Twenty Ways I Thought I Died
I am Ufoma Ogaga. Efe's Ogaga's daughter.
My name is Ufoma Ogaga, but now Ufoma Ojewe by marriage. I hail from Delta State Ugheli to be precised, and got married to a man from my home town. I was a victim almost all my youth, a victim that was created not by circumstance, but by fears; my own fears.
Fear is a very dangerous feeling, because at that point, you are in between two walls. One wall is filled with vile and hurtful things, while the other is filled with things your mind creates. Fear makes you creates those thoughts that scares you off, and you find yourself running like a toddler who is being chased by her own shadow.
I am now sixty four years of age, been married now for twenty nine years, at the age of thirty five. This has made me realize how truly time can fly. Just like yesterday, I met my husband Stanley. God used him to take away my fears, and blessed me with a happy home of beautiful triplets, a girl and two boys; all twenty eight years old now. My daughter got married four years ago and gave birth to twins, which made me a grandmother. One of my boys got married last years at twenty seven, and now with a child on the way. And the other boy is about to get married this year to one of my employee; Vanessa.
My life as you have read is blessed! Everything came easy right? No I don’t think so. I got married at thirty five when all my mates were done giving birth, notwithstanding I am blessed with triplets, well brought up and responsible children, and I still ended up becoming a grandmother at sixty one, almost the same age as many of my peers who got married and had children much earlier.
Yes, life can be beautiful if we allow it; so let me invite you into my past to read how it all happened.
“Twenty ways I thought I died” begins its tale from here; year after year starting from when I was fifteen, till when I met my sweet husband, twenty years later, at age: thirty five.
Graduating from secondary school can be so much fun especially when you have spent six years with the same people, in the same high school, with the same teachers growing and learning together. That is exactly how I felt after graduation- Funny.
Funny? You might wonder. Yes funny because I did not really know what I wanted at the moment. I had lived funny six years in one secondary school doing the same routine with the same people over and over again. Yes, life in Debbie's Don's high school was monotonously funny.
Now am out what next? What will I do with my life and time. Where do I start from? The thought of going into the university after secondary school was not part of my plan. I felt I needed to fell less funny before embarking on that journey. I need to be me. Feel confident and discover myself, so I can make the best use of my time over there and not get influenced negatively. A job was for most on my mind. At fifteen and smart, I could easily get a job. My secondary school leaving certificate finally came out and it was excellent! I remember that faithful day I went to check out my result in the cyber café, I was so nervous that I ran out when the site was about to open. The café attendant checked out my grades and came out to tell me it was excellent.
Father prepared my meal that night. It was just I and father. He had me when he was my age and never got married. My birth mother died after giving birth to me. Father never got over that as he blamed himself for impregnating a fellow teenager like himself.
My father came from a rich family. Rich not wealthy. They could afford to take care of the child he brought into this world by mistake. Compensate my birth's mother family for their loss, and educate my dad up to his masters degree level. Dad is now rich with a fast growing tech company with only his signature on it. My dad is young, rich and handsome, actually just 30years of age. He is trying his best to give me the best and not be like him at fifteen: A baby mama in my case.
Confused I sat with dad one evening discussing my plans for the future when I gave him the sad news and made him the scary dad.
Dad I do not want to go to the university. Why? he asked looking extremely puzzled. I want to be my own boss dad, you know learn a skill like for instance be a cosmetologist.
Excuse me young lady! Are you mad? Or have you started doing drugs. You want to a cosmetologist. What is that suppose to mean anyways?
Dad it means I want to go into beauty therapies. I want to learn about SPA treatments, cream mixing, from skin care to beauty products. Sweet Jesus! Ufoma you want to a hair dresser? And Polish peoples nails, bleach their skin and wash their duty hair. So you want your friends to laugh at you, you want Nimi for instance when she is done with her master degree to come to your shop and cross her dirty feet for you to paint abi? And what is the other one name again… the dark short girl. Her name is Titi dad. Yes Titi! You want her to come to your shop for you to bleach her skin white? With her degree in mathematics.
