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Ade's Journal Part 6

Ade's Journal Part 6
My Valentine & The Elegance Of A Clean Breakup

Ade's Journal Part 5

Ade's Journal Part 5
My Scrumptious Valentine Kiss

Ade's Journal Part 4

Ade's Journal Part 4
A Scorpion is not a Lobster

Ade's Journal Part 3

Ade's Journal Part 3
My Insane Week Before Valentine

Ade's Journal Part 2

Ade's Journal Part 2
He Had The Guts To Come Back

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Punishment Island, The Corrupted Paradise.


    The fish dived and leaped out of a chlorophyll rich sea, absent of waste and plastic. Water snakes glide over the crystal clear waters, belly filled with so much food the fish was of no interest to the reptile. And the water crabs, danced sideways, lazy and robust, unmoved by the presence of predators. This island is rich beyond words and thrives unapologetically. The only thing that shattered the peace of this island was man and his beast. It roared and announced to all living creatures to side step and run. The snakes skids and scuttled away to safety and the fish dived deep and far away from the boat that would or could cast a net. The net that would ensnare all forms of life and deplete the thriving population. Only, this one had no need for prey. The cries from the child bound on the boat filled the air, echoed far and wide. And migrating albatross flee from the branches of the surrounding mangrove trees. Spotted redshanks, shoebills, green-breasted Pitta, the African Broadbill, the great blue Turaco and curious Ravens watched as the men and women, struggle to place this child on land and keep her far away from  the boat. Finally, they  succeed and then leave the child alone on the shores. She begs and tries to catch the boat and fails. The sight of a water snake sends her fleeing back to the shore from the cold waters in the hot sun. And the poor reptile swam in the opposite direction, afraid it would end up as sandals or a belt to this grand predator. The afternoon sun blazed harder as the heat intensified. The little girl crawls beneath the largest mangrove tree and continued to cry. She looked up and almost got hit by bird sheet and ran from the sight of so many birds. They too flee and send feathers flying in the air. The child hides beneath another tree and starts to wheeze. The disease that made her allergic to bird feathers had started again, a source of worry to her family that has now dumped her. Blacking out, she knows she has to try to get more air into her or she would pass out. Relax and stop crying and try to breathe, the girl tells herself. When she is calm, she starts to pour out her heart. Did I know I would get pregnant at eleven? No. Did he ask me if I wanted to sleep with him or if I wanted to end up abandoned by my family on this Beautiful graveyard? No. The cries of what sounds like a monkey fills the air, and i look up at the strange bird with what looks like a balloon, under its beak. You won't tell me to shut up. I screamed at the bird that falls silent. Now I am pregnant and my family has left here to die, hungry and scared. If I survive this, I will ask my daughter if anyone sneaks up to her bed at night. Put a viscous dog by her door, one that only listens to me or her. Beg her to tell me the truth, that I will protect her no matter what. Get an education, so that her mother is not afraid to be homeless if she supports her daughter. But first, I must survive this Beautiful hell hole.
  The night is brutal, frogs croak and birds cooed and I watched snakes crawl past. Not a wink of sleep came my way. The next day, I am holding a stick, trying to catch a fish. Tales of my ancestors catching fish with thier bare hands hunt my hungry mind. Another night is here and there is no food in my grumbling stomach. So, I go-to the tree that the birds eat the leaves and pluck it and chew. It is bitter and rancid but my stomach leaps for joy. An hour later, I am in pain. The leaves maybe poisonous, my tongue is swollen and I cannot breathe. Maybe I should sit quietly and pray this is just a dream.
 I dream of my mum baking a cake with my name on it. Justin, the daughter I got justice over, she said in her sweet voice. The oranges around the cake are from the orange tree behind our hut. And the cake ingredients are from my auntie that works in the city and always fills our heads with Dreams. My family didn't like that she married from another tribe but her money and gifts were never rejected. I wonder what they will tell her when she comes to visit next year? When I am a rottening skeleton, manure for this garden of paradise.
   I wake up exhausted and back on punishment island. Why is life cruel like this? I fight to hold on to sleep and feel water climbing up to my nose. Awake now, I feel the tide all over me and I know I will drown if I don't move. So I crawled away from the waters and accidentally, my hands grab a fish. I struggle and fight to hold the fish and don't care about the rising tide. It is safe within my grasps and I am thrilled at the thought of eating cooked fish. Then I stare around at all the wet twigs and have no match box. How will I cook the fish? Too hungry to think straight, I bite into it and wrenched in disgust. I throw up and fall forward. My mind was too messed up and I'm too hungry to think. The fish was actually already dead and I toss it away. Now I am starving.
