I’m So Not Sorry
I don’t let them drive with me. They are tailing my car and I’m wishing to God that I can just lead them off a cliff or lure them to some place where someone will have them abducted or something worse. I do not want them near the Onuoras.
I honk my horn at the huge gate before me as I bring the car to a stop. A smaller, pedestrian gate opens and a uniformed guard walks out to meet me. I let down my window.
“Aunty, good evening,” he greets.
“Good evening, Solo. How you dey?”
“Fine, ma. Erm…una no fit enter. No space to park inside.”
“Maybe you fit give me your key make I park the car for you.”
“That would be great.”
I turn off the engine and step down. I walk to the car my siblings are sandwiched in and relay the news to the cab driver they came with.
“Is this your house, Erhinyuse?” Jessie asks as we head into the Onuora residence.
We file in through the pedestrian gate. I notice that Emeka’s, Tola’s and Kalu’s cars are all parked in the compound, hence the lack of space.
“You share the house with other people?” Harry questions, his eyes scanning the environment.
“Yeah,” I reply. I lead them right to the front door and knock. Seconds pass, Jide comes to the door and opens it. Harry’s face transforms into an ugly expression. It is the only dignified way he can express shock.
“Good evening,” Jide greets. “We’ve been expecting you.”
I am dragged in with a light kiss on the lips and we both step out of the way to let them through. They walk in cautiously but nothing prepares them for the sight they find before them. The Onuoras are all waiting. Daddy, Nne, Kalu, Emeka and Oba, all of them, present.
I did not anticipate this pleasant surprise, one which is very much appreciated. I wonder if it was planned before I informed Jide about the meeting with my siblings. This can’t be a last minute setup.
“Our guests are finally here!” daddy says heartily. “Welcome! Come in, come in!”
I can see the infuriation that takes over Harry’s countenance which he masks with a smile. He hates being taken unawares.
“Good evening, sir.” He greets daddy. The others follow suit, acknowledging Nne as well. Eventually they settle into the couches offered to them.
“We feel sort of ambushed,” Harry mentions with a laugh. “Erhinyuse didn’t inform us that we would be coming here or we would have prepared. She told us she was taking us to her home.”
“This is her home,” Nne answers offhandedly.
“No, what I meant was…”
“She is part of this family. That’s what my wife is trying to say,” daddy elucidates. Harry keeps mute. “I think we should be properly introduced. Honey, can you do the honors?”
I am only too glad to show off the Onuoras to my siblings. One by one, I mention names and occupations.
“Impressive,” Harry mutters. “Our little sister learned well from us, choosing the right family for herself. It’s a pleasure to meet you all.”
The maid comes with drinks. I choose to serve them myself. When I pour drinks for Jessie, she leaves unkind eyes in mine and rejects what I offer. After I’m done serving them, I sit beside Nne.
“So, what brings you here?” daddy queries.
“Nothing of special occasion,” Harry responds. “We just wanted to see how our baby sister is doing. We haven’t heard from her since our father died and being that she was the closest to him, we were worried that she was finding it hard adjusting. We didn’t know she was being well taken care of here. It’s good to see that she is faring well.”
I feel my blood sour.
“But aren’t you in town to talk about your father’s estate with her?” Jide probes. I look at him with furrowed brows, the same way they all stare at him.
“Excuse me?” Jessie asks. She is trying to keep a plain face.
“The only reason you called Honey to see her is to talk about the estate your father owned which you turned over to the bank while he was sick and dying. Your plan right now is to bring fake documents to Honey, telling her the estate belongs to her, passed down by your father, and that it is about to be claimed by the bank unless she contributes money to save it.”
Jessie laughs. “What is this boy talking about? You sound confused, my dear.”
“You all know what I’m talking about. You plan to take everything her mother passed down to her under the guise of saving your father’s sweat and blood which he invested in that land. You will convince her that each of you is putting in a substantial amount to save the estate from the bank. Am I lying?”
I turn away from Jide and look at Jessie and also at Harry, who at the moment is finding it hard to hide his shock. Slowly they focus on Jane; she shrinks into her seat.
