She shook her head repeatedly, the anger and disbelief on her face very obvious. “What is going on here, sister?” she turned to my mother. “Are you just going to sit down and do nothing while some idiot comes from nowhere and destroys the life of your daughter?”
“But what can I do, Florence?” mother returned, struggling to have her emotions under control. “She only just told us about what happened to her. She did not tell anybody anything when she was raped. It was in the process of trying to abort the pregnancy that we got to…..”
“What?” Aunty Florence interjected, disbelief written all over her face. “Who wanted to do abortion, Rosemary? Who told you to go and do an abortion?”
“I was scared, Aunty, I didn’t know what to do…”
“But at the very least, you should’ve told your mother about it, even if you couldn’t tell anyone else,” she said to me.
“Florence, what am I going to do o? See the shame Rosemary has brought upon this family,” mother started crying again.
“What about her father, what is he saying about all this?” she asked.
“He insists she should abort the pregnancy otherwise she should leave his house!”
“My God!” she’d exclaimed. “ So, what do you plan to do now?”
“To be honest with you, Florence, I don’t know. I am so, so confused right now, and her father is adamant she must leave the house, that he cannot bear to watch her bring forth a bastard, the chi9ld of a rapist, under his roof!”
Aunty Florence shook her head. “You can’t blame him, sister, this will be very hard for any father to take, more so a child that had such a promising future. So, now what exactly are your plans now, is there any arrangement in place for her to abort it?”
“Abort it? No, that’s not in my plans at all. I cannot use my own hand to abort my first grandchild,” she’d thrown back.
“So, how are you going to go about it?” Aunty Florence asked.
Mother was silent. Then, moments after, she turned to her sister: “Florence, can you please do me a favour?”
“What kind of favour?”
“Can you take Rosemary with you to Lagos?” my mother said to her.
Aunty Florence was silent for several minutes. She was weighing the request mother had made of her. In my mind, I was actually praying she would say no. What I preferred was to stay back in the village, find a solution to my problem and move on with my life. I would’ve thought a more outgoing and educated woman like Aunty Florence would see things differently and persuade mother to arrange to abort the pregnancy for me. What would I be doing in Lagos? Apart from her, who else do I know in Lagos? How am I going to survive in such a big city like Lagos? And would happen to my education? These were the flurry of questions that raced through my mind.
“I would love to, sister, but you know I can’t take that decision by myself,” Aunty Florence replied after thinking about it long and hard. “My husband pays the rent, not me. He is the owner of the house, so I will need to return to Lagos and discuss with him,” she explained. I was pained. She should be looking for ways to help me get rid of the pregnancy, not agree to take me away to Lagos to become a mother. At what age? Are they are not even thinking of my education at all? I was silently boiling inside me as different kinds of thoughts flooded my mind.
“But, sister, even if I take her to Lagos now, is it for her to go and give birth in my house and then my husband and I will begin to care for her and the baby?” she asked mother.
“Look, Florence, I just need you to help me take her away first, when we get to that bridge we will know how to cross it…”
“Which bridge, sister?” Aunty Florence shot back at her. “We are already at the bridge. Before you know it now, her stomach will start bulging and soon, she will put to bed.”
“Yes, Florence, I know, but let’s even get her out of the village first,” mother responded. “I know how difficult it will be for her to be going around the village with protruding tummy. She can do that in Lagos where nobody knows her. Maybe when she’s close to the time she’ll put to bed, she can return to the village, what do you think?”
Aunty Florence shook her head. “To be honest with you, sister, I can’t see the difference that will make. But if you ask for my candid opinion though, I will say you should abort the pregnancy for her because it will only complicate matters to the poor girl in future when she is ready to settle down with a man.”
“But my conscience won’t let me do that, Florence, don’t you understand?” Aunty Florence did not answer. She was probably wondering how she would wriggle out of the situation she had found herself.
“So, are you helping me or not?” mother asked her.