I will die, just like the girls before me, all alone. The red ants will feast on my corpse as they feast on the fish I abandoned. Punishment Island, The Corrupted Paradise will thrive on the bodies of young girls like myself. Hidden shame and buried corpses of Family abandoned by Family. Oh how men get away with crime in this wicked wicked world. Tears from my face tell me it is over and then I hear a rumbling sound. Maybe my mother has come back to rescue me. I promise to stay away from my father and the other villager's. They will never know you rescued me. I whispered and tell her with my eyes shut. It's not your mother, a man said giving me rich goat milk. I am too tired to fight him and know this is the only life line I have. As I drink, I think. This cruel system that allows only men to rescue teenage girls left to die on punishment island. Ironically, put there by crimes society charged them with, Committed in collaboration with a man. I don't want your help, it's all lies, you want to make sure I am dead. I cried and stopped drinking the milk. You have been here for six days now and I could not let my conscience be. Please come with me and survive this, prove to all of them that you are a fighter. The choice was ultimately mine to make and I choose to survive and as I leave this island. I promise to have many girls and to teach them how to fish, make a fire and save money to escape if ever they are abandoned. I will form a survival route to help girls escape this wicked wicked world. And I will tell them it's okay to receive help from men too. Not all are bad. The snake flees from around the canoe I climbed into. I am free...
    How is any of this possible? I swear, Everytime I watch the news nowadays it's like I'm in medieval times. Children starved to death because they are labeled witches, pregnant girls abandoned and left to die because of teenage pregnancy. And when kidnapped and chained in the basement as sex slaves. I actually believed as a teenager that civilization would erode barbaric attitudes. It seems minding ones Business is helping these evil escalate and go unnoticed.  I'm beginning to think the government or some high tech vigilante force should use drones to monitor human behavior. And then catch criminals and instill the same punishment they inflict on their victims on these perpetrators. If only life was that simple, it's not. Now we can only rely on victims escaping and reporting the crime inflicted on them all over the world.
   I sighed heavily and penned into my JOURNAL, it was unlike me to take it out of my house. But I needed the space and freshness and of course the taste of ice cream melting on my palette. The girls and I are supposed to meet here by two. I'm an hour early, been at work since six this morning. My P.A. and work colleagues agreed to be there early so we can close early. The twin contrasting campaigns were driving us nuts. Thank God, Daniel is acting for our campaign. The power supply has been absent lately and running on fuel has quickly depleted my funds. It's hard running a business in Nigeria but we adapt and fight to find a way. Daniel and Nnoye have made up and the twins are okay. My JOURNAL is full and I'm exhausted, my parents want us to visit but Henrik wants Sunday alone with me. He feels like I'm spending so much time working and solving my friends problems. And he's right, I would have preferred this weekend free of them. But none of them have signed Idibia's contract or Daniel's.
So we all agree to come alone and meet at my favorite ice cream place. I put away my JOURNAL and smile at all the drama that would unfold as we sign the contracts. When a hand slams the table and I jolt and stare at the woman in front of me.
She's pretty and her nails are immaculately done, her makeup is on point and the shift dress with pleated neck resembles a design I illustrated last night for our photoshoot.
'Act as if you don't know me oooo', she shrieked and I recognized the voice.
'It is Franks new girlfriend', I snarled blandly at her and she shoves me and sits beside me.
'Point of correction, I am his bride to be'
 Like I care, all these women shaaaaa won't just leave me alone. This their winning the lottery of getting married and perpetual servitude to a grown man is becoming boring.
'The wedding is next month and I have tried to find you, tried to get into your office but your security is excellent'
 I put some distance between her and me and use my bag to shield the baby inside me. I have no clue what she wants but I recall Celine saying she was aggressive in her secondary school days.
 The babe opened her bag and the cashier could see I was in distress and marched quickly towards me.
 I twitched when her hands spin from inside her bag towards me and the security and the cashier arrive just as her hand makes impact. She slams an invitation card on the table.
'Madam, what is the problem?', the cashier asked.
Frank's girlfriend laughed and waved a pill bottle at all of us.
'Oh oh, I am on my medication. So don't worry. I see only one of each of you and Frank has deleted all her numbers and has vowed to only be mine. So Ade, you are safe. Just grow your family and stay away from us. Please attend the wedding, so you know you have no hope of getting with my man'
  The crazy woman was shouting now and security shield her from me.
'I'm so sorry Ade, there is the VIP lounge upstairs if you like'
 I stand up and the cashier helps me with my bag and shields me as I walk up the stairs.
'Please tell my friends, errr...'
  I was about to list them all out, when the cashier surprised me.
'Nnoye, Ajoke and the French lady Celine...'
'We come here that often?', I asked shocked at how well she knows us.
'Not like before, I'm a fan. I like all your lives and I'm routing for Idibia to marry Nnoye'
'Why?', I was curious.
'He is public and likes been in the news and Daniel does not really like the paparazzi'
 I climb up to our private table and smile. It feels good to be recognized but not by Frank and his crazy lot.

