Thursday, 22 March 2012

Onyx.................Part III

I remember the day. I was in the process of making dinner when Femi called and said that his Step father was town and wanted desperately to meet the lady in his life.
I was nervous and excited and petrified to cook for ‘the family’.
Femi had told me about this man. He wasn’t Femi’s birth father, but then again, according to Femi, his birth father wasn’t worth the mention.
This man had paid for Femi’s education and mentored him, it was clear that Femi adored him.
I wanted to meet the man, who had made this man up just for me.
We showed up at the hotel’s restaurant and when the man walked up to us; I passed out.
For years Femi told me that the man’s name was Mr Folarin but when I walked into the restaurant, Mr Segun stood in front of me with his palm outstretched.
“Bimpe, are you okay?” Femi dabbed my forehead with the damp cloth.
I stared at him hoping that I’d been mistaken and it was some bizarre resemblance to the man I once knew.
“What happened?”
“My uncle was about to shake your hand when you fainted.”
“Are you alright?”
“Femi, what is your uncle’s name?”
“Mr Adefolarin, I thought I told you this before?”
“I mean, what is his full name?”
Femi frowned, “Adefolarin Olusegun Ola.”
I sighed deeply when he said the last names.
“Bimpe, whats wrong?”
“I must have had him confused with someone else.” I lied.
How was I to explain to him that the man he most respected violated and took from ‘me’ away from me?
“Where is he?”
“He had to leave for an urgent meeting, but he’ll be back later tonight. Do you think you’ll be up to it, then?”
“I don’t think so Hun. I think it’s that time of the month”
Femi frowned again, “Bimpe, your cycle just ended a week ago.”
“I know, but sometimes it comes twice, in one month. It’s weird I know.” I forced a smile.
I definitely need to make an appointment with my therapist.
If Mr Segun was Femi’s father, he’ll constantly be in our lives.
“It’s such a shame; I really wanted you to meet him.”
The fake smiles were beginning to make my cheeks hurt.
“Some other time, I promise.”
“Let’s order something and watch a movie at home then.” He smiled.
I was waiting at my therapist office as early as 8am.
“Bimpe, you must really be distressed, my office isn’t open until 9am!” she laughed when she drove in at 8:30.
“It’s the worst that could happen, doctor.”
She took out her pen and notepad and urged me to begin to share.
I explained how I had bumped into my nightmare and how much I wanted to tell Femi, but I didn’t know how he’d react.
Sharing made me feel a lot better but didn’t absolutely remove my concerns.
My therapist advised me not to tell him, perhaps after we have been married for a while and when Mr Ola has passed away.
According to her, telling him something like that would not only ruin him, emotionally but whatever affections he has for me will suffer as well.
I had some doubts and thought it best to just tell him anyways but after her advice, it seemed wiser to just sweep all under the carpet.
We talked about the awkwardness of being with Mr Ola and all the upcoming encounters.
I was very convinced that he couldn’t remember me, or maybe he did in the sense that he knew he raped a ten year old girl, but he didn’t realize that I was that ten year old girl.
A lot of people said I looked more like my late father than my mother. I was much taller than she was and maintained a slim physique where my mother was a little chubby; I wore my hair short, just beneath my ears.
My therapist agreed and advised that mum-was-the-word; if he didn’t say anything, neither should I.
To be quite honest I though her advice was quite desperate, but then again, Femi and I had been together for six years and I felt what we had was worth preserving.
As fate and Cupid would have it, Femi proposed a month later in the most romantic manner ever.
Warning bells went off in my head but I said yes anyways.
During one of our marriage counselling classes the Pastor had asked us to share our deepest darkest secrets; so that our relationship would grow stronger.
In retrospect that day would have been mighty awesome to tell him the truth but I clamped my lips shut and just smiled endearingly as Femi shared that he had slept with over ten females, including a mother and daughter and twins.
We prayed about it and our relationship did grow stronger, but I never breathed a word of what transpired between his father and I.
We met with Mr Ola on several occasions and I was more than convinced that the man had no clue who I was.
It burnt me, to see him smile and laugh and enjoy life like he had not stolen in his past, like he had not killed in his past, like he had not raped me.
