I tossed and turned on my bed for the greater part of the night. I was thinking about Ebere, my best friend. We've been friends since childhood. We were always together. We exchanged visits during the holidays and performed our house chores together.
Eby, as I fondly call her, always blazed the trail academically. However hard I tried, I never beat her to the first position. While I was the last child of my parents, Eby was the first of nine children. Her Mother was a petty trader and her father was an Okada man. They were really struggling to see all their children through school. Sometimes, Eby would come to school on empty stomach and without hope for lunch. I always shared my food and snacks with her on such occasions. Most of my clothes that I didn't like disappear mysteriously from our house and end up on Ebere. Despite the hardship, she was always a cheerful girl. I think she took after her father. Despite the fact that he was familiar with my parents because of my friendship with Ebere, he never solicited for help from them.
We just finished our Junior WAEC examinations and Eby got a scholarship to study in the popular Gifted Children's School in Enugu. Yesterday, she came to our house in tears. Her father wants to marry her off to a man that was old enough to be her grandfather. The man promised to sponsor her education to whatever level she wished. All her mother's pleas fell on deaf ears. He reasoned that it was useless accepting the scholarship offer for just three years when someone offered an opportunity for a lifetime of education.
School starts tomorrow and Eby will go to the old man's house by weekend, if she doesn't go back to school tomorrow. I gathered all the money I got from my parents and siblings and gave them to her to compliment the one her mother gave to her. I promised her that I would be visiting her in school and that nobody will know of her whereabouts from me. We hugged and cried for a very long time. The plan was that she would sneak out with her duffel bag before her father wakes up tomorrow morning.
Lying here on my bed, I've offered up a thousand prayers for her safety and well-being. I wondered why bad things happen to the good people.