“But it is you, Mr. Harry, who has lost everything to the bank.” Jide goes on with so much calm, it’s scary. “Your name was one of the names listed under the Central Bank directive as owing hundreds of millions. You ran your business in debt and built houses and bought cars for your siblings with borrowed money from different banks. You have already given away your father’s estate but it was not enough to settle the massive debt you’ve acquired for more than ten years. The only way to stop them from ruining you is to rob your sister blind, knowing the moment you mention anything that has to do with your late father, she would gladly give in.”
“Lies!” Jessie laughs. “Plain lies.”
“Your sister, Jane, did the right thing, coming to me with this information,” Jide mentions. “Your wickedness has gone on long enough. It has to end.”
I feel tears leave my eyes. I try to speak but words fail me.
“Erhinyuse, Jane, you two brought us here to humiliate us?” Harry accuses in Urhobo.
“Brother, I did nothing. It is you who is trying to steal from me.”
“This was a setup between you and Jane! You brought us here to humiliate us in front of these strangers!”
“They are not strangers!” I retort.
Daddy steps in.
“I think your cup is full, mister man. It is time for you to stop your wickedness or something worse will happen to you. All the horror tales Honey told us about the maltreatment she received in your hands, it all ends here today. I am adopting her as my daughter. She is an Onuora from now on and I know your father and her mother will be happy to know that they did not leave her as an orphan. My son, Jideofor will take care of her and treat her the way a man ought to treat a woman, not the way you did. You will stay far away from her and desist from troubling her life from now on. Am I clear?”
Harry, whose eyes are set on me, can’t seem to utter anything. And for the first time, I am audacious enough to hold down his glare.
“Am I clear?” daddy repeats.
“You have anything to say?”
I think of all that has been burning in my heart for years, all I wanted to tell them about how they hurt me. It’s right there on my tongue, a whole speech put together, memorized and rehearsed so many times but somehow, seeing them all intimidated, speechless and humiliated, I realize they are not worth my breath.
“I forgive you,” I tell them in a small voice.
“I forgive you,” I repeat, a little louder.
“This is all nonsense!” Jessie growls.
“I forgive you for all you did.”
Jessie stands and makes for the door. Jide who is standing by one of the windows, parts the curtain.
“Solo, let out the dogs!”
Jessie freezes. Her eyes widen.
“We’re not prisoners here! You can’t hold us against our wishes!”
“Then sit until Honey has finished what she has to say.”
“Madam, sit down,” daddy orders.
The sounds of angry dogs barking outside forces Jessie to behave. She returns to her place beside Harry.
“Sister Jess, you held me down and put hot pepper between my legs because you caught me talking to a boy. Not once, not twice. Brother AB, you punched me on my nose because you lost your five naira and you thought it was me who stole it. You always threw frogs and lizards on my bed while I was sleeping at night; even dead rats in my schoolbag. Why?”
Abel, the quiet one, the psychopath amongst them gives me a squint for an answer.
“Brother Harry, you beat me every chance you got and then threatened to kill me if I reported you… You made my childhood and teenage years hell. All of you. But I forgive you. I do hope that all you did was worth it in the end, though. None of you deserves my forgiveness but I’m doing this to move on. That’s what our father would have advised me to do. So please, do me a favor and forget that I exist. Don’t call and don’t text.”
I give Jane a smile.
“Thank you, Sister Jane. You came through for me again.”
Jane smiles back. Harry rises up.
“Thank you for the drink and the cozy welcome,” he says to the Onuoras. “Erhinyuse, you have my blessing to marry your boyfriend. If you people want to do things the proper way, you will be warmly received at home.”
He clears his throat.
“I admit that we might have done hurtful things to you in the past. But I want to assure you that it meant nothing. It was all youthful exuberance. Please, let bygones be bygones.”
“They can never be,” Jide fires. “She still lives with the scars. Can those be bygones? Can you take them away? Can you undo this so-called youthful exuberance?”
Harry flashes a tight pout. I have never seen him this mousy before. I had no idea it could take so little to get him to cower. It turns out that Jessie is even gutsier than he is.
