ESCAPE FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT – Episode 1
By Ummu Abdillah
Gazing into an empty space, reminiscing the painful moments, stream of tears flowing from my eyes,
How I wish I had listen to Ummy!
How I wish I had listen to Abu Aniifa!
How I wish I had listen to brother Abdullah!
I sob quietly and see no one to comfort me. I’m left alone to bear the pain because I’ve been told not to hurt myself but I never lend my ears to the sounds of caution! How pathetic I am!
“Who is going to sympathise with me?” I yell at the sky…
The memory is still as fresh as a morning milk.
It was three years ago when I finished my secondary school, I was just 15years old. Being a very young girl of beauty, every maturity sign unfolding day by day, I was very confident and equally proud of myself. Every morning after I dressed, I stared at the mirror, looked at my beautiful figure. I’m indeed blessed! The confidence was always overflowing in me. Verily! It was my time.
It was late night around 9, Ummy sent me on an errand not very far from our house.
“I give you only ten minutes to run there and come back” she spat on the floor, “you see this saliva? It mustn’t dry before you return”
I ran in joy, I loved going out at night but Ummy was always against it. However, she had no choice that day. She needed it urgently and I was the only one at home. Going out at night made me felt lovely, it made me felt I was on cloud 9. There are always many guys hanging around on the street at night, I’ve got to make them check me out as usual. Only hearing them calling on me, I was always happy.
“Common baby, give me your number…”
“Alhaja, what’s up! Please, be my love…”
“Hajia, wait for me and let’s talk…”
Those are the words from those guys, they can’t just take their eyes off my beauty! Ummy yelled at me to wear a long dress and put on my small head hijab only covering my head and neck but that didn’t stop revealing my beautiful shape.
“They have to know I’ve got what it takes though I won’t answer them…” I murmured as I walked down the road.
A guy who called himself Michael accompanied me trying to have my number, I didn’t answer him neither did I say a word to him till I reached where I was going. Despite my dressing revealing I’m a Muslim, that brat still had guts to ‘toast’ me, I was devastated. After buying what I was sent to buy, I head back home. About to turn to the corner that led to our house, a voice called on me. Who could it be? I turned back to look, it was an unknown guy but how did he know my name? I was curious, so I waited up. This guy was really a sweet talker, apart from his handsome look, I fell for this sweet talk. We exchanged numbers after some persuasion though I gave him a hard time. I ran home knowing I was already late.
Ummy scolded me like I was adopted,
“Iwo náà tifé bèrè ìrìkurìn, àbí? (You also want to start waywardness?) I won’t let you to implicate me! I will never sit here and watch your life being ruined” she hollered as she beat me.
When my brother returned from his evening madrasah, my Mum told him how I spent 45 minutes on an errand she sent me. My brother gave me a bad eyes, could have drawn a pant of my blood. I was almost peeing in my pant. He didn’t beat me neither did he scold me and I was relieved.
I went to bed expecting his call, he said his name was Lukman. I had my pride, I didn’t want to call him first even though I felt the urge to do so. I was already in my dreamland when I heard my phone rang, it must be him so I anxiously jumped to sit. I didn’t know why I was feeling that way but one thing I understand was that I had fallen for his sweet talks as well as his good looks. I pretended not to pick the call at the first ring, so I waited till it rang again, I picked.
“Why are you calling me by this time?” I silently queried, tried to play ‘hard to get’
He calmed me with sweet talks again, I blushed. I didn’t want Ummy to hear I was recieving a night call so I talked silently. He asked me to be his girlfriend which I declined at first. After much persuasion, I told him to give me one week to think about it but he pleaded to make it three days.
“Baby, do you want me to die?”
“Why would you die?”
“Because of you, I can’t live longer than three days without your YES to my proposal. You have meant my whole world. Please it shouldn’t be more than three days.”
