It felt so good to say the word, husband.
We waved goodbye to our friends and family and left to the hotel.
Butterflies flurried in my belly, tonight was the proverbial night where, ‘it was going to go down!’
Thanks to my best friend Ashley, the hotel room was fancied up with rose petals and candles and a sexy lingerie on the bed that would make any strong man turn to mush.
Everything was perfect.
Femi had to dash out for a minute to settle some little dispute between his best-men.
I used that time to slip into something ‘comfortable’.
When he returned, I was sitting on the bed, smelling of lavender and cinnamon.
He slowly crawled up to me and smiled.
“What a day it has been!” he giggled and reached across the bed to where I sat and tickled her.
“How does it feel to be Mrs. Daniels?” he stopped tickling and began to rub my shoulders.
‘Breathe Bimpe breathe’ I psyched myself as new emotions suddenly began to engulf me.
Femi began to touch me and no matter how hard I tried, all I could think of was his step father, mentor, rapist old man.
All I could think of was another place and another time and those words.
“I know you want this, you beg for this all the time.”
Femi pulled back and stared at me.
“What are you doing? What is it? Stop!” he yelled holding my 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” I rubbed my head.
“It was…never mind” I sighed
“Let’s start again!” I giggled and got off the bed.
‘I can do this!’
I tried I really did but like a deck of cards, everything began to fall apart, and quickly.
Before I knew it, I was yelling at him and saying things I didn’t mean.
“This is too messy” I sobbed.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid therapist!”
What was I to do now? I had no idea where he went.
I ransacked the overnight bag; my bridesmaids had filled it with lingerie of different shades and fabrics.
“I just need jeans, dammit.” I yelled at the open bag.
At the bottom of the bag was a pair of jeans and tee shirts.
I quickly put them on and went in search of Femi.
Fortunately he wasn’t too far away. I found him just outside the lobby.
“Femi, we need to talk.” He flinched as I placed my hand on his wrist.
“Bimpe, don’t make a scene!”
“Femi, we’ve been friends for six years, please let me explain what happened.”
When he neither spoke nor acknowledged me, I moved to touch him again.
“Don’t you lay your harlotry fingers on me!”He snapped
“Femi, please! For what it’s worth, just listen and make your judgements after.”
He chewed on his lower lip, something I’d only seen him do when he was really vexed.
I began to say prayers in my head, truly only God could save our relationship.
“I’ll listen.” he said, after what seemed an eternity.
I felt like I was being led to my execution as we walked into the hotel and took the elevator to our suite.
Femi didn’t look at me and kept his distance very much like the first day we met.
I felt like I had those stinky lesions all over me.
I invited him to sit with me on the bed, but he refused and chose to glare at me from the wall.
“I apologize for not telling you this earlier; I really wanted to, you have to believe me. I love you, Femi, more than life itself and it kills me that…”
“Is this all part of your confession? I really don’t have time for all this Bimpe, I have called my lawyer and he should be here in thirty minutes, so please for your sake, get to the point!”
His words came at me like whips.
He called his lawyer? So quickly?
“My mother was seeing this man. His name was Mr Segun. He was really good to us. He paid my tuition as well as my mums. He cleaned us up and made us his family.”
“On my tenth birthday, he made such a fanfare, oh my goodness! It was the best birthday any ten year old could ask for; I had princesses and bouncy castles and cakes upon cakes.”Tears gently coursed down my cheeks.
“I had fun!”
“That night, while I slept, Mr Segun came into my bedroom and took off my pyjama bottoms and demanded my innocence, as payment for his elaborate treat.” I paused to breathe, all this while Femi’s demeanour didn’t change, he continued to glare at me like a pariah.
“I begged him, I did. I begged him not to do it, but he didn’t listen.” I was sobbing now, my shoulders racked by grief, long hidden.
As I opened up about that night, I began to realize that I had never really let my emotions out.
In all my sessions with my therapist, I’d explained what had happened, I'd talked about how it made me feel; but I never once cried about it.
I suddenly wasn’t concerned about how Femi felt, or how he was taking it. I was suddenly overwhelmed by my sudden vulnerability.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t the strong, all mighty, Superwoman. I was a hurt woman, a woman acknowledging her weaknesses and so I sobbed like a little girl.
Femi peeled himself off the wall and held me in his arms.
“You should have told me all of this, Bimpe. How can I claim to love you, and not love your weaknesses too?”He gently rubbed my back.
“That’s not all; there’s more” I said between sobs.
“Excuse you?” he backed away.
I was about to tell him the rest when the phone rang.
Femi rushed to pick it up, looked at me frowned and then mumbled something into the receiver.
“Femi, remember the day I was to meet your father, and I passed out?”