“I think your answer is as good as mine,” Jide concludes. “Bygones can never be bygones.”
Harry draws out a noisy breath. “Well, in that case, if you don’t mind, please tell your guard to hold the dogs while we leave,” he entreats.
Jide parts the curtains and leaves orders with the guard. While we wait, there is an itchy silence which no one cares to break. Beneath it all, I’m beginning to feel weightless as a feather. Years of pain are being lifted off my back. The emotions are running deep and I wish I had Jide’s chest to unburden myself.
“The dogs are secure,” Jide informs Harry. “Y’all free to go.”
Not adding any more words, Harry flurries out. Jessie and Abel follow while Jane remains. I walk over and hug her.
“Sister Jane, is it safe for you to go with them?” Jide asks.
She nods. “I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
She hugs us both, says goodnight to everyone and exits the house.
The Onuoras break into banter with Oba replaying the drama we all witnessed. He gives his own hilarious version that has us all entertained.
“How do you feel, sugar lips?” Jide pulls me into a hug.
“I feel…good. How did you and Jane plan what happened here today?”
“Well, their incessant phone calls always left me restless and annoyed. So, I had Bobby contact friends in Warri who followed your brother around and found out he had serious debt issues. When your cousin’s wedding came and they got into town for it, I called Jane and we had lunch and I drilled her, giving her the little information I knew. She spilled everything, including their plans to take your money. So, we devised our own strategy and I’m glad you listened to me and brought them here.”
“Thank you, hotstuff.”
He kisses me. Once, twice and when we go for the third one, daddy stops us.
“Biko, no be for here o!”
Jide unlocks from my grasp to face him. “De Lawrence?”
“Sir?” daddy answers.
“Since she is your daughter now, can I officially ask for her hand in marriage?”
“Put a ring on it first.”
There is uproar of laughter. Only God knows where the old man learns these things.
Emeka comes to us. “Have you guys seen Tola?”
“No,” Jide answers. “But her SUV is outside. It’s been here all day.”
“Momsi said she parked it this afternoon and left. She didn’t say where she was going. I’ve been trying her line all day. Nothing.”
“Last I saw her was in the morning, we were at the salon together with Mary,” I recall. “And then she said she had a patient to see. Have you checked the hospital?”
“She’s not there. Well, if she calls you, please tell her to call me. I’m worried.”
He makes a turn but stops and tells Jide something in Igbo. The look in his eyes is not friendly. Jide does not reply. Emeka walks off.
“What did he just tell you?”
“Says I should stop putting ideas in Yazmin’s head.”
I give Jide a pointed look.
“Yeah, you told me so.”
“So what plans do you have for the night?” I put my arm around Jide’s waist.
“I’m thinking loud music, lots of sand and the sound of the ocean.”
It’s our thing to take long walks by the beach at night once in a while. After each walk, we’ll stop to have suya and drinks and watch high people do stupid things while getting intoxicated from secondhand weed smoke.
We say goodbye to the family and head out.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Mary has different faces to her. There is sweet, caring, selfless Mary whom we all adore. Also there’s wise, insightful Mary that we all turn to for guidance and good counsel. And then there’s stubborn as an ass, irrational Mary that is nothing like the woman we know. She hardly ever gets into that mode but when she does, oh my God! You just feel like giving her a good beating.
That is how I feel right now.
“Mary, you shouldn’t do this.”
“Are you going to follow me and be useful by toning down my excesses or are you going to sit there, trying but failing miserably to stop me?”
I watch her slip into a long batik-designed gown.
“Mary, he is a man of God. You don’t just question him like that.”
“You see, that’s the problem. You people think these men of God are unquestionable and that’s why you can’t confront them. Well, me I don’t see them like that and that is why I’ll go to him and ask him if he really heard from God about my situation or not. It’s a simple question that deserves a simple answer.”
She packs up her hair.
“I am not listening, P. So not listening.”
Again, I watch her. She applies lip gloss, lines her eyes, slips on her earrings and pushes her small feet into a pair of designer slippers.
“I’m ready to go.”
