Saturday, 30 April 2016

Heat in the Raindrops - Episode 8 Finale

EPISODE 8 – FINALE







A lot of the days had the house empty with only Mama in it. Ugochi lived with Muna and Obinna and Uju were mostly at their campus apartments. Papa was more in the church or at functions and conferences, than he was at home. She had a lot of meetings to attend either with him or in fulfilment of her role as the mummy G.O herself but her schedule was not as wide as his.

Her husband had turned into a different man since Muna found out the truth and had insisted on going to Onitsha to find out who her biological father was. Before Muna left for Lagos, both of them; Muna and Papa had had a talk which had lasted overnight. Mama had excused them. She knew they shared a different kind of cord and it wasn’t a kind that required her apprehension, knowing her husband was not the father of her child.

She heard the ding-dong of the grandfather clock in their living room. Papa had a taste for antiques and vintage. They had a set of vintage decorative vases and porcelain figurines on the console table which stood at one corner of the living room. 

The time was eight in the morning and Papa was travelling to Abuja for a seminar. His flight was for 11.30 a.m. She had helped him pack his things for the three days he would be away. She hurried to the kitchen to check the slices of yams she was boiling for breakfast even if she knew he would decline and insist that he was fasting ahead of the seminar.

The door bell chimed. She wasn’t expecting anyone. Perhaps it was either Obinna or Uju. They, especially Obinna, had the habit of always running home to have a helping of home-made food despite collecting pocket money from their father. His father always reprimanded him but Mama did not mind. If she didn’t feed her own son, who else was she supposed to feed? The bell chimed a second time. She reduced the heat of the stove burner where the egg sauce was cooking and carefully placed the napkin on the work table.

“Onye no n’uzo?” (Who is at the door?) Papa called out. He was descending the stair case already.

“I am going to check.” Mama said.

They had changed the front door since the attack by the robbers the other time although, the robbers had come in right before Obinna shut the gate after opening it for Papa’s car to drive in.

 Mama looked through the peep-hole of the door. It wasn’t Obinna or Uju or any one she knew. She looked again. She saw the new security guard standing with a man who was standing at the other corner so she could hardly see his face.

She called Papa to come have a look.

“Who is there?” Papa said, looking through the hole.

The security man explained that the visitor was a priest visiting from Onitsha. He had come to see Mama.

Mama recognized him as Papa opened the door. He was the priest who had given them all the information about Father Ifeanyi and Father Aloysius. She wondered how he had traced her address. She was frightened for a bit. What did they want with her? Was it a mistake that they had gone to Onitsha?

“Please have a seat.” Papa said.

The priest thanked Papa and sat on the couch. Papa asked Mama to get the priest some refreshment. She came back in a few minutes with a tray holding a tea cup and saucer, a tea pot and sugar and cream jars.

“I am sorry to barge in on you this way without notice.” The priest said. “My name is Reverend Father Kizito Okonkwo. I had introduced myself to your husband before you joined us. I believe you remember me.”

Mama nodded and sat beside Papa, opposite the priest.

“Is there a problem?” She asked. Papa heard the tremble in her voice.

Father Kizito shook his head.

“I felt it strongly on my conscience not to withhold more information from you. I did not disclose everything to you and your daughter the other day.”

Papa looked at the grandfather clock. From the look of things, whatever information this guest had to offer would take a lot of time. He couldn’t leave his wife alone…especially not with another priest in the house, not minding her age. He had failed her once. He would not do it a second time.

“We are all ears.” Papa said.

“This is the truth of what happened with Father Ifeanyi.” Father Kizito said.

Mama’s heart started to throb. Was this the closure she had sought and hoped for all these years? She had always wanted to know what happened to him, how he would end up, if the truth about her rape would ever be known. Both rapes.


Father Kizito started to tell of how he was a distant cousin to Father Ifeanyi. Father Ifeanyi had gotten into the seminary with the help of Father Aloysius, their uncle. He had covered up the allegation that he had raped a little teenage girl named Onyeka. Father Aloysius had told the reverend sisters that the girl had a crush on Ifeanyi and had allowed the devil to use her to lay such accusations against a young man who was willing to dedicate his life to God. The matter had been controlled effectively and Ifeanyi had been able to finally get into the Seminary. 

He had been posted to a town in Anambra which had a catholic secondary school. He was known to be very familiar with the students. His claim had been that he had a passion for teenagers so that they could set their ways straight before God and to live a pure life. When the allegation that he had raped a young secondary school girl surfaced and the girl in question cried out, Father Aloysius had tried to curtail the issue again but that time, he was not as successful as the first. The other students had staged a protest and the Arch bishop had intervened. Investigations were carried out and Father Ifeanyi was eventually relieved of his duties so he had to leave.

