Amos Bani 1 year ago
@Inspirations f... 9 min read Write a comment #short-stories


She had never said No. Her life had always been decided for her. She had made sacrifices. Her mother once told her that a time will come when she will have to decide for herself and when that time comes to make the right decision.

I looked from one to the other. Different feelings rushed through me. After all these years, what she once said to me came to mind. I can't, won't let them do this to me again, and again, and again.

I'm no longer the naive girl who did everything she was asked or commanded to do, down to the very last word. Seeing the determined look in his eyes, the way it had always been throughout my life when he made decisions concerning me. Suddenly, I knew it was time; I knew I was old enough to decide for myself, Old enough to say "NO" to him even just this once, knowing it'll change everything. Change my life, my future, and my very self. But I knew I would survive, just as I survived all these years. I looked him in the eyes, and for the first time as far as I could remember I said the one word I never dreamt, never thought or imagined I could say to him. "No"

"What!" He said. I barely heard him, my heart pounding hard seeing the look on his face. "What did you say?" He asked again. "I won't do it...." How did I get here?. As long as I've known him, my father has always, never loved nor wanted me. Never. 

He only cared because he had no choice, and when he did have a choice, I became an afterthought. All because I'm a girl. Mum had once told me that when she was pregnant with me, he had wanted an ultrasound to be performed to know the sex of the baby. She flat out refused to know his obsession with boys. He'd always wanted a boy child to carry on his name and legacy. She was afraid of what will happen if the ultrasound revealed a girl instead of the boy he wanted. And thanks to her, I'm alive. He probably would've made her have an abortion. I thought it was something I did or didn't do. But no, I found out that he had never wanted me starting with his refusal to visit my mother and me when I was born. No welcoming party or even a naming ceremony after five years of childlessness. I was named by my mom, unlike my brother who was born six years later, even before he was born, invites were sent out in preparation for his naming ceremony (After he forced my mother to have an ultrasound to avoid another 'mistake' ). We were well to do. Having the ear of the governor paved way for his thriving textile cooperation. When my brother came along, I received less and less attention from my mother as she was always taking care of him and the distance between my father and I grew, what does a six-year-old girl do when her father doesn't play with her, not even once. My brother became the MAN of the house, Mama Joy became Mama Emma. As we grew up, my brother and I were never close considering that I spent most of my holidays in the village while they traveled from city to city either for business or vacation. I told myself it will pass, that a time will come, and I'll be loved as much as my brother. 

At sixteen, I was able to grasp the truth that this day will never come. My mother's love was all I had and to some extent, it was something to live for. She loved me enough to let me understand that a time will come when I'll have a choice, and when that time comes, to make the right choice. She didn't live long enough to see me make that choice as she died of cancer in my second year of junior secondary school. That was when my hope was almost dashed to pieces. All of a sudden my father decided there wasn't enough money to put the both of us through school. The decision was made, and for three years I stayed at home while I continued school. I was the better of the two of us. He barely did his assignment which I was made to do for him. He failed woefully, and his inability to achieve a fair grade made my father secure his admission into senior secondary school via his 'connections.' Thanks to the intervention of an aunt, I resumed school and completed my secondary education.

Everything fell apart for my father when a new governor was sworn in and he was charged with tax fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and to top it off, the MAN of the house was expelled from the university for his involvement in cultism and examination malpractice. I was staying with my father and working at a bakery, making a name for myself and looking forward to opening my bakery. I was searching around for a suitable and available space to rent when I got a text from him. My father and I never talk on the phone. He only sends text messages. I hurried home to meet him. He hated it when am later if he sends for me, and I try to avoid his anger at all costs. I was wondering why he summoned me. He only needs me when the foodstuff is finished and he needs me to go to the market. I went to the market just two days ago, which was why I was wondering why he called for me. Maybe it had to do with my brother, who had informed me that a solution to the family's problem has been found. I came home only to meet a motorcade at our house. The new governor was here. Ever since the situation with EFCC, he'd been trying to get help from the new governor, until now that is "This is your brother's future we're talking about" He said to me.  

I had barely sat down when he dropped the bombshell. The governor was ready to help him restore his cooperation and help my brother get back to school if my father would give me to his son in marriage. We were all silent for a minute but it felt like an hour. Then I dropped the unexpected. A single word "No" Clearly, he wasn't expecting that. "You can't say no."He shook his head as if in a dream. "You're my daughter, and I decide your future." " I'm sorry, but that's my decision to make."

" Your mother would be disappointed in you."I laughed out loud at that. " If she were here, she would applaud me for this. I'm just saddened that she didn't live long enough to see me make this decision. It's what she always wanted for me." I stood up and turned to the governor, " I'm sure your son will find a suitable woman to marry someday. If you'll excuse me I have places to go." With that, I stood up and left. I bumped into my brother on my way out. We just looked at each other neither of us saying anything to the other. I didn't care if he heard everything. I was done making sacrifices for him. 

As I stopped a bike man, I felt free. Free of my father's grip, free of the life I was forced to live. I was always the UNBELOVED child, the rejected one. But for the first time, I could be anything I chose to be, anything I wanted to be. I wasn't sure what I would do, but I was sure of this, I'll always be my father's daughter, but I'll never again be what I used to be... The UNBELOVED.

The end.

Amos Bani

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