CHAPTER 8- Open Secret
After the closing hours some weeks before they went on the one week vacation. Hauwa ha suggested that she would see her off to the taxi park she has at first objected because she would not like the situation where by Hauwa’s sister would be looking for her because normally Hauwa her sister and some few other girls usually trek the few kilometers to their home which was in opposite direction from where she normally board the taxi home. Hauwa has replied that her sister an a few others were going to a friend’s birthday party.
“But aren’t she going to get home firs and changed” Beatrice has asked innocently. She recalls that whenever her cousins have parties to attend during the week, although not often, they would have to come home first before their mother or Mr. Opebi would then take them to the venue.
Hauwa replied “my mother objects to party going saying that it is where you get influenced negatively, but I don’t very much wanted to got o this one because it was the best friends party but knowing mother would not allow her, she has given her the excuse that they were told to wait behind after school hours for some project. Beatrice gaped at the other girl in stock but that’s decit, she shouted.
“Call it what you like.” The other said feeling hurt. But Idiat is a good girl “she defended her sister “and she so much wanted to attend this party after all she is of age. But if she has told your mother in a more polite way, I am sure she won’t have objected Beatrice insisted. ‘We know our mother”, the other girl has retorted sharply.
Now Beatrice signed deeply as she recalls this particular incident. “come out with it” said Beatrice “with what” asked Beatrice. You are not the only one with a problem you know, said Bambi “so why not unburden your heart it pays to, let others know how you are feeling it lighten the burden oracle you just like to draw attention to yourself with the way you are looking?
Beatrice has for a long time known that she was the one referred to as “Drawn face” but was never bothered, only she knows how hurt she was, inside but now for a member of the twelve sisters to want to share her problems made her feel really honoured, she know from over heard conversations that she was not the only one who has secretly envied these notorious untouchable group o girls. Bambi out into her reverie “will you tell me or is it non of my business and I will clamp my trap shut.
Beatrice hesitated well it’s not a problem really and I’ll soon get over it. Even your friend Hauwa was telling her sister that she does not know what is wrong with you since you become a boarder you have ceased to be your cheerful self “Bambi said “so out with it and let me decide if this a problem or not”.
Beatrice heaved a sign and then opened her mouth, she told Bambi how she come to Lagos, about uncle John, his wife and family Bambi did not interrupt her or made any move or comment that could distract the other girls as she pour out her pent up emotions. When Beatrice finished, Bambi clapped her hands twice and hissed” chuu: instead of you to be grateful that a burden has been lifted of you, you are feeling resentful, “and she laughed “burden, who told you a burden was on “e’?, Beatrice asked.
Bambi replied “the burden of having all the house hold core laid upon you has been removed and instead of you being grateful that you can now have more time for your studies you went about morning.
But house work is no burden Beatrice protested “moreover I don’t really mind” But you ought to mind” Bambi retorted “You don’t have to turn yourself into a beast of burden because you wanted to be accepted into a family at all cost.
“But my mum said housework is not a form of punishments but a form of training so as to be a good wife in the future” Beatrice said Bambi laughed out aloud before saying “in this jet age, when there are people you could employ to do jobs for you, what are house help for anyway.
“But house helps two are not a beast of burden if I may borrow your word” said Beatrice “but they are paid for the work they do” Beatrice replied, I can see that you have no problem at all, you are just suffering from village mentality and inferiority complex.
This statement hit Beatrice as she began to wonder if she has not been foolish to have confided in Bambi. There was a lengthy science Bambi broke the silence ‘anyway you are a very lucky girl “she said.
“In what way” asked Beatrice. You have siblings, who writes you, isn’t it fun to read from them? asked Bambi Beatrice could detect the envy in the other girl’s voice so she asked tentatively don’t you have brothers and sisters? Bambi replied “yes and no” which made Beatrice look at her sharply. “Explain yourself please” she said Bambi then went on to explain the family’s set up, she rounds off by saying “so you see I have two sisters and a brother as though I have none” she smiled ruefully ‘because my mum would never allow me to have anything to do with them”.
“Why” Beatrice asked, after all it’s not a crime to have two wives in our society or is it? “Well Bambi said, my mum and dad are legally married and my mum was of the opinion that if daddy truly loved us, he would have continued with us and I quite agree with her.
“um-m-m, Beatrice sighed “ I don’t blame her for feeling that way after all it was for better for worse but I don’t blame your father either, the society had placed great emphasis on male ch-----“
Bambi retorted in annoyance” what a boy can do, I know I can do better and even b-e-st,” Beatrice smiled” that may be this but does the society view it that way to be precise does you father relatives belief that?
“That’s their cup of tea” Bambi said “but mind you ‘calm down’ Beatrice urged “let’s be realistic, you know our society would say one thing and mean the other and in a situation like that of your family it is easier said than done because soon it comes to facing the reality, not many men would bell the eat because I belief at the back of every man’s mind is this age that they are only complete when they have male children.
“Look, let’s drop that subject for the moment, said Bambi after all every thing has turned out for my own good”. how” Beatrice asked, Beatrice who could not understand Bambi at all, one moment she uses feeling sorry for herself, the next moment she was claiming she loves the situation as it were.
Bambi explained that her parents not living together has afforded her he opportunity to have her ways most of the times ‘take for example, my coming to the boarding house daddy would never have agreed. But with my mum, I have only to feign or little headache and I would quickly get whatsoever I wanted.
“why did you come here then” because sometimes I feel lonely at home replied Bambi. But now I think I am beginning to get board with the hostel, at home I have more time to go for parties but here one ha to be careful and plan one’s strategies carefully so as not to be detected.
Doesn’t your mother object your going to parties? Beatrice asked her. My um has a busy schedule and doesn’t stay at home much, so that leaves Aunt inter the security and my self at home most of the time. “can’t your Aunt Kate monitor your movement Bambi flared up “monitor who? I think God she knows her place and I know my?
“But an Aunt is suppose to have authority over the younger ones? Beatrice said. “Well, this one is not a real Aunt, I just call her Aunt out of politeness because she’s our maid Bambi said. “Oh! I see,” Beatrice said seeing nothing, deep in her heart, she was of the opinion that an older person should guide the younger ones aright being a relative or not withstanding as longer they live together under the same roof.