The mother of the girl that Father Ifeanyi had allegedly raped resolved that the punishment given to him by the church was not enough. She had gone to the police. She was a struggling widow working for a local government office in Onitsha. The matter was eventually filed at an Onitsha High court and Father Ifeanyi was arraigned. Things started to take a turn when the defence argued that no test was carried out to determine that the girl had actually been raped. The girl’s mother claimed that her daughter was a virgin but Father Ifeanyi had informed the court that the girl had told him in one of their confession sessions that she had been having sex with her school boyfriend who was an SS3 prefect in the school. The judge had concluded that the prosecution was unable to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and Father Ifeanyi had been discharged and acquitted. The girl’s mother was too ashamed to appeal especially as the girl had confessed that she was sexually active even though she insisted that she was raped.

The Arch bishop had released a public statement to the effect that the catholic church remains unaffiliated and not in support of the actions of Father Ifeanyi irrespective of the decision of the judge (who happened to also hail from Asaba, Father Ifeanyi’s hometown.)

The truth about Father Aloysius’ conspiracy was eventually let out of the bag and the church decided to send him out to serve from one remote area to the other for penance. He stopped celebrating mass or doing other priestly duties for a long time until he was re-absorbed.

Because Father Kizito was a relation of Father Ifeanyi, he found out that he became sick in his kidney after a long while. His family was unable to raise the needed amount of money for his necessary surgical procedure despite several public appeals. He finally lost the battle with the disease and died in his home town at Asaba.

His family had carried out the burial rites and buried him as a priest, hence the obituary pamphlet which referred to him still being a serving priest. The church had nothing to do with the burial.

Papa saw the tears in his wife’s eyes. She had started to tear up. He held her hand firmly.

“Did anyone get to know that he…” Papa started to talk but then caught himself and hushed.

Mama shook her head.

“It’s time to talk about it. There is no need keeping it a secret anymore.” She said.

She looked at Father Kizito.

“What my husband was going to ask was if anyone got to know that he raped a married woman in her matrimonial home while her husband was away.”

She did not see the surprise in Father Kizito’s eyes. Did he know already? He nodded.

“I’m so sorry about what happened to you Onyeka.” He said.

“How…how did you know? I never told anybody about it except my husband.” Mama said.

“He confessed to me. He asked to see me shortly before he died. He asked me to pray for him and for the repose of his soul. He knew he was dying and he wanted to make things right.” Father Kizito said.

Mama laughed, in little bits, and then hysterically.

“Make things right, you say?” She said.

Papa held her hand again.

“I implore you to release him in your heart and forgive him so he may find inner peace.”

“Do I have inner peace?” Mama said. “Did I have inner peace? Do you know what I went through after he raped me? He tore my skirt because I wouldn’t let him touch me. He forced himself on me! And then he spat on me afterwards, saying I was not as good as he thought. I told Father Aloysius. I trusted him. He did not listen to me, just because that bastard was his nephew! Do you know what it felt like…”

Papa pulled her closer to him and asked her to stop talking. He said it was okay and it was past. But she pulled herself off his grip and wept.


“I have held this thing for too long…too long. I have lived with so much heaviness and blamed myself. My parents did not want me to come back home a broken child. They wanted me to come home as an educated person! He crashed my life! Just when I thought it was over, he came to my home to wish me a happy married life, so he said. And he did it again. How could I explain that to anyone? Who gets raped twice by the same man? The first is believable. The second is…even my own husband did not believe me. I did not plan to have a child for a rapist as a married woman! Oh God…I wish I came for his burial. I would have defecated on his grave.” Mama cried, the tears coming in hurried succession.


“I am very sorry for all that happened to you, Onyeka. Believe me, Ifeanyi regretted his actions. But I need you to let go and forgive him so that you can have the inner peace you desire.” Father Kizito said.


Mama stood up and walked out, leaving the guest and her husband behind. She went into her bedroom, locked the door and poured out her heart’s content in loud tears. Tears she had never cried before. She had always wanted to be brave and shadow out the past. But it had revisited her for the third time by happening to her innocent child who did not deserve it.

She went on her knees. She had a granddaughter now and she would not let it happen another time. 
She would break this ugly generational pattern. She shut her eyes and began to pray. 


This was her beginning.  








***





This was her end.


She had been confused, dealing with multiple issues within the same second. She couldn’t reach her husband to find out where he was and she couldn’t deal with her sister who had caused the havoc she was trying to control. She continued to dial her husband’s number but he never answered his calls. She didn’t know who to call. How would she explain what had happened? On the other hand her children were crying and wanted her attention.

