Tuesday, 18 April 2017

At the End of the Tunnel #6

 Continued from #5

 Hello,yummy readers! I am so sorry for putting up this episode late.It was due to issues beyond my control. Enjoy!

In her hand was a bucket full of water which she didn’t hesitate to empty on me the moment I opened the door. It would have been better if it was only water,but lo and behold,the water had been mixed with pepper. I instantly began to feel the heat all over my body. With my wet clothes,she dragged me to the sitting room where she set before me a table of different kind of flogging instruments. There was a cane,a koboko and a man’s belt. I was more surprised when she asked me to make a choice. And believe me you,none of those was better. I had tasted the three on several occasions and so couldn’t come up with an option on time.

“Well,it seems you are not ready to choose and that makes it my choice then.” she said when she noticed I was reluctant to come up with a choice.

I was beaten blue- black using the three. The beaten was so severe that it left several scars of different patterns on my body till today. Gboyega had twisted the story of what transpired between us. He had told their mother that I made an attempt to seduce and lure him into sleeping with me in the middle of the night when he slept off in the sitting room and in the process of freeing himself,I inflicted the cuts on him with the aid of a razaor blade. Tomilola also testified that she was woken up by her brother’s scream and that when she ran into the sitting room to see what happened,she met the two of us naked.

“So,you want to corrupt my children with your filthy lifestyle ,you Jezebel? If not that Gboyega was brought up in the way of the Lord,that is how you would have defiled him.”

I tried frantically to tell her that the reverse was the case. That Gboyega was the one who attacked and succeeded in raping me. I even told her that I was a virgin before the unfortunate occurrence.

“You ,a virgin? If you are,then nothing stops me from calling myself a virgin as well.Who knows the number of men that had slept with you in Ayetoro. Maybe that was why my brother was bent on sending you to live with me in Lagos so you won’t desecrate the town with your free for all v*g*n*.”

Several days after that left me wondering if it was true that I had been raped and lost my innocence. And this feeling of unbelief is often accompanied by shock whenever I came in contact with a male coupled with the fact that I feel very weak probably from the struggles of the night and the operation ‘no mercy’ beating that followed. I also found it difficult to sleep at nights. I have had to wake up in the middle of the night on several occasions at the exact time it happened that day. I tried on several occasions to give my v*g*n* extra washing maybe I would be able to wash myself clean and possibly return my innocence, but all were in vain. This angered me more anytime I remember that night and the awful treatment I received from my aunty after being lied upon. I saw myself as worthless.

The relationship between Gboyega and me grew from bad to worse on daily basis. I hated him enough to kill him if I had access to anything I could use. He knew this also and therefore kept his distance. He dared not come near me. I tried all I could to continue life as usual since there wasn’t enough time to brood over my misfortune. It was business as usual with the house chores.

And just when I thought I had overcome the trauma of being raped and decide to live like it never happened, the worst came knocking on my door. It was on a fateful Saturday morning and as usual ,I had woken up to begin work for the day. I think it was about two months after the unfortunate event. I was in the kitchen with Gboyega’s mother.

 We were preparing a meal of yam and fried egg. I had boiled the yam before she came into the kitchen to make the egg herself. I was in the process of slicing the onions when all of a sudden I started having this sensation of unease and discomfort that started from the upper part of my stomach. I didn’t give it much attention at first because the onion must not be delayed unless I was ready for another round of tongue-lashing.
I was about to hand the bowl containing the sliced onions to her when I felt the awful feeling crept up to my chest and in the twinkle of an eye,my throat. I felt a serious urge to vomit. And right there and then before my legs could respond to the message passed across by my brain, I had messed the whole kitchen floor with my vomit.

“What! Are you so daft that you cannot differentiate a kitchen from the bathroom? What nonsense is this? Iru omo wo ni e na? Abi iru ki le leyi ke laaro kutukutu?” I just stood there confused and lost.

“Se o de ni ko idoti e,ode? Only God knows what you ate that’s over reacting,onijekuje oshi.”

I quickly dashed out to pick the dustpan and broom to pack the mess after which I washed the floor with water.I couldn’t lay my hands on what could have caused the strange feeling. Was I going to be sick?

I was summoned by her later after breakfast.

“I hope it isn’t what I am thinking because if it were,you are leaving this house” she said the moment I stepped into the sitting room.

“Nigba wo lo ri nkan osu e gbeyin?” she asked.

 It was then I remembered that I hadn’t menstruated in the last month and I was long due in the current month.

“Two months ago, ma.” I replied oblivious of what she was trying to arrive at with her question.

“Two months ago? Let me see your eyeballs,” she commanded.

And I swiftly moved closer for her to look for whatever she wanted to see in my eyes. She proceeded to checking my palms. I was wondering what my vomiting has got to do with my palms and eyes.

