The next day I woke up feeling alright.
I searched and found the money mother had saved.
It wasn’t much but will be able to substain me for the next few weeks or so.
I gathered the remaining fufu in the tray and headed to the market.
I was determined to make a change in my life no matter the condition.
It hurt to the bone that my only companion was gone forever but life goes on.
Just like she had told me,I will never gave up nor allow circ-mstances to pull me down and shatter my hopes.
I believed that the best is yet to come and I must make sure I live my dream life in reality.
As I walked to the market,I sang to myself.
More tears poured but I didn’t bother to wipe them.
It hurted,but I believed with time I will be perfectly fine.
I was lost in thought that I didn’t hear the horn of a car approaching me,i ran into it and was knocked down,surpisely, nothing happened to me.
A lady got down from the car and walked towarded me.
I took the time to look at her while I was still on the ground.
I could tell that she is a lady of class from her appearance.
Her dress and shoes were that of the rich.
Her face appeared so smooth and milky.
Her body glitters like gold and she shone brightly like the sun.
She didn’t look like someone that stays in the village.
As she approached me,the scent of her perfume filled my nostril and I inhaled it deeply.
“What is wrong with you?” she asked me in an angered tone.
“What were you thinking about that you didn’t hear me honked?”
“I am sorry ma” I said with tears in my eyes and a shaken voice.
“Gosh!! Do you want to put me in trouble,why will your parents even allowed you to hawk, don’t they know that they are endangering your life?”
“I am sorry ma” i said again.
She calmed down and helped me to stand up
“I hope you are not hurt” she asked in a caring tone.
I looked at myself,I wasn’t hurt but my entire goods were damaged.
Some had rolled into the gutter and others were covered with red sand.
I started crying.
What a bad day for me.
She looked at the goods,shocked her head and headed to her car, opened the door, brought her bag out, removed some money and walked back to me.
“Here,have it” she said stretching the money to me.
I looked at the money.
I could tell it was much, even more than the amount of fufu I had in the tray.
I was about collecting it when I remembered mother had warned me never to allow someone pay for anything damaged especially if it wasn’t intentional.
“I am sorry,I can’t accept it ma”I said to her.
She looked at me in shock and asked
“Why won’t you,look, your goods are destroyed, won’t will you tell your parents and you know that they will be so mad at you?”
“It wasn’t your fault ma” I replied her” I wasn’t paying attention while walking, please don’t worry.i will tell my mother the truth”
With that I picked up my tray, dusted myself with the back of my hands and walked away leaving her with her money.
I cried as I walked along.
Those goods would have carried me through for the next few days but now they were destroyed.
How will I manage for now?
Why is life so unfair towards me?
The lady stood in shock starring at the little girl as she walked away.
That was so rude of her to walk out on her even when she wasn’t done talking to her but somehow she wasn’t feeling annoyed.
What she felt was pity due to what she saw in her eyes.
She had heard and came across a lot of young teenagers that were hawking instead of going to school both in villages and cities.
Throughout her work with the government,she had been able to interrogate them and their parents as well whenever she and her colleagues went out to examine the welfares of children and the one major issue has to do with finances.
Parents complained of not having enough to carter for the needs of their offsprings,as a result, hawking goods was the only alternative left to survive.
That is her job and that was the reason she had come to the village.
The government send she and other workers to come examine and interview villagers and undertake some projects that will help improve their standard of living.
They were done and will be leaving tomorrow so she decided to drive around the village to fill her eyes when that little girl ran into her car and was knocked down.
Thank God nothing happened to her because it would have been a different story by now.
She must admit,she was so angry when she got out of the car but as she approached the girl,her heart got soften by what she saw.
She had saw tears and pains in her eyes when she helped to lift her up.
When the girl spoke to her,she heard and felt sorrows in her voice.
She couldn’t let go of her
Something was definitely wrong.
Could it be because her goods got damaged or does she stay with step parents?
Alot of stories had been told about children who were maltreated by step parents and relatives.