Her phone finally did ring. But it was not from Ayo. It was from a number she did not recognize. It was probably one of those people who dialed wrong numbers. She had yelled and ignored the call. But when the call became persistent, she finally answered it.

“Who is this?!” She had yelled angrily.

“My name is Olawale Lawal from the Rapid Response Squad, Lagos state. Is this Mrs. William-Adeoti?”


Muna’s heart thumped and the pressure of her blood skyrocketed. She did not need a blood pressure monitor to ascertain what had happened in her body already. She didn’t want to hear the rest of it. She did not want to take the bad news. She could not. She could not add one  more tragedy to her chest of sadness. But at the same time, she did not have a choice. She had no idea where her husband was and she had to find out.

Ugochi stood at a corner, trying to listen on her toes. She was as confused as Muna, realizing what she had done. It didn’t help that she had developed a splitting headache from her alcohol rush.

“Yes I am.” Muna’s voice broke. Her lips started to tremble for what was coming.


“Madam, can you get to the Maribet hospital at Agungi? Mr. William-Adeoti has been involved in a car crash along the express way…”


Muna started to breath out several times, just like the doctors had told her to when she had been in the delivery room.

“Is…Is he”       sniff.       “Is he alive?” She asked, trying to muster all the hope that was left in her.

“Please get to the hospital Madam. We  rushed him to the closest hospital.” The RRS officer had said and ended the call.


Muna jumped from her seat and started to search for her car keys. She had not driven the car in a while. She hardly left the house except for times when she needed to get to her store.

“What happened?” Ugochi asked.

Muna was speechless. She was trying to keep it together…long enough before she got to the hospital. She did not even know where the hospital was and she hated driving at night because of her impaired vision. Ugochi could drive, but she was a wrong choice. Her intoxication had not worn out yet. What would she do with her babies? She didn’t have a choice but to get everyone in the back seat; Ugochi and the babies. She silently hoped she wouldn’t have them killed as she mounted the high way, trying to concentrate and focus.

The Maribet hospital was beyond horrible. The nurses were chatting in the midst of bubble gum clasps. The ceiling fan of the hospital reception had cobwebs hanging. There were rechargable lamps on the nurses' desk because there was no power. One of the nurses was arguing with a security man on why he did not hustle for fuel earlier in the day so that they could run the generator. She was told her husband was still alive but they could not start treatment until deposit was paid. Muna knew if she did not do something quick, they would be billing her for embalmment and mortuary services soon. She could not handle the situation and she did not have a choice but to call one of Ayo’s staff, Chike, who lived around the area. In a few minutes, they had moved him to their family hospital at Oniru. The nurses had rushed him into the intensive care unit immediately. He had not stopped bleeding despite the cotton wool and bandages the nurses at Maribet had put on him.

The doctors were not saying anything. They had just thrown a lot of consent forms in her face and before she knew it, she was signing forms without reading the content because there was no time to waste. A split second was that important to saving her husband’s life.

They had been waiting for a couple of hours. The babies were still in the car with Ugochi. She was overwhelmed with confusion. The time was 4.30 a.m. The only choice she had was to drop the kids with Ayo’s mother. But how would she explain what had happened? What would she say? Mummy he found out that I was raped and the twins are not his because I got pregnant from the rape and still deceived him into marrying me. Mummy here are the same set of twins, please help me babysit???


“Madam, I need to head home now. I hope you don’t mind. I’ll be back first thing when it’s bright.” Chike said.

Muna nodded. She knew that sooner or later he would have to go. He was a newly married man and his phone had not stopped ringing. She knew his wife would be worried.

“Thank you so much. I appreciate your help. Thank you for saving his life.” She said.

“I’m worried for you though. You need to call a family member.” Chike said.

Muna nodded again.

“I will. Thank you.”

“Let me know what happens, please.”

“How are you going? It’s still late and there are no cabs.” Muna said. He had hopped on a bike from his house when she had called him to meet her at Maribet hospital after which he had driven her car to Oniru.

“It’s not so late. I can find a bus at the bustop.” He said.

“Let me drop you at the bus stop and see you get on a bus, please.” Muna replied.

Chike hesitated at first but when Muna would not budge, he finally agreed.






By early morning, about 6.30 a.m, the doctor was ready to see Muna. She had not slept all night. Different thoughts had been running through her mind. Ugochi was still asleep at one end of the reception. She held Keith who was asleep too while Muna held Kayla.

“Good morning, Mrs. William-Adeoti.” The nurse said. Muna hadn’t heard her the first time till the nurse actually touched her.

“Oh…I’m so sorry. Good morning.” Muna replied. Her mouth felt stale.

“The doctor needs to speak with you in his office.” She said, smiling as professionally as she could.

Muna nodded and got up.

