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CHAPTER 13- Let The Cat Out

As the taxi speed on, Beatrice has time to reflect on all that has taken place she hated herself for loosing her virginity in such a shameful manner, she hated Lagos and the word party and most especially she hated the man who has taken the advantage of being drunk to molest her.
she however vowed that as long as he remained in Lagos no more party for her ever again. She was really lucky to get into the hostel, unnoticed in her present condition, she doubt if she could answer any question without bursting into tears.
As soon as she reached her dormitory, she went straight to her bed and was surprised because she slept off like a baby and only revised when it was time for dinner.
People were surprised to see her back so soon after her susposed sickness, in the dinning hall, everybody was extra nice to her, she died not talk much and she looked beggared but she other girls thought it was because she was still recuperating.
By morning however she was her usual bubbling self, the hang over having room off but with this also came the awareness that she has best her innocence is a night stand so to say this makes her morese and withdrawn.
Bambi soon notice that Beatrice has been avoiding her like a plaque so she made up her mind to corner her and ask her about she kept wondering what would have brought about this sudden change in her new found friend. Hello Beatrice” Bambi said when she finally got her alone. Hi “Beatrice said oddly making to poise Bambi who blocked her way. “What my offence?Bambi asked ‘split it now. “But you haven’t offended me, “Beatrice replied impatiently. “why the cold attitude then’ Bambi persisted well, thought Beatrice I may as will split it, ‘look Bambi it’s just that I wouldn’t like to go to any more parties in the future an--.
Not even when you are invited by Double Bee “Bambi asked trying to pull the other girls legs to say.”“Balowe Brown? Beatrice said in a voice full of hurt and regret ‘I have seen the last of him, it’s still too early anyway for us to start having boy friends is he continued after sometime while the other girl weighed her words trying to determine the depth of her seriousness’ we have what future ahead of us Beatrice added ‘which should not be ruined by party spirit Bambi gaped at Beatrice wondering what could have been responsible for the sudden change of attitude.
Beatrice told Bambi that the first slept she was taking towards this decision of hers was to return all the things that Bambi has given her, the later said she would not except them back so Beatrice could do whatever she deemed fit with them. Then I would have to dash them out Beatrice said flatly. “Suit yourself” replied Bambi as she turned to go. after this their relationship became strained although they still managed to say hello now and then. Beatrice made good her decision by giving out all her party attire leaving only the things has brought from home, Bambi exchanged her bad with another girl moving far down the dormitory a way from Beatrice.
“Now to get down to serious studies Beatrice said to herself ‘to put the nasty experience behind and face the future squared.

