Editor’s note: This short story was written by David, Precious Orevaoghene.
“You’ll leave this house for me, Amaka! You’ll not kill me; you won’t make me die premature! Have I not tried for you? What more do you want? This is my husband’s house! Since you can’t get a job for yourself, look for a husband and marry! Just leave my house for me! I can’t continue to feed a grown-up like you!” Those were Mama’s heart-piercing words to me. I cannot hold back my tears. My own mother is asking me to leave the house at this critical point? If my family cannot help me now, where else could I possibly get help from?
How do I explain to my mother that I have been trying my best but life has not just been what people make it look like? How do I tell her that I am suffering because I choose decency above all the youthful cravings? How in this world could I make Mama understand that opportunities are not given based on merit anymore? Even when one is qualified for a post or an opportunity, one still has to pay money or indulge in other behind the scene acts to get what one actually deserves.
Mama and my late father did all they could to see me through the university. The hope is that I would get a good-paying job and help alleviate their suffering. But that seems not forthcoming. Ten years after graduation, I still do not have a good job.
First, it was my alma mater. I was the Best Graduating Student in my department and the Head of Department assured me that I would be retained. It all seemed a reality until he and some professors asked me for sex. I turned down the request and had to back out because they all refused to sign my papers or recommend me for the opportunity. I later got another job and then another, but I kept losing them because they were always asking me to sleep with the Ogas.
I am currently working in a private school that pays a first class graduate like me fifteen thousand Naira salaries. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown of schools, that change is no longer coming in.
This same demand for sex before anything else has dealt a heavy blow on my love life. I have lost several suitors because I would not agree to premarital sex. Even my assistant pastor, who wanted to marry me, at some point, drew back because he asked me for sex and I refused him.
Maybe, I deserve the sufferings, but I do not understand why. How will I explain to Mama that the behind the scenes of life is something else?
My younger sister, Agnes, is doing well. She keeps gifting Mama cash and other great items. She is surely Mama’s best-loved child. With her own evidences, I am sure I cannot convince Mama that there are no jobs. How can I substantiate my claims when my sister moves from one good job to another better one? But only my sister and I know the secret. I know what she is doing is wrong but I am no better because I have nothing to show for my decency—save my virginity that cannot put food on the family’s table.
Now that mama has ordered me out of the house, I am soaked in more shame. Should I go to the friends of mine who compromised and got their monies and who have asked me to do same and I refused?