There is no use trying to stop her. She is resolute on her decision. I’ll simply do as she suggests.
As I follow her out of her apartment, I ask myself why I decided to visit her this morning. If I had kept my bored feet at home and engaged in my daily job search online, I would have been oblivious of her mischief and enjoyed my day in bliss.
Outside her apartment, we get into my car and I appeal to her one more time but she snaps at me.
“Madam, drive or I’ll get into a taxi and leave you here.”
I shake my head and start the car.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Pastor Bayila has a busy day and we are told we have to wait to see him. Mary doesn’t mind. She has come with her earphones which she insists on sharing with me. We both have the same taste in music, so I sit quietly with her, listening to her song collection. The only time I stop for a break is to receive a call from Celia who is babysitting Sammy.
Finally, Pastor Bayila asks us into his office. He is having breakfast when we get in, although it is lunchtime.
“Good day, ladies,” he greets. His boyish face reminds me of the COZA pastor anytime I see him. I always want to ask if they are related.
He offers us seats in his comfortable office. Mary makes herself at ease as do I.
“Sister Peace, how are you?”
“I’m fine, Pastor.”
He nods and invites us over to eat with him but we both politely decline.
“So, how may I help you?”
“Um…” I lean forward. “It’s my friend here, Mary. She asked to meet with you.”
“Hello sister Mary.”
“Good afternoon, Pastor.”
“I am listening.”
I look at Mary. I think she is a little surprised by his down-to-earth manner. She hesitates before she speaks.
“I am not a member of this church, sir but I have been here a few times, invited by Peace. I was here for the beginning of the year one week program.”
“The fasting and prayers.”
“Yes, sir. I attended each day.”
“Erm…I don’t think you remember me.”
Pastor Bayila shakes his head graciously. “I don’t. Please, remind me.”
“On the last day, on Sunday, when you were preaching, you picked me out from the crowd. You told me God had a word for me…”
Pastor Bayila puts down his cup of coffee and is off thinking.
“You said something about me meeting my husband…”
“Oh!” Pastor Bayila recalls with amusement. “The lady in green Ankara! That was you?”
“Oh my! You have lost a bit of weight. How are you?”
“I’m fine, sir.”
“Good! Good. So you are our dear Sister Peace’s friend?”
“Sir, I’m here to ask you some questions about what you told me that day.”
“Go ahead.” He picks his coffee again.
“Sir, was it really God who told you those things?”
I shift in my seat at Mary’s direct question. But Pastor Bayila merely smiles.
“You think I came up with it myself?”
“I’m not saying that. I just want to be sure that God spoke to you because marriage is a serious thing and I don’t want to simply run into the arms of a stranger just because you said God said…”
“Mary?” I scold.
“It’s okay, Sister Peace. Let her speak.”
“I don’t believe in prophecies. I’m a very practical person and when it comes to my love life, I’d rather choose my husband myself. I like taking things into my own hands, so you see where this whole prophecy thing leaves me…”
“It leaves you out.”
“Exactly. Right now, I feel I am not allowed to make my own choice. I feel confused. I feel frustrated. I need to be sure, Pastor. I need to be really, really sure you heard God, that you did not imagine the whole thing. I need to be sure.”
Mary is all nerves. Her voice trembles with each word. I feel bad that I did not recognize her frustration earlier.
“Sister Mary, from what I deduce you seem to have found your husband and just like God made clear, you are rejecting him.”
“I have no feelings for the man. He popped into my life from nowhere and proposed to me. If I was to ever agree to marry him, I think I would prefer to know him better, to fall for him on my own terms but right now, I can’t. I am being forced to say yes to him or miss God’s plan for my life entirely. Do you understand my dilemma, sir?”
“And to worsen it, he is my friend’s ex-boyfriend. You see how messed up it is?”
“He waltzed into my life so casually. The day was not special and I never saw a sign. There should have been something in the skies on that day. Maybe a heavy rainfall or…something! But there was nothing!”
She moves forward until she is on the edge of her seat.
“Maybe you have another message for me, something entirely contrary?”
Pastor Bayila sighs out.