Although I knew I was flattered but I still believed him. I already had my answer but I didn’t want to become a cheap girl, what a fool I was! We ended the call after he said he loved me and I told him to keep it till I gave my answer. He sent me a very lovely message after I dropped his call. That wasn’t the first time I received a love message; love messages were the only essay my school boys were good at and I never fell for any but that was the first time I sincerely accepted it. He really got me!
My brother chose not to talk to me in the house and I didn’t even mind him. I thought I had found a love, someone I could rely on, someone I would like to spend the rest of my life with. He kept sending me love messages every morning and night, I used to have this silly smile on me whenever I read it. It was indeed my time.
I said to him yes I do after the three days I promised and we started our journey of the so called love.
It was after three weeks. I was always busy with Ummy at shop during the day so I promised to meet him at night around 9pm. After Ishai, I quickly rounded off my chores in the house and I went into my room to pretend to sleep. So, I sneaked out when it was 9pm on the dot. We met at the back of our house and he immediately hugged me – that was my first hug. We had some talks for some minutes, I told him I was going home before Ummy noticed my absence. As I was about to get going, he grabbed my hand, drew me close and passionately kissed me, my heart fluttered – that was also my first kiss! I was very happy, actually felt heavenly that if a horse could be ridden in my stomach, it would never gallop. Finally, I could felt such love as I did watch on Bollywood, Hollywood and Nollywood!
I ran back quickly to the house where I met my brother waiting for me outside. He knew I sneaked out!
He dragged me into his room and drew out his belt.
“It will be better for you not to shout. If Ummy hears you, I will double your punishment!” he instructed.
I held my lips with my two fingers, groaned as he flogged me. I entered my room and I started muttering as I cried,
“Am I not old enough to take care of myself? Are you the one that will take care of me when I enter University next year…?
While on this, Lukman called me in the midnight as usual and I reported to him on how I was flogged. He swore and cursed my brother, I wasn’t okay with hearing him doing that but I thought he deserved it so I didn’t stop him. Ummy barged into my room and snatched my phone.
“Who are you? Never in your life call my daughter again else you want me to curse you” she yelled at Lookman on the phone. “And you!” She raised her hand to beat me but withdrew it.
She seized my phone and left my room.
“What is really doing everyone in my family? Why can’t they see I’m becoming an adult and I can now take proper care of myself? Is it a crime to have just a boyfriend that we only do talk on phone? After all, all my friends had boyfriends since we were in secondary school. Didn’t I try enough? I’m just having only one boyfriend now and they are already on my throat. Are they going to marry me by themselves? What am I going to do?” I sobbed quietly till I slept.
In the morning, before fajr solat. My brother, Abdullah came to wake me. He sat beside my bed till I was fully awake, he hugged me. He pleaded for what he did yesterday and said he just did it for my goodness,
“My goodness?” I think, “if you wanna do me any goodness now, it would be you should leave my life alone and let me live it the way I want!”
“Since our Dad is no more alive, you know I’m your Wali. I’m like a Dad to you so I must protect you. I have some gifts for you when I return from work today In’shaa’Allah” he said.
I frowned my face and told him I had forgiven and heard him.
Ummy abused me all day and threatened not to ever give me my phone. I knew his phone number offhand so I did go to a business centre to call him. He wanted to give me another phone but I declined because it could cause me trouble at home.
My brother arrived home in the evening with three pieces of qimar. I did love to wear qimar so I collected it.
“You are now a grown up my dear sister. There are many bad guys out there but if you use your qimar while going out they won’t come your way because you are obeying Allah and He shall surely protect you. Remember dating is a sin in Islam even if you intend to keep it haram or halal. If you want to get married now just let us know. We will marry you off instead of committing zina and that doesn’t stop us from discharging our duties towards you especially on your education.” he said
I shook my head in disagreement, Lookman was just a fresh graduate as he told me and he said he wasn’t ready. We can just date till he becomes ready, what makes that a sin?
Ummy later gave my phone back to me because she needed to be communicating with me whenever she wasn’t around.