“Yea, what has that got to do with what’s left of your story?”
There was a gentle tap at the door.
“Hold that thought.”
Femi opened the door and all I wanted was for the floor to open up and swallow me whole.
“Femi, what’s going on here?”His lawyer demanded.
“First you call me to bring annulment papers, with your marriage barely a day old and then I come and meet your bride, with puffy eyes and a runny nose?”
“Surely this is not how I raised you, son?”
Femi bowed his head and rubbed his temple.
“It’s not what you think, Dad.”
I bit my lip and patiently waited for Femi to dismiss his father, so that I could explain the rest of the story, but Mr Ola was going on and on in what seemed to me to be a self righteous rant.
“Femi, have I not exemplified how a man ought to act?”
“I am highly disappointed in…”
“Oh shut up!”I leapt off the bed.
“Who are you to pass judgement? Self righteous, pompous, bag of shit that you are!”
I chuckled to myself and even though warning bells went off in my head, I couldn’t be bothered.
For years, I had rehearsed what I'd say to the beast when I saw him and the moment was ripe for the taking.
“You devil from the pit of Hades!”
“Bimpe, do you realize who you’re talking to?”
“Yes, Femi, I’m talking to the man who raped me when I was ten.”
“Mr Segun, is the same as Mr Folarin Olusegun Ola, your lawyer and father!”
The words seemed to reverberate across the room.
“The hell are you saying, Bimpe?” Femi shook his head, as if to take my words out.
“What the hell are you saying?”He slapped me so hard, I toppled over the bed.
Mr Ola’s face sank as though he was staring at a ghost.
“Ask him! Ask him! Ask the devil and let him tell you that I’m lying!” I held my cheek in pain and screamed.
“No, this cannot be true.” He paced the room.
“Femi, I’ve changed! I’m no longer that man.”
“It’s a lie! Father, did you…” Femi held his head and wailed.
“I’m so sorry, Bimpe. It was the devil! I swear! I don’t know what came over me.”
I laughed so hard my chest hurt.
“The devil?” I chuckled to myself.
Femi on the other hand grabbed the man by his Agabada and shook him so hard, I thought his neck was going to snap.
“She was freaking ten years old, sir!”
“How could you do that to her and just continue living?”
As I watched father and son argue it out, one sobbing, one insanely vexed.
I began to recall all my mother and therapist had taught me, including something from a Tyler Perry movie.
The character had said, “You know, you’ve truly forgiven someone and let go, when you see them in need of help and you freely help.”
I stared at Mr Ola, as Femi shoved him up the wall and yelled at him and something opened up in me.
“Stop it! Both of you! Just shut up!”
“You stole something from me, but I can’t continue to blame you for the rest of my life. I have spent years, not growing because I have held on to the hurt you created.”
“And just when I was beginning to find happiness, you crept in again and stole it from me.”
“If I had a gun or a knife right now, I would plunge it into your heart, without a moment’s hesitation.”
Femi stared at me like I'd grown horns.
“However, it still wouldn’t change what’s happened.” I wiped tears from my eyes.
“I swear to you Femi, I’m sincerely sorry for keeping all of this away from you. I should have trusted our relationship and our friendship and if you take me back, I promise never to keep anything from you.” I knelt at his feet.
“Bimpe, please get up!”
“I’ll be honest and let you know that I don’t know how to take all of this.”
“First you tell me that you were raped, and then you say my father raped you. It’s too much to take in one day.”
“My father has been everything to me, you know this!” He began to pace the room again.
“This is too much pressure on me.”
“One thing I do know is that I never want to see this man ever again.”
“Femi, Bimpe, I am eternally sorry. I have caused you enough pain and I agree with Femi, I think its best that I stay away from you both.” Mr Ola, wiped tears from his eyes and left us alone in the room.
I sat on the bed, waiting for Femi to say or do something.
“I’ve known you for about six years and I have had some time to think about everything you’ve said.”
“I have concluded that keeping all this stuff from me, must have killed you and now that I know who hurt you, it makes even more sense to me.”
“However, I don’t think I can accept you as my wife; not right now and not under these circumstances.”
“I’m looking at you now, and I can’t get over the fact that my father, the man I most respect in the entire world, raped you.”
“I’m sorry, Bimpe.”
“Maybe we can try to work this out, but I definitely need some space from you.”
He walked up to me and kissed my forehead and left.
I held my head in my hands and wept.
My heart felt like it was being wrenched out o my chest with no regard for any organ in its way.
I wept for my ten year old self, my soon-to be divorced self, and for my broken heart.
I wept till I had no more tears and no more strength.
Crawling under the sheet, alone on my wedding night, I sighed.
For the first time in my life, I was Bimpe, unravelled, weak, alone, but free!