I have always loved writing stories as a little girl, but like many of us – I never finished them. I always got stuck or bored with the trail of events. I thought if I tried my hand on a short story on this blog and felt accountable to you (I would know if I am by your comments), it might discipline me to actually finish a story for once :D. So I present to you:
I BEAR THIS CROSS…ALONE.
It was the eve of resumption at Domitoes Secondary School, and Kemi was not happy. She absently watched as Mother excitedly stocked her Gana-Must-Go bag with three huge sachets of garri and one pack of the popular St.Louis cubed sugar. There was even hardly enough space for the transparent polythene bag filled with groundnuts perched gingerly by her feet.
Mother stood briefly to stretch her back, while her legs still securely straddled the half-zipped bag. She wiped her sweaty face with her bare hands and beamed at her daughter, “this time next year my daughter would be ready for uni-FA-sity” she laughed and did a little dance with her hands and shoulders.
This was so because Kemi was about to commence the last lap of high school, Senior Secondary School 3 class. “Tell me Kemi, which Prefect-Position do you think they will give you. I was head girl in my time o…”
Kemi rolled her eyes inwardly and quickly turned her face to avert her mother’s gaze.
“What is wrong with you Kemi?” Mother’s brow furrowed in worry, “are you alright? Don’t you want to go to go back to school?”
“I am fine mother”, she frowned, “I am just a little tired that’s all.”
“Aunty Nelia overworked you this holiday abi?” mother asked as she moved towards her daughter, “Sorry my daughter, you know you had to go so that she can at least be merciful and help us with your final school fees.” Mother pleaded.
Kemi looked at her mother, “It was no trouble mother – you know you’ve trained me well and housework is no hard labour to me.”
Mother suddenly turned melancholic, and the tears came in mild torrents. “If only your father were alive, I shouldn’t bear this cross alone. I have no wrappers nor gold left to sell, but if I have to sell this house – the only legacy your father left, to support you to greatness, I would.”
“Oh Mother!” Kemi gushed and rushed to her mother’s side to lock her in a tight embrace. Mother had such great hopes and dreams for her it scared Kemi sometimes, more so, now. All was lost, or was there anything left to salvage? Mother sobbed uncontrollably into her shoulders, for Kemi was tall and lanky. For the first time, Kemi realized how frail her mother was, and her heart shattered to pieces.
Domitoes Secondary School Girls’ Dormitory
The girls’ dormitory boomed with noise and loud music. Girls sauntered in and out of one another’s rooms parading new clothes. Tales of whom and who went for summer holidays in England were fast spreading. And those who only visited nearby Ghana by ABC transport (bus) but were pretending to have visited Europe spread even faster. Girl-power cliques were regrouping, new students to secondary school life wandered along the corridors and the seniors dealt with them accordingly.
Kemi observed her familiar surroundings and finally dragged her bag into her allocated room to be shared with six other senior girls.
She was about to drop her worn GUSSI handbag on the top bunk when a voice came through the door, stopping her short. “Sorry girl, I have taken the top bunk. You will have to manage the lower bunk” the plump girl announced with a mild pout, striding towards her.
Without a word, Kemi sat down on the bottom bunk, fatigue suddenly descending upon her. Her hands instinctively went to her belly, and in a mili-second her thoughts had wandered to a farway place in a not too distant past.
To be continued…