Kpa kpa kpa! She clapped her hands three times. “I said it. Your promiscuity has finally landed you in trouble. Taa lo fun e loyun?” She asked me.

“Oyun bawo,mi o loyun ma,”I answered confusedly.
“I can see you don’t know what you have done. Mo ni taa lo fun e loyun? Abi se o dofe de be ni?”

 Mi o loyun ma,” I answered again,this time confidendly.

“How could I be pregnant? By the time I am through with you,you will know that I am not joking with you.”

Tomilola! Tomi….” she called out to her second child who answered her reluctantly from their room. She came out few minutes later and when she did,she was asked to go check if Mama Tayo was at home. Mama Tayo was her friend who worked as a nurse in one of the government hospitals. 
Oh,I didn’t tell you what Gboyega’s mother did for a living. She worked as a secretary in one of the government establishments.

Tomilola came back with the report that mama Tayo was at home.

“Shebi you said you’re not pregnant,abi? Mama Tayo will confirm that for us. Follow me”,she said as she made her way to the door.

We got to her friend’s house in no distant time. She was surprised to see me trailing behind her. And after the exchange of pleasantries,Mama Tayo finally voiced her confusion.

“Ore mi,se kosi to mu Bimbo dani ,abi igba wo lo di baby to n mu jade,”she asked. “Ore,omo yi ti loyun,”she said as she narrated how I had vomited in the morning and her discovery later.

“ Bimbo,is it true that you are pregnant,”she asked me gently.

“No ma,” I answered.

Mama Tayo was a nice woman who has never been in support of how her friend was treating me. I have slept in her house a couple of times when my aunty chased me out because I dodged her cane.

“But you mother said you are. Okay,no problem. I know what to do. Mama Gboyega,you can go home. I will handle this and revert back to you,”she said to her friend who wasn’t too pleased to leave but did eventually.

Mama Tayo asked me to sit beside her the moment her friend made her exit. “Bimbo,I know you are a good girl and I believe you know that I love so much.”

“Yes,I know ma,” I answered.

“I want to you to tell me the truth. Have you been with any man?”

 “Any man?” I repeated after her. “I mean if any man has touched you,” she quickly added when she sensed my confusion.

“Mummy,I still don’t understand what you are talking about.”

“You don’t?”

“Yes ma.”

“Okay,let me break it down. Has any man put his p*n*s in your v*g*n* before?”

She was yet to finish her question when I burst into tears.

“Bimbo,why are you crying? Is that an answer to the question I asked you?”

 I didn’t answer her,I just continue weeping.

“If you wouldn’t stop weeping and talk to me,I think I will have to send you back to your mother so she can handle it her way.”

 “No ma,I will talk to you,”I said as I dried my tears with the hem of my blouse.

“I’m listening.”

“It was only Gboyega,ma.”

 “Which of the Gboyegas?”

 “The same Gboyega.”

“What! You mean he slept with you?”

 “Yes ma,”I replied as I burst into fresh tears again.

“How did it happen and when,”she said as she drew me closer to herself and placed my head on her shoulder.

“Feel free to tell me everything and I promised to help talk to my friend.”

 So,I summoned courage and narrated the event of that day to her. She was actually the one burying her father in Ibadan on that day.

“Did you tell your mother about this?”

 “Yes I did,”I answered as I found myself telling her about the way she handled the matter.

“No,I can’t believe Mama Gboyega is this cruel. Then it is possible that you are pregnant,”she said as she stood up and went into her room.

She came back fully dressed and told me we were going to the hospital where she worked to have me tested for pregnancy because she wouldn’t want to do it at home as she still find the news unbelievable. 

The result of the test seemed to be taking too long to be announced.I was both restless and afraid and was silently praying that God wouldn’t allow it be true. What if it was true? What would I do? I am quite sure Gboyega’s mother would either kill me or leave an indelible mark of torture on me.

And when the result finally came out and we were invited into the doctor’s office.There,the doctor asked us to take our seats the moment we entered his office. But I chose to remain standing. “Bimbola,sit down”. That was Mama Tayo talking to me.

"Ma,I prefer to remain on my feet."

 “Is she your daughter?” The doctor asked while watching our little drama confusedly. 

“Yes,she is,”she answered.

“Mrs. Adeleke,he called her by her surname,I will implore you to take it easy with her. I perfectly understand how you will feel and may react at the realization that your daughter is pregnant.”

  “No problem,I will do as you have said.”

“The result shows that she’s about eight weeks pregnant. I will also advise that she register for antenatal immediately.”

 I didn’t really understand what they were saying but my fear was confirmed when Mama Tayo looked at me. I could see pity written all over her. That was when it occurred to me that I was truly pregnant. 