“My daughter, those guys are just around to spoil young girls’ life. Don’t fall for their trick. And they would also be the ones that label them leftovers in the nearest future.” She advised after she handed me the phone.
“I won’t answer those guys but I’m keeping Lukman either you want it or not. He had promised to marry me, what else? All I have to do is to keep it halal” I thought to myself.
My love for him grew day by day. I wasn’t sure of how religious he was but most time he did call me, I did hear adhan and he did tell me he was at the Masjid. It was always in my plan to marry a religious man at least a man praying his five times daily prayer so I was always pleased.
After two months of our relationship, he invited me to his house which I didn’t hesitate because I had trusted this man. I lied to my Ummu that I was going to be late at my JAMB tutorial class. I went there wearing my qimar, he stared at me for a while then later served me a drink. I didn’t want to drink but he persuaded me asking if I thought he laced the drink, he took a sip to assured me which made me trusted him more. I left there unharmed so I was convinced and had confidence that I could be visiting him. I was leaving his apartment when Abu Anifa saw me with him while passing by. I was taken aback so I looked away like I didn’t see him so he did the same.
Abu Anifa was my brother’s friend. He came to our house the next day and asked to talk with me in private,
“My sister, Do you know you are a Jewel?” I nodded and he continued, “I know you are 16 years of age and you are now a big girl! You’re feeling on top of the world because you are a rising star. This is among the range of ages where every girls are always tested, the age when you are in the early stage of vizier in the category of childhood as said by Rasul salallahu alayhi wa sallam, the age of adulthood where you feel you can take care of yourself better than those adults that care most about you – 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21years of age! The age you are supposed to be most extra careful because the foundation you lay at this range of ages determines your future. Girls shouldn’t be allowed to experiment because a minor mistake could ruin their lives. If a man is left to experiment and he makes a macro mistake, he can still go back and start again but such opportunity is rare for a female; the traces of the mistake will always be there and could haunt her for the rest of her life. Here is the stage where your body development deceives you and make a fool of you while you think you are the most wise. Dating is haram in Islam, you should know that by now. Some say they would keep it halal but they always end up in doing haram. There is no halal dating as there is no halal alcohol because both are disobedience to Allah…”
All he said just entered my right ear and left by my left ear. I just had to listen else he would tell my brother. I thanked him and he went to his house.
After six months of our relationship, Lukman started talking about sex with me. I was angry but due to the love I had for him, I couldn’t show it but persuaded him to let us keep it halal. He agreed on the first day but still kept talking about it. He said it won’t be haram in as much as we promised to marry each other and he would surely marry me. We dragged the issue till our relationship became a year old. He later started complaining about stomach ache, he said it was because I was the only one he was dating and he hadn’t had sex for a year.
He called me one afternoon and complained the stomach ache had became severe.
“I was addicted to sex and I tried to keep away from it because of you but now I don’t think I can anymore else you want me to do it with some other girl” he complained.
I felt guilty and responsible but I still had it in mind that I won’t give in for that.
“I have to keep my virginity till after nikkah and I will keep convincing and urging him to be patient with me” I tried to encourage myself.
I was rejoicing with Ummy about my JAMB score. I scored 260 and I put in for Nursing and Midwifery, so my admission was sure. I was overflowing with joy and couldn’t wait to share the success with him personally, also I wanted to check on him to confirm his illness. I told Ummy I wanted to go and collect my JAMB series textbook from a friend. So, I hurried to our usual meeting point that he called his house. I bought some medicine along from a pharmacy store. I saw him laying flat on the bed. I shared my joy with him but he wasn’t concerned, he did look like he was sick. I offered him the medicines which he took then he started begging me to give him a chance. He said just once and he won’t ask for more.
He threatened me with the love I had for him, “what matter most is the love between us, this shouldn’t be a big deal since we love each other. Else you don’t love me and you are planning to marry someone else!”
I tried to explain and subdue but all efforts were to no avail, so I succumbed. Alas! I lost my virginity that very day!
