Holly’s parents were not stinking rich neither were they church-mouse poor. Sometimes they afforded to take the family of six to visit a three star hotel and order foreign food, dive in mega swimming pools with English speaking kids and take cocktail juice in long glasses which had slices of lemon attached to them.
Yet when business was not going well, Holly’s mother would take out from the freezer a kilogram of maize and beans and a half kilo of meat and fry them all together. She would spice them with coriander, bell pepper, garlic and ginger.
The young ones would complain but the stern look on their mother’s countenance would leave them no choice but to gobble down what was in their plates.
Holly was the first born. Her brother was conceived unexpectedly, two months after Holly was born. The two, Holly and her brother were like twins, almost identical and very close. Then three years later, Holly’s parents welcomed a young girl, very bubbly and loveable. Then history repeated itself. This time she was six months when she discovered she was pregnant again.
Four kids were enough, they both agreed. Holly’s mother was so fertile that no family planning pills or injections were effective on her body. She decided to perform a permanent contraception.
Done with bearing kids, she could now focus on helping with the family business, the general shop in the capital city. When her husband went abroad (which he often did) to purchase items for sale, she was left in charge.
Holly was a big girl now. Her mother did not worry when Holly was at home. She could take care of her three siblings, assign them chores and ensure that they all took their meals. Keeping Holly occupied was also a way to ensure that she did not leave the house to roam around.
However, her mother allowed her to welcome her friends but she also forbade her to see others who she thought were bad company. Lucky for Holly, her mother did not have a problem with her new friend, Blessing.
Blessing’s polite demeanor and eagerness to help around the house chores impressed Holly’s parents.
Holly’s mother had once interrogated her and found out that she had a brother. “Leave that one alone, we do not even know where he is , he is a low life, he dropped out of school and demeaned mum’s efforts to help him study. I want to be the one that will make mum proud.”
Blessing said and Holly’s mother was more than delighted.
Then, just one week before Holly turned sixteen, her mother realized that her daughter could not share the same room with fried onions. Her visits to the bathroom became frequent. Her moods were becoming very unpredictable. But what sold her out was both the conscious and unconscious effort to hide her belly.
Holly’s father was in Dubai when her mother knocked on her door at eleven am. Her body was trembling. She tried to convince herself that the worry she had about their daughter being pregnant was just an imagination, that Holly just had an illness that would be eliminated by some antibiotics.
“Holly,” She said, sitting on the bed next to her daughter, “I want you tell me the truth.” She was now pointing at Holly, closing her eyes for emphasis, “I repeat, do not lie to me because, if you do, what I will do to you will remain forever etched in your mind.”
Holly put her phone under her pillow and sat up quickly. She started to fiddle with her fingers and bite her lower lip.
“Holly!” Her mother called out in a menacingly loud whisper. She did not want to wake the others. Holly was startled and frightened. Then her tears fell out in torrents. Her mother did not expect that kind of reaction.
“Holly? Are you ok?”
Holly shook her head, now sobbing and trying to pull back the liquid fiercely running down from her nose.
“Are you pregnant Holly?”
Holly nodded, her sobs louder and uncontrollable. Her mother stared at her little girl. An impulse urged her to slap the crying girl for ruining her name and their reputation but Holly’s tears moved her. She stayed on and waited for her daughter to calm down.
Her mind then was on a race of thoughts. She remembered the ponderous burden of pregnancy and the cumbersome life of motherhood. She did not want to picture herself back at that stage of taking care of an always needy newborn.
She imagined the ridicule they would face, the halted school life, the shattered dreams and the disappointment that would be sighed by her husband.
“Mum, I am sorry.” Holly said amid uncontrollable mewls.
“Sorry? Will sorry get rid of that pregnancy? Did you not think of the consequences before you gave out your body?” Her mother yelled and Holly broke into another bawl of wails.
“Who is the father?” She asked angrily. Holly was silent. She asked again and still, Holly did not utter a word until a hot slap landed on her right cheek.
“Man P! And he has denied he is the father!” She said rubbing her cheek, now kneeling on the floor next to her bed, her teary eyes gazing down after the revelation that dazed her mother.
“Are you referring to Man P the boda boda guy ?” Her mother asked and she nodded, shame written all on her face. There was a moment of silence followed by a ruckus caused by a mother beating her daughter up.
