Twenty Ways I Thought I Died. Chapter Six
I almost died last year. That is one experience I will never forget. I fought my way through coma when I was almost giving up. Dad said the screams I heard were he and aunty Ejiro’s when they noticed my body started shaking violently and the life support mechanic started reading red lines. And before the doctor could use the defibrillator on me, I came back to consciousness myself with the power of God. I remembered I begged God fervently for my life and he gave it back to me. I was so grateful, and that made me no longer mad at dad for giving away my modelling career. I am just glad to be alive.
Bisi just flew in from England this year, and she came visiting me with lots of gifts and an apology. She was now a big girl, not just the girl who makes children hair; but now a big teenage model. I am happy for her. Why shouldn’t I be? A student is never greater than his teacher. I taught her modelling and opened the way for her. I was glad to be part of her success story. I just turned seventeen and that makes me a dancing queen like every other seventeen year old girl. But before I let you all know what I am dancing to this year; there is this interesting story that happened last year I will like to recount, and that is the law case my aunty Ejiro came to do justice too.
Aunty Ejiro was at that time 34 years old and single. Why did she just begin to look for me all this while after graduating from law school and practicing for a couple of years? My guess: was to get more experience and money she needed to fight my custody case. Well, that was a reasonable explanation at that time, and she did wow me with the love she showed while I was at the hospital recuperating. I was attended to by a therapist who helped me overcome depression. Lots of vitamins were administered to me alongside other medications.
I wasn’t really depressed, for my issues were simple. First I thought I was pregnant with Onyeka's child, and that was the reason for my tantrums. Secondly I was trying desperately to win the modelling audition so I had to starve myself to become thin; which resulted to my extreme loss of weight, low sugar level and irregular sleep. But somehow everything was linked to depression. It’s hilarious how health specialists are soo quick to link any abnormal activity to depression! But why wouldn’t they? When they themselves are really depressed. The things I heard those nurses say they do with their married doctors are just too disgusting to relate. And the psychologist that attended to me; was dealing with a cheating husband but was too scared to divorce him due to society’s opinion. The genitor at the hospital was having an affair with the student doctor even though he would never marry her. The gate men were busy collecting bribes from any shady business done in the hospital, by the staffs on night shifts. Drugs, drips, syringe and other items couldn’t be accounted for as they were been extorted out of the hospital and sold.
My stay in the hospital made me aware of all these depressed happenings, and I was more than relieved when I was finally discharged after three weeks. Home, sweet home, welcomed me. There was a welcome back party waiting for me which was organized by aunty Ejiro and she was in all shades of pink on that day. Pink hat, light pink shoes and baby pink dress. Dad was just in his usual jeans and T-shirts looking like the charmer he really is and a few friends from the neighborhood were also present. It was a lovely party and fantastic atmosphere until grandpa showed up and ruined it all.
Life gives you a new beginning, to throw a new beginning at you.
Efe! Efe! He started screaming from the gate as he walked in. What is the meaning of this nonsense! Waving a sheet of paper in his hand.
What is it dad? Migwo sir, dad greeted in uhrobo. Why are you screaming? Don’t you know today is Ufoma's return home party? I have guests in.
What is my business with your stupid guests! He thundered. Yes, that was my grandfather; a typical no nonsense Urhobo man. Who is Ejiro Ejaita that has filed a law suit on me for killing her sister, manipulating her parents and kidnapping their grandchild?
Ose please calm down. Ose is what dad always call his father. Let’s talk about this gently before it opens up a can of worms.
Can of worms? Can of worms you say! The only worm here is that useless family you shamelessly got mixed with! Of all the young, beautiful, rich girls in your school, it’s that worm you chose! That worm that just wanted to get hooked to our riches. You didn’t look for a smart young girl who knows how to prevent pregnancy because she has a lot to lose, instead you chose that impoverished worm of a girl.
Don’t you dare rain any more insults on my late sister! Don’t you dare insult her memory: auny Ejiro shouted from behind.
