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Friday, May 27, 2016

Gina's Cross (2) new love


 On getting to the village, I tried to acclimatize as much as possible. It was not easy having been born and bred in the city and used to a certain way of life.

Now I had to learn village ways such as fetching water from a well, going to the farm with my Grandma (who was a widow) and my cousins who lived with her, walking long distances carrying heavy loads of farm produce on my head, going into the forest for firewood and so many other activities the villagers engaged in.

My two cousins teased and called me names like 'softie', 'ajebo' and others but I did not mind them. With the resilience of the young, I learnt quickly and began to adapt to my new life. I enrolled in a school in the nearest town to our village which was about three miles away. We walked to and from the school as there was no car to take us down.

My little girl Una who was growing very fast, was in the care of my Grandma or one of my aunties while I was in school. 

She was a happy, bubbly baby who did not cry much. Despite the circumstances under which she was born, I loved my baby and was very protective of her.

Once in a while, my mother would come from the city to see us. I always looked forward to her visits as she brought things for the baby and I.

About a year when I had been living in the village, she came one day and said my father wanted me to return home but on one condition: I had to leave Una in the village with my grand mother. Truth was I wanted to return to the city as I missed my younger sister Gladys and two brothers. But I could not bear to be separated from my baby.

"Mum, I miss home but leaving my baby here is not possible. I can't leave her here, who will look after her?" I argued.

"Your grandmother will do that. I've discussed the matter with her and she says it's ok as long as we send money regularly for her upkeep," my mother said.

But I was still not convinced. I was just 16 then, little more than a baby myself but I had grown so attached to my daughter that the thought of being away from her for so long was too painful to contemplate. 
I told my mother to plead with my father to let me remain with the baby till she was at least older and had started school.

"I'm not sure he will support that- I think he misses you and wants you home. The last time he was home, he kept talking about you, asking how you were doing. Sometimes, when he wants to call Gladys, he will call your name instead. That says a lot," she said. 

  ***
My mother was right. Dad was not happy with my decision to stay with my baby, stating that it was my future I was toying with. Anyway, I chose my baby over returning home and I did not regret my decision even though I paid a very heavy price for it later.

 I continued with my education and finally sat for my final exams. Despite all the challenges I passed through, I did well in most of my papers. My result was good enough to attend a higher institution which was my ambition. 

 I wanted to study Law; I had always had the dream as a young girl to be a lawyer. It started when I was in Primary school- every morning on the way to school, we used to pass by the courts and I would see the lawyers in their gowns and wigs looking very smart. 

 I used to admire them so much and wanted to be like them when I grew up. So, when I sat for the university entrance exams, I chose Law as my first course.

 As they say, things never turn out the way one plans. To my joy, I passed the exams and secured the admission. But I could not take up the admission because of my Dad. He bluntly refused to sponsor my education with the excuse that I disobeyed his earlier instructions to come back when he told me to! 

  My mother, Grandma and other family members pleaded with him to reconsider so I would not miss the golden opportunity that had come my way. But he did not budge and maintained his stand. That was how I missed attending school that year. Or the year after that.

 I felt very bad about the situation especially when my younger sister Gladys got her admission to study Banking and Finance. Here was I with good results yet unable to go to school because of my father's refusal to sponsor me. 

Later, I put the disappointment behind me and focused on taking care of my baby and helping my Grandma with her farm work and little business.

 Una was about four years old when I met Marcus. He was a young businessman who had come from the city to visit his family in the village. 

 It was a market day and Grandma and I were returning from there one evening when he gave us a ride. His mother and Grandma were very good friends and the woman often visited us at home.

 Two days after that first meeting, he came to our house to give her some gifts he had brought from the city.
 "Thank you so much, my son. May God continue to bless and protect you," Grandma prayed as she admired the various items.

 "Amen," he intoned.
  Later, we sat on the verandah of Grandma's house and chatted for sometime. He felt bad when I told him about my truncated educational career.

 "You shouldn't give up on your dream. You are still very young, time is still on your side so hang in there," he advised me.
 For the rest of his stay in the village, Marcus would visit me in the evenings usually after we returned from the farm. He seemed to like me and he confirmed it one evening when we sat talking.

 "I have to return to town in a few days because of some business commitments. But I don't feel like going," he stated.

 "Why?" I enquired, turning to gaze at him.
 "It's your fault. I feel so relaxed and happy whenever I'm with you."

 I smiled at that. It was the same feeling with me. He was the first guy I had allowed to come close to me after the rape incident. That experience made me develop a kind of phobia for guys; all the boys who chased me while I was in school got nothing but curses and abuse for their effort and after a while, they left me alone. 

 Marcus was the only one whom I felt comfortable enough with to come close to me.

 Even my Grandma noticed the blossoming romance between us and began to call him my husband whenever she spoke about him.

 "Gina, I've not seen your husband today. Has he gone back to the city without letting us know?" she asked one evening. We had just finished eating dinner and were relaxing in the 
parlour.

 "Ah! Nene! He's not my husband o! When did we get married?" I protested.
 "Don't worry. It will happen. Soon," she stated emphatically.

   Some days later, Marcus travelled to his base. Before leaving, he gave me his address in the city and said I could visit him anytime I wanted. He wrote regularly, professing his love for me and how much he missed me...


Join us tomorrow for more of Gina and Marcus love story and the aftermath!


To Be Continued...


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