   The girls are late and the first to arrive is Nnoye and Daniel. I could see them from the glass wall and the cashier and security race to take selfies with them. Daniel seemed to be enjoying the attention and Nnoye was pouring her full lips at Daniel's.
 I made notes and decide what would help with the crush campaign versus the underdog campaign. That's the working title for now.

 Daniel side hugs me and pat's my back and I could see Nnoye frowning.
'It's enough', she adds and Yanks his hands away from me.

    I chuckled and massage my baby bump, all these ladies are just paranoid for nothing. 

   I'm where I want to be and  I'm going to love Henrik forever, have loads of babies and die. Nnoye was unmoved by my declarations and puts a scoop of ice cream upside down in her mouth.
'So is it true that Frank's girlfriend was here?', Nnoye asked.
 I hand her the wedding invitation card and Celine and Ajoke arrive.
'And Bala wanted to come along, I thought we said no men alllowed', Ajoke grumbled as she hugs Nnoye and Daniel.
'The outing is good and I suspect you called your paparazzi', Celine says as she hugs Daniel.
'They have their shot and this has three lead characters. My love Daniel, me and an obsessive ex', Nnoye adds.
The show was for Daniel though I doubt he was buying any of it. He stands up and declares as he starts to leave.
'Ladies, enjoy your day. Us guys would be drinking and enjoying pepper soup'
 We shrieked with excitement and wave goodbye, Nnoye waited for a kiss that didn't happen and then lowered her eyes to her beautifully manicured nails.
 Celine grabs the invitation card
'Already?', she thought it was Nnoyes'.
'It's Frank's', Nnoye adds.
'He was here?'
 I sighed and shake my head.
'The stupid girlfriend was here?', Ajoke screamed.
'Orisirisi', is all I could mutter.
'Ade she is dangerous, you need to start moving about with security'
  Celine seemed scared for me.
'Abeg, ladies did you read your contracts?', I asked placing all the contracts on the table.
'Twice, I can't believe I'm paying that much tax', Nnoye says.
 Celine takes my hands and squeezed it as if saying sorry.
'Celine, I have forgotten all about it'
'Get rid of the invitation card', Ajoke shouts.
'Nope, I want to show Henrik and catalog her contact with me. I've been stalked before, this time I am ready to fight'
  As the ladies sign both contracts, we take selfies and Nnoye uploads them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I'm not yet on Instagram and I wonder why. Maybe I should change that.

  For now, I'm happy but I have another stalker and I have to watch my back.
For me and my baby's sake...

**Season 1, Episode 22**
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Adebusola Ukayat Elegbede is a Playwright and Content creator with a passion for real life challenges. Born in Kaduna state and lives in Lagos Nigeria, she has a passion for story telling from the perspectives of characters in conflicting situations. I started out on the New Writing Project in Nigeria with the British Council Lagos Nigeria and The Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square U.K. My passion for creating stories led to comic books, television drama's and an online journal on my website (busolaelegbede.com). As part of the WPIC in Stockholm Sweden 2012, the experience has forged life long friends and ignited my passion as a volunteer and advocate for human rights and the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Follow @Busola Elegbede