One morning about three months after the party at Balowe Brown’s hose and barely two weeks to their promotional exam, SS1A. class was having a revision class. The maths teacher said “Beatrice please come and solve the problem on the black board for us. Beatrice got unsteadily on her legs, she was weak, for sometime now she hasn’t been feeling well and has gone off food because anytime, she put something in her mouth especially in the morning, she found out that she was likely to vomit it, how she wished the teacher would call on somebody else to work out the mathematics on the blackboard but instead the teacher said hurry up Beatrice. Her leg wobbling went over to the blackboard took the chalk and with great difficulty started working out the subject but half way through she suddenly fell and fainted, pandamonic broke out in the class, some of the girls who had the subject and has been looking for a way out seized the opportunity to wave the class while some with help if the teachers that has been attracted to the same tried to revive the girl who came around after sometime, she was later taken home.
Once home, she was taken to the hospital when the doctor after examining her, asked a few questions and ten ask her to do some tests, the result proof that she was three months --- Beatrice was dazed, the shock of what the doctor said was too much for her and she fainted again and has to be admitted into the hospital for some weeks after.
Uncle John and his wife were flabbergasted “where have we gone wrong” uncle John asked nobody in particular, has first thought was that he has failed as a guardian ‘what will he tell his sister? how could Beatrice do this to me he asked himself.
When the girl was finally discharged, he took her into his study and ask her to tell him how the incident has happened amidst her Beatrice opened her mouth to speak, she told her uncle how she felt going to the boarding house, her friends with Bambi, the parties, she poured out everything not hiding anything from him and her uncle did not interrupt her, his eyes particularly closed and head cocked to one side he sat there guessed to seat listened to take pathetic story of the girl in front of him, when everything had come out Beatrice kneeling down in front of her uncle said I am sorry, uncle what am I to do now.
her uncle said sternly ‘you have made a grievous mistake Beatrice, you have been very foolish and how ruined your career, at this word the girl wailed aloud beating herself ‘help me! help me! help me! she wept. Get up and sit ‘down here. uncle commanded her and listen to me carefully, some people would have opted for abortion which apart from being a criminal offence is also against my religion, abortion is therefore out that are going to have this baby, anyway you has almost into the sixth month now, but my problem is where you will stay until the baby was delivered, your Aunt---------- uncle John took the pen in front of him and started to use it to drawn on his head while he thanks, he was just about telling Beatrice that his wife does not want her to stay with them any longer, no amount of persuasion on his part would make the adamant as much changed her mind, she insisted that Beatrice, with her bulging stomach would not only cause embarrassment for them but she would also be a negative influence on her own children uncle John stopped drumming and said ‘ I know you can still make it that is if you are determined to as for me I am ready to give you a second chance, I believe by now that you have learned your lesson, I hope in furture you will learn to speak out for and again what you like and don’t like, may be if you have told me your feelings about going to the boarding house we would have been able to avoid this unpleasant incident by looking forward alternative.
Beatrice thanked her uncle for given her another opportunity and promised not to guff this second chance, within her she determined that this time assured she was going to make it.
Beatrice was taking by Uncle John to an elderly Aunt who live in another part of Lagos, the woman who could barely used the end of a bottle to write letter. O was a business tycoon who sells clothes in the famous it a Balogun market, she has various types of girls helping her to sell cloths, in the four big shops that she has in the market some of these girls cases were similar to Beatrice only that they did not have anybody to give there a second chance and the woman exploit them to the fullest, some of this girls stays with her while some came very early from their different homes to swerve her and would not leave until later in the evening all in the name of learning how to trade in clothes from this woman.
As uncle John explain his predicament to her, she did not bat an eye lid as she calmly listen to him, when uncle John has finished she said ‘there is nothing new under the sun look a this and this girl she parte to one to two girls who were outside soliciting for customer, they were in similar situation when they got here. but when they find out that they could easily make money here they forget about schooling and there are now doing fine but mind you I have know objection if you Beatrice wanted to go back to school but at least she must spend a year here because you can not dump her on me now only for you to come and take her s soon as she has delivered a baby she must serve me at least for six months for feeding her, uncle John promised that he would be bringing money form time to time for the girl up keep and for whatever else, this woman may suggest because he would like Beatrice to go back to school as soon as possible.
The woman asked uncle John to pay specific amount every month for Beatrice up keep which they man promptly agreed to pay, they both argued that she should be registered in a near by maternity hospital for counseling the woman smiled secretly to herself at the handsome bargaining she was getting in addition to the girl serving her she knew that h aspiration of the parent when they brought them way ward children to her for such girls to go back to school turn after but to her she knew that the girls after tasting the forbidding fruits and not easily tamed again and before parent knew it they are already carrying another pregnancy this coupled with the fact that they can easily get a little change in their hand from the sales they made never allowed them to go back to face the rigious of the class room any more.
Beatrice soon learnt that out of the five girls that were learning with her new guardian only two of them has ever seen the wall of a class room because there parents has been too poor to send them to school but the other three has been in similar situation as herself, two of which already has other children by now therefore forgetting entirely about schooling.
The third girl called Monirat was still nursing the ambition to go back to school but with no help forth coming her way. But why not go back to school now before you forget all you have been taught in school said Beatrice ‘after all you said your child is already two years old. Monsurat replied “I still have one more year to serve mama, my mother signed an agreement of three years with her when I was brought here. you did not know how lucky you are that you father was paying for your accommodation and food so that you are free to leave whenever you wanted to. Monsura said enviously my father completely washed his hands off me and my mother could not pay the huge amount madam demanded.
Beatrice wondered if her father would have done the same thing if he were alive. Beatrice was grateful to her uncle for this opportunity given her, she therefore made up her mind that come what may, she would still make if only she show him that she valued the love and trust he has placed on her.
At Madam house, the day starts by five O’clock in the morning the girls take turn to cook and other girls jokes when distributed to them awarding to their seniority which was not according to the gist but the order in which they came to like with madam Beatrice was the most junior of all, it was therefore her turn to sweep the compound as well as wash the plates after food.
Beatrice has therefore cultivated the habit of waking up one or two hours before the others to read her books, she has also made it a point of duty to put in one hour of reading before going to bed, she wold take notes from some of the children of madam’s co-traders to copy helping the junior ones among them to solve their mathematical problems or in doing their school assignments, these soon endeared her to some of their mothers who gave her presents in cash and gifts.
Madam soon noticed that Beatrice was different from her other maids and because she has a soft spot for people who has ambition she allowed her to have a little more time for herself without making it obvious.
One night, Mama who had woken up to case herself heard some movement in the sitting room and went to investigate, here she met Beatrice head bowed down furiously writing something in an exercise book, the woman glanced out the wall clock which was two O’clock.
But didn’t you go to bed by twelve she asked the startled girl who nods her head. ‘Then why are you up by this time after hardly being in bed for two hours Beatrice replied that the girl in the next compound whom she took the note from would need it in the morning for school.
Madam said ‘look Beatrice, I am in no doubt that you wanted very much to go back to school but because of your condition, you must try and take this things away a bit, I don’t want any problem on any hands do you hear, while the others you to shop at seven O’clock, I will give you the grace of going to join them by nine O’clock. I think you can use those hours to do whatever you want to do and rest at night.
Beatrice went on her knees to thank the woman tears of gratefulness running down her cheek
When Mrs. Adams was sent for and she met Beatrice in her condition she wept bitterly in frustration and shame. Uncle John tries to console his sister by anything that all hope is not lost, he talked at length with her the woman signed deeply and said “I thank you very much for all you have been doing for my self and the children since their father deems and I am sorry that Beatrice has had to my you this way, her eyes intent upon her brother she asked “her you sure the girl can still go back to school or are you just saying all this things to put a wool on my force and just saying all this things to put a wool on my face and just to scorning my feelings.

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