The two white-winged creatures walked calmly and unnoticed through the streets of the Royal College, Abokpa. They had been given a mandate by the General Michael through the will of the Almighty God to see to the safety of the 11-year-old boy Daniel Atuegwu whom they were guarding. Anyone looking with an ordinary eye would have noticed only the young boy Daniel as he walked cautiously and with care towards the classroom of Jss1C. He had been brought there by his grandfather who left him after the registration formalities so he can make it on time to his workplace.
Daniel was the product of a mistake by all assessments of men. He was born by Chidimma, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matthias Atuegwu. Mr. Matthias was a man of his own wisdom, who worked as a security man with a bank within the city, and was blessed with 2 sons and 2 daughters. Like many men within his environs, Mr. Matthias was given to evening time drinking in bars with his friends, and this had usually led to fights and quarrels with his wife and neighbours, and sometimes brought unhappiness to the children as they watched the unbecoming and non-exemplary behaviour of their father at such times.
His wife, however, was of a different stock, cool, calm and of a quiet disposition, she was the lonely beacon of light in the Atuegwu family. Though with all the pressures upon her as a wife and a mother, she laboured to raise all her children in the fear of the Lord and to shield them from the influence of their father’s behaviour. However, she was not altogether successful, as it was a near impossibility for a woman to raise her children in a particular way when she has an irresponsible husband whose example is a total negation of all she had laboured to impart in the children. This was the clear case with Chidimma, their second daughter.
Chidinma Atuegwu got to secondary school and began to associate herself with the bad and ungodly girls in the school. With time she got used to their usual practice of wearing short school uniform skirts slitted a little at the back, unbuttoning of their school shirt down to the breast line, and flirting around with the opposite sex. She got used to sharing obscene jokes and insulting her teachers (especially the male ones) and a lot of other bad habits. Her mother noticed this attitude in her, and so did her teachers, and they all tried to show her the negative results of following in such a way, but all advices fell on deaf ears.
It is said that the dogs the gods want to kill, they first make its nostril imperceptible to the smell of excreta. Chidimma felt that she knew what she was doing and that she was a “happening” girl in the city. She had a feeling of pleasure and power seeing all those guys pursuing her and flocking around her. She always believed that it was her right to enjoy her youthfulness the way she wanted. However, the heedless fly, the elders say, will end up with the corpse in the grave.
Her life came to a dead end on a particular night when she attended a party with her friends. In the course of the night’s show of shame and stupidity, a young man she was drinking and dancing with and who had been targeting her all this while put some sleeping drugs in her drinks which she drank and got drowsy. The young man escorted her to a nearby enclosure within the party hall where, oblivious to her friends and all who were in the hall that night, he raped her. It is always a pity that when elders who have had experiences in life warn young people of the dangers in the road they are taking, they do not listen and think they can be wiser than their elders and avoid the consequences of their actions; but life has proven times and times again that they will never evade the consequences of their youthful stupidity.
Chidimma was picked up that day by her friends who warned her never to tell anyone what happened. Time passed and after some weeks she started having nauseating feelings, constant vomiting and early morning sicknesses. By this time, she was a 17 years old, an SS2 student, and her WAEC was at hand. Her parents noticed these symptoms and took her to the hospital. Series of tests revealed that she was pregnant, and the doctor broke this news to her parents. The father was so angry that when he came back home, he gave Chidimma the flogging of her life and insulted her heavily. He even threatened to disown her as his child.
Mrs. Atuegwu , however, took her in and after treating her wounds allowed her to rest in the room. Later in the night, she woke her up and asked her in a gentle voice to tell her all that happened. With tears and much weeping she narrated all that happened that night at the party, and begged her mother to forgive her.
With tears in her eyes the woman looked at her daughter and said, “Chidinma, this is the problem with you young people. You always think you know about life, and that you are very wise and smart. As a result, you never listen when your elders warn you concerning the road you are taking. It is only when things go bad you will start crying, but unfortunately for you, it is too late. The mistake has been made”.
“What do I do?” Chidinma cried, ”my friends say I can abort it and go on with my life. I am confused, I don’t know what to do”.
“Now listen to me”, Mrs. Atuegwu said, “Once a girl gets involved in immorality, she risks the chances of getting pregnant, and once a girl gets pregnant, especially outside wedlock, her life will never remain the same. So is it with you Chidimma.”
“If you abort this baby, you will live with the guilt of it all your life, except the grace of Jesus is showered on you; and if you give birth to it, he/she has automatically become your child. Either way your life is about to turn around. However, if I were to say, I would ask you to keep the baby. That way you will not have to deal with the guilt of having murdered an innocent child. Who knows, one day, that child will grow and be a blessing to you and the world at large.”
Chidimma had to drop out from school and started learning sewing while she tended to her pregnancy. A few months later she was delivered of a bouncing baby boy who she gave the name of Daniel. That was the story of how Daniel Atuegwu came into this world. From man’s point of view, he was a mistake; but the heavens told a different story….
************** to be continued ****************