“God speaks to me mostly from the bible, Sister Mary. That’s the only way he knows he can get through to me because I am as much a skeptic and a practical person as you are. I’d have some divine revelation in a dream and brush it aside until he confirms it through another person, so I understand where you’re coming from. And that is why when he speaks to me the way he did on that day in January, I make sure it is from him.”
Pastor Bayila props back on his swivel chair.
“God gives his word and it’s up to you to obey it. He will not force you. We have the gift of choice, Sister Mary. Feel free to do as you desire but do not come back here to complain about the consequences.”
“Okay, sir. Thank you for your time, sir.”
Mary is up on her feet in haste. She doesn’t give me the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to Pastor Bayila before she leaves. Nonetheless, I stop to thank him.
“Have you heard from him?” he asks, concerning Reno.
I recall Reno’s visit four nights ago. He came in tears and a thousand apologies and with that look on his face that always did me in. I almost let him kiss me.
“No, I haven’t heard from him.”
“Stay strong, Sister Peace.”
“I will. Thank you, Pastor.”
I walk out of the office. Mary is waiting in the car when I get to the parking lot.
“You told Celia?” she flares when I slip into the driver’s seat. I see the backlight of her phone held in her hand go dim.
“Yeah, I told Celia.”
“Last night after we spoke.”
“I didn’t ask you to tell anyone else! When did you start letting out secrets, P?”
“I’m sorry. I thought it was just one of those things we share amongst us girls.”
“I kept your secrets secret, P. How about a little show of respect on your side?”
I stay mute and contrite.
“Just start the car, let’s go.”
I do as she wishes. We haven’t gone quite a distance when I realize she is crying.
I slow to the curb of the street we’re on and stop the car. I try to touch her but she slaps my hand away.
“It’s stupid that I’m crying over this. Stupid!”
“Is God going to come save me when this so-called husband turns into an asshole and starts hitting me or cheating on me or raping me?!”
“Mary, you are judging a man you don’t even know.”
“I don’t want to know him! My life is going in a certain direction and then he jumps right into it and I can’t keep going where I want to go because we are allegedly paired up by God! And now, I have to marry and play wife and have kids to a man I don’t freaking love!”
I so want to give up on her right now. She is completely gone bunkers.
“Mary… No one is saying you should marry him like immediately or even give him a yes.”
“The entire saga is making feel claustrophobic, P, and I’m afraid that I may end up falling for him. I just wish God could have let me make that choice all on my own. Who says I can’t pick a good life partner? Look at Jide and Honey, they chose each other without any divine intervention. Same with Shady and Celia and all our friends. Why must my own be different?”
I have no answer for her.
“I want to go away, to move to a new place just to get away from him but then I remember the story of Jonah who tried to run away from doing what God asked him to do and got swallowed by a fish!”
For some reason, I break out in laughter. Maybe it’s the tone of her voice or the analogy she employs but I am laughing real hard and I can’t stop. Soon enough, she joins me. We both laugh until the humor dies away and she is left with a distressed face.
“Reno came to the house some nights ago,” I reveal.
“He did?” Mary wipes her nose.
“He said he wanted to see his son. I let him in. He stayed with Sammy, put him to bed… And then we talked. He said a lot of rubbish; that he was sorry… that he missed me. He wanted us to get back together but first he wanted to kiss me.”
Mary tilts her face to look into my eyes.
“No. No, I couldn’t.”
Mary doesn’t respond to what she’s just heard and I stay in silence with her until her phone begins to ring.
“Celia wants to talk,” she informs me. “Let’s drive over.”
I start the car again.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Breakfast in bed the way Yazmin does it is always epic. She works her ass off to sexually satisfy me like any sidechick would. I hate to call her that but she reminds me every time that she is fine playing second fiddle to Tola. This morning, however, I am the one serving and I give her the full princess treatment. I initially did not have plans to touch her because she just returned from the hospital and is yet to fully recover. But each time Yaz begs for the D like one hooked on steroids, I simply cannot say no. Nobody likes to shine congo like her, plus she’s a junkie for my love.
