Category Archives: Read-a-Tale

Margaret X – 8





WHILE I begged for the ground to open up and bury me within its depth, John-Bosco’s father ordered Ebube to go find John-Bosco wherever it is he was. And while we waited, silence loomed, except for the occasional exclamations from John -Bosco’s mother.

I have at this point come to understand that my life was over. Life, as I knew it up until I met John-Bosco and veered off the path God must have ordained for me, was over. I came to understand too that I had no one to blame but myself. I could not even blame John-Bosco. If I had said no, as Sister Mary-Cynthia taught us to vehemently say when a man, or boy, suggested any sinful act to us, I would not be here imploring a ground that was solid and inanimate, to grow a month and swallow me up.

John-Bosco came and upon seeing me, I think his heart sank. I could read the fear in the nervous glance he aimed at me, then at the Sisters.

“John-Bosco,” his father began to speak in a solemn voice, his eyes set firmly on his son. “Do you know Margaret?”

Margaret X – 7





I was pregnant. That was the reality that hit me when Sister Mary-Cynthia took me to see the doctor and several tests were conducted and the last being a urine test.

“What?” Sister Mary-Cynthia screamed when the doctor made the announcement.

The scream caused the doctor to jolt and sent me to my feet and scurrying to a corner of the doctor’s office, clutching my dress against me and wishing the ground would open and swallow me up.

“Did you say she is pregnant?” Sister Mary-Cynthia’s voice shook with disbelief. “You mean—pregnant as in has a baby in her womb?”

I wished there was another kind of pregnant and that the doctor would acquiesce that that was my ailment. Somehow I saw this pregnancy as an ailment.

Margaret X – 6





IS it that I can’t count properly, or that I have forgotten the exact date?

I frowned and started my count again, using the calendar on the wall of our bedroom since the 2016 calendar encrypted to the back of my notebook has failed me.

I got to the date and found that I have gone past it by eight days.

No, it can’t be! I turned from the calendar and grabbed my pen and notebook. A slow and steady count will uncover any errors I must surely be making. I began my numbering from the first day of my last cycle, entering each date in a linear format until I arrived at the date for today—and I was still eight days late.

Maybe it was just late. These things happened, didn’t they? The pen fell off my hand as I felt my heart begin to pound. It was only a case of being late, nothing else. It can’t be anything else. Dear Lord… Virgin Mary…

Margaret X – 5





I was not an innocent, not in the true sense of the word where both mind and body is pure and uncorrupted. I had been touched before. Intimately touched and I knew, even then, that it was wrong. I did not ask to be touched. I did not go looking for one to touch me. I was too young to seek these things when it happened to me.

If I was fifteen now, then that unwanted intimate touch happened when I was nine.

I was sleeping at the small shed provided by the row of stores I usually stayed in front to beg for food and money. The old woman I lived with had died by this time and to survive, I sometimes ran errands for shop owners, other times I gathered whatever money I was given and bought a bag of pure water and sold.

I did not do this often, selling pure water sachets, maybe because I found it too tedious and begging by roadsides often fetched me enough to feed anyway.

Margaret X – 4






That was what John-Bosco whispered into my ears when after Catechism class I came outside the church hall before Theresa and Assumpta.

“I love you, Margaret.” He repeated when I did not say anything but just stared at him.

“You love me?”

I was awed. No one had ever said this to me. But I have read about them in books—novels I usually get from Augustina, my friend in school. Of course, I read these novels secretly and did not take them back with me to the Convent. I simply leave them inside my school locker and read them during school hours. And they have been educative and have opened my eyes to many things.

A boy telling a girl “I love you” was one of those things my eyes have opened to.

Margaret X – 3





VANITY when it takes hold of your senses will not release it until you have learnt a life-changing lesson and manage to become estranged from all that is vain and futile.

But of course I did not know this until I had lost my way and then found it again.

Still, it was at this age of fifteen, and with the freedom to braid and thread my hair, that it all began. It was at this time that I first began to question who I really was.

What was really my surname?

That was the first of the questions that plagued my mind.

Margaret X – 2





I grew up fast, and not just in body. My mind was opening, learning, developing. Knowledge, of all that was available to me, was unwrapping itself to me. I was curious. I was eager. I wanted to know, and I sought knowledge of all that I, at that moment, thought that I needed to know.

I was now fifteen. That is according to my given age by Sister Mary-Cynthia. I was also a senior student. That in itself was my greatest excitement. It was like I had walked long and far and had at last pushed open this very distant and elusive door.

I was a senior. And I felt like a senior.

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