So you are the fool that sent me this caricature law suit? Which judge will listen to this crap! And you even dare raise your voice at me? Do you know who I am?
I know who you are Mr Ogaga! And I am here as barrister Ejiro Ejaita to fight for my family and all the pains you caused us.
Grandfather let out a very thunderous sarcastic laugh that almost made me laugh too had it not been; I hated him as well. Wow ( he exclaimed as he clapped) so you are now a barrister? Your late sister even in death still achieved the dream she wanted to give her family. You poor brats still used my money for good and you want to bite the fingers that gave you a new beginning?
I never wanted this beginning! Ejiro shot back. All I wanted was my sister alive by my side. I was content with what I had and where I was. But am here now, and you can’t stop me. You should have thought twice before messing with my family.
Interesting: grandfather muttered. Since you were content with your low poverty life, I will take you back there in a hurry. You will lose everything you ever gained with my money; that is a promise. I thought you needed more money, now I can see that the change you have has intoxicated you. If I give you more money, it will do you a whole lot more damage than now. So I will help you by reducing that little money you have made alongside this disgusting ego of yours. I will make sure I hire the best lawyer for my son, and I will bring you down. See you in court barrister Ejiro Ejaita.
At that point, I was soo scared for aunty Ejiro that I have come to love and respect. I just wished she hadn’t come with that lawsuit because I knew now for sure; she won’t last long in my life. Grandfather was going to make her disappear.
A confident woman, is an intelligent woman.
Nothing bothers a lie, as much as truth.
The court case had two adjournments. The first day in court, aunty Ejiro brought in a witness, who said she was my father’s classmate, and her name; Sandra. Sandra claimed my birth mother Ufoma was raped by my father. It was not a voluntary sex, which also resulted in the pregnancy that led to her death. She claimed she heard my mother pleading for help as she was raped but she couldn’t come to her rescue because she was scared of her own life and virginity. And aunty Ejiro used this alleged testimony to mean a rapist can never bring up a child in a morally clean environment.
I will like to call my client to the stand your honor: my father’s lawyer echoed in court.
When father was in the witness stand, he was made to swear to speak the truth and nothing but the truth.
Mr Efe Ogaga, please tell the court a little about the brief love affair you and late miss Ufoma had.
Ufoma is the love of my life. She was a good girl, well brought up and morally upright. I was the one who deflowered her. I made love to Ufoma three times and it was done willingly. I wooed her slowly with words because she never accepted any of my gifts. She loved the way I called her my African queen every time we were together. I was determined to get her. I was the library prefect and I used that medium to stage my final move. Ufoma loved reading, and was always seen in the library. I promised to help her out after school hours in the library, and we could read up to 7pm since I had access to the library keys anytime. She agreed and I seduced her in there and deflowered her. My second attempt was in the school field on the grass, which was an effortless move since she had given herself to me once. And the third was at her own house when I has gone to visit her; she was ill and didn’t show up in school, so I went to see her and met only her at home. I held her in my arms while I consoled her for the pains she said she was having. The bed in their one room self contain was soo tempting that we both couldn’t resist it. I made love to her on that bed she shared with her parents. And after three days she was brought to my house to claim ownership of her three weeks old pregnancy- which I did.
Now, Mr Efe can you prove this facts? Father’s lawyer, barrister James asked.
Yes I can. This is one of the most embarrassing confessions I will be letting out, but I just have too, so I can keep my precious daughter Ufoma Ogaga. I was addicted to porn and I had always wanted to do videos of me having sex with a girl. So when I had sex with Ufoma the first day at the school library, I had planned it all; including videoing it. And the second time at the school field, I did video it. I viewed the videos many times to keep her in my memory and remind myself of how much I love her. After her death, I stopped viewing it. It was too bad to watch anymore but too good to delete. So I just saved it on my drive, and I never knew that one day I would need to use it to keep the child that I and Ufoma share.
Your honor, please I will like to bring this video to you to see for yourself , what my client Efe shared with late miss Ufoma Ejiata was a consented sex.