We start the morning with selfies. She has me all over her Instagram. Every moment we share together is a reason to upload something new; today is no different. She tags it #malariafree #grateful #inbedwithhubby #aunaturale #wokeuplikethis. Never mind that she spent a good fifteen minutes tempering with her face and now looks nothing like one who just woke up or is recovering from an illness. Mexican chicks and makeup, though.
Not long after her upload goes live, we get a comment from a user @poonydoc. It simply reads: use a condom, please.
Yazmin shows me the comment and I shake my head. Tola hides behind that particular alias, being a constant nuisance to Yazmin on Instagram. Well, I’m glad she’s back on my radar, nuisance or not.
“I hate this bitch! Arghh!”
I take the phone from Yazmin.
“Is she another of your hoes, papi?”
“We already had this talk, mi vida. I don’t know this person. And it may be a guy. The handle says poonydoc, which means…”
“I know what it means but why does the person keep stalking me?”
“Because you’re sexy as fuck.”
I start to kiss her in places that are too sensitive to ignore. It takes seconds to make her forget poonydoc and abandon her phone. Her mind goes back to begging for sex and so I give her what she wants, slowly, gently, intensely. I surrender all of me like I do to Tola, annoyed that Tola has abandoned me and gave me hell worrying about her. I fully expend myself in pleasing Yazmin.
I am so deep into the whole thing right now that even if a bomb drops, I won’t stop. The cool of the morning after a heavy downpour, her moans and the numerous Spanish expletives she uses, the way she claws at my back and bites my shoulders… the girl is driving me nuts. I feel myself getting close to the peak. I drive in harder and deeper and then…
“Can you cum already so we can talk?”
I pull out from Yazmin in a flash and swing around to see Tola standing by the door. Yazmin covers her breasts and snaps close her legs.
“Are you crazy?!” she screams at Tola.
“Doc?” I make no attempt at covering myself. I face Tola with an unpleasant expression. There is no need asking her how she got in. It was she who helped get Bose as a maid for Yazmin. The girl will always remain loyal to her.
“Sorry for interrupting your thing, Yazmin, but I need my husband urgently.”
Swinging her backside provocatively, she strides out.
“Yaz, I’m sorry baby. I’ll be right back.”
Yazmin is angry. She cusses in Spanish, throwing my clothes at me. I hurriedly wear them and force a kiss on her lips.
Outside, I find Tola waiting in her SUV. I get into the passenger seat. She gives me a full stare from my head to my feet and then she stops at my midsection on her way down again.
“So, you’re really into her? It’s not just sex?”
“You shouldn’t have walked in on us.”
“Walked in?” Tola titters. “Dude, I stood there and watched you guys for a long time. You were so lost in that Mexican vagina, pounding it like a sledgehammer.”
I hold back a laugh.
“Well, all I know is that you can’t use those same moves on me again.”
I pick something naughty in Tola’s eyes.
“Were you turned on watching us?” I ask.
“It’s either that or I get jealous. This is for better or worse, abi? Including swallowing my pain when I watch my husband screw another woman senseless and then somehow turn that pain into something perverted so I can have a sane mind.”
There’s no mistaking the presence of this ‘pain’ she speaks of in her tone.
“I’m sorry about the claudia thing, Tols.”
“Your wife gave it to us.”
“No, I did. There was some chick…”
She lifts her hand to stop me.
“Condoms from now on.”
“I did the tests as you asked.”
“Condoms until the baby is born, Mex.”
She massages the area above her left brow. That’s her way of calming frayed nerves. I lean over and kiss her neck. She lets me take her lips.
“You taste like vagina, Onuora.”
There’s no annoyance in her tone. Beyond all the long talk, I know Tola too well. She loves the idea of another woman in my life or Yaz would have been history by now. She enjoys the drama Yaz’s presence brings and I will not be foolish to stay exclusive to her. If I try, the babe will just straight-out disrespect me. She’ll ration sex, food and affection. Yazmin keeps her on her toes.