“Which way please?” She asked.

“I’ll lead you there Ma.” The nurse said. “The babies need to go home ma. Can the lady with you take them with her?”

“Um…” She sighed. “I’ll deal with that. Let’s see the doctor first.”



The doctor stood up and shook her hand, asking her to take a seat. He was probably in his early fifties. He was of average height and was a little chubby. His office was cold from the air conditioning. On the walls hung different charts and medical information. She saw his certificate also hung on the wall. John Hopkins. She knew her husband was in safe hands.

“I’m Dr. Abdul Raman.” He introduced himself.

Muna smiled faintly, waiting for him to get to the point.

“So, the thing is this, Madam. Do you have any other family member who can come around to help you?”

Muna frowned. “Why? Is he okay? Please I hope he is…”


Dr. Abdul Raman nodded.


“Well, yes, but also because your husband might need the presence of close family members along the line. You see, he suffered a head trauma from the car accident.” He said.

Muna took in a breath, waiting for more information.

“After the CT scan and a couple of other tests, we have discovered that there is a little swelling in his brain.”

“Oh my God!” Muna couldn’t hold herself together anymore. She broke down in tears.

“He is unconscious at the moment…Let us watch him for some time.”

“Wh…what do you mean by some time? A day? Two days? How bad is it?” She was apprehensive.

Doctor Adbul Raman clasped his hands together.

“Let me try to explain this to you. There is a scale called the Glasgow Coma Scale.”

“Coma?! My husband is in a coma?” Muna wept.

The Doctor let her cry. He knew she needed it.

“How severe is it?” She asked.

Doctor Abdul Raman sighed.

“He has a low score.” He said.

“What does that mean? Is that good?”

“It means the injury is severe. We hope…we anticipate that he begins to respond to his environment. We are supporting his breathing and regulating his blood pressure. We will have to frequently run other tests on him to monitor his improvement…” Dr. Abdul Raman said.

Muna knew she did not have a choice. She had to call family. This was too much for her alone to handle.





Ugochi had started to feel better. She had pleaded with Muna, claiming that she didn’t mean for Ayo to find out that way. She blamed herself for what had happened and Muna did not say otherwise. She offered to drive the babies to the house and clean them up. She had called the nanny already. She also needed to prepare food for Muna. She had to eat something. Muna had refused. She couldn’t risk the life of her children in the care of Ugochi. She had a chance to prove herself once, and she had messed up.

In about thirty minutes time, Ayo’s father had joined them at the hospital. Luckily he had been in Lagos the night before as he had come to attend a wedding which was holding the next day. He was staying at a hotel which was closer to the venue of the wedding and had planned going to visit Muna and Ayo afterwards.


“Muna!” Oba Adeoti called out as soon as he sighted her at the reception with Ugochi and the babies. His small entourage of young men stood behind, giving some distance. 
  
Muna had just gotten off the phone with a friend’s driver who was on his way to the hospital to pick up her car and take the others home. The nanny would be waiting at the house. She saw her father in law and hurried towards him. She knelt to greet him but the man held her shoulders, asking her not to bother.

“You look tired! How is Adewole? What happened? You weren’t coherent.” Adewole was Ayotunde’s actual first name but he had taken up his middle name instead. His father however stuck with Adewole. He always complained that Ayo did not regard himself as a prince.

Muna started to cry again as she narrated everything that happened to him, save for the part before the accident, where Ugochi had let the truth slip.

“I can’t tell his mother.” Oba Adeoti said. He paced back and forth. “She has high blood pressure. I cannot tell her this.”

“Is she in Lagos too?” Muna asked.

Oba shook his head.

“She couldn’t come with me because she is a little under the weather.” He said.

“Let my driver take them home.” He said, gesturing at Ugochi and the babies.

“I called a friend’s driver already. He is on his way here.” She replied.


Oba refused and insisted that his driver took them home.








***




Two weeks had passed since the incident. It seemed just a short time but it was like an entire century to Muna. Her mother had rushed down immediately from Enugu the minute she was told. Ugochi had been the one to call her and Papa. Muna had become a shadow of herself, unresponsive, just like her husband. She had joined him in the coma…absent in mind, but present in body. The only difference was that she was not bed ridden. Papa had also come to stay with them. Ayo’s siblings had practically turned to hospital staff because they were by her side every day. His mother had eventually found out and had been hospitalized but she had recovered and had come to terms with the fact that her son was hanging between life and death.

Muna knew that she was walking on egg shells. The story that everyone knew (except her parents and Ugochi) was that Ayo had left the house to meet up with someone and he had run into the truck on his way there. She hated that she had to lie, but Ugochi had told her that she had no option. She could not blatantly spell it out to her in-laws that the babies were unrelated to them. Muna hated to heap another lie to the mountain she already had to her credit. But she did not have a choice.

His father had suggested that he was flown out of the country to the United States to get better medical attention but Dr. Abdul Raman was a specialist in neurology and insisted that it was not safe to move him just yet.




It was a cold Thursday and the time was around 1.30 a.m. Her parents had returned to the house with Ugochi and Ayo’s siblings had also gone back home. His mother also had to leave to get some rest. Muna was alone in the hospital with her husband. The nurses didn’t allow the others stay with him in the ward. They only looked at him through the glass windows. Only Muna was allowed to stay in the ward with him. Mama had raised a fit and broken down in tears claiming that she was his mother and had the strongest connection to him. Muna had been hurt and she didn’t mind. She knew the anguish and agony it was for a mother to see her child almost helpless for weeks in a hospital bed. She couldn’t imagine if something happened to one of her babies.

As she sat beside his hospital bed, she looked at his body. His eyes were still closed, just like they had been since she saw him at Maribet hospital. He had started to grow a stubble beneath the ventilator over his face. She watched the rise and fall of his broad chest and she saw the wires connected to it from the other machines. She heard the constant beeping of the machines, reminding her that there was still an atom of life.

Muna touched his chest. She felt the heartbeat. She had called it her ring tone in those early months when they had just started dating.

“Open your eyes.” She whispered. “I’m calling. Can you hear my ring tone?” She smiled, in between glassy eyes.

“Ayotunde open your eyes please.” She whispered again. She received no response.  

She held his hand and stroked his skin.

“Ayo, answer me please, baby. I love you so much. Please you’re shutting me out with this coma. Please my husband.” She called out. When she still had no obvious response she started to cry uncontrollably.

She slapped his leg a few times like she always did when he snored in their bed.

“Wake up.” She whispered again.


She went to the bathroom to ease herself. As she cleaned up, she splashed some cold water on her face and looked at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t believe how much she had changed in those two weeks. She had obviously lost some weight and she had heavy cement bags under her eyes. Her hair was rough and untidy and she didn’t care for good dressing. She hadn’t been eating. She had been taking fluid but she had no appetite for food. Her mother had forced her to eat a little custard the other day.

She remembered what Dr. Abdul Raman had said. If they got no response from him after a few more weeks, they would fly him abroad. She knew that meant better care but she also knew that meant critical.

Why were things that way for her? What had she done? Was she a product of a curse? Maybe someone had cursed her parents or her grandparents in the past. Was God revisiting the sins of her father on her? She hadn’t asked to be born of a rapist, had she? She sighed and walked back into the ward. Status quo.

She literally felt the anger rile up from her stomach. She was angry. And she knew who she was angry at. She grabbed her purse and left the ward. The time was 2.15 a.m. She did not mind. She hopped into her car and hit the main road. She didn’t know where she was going. She just knew she had to find somewhere of solace. She was helpless and she needed to vent plead for help. She turned on the radio and scanned from one FM station to the other. She stopped on one finally. A song was playing.


It’s the same God, who was there for you in the midnight hour
It’s the same God who is able to wipe your tears away….

Tell me why you’re giving up on God
Tell my why you’re giving up on Him

Hold on, change is on the way

Ebezina, Chukwu nonso
Ogini bu nsobu gi
Ima-na odi adigideh



She couldn’t hold herself any longer. Muna found a spot in the next street, parked her car and turned off the engine, bursting into tears. She cried out literally, as the song continued to play in the background. She had too much she was fighting. She couldn’t continue to fight...with Him. With God.  Yes she was angry at Him. He had let all those tragic things happen to her even when it was no fault of hers, even when she had done nothing to deserve it. At that moment, she did not care about herself anymore. All she wanted was for Ayo to get better. All she needed was peace for him. She couldn’t continue to look at him in that hospital bed. She was a go-getter and she was going to get this whether it was liked or not. Her car was going to be her own war-room.

“I am tired! Yes, I admit it! I am tired of all you have brought my way. I am fed up and I refuse to continue to moan in self-pity. What more can happen to me? I don’t care if someone attacks me here this early morning! I don’t care if I am robbed. I don’t even care if I am raped or killed! But you have to stop this right now. God you have to listen to me and save Ayo’s life!”

She heard her phone beep. She hissed. It was a distraction but she felt a strong instinct to check it. Perhaps it was from the hospital informing her that Ayo had woken up (Had God heard her that fast?)

 It was a text message from her father. She wondered why he was still awake at that time. She opened the message.


Daddy: 

Read this. I felt a strong leading to share it with you.
Ephesians 6: 12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6: 16
In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.