During our dinner dates, I found myself often holding on to the carving knife a little too much and daydreaming a little too long.
I admit, I really shouldn’t have gone along with the bells and whistles of marriage or the wedding, fully knowing that I had skeletons in my closet.
My wedding day was wonderful.
It was more than a princess could wish for and right before my husband and I were whisked away into the honeymoon of our dreams, my mother grabbed my arm and pulled me aside.
“Bimpe, I think  I just saw Mr Ola.” I could see a mix of fear and anger in her eyes.
“I know, he’s Femi’s mentor” I said, lacking a better word.
My mother’s face fell,” you knew this and still married the man! He’s a monster Bimpe, just like his mentor” she made air quotes.
“Mum, I know Femi and he is nothing like Mr Ola.” I replied a little too sharply.
“Listen to me Bimpe, when I was dating Segun, it wasn’t written on his forehead what kind of horrible monster he was, in fact if anything he was sweet and kind and..” she stopped mid sentence, suddenly getting upset.
“Bimpe, I think you need to call this entire thing off! Get this marriage annulled and walk away!”
“Femi isn’t like that, trust me, I know what a beast is and Femi is not.”
She looked deeply into my eyes and sighed,” If that’s what you want, then so be it.”
I smiled and took her hands in mine compassionately, “You have been there for me mum, through a lot of nonsense. Remember that guy I was dating in my second year, Andrew?”
We both laughed.
Andrew was a mess, an accident waiting to happen. His temper could shame ten demons. Thank God I found out quickly before he smashed my head with a rock!
“I promise you mum, everything is going to work out perfectly.”
She seemed unconvinced and about to ask another question but smiled instead.
“Run along and have a wonderful wedding night!” she winked.
With joy in my heart I picked up my dress and went in search of my husband.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Onyx.................Part II

The beginning.

Meeting Femi was unbelievable. It was the most awkward meeting you can imagine, embarrassing as well, but definitely awkward.
My friends and I had travelled up to the swamps for research purposes, unfortunately for me, on our last day, I brushed up against a viral tree and was totally consumed with lesions and rashes and had to be rushed to a hospital.
Of course, my regular doctor had to be out of town and not only was a cute doctor assigned to me, he just had to be Nigerian as well.
With my partially swollen eyes, I drank in the handsomeness that Dr Femi was.
“Nurse, please seal her off in a private ward, I don’t want her stinking up the entire hospital.”  Those were his first words to me and before I got the chance to have a crush on him, his big mouth ruined it all.
I actually had good retorts for him, but my lips were the size of ripe bananas and no matter how hard I tried to speak, it all came out as muffles.
“Ma’am, please stop trying to speak, you’re only going to make it worse.”
“Doctor, how long would it take all the rashes to go away?”My friend, Ashley asked.
“About a week; I’ll get a dermatologist in here to see her as well, but a week should do it.”
“Hang in there Bimpe. I’d hold your hand but the Doctor says I can’t.”
It did take a week, with a lot of baths and lotions and IVs, but even I had to admit that my skin had never been as smooth and silky in all my life as it was when I was completely healed.
“Hello there, Bimpe.”Femi walked in glancing at my chat and smiling.
After his comment on my then terrible odor, all my possible ‘love’ had gone; but his smile could melt ice though.
“You are absolutely free to go! Your friend, Ashley called in and wouldn’t be able to pick you up, something about an emergency; she called a taxi for you and has paid for it, so you should be okay!” he flashed another smile.
“Thanks” I smiled in return.
“Doctor, I don’t have anything to wear.” I pointed at my hospital gown.
“I assume the clothes I came in have been thrown out or burnt.”
He frowned for a minute and then simply walked away.
I sighed; I didn’t even have slippers to leave in.
Femi was back in minutes with what appeared to be half of a department store.
“I didn’t know what you’d prefer, so I just got them all!”He shrugged.
“Thanks, that was very sweet of you.”
“I’ll just take what I need to get home so that you can return the others, I’m sure this cost you a fortune.”
I knew it didn’t cost a fortune; most of the items were jerseys from the clinic bookstore.