Could it be what that little girl was going through?
And she is so smart for her little age which she guessed could be around twelve to fifteen.
What a brilliant girl!
She had refused to collect money and even blamed herself for the damages.
Something most children and adults would never do.
Her mind was troubled.
There is something she needs to find out about that little girl and the only way is to follow her.
She got into her car, ignited the engine and zoomed off, forgetting about her plans for that day.
That little girl was all that matters.
I got home and threw the tray away as I sat on the rock outside my house and began to shed tears.
When will all these troubles end?
Have I not bore enough already?
Doesn’t God knows that I am too young for all these challenges?
All my goods are destroyed.
Where will I get the money to manage for the next few days?
I cried out loudly.
What kind of life is this for a orphan like me?
I wished mother was here to console me.
I stopped crying when I heard the sound of a car stopped in front of me.
I looked up wondering who could it be.
The door opened,a woman got out and walked and approached me.
I recognized the face and stood up in shock.
Was this not the same lady that knocked me down with her car?
Who showed her this place and what is she doing here?
I stood starring at her as she walked closer to me.
“Hey” she spoke looking at me” I am so sorry for knocking you down”
“Is ok ma” I replied her “it wasn’t your fault but mine,I would have put you into trouble”
“I know but I am also wrong” she told me
“No you are not.As you can see nothing happened to me.
I am perfectly fine and for the goods,I have no problem with that but please what are you doing here and who showed you this place?” I asked her
“Oh!!I followed you home.i am a mother with feelings,I couldn’t leave you like that despite you refusing to accept money from me. I need to check if you are ok” she said.
At the mentioned of “Mother” I began to cry.
She looked at me wondering why I was crying.
“What is wrong dear?” she asked me
“Nothing ma, please I do appreciate your kindness” I told her
“Is ok dear” she said “but please where are your parents?” She asked me “I need to explain to them so that they won’t be upset with you and maybe paid for the damages.”
I cried louder again.
Why was this woman reopening my wound that is still in the process of healing?
“Why are you crying dear?” She asked
“Nothing” I replied her “please ma,you need to go,you have already shown enough care already,I appreciate”
“But I want to see your parents”
“I said Go” I shouted in anger
She froze at the spot looking at me.
I looked at her and felt remorseful.
I regretted shouting at her.
“Please ma,I am sorry for shouting” I said calmly “you just need to go,my parents won’t like to see you here”
“But why?”she asked
“We don’t entertain stranger” I replied
She sighed and shook her head.
“Alright then,if you say so” she answered and turn to leave.
I looked at her as she got to her car,turned to look at me for the last time before entering into her car and driving off.
I fell to the floor and wept uncontrollably.
Was mother not seeing what I was going through?
Was God not seeing it too?
Why are they watching and doing nothing?
Mother had encouraged me to bear it with faith,but how long do I bear for?
When is light going to shine on my dark life?
If God knew he wasn’t going to take care of me,why did he bring me to earth?
“Mother, please come and help me” I lamented in sorrows.
My stomach gro-ned in pains.
Since yesterday I haven’t tasted any food.
“Mother where are you?” I cried again.
She stopped and parked at a corner off the road.
Her mind couldn’t believed what just happened back there moment ago.
That little brat shouting at her just because she requested to see her parents and apologize.
Imagine the effrontery!
Is that how these villagers behaved?
No manners not respect for elderly ones.
That little girl is not even closer to the last of her children and non of her children had ever shouted at her before.
What a rude girl!
But why did she refused to allow her see her parents?
Could she be right about her staying with step parents or relatives?
But that should be the more reason why she should have allowed her to see them so they won’t think she is lying about what happened to her.
Back then,she cried after what she said.
Though she didn’t see anything wrong but she couldn’t understand why she was crying just as she had cried earlier on when she was knocked down.
She believed something was definitely wrong
And the only way to find out is to make enquires.
She doesn’t understand why she was doing all this but something about that little girl triggered her inner being.