“I’ll make nsala soup for us.” She plays with my sideburn. “And then you can buy me chocolate ice cream and some chicken pie to go with. Coleslaw too. Peppered gizzard, apple juice and finally, Sade Adu to keep me sane. All night long, baby.”
No, seriously she literally means all night long. She is the only woman I know who would spend six straight hours loving a man and still wake up in the morning to serve him breakfast. She scares me sometimes. I’m glad it happens only once in a blue moon.
“But first, go in there and give some excuse why you can’t continue where you left off. I will not let you waste one more drop of sweat on her.”
I can’t even dream of protesting. Yazmin will just have to wait her turn. Madam is back and I want to be a good boy for her highness.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Na wa for Celia o! Drinking medicine for another person’s headache. Is it by force to have a man and get married? See me see wahala! Abeg, people should just learn how to give advice and end it there. Just because you’re my friend doesn’t mean you should try to impose your ways on me. If it wasn’t for Peace’s long mouth, you won’t be involved in my love life presently. All of you should just leave me alone jor!
I hiss out loud, so loud the woman sitting next to me in the bus gives me a curious stare. I pretend not to notice and hiss again. Celia and Peace are really pissing me off. They believe that my life will suck balls if I don’t heed to Pastor Bayila’s prophecy. But the more they push, the more obstinate I get. They will soon get tired and leave me and my life alone.
“Owa o!” I call out as the bus nears my stop. The conductor bangs his palm over the hood of the vehicle and the driver slows. I step down and begin the short walk that would lead me to my apartment.
On the way I stop to buy akara and yam. I also get some raw pap. I have a deep freeze full of different types of soups but I have no appetite for my own meals. I’m no different from other cooks who would rather have junk food or eat someone else’s less-appetizing cooking.
Having purchased my dinner, I follow a busy path that leads to my house. I have scarcely gone in and put some water on the electric cooker when someone knocks on my door. Concluding it’s my neighbor’s teenage daughter who loves coming around to watch cable, I open the door without a second thought.
An unpleasant surprise greets me. I gasp at the face that meets my eyes. On impulse, a foot of mine steps back.
“Good evening, Mary.”
My hand goes for the door to shut it but my unwelcomed guest stops me.
“Please, I want to talk. You can step outside if you wish. In fact, I think that’d be best.”
“Have you lost your mind showing up here?”
“To the same place where you raped me? Have you lost your mind, Reno?!”
“Calm down, Mary. And listen to me, please.”
“Go away, Reno!”
He moves back one step and goes on his knees.
“No, Reno. You can’t do this. Just go away!”
“I am sorry, Mary. I am very sorry. I am not asking you to forgive me; I just want to let you know that I am sorry. I will say it anywhere, to our friends, to the police, to anyone…I will confess what I did to you…”
There are huge tears coursing down his cheeks but I am not in the least bit moved. I just want to kick his face in.
“You raped me, you bastard.”
I feel my own tears coming.
“And I can never take that back, Mary. I know.”
“You raped me, Reno. In my own house, on my own bed… You choked me with my own pillow. And now you’re coming here to say you’re sorry? Sorry for what? For making me hate my own house? For making me not trust even my closest male friends? Or are you sorry that your wife has abandoned you and you have no friends anymore and you spend your nights getting drunk and screwing prostitutes? First you visit Peace and load her fragile heart with BS and now you’re here trying to spit out the same drivel? Reno abeg, leave before I scream rape and they set you on fire in this neighborhood. Go!”
He wobbles up and turns away. Something about him is broken but like I said, I don’t give two. I retreat into my house and lock my door. Not long after, I hear another knock.
“Oh God! Didn’t I tell you to go away?!”
I dash into the kitchen angrily, pour out the water I have set on fire into a bowl and hurry back to the door. I’ll give Reno a lesson he’ll never forget.
Without pausing for a second, I wrench open the door and in one swoop, I furiously hurl the water out, just to realize a little too late that I have assaulted the wrong person. The bowl falls off my hand as I lose control of my muscles the moment shock takes me.
Holding his face in agony and falling to the ground is Ekene.
“Jesus!” I clasp my hands over my mouth.
Oh Lord, what have I done?
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