Dad please stop being funny. I am being funny Ufoma? Do you know the meaning of funny? Because if you did you would know the only clown here is you. Dad you need to understand who a cosmetologist is and how highly ranked they are in the market. Enough Ufoma! Please do not disgrace me okay, you are going to the university to study law as planned. Your mother always thought of being a lawyer and you always talked about living her dreams. Dad plans changed; you hypnotized me with those “your birth mother” stories. Look I don’t want to be like mom okay, for starters she got pregnant at the age of 15 which is my age now. Stop that Ufoma! That was my mistake. I got her pregnant. Dad please it takes two to tangle, stop blaming just you for that mistake. So are you saying you are a mistake? Because I have never seen you on that light. Well am happy she had me and didn’t abort me but I can never command what she did, for Christ’s sakes dad she was fifteen!
No we were fifteen! We were fifteen Ufoma. I ruined your mother’s dreams. She got that scholarship into the same school with mine, something her parents couldn’t afford. They had high hopes in her to become a barrister some day. But I ruined it by falling in love with her. I was a stupid rich kid and I was addicted to porn videos and I experimented what I watched on your mother! He yelled. She was a good woman and I don’t want you ever to criticize her again. You are going t be a lawyer and you are going to live your mother’s dreams. I killed those dreams when she was just fifteen, am not going to allow you kill yours with these your tantrums.
Efe Ogaga! I want to be a cosmetologist and I need 120,000 to pay part of my school fees. I screamed.
Wow! See me clapping for you. So you now call me by my name? Interesting. Well since we’ve both grown to the stage of calling each other by first names then I say you can confidently fend for yourself now. So you went ahead and made findings for that ridiculous skill? Then you need a job young lady so you can be able to pay that fees yourself. Now listen to me real good young lady, this is the month of July exactly fifteen years ago you were born. I give you now to the end of this year to bask in your troublesome fifteen craziness, because by next year just know that you will be preparing to be enrolled in one of the private universities to study law. You want to go learn a skill for the period of this six months or get a job, fine! That’s your call but note it’s not going to be on my expense. Just make sure that in whatever you decide to do, do not lose your dignity or get pregnant.
And that was how the discussion ended that night.
I felt bad later on about how our evening ended. I don’t know what came over me, maybe it was tantrum or anxiety. Anxiety over what you may ask. Well I haven’t told you all one big secret. And that secret has been causing me much anxiety lately. I think like my birth mother; I may be pregnant and expecting another Ufoma junior, since I was named after my mother. Let me tell you all, what brought me to this conclusion.
Two months ago I had accompanied my friend Titilayo to her friend’s farewell party. Tolu was Titilayo’s friend and she and her entire family were relocating to America. Her family had won a visa lottery and a farewell party was organized by them to bid their close friends and family members goodbye. Tolu attended a neighboring school and invited her school mates and other friends she knew around. Being I and Titi were close friends she pleaded with me to come along with her, which I did. The boys from Tolu's school were bigger than the boys in my school. They were more mature looking with muscles and good height, I was tripping. One of then approached me, he called himself Onyeka. His speech was perfect! It went like this: Hi Ufoma, do not be surprised I know your name. I had eyes on you for a while now. I got to notice you ever since senior secondary school when both our schools engaged in a debate which you won. Tolu told me you are a friend of Titi and since then I have been bribing Titi to create an avenue for us to meet. I was patient enough to wait for this timing. Please do not refuse me this dance, I have been a patient man.
Wasn’t that speech perfect? Especially the last line: I have been a patient man. When a man approaches a fifteen year old girl for a dance can she say no? And that was how I and Onyeka danced, during which he proudly told me he will be turning 18 the following month. I became so relaxed and confident in his arms while we danced. I ate whatever he chose to eat and drank whatever he offered me, including alcohol I had never tasted before. It’s not as if the can of beer he gave me was sweet that was why I drank two cans dancing and smiling. I drank it because I didn’t want to disappoint him, to embarrass him, or make him lose interest in me. I mean he is eighteen! And when a boy that age who takes alcohol tells a fifteen year old girl he loves her- she’s bound to believe.
