C3 Chapter 3
It had been two weeks since I was whipped with the baton, but I was still in pain and had scars on my body.
I had to hide them so my parents wouldn't find out. If they knew what I had done, they would have done more than that to me!
It's a good thing the governor's son didn't have the reflex to knock on the door and tell them everything.
Besides, why had I brought her to my house instead of asking her to park in front of another house than mine? But then, I hadn't thought about it.
Jessy and Patrick went on vacation the next day after the report cards were handed in.
I stayed with my parents to help them with all the tasks. I didn't say anything about what happened to my friends except that it was a misunderstanding and that he had confused someone. I was a little ashamed to tell them that I, Dassi Kabera, a strong girl, had been whipped!
Sometimes I thought about Ariel, the son of the governor. I thought about what I had done to his sister and honestly, I didn't care!
I was thinking about what he did to me and I wanted to get back at him, but how?
The fact that I had been a weak girl in front of him was unbearable for me! No, it wasn't me. I was a lioness, a tough girl who imposed herself and people were afraid of.
One evening while I was on the porch thinking about this situation, my parents asked me to join them in the living room to talk about what I was going to do during the vacations besides helping them out around the house.
- My daughter?
- Yes, Daddy!
- What are you going to do during this vacation?
- Help mom take care of my brothers and sisters and do other chores! Anyway, it's my duty as a child to do the housework so...
- You're right, girl. You are really respectful and I like that! You look like a woman and you are still a 16 year old girl!
- Haha thanks mom but soon I'll be 17 eh...
- Haha Okay! Your father and I have decided to open a small business for you that can bring in a little more money. You're going to take your probation next year and we'll have to pay the application fees...
- What business?
- Tell us!
- Okay, give me tonight to think about it okay?
They agreed and I went to bed to think about it and to sleep too because I was sleepy.
The next morning, I told them that I wanted to sell okok, a local dish because it sold quickly and made a lot of money.
It's true that the idea of stealing from people had passed through my mind, but it was a bit risky to do it outside of school. At school, the students couldn't denounce me easily!
In Cameroon, if you steal just one peanut, they burn you.
What the governor's son did to me calmed me down a bit because he threatened to make me dirty if he saw me stealing.
So I decided to sell the okok.
I went the same day to the market to do the shopping and the next morning I prepared everything and went out early in the morning with food, plates, glasses, a stool and an umbrella to settle down. I put it all in a pusher for easy transportation.
I may have been a badgirl but I knew how to cook very well. My mother had taught me from a young age and I was proud of it.
Whenever I served a customer, they would advertise me to their friends and family because it was really good.
That's how I sold okok several times a week and made money.
There were two weeks left before school started and I went to the market around 12:00 to buy my school supplies and when I finished, I bought the okok leaves and everything that goes with it and went home.
I had decided to double my efforts to earn more money because my little brother, the one who followed me had already reached school age and I wanted to surprise him by buying him some school supplies and shoes.
I prepared two big pots of okok during the evening with lots of cassava and went to the market.
The woman who used to sell the beans near me had not come. So I decided to move to her place.
It was a Saturday and there were a lot of customers and I, being serious, served them with a smile, kindness and respect.
The night started to fall and I quickly served my last customers to go home.
I put everything in my truck and started to push it on my way home.
My house was not far from the market. I had at least a 30 minute walk to get there.
It was cold even though I had a heavy sweater on. The sky was getting darker and it was freaking me out a little bit but hey, I was a pretty brave girl.
At some point, I started singing to kill the boredom. I didn't have a great voice, I admit.
As I was really into what I was doing, I felt a hand touch me on my shoulder from behind. I jumped and turned around.
- You again? Sorry, I've changed, just sorry!
He kept his calm and looked at me for a while before saying...
- It's good that you've changed! You can earn your money with dignity, without hurting anyone...
- Okay, big guy! What are you doing here?
- Nothing! I was passing by and I ran into you.
He had parked his car a little further on the side of the road.
- You want to punish me again for your sister? I think I've already paid my debt and I swear I won't let it happen again!
- I see there pots in the shoot! I guess you were selling food, that's great! Give me a plate and come with it to my car!
He wasn't one for idle chitchat. Everything he said had meaning and purpose. That's why he used to introduce his own topics rather than continue on with what I had started.
After he said these words, he turned around and walked to his car.
I had a very small okok and four last pieces of cassava because I always came home with a little bit to eat.
I went to give him this and went back to wait in front of my shoot.
I looked at him from time to time and I saw him eating with appetite.
When he finished, he came to me.
- Thank you, it was very good even if it was a bit cold but that's normal! Say, how much do I owe you?
I didn't really know what to say.
He took out five 10,000f bills and gave them to me.
- Here you go!
I was really happy. 50.000f? Wow!
I thanked him and almost got on my knees.
- Uh no no! Well, you're very young and it's dangerous for you to walk alone at this hour. Either you get in the car and leave your pusher and pots, or I'll go with you with all your stuff and I'll go back to the car and continue my way.
I chose the second option and thanked him.
I must admit that he made me feel humble because I was becoming very small in front of him. I didn't dare to speak badly to him or disobey him. I was rather submissive.
We started walking and everyone was silent. I decided to cut the silence.
- Say, how is your girlfriend?
- She's fine, thanks. And your boyfriend?
- I don't have one!
- Okay, okay, okay! You're still a kid so focus on your studies... Say, how old are you?
- 17 years old.
- That's it!
- And what about you?
He looked at me and didn't answer.
- I hope that you have really changed and that you won't hurt anyone anymore.
- Well, yes, yes.
There we were, side by side walking and he was pushing my buttons.
I wasn't sure how to describe him. Sometimes he was nice, sometimes not. Sometimes he spoke, sometimes he didn't and when he did, it was to say what he wanted to say and not what I necessarily wanted to hear.
We were almost at my house when he got a call and as I was near him, I heard the conversation.
- Yes darling, where are you?
- Well, I'll be there in less than an hour.
- But you were supposed to be here by now! It's my mom's birthday anyway. !!!! Everyone is already here, except you.
- I'm so sorry. Something came up. I will be there soon.
- Okay, honey.
Instead of arriving at his mother-in-law's birthday party on time, he had decided to stop when he saw me. I started to get ideas...
- But, were you supposed to go to your mother-in-law's birthday party? Why did you stop?
He stood in front of me...
- Thanks for the meal! Goodbye and welcome back!
A few weeks later, it was back to school.
To be continued...