Chapter 4

My mother called me one Saturday evening to her room, "we shall be paying a visit to somewhere in the city." She told me. That sunday about 3 p.m. we entered a public transport mode and straight away to the Crimson park. She bought two pairs of snacks, one for me and the other for her, as we look the snacks, we loiter around the pack and talk, "Paloma," my mother called me, "you must be careful with the boys that come around you. Be careful not to look into the eyes of any boy, you could be hypnotized by a love potion they have applied on their eyes, be careful not drink any drink offered to you by any one, you could be a victim of the love potions." "Mummy, how does this work, I mean? Does it mean that I should not receive anything from my own girl friends?" "That's not what I mean" I just want you to be careful Paloma, don't you know that even your your girl friends could be contracted by one of those vagabonds to feed you with a love potion? Sweet heart I wouldn't be happy seeing you been hurt." "Mother nothing will happened to me!" I assured her. 

 The best my mom had been able to do for us was to provide one square meal a day, and some nights of elongated hunger, we will be served a morsel of some biscuits; that was never enough to satisfy our aching stomachs, this is my final year in high school, one day my head teacher called me to her office and gave me a written note to take home to my mom, her face was remorseful when she handed over the letter to me. "You are intelligent Paloma, I just wished you will remain in our school." She said. Receiving the letter, I didn't hesitate to zoom out of the school premises. I grabbed my luggages and walked into the school bus, there I met with other students which their faces portends a similar condition as mine, non of us spoke to each other, I knew that my education had been trampled upon.

That day, when I got home, mom hasn't returned from work, so I kept the letter on the shelf as I waited patiently for her arrival, my two sisters had been laid off from their respective schools a week before now, they questioned me why I had come home early. But I just kept my mouth muted, we sat patiently, while I sat quietly in the inner room, they both watch cartoons on our old twelve inches television, mother must return home before we eat, our meal time was uncertain, it could be twilight, it could also be late hours into the night, depending on when mother returns home. that has been like that everyday for over two years.

That evening, when mother returned home, we all welcomed her as our expectations were already hinging on her arrival, she who knew that we should be very hungry brought out a packet of Pizza and distributed it to us, we hate and smiled as we all felt hunger dissipating gradually. "Kids she!" She called. This is not all that we got tonight, I will be preparing a real meal shortly, Alisa! Get that can of chicken to the kitchen." We all smiled as we expect to eat a good meal for the first time after a long while. Then I rushed to get the letter from the shelf were I had kept it and brought it to her, when she opened the letter, I watched her as streams of tears poured out of her eyes when she had read almost through it. "Paloma," she called me with faint cracking tone. "You will won't be going to school for the main time, ok..." "I know mummy." I informed her. "You knew!" "Yes! I knew." She wiped her face and dashed into the kitchen to prepare supper. From that day, we could eat and even have a left over for breakfast.

One night, as all of us waited patiently for mummy to return home, we heard the notification bell ringing, as we rushed hastily to open the door, Alisa who was already close to the door quickly opened it when she noticed that it was mummy, that day she came home with a strange tall man, she walked into the house with two leather bags that was full of foodstuffs, we quickly took them to the store to keep, together with other cartons of snacks which includes: pizzas, biscuits and chin chin. She then gave us some pizzas. After exchanging pleasantries, the tall handsome man who had accompanied mother home smiled occasionally, turning towards the man and looking at him eye ball to eye ball, pointing at me, "this is Paloma," she then pointed at Alisa, "this is Alisa." She did same to Naomi. As she introduced us to him. Mother looked at us and smiled. "This is Mr. Ben! My office manager." "How are you kids" Mr. Ben greeted as he extended his hands towards us, I just loved the way he smiled, his smile was charming.

One early morning, my mom called the three us to have a word with us. "Paloma, Alisa and Naomi." She began. "As you all can see, we hardly fed before the arrival of Mr. Ben, and the worst of it is that you all are no longer in school." "I watched her as she spoke faintly, I just wished that I could help." "I have thought about your school, every possible means of securing your futures, but I knew that I won't be able to cope up with my little earnings, the man you saw me brought the other day is going to be your step father now, "I don't like him!" Naomi quickly yelled. "Don't say so," mom spoke softly. "He is going to take a good care of us, you will be back to school in a short time." Mother spoke quietly as she tried to convince us concerning our new father.

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