Written By Shalomdee
Every woman ’ s dream is to be loved and cared for by the man she calls husband and lover . But when that dream is shattered , her life becomes miserable , despondent and gloomy . That was the life of Jane Dung . She had built her hope on Pamshak, her High School lover , and had dreamt of a life of bliss with him , what she got instead was agony. Things had begun well initially when they had eloped to Lafia to be together against the advice of their families . Their relationship had been enviable and Jane had envisaged Pamshak was the man who would understand her . Nine months after , Junior was born . A trophy that would solidify their union, unfortunately that was the beginning of her predicament . He started becoming irritable, abusive and petulant . He smoked marijuana often and was constantly moody .
Pamshak’ s cruelty and insensitivity worsened as Junior grew older. He frequently whipped her when she offended him and sometimes strangled her for a brief moment just to torture her. After a year , Jane could not endure it any longer. In the daytime when he was away , she packed some things , whisked her son and left Lafia to go back to Jos .
The day Jane absconded from Pamshak’ s abode it was the 13 th of September 2011 . The air was humid and the wind was blowing gently ; sign of rain . The driver stopped the Sienna in the N . U . R. T . W park , off Secretariat Junction in Jos. Jane, tired and hungry , came out carrying Junior who was fast asleep. She entered a green and yellow coloured tricycle and paid her fare . The tricycle stopped at Terminus roundabout . She smiled as she skimmed through the centre of the metropolis . Nothing really much had changed . The Terminus tower was still in ruins and the traders with their local wares occupied the streets with their goods for sale . There were Hausa traders selling their gonjo , attractive easy wears and fruits . There were also Ibo traders who spread their second hand books or some who displayed motivational books in stands . In between them were the classy boutiques , posh supermarkets and attractive eateries .
The noise and rustle of the high way roused Junior . He was startled when he looked up and observed the change in location and weather, but he seemed delighted , like he had anticipated the move. He chuckled , a soft tone that teased her senses and made her smile involuntarily. “Now we are free from that tyrant called your father . ” She said looking at him .
Junior smiled in response though he did not understand what she meant.
“The only person that will accommodate us now is Aunt Gloria . Thank goodness she stays in Panyam Street. ”
“Payam” , Junior tried to repeat .
“Yes , yes . Panyam street , not far from here . All we need do now is take a motorcycle that will drop us at her house . I am so hungry now and you need a warm bath. ” Jane had gotten accustomed to talking to Junior regardless of if he understood her or not . It was one of the things she used as an outlet for her pain. It gave her comfort that Junior was always there to listen to her talk . Sometimes he would nod his head, attempt to repeat a word in her sentence , smile or better still give her a bear hug whenever he noticed she was shedding tears .
The motorcyclist stopped at number 23 Panyam Street in front of a black gate at around 4 p. m . She alighted and gave him =N = 50 after which he zoomed off . Here they were in front of Aunt Gloria ’ s house , yet she felt trepidation as she stood there , baby in her left hand and Ghana -must -go bag in her right . Her blue and white lace was soaked in Junior ’ s urine from their journey to Jos. She took a shallow sigh and ventured to open the black gate. Half nervous and half wondering how her aunt would react to her unscheduled arrival, she made her way among the anciently painted rooms and climbed the stairs that led to the house where her aunt , who was the landlady dwelled. Aunt Gloria came out of her bungalow after she heard the knock, for a moment she stood there mesmerized , as if she had seen her late brother ’ s ghost .
Standing in front of her was Jane, her late brother ’ s daughter who had eloped with a young man 2 years ago .
“Wai ne su wanan ?” She asked in Hausa.
“Auntie ni ne, Jane, de yaro na ” . Jane said looking down , little drops of tears had immediately lined up in her tear ducts .
“Almasihu!” Aunt Gloria exclaimed and enclosed Jane and her son in a big embrace.
For a long time now Jane ’s eyes were fixed on the wooden centre table while Aunt Gloria ranted her heart out , still shocked at the sudden emergence of Jane with a son . She was reprimanding her niece for the disgraceful act she carried out with that good for nothing man who could not even afford to buy a goat for her mother . And now she had seen for herself what the man was capable of doing . How did she think she was going to cope now with a child ? The question lingered in the air like an airborne disease waiting to spread .
Jane adjusted her gaze now to face the ceiling with its dark patches that formed what looked like circles or faces . She had expected this sort of reaction but had not gotten prepared for the answers . There was no time to get prepared , fear was the only thing that had propelled her in Lafia to pack up and leave, she dreaded Junior ’ s dad walking behind her to see her attempting to get away and imagined then what he would have done . He probably would have given her a blow that would send her falling face down on the gravel breaking her nose and injuring her mouth with the baby at her back crying helplessly. Then he would have removed the baby from her back , set him on the ground and used the shoe on his leg to kick her till she bled . It terrified her just to think about it .
“You heard how your mother cursed you that you would amount to nothing . When you have rested here for some time you would need to go to her and apologise so she can lift away that curse. It is very bad to be cursed by a mother, especially in that kind of circ-mstance . ”
“Yes Auntie . Please I am very sorry for how I misbehaved. I will never lose my senses over a man like that again . ”
“You had better not. I don ’ t even know what came over you then , you were such a good girl and very intelligent too. No one would have believed you would do a stupid thing like that . You would have been in the tertiary institution by now . At least we would have gotten you a place in Nursing School , you … the only child of your mother . She placed so much hope on you . Anyway , thank God you came to your senses and left before he saddled you with more children and maybe even an S . T . D . ” She paused and continued , “Why did you not inform me you were coming ?”
“Ah, Auntie , that man collected my phone when we had an argument one time . I told him I wanted to call my mother to hear how she was and he just seized the phone and removed my SIM . ”
“Imagine !” Aunt Gloria folded her hands, then released them again . “That is what you get when you go off to live with an animal with no home training . He will abuse your life till there is nothing left to abuse . I just hope God heals you of all the trauma you have passed through . You need to go through a long recovery and rediscovery , you need to know how to tell a fake man from a real man . It is well eh , my daughter . God will help you . Let me turn the tuwo and serve you and your son . ”
They talked for long after Junior had his bath and had slept. It was mostly Aunt Gloria doing the talking with Jane answering questions or making some cynic remarks about Pamshak, the man who she was once crazy about . Finally , her aunt left her to sleep saying they would continue another day . Jane closed the windows, two years out of Jos had not been able to wipe off the memory of Jos cold from her mind . She still remembered vividly how cold it could get especially at night and in the mornings. The last time she had slept in this particular room, her cousins Esther and Rachel were with her . According to Aunt Gloria , Esther was now in her second year in Plateau State University , Bokkos while Rachel was doing Remedials in Unijos . She envied her cousins secretly. She knew if she had not run off with Pamshak 2 years ago , she also would have been advanced in her education.
To be continued