He just asked for a chance but he didn’t stop asking me for sex. He told me he had already done it once so it is the same thing if he kept doing it. He swore with our love and promised to marry me so I succumbed again. It later became frequent, not that I was enjoying it but I wanted to satisfy him. He used to give me a pregnancy preventing drug to use after we had it, I used to feel safe.
I could see changes in my body development but no one cares since I became more smarter and I was never caught.
After six months of our sexual relationship, I noticed I couldn’t see my menses for two consecutive months and I was having a morning sickness but I couldn’t comprehend what it meant since I was busy anticipating my school admission lists.
“Finally I’m leaving this cage” I anticipated
Ummy noticed changes in me and asked me when I saw my menses last. I told her the truth and she dragged me to a hospital for a test. I was confirmed positive. Ummy and my brother questioned me on who was responsible f the owner and I took them to his house. When we reached there, we were told it wasn’t his house but his friend’s house. His friend took us to his house and we met only his mother and a girl of 18 years nursing a baby. Ummy explained to her, she admitted it was her son doing so she urged them to release me for her that she would take care of me on behalf of my husband, my husband indeed! She told us the girl we saw was also married to him after he impregnated her,
“I know my only son and I believe he impregnated your daughter. Nkan eni kòkín diméjì, ká lùkan pa (we can’t hurt one of ones property because it became two)” she said.
Ummy and my brother were very frustrated and sad. I sobbed because I felt betrayed and was very confused, so he had been lying to me and I never knew. I resented and cursed him. My brother couldn’t say anything but was gazing at me as tears ran down his cheeks, my mother wouldn’t stop wailing.
“Àfìgbà tóokóbà mi pooo (you have now ruin me completely)” she wailed, “How would I face Allah about you? Didn’t I try my best?… Your school is now over, I can’t waste more money on you…”
It may not be my own Lukman, so I thought. I had already locked myself inside my room. I took my phone and called him, he didn’t pick my call. I texted him some curses and I kept dialing his number till night fell. He later picked my call later in the night, I asked why he didn’t pick my call and he said he didn’t know what to say to me. I asked if he really had a wife and he affirmed it. I burst into tears and I started crying again. He told me he didn’t think he was responsible for the pregnancy since he always gave me a pregnancy preventing drug after we had sex. I couldn’t believe my ears, is this the end of our love? I sobbed.
I woke up early in the morning and went to his area. I had a friend there so I went to enquire about him. My friend told me he was one of the wayward guys on their street. She told me he doesn’t pray, that there is a bar very close to the masjid where he does go. No wonder I did hear adhan! She told me he has many girlfriends and she knew most of them. I asked if he was really a fresh graduate, she told me he should be and everyone knew he was a cultist at school, she wasn’t sure if he really graduated because she never saw him go for youth service. “Maybe he was rusticated” she added.
I went home heartbroken. I couldn’t imagine I’m the one that fell into this bottomless pit.
I reached home, Ummy had gone to shop and My brother had gone to work. No one at home except me.
“Ummy didn’t even wait for me,” I cried aloud
I sat outside the house gazing into an empty space. How I wish I had listened to them!
Thinking of how it started on that night, I sob. How shameful would I be if people learnt that I’m pregnant. What a shame on me!
I wish I could just turn the time backward!
What will be the reaction of Ummy if she heard he denied the pregnancy?
What would people think of me…?
I can’t stand the thought, I rushed into the house and found the rat poison.
“I would rather die than face the shame” I sadly muttered.
Thinking of Ummy, I can’t eat it. Thinking of the shame, I summon the courage somehow and swallow it. I roll over the floor helplessly as I can see blood running from my womb. If I had listened, even if I would die young like this, it would have been an honorable death. I hear my name being called from afar as I closed my eyes.
“Mar’yam…! Mar’yam…! Mar’yam…”
The voice keeps calling my name but I’m hearing it faintly. Verily, I have fallen into a bottomless pit where I can never be rescued!