She had a eureka moment. That was it! She had been channeling her anger all along at the wrong person. Her war was against the devil, and not with God. By why had God allowed the devil tamper with her life? Was God not supposed to protect her and shield her from evil?

Resist the devil, he will flee from you.

That sentence came to her sub conscious. She had always thought it meant running away from temptation. But now, she understood that it meant commanding the devil to flee!


“In the name of Jesus I resist you o satan! Get thee behind me! You have no hold over my life or my family! I bind you and command that in the name of Jesus Christ who shed His blood and died for my sins, who conquered death and rose again by the power of the Holyspirit, I command you to get out of my life!” She started to stutter. She was running out of words.

“Who do you think you are! Who do you think you are to oppress me, satan? I confront you today! Don’t you know I am a daughter of the living God! The KING! JEHOVAH! You must have some guts, really! In the name of Jesus I declare that Ayotunde Adewole William-Adeoti you are free from every bondage or hold of the evil one! I raise my faith before the King of kings. God you said even if my faith is as small as a mustard seed it will move mountains! Who are you o mountain of coma, o mountain of brain injury before zerubababel you shall become a plain!...”

She lost her speech and started to speak in unknown tongues, weeping, crying, yelling, fighting. She came out of the car, locked it and went on her knees on the side walk, crying out, not minding that she was in public, although it was dark. She didn’t care for her surroundings or her safety. Yes. She was mad like that.

By the time she opened her eyes, it was getting a little bright. People were walking on the street and she saw that a crowd had formed somewhere. She heard an orange seller say “O ma se o. O ti ya were. Were alasho.” She laughed but she did not mind. Yes, she was mad. Her situation needed madness. The time was 5.50 a.m.



As she stepped into the hospital, and headed for the ward where her husband was, she felt the flutter in her heart. She hoped God would not fail her. She had prayed her heart and soul out and all she wanted was a miracle for him. She exhaled as she stepped in. Doctor Abdul Raman was at his side, with a nurse, doing his medical routine.

“Good morning, Mrs. Adeoti.” He said as she walked in. “I thought you had gone home eventually.”

Muna shook her head.

“Is he responsive yet?” She asked.

The doctor shook his head.

“I’m sorry, not yet. We are just checking his skin injuries and dressing them.” He said.

Muna nodded. Why had she trusted God? Why had she even thought something different would happen? She watched as the nurse cleaned his wounds. They had started to heal. She hoped she could hope in his wounds…that somehow, her own wounds would heal too.

After the doctors left, she resumed her sitting position, stroking his face. The doctor advised that she had skin contact with him a lot.


“God made me embarrass myself.” She laughed, looking at him. “Well, I don’t have a choice. I won’t stop. I won’t stop until I see a change.” She said.


For the rest of the morning, she continued to talk to him. She talked about the things she had prayed for. She talked about how his staff had been calling her and she had to switch off her phone. She talked about how they would get back on their feet after this thing passed. She talked about how her business was not as profitable as it used to be.

She talked about the rape. She talked about Onitsha and Father Aloysius and Father Ifeanyi. She talked about Papa. She talked about Mama. She talked. She introduced herself again, just in case he had forgotten who she was. And then she started to apologize for all the lies.

She remembered what Doctor Abdul Raman had said. That if he did not respond in the coming week, he might fall into a vegetative state or might be minimally conscious. He said he did not foresee that Ayo would never respond, but he could not rule it out. 




It was the third day of Muna’s fast. She had consciously started fasting and did not count the fourteen days she had not eaten anything proper because of her state of mind. She walked around the hospital declaring healing. She laid her hand on Ayo’s head and prophesied. Mama had joined her and so had his siblings when they visited. 

Shortly after everyone had left, she dozed off a little. She dreamt of her twins. She dreamt of Ayo waking up. And then she feared what he would do if he woke up. Would it be a bad thing to pray for amnesia?


She felt a squeeze on her right hand. A mild squeeze. She wondered who it was? Maybe it was Doctor Abdul Raman or a nurse with more bad news. She opened her eyes and there was no one in the room. And her right hand was in Ayo’s! 

He had squeezed her hand!


“Ayo! Baby! Ayotunde!” She screamed.


She felt him squeeze her hand again. She couldn’t hold her rush of emotions. She ran straight to the reception, screaming at the top of her lungs!








***



A FEW WEEKS AFTER



Muna carefully cleaned the edges of the ceramic plates, wiping off the stain from the splash of meat and fried chicken in the stew. She had prepared amala and ewedu and fresh stew for lunch. Ayo was still recovering at the hospital. He was a lot better than before. When he had first woken up, he had been a little confused and aggressive but gradually, he started to recognize people and have effective communication. Muna could not contain her joy. So God had listened after all. So the devil had fled after all.


He was awake when she entered the ward. His mother was seated beside him.

“Good afternoon Mummy.” Muna knelt, greeting her mother in law.

Olori Adeoti smiled and patted her on the back.

“Right on time. I told him you went to prepare his lunch.” His mother said.

Muna smiled. She looked at Ayo. He looked rough. She found it sexy, in a weird way.

“How are you feeling?” She asked him.

Ayo didn’t respond.

“She’s talking to you, darling.” His mother said.

He looked at Muna.

“Muna, which client was I going to meet up with when the accident happened?” He asked sarcastically. That was the story she had told his people when they asked what had happened.

“He has been really upset since he woke up today. Is everything okay?” His mother looked at Muna.

Muna’s heart beat increased in its beats. She knew why he was upset. He remembered everything that had happened. She opened her mouth to speak but she slurred and stammered. She sighed. She could not continue to build one lie over the other.

“Mummy, I need to tell you something.” Muna said.

“What is it? You people should not confuse me.” Olori Adeoti said.

Just as she was about to speak, a nurse walked in.

“I see you are feeling very well now, Mr. William-Adeoti.” She smiled.

Ayo forced a smile and nodded.

“You have a guest. Her name is Torera Tafa. Should I let her in?”

Ayo looked at Muna and then asked the nurse to let the guest in.

Torera was dressed in a pair of denims and a yellow chiffon blouse. She looked good…better than Muna. She greeted his mother and said hello to Muna, then she hurried over to Ayo’s side.

“I am so glad to see you awake.” She said. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, Torera. Thank you.” He said.

“I came here as soon as I heard but the nurses wouldn’t let me see you, which is understandable.” She said. “Daddy sends his love.”

Muna stood akimbo. Daddy sends his love? Really? She looked at the girl with the British accent from head to toe.

“Thank you.” Ayo said.

There was some silence. Torera turned to Olori Adeoti and started small conversation. Muna felt embarrassed. She didn’t take her eyes off Ayo. When he said nothing, she took the bull by the horn.

“Hi, Miss Tafa.” Muna said.

Torera turned to look at her. Muna did feel a little belittled standing in flat slippers, an old t-shirt and a black a-line skirt beside the gorgeous Torera. The possible Becky with the good hair or edible catering.

“Hello…” Torera said, trying to figure out who she was.

“I’m Munachi William- Adeoti. Mrs. Thank you so much for stopping by but he really needs some rest now and the doctors insist that only family should be in here with him.” She said, keeping a straight face.

Torera forced a smile, accepting the subtle shade. She honestly did not recognize that she was his wife. She looked prettier in the photos she had seen on Ayo’s display pictures than in person.

“Um…I’m sorry I did not realize. You’re welcome.” Torera said. She turned to face Ayo.

“Please stay well. I’ll talk to you later.” She said. She said bye to Olori and left the ward, her high heels hitting the tiles.

Olori shook her head.

“What was all that about? Who is she? All these elese tirin girls eh? Ayotunde?” His mother said.

Ayo reached for the bottle of water on the food table. Muna rushed to help him with it.

“So what did you want to tell me?” Olori asked Muna.

Muna sighed again. There was no escaping this.

“It’s nothing Mum.” Ayo said before Muna could respond. 

Muna looked at her husband as tears filled her eyes….and his.














He had been discharged from the hospital and they had gone home together. He was recovering. The doctor advised that he didn’t resume work just yet till maybe after a month or two. Muna did her best to cater to him and help him fully recover. He had sustained an arm dislocation so she had needed to help him with a few things he couldn’t help himself with till the cast came off. She had to help him bathe. It would have been something romantic to do, but Ayo refused. He did not let her. A few times she had tried to kiss him but he had withdrawn and moved away.

He finally gave her a shocker. He said he wanted space. He said he needed to clear his head and think of a way forward for them. Muna did not know what that meant. What did he mean by way forward? She did not argue with him. She did not want to get him agitated. He was only just recovering.



It had been four days since he had moved out of their home with a few items in his small suitcase. He said he wanted to be away for a while. She had asked where he was going but he refused to give an answer. She couldn’t hold it anymore. She was tired. She had given her best and stayed every single day with him at the hospital and now he wanted space? She had apologized. She had tried to explain but he said he did not want to talk about it.

She knew that his personal assistant would know where he was. His p.a booked everything from holidays, to restaurants to social hang outs. She called her immediately. She expected that she would say her boss had asked her not to disclose but this was a matter of life and death. The life and death of her young marriage. She was right. His p.a did not disclose.

Mama had returned to Enugu and the nanny had resumed for 24 hours on a daily pending when things got better in the house. Ugochi had left for Abuja for one of her runway events.