After an hour we were under the stairs case sharing our first kiss and smooching. His hands were all over me. Before I knew what was happening, his manhood was out and he was rubbing it on my vagina. It felt good but at that moment there was a certain bang in my head that make me scream: My head! And that was how Onyeka rushed to his feet and stood me up. He brought me out to were the other guest were and asked if am okay. My reply was simply; I want to go home.
I never spoke to Oneyka again. My father told me he was going to buy me my personal cell phone when my SSCE results came out excellent. So at that point I didn’t have a personal phone since the results weren’t out. And I didn’t dare give him the house line, I just didn’t want to see him again. I was good as dead. My life was over. My virginity gone and pregnant already, I was so sure I had ended up like my mother. People had always said girls tend to live the same life their mother lived. If she were a motheer in her teens, that same daughter she gave birth too in her teens will follow her path. I do not know what had come over me. Was it the alcohol that have me that bang in my head or was it the lose of my virginity. Did Onyeka penetrate into me? But my pants were still on. Well I read online that a guy can penetrate a girl with her pants still on and my pants were so wet. I believe he released on me and in me. I never bothered to ask Onyeka any of these questions because I believed he would lie. Even if he did release in me he won’t want to admit it; for fear I would become pregnant and point him as the one responsible for my pregnancy. So I kept my little dignity intact by avoiding him. For two months he kept on sending messages through Titi to me and I kept on telling Titi I would contact him soon. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell Titi a thing about what transpired between I and Onyeka.
Two months later my SSCE results came out and it was excellent! I got my phone from dad but I wasn’t excited about it because these two months just confirmed me pregnant. I hadn’t seen my period. I kept on watching my tommy to see if it was growing. I would press under my navel hard to see if I would feel pain, for I read online that a two months old pregnancy can feel lot of pain if it’s massaged hard right under the navel. But anytime I massaged, I felt no pain.
So on that faithful night I had that argument with dad, I really was just throwing tantrums. I wanted to confide in him since he was once a victim of unwanted pregnancy at my age. I felt he would understand but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. And now he had giving me six months to figure out my madness. How was I going to spend this six months. I decided I would get a job, work and save up money. My plan was; before my protruding stomach becomes known, I would have saved enough money from my job and I would just leave the house to start my own life and not drag dad into this shame I have caused myself. I slept that night with this dream in mind, that I went out and got a job in an oil company and started making good money. I even had my baby in America! And everything was just fine.
When day breaks.
End Of Chapter One.
I was so disappointed the next day I went on my job hunt to be told I would be offered 15,000 as my pay in a Wholesale’s recharge company. I was devastated. This was nothing like my dream. As I walked the broad and busy road of Igando, the heal of my sandals removed and I was glad I was close to my regular shoe repairer.
Frustrated, I walked into his shop were I met a queue. Humbled by life's anxieties I sat down on a broken chair to wait for my turn. It was then I over heard a discussion between some young men who work for the shoe repairer. They were discussing about an oil company around Igando. They said the owner was employing not by credentials but by your ability to perform in marketing. I was so eager to be involved that I just asked for the address of the place and it was given me. With my energy charged, I hurried the shoe repairer to fix my shoe and hurried off to where the company was situated.
I couldn’t get there that day due to traffic. It was horrible! I sat in the bus for over an hour. I knew I would be extremely late. So I highlighted from the bus and boarded another back home.
So many thoughts eluded my mind on my way home. Could I really be pregnant? Am I really carrying Onyeka's child? What will father say? How will I cope? What will grandpa say? What will everyone think of me? I had always been a critic of my birth mother not knowing I will live her life soon at the same age. I need to run away I concluded. I need to leave everyone behind I just can’t face this.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor