I Should Have Spoken Up But I Am An Orphan Final Part

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I Should Have Spoken Up But I Am An Orphan Final Part

 

A few weeks later, it was time for Aunty Mary to travel again…Bose knew she was in trouble and was already praying for strength to survive before her aunt returned. Her aunt called her and begged her to be of good behavior…she reiterated Uncle BJ’s threat to send her away if she didn’t behave. Bose promised there would be no problems as her aunt got in the car; Uncle BJ was the one taking her to the airport. Bose was the only one up when Uncle BJ got back from the airport, it was really late. With the look on his face, one could tell that he meant business. He went inside his room and called for her.

 

Bose stood by the door, refusing to enter and asked how she could be of help. Uncle BJ told her there was no way out of it and if he didn’t have his way, he was ready to send Bose away from his house that night. He tried to drag her in but Bose held on tight to the doorjamb…she begged and pleaded, she even used malaria as an excuse but Uncle BJ said he didn’t care. Bose was beginning to raise her voice, so Uncle BJ covered her mouth with one hand and forced her in…it was as if he was possessed.

 

He acted like it was a war and he had to win…Bose must have passed out at some point because she woke up all sore and bruised, her top ripped apart. There was a cut on her upper lip and Uncle BJ sat at the edge of the bed…he showed no sign of remorse unlike the first time. It was as if he had resorted to violence as a means of getting what he wanted. Bose looked at him and loathed everything about him…she felt like screaming to wake everybody up.

 

Uncle BJ told her not to try anything funny as he would end her life and nothing would happen. He said she should consider it the price for letting the three of them live under his roof and as far as he was concerned, it was a fair trade. He said he never wanted it to get to that but since that was how Bose wanted to play it; he was equally up to the task. He warned her that any resistance would invoke a repeat of what happened and he would not hesitate to hurt her.

 

He kept telling Bose that it was her fault as all his attempts to be sweet, kind, loving and gentle was met by her unnecessary obstinacy. After all, they were doing it before…and after the close call, all they had to do was be more careful anytime her aunt was around. Bose wanted to scream but she just couldn’t…she hoped with all her heart that someone could come in and see what was happening. She thought of telling her aunt when she returned but couldn’t think of how to justify the times that she did it somewhat willingly.

 

Uncle BJ later told her to go clean up and if anyone asked what happened to her face, she should say she ran into the front door. Bose left the room feeling like a used rag…for her, it wasn’t just about what Uncle BJ did, it was how he treated her before and after. He knew she had no one to come to her aid…he knew there was no one she could report to….he knew she was completely vulnerable and exploited that. When Bose got to the room, she saw that her sister Bola was up. Bola said she thought she heard her crying and wanted to check.

 

Bose said she hit her head while trying to open the door for uncle BJ and it really hurt….she was pulling and uncle BJ was pushing right about the same time so the door slammed in her face. She could not help but cry as she lied to Bola…deep inside she wished she could tell her everything. She needed someone to share the burden with, she needed someone to listen and not judge her. She needed someone to show her the way out of this.

 

Bola asked if there was anything she could do for her…she told Bola to go back to sleep. Bola moved closer to her, wiped her tears and said “everything will be alright”. Bose was sick for the whole weekend…her body ached and her head pounded. Uncle BJ insisted that she was pretending…he sent everyone else except Bose on various errands and attempted to force the poor girl. Bose said she couldn’t fight him even if she wanted to and begged him to at least, let her get better.

 

He said Bose’s temperature was normal…hence; there was nothing wrong with her. Luckily for Bose, they had a visitor…one of Uncle BJ’s friends came to visit. If he could, Uncle BJ would have sent his friend away. He wasn’t very happy to see the guy…Bose got better and Uncle BJ continued his onslaught…Bose fought and sobbed through every single ordeal but he didn’t seem to care. He actually told her that the resistance made it more enjoyable.

 

Bose would sit all alone in the kitchen and cry, the other kids in the house wondered what was happening to her. When they asked, she wiped her tears and said she was remembering and missing her late parents. This continued until Aunty Mary returned…was Bose glad to see her aunt! She knew it would at least reduce the abuse for the time being, if it didn’t stop it completely. Her aunt asked what was wrong with her because she really looked sick. She said she had been battling malaria…her younger ones were quick to add that she had been crying a lot lately and had been withdrawn.

 

Later in the day, Aunty Mary took her inside the room and asked what was wrong with her…she wanted to tell her but couldn’t. She opened her mouth to talk but cried instead. Aunty Mary kept asking her random questions just to get a clue “Was it the stress of your upcoming ‘School Cert’ examination?” “Did something happen at school?” “Did you fail your mock exams?” “Is it me?” To all these questions, Bose shook her head to imply a negatory “Is it your uncle?” “Did someone hurt you?” Bose did not respond…she bowed her head and kept crying.

 

She really wanted to blurt it out but thought of the threat by her uncle to “end her life”. Aunty Mary held her…told her she was around now and Bose could tell her anything. Bose wished she could really tell her. With Aunty Mary back, Bose was slowly becoming her old self…she already knew exactly how to avoid her uncle whenever her aunt wasn’t on a trip and she was doing a good job. Uncle BJ was doing everything to get her attention but she just pretended not to get the message.

 

However, three weeks after her aunty came back…Bose started to feel really sick. She was nauseated by everything she ate. Her aunt got her some anti-malarial medication but they didn’t help much. She missed school for a couple of days and on the day she went back, Lizzy saw her throwing up somewhere behind the class (Lizzy was the one that advised Bose to milk the opportunity when the abuse began). Lizzy asked a couple of questions about her period and Bose couldn’t even tell exactly when last she did that. Lizzy was more experienced in such things; she told Bose she was most likely pregnant.

 

Bose immediately started to cry…she said it was over and that her aunt was going to kill her. Her aunt already said if she did not get better they would have to go see the doctor later in the week. Bose was freaking out and almost had a nervous breakdown…she was utterly overwhelmed. She was thinking out loud…asking how she would explain it to her aunt if the doctor should confirm it.

 

How disappointed Bola and Paul would be How she would not be allowed to write her Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations and would end up dropping out of high school How her aunt’s home would crumble because of her How messed up her life would become because of all these Lizzy told her to calm down and unless she wanted her aunt to know, she had to be very discreet and clever. She also told her there was a way out of it. She confided in Bose that she had been pregnant twice and was able to fix it before anyone could find out.

 

Bose asked how and Lizzy said she would have to abort it. Bose screamed and said she remembered a lady, in her hometown that died after having an abortion. She was just 12 then but everyone in the neighborhood heard about it. Parents used the story to scare their daughters into chastity and her mother made her promise never to abort a pregnancy. Lizzy told her that since her mom had died, the promise was no longer binding…besides, unless she wanted to mess up her life, there was no other way out of this.

 

Bose said she would think about it and get back to her…Lizzy reiterated that time was not really on her side as it would get worse and the symptoms would make her aunt suspect her. She asked if she should inform Uncle BJ…Lizzy said she should wait till after it was taken care of. When Bose got home later that day, she stayed in her room for most part of it. Anytime she was called, she would go do whatever she was told to and run back to the room. Her aunt asked if she got any better, she said she was fine. Her aunt called her to come watch a movie with them, she said she was studying. She wore the loosest fitting dress she could find and was trying hard to keep up appearances even as she felt weak and nauseous.

 

Something in her really wanted to tell Uncle BJ before she went to school the following day. As Bose was leaving for school the following morning, she saw Uncle BJ outside, putting some files in his car. As he was about to recite his regular scripts of how Bose was avoiding him, Bose just blurted out the words “I think I’m pregnant”. It was as if Uncle BJ was struck by lightning…he opened his mouth but couldn’t find words. Bose walked away from him and went out of the gate…moments later, she felt a hand grab her and it was Uncle BJ.

 

He told her that nobody must hear about it as he was not going to ruin his marriage because of her. He was stern and said he would deny it then kill her if she told anybody or even if anyone found out. Bose said she already told someone in school that was planning to help her get rid of it. Uncle BJ asked if she spilled the identity of the person responsible for the pregnancy, Bose had to say no, she knew exactly how he would react so she had to deny it. Uncle BJ said he would give her whatever she needed to get the job done when she got back from school.

 

After seeing Uncle BJ’s reaction, Bose figured there was no other option but to do what Lizzy suggested. Lizzy was already waiting for her at the school entrance. Bose told her she had made a decision; Lizzy said they had to go take care of it immediately. Bose said she wasn’t prepared and didn’t bring any money. Lizzy told her not to worry about it and she could bring the money later. They left school through a path in the bushes; Lizzy had brought clothes for both of them so they wouldn’t be going about in their school uniforms.

 

Lizzy took her to a local market where they met an older woman who sold local herbs and spices. It was obvious Lizzy had discussed with her earlier…because as soon as they greeted her, she took Bose to a small room at the back of her shop. The woman pressed Bose’s tummy and checked her lower eyelid, she said it was true that Bose was pregnant and must be about 6 weeks long.

 

She said it would be easy and shouldn’t be too painful because she was not too far along. She asked if Bose had eaten breakfast…Bose hadn’t, so she gave her a powdery substance and told her to swallow it without water. Bose was a little hesitant but Lizzy urged her on. Bose emptied the substance in her mouth and God, did it burn. She almost spewed it out but the woman told her not to, as it would defeat the purpose.

 

Bose squeezed her face in disgust but had to swallow it, the woman also gave her a shot of some alcohol laced herbs and told her to swallow it all with a gulp. It reeked really bad…Bose started coughing after she downed the shot. Her tummy began to rumble…the woman said it was working. She said there was one more thing to do and that was the most important part of it. She handed Bose a little bottle, she told her to drink the content right before going to bed and she would have her period by the time she woke up in the morning. It had to be taken that night and she shouldn’t eat or drink anything else after drinking the concoction.

 

She said Bose would feel a little tummy ache but that was about it. Bose asked if she could eat, the woman said she had to wait about an hour before eating anything and she should avoid spicy food as it could make her tummy ache worse than it normally should. She said Bose could send her money through Lizzy. Bose thanked the woman…she left with Lizzy and spent the rest of the day at Lizzy’s house. When it was about the end of school day, Bose made her way home…she felt kinda woozy and her tummy ached a little but Lizzy had told her she would feel that way. She also told her to avoid anything strenuous.

 

She wanted to tell Uncle BJ how it went but he wasn’t home. She managed to do her afternoon chores…she stayed in her room for the remaining part of the day. She pretended to be studying (since she had a big examination coming up) so nobody would disturb her. She kept looking out through the window to know when Uncle BJ got back so she could go talk to him. Her aunt made vegetable soup for dinner but she passed because of the warning to avoid spicy food. When Uncle BJ didn’t show up at about 9:30pm, she decided to have some slices of bread and a cup of hot cocoa.

 

She waited like 15 minutes, drank the content of the bottle she was given by the woman at the market and went to bed. The scream was surreal…everyone in the house heard it. It was about 3am in the morning. It came from the girls’ room and it sounded like Bose…her aunt rushed into the room, Bola was already by her bed. Bose had passed out after screaming and there was blood everywhere. The blanket was soaked and Bose’s hands still clutched her tummy.

 

Uncle BJ came in as well. Bola was crying as she tried to wake Bose up…she said she had heard Bose groaning all night and each time she asked what the problem was, she said she was fine. Aunty Mary was scared stiff; she picked Bose up and was shouting at her husband to go start the car. 20 minutes later they were at the hospital…Bose was still out cold and their family doctor and the nurses was doing everything to bring her back. The family was kept outside and everyone was scared…Bola was sobbing hard.

 

The Doctor came out later and asked to speak with Aunty Mary and Uncle BJ. Aunty Mary said he could say whatever he wanted to say as Bola was the younger sister to the patient. He said Bola was most likely pregnant and had taken some unorthodox but toxic medication to get rid of it. He said Bose’s life was hanging in the balance as she had lost a lot of blood and they needed to transfuse her immediately. They also needed to do a Dilation and Curettage procedure to fix what was happening inside her uterus.

 

Aunty Mary was dumbfounded and speechless for a while “how could she be pregnant?” She finally asked the doctor “That is impossible…how? When? Where?” She kept asking the doctor said they should leave all of the questions till when Bose came round. He said he had seen something like this before and that’s why he wasn’t taking any chances. He told them of a young girl that denied being pregnant and how they lost her while wasting time trying to get the truth from her…the girl later admitted to everything but it was a little too late.

 

They made arrangements for 2 pints of blood and Bose was moved into the theater. The doctor came back after about an hour and said there were some complications; as whatever Bose took had done more damage than expected. He said she was yet to regain consciousness but was sure she would pull through…he asked Aunty Mary and Uncle BJ to come into his office. Aunty Mary was still thanking the doctor for his help when two nurses rushed in and said there was something wrong with Bose.

 

They all rushed towards the theater but the doctor told them to stay back and let him do his job. Aunty Mary was pacing up and down…she was edgy, confused and crying. She kept praying to God to save Bose. She said she would make sure whoever got Bose pregnant suffered for it. Uncle BJ was acting really weird…he would go out and come back in like every 15 minutes. Bola just sat there crying…she had not said a single word since they got to the hospital.