I could see my whole world crashing right before my eyes and this realization brought me down to the floor as my legs caved in under the weight of my body and I allowed the tears flow freely once again.

“ Bimbo,this is not good for you and the baby. You have to be strong enough to carry your pregnancy to terms,” the doctor advised oblivious of the damage he had done to my life with his announcement.

“Thank you,doctor.” Mama Tayo said as she took her carried her back ready to leave. She came to me and helped me to my feet.

“Everything’s going to be okay and you will be fine. I am here for you. I will talk to Mama Gboyega since it is the handiwork of her son. I pray God see us through.”

“I don’t want to go back home. She’s going to kill me because she still never believed that Gboyega raped me. Telling her about the pregnancy will surely infuriate her more and she can do anything to me.”

 “Don’t worry,leave everything to me.”

The journey back to our house took longer than it should or so I thought. We met Mama Gboyega sitting at the front of the house and one look at her suggested that she had obviously been waiting for our arrival. And the first thing she wanted to know was if I had been tested and confirmed pregnant.

“She’s pregnant,abi?” she asked her friend while eyeing me disgustingly. “Yes,she is but I would advise we go in and discuss,”she answered her as she made her way into the house while Mama Gboyega and myself towed behind her. I was still searching for a convenient place to sit even though I knew that would spur my aunty to anger. But I cared less. I needed to pity and relief my legs from carrying so many burdens. I was about to sit when she shouted at me.

“Will you go on your knees, ashewo? Her words sounded more like a question than a command and I felt like answering her that I wouldn’t go on my knees but I thought otherwise. So,I obeyed her. I haven’t even seen the bastard that put me in the situation.

Ahem,Mama Gboyega! That was Mama Tayo clearing her throat obviously to gain her attention.

“Bimbo is pregnant and I have asked her who put her in the family way….”

“Has she confessed to you? Mama Gboyega interrupted .

“Yes,she did and that is where there’s a problem”

“ What problem? There shouldn’t be any nah. She should just go and invite him here so we can ask him to take his wife home.”

Mama gboyega, did you know that Bimbo was raped by your son?”Asked Mama Tayo.

“Which son?” She asked feign ignorance.

“Gboyega of course or do you have any other son who’s old enough to have sex with a woman?” She asked angrily.

“Ngbo,Gboyega raped you. When and where?”

 I chose not to answer even though I knew the question was directed at me.

“Mama Gboyega,there’s no point in trying to cover what is already in the open. She had told me everything and the step you took when you found out. I never knew you could be so callous. How could you? And you call yourself a mother. This is not fair o. You brought her to Lagos so you and your son could ruin her life? I never knew you were this wicked. I wish I was never your friend.”

“Hey,hold it there! Who are you to talk to me like that as if I am your child? Did I ask for your friendship?  Even if I agree to the fact that Gboyega raped her, was she not the one that seduced him? If you don’t know what to say, please go back to your house. You have done what I wanted you to do which is to help confirm whether she’s pregnant or not,and that you’ve done. So, what I decide to do with the pregnancy or how I handle the matter is none of your business.”

“Really! I am now convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you are an animal in human clothing,”mama… said as she stood to her feet.

“You are an animal too,”Mama Gboyega said as she stood up too and walked towards her friend. I could see they were both fill with rage.

“Leave my house now,shameless woman. What right do you have to correct me,ehn? A pot calling the kettle black. Have you finished sleeping with all the men in Lagos? Ashewo! You are here claiming to be a saint when you’re the devil himself. Where did you get money to buy your car? Isn’t it from your numerous man friends? Who knows,maybe you killed your husband with your wayward life.”

“I can see you have finally gone mad. Me, kill my husband? And you who haven’t killed hers ,of what use is he? You call that vegetable of a man a husband when you’ve succeeded in changing his destiny? It is jealousy that will kill you. If you are so jealous of my achievements, why don’t you ask your man friends to buy you a car as well?”Oniranu.

“Me,jealous of you?” Mama Gboyega asked as she slapped her across the face. The slap was as loud as a clap and stung to her face. It had been an open-handed smack and it left a red welt behind. Just below her eye was a small cut where the ring on Mama Gboyega’s finger had caught her.She staggered backwards ,clutching her face ,eyes watering.

“You slapped me?” She asked as she regained her balance. She lurched forward and grabbed her by the throat.

“Yeh! Mo ku o!” Mama Gboyega screamed. I just stood there completely lost. Who would I have held back?

They continued trading words for words. The atmosphere was interestingly tensed that I thought they were going to tear each other apart. Mama gboyega had even removed her gele and tied it to her waist in readiness for fight. It took the intervention of the neighbours for them to separate before Mama Tayo finally left for her house.

To be continued.

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