It had been two weeks of hell, my hand kept me awake most of the night, i lost appetite for food, Toby brings my meals into my room. He tells me about the cartoon he watched, the treats mom bought for him, how his teacher clapped for him for being the most brilliant boy in his class. I closed my eyes and tried to drown out his tiny voice full of joy, i heard mom shouting at someone sometimes telling her to go back that i had travelled abroad. I guessed it was Jules.
Dad drives me to the pharmacy every evening, he goes on and on trying with his one sided gists to draw me out of my shell but i had long since given up on life and living. I hated daddy for lying to me, i knew it in my bones that i was adopted, why did he keep lying to me that i was their kid. I hated mommy, i wished i could hate Toby too but he was just too sweet hate. Juliet ran to my dad’ s car as soon we got to our gate.
” Ify! Ify!”
Dad slowed down. ” Want to say hi to your friend or invite her in?”
” No dad”. I pretended not to have seen Juliet waving her hands and calling my name. What do i tell her? that my mother cooked my hand for dinner? all i wanted was to be left alone. I went into my room without greeting my mom who was perched on the edge of the settee her eyes glued to the plasma TV. I rummaged through my pantie bag until my hand touched what i was looking for. I gently took it out of it pack and la!d on my bed. I closed my eyes, I hoped it would be swift, it was difficult since i had the use of only one hand. I held the shiny new razor blade between my thumb and second finger, slowly i tried to reach the wrist of the hand holding the blade but it was just too difficult. My gaze fell on the battered hand, before i could change my mind i brought the blade down with a swift slash at the wrist and watched the blood slowly drained out of me.
I slowly emptied my bank account. The one thing about our work is you can’t save, you will want to wear the latest trend, buy the lastest Brazilian, Carribiean or Peruvian hair. Your body slowly becomes a temple which you worship, all my savings went into buying clothes, shoes, paying house rent, the level of risk we were exposed to also cost us a lot of money. One day two brothers took me to their home in ajanaku estate, opebi. They both took turns with me, when it was time to pay me they refused.
I walked into their living room after dressing up, one of them was playing PS and laughing loudly.
” My money please.”
He laughed and called out to his brother.” Ibrahim come pay this Olosho nau”.
I flinched whenever i heard that word. The younger brother came down the stairs in his jersey short and polo.
” Me i no get any bar o, na only me f* uck her?”
I had heard this from other colleagues but it was the first time it was happening to me. ” Pay me my money now!” I screamed at the top of my lung.
They both laughed. ” What will you do if we don’t pay you! in fact we are not paying you!” The one playing PS said.
” imagine! She want make we pay her because of her slack to.to” Ibrahim said.
I remembered how the brothers had used me mercilessly the previous night, i went extra miles just to please them. I took hold of Ibrahim’ s polo.
” You think you can cheat me! You must pay me up now! “.
I saw stars swim around my head as he gave me a slap. I stumbled back and fell on the ground hitting my head against the cool tiled floor. They both dragged me out of the room towards the gate and i cried out. They rained blows and punches on me, i tasted the blood in my mouth as my mouth bruised. They kept hitting me until i passed out. They stripped me unclad and dumped my unconscious body in to the trunk of their car. They dumped my unclad unconscious body at the bridge intersection between Opebi and oregun, Ikeja
I drifted in and out of sleep for days, i could hear my mom crying softly in the background, my dad was obviously pacing up and down judging by the sound of his shoes on the tiled floor of the hospital room. Some days, I felt mom pushing watery pap down my throat, i felt most of it dribble down my chin. I don’t know how long i was unconscious, some days i could hear my parents voices, they were arguing about something, I heard another voice, a male voice asking them to leave my room rudely.
My eyes fluttered awake one evening, a nurse came to check the drip connected to my wrist. My eyes drifted to my left hand. It no longer felt sore, i tentatively touched it with my right hand. The pain was gone, it still looked raw like an overboiled turkey and ugly but at least the pain was gone. My parents’ s voices drifted into the room, i heard their footsteps come closer and i quickly closed my eyes. I felt a hand touching my cool forehead. Dad.
” Nkem how are you feeling now?”
” Fine” i mumbled.
A petite nurse came in.” Sir the doctor would like to see you”
” Okay” Dad walked out of the room with her.
” Why did you do it?” Mom asked.
“Do what?” I asked.
She sat down on the only chair in the room looking into space. I closed my eyes once again. Dad came back in and addressed her. ” The doctor said she needs blood…….i have already signed the form.”
“No! i will donate the blood myself!” Mom stood up vehemently.
” What is your problem woman?. I will donate the blood and that is final!” he marched out of the hospital room angrily. Mom suddenly became agitated, pacing up and down.
The next morning i was given the blood. I was discharged by weekend and Mom came to pick me up.
” Where is Dad?”
” Please get in the car already!” she shouted.
On the way she parked and started sobbing. I saw dad coming down the stairs with echolac boxes as we entered into our flat, he dropped it in the center of the living room and went back the stairs. Mom ran after him crying and i followed.
” Please i beg you in the name of God! please don’t leave me!” She cried.
” All i want to know is how long this has been going on! how long have you been bringing men here to defile our marriage bed! ”
Whatwas going on?
” It was just once! only once!”
” What i can’t still wrap my head around is how you managed to cuckold me for almost seventeen years! i love that girl with everything within me! I would give an arm and a leg for that girl! How could you do this to me!”
” Please Let me explain…..”
I was shocked to my marrows as the words reeled out of my mother’ s mouth. Earlier in their marriage dad’ s job took him mostly out of the country. He had no time for his young bride, one night, she said their driver forced himself on her. But it was only that one night. she swore he raped her and fled. Months later she missed her period and got pregnant. She had tried to determinate the shameful pregnancy but it was all in futility.
” I swear am telling the truth………..five years ago he started blackmailing me and demanding to see his child. Please forgive me.”
I ran into my room sobbing, imagine being a product of rape. No wonder mom hated me so much, Toby came into my room teary eyed.
” Ify, dad is leaving”
I walked out of the room with him at my heels. Dad was loading the boxes into the trunk into his car. ” Dad. Please don’t go, don’t leave me here”
” Daddy please don’t go!” Toby wailed.
He got into his car and drove out of the Compound leaving behind a cloud of dust. I went back into my room and locked the door. My bones felt weak and my soul was weary. I felt so alone.