did not however resume in time after the holiday . Jane buried her head in her books so much that her mother was scared she was over reading. When Pamshak resumed , the time table for WAEC had already been pasted and he had to also read so there was no time for smooching for any of them .
Jane surprised everyone in her WAEC result with 7 A’ s and 2C ’ s in English and Maths . In her NECO result she made 2 A’ s , 5 B ’ s and 2 C ’ s. Her mother was so happy she carried her on her back and danced round the compound so that soon everyone knew she had made a good result. Her Principal, Mrs Simi Pam , congratulated her in the presence of other students and promised her she could come and teach in the school any time she wanted . Many of her mates also came around her to felicitate with her and some that were at logger heads with her be foretimes befriended her upon hearing the news . They all thought she stood a better chance of success in life . They had their graduation party on the 30th July 2009 in Amo Suites Hotel. During the general dance every boy was trying to dance with her or embrace her , she was so embarrassed she left the stage and came to sit with her best friend , Planang.
“Now that you have graduated from Secondary school, Jane, you need to get rid of this your grasshopper of a boyfriend , ” Planang said to her over their Amstel Malta drinks .
“Are you nuts ? I love Pamshak” . She said with a frown .
“What kind of old love is that ?” Old was a word that meant boring or stupid in their school. “ That guy is just a parasite , you know in a symbiotic relationship , the parasites are the only ones who benefit. That guy has added nothing to you since you have been dating him , can you name any good thing he has done for you ever since apart from rousing your hormones ?” Planang asked looking Jane fixedly in the eyes .
Jane scratched her palms .
“Nothing !” Planang said , “ You code my paro don ’ t you ? See you be fine babe wey get sharp brain , no be say you dey use chokes like the rest of us dey use. If you jack you dey grab wella . This guy no be your level
again babe. See I dey tell you forget this old guy concentrate for your future, you go see better guy wey clean , hans come get money to spend on you wey go follow you . No be this stingy, dull , local dude wey no get future plans . ”
“But I love him . ” Jane replied.
“See I go give you beta blow . E be like say you no grab wetin I don tell you . That guy is a nonentity and he plans to lead you to the land of mediocrity. A fine intelligent girl such as yourself deserves more than that loafer has to offer . Cut off from him and focus on building your future. Go to Higher Institution , get good grades , get a good career then you will see guys better than Pamshak begging for your hand in marriage , what is this foolish relationship?”
She had not ended when they heard a grunt behind them , they turned and saw Pamshak, his eyes were red and looked teary and his face was cold , he was frowning and his veins stood out from their hiding. He was holding a bottle of Gordon Spark , he let go of the bottle and it fell on the ground breaking into pieces . Every body turned to get a glimpse of what was happening . Conscious of the attention he had generated , he slowly walked out of the hall where the party was going on . The music resumed , the D. J decided P ’ Square ’ s Wahala Dey would fit the occasion . The students soon forgot about the drama and started dancing . Jane looked at Planang, she was sipping her malt casually , unperturbed. This annoyed Jane so much that she left her , came out of the hall and ran after Pamshak. He was walking briskly to Sparkling Junction , his jacket was spread on his back and his hands were in his pocket .
“Pamshak, ” she called and walked faster , “Pam , Pam please…” She caught up with him and his speed decreased . She looked at him or rather he looked at her and she was startled to see him crying. She hugged him abruptly pressing her chest hard on his own.
“Why offer me your sympathy? Go and pursue your future so you can get all the handsome rich boys you want . ” He said in -between sobs .
“You are my handsome rich boy. It is you I want , forget Planang, forget what she said . ”
“You were sitting there doing nothing when she called me dull , local and below your level , weren ’ t you ? She said I don ’ t have future plans for my life , isn’ t it? See eh , just leave me alone , I can ’t take this . Leave me now, I have a temper , leave I said ” .
“I won’ t leave you . You know nothing bad anyone says of you will water down my love for you . You are my muse , my everything , Pam I can ’ t do without you , please don ’ t leave me I beg you . ” She began to cry , it was his turn to hug her and the hug lasted for over a minute .
“Do you really love me , Baby J ?” He called her Baby J .
“Yes Pam , I do . ”
“Would you prove it to me ?”
She nodded .
He took her hand and led her to his house . It was quiet when they got there because it was late in the night. He opened the door to his room, she was apprehensive but she tried her best to look poised . The door gave way and both of them entered . They sat on his bed holding each other for some minutes . Jane noticed his bed , reading table and bags were the only properties in the room . She wondered how poor his family were , before she knew it he had started unbuttoning her blouse.
To be continued