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©️Opeyemi Ojerinde Akintunde

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock” I could hear the ticking sound of my wristwatch as I waited for Gloria to step out of her room the next morning. All through the night I couldn’t sleep, as I wondered how a 12 year old could be so bold about sex and saw nothing wrong with the act. I prayed all night asking for God’s wisdom on how to handle her and bring her out of this ocean of iniquity.

“ Uncle Chuks, I knew you were deceiving me about coming back” I heard her voice before seeing her face. She was on her school uniform and likewise her siblings. She was taking them to school.
“ What heartless mother does this, leaving her three Children and jetting off to marry another man” I wondered silently.

“ Well, that’s Because I needed to weigh my options very well, I wanted to know if sleeping with you is worth it” I said

“ What does that mean, I don’t understand... ok.. wait you think you won’t enjoy it, ask Uncle Ben, the barber, or Uchenna that sells spare part, or Uncle Nnamdi that lives with Aunty chioma in the next compound, or you can ask Baloo that works at the betting center....” I watched with mouth wide open and heart pumping hard in fear as she kept calling the name of different boys and bachelors she had slept with. I suddenly lost count as I initially was trying to do mental count.

“ Wait, hold on... You have slept with all these people?” I asked in dismay

“ Yes! and they pay me. They always want to come back” she said laughing trying to market herself to me.

“ And you don’t feel bad?” I asked

“ Bad!, well that was before when I use to feel pain but now it is what I have to do to have money and friends. Now, I don’t feel lonely as I used to when my mummy left us..” She was saying but the amazing thing was she was saying all these raw things in front of her younger ones ages 10 and 7. They didn’t look disturbed by the conversation...

“ I hope Juliet has not started it as well” I asked wanting to know the extend of the damage...

“ Start what? I will kill her if she tries it, I have told her it is only meant for adults..” she said and I cut in

“ And you are an adult?” I asked

“ I am an adult child.” She said with anger in her voice. It appeared my asking about her younger sister Juliet had pissed her off...

“ Uncle Chuks, if you do anything to Juliet I will kill you” She said looking straight into my eyes

“ God forbid I do a thing like that!” I said “ Actually, I am concerned about you exposing them to what you are doing” I said

“ They understand, I have to do this for them and if they do it, they will be destroying their lives!” She said

“ Destroying their lives?, what about you, does that mean you are destroying your life on purpose” I asked

“ Someone has to, If my life is destroyed and my younger ones have a good one, it is ok, at least, my mother is enjoying her life while we are suffering. I choose to suffer for my brother and sister to be happy. Uncle Chuks I want to prove to my mother that we can become great without her” She said and I was short of words to say to her. She knew what she was doing, she knew it was destructive but she had a logical reason for doing it. I instantly knew she was not the kind of person I was to preach at.

“Hmm... I hope and pray you become greater than you desire”

“ Yes... but Uncle Chuks I hope you will contribute to that greatness... ?“ She said stretching her hand towards me indicating I should give her money...

Unfortunately I was penniless.

“Hmm.. if I wanted to reach out to these teenagers, I must be able to give them money when they need it...Talk they say is cheap” I reasoned

“ Not now, when you get back” I said not knowing how or where I was going to get the money.

I saw how her eyes lit up.

“ You will give me money when I come back?” she asked

“ Huh Huh” I replied

“ Then don’t worry, I will be ready for you” . She walked away with her younger ones and as she got to the gate. She reminded me of Chinaza.

This was how Chinaza started and didn’t have anyone to help her from falling into a pit.

“ Gloria,I will bring you out of this pit..”I told myself

Reality struck... “ Money”. I had promised her and one of the best way of reaching this girl was to make her build trust in me.

“ God, where do I get money now?” And as if God wanted to answer me. I heard a Hausa man speak to another Hausa man. They had come into the compound to sell water.

“ This water selling business brings fast money, especially since this area has not had power supply for months.” I looked at the business he was talking about, he was referring to the business of selling water in Galons from house to house using a wheel barrow...

“ What?” I asked God

I got no reply but I knew within me, that was the way out.

I approached the Hausa boys and spoke the language to them. I asked them on how I could join the business. I was told I could rent the wheel barrow and the gallons. I told them I had no money and one amazing thing about the Hausa people is that they love to help anyone who speaks their language. One of them volunteered to help me out and I will refund his money after I make my pay for the day...

I agreed and I went for the job...

If someone had told me the menial job was a difficult one I won’t have believed. I spent 5 hours toiling under the sun. I stopped when it was 2pm, as I wanted to meet up with Gloria.

I got home before her and had a quick shower. The moment I stepped out to the balcony, I saw her walking into the compound smiling seductively at me. She walked up to me and stretched out her hand and proudly I brought out N600 which was all I had after paying for the rented wheel barrow and gallon.

She smiled on receiving the money.

“ Give me 20 minutes, to take my bathe and cook Spaghetti with this money.. You are going to enjoy both meals!”

“ I am full, I don’t need any of the meals, the money has no strings attached” I said expecting a smile

“ I am not worth it right?” She asked frowning

“ No.. I mean.. Yes.. you worth me sleeping with you, but what I mean is..” she didn’t let me conclude my statement as she walked away with a long hiss. She didn’t return my money.

To be continued

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