Had I known before what I know now, I wouldn't be in this predicament I find myself. Those glorious self regretting words "had I known" always finds its way into our lips and thoughts. Yes, had I known, I would never had done those things that is giving me so much grief now. Hmmmmm.
My name is Helen, first child in a family, have two younger sisters, Uchechi and Ngozi and a brother, Daniel. Dad was a teacher and headmaster in the local primary school, Mum was a tailor or fashion designer as we call them now. We weren't rich and we weren't poor.
What we lacked in possession, we made up with love and affection. My sweet childhood memories is watching dad and mum dancing to the music on the radio as we kids watched and cheered them on. Awww! How I miss those days.
My early education I got from dad, a strict disciplinarian and teacher, used the cane sparingly but, when he did use it, Oh!!!. I learnt from experience the harsh reality of hot food and the expectations of being the eldest.
Fast forward my life, I sat for my common entrance and got admitted in an all girls secondary school a distance from home. I had never stayed a night from family before. The thoughts of spending weeks and months alone, somewhere alien and new was frightening and enticing.
As the day approached, mum bought more provisions, buckets, sandals, toiletries, she even bought more than the stipulated number asked for. I felt like I was traveling out of the country and not just going to school.
My sister looked with sadness and Daniel didn't understand what all the fuss was about, I would miss him the most, he was just two years old.
On the D day, dad took me to the bus station, even as everyone waved and cried as I walked with feet of clay. Ngozi hugged me and didn't want to let go while she wailed with all sadness, but I promised her part of my provisions when I returned back home, only then did she let go of me in-between sobs.
Love of family is next after heaven, trust me. Can't remember how many hugs I got that day. In the bus, I was as moody and excited as I can be. Sad at leaving all my friends and family, but excited about the next chapter in my life.
We got to the school gate and what a sight it was. The gate of The Queen's Girls Secondary School was monstrous. I took in the sights of everything, soaking in the details. Dad asked for directions and we were directed to the Guidance Councillor who checked my provisions and showed me the way to my dormitory (dorm or hostel) as we used to call it.
It was time for dad to go, my dad is a stoic and brave man, never have I seen him cry, but I can almost swear I saw him brush off a tear as we bade goodbye, and promised to come see me during the visiting day.
I wasn't the only new intake in the room, we had others, as I watched the other girls unpack as I did. The room was huge, bigger than our church back in the village, it was a hall-like hostel.
After our orientation, we gathered in pockets and friendships were made. As a junior, I had the up bunk and a senior took the down bunk. I wouldn't bore you much with what I underwent in the hands of the seniors in my secondary school life, but that was were my eyes were opened to the reality of life and I chose the path to where I am now. Who ever said life isn't about choices is wrong, we chose to be who we are and what we do.
Yes, my Junior secondary years wasn't rosy, it was my learning curve. I learnt words like sex, kiss, D and C and other unprintable words. I was unknowingly attracted to all that and during that period was when I metBeulah.
She was an epitome of beauty and walked with grace, came from a very rich home and was everything a girl wanted as a girlfriend, fierce, bully, respected, name it. I swore to do anything possible to become her friend. Not knowing that I was digging my grave to an untimely death. My friendship with Beulah was a friendship gone wrong and I curse the day I met her.
Now I sit in jail and all these memories come flooding in, do I have regrets ? I do. Would I still have killed that man, I definitely would. The warden calls my name as I'm told I have a visitor. As much as I wasn't expecting anyone, a familiar face is always a welcome relief. I walk into the visiting room.
I hear the voice before I see the person. Nooo!!! It can't be. A ghost. Yes, that is what I'm seeing.