Locked In: 11.15am

posted in: Locked In by Frank Anozie | 0


The house became as quiet as a grave yard. Benson was in his study, Ifeoma was in their bedroom, Ada, John and Linda were in their bedroom.
Linda was still trying to make sense of how the key got into her bag. Did she put it there herself or did somebody else put it in there to set her up?

She took her time to recollect the events that took place last night just before she went to bed. She was in the sitting room, on the dining table trying to do her homework. It was Sunday evening and she was fond of doing her assignments at the last hours of the weekend. It was a habit that she had formed out of laziness and lack of discipline.
Ada was talking on her cell phone and their mum was in her room. It was almost 11pm and her dad was not yet back. Usually, he would call his wife when he was almost home to open the gate and exit door for him. Ifeoma would either call John to help her open the door for him or do it herself. Last night she opened the door herself. After letting her husband in, Benson walked straight into the bedroom after just responding to the girl’s greeting with a soft unaffectionate mumble, while their mum locked the door and dropped the key on the dining table before retiring to their bedroom.
Yes, she can remember being distracted by the sound of the bunch of key with 3 keys. One of the keys was for the exit door, the second key for the back door and the third; she didn’t really know what it opened. After mum retired, she had picked up a little quarrel with Ada. She told her elder sister that she was disturbing her with her calls and they started exchanging words that led her to hitting the little girl.

The whole event saddened had saddened Linda and she couldn’t wait to finish her homework and go to bed, she was also seriously feeling sleepy.
At the last stage of the assignment, she decided to put the bunch of key on the left page of her writing book because the wall fan was blowing towards her direction and the flipping of pages was slowing down her work pace. By now she was feeling real sleepy.
Still thinking, she couldn’t recall what happened next until she found herself in her room preparing to sleep. Perhaps she had, with sleepy eyes, covered the book with the key inside, dropped it in her school bag and brought it along with her to her room.
Now, how will she let them know that she had the key? Her father will definitely kill her.

She felt real scared.

She was the cause of the whole commotion at home this morning. And if her dad loses his job, it will all be her fault. In fact everybody will blame her for everything. She will be hated.
Then she thought about the quarrel between her mum, dad and siblings. Everybody was casting blame one everyone else. Nobody wanted to take responsibility of their actions. The fact was that they were all victims of circumstance but they all had a role to play in it all. Her carelessness and lack of discipline also played its own part in this whole family dispute.

**                   **


John lay on his bed on his back, while his eyes were looking at the ceiling. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. How could he have spoken to his father in such a rude manner? He thought.
He didn’t know what else to do. If his dad was serious that he should leave the house, where will he go? Perhaps he shouldn’t have talked back at him. He should have begged him and asked him for forgiveness.
But he didn’t see his dad as that kind of man. Besides he didn’t know how to beg the mean man for forgiveness. The moment would be awkward.
He had never begged his dad for forgiveness in his life.
Now the man was really furious. And John was sure he meant every word when he said that they should leave his house. He knew his dad would be mad if he found out about his smoking but he had never intended for dad to find out.

His friends had forced him into doing it. He had resisted them the first week but they had continued to pressure him. He had taken a drag and coughed. It was a wired feeling at first but he started liking, it calmed his confused nerves and served as a means of escape when his mind was chocked up in the confusion of what the future held for him.
Somehow he didn’t care if his dad would get hurt when he finds out. After all, the man didn’t care. Nobody cared about what he was doing in the house. Nobody cared about how he felt, the changes he was going through as he turned into adult and nobody was there to answer that questions that bothered him.
Question like how he felt about women. His friends always told him about the girls they had been with and how it felt. He wanted to have a feel of what his friends felt. They had encouraged him to talk to Susie. Susie was the girl all his friends knew he had a crush on. He had been afraid she would say no. but they had continued to encourage him and without knowing what to say or how to act he had gone to her and told her he liked her and would love to have her as his girl friend. But she had said no and he had felt very bad.

His friends had laughed at him. They had told him that he will never have a girl of his own, he will never have sex. This had affected his self esteem. He had felt ugly and unwanted. And when he comes home, nobody cared. Nobody in the whole world liked him.
But he still had his friends; at least they listened to him. He needed to prove to them that he wasn’t a loser. He wanted to feel accepted and he wanted to feel among. He wanted to prove to them that he wasn’t a loser. They mustn’t
reject him. If they reject him, he would be all alone in the whole world.

He might commit suicide!
All his friends had had sex except him. He really wanted to. He had been so curious especially after watching all the pornographic pictures and movies they showed him. One of his friends had suggested they go to a brothel. It seemed to be a very nice idea and so had waited after school and when it was getting late they had gone to a brothel and there he had had sex for the first time in his life. He had come home that day feeling weird, not sure if he had done the right thing or a very bad thing. He even thought his parents would notice that change in him because his behavior throughout that day was really different.
He felt like a changed man. Still nobody noticed him, nobody cared.
Yes, his results were bad and he had been missing classes. But he didn’t understand why he didn’t care. Somehow he had wanted his parents to see that his results were bad so that they might notice him. It all started as a result of an
unconscious yearning for attention. But it didn’t work. Yet the missing class act had unconsciously become a habit that he could no longer control. He started enjoying it, finding no pleasure in attending classes. He felt guilty but it didn’t
change anything. He could always rationalize and tell himself that he owed no one any explanation for his action.
He never for once thought his father would find out. How could he have known that the key would be missing this Monday morning and everything about his life style would be brought into the open?