After hours of sleepless night combined with tears,I came out the next morning only to behold the same woman standing outside, leaning on her car.
What exactly does she wants from me?
I coughed to make my presence known which made her turned to look at me and smiled.
“Good morning ma” I greeted her
“Morning Jessy” she smiled
I was astonished and I looked at her with wide opened eyes.
Nobody has ever called me “Jessy” not even the villagers except my mother whose soul will continue to rest in peace.
“Are you surprised?” She asked me still smiling
“Please ma,how did you know my name and what do you want from me again?” I asked her
“Jessy” she called “I made some research and was told alot of you and I must say is so unfortunate for a teenage like you to be going through a lot of challenges at such tender age”
I was still looking at her.
She is yet to answer my question but I kept quiet and listened as she spoke on.
“I must admit that I was very mad when you shouted at me yesterday” she continued “because none of my children will ever do that,but after I got to know what happened to you,I couldn’t help but cried too.I know nobody will understand what you are going through except yourself.And at such a young age,you ought to be in school as a young smart girl and also have a parental comfort but none of these are available,I am so sorry for the death of your father and recent lost of your mother dear”
I felt the wound of my heart reopened and I began to cry again, letting the tears flowed like a river.
She drew near me and hugged me tightly as she said some comforting words to help calm me down.
This was a woman I didn’t know from Adam.
A woman that I had almost put in trouble at the market yesterday.
A woman who offered to pay for my goods but I refused her money.
A woman that I shouted at and pursued her to go when she came to check on me yesterday.
A woman with a motherly heart and love.
A woman with a caring spirit and comforting soul.
Despite yesterday’s event,she still came here this early morning to show concern again.
I cried as I hugged her too holding her tightly to myself as if I want to enter through her, letting my unstoppable tears wet her clothes.
The sweet scented of her strawberry perfume filled my nostril.
As I held unto her,I began to feel the presence of my mother.
This was exactly the way mother hold me whenever I am crying and needs to be comforted.
After what seemed like hours,I gently released her from my embrace.
I saw her used a tissue paper to wipe her eyes which means she must have been crying too.
I don’t know her but I felt comfortable with her instantly and I also fell in love with her.
She smiled at me revealing her 32 set of sparking white and lovely teeth.
“I am sorry ma” I broke the silence.
“Is ok my dear,is ok” she responded and held my hands looking straightly into my eyes that I felt shy for a moment.
“Jessy, I may not know nor understand your entire story,
I may not totally understand how you feel sweetheart or what you are going through but when I knocked you down yesterday and helped you to stand up,I saw and felt something in your eyes and even right now that I am looking deeply into your eyes,i still see and feel the same thing.”
I looked at her wondering what she is talking about.
Could she be a soothsayer or what?
“Please what do you see ma” I asked out of curiosity.
“what I see,is a bright child with a bright future Jessy” she replied
I smiled a little as she continued.
“What I see is a fighter.
A girl that won’t allow circ-mstances of life to pull her down.
A girl who cries in the night and smiles in the day as if everything is perfectly fine.
A girl with an ambition to become someone better and live a fulfill life.
A girl who is really to keep her head high above the ocean of life,no matter what.
A smart,hardworking, beautiful and intelligent princess.
A bundle of divine blessings to her generations.
A girl with a difference.
A girl full of potentials and valid dreams.
A girl who will soar high above eagle’s limit and the sky cannot stop.”
then she paused and took a deep breath.
I sob quietly as i listened to her say all those words.
For the first time since Mother’s death, I felt relief and it was as if a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders.
My soul was lifted with joy and I smiled.
A genuine smile that was deep from my heart.
A smile that hasn’t been on my face for a very long time.
She looked at me and smiled too.
“Jessy” she called
“Yes ma” I replied quietly
“I don’t know how you will feel or what you will say but I am not going to leave you alone in this village”
“What do you mean ma,I don’t understand”
“You are coming with me to the city”
“Yes Jessy,is time to start a new life”
Just like a flash,I found myself sitting near aunty Abigail as we were heading for the city.