“Actually Bimpe, Ashley could make it, I asked her if I could drop you at home instead, that’s only if you don’t mind!”
I hid a smile as I looked through the bags for the best fitting clothes.
“I guess there’s no harm in that.”
“May I have a minute to change please?”
“Sure.”he stepped out into the hallway.
The ride from the hospital to my house was the most bizarre moment in my life. Id seen people fall in love on TV and I’ve been quite cynical about it, but here was love at my very doorstep.
Cupid had chased me, tackled me and was making sure he shoved enough of those arrows into my heart that I wouldn’t be mistaken.
Femi was so easy to talk to, and even though while I was covered with lesions I hadn’t noticed, but he had the perfect sense of humor.
It felt like I was talking to an old friend and I didn’t want to stop.
So when we got to my apartment, it only felt natural that I’d invite him in for lunch, to know him better.
Dr. Femi wouldn’t have any of it, he insisted on cooking for me, and making sure I just relaxed and recuperated like a good patient.
Ah Cupid got me!
We ate, we laughed and we became friends.
Just friends, we didn’t start dating until a year later, when we were sure that we had fallen in love with each other a long time ago and had fulfilled the formalities.
Our dating led to courtship and the relationship was respected with a holy reverence.
Not only would Femi not demand intimacy from me, he didn’t ‘tempt’ me either.
I recall the day I saw him in the shower, naked to the glory of God he was!
It took all of me not to jump in there and ‘express’ the deep love I had for him.
I couldn’t not only because I knew Femi wouldn’t let me, but because, Femi assumed that the reason I abstained for physical intimacies was for religious purposes and that I was saving myself for our wedding night.
This wasn’t true.
I had nothing of ‘myself’ worth saving. The surprise had long been removed from the package.
When I was ten, my mother was dating this man; he was a lawyer a very successful lawyer, Mr Segun Ola. He was good to my mother, who at this time had never seen a good thing in her life.
He cleaned her up in every sense of the word. Educated her, took us on vacations, he was the perfect man in her eyes.
Mr Segun demanded nothing from my mother, he only gave to her. He always said that all he ever needed she already gave to him.
The meaning became apparent when on my tenth birthday; he crawled into my room in the middle of the night and collected his ‘reward’.
“Have I not been good to you and your mother?” he growled, pulling at my jammies.
“Yes uncle!” I wrestled with his strong grip on my pyjama bottoms.
Strike one! He smacked my hand away from the pants and pulled them all the way down.
Everything in my mind, body and soul, screamed in alarm.
Strike Two.
“Idiot! Are you trying to wake the entire house?” he punched me, smack in the face.
Blood trickled from my burst lip, my mouth filled with blood from a burst gum.
It tasted acidic and salty.
“Uncle please, I have been a good girl, don’t beat me!”
He laughed then, heavy grunts and sighs as though it was funnier but he was attempting to hush himself.
“You enjoyed your birthday party, didn’t you?”
Tears welled up in my eyes and fear choked me. I was too scared to say yes, because then he’ll demand recompense and if I say no, I’ll be ungrateful and be punished anyways.
“I know you did! I saw you dancing and eating cake!”
I frowned, what had that got to do with him on top of me.
His sweaty body pressed up against mine was becoming really heavy.
“Uncle, thank you for the party, but you’re heavy and you’re making me uncomfortable.”
He groaned strangely.
“Yes thank me!”
And just before I could utter my thanks once more, the most incredible pain rocked my body.
I screamed, it didn’t matter that his huge hands grabbed my throat and shook me till I thought I had died.
Death would have been a pleasure in comparison to what was happening to me at that moment.
He kept talking, whispering in my ears, at that moment, I couldn’t make it out, but years later those words would play over and over again, those words would cause nightmares and panic attacks.
“Mummy!” I screamed.
This time he covered my mouth with his palm.
He heaved and grunted, forcing and shoving, smacking me when I made too much noise, until he was satisfied.
The room smelt funny. A smell I’d never forget.
He picked up my pyjama bottom and wiped himself with it and tossed it at me.
“Happy Birthday!” he winked and walked out.
He took all of me in a wink.
That was all I got, one shut eye, a gesture of an agreed familiarity.
