Earlier this morning, I asked Mama Augusta if Augusta could accompany me today when I go into town… I promised I would bring her back on time.
“You know Augusta is your sister, just call her whenever you are ready”
she had said.
I smiled… yet worried that the information I would later bring will change this mother forever.
So hand in hand, Augusta and I walked into Aunty Nurse’s house. She had agreed to do the test at home, to protect Augusta from the gossip that will follow visiting the township. She took a little blood, explaining that a blood test will give a more accurate result than testing her urine… then she got to work…
For the first time since the Nurse had taken blood from her, I heard Augusta release her breathe… Aunty Nurse had said she was not pregnant. Her hand’s grip on my arm loosened… tears still flowed… but a little light had returned to her eyes. She was relieved and so was I.
With my relief came a terrifying feeling of fear… fear of the stories Augusta must now tell… fear of the extent of damage that may have been done by Mr. Bádéjọ, and more importantly, I worry about how I would tell Mama Augusta. But the story must be told… and it’s my duty to listen.
So, I took Augusta to the township’s central park… It was still early morning… and I knew we would not be disturbed.
“What did he do to you, Augusta? Start from the beginning, tell me everything”
I said as soon as we sat on the grass.
Augusta sighed and said
“Aunty, you know Mr. Badejo is my favourite teacher, and I only did what he asked to make him happy”
I looked at her…her words surprised me but it also helped to immediately figure out that Mr. Bádéjọ may have taken advantage of Augusta’s ever eager nature to make everyone happy.
“Continue” I whispered.
“Aunty, I don’t understand Chemistry… it’s just too hard, so I went to Mr. Bádéjọ and asked if he could teach me after school.”
As if she knew the question I was about to ask, she quickly added
“I knew Mama and Papa don’t have money to pay for a Lesson teacher, that’s why I didn’t tell them”
I nodded at her to continue,
“One day, after we finished the lesson, he told me to sit on his laps, and when I asked why, he said that’s what friends do to make each other happy… that was the first day he touched me, Aunty”
She took a deep breath and continued in a voice much smaller than when she started…it was as if she was ashamed
“He hugged me and touched my breast that day, but the following week, he said we had to do more, that he was still sad and I needed to make him happy… he said what we have to do is called Sex and that it’s good for me”
“That evening, I asked Mama what sex meant … but she said to shut up and never speak of it again… So, I went back to Mr. Bádéjọ… he said it’s like Chemistry…that since practical is always best, he will show me how”
“And he showed you, didn’t he?”
I asked, already angry… angry at the man who took advantage of a child’s curiosity and trust… angry at the Mother who shut a curious child up.
“Yes, Aunty, he showed me but it was painful… I didn’t like it but he said I will get used to it… that I must tell no one… because friends keep secrets. So, I never said anything.”
For a while, we were both quiet… perhaps for different reasons… I wanted to know more… but I needed to first swallow my rage in order to ask. I asked when he first touched her, she said it was three months ago, at the beginning of the term.
Then, I asked why she suddenly thought she was pregnant now, and not three months ago.
“Mr. Bádéjọ had told me I cannot be pregnant, that he was always careful, but I heard the Biology teacher telling SS 3 students that when a girl is pregnant, her monthly visitor will no longer come and mine didn’t come last week”
“Well, you are not pregnant, Augusta. But you know I must tell your Mother all that has happened”
I stated. She started to cry…repeating that Mama will kill her.
I said nothing, as I held her to me. I could not promise what her mother would do… but I assured her I would stay and plead for her.
After she had calmed down, I stood up… holding my hands out to her…she looked up at me with all the innocence of her age…
“Let’s go home and speak to your mother now, Augusta…”