 

The doctor came back, this time he looked really dejected…he said they had done their best but Bose was still unresponsive, her pulse was very weak and she was simply hanging by a thread. He said it was in God’s hands now and advised them to keep praying Aunty Mary asked if they could see her, the doctor said they could but not for too long because she would soon be moved to the intensive care unit.

 

When they saw Bose, she looked really pale and lifeless…Aunty Mary kept calling her name. For a minute, it looked like her eyelids twitched…Aunty Mary started asking “Who did this to you? Please tell me…just give me the name” “It’s Uncle” shouted Bola with tears flowing from her eyes. The silence that pervaded the room for the next couple of seconds was second to none…one could hear a pin drop. “What?” said Uncle BJ as he got up in anger and attempted to slap Bola…who ran behind her aunt.

 

Emotions were running wild, voices were being raised, it was becoming a scene and somewhere along the line, Bose started to gasp for breath. The doctor was summoned and he sent all of them out of the room. He said Bose’s life was more important to him than whatever they had going on. As confused as Aunty Mary was, she wanted to hear what Bola had to say or why she leveled such an unbelievable allegation against her husband.

 

She made her husband stop the taunting and bullying so she could ask Bola a couple of questions. “Are you going to listen to this crap? Allowing her to talk is like saying you don’t trust me” said Uncle BJ. Aunty Mary made it clear that the only way to dispel any controversy and eliminate confusion was to allow Bola explains herself. Bola stepped forward and responded that she had seen Uncle BJ rape her sister not once, not twice. She mentioned that it happened mostly when Aunty Mary was away on her business trips.

She talked about the many times she had tiptoed into the living room in the middle of the night because she heard her sister crying and begging uncle BJ not to, but he would say it was just a little price to pay for letting the three of them stay under his roof. Aunty Mary turned to Bola and asked if she was sure of what she was saying Bola answered that a while back, she had seen both her sister and Uncle BJ in a compromising situation but didn’t know what to make of it…she was really confused by what she saw so she dismissed it.

 

Not long after that, she had heard a sound in the middle of the night and gotten up to investigate…she heard her sister’s voice and heard Uncle BJ telling her to keep quiet. She found it hard to believe, so she peeked through the key hole to be doubly sure and what she saw startled her. She said that was the day Bose lost the purple top that Aunty Mary bought her for Christmas…she saw Uncle BJ rip the top and try to strangulate Bose with it. Bola added that she almost screamed but was too petrified to make any sound….she also didn’t know what would happen or what Uncle BJ would do to both of them if he knew she had seen them.

 

She talked of the many nights that her sister sobbed all through, after leaving uncle BJ’s room…how she would ask Bose what the problem was, hoping she would spill the beans or at least confide in her but she always told her not to worry about it and that everything would be alright. Bola added that she had wanted to tell Aunty Mary but didn’t know if anyone would believe her…she also heard Uncle BJ threaten to kill Bose if anyone found out and that really scared her. The brutality of the rape she saw made her feel like he could actually do it.

 

She asked if Aunty Mary remembered the day she was asking different questions about rape and what the punishment was, according to the law of the land. The answers she got that day made her feel like there was no succor for Bose and the law wasn’t going to help much. Aunty Mary definitely remembered that day and how she was ‘weirded out’ by those questions…she wasn’t sure why Bola was asking and why she would be so interested in such a gruesome topic. “But you could have told me…someone could have informed me…somebody could have said something” said Aunty Mary as she tried to find a seat.

 

The weight of the ensuing reality was too much for her feet to bear. “I’m so sorry ma…God knows I wanted to tell you, I just didn’t want anything to happen to my sister” Bola responded At this time, Uncle BJ was trying to rationalize the situation by saying they needed to hear it from Bose’s mouth as her sister could be lying. He was stammering/stuttering…Aunty Mary was just looking at him intently.

 

He later resorted to emotional blackmail and how he was there for them when they needed help and they wanted to pay him back with character assassination and by labeling him a rapist. He moved close to his wife and was trying to say “Darling are you going to believe this brat over me? Don’t you know your own…” before he could finish the second sentence, his wife landed a dirty slap on his right cheek. “You better pray to God that my niece pulls through or else I will see to it that you will rot in jail.

 

It’s all making sense now…was this not the same thing that happened between you and Agnes our maid when we lived in Yaba? You denied it…you said the girl was the one trying to seduce you and when you didn’t fall for it she cooked up a story to destroy your home. The girl cried and swore that you were the one that came to meet her in the bathroom while she was taking her bath but you said it was the other way around. I chose to believe you because you’re my husband and sent the poor girl away with ignominy you said I should never bring a maid to the house again because they are agents of the devil looking for homes to destroy and I obliged.

 

Even if you were born a shameless goat…I would have expected family to be the line for you. You knew Bose when she was a toddler, you knew when she was wearing diapers…didn’t that mean something to you? How could you do this? After everything I’ve done for you. Since I married you…I’ve fed you, clothed you, provided for you, put a roof over your head and you had the effrontery to use that same home as a bargaining tool to violate my blood.

 

I never asked you for anything but to be a responsible father and even that you could not do…” Aunty Mary went on and on as Uncle BJ looked on like a thief caught in the act. He had no excuse; he couldn’t talk his way out of this one. It had already become a scene, a dirty one at that, in the hospital lobby…as the few people and some of the nurses were gathering to know what was happening while pretending to help resolve the issue. The doctor later came out of the ICU where Bose had been taken…Aunty Mary and Bola rushed to meet him, Uncle BJ just sat in a corner. The Doctor said Bose was still unconscious but was slowly responding to treatment. The doctor confirmed that there may have been some forced intercourse in the past as there were still mild signs of abrasions, bruises and lacerations and he could get a report for the police if they needed one.

 

He said he was trying desperately to save Bose’s uterus because she’s still young, otherwise he would have just suggested and performed a hysterectomy and that he would watch her for a while and if nothing changed… The shame was too much for Uncle BJ to handle so he decided to leave…Aunty Mary collected the car key and the keys to the house from him and threatened to make a scene and call the neighbors on him if he came near the house. “It’s a miracle” was exactly what the doctor said when Bose was discharged… she was at the hospital for 12 days.

 

The doctor told them it was nothing short of a divine intervention because the mixture Bose took had caused a trauma to her uterus which caused an acute uterine rupture and also affected a lot of things and it was really tough getting the bleeding to stop without removing the uterus. However, the doctor told her aunt that it may be difficult but not impossible for her to conceive and he would also recommend a C-section anytime Bose wanted to have a baby in the future because if there had been a previous rupture, the person should automatically be scheduled for a caesarian section.

 

Aunty Mary pulled Bose from her school and registered her for the General Certificate Examination which was an equivalent of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination she was supposed to take that year. She made Bose take her to Lizzy’s house and she informed Lizzy’s parent of all that happened… it was a shock to see that Lizzy came from a strict background. Apparently, she had also been exposed to that kind of life by her elder brother’s friend who frequented their house under the guise of visiting his friend.

 

As suggested by the doctor, Bose was sent to a therapist to help her deal with what she had been through …she almost stopped after the 2nd session because she said it made her feel like she was reliving the experience but the therapist encouraged and helped her through. Bose found out that she would have been better off if she had spoken up right from the start. The way her aunt handled the issue made her regret all the times she kept quiet and took the abuse. She found out that Uncle BJ’s threats were just empty threats.

 

She learned so much at the therapy sessions that opened her eyes to all the options she could have explored to forestall what happened. Uncle BJ tried everything to appeal to his wife but she did not allow him back in the house… she said she would have been able to forgive him if it was just a regular extramarital affair but she did not want a molester under the same roof with her children. Bose and Bola said they would leave the house so that Uncle BJ could come back as they did not want to be the reason for their separation.

 

Aunty Mary said she would rather have them than have her husband because they were just like her children and their late mother once chose her over everything else. She revealed to them that Uncle BJ was not the biological father of her first daughter… he married her when she was already 6 months pregnant; the person responsible for the pregnancy had denied it and traveled abroad. Uncle BJ had always pestered her for a relationship but she preferred the other guy. When he later heard what the guy did to her, he said he would marry her and they did not have to tell anyone that he wasn’t the one responsible for the pregnancy.

 

Aunty Mary said if he could do what he did to Bose, he could also do it to ‘their’ daughter since he wasn’t the biological father. Aunty Mary kept the real reason for the separation from her children. Uncle BJ moved to another state and rented an apartment but got arrested about a year after that for molesting a neighbor’s daughter. Unfortunately for him, the girl’s father was a Police Officer.

by Lanre Olagbaju

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