Bring it to me barrister James: the judge summoned.
After five minutes, the rape case aunty Ejiro brought up was discounted and the case adjourned.
The second session in court was three days later.
You cannot ever truly define someone's love life, like the lovers.
Never dare an Urhobo man.
The second session in court was three days later. And aunty Ejiro’s case was on Mr Ogaga himself. With grandfather on the witness stand, she poke questions at him with so much hate.
Mr Ogaga, when your son told you he had impregnated a teenage girl, what did you do about it?
I did what every sane and responsible father would do. I accepted the responsibility as a grand parent.
And did that responsibility include not accepting the family of the girl carrying your grandchild? By making them sign a document of denial and paying them off with your money that you vowed to make them accept to disappear from the child’s life of die?
I have no idea of what you are nailing at, but I will be very honest with you and explain it to you in simplest terms since you were a child then, when your greedy parents signed that document.
I am Mr Ogaga the second! And I am a very prudent man. Prudent with my money, influence and name. So when I heard a poor girl on a scholarship program had gotten pregnant for my teenage son, I smelt desperation. I gave her parents money to take care of her till she puts to birth, but they spent the money on feeding the entire family and paying off debts, and they could not afford to take their child to a hospital when she was due for delivery. They made her give birth in a church and she died some minuets after right there! Such unloving, poor and lazy parents! After their daughter’s death, they still wanted to claim so called in-laws to be with my family. I had no option but to pay them off. My son cannot be married to a dead girl. God forbid! For me to allow this worms hook me in there desperation. We are talking about two teenagers here and an unwanted pregnancy and you are calling me in-law? What kind of nonsense is that. I paid for the burial arrangement of that girl, settled the parents and took full responsibility of my grand daughter. So so-called barrister Ejiro what is your fuse about?
Excuse me Mr Ogaga! Do not…..
Common keep quiet! He cuts in. Is it not my money you used to train yourself in law school?
Order Mr Ogaga! The judge shouted. Go ahead with your questioning barrister Ejiro.
Thank you your honor. You Mr Ogaga manipulated my disadvantaged parents and denied them seeing their grandchild again. Your son seduced an innocent girl, got her pregnant and killed her. She was too young for sex and child rearing. You denied my parents the right to see their daughter grow. Now we want custody of my niece, their grand child because the environment you raised your son Efe a porn addict, is not conducive for my niece Ufoma Ogaga.
Are you done talking? Grandfather asked her. Now let me tell you what is not conducive; raising my grand daughter in your environment. You are a chronic lesbian! That is why at 34 years of age with your good career you are still single. Do you all want to make Ufoma a lesbian? You are single and unstable. Your parents are desperate and poor. You only want Ufoma to live with you all, so you can start benefiting from my wealth because you know I love her so much and I will continue sending her money which you will use from. You want to use Ufoma junior the same way you used Ufoma senior. You used the money I settled your family with to train yourself in the university, are you also looking for another cash to train for masters degree? You this desperate woman. Please your honor (turning to the judge) let this child remain with her father who loves her without ulterior motive and let her continue to receive all the care and love she needs.
The last witness on the stand was I. Aunty Ejiro counted on the little love she has showed me lately and wanted to make me testify against my father. She wanted to use the whole coma incident and depression and the modelling encounter I had, to prove that my dad was not capable to take care of my emotional and spiritual well being.
I turned to the judge and said: I am Ufoma Ogaga, Efe Ogaga’s daughter! And I choose to remain with my father, but still get to meet with my maternal grandparents occasionally. I grew up believing my late mother was an only child and her parents late. Getting to know they are still alive and I have an aunt has opened up, a new desire in me to bond with my relatives.
The case was closed on that very day. Father still took custody of me, but I was told I will only be able to form a relationship with my grandparents when father saw it fit, or when I turned eighteen. Then I will be mature enough to handle such greedy and incapable grandparents: as the judge puts it.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor