While I was fumbling with the zip of his trousers my phone rang. I stopped. Wale’s eyes were fierce with hunger as his hands and mouth worked on the different parts of my body. At first, I ignored my phone and allowed it to ring continuously but when it didn’t stop, I grabbed it.
It was my Grandmother. I pushed Wale away. My heart raced. For some days now, a foreboding feeling that Grandma would die had consumed me.
I remember how after Dad threw me out from the house, I had rushed to her place in osogbo when I had no money left. She would give me some money from her retirement benefits and I’d gladly return to school. I stopped asking her for money when Mirabel introduced me to Madam Theresa.
‘Iya mi’ a shaky voice said over the line.
‘Mama, are you okay?’ I was clearly worried.
“Can you come over now? Please.”
I jumped out of bed and began to dress. ‘Wale I’m sorry but I have to go now. I promise I’ll make it up to you when I get back.’ Wale stood there, too stunned to speak. I slipped my feet into my brown sandals and dashed out of the room.
I drove like a madman to Osogbo.
Lord, she must not die, I prayed quietly.
I was very hungry but I couldn’t stop. It was already dark but I kept going. I had driven to Osogbo several times and so even in the dark, I was familiar with the road.
I got to a police checkpoint and slowed down. A man approached me. I rolled down the window.
‘Yes, young lady, where are you going to?’ He flashed his torchlight into my face. I squinted without saying a word. The fact that I may find my grandmother dead in her bedroom scared me more than what this policeman could do to me.
‘Can’t you talk? Or you think say, because you carry fine car, you better pass us. Infact, pack go dat side. I will show you pepper today.’
I pulled the vehicle beside the road and placed my head on the steering and wept. I was tired of trying to be strong. I wanted to be vulnerable for once. I wanted to scream, ‘help me!’ for th world to hear.
The police officer opened the door. ‘Come out.’
‘Leave the woman abeg. Make she go.’ I heard a man say from afar.
When I stood before this thin hungry looking man, I realised that anything could happen here. I could be raped, flung into the bush and no one would ever find out. It was somewhere between 9p.m and only few cars were running past the checkpoint.
“Why are you driving at this time of the night. It’s not good for a woman. You should be on the bed with your husband doing that thing.” He laughed.
I stared at the darkness. His torchlight moved from my face to the different parts of my body. I could well have been a product he wanted to acquire.
“You are a beautiful woman.’ He moved closer. His breath reeked of alcohol. My heart thumped.
‘Allow the woman go!’ His colleague ordered.
He touched my face. I closed my eyes and imagined I was back at Madam Theresa.
This will pass, Kike. Be strong. I mumbled.
He pulled me into his embrace. I could feel his body tense as his hands grabbed my waist.I stiffened when I noticed how hard he was. He rubbed my back and held me tighter.
‘Salisu, which kain nonsense you dey do.” The second man pulled us apart with his strong hands.
The man opened the door and waited until I had entered the car before repeating, ‘Go’. Salisu made to touch my breasts and his partner slapped him hard on the face. His torchlight fell. I drove away quickly, hearing the police officers shouting and throwing curse words at each other.
It was almost midnight when I arrived at our family house. Doyin, my cousin, who has been taking care of my grandmother met me at the entrance.
‘She’s in the room.’
I ran into her room. She was lying on her back when I approached the bed. Her eyes opened when I touched her.
‘Mama, are you well?’
She smiled, then close her eyes. ‘I want to tell you something.’ I laid down beside her and waited for her to speak. Nothing. I placed my hands on her shoulder and listened to her snores.
I was content to be right beside this strong woman who has never stopped believing in me.
Whatever she had to say would wait till daybreak, I thought. I cuddled up against her and willed myself to sleep.
Next. Episode 9.