I didn’t move, I didn’t want to breathe even.
I decided to lay there until my mother came for me in the morning.
When she did, she met me with a swollen face, legs apart with a pool of dried blood and my bottoms laying on my belly.
“Oh my God!”
“Segun!” she screamed
“No mummy, not him! He did this.” I sobbed.
She shook her head and tears began to well in her eyes.
“No. stop lying.” She screamed.
“Stop lying.” She sobbed.
“He did. He came in last night.”
I could see my mother calculate it all and the revelation dawn on her.
“Segun.” She slummed to the floor and wept.
I later learnt that he was charged and take to court, but he had a lot more money than my mother and there was only so long she could drag him to court, after a while she gave up.
His lawyers sent her an enormous cheque, saying that Segun was innocent and he still loved us both and wanted me to get the best.
I forever wish that my mother tore up that cheque, because now, I feel like all that I have become, is payment for my tenth birthday.
I’d had to see psychotherapists and counsellors to get some of me back.
I had to do a lot of healing exercises to get to forgive him, but having never had an intimate encounter with a man, I never quite realised what was left to be healed.
My relationship with Femi was blissful and I psyched myself to tell him everything and let the consequences be damned.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Onyx.................Part I

 “What a day it has been!” he giggled and reached across the bed to where she sat and tickled her.
‘How does it feel to be Mrs. Daniels?’ he stopped tickling and began to rub her shoulders
‘I am loving every minute of it, even though it’s only been for 6hours’ she laughed back
He slid his palm down the small of her back to her waist and she seemed to jerk at his touch
‘Are you ok?’ he whispered into her ear
‘Yea, I, sure’ she stuttered.
He chuckled, ‘I understand, it’s your first time. I promise, I will take things slow.’
She let out a nervous laugh,’ I trust you, honey’
“Are you sure you are okay, you are shaking!’ he laughed again
‘It’s ok! I promise, its, happiness, excitement’ she laughed forcibly.
He kissed the back of her neck, whispering sweet romantic nothings to her.
She seemed to recoil at his advances, but he continued, passing it off as her nerves.
   She flexed her shoulders to throw him off but he didn’t stop. She shifted a bit, to push him away, but each time she shifted, he followed
He was crowding her space. Somewhere in her head, flashes, memories from a time way back, images suppressed.
She kept repeating to herself,
He is different, he is your husband, it’s ok’ But she couldn’t shake it off
He slid his palm up her lingerie, and suddenly, it was as if she was ten again, she couldn’t see him, she couldn’t see the face of the man she had just married but the man who hurt her, the one who forced, who hit who…
“What are you doing? What is it? Stop!!’ he yelled holding her arms
“What’s wrong with you?
‘ It’s ok, it’s only sex, you wouldn’t die, besides we are married now, so there’s nothing wrong with it!’ he sighed
“Gosh, you are acting so weird!’
“I’m so sorry’ she rubbed her head
‘It was…never mind’ she sighed
‘Let’s start again!’ she giggled and got off the bed
He shook his head and chuckled again,’ whatever you say, ma’am!’
He got off the bed, walked up to where she stood and lifted her
‘What do you think you are doing?’ she laughed again
He laid her on the bed and placed his finger on her lips to hush her.
‘You said to start again’ he said and leaned forward to kiss her.
 She giggled and wrapped her arm around his neck, in the pit of her belly, it just didn’t seem right
Her palms were sweaty, beads of sweat appearing on her forehead.
She giggled some more, to ease out the tension she was feeling.
He leaned to kiss her neck, but it just made her recoil, memories, haunting memories she had suppressed.
People, places, faces, she tried to push them to the rear of her thoughts
Focus, focus, he is the one you love, she chanted in her mind.
As his hand slid from her neck down, all she could think of was another time, another place, but there was no compassion in this scene, slaps and punches, blood and sweat choked her.
She coughed as if the smell was present in the room; balling her palms into fits she pushed him off her again.
He sighed, “what is wrong?’ his growing impatience becoming obvious
‘Nothing, I guess I am tired!’ she faked a smile
‘Tired?’ he stared at her intently.
‘Yea! Tired’ she faked a yarn.
