The next day at school, the siren went off for our morning assembly. I was certain that assembly was going to be long as it was the last day of school and the incident that happened last night was going to be talked about. After our normal activity on the assembly, the principal walked to the front on of the students for the usual announcement but with a very stern look. She cleared her throat before speaking and then brought up the incident that happened the night before. She said basically everything the house master had said that night and said the boys were not going to go scot free. I wasn’t mentioned because I was just a victim but they did mention that a girl was almost raped by them. Senior Daniel unluckily wasn’t going to go unpunished either for beating up someone to an unconscious state. The three boys who had almost raped me were expelled while senior Daniel was suspended. They were all called out by the angry principal and flogged by the strictest teacher in our school, Mr. Alabi.
Assembly that morning got some looking very excited, some looking very serious and the rest unhappy. The principal made mention that anyone who committed an offence like them or even close would also not go unpunished. I was so sad for senior Daniel because I knew it was all because of me. I started feeling very guilty. If only he had just left the boy when he was still very much okay, this wouldn’t happen. I needed to talk to him but I couldn’t get hold of him because they were all taken to the principal’s office after. The drums began for us to match back to our classes.
Later that day, Anabelle left school for her house as her parents’ driver had come to pick her up and a few minutes later, I was told that my uncle was waiting to pick me up. I was actually expecting my parents to come for me but anyway, I was happy I was finally going home. Even though I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be, because of the case of senior Daniel, there was nothing I could do. The principal had called me earlier and spoken to me about the whole situation, consoling me and being thankful to God that senior Daniel came on time even though he still ended up doing something wrong. I was pushed to say that senior Daniel be left alone since he was only trying to help but I couldn’t because he wasn’t supposed to overly react and beat someone almost to death.
Anyway, I went to meet uncle Sam who was waiting for me at the hostel gate. He smiled when he saw me even though I felt it didn’t look genuine, He hugged me and told me to go bring my luggage. After I was down with my luggage, I signed out of the hostel and drove off with uncle Sam. The uncle Sam I knew didn’t say much while we were in the car. I was tempted to tell him all that had happened but I kept quiet as the atmosphere didn’t seem like it was convenient enough. When we got to my house, excited to see Esther and my parents (that is, if they would have been back from work), I jumped out of the car. I went to bring out my luggage from the car when uncle Sam told me not to worry as he would help me with it. I skipped happily into the house shouting Esther’s name. I saw Frank who didn’t look so bright but greeted him as he opened the door for me to enter. As I got in, I saw a lot of shoes at the end of the corridor. My parents and visitors! What are they celebrating this time around? or do they want to welcome me from my first come back from the boarding house? I thought to myself.
When I entered the sitting room, I saw a lot of my relatives, including the ones I barely see all looking like a bad omen was in the air. They did not look bright at all. I greeted all of them, looking around looking for Esther and my parents who were not in sight at all. At this point, my smile was beginning to turn into a frown. I looked at uncle Sam who came up behind me and asked him for Esther. He swallowed hard and told me that Esther was in the room. Without even waiting for anything, I slowly left them in the sitting room and walked into the room to meet Esther with aunty Mary who was holding and consoling crying Esther. I went up to them very quickly and confused asking the reason why she was crying. Esther who had been crying looked up at me and hugged me immediately. I hugged her back very tight and asked why she was crying.
I got to find out that my parents had an accident on their way back from the village where they went for my cousin’s wedding. They had passed on even after they were rushed to the hospital. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard all of it. I kept screaming to be woken up from a bad dream. Why must I, at that young age face such? I just didn’t know what to do. I was about to run mad. My eyes became very watered and sore as I cried non-stop. I kept on crying, not listening to my aunties and uncles who were trying to console me. I kept telling them to go and bring my daddy and mummy home. I was not ready to settle with the news I had just heard. Why would so many things happen within a short period on the day I was finally coming home. After counting down days to go home with Anabelle, after senior Daniel had been expelled, another horrible news. There was no way I was going to settle for less. I kept trying to leave the house but they kept pulling me back.
Uncle Sam finally took me away from everyone so he could talk to me in private. He held me close and consoled me. He told me to be strong for my sister, Esther, as she needed me to be as strong as I could be. I kept asking him what I did wrong for my parents to leave us behind. I was now an orphan, barely gone anywhere in life. My parents hadn’t seen me graduate yet. My mum hadn’t danced at my wedding like she promised she would in future. Everything just didn’t seem right. I mean, I did hear of deaths from other close family members. My parents even helped in any way they could to support them but I didn’t think their turn was going to come this soon. I was just twelve years old and my sister still eight. It was a lie, it’s not even possible, they were still alive, I kept telling myself. I came to accept it later on and decided to be the strong senior sister for my younger one, Esther. Life I thought, was useless without my parents.
To be continued