I really didn’t favoured the idea since I don’t know her but it was like she wasn’t willing to take a “no” as an answer.
Well, after much persuasion,I accepted and followed her.
I didn’t have anything to pack so I just followed her like that taking only the few notes of money left.
A part of me didn’t seem to like the idea but I brushed it aside and I gave her my trust wh0leheartedly.
She doesn’t look like a bad person, though is not written on the forehead but I believed she has my best interests at heart.
This was my first time of leaving my village for somewhere else.
I might not know what is in for me but I gave my entire journey and new beginning to God.
Mother has already assured me that she and God will never leave me and I trust them.
The journey was quite a smooth one.
Filling my eyes with alot of beautiful sites as we drove along, amazed and impressed at the wonderful acts of our creator.
I got to know alot of Aunty Abigail, ranging from her name,work to families and others that I was interested in knowing.
Being an inquisitive person,I asked alot of questions,that you may never think could come from a little girl like me,and as patient as she was,she gave me sensitive replies to everything asked.
She told me about her governmental work which was the reason of her visit to my village and also about her family.
She is a divorcee.
Her husband and her got separated after her last child was born and relocated to the states.
She has four children,which were all grown up and are doing pretty well.
The elderly two,a boy and a girl named Charles and Shirley are married and stayed in Germany.
The third one,a girl too named Susanna,is presently spending the vacation with her daddy in America.
The last one,which she called Chris was doing his NYSC and will be back in a year,so she stayed alone with just the gate man.
I asked about house helps and she told me it wasn’t necessary because she is not the lazy type.
I wanted to know the reason behind her divorce but decided to just forget it.
I mustn’t know everything within a day,after all,that was going to be my new home and i still have alot of time to find out.
I felt so comfortable around her and I never stop laughing throughout the journey especially when she cracked a joke about village lifestyle.
At a point,she stopped and parked the car,I thought we have reached,but she told me to wait for her for few seconds,she was going to get something.
To admit,I felt a little frightened nevertheless I patiently waited as she opened the door and left.
She went to the eatery to get some food which I later got to learn about.
I somehow felt that mother was watching wherever she was and I prayed that the decision I have taken is the best.
Few minutes,Aunty Abigail came back, opened and entered.
She opened the bag and gave me a package of fried rice and a big chicken like a baby head plus a bottle of cold orange juice.
“Eat up dear,I know you must be hungry” she told me.
I was staring at the food like a ghost, refusing to believe that all these were for me and me only.
Like seriously,am I the one that is going to eat a spicy fried rice and chicken laps?
She looked at me and laughed.
I guess she understood what was going through my mind.
“My dear, everything is for you ok,eat whatever way you want to eat and enjoy your meal”
I looked up and began to cry.
I never dream of a day like this,a day where I will finally get to taste the same food only rich people eat in my village.
A day when I will feast on a fat,big chicken laps like this.
I wished mother was here to join me.
She deserved to have a taste of this blessing too.
“No,no Jessy” Aunty Abigail said to me “we agreed no more tears from today onward,so why do you want to break the rules,I will be so mad at you now”
“I am sorry ma” I apologized “just that is so hard to believe,it looks like a dream to me”
“I know dear” she said wiping my tears with a tissue.
“I perfectly understand but is not a dream ok,Jessy is time to move on.You are going to start over and I will make sure that I do my best for you”
“Thank you so much ma,I am really grateful”
“Is ok,now hurry and eat your food before it gets cold, eat whatever way you want but take your time so you don’t get choke on it also we are stopping at the boutique to get you some nice outfits” she said
I didn’t understand what a boutique was but that wasn’t my concern right now.
The only thing on my mind was which way to tackle this chicken from.
I thanked her once again and turned to the food.
I smiled and grab the chicken first.
Today is Today
God help you if I spare you.
I took a big bite like my life depended on it,which made aunty Abigail to chuckle.
I know that chicken will never come as a chicken in its next life
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