Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When In Nigeria: Part 10

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The kiss happened so fast it took me by surprise.
I struggled to get away from him but his strength was no match for mine. When he finally let go of me, I felt disgusted. I didn’t come to Nigeria to be kissed by a man, it was the likes of him that had set me off running in the first place.
“I’m…I’m really sorry. I…”
“Just shut up okay? I don’t want to hear it.” I said in anger, whipping my lips with the back of my palm.
“Seriously, I didn’t plan on it… it just happened.”
“Can we just… can we just go?” I didn’t want to hear his excuses. Whether planed or not, he had no business kissing me and so, I headed straight towards the faint light that was beaming from his apartment.
Oh my god! Snap out of it! I almost screamed to myself. I was falling for it again, making the same mistake as I did before. Daniel walked quietly behind me. We exchanged no words as we walked the remaining way home.

When I got to his sisters apartment, I knocked and Tolu was up to answer me. Daniel wouldn’t come in when his sister invited him in.
“She’s here now, I’ll talk to you guys later.” He waved lazily at us as he walked away. I felt a pinch of hurt as he trailed off.
“I wonder what’s wrong with him.” Tolu said. “But honestly, you gave us both a scare… we thought something bad had happened to you Patricia.” She added.
“Tolu,” I sat my luggage back on the floor.
“I have a reason for coming here and I can’t say it right now. I… I never expected to meet people like you and it’s…” I began to panic.
“Oh no, whatever it is…” she held my shoulders tightly, “we can talk right? We are friends?” I nodded sincerely. “Then whatever it was that brought you here, you can tell me. I will listen okay? God knows we all have some secrets in our…” she stopped herself.
“Like I was saying, if there’s anything I can do to make your stay here better, just tell me.”
I smiled and hugged her. We spent the remaining night gisting about everything but what was really bothering us. It was better that way, I didn’t need to bring this family into my own problems.
Throughout the better half of the next day, Daniel and I tried our best to avoid each other. Neither of us was ready to face the event of the night before. At about 8 in the evening, he came knocking at his sister’s door.
“We need to talk.” he said, as he barged into the living room.
“Talk about what?” Tolu appeared behind me.
“It’s not your business.” Daniel said in a matter of fact manner.
“Anything that concerns her concerns me now if you must know.” The two sibling’s relationship were like that of cats and dogs. Neither wanted to back down. No one had ever fought for me, never! I had lived life always standing up for myself and it’s made me what I am today.
“Ask her if I didn’t kiss her yesterday.”
“You what?” Tolu yelled astounded. She turned towards me. My embarrassed flushed face gave me away.
“Well your brother needs to stop going around and kissing another man’s wife.” I blurted out in an attempt in defending myself. Immediately after I said that, I knew I had made a big mistake because the siblings looked at me horrid.
“You’re married?” Tolu exclaimed in total disbelieve. I wouldn’t say a thing. I kept my head down. I felt like I had disappointed them. Daniel wouldn’t say a thing either.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Tolu was torn between comforting me or her brothers injured pride.
“Daniel say something?” All he did was stare at me. He shook his head in pity and stormed away.
“Daniel,” I called after him. He never looked back. His fist was balled up as he rushed off.
“Patricia, just leave him alone for now. I don’t want him to do something he’ll regret later… please.” I wouldn’t listen, I ran after him.
Immediately after I stepped into his little one bedroom apartment, everything came back. Flashbacks of the day we first met, and the day I slept on this couch; it all hit me like a storm.
“Were you ever going to tell me?”
“I’m sorry Daniel… I just didn’t want to get you involved. I didn’t know that…” I said, asking for his forgiveness.
“That I’d get involved with you so soon? If it’s the kiss, forget. That was a mistake, a big one. What was I thinking!” he yelled angrily.
“I knew there was something you weren’t telling me.” He paced the floor nervously. “But I never knew it’d be this serious. You’re married.” He whispered as the cold reality hit him.
“I’m not!” I cried out. I was not married. In my heart, I knew that what I had with Michael was not marriage.
“No, no don’t you dare lie again.”
“Daniel…” I called out softly. He needed to calm down so I could talk to him.
“Then what is it?”
I moved to seat by the only couch in the room. Was I ready to let go? Was I ready to speak about this yet again? Was he going to be different from the other ears that’d heard my story before? All these questions held tightly to my voice.
“I met Michael,”
“Your husband?”
“Yes,” I nodded, accepting the fact that by paper and by law, I was truly married.
“I met him during my 3rd year in graduate school. We were so good together.” I paused before continuing again.
“He was the best thing I had as a friend. I wanted it to stay that way until that night when…”
My voice became coarse. I became nervous. What would Daniel think of me after I tell him this? I asked myself.
“When?” his voice, was that comfort I sensed in it? I looked at him and I found the strength to continue.
“That Friday night after we came back from a friend’s birthday party, we had too much to drink and one thing led to the other and…” and I knew I should have been a good girl. I was the life of the party. I drank, I smoked. I was a disappointment to my parents who were doctors and want me to join the family business altogether.
He swallowed some of his saliva before asking the same question that has made the truth hard to believe.
“Didn’t you want it?”

I shook my head. “No, he forced himself on me. I knew I drank a few bottle of alcohol with him but I remember saying no.”
His once stiff shoulders found some released.
“And then?”
“I couldn’t look at him ever again. It was as if I had given myself so cheaply to him. A month later, I found out I was pregnant.” Daniel eyes widened in shock.
“I told my parents, they panic. I was their only child. I had to finish school before bringing a child into the world, which was their plan for me.”
It was so hard to convince anyone that Michael had raped me. My friends saw how close we were together. I respected him as a friend. He’d come over for dinner at my parents house but we never crossed any line.  I never wanted him as a boyfriend.
“Did you tell him about the baby?” Daniel’s question reminded me that there was a child involved in all this. I had had a child with a man who I didn’t love one bit.
“I told Michael about it, and you wouldn’t believe what he told me.”
“Right now, I’ll believe anything you say…” He came to seat next to me. He gently took the stand of hair that was hanging lose on my face to the corner my ear. In that moment, I knew that after these very last words come out of my mouth, he’d be the one pushing me away.
“It’s either you get an abortion or you marry me… that was what he told me.”
I took the first abortion pills a week later. I almost died. The baby wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t marry Michael either. I knew I’d live the rest of my life in regrets. I wanted to be happy. I couldn’t marry the man who raped me.



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