He remembered the anger on his dad’s face. Yes, his dad was never a cheerful man especially around his family, but the way he felt today was quite different. The old man was hurt, deeply hurt.
John felt both anger and pity for him, it was mixed emotion. But his young mind couldn’t come up with possible way of escaping this, neither could he think of what next to do if his dad actually sent him out of the house.

He really shouldn’t have exchanged words with his father.

**                   **


Ada sat on the stool in her room, very close to her dressing table. She was crying. She felt dirty and cheap. She had never taken time to reflect on her behavior lately. Of course she had had no reason to. She had been carried away by the
wind, the wind of pleasure and fun.
Ada remembered the first day she met Mike. She had thought he was a 300 level student and he had helped her when she was having difficulty with her registration especially during her online registration at the business center that was in the school environment. Mark had appeared and saved her from a lot of embarrassment since there was a lot she didn’t know.
He seemed to know a lot about the school environment and how to handle any issue. He was there for her when she misplaced her receipt and he helped her in getting familiar with the school environment. She liked the way he seemed to
take charge of his environment, hence she saw him as dependable. She had always wanted to have somebody she could look up to. Someone who could make her feel secured. Best of all he had proclaimed his love for her. This was something she had always yearned for, to be loved.
She had already fallen deep in love with Mike when she discovered that he wasn’t really a student. He was one of the ‘problem’ students, students who were given indefinite suspension because of some cult activities. Ada couldn’t leave him even with this development. She didn’t think she would get anybody who could love her the way Mike did, she could do anything for him.
Then the demand for money and attention started. He would want her to stay with him not minding that she would miss her lectures. He would ask for money and threaten to leave her if she didn’t bring it. She couldn’t just leave the love of
her life so she would ensure that she met his never ending demands. She knew he was a wrong company for her, but the experience of feeling wanted was all that really mattered.
Mike was not the first guy to introduce her to sex. She had had it with a boy who had professed love just after Ada had written her WAEC. But he had broken her heart right after she had given in to his demand to for sex. That was the
beginning of the feeling of emptiness somewhere within her. She had nobody to talk to even before and after she the sex.
There was nobody to help her build herself worth.
But Mike made her feel important. He took her to parties. Introduced her to his friends and they all accepted her. She felt he was worth missing lectures for.
Now she felt scared and for the first time in a long time she allowed her mind to actively wonder if her relationship with Mike was doing her any good. She seemed like a lost person who didn’t know where she was heading to. She had seemed to have forgetting why she entered higher institution in the first place.
She might have had no close relationship with her parents but she sure needed them for survival. Getting them mad had never been her intention and now her dad was threatening to send her away. That was scary. She never knew her home was this important; she had always detested it. The thought of being pregnant was even scarier. She was late and this was the third day. She didn’t know what Mike would do if he realizes that she was carrying his baby; somehow Ada was sure that he would deny her. Somehow she was also beginning to realize that Mark didn’t really love her.

What would she do? Who will she go to? What will become of her?

**                   **


Ifeoma was angry, she was also sad. She was angry at her husband and somehow at herself. Where was all the love she used to share with him? What made her allow her children to outgrow her? How had she allowed her family to come to such ruin?
She felt bad. She had, for a long time, been unhappy at the way her husband had always treated her and she had allowed it to affect her relationship with her children. Now Ada was pregnant and John was indulging in undesirable behaviors at a very young age. She had, in her selfish desire for love from her husband, allowed them to wonder off on their own like sheep without a Sheppard.

How many months pregnant was Ada? Her kids were too young to indulge in sex and she was scared that they could easily contact HIV virus because of their young inexperienced mind. This wasn’t the type of home she had intended keeping when she was getting married to Benson.
And he was not making all these easy for her. She wasn’t sure she could continue to handle him if he continued like this. To her, he had completely changed from the man she married. He used to be a loving husband who cherished and showed her love. He was soft but hardworking. She had seen in him a go-getter and had known that he would never allow her lack anything. But such neglect in recent time was not what she bargained for.

It all started when he started aspiring to be the manager of Dew Luck Nigeria Limited. The news of his promotion had been followed by a joyful celebration, but little had she known that it was a curse that was about to befall on her and her children.
But what was she going to do now? She was thinking. Was she going to continue avoiding her responsibilities? How long was she going to wait for Benson to change? But was she being fair to him? Wasn’t the man working hard enough? Hadn’t she also been selfish?
Well, she must do something about her kids, she resolved. If her husband thinks he has no extra role to play apart from financing the home, than that was his business. She was going to concentrate all her energy on her kids from now on.

**                   **

Linda was getting hungry again. But there was a more serious matter at hand. How would she reveal the fact that she was with the exit door key? She was angry with herself for unconsciously putting herself in the middle of the whole day’s crisis.
Yet she didn’t know when sleep over took my consciousness and she found myself in dreamland.


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