A week has passed and Inioluwa has not seen the girl en route her office. She got to Pen Cinema today and looked around for the girl. She wished she had spoken to her, even if it was just to know her name, hoping she was alright. Ini felt the right thing to do is to ask from the other beggars the whereabouts of this girl but she had other plans for the day and was already running late.
Stephen called to confirm her availability for the movies, she told him yes and they went to see the movie. At the cinema, Inioluwa’s mind started to wonder, she kept thinking about what could have happened to the beggar girl. She could not tell anyone she was worried about the absence of a particular beggar at a train station. Writing to Rosie would have been an option, but she wanted to keep this part of her life to herself.
At the end of the movie, Stephen noticed the awkward silence but wasn’t sure if he had anything to do with it. He tried all he could but her excitement only flickered.
The following days seemed longer than usual, Ini just wanted to escape to the orphanage and speak with the house-parents about the missing beggar. Something kept telling her the little girl was in danger. She walked into the premises of Peace children’s home around 6:00pm, she stared at each child, wondering what their story was before they got into the system.
Mrs. Alex, the house-parent on duty was happy to see Inioluwa, she hugged her and gave her few instructions on how to handle the kids while she takes a sick child to the hospital.
Inioluwa was happy with the opportunity to work, she did everything on the list Mrs. Alex gave her with much zeal as if she was redeeming herself from her insensitivity to the missing beggar. Getting back home late at night, being an eventful day, she went straight to take a shower and hope to sleep early. Checking her phone, she had already missed Stephen’s night calls. But he has not called since the day they went to the movies together, something was wrong, she knew she had pissed him off and thought of apologizing to him.
The truth is that men are second to everything with Inioluwa, but Stephen has been different. Segun’s act had made it difficult for Inioluwa to relate well with men. She remembered the look on Segun’s face when the judge read the verdict. She had written a letter to Rosie about the proceedings. Inioluwa could not forget the short but refreshing letter she received as reply.
It is with the deepest regret that I write to you. This must be clear that none of what happened to you was your fault. It was just that the world is so cruel to see and handle the innocence of a little girl. I understand the verdict was unfair, 3 months probation for rape and spreading nude pictures of a girl!. The truth is no punishment can measure up to the harm he caused, one thing is sure everybody will reap what they sow. Don’t let him steal your joy!. Don’t let him decide your happiness. Forgive him and move on or else he will control your emotions. It’s hard but expedient. Free your self and live your dreams.
Ini slept off thinking about the last sentence in the letter after she hid the letter back in its place. She was going to live her dreams.