Sewa a Nigerian Yoruba girl, is navigating life as a young adult. This story follows the pinnacle in her life, the turning point in the different relationships she has with the people in her life and how it pays to be strong and confident. #TheEssenceofWomen


1. Prologue

I remember, one second I'm dead to the world and the next I'm awake, heart pounding and eyes wide open. I'm about to shut my eyes so the things in the darkness won't find me when I hear the whisper of my name and feel the touch of my mum slightly shaking me awake. The fear of being awake is an echo in the past and I sit up.

She stops shaking me. There's something wrong, I can tell. "Sewa, it's time to go. Pack your remaining things, the things that are important right now to you, that you don't want to leave behind." I want to cry, but I know I've to be strong for mum, she already explained. Most of my things aren't in the house, she made me pack them up into travelling bags a month ago and some days some men came and took them away, including mum's things.

Mum said, once we leave the house we won't come back. I don't want to leave my home, but I know why we have to go, dad doesn't want us here. At least not anymore.

"Mum, can I say goodbye to Dad?"

"Sewa, you can't. He doesn't know we are going."

"Won't he look for us in the morning?"

"He won't find us. Get out of bed now. I'll be back in 10 mins, you better be ready."

"Yes, Mum."

I look around my room, there isn't much in it now. Mostly an empty space. No more toys heaped together at one corner, mum made me give most of it to an orphanage. I didn't play with them much anymore. Clothes and shoes that didn't fit anymore also went to the orphanage. Old backpacks and lunch boxes also. I only had my new clothes and things mum and I had gotten when we went to Maryland in the USA for summer with my aunt and cousins, they live there.

All I have to pack are the clothes in my wardrobe and closet, my throw pillows and my light blanket, my toiletries, my phone and finally, my teddy bears Andrèw and Gilbert. I finish packing before mum gets back, feeling much safer now that all my room lights are on, but I pray she comes back quick.

I sleep off because the next thing I know, I wake up with a start. Mum and Mr Bello are in my room and Mr Bello is about to carry the travelling bag, I just filled with my things. Mr Bello leaves my room and mum comes to me and sits beside me on the bed, it's no longer mine since we are leaving forever.

"It's time to go Sewa, but I promise you, you'll like our new home, it's not as big or as grand as your father's house, but it's home and safe. You know I can't do this anymore, I don't want to be found beaten to death or dead. I'm the only one who can ever be really there for you. I love you, and I know you understand why we have to leave right?"

I didn't interrupt mum while she spoke, but I nod my head yes, before cleaning the tears that had fallen from her eyes and hugging her. I know we would be okay and she will be safe from dad.

We left the house, sneaking out like thieves, so dad won't wake up. I wonder how he would feel when he discovers that we are no longer here. I don't feel sad, we are leaving dad. He isn't a good man, especially to mum and he always makes her cry and hurt. I feel sad leaving my childhood home behind and all my friends in the houses beside my own.

The next time I would see my dad, a year would have gone by and mum is busy with nursing and caring for my baby brother Ademola, who mum gave birth to some months ago. Dad found out of course, but he hadn't seen the baby and the security guard of the house had been instructed to never allow dad into the compound of our home.

He never got to meet his son. He only knew him through the pictures I sent to him. Dad might have gotten to meet him, if not for the fact that, Dad died when Demola was only 2-year-old.

Mum cried bitterly, she was greatly affected by his death, she may not have liked him in the end, but she once loved him and he was after all the father of her children.

Death is gloomy. I was sad dad died, but I didn't cry as much as mum did. I stopped crying weeks before mum did because I had gotten used to a life without a dad in it, for I only saw him less than a handful after we left him.

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