‘I’m not stupid, you know! We have been together for over 6 years, I think I Know when my best friend is worried.’
‘It’s nothing, really, it isn’t.’ she got up and walked to the bathroom
“I guess I am just tired, you know’ she turned the faucet and played with the running water
‘It’s nothing? You’re tired?’
‘Yea, you know, all that dancing, getting in and out of clothes, greeting people, is tiring’
Tired?’ he repeated as if he hadn’t heard her
‘Yes, honey, I am tired, can we do this, this whole thing tomorrow?’
‘We are married, and the best excuse you can come up with is that you are tired?’
He walked to the bathroom,’ we haven’t even been married more that 24hours and the excuses begin’
She looked at him and laughed’ you know what I mean, please, tomorrow’
‘It doesn’t make any sense to me, you are hiding something, and I don’t like it’
‘Drop it, please!’
‘Look at me! What’s the problem, why we are here, if you can’t talk to me? Why are we married then?’
‘Stop bugging me, I asked you to drop it, let me be, I am tired. Accept it!’ she hit the knob of the faucet so hard, it looked as though it was going to come out the other side of her palm
‘Ouch!’ she cursed and stormed past him.
‘Let you be? What has gotten into you?’
‘Nothing, nothing! Okay, leave me alone!’ she yelled, cradling her bruised palm in her hand.
He walked up to her, ‘sweetheart, you can’t keep telling me nothing’s wrong, when you stand there yelling at me!
He held her in his arms,’ you can tell me what it is, I am your husband!” he reasoned.
She had to retain the anger, how was she to tell him now. She looked into his eyes, how?
She cursed and walked away.
Cursing every man, under her breath, weren’t they satisfied with all they had stolen from her, now this, the one man that truly loved her, they must take too.
The tears streamed down, her shoulders slumped.
“Now, you are crying?’
‘Talk to me please’
He motioned to hold her, but she put her arms up, stopping him
With tear stained cheeks she looked at him
‘you want to know?’ you really do?’
She sobbed, the news would crush him.  She slammed her fist into the wall
“stop it!’ he grabbed her
‘What’s come over you?’
She stuttered and then turned away.
‘Would you say it already!’ he had never seen her like this before
Why was this behavior manifesting itself after he said I do?
‘Yes?’ he tilted her chin, to look into her eyes
She turned and looked away
‘I was raped’
Silence.
His pushed her away from himself and looked at her quizzically, hoping she would laugh and say it was some sick joke.
She slumped to the floor and wept.
 ‘Excuse me?’ He bent and lifted her up
‘What did you say?’
“nothing’, she wiped her tears
‘I said nothing’
‘Ooh, it’s too late my dear. You were what?’ his voice rising
Everything was falling apart so quickly
‘I wanted to tell you earlier, but I was scared you will leave me, and I couldn’t bare the thought’ she sobbed.
‘Oh really?’
“But now that we are married, it’s suddenly the appropriate time, no?’
He let out a cynical laugh
‘I would never have thought that you…’ he turned and walked to the door
‘Please don’t go!’ she called out
“excuse me?’ did you just call my name?’
“Are you mad?’
‘You wait, till the night of our wedding, to tell me, of your stupid, promiscuous ways?’
‘Are you crazed? Do you know what love is? What trust is?’
“I didn’t want t loose you’ she squealed
‘Ooh, oh, it’s too late now!’ he laughed bitterly
‘You? Lie and deceive me, all this time?’
‘oh my God!’ he held his head in His palm’
Do I even know you at all?’
‘You have to believe me, I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t want ‘this’ to happen.
He chuckled and mimicked her.
‘And I am supposed to believe this story, why?’
You were raped and you didn’t tell me, the first year, not the second, nor the third year of our courtship, not even the 6th year, no, you wait till we are married and pull this fa├žade of being..’
He could barely speak
He only stammered when he was absolutely upset
“Please, don’t leave me, I beg you don’t’
I love you” she cried.
“No, dear, you don’t. if you had you would have told me, at least given me the chance to be the jerk, not lie to me and tell me on our wedding night’ he spat out and walked out, slamming the door behind him.
Bimpe held her head and sobbed terribly, she should have told him everything