“Mum! Stop!” Holly was saved by her siblings who were now standing by the door calling out to their mother to stop beating up their elder sister. She stared at them as if in a trance then ordered them to go back to bed but they were defiant, ready to plead for their sister.
Holly’s mother jumped on the bed and took her daughter’s phone then walked out and banged the bedroom door behind her. The younger two siblings joined their elder sister in bed as their elder brother closed the door behind them, confused but sleepy enough to let whatever it was wait till morning.
As he tucked himself to sleep, his mother in the other room was scrolling her daughter’s phone but she could not say she was prepared for what she would encounter in there.
She tapped the messages app and waited for it to pour out its contents. There were many texts that she did not decipher. She ignored many of them until she came upon Man P’s.
Holly’s mother had never thought that the bodaboda guys that waited outside her shop were any threat in her life. She was shocked at some of the conversations she saw.
Did you like the gift that our friend Blessing brought to you?
Yes I did. Thank you
So when are we going to meet so that you give me a nice thank you?
Hehe. Good night Man P.
Good night. I love you.
Holly’s mother could not read all of them. What rang in her mind was the mention of Blessing’s name. The good girl, Blessing. Her mother scrolled back quickly and opened the texts between the two friends.
Man P called me. He is hurt 😭you don’t want to prove your love for him.
I am scared B.😱 I have never done it🍆🍆🍑🍑.
It’s not that bad. Just a little pain. 😥😜😊😁
Have you ever done it🍆🍑?
Eish! Sex🍑🍆 is great I tell you. You will enjoy it until you ask for more.😜😜
Don’t worry about that. 😉You have to be brave. We have to pay for all the gifts he has given us. Besides, he loves you, he cannot harm you😍.
What if my parents find out😥?
They will not. I will help you hatch a good plan👍. Do not worry bff. I got you.
Ok. Let’s meet tomorrow so that you can give me more tips😜🍆🍑.
Holly’s mother could not believe that the sweet Blessing was the one that had pressurized her daughter to have sex with the bodaboda guy. No wink of sleep claimed her that night. She woke up very early that day, prepared and left for Blessing’s home.
The unusual and angry knocking on the door startled the family members. Blessing’s mother was the one that opened the door. Blessing appeared but hid quickly when she realized it was Holly’s mother. As she ran to her bedroom, she stumbled on her elder brother who was also curious to witness the lunatic.
Holly’s mother made a long shrill holding her head with her hands when she saw him. He saw her too and ran outside through the back door as she forced her way to try and catch him.
When she realised that people had started to crowd around her home, Blessing’s mother ordered the wronged woman to go away. She was still flustered and could not fathom why Holly’s mother was screaming profanities at both her children.
Back at home, Holly’s mother discovered that the children had called their father who had promised to take the next immediate flight back home. They waited with bated breath. Upon arrival, his wife narrated the A to Z of the ongoings. He read through all the texts and then summoned his first born daughter.
“Did you know that, that piece of garbage is Blessing’s brother?” She knew they referred to Man P. Her whole body trembled at the revelation. The hurt by Blessing’s betrayal and deception was more than any beating she could receive from her parents.
They watched as their naive daughter tried to grasp on the painful truth. They had also been fooled by Blessing’s false front.
But at Blessing’s home, the twenty year old man was packing his belongings, he was escaping the wrath not only of Holly’s parents but also of his own mother. She had promised to be the one to call police on him.
“And you! How dare you let this good for nothing manipulate you to ruining a girl’s life like that? Do you sleep at night knowing you sold your friend for a thousand shillings only? Judas!” She addressed Blessing.
The words of her mother stabbed into Blessing like a sharp knife. She felt guilty and sorry for what she had done. Man P had promised her a thousand shillings if she connected Holly to him.
She had been so good at warming herself to Holly’s family and deceiving her friend to give in to her brother’s wanton desires that it had seemed like a game to her. Blessing had sunk in the game too deep to turn back . Yet now, she felt she could have done things differently. She knew sorry would be thrown back at her face if she tried going with that. She had to keep off.
As for Holly, she would suffer the consequences of her naivety. It was too late to learn that not all friends are good friends. Some are agents of the devil.