She had just taken a bath and was drying herself with a towel when she heard the email notification on her iPad. She unlocked it and checked the message. It was a debit alert of some amount at the La Crème restaurant. The debit was on the joint account she had with Ayo.


Eureka again.


It occurred to her where her husband was. La Crème was that one restaurant where he had taken her when they first started dating. It was a boutique restaurant in a resort in the outskirts of Lagos. Before they got married, he’d told her that he sometimes just checked in at the resort to clear his head when the work got too much. The place was owned by his uncle.

She got dressed, combed out her hair, and called her cab-man. She had to be at Epe.







He had just taken a bath and still had his towel tied round his waist when he heard a knock on the door. It was probably room service.

“Come back later.” He raised his voice. He didn’t want any disturbance.

The knock was persistent. He sighed, mumbled some words and looked through the peep hole of the door. He was shocked! How did she find him there? It was his wife.

“Muna?” He said.

The knocks continued. Muna was a go-getter. He couldn’t leave her standing there. He knew she would not stop knocking. He finally opened the door and let her in.

“Muna what are you doing here?” He said, cold.

She dropped her bag on the floor and immediately went on her knees, holding his waist.

“Ayo I am sorry. Please, hear me out. I love you so much. If you leave me I don’t know what I would do. Please. I…I am so sorry for everything that happened. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I am tired of fighting and…” She pleaded.

Ayo held the towel to his waist and moved away from her.


“Please leave. I came here to think. I don’t need you here. Just leave, Muna.” He said.

“How can I? Where should I go to? You are my home.”

He turned to face her angrily.

“You lied to me from the onset! All I ever did was love you! Where did I go wrong? You lied about being a virgin…you said it was a tampon. I never even…men, Muna, you really out did yourself this time. I’m beginning to have a headache.” He said.

She held his shoulder.

She knew she had to do this finally.


“I was raped that day I went to Enugu to see my parents. Before you proposed to me. I was a virgin. I did not lie to you. I did not claim to be who I was not. Robbers came to the house and…” Her voice broke into sobs.

“He pulled me behind the couch in the presence of my entire family and he asked me to take off my dressing gown. And he violently raped me.” She shuddered.

Ayo turned to look at her.

“I couldn’t tell you. Mama asked me not to tell you. That’s because she was raped too when she was younger. I recently found out that the man I thought is my father is not. “

“Wait…what?!” Ayo was puzzled. He pulled a seat for her.

“Ayo, I have been in so much pain and confusion and I didn’t know how to tell you. My biological father is dead now. That’s why I travelled to Enugu recently. He was a priest. About me, I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened to me. I was afraid you wouldn’t want me any more. You always called me your precious. You said you had not met anyone like me and you treasured me because I was a virgin. I was afraid I would lose you. I found out I was pregnant a few weeks to our wedding and that’s why I asked that we had a quick wedding. I couldn’t bear the shame. I hated the pregnancy but seeing the way you fell in love with the twins, I had to love them too. Ayo, I struggled every time you touched me. I hated sex. Because my first experience was in violence. I was always afraid. I wanted you all the time but I don’t know why my mind always made me react like that. I’m so sorry. I need to let you know all of this and…”

Ayo ran his hands over his head. He stood and paced the room back and forth.

“This is...phew!” He sighed. “This is so much! My God!” He exhaled.

“I hated God. I stopped church. I didn’t know why all that had to happen to me. You didn’t deserve it and…”

She sobbed and sniffed.

He was quiet. He was thinking, looking out the window.


“I love you so much. I don’t know what you will decide but I had to tell you everything in person. And I actually feel better, now that I have told you. The truth really sets you free.” She sniffed.

“I miss you. Please come home. And Kayla and Keith…I know you are not their dad. But those babies love you. I always want to protect Kayla because of what I went through and what my mother went through. I am so sorry.” She paused. 

She held him from behind and planted a kiss on his bare back.

“I should go.” She said, hoping he would stop her like in the movies. She picked up her bag. He didn’t say a word. She headed for the door, and turned to look again. He was still looking out the window. Then she finally left.



She had taken another cab back to Lagos. She had hoped that she would come back home with him or sleep there with him. She had hoped he would say everything was okay and forgive her and make love to her but it did not happen that way. She cried the entire trip back to Lagos.

The nanny welcomed her and served her some rice. Muna refused. She was not in the mood to eat. She picked up her kids and kissed them, crying. Rita knew a lot of ups and downs were happening in the home so she knew better than to ask what was wrong.

Her marriage was probably over. Her friends would laugh at her. The news would spread like wild fire just the way their wedding had, and his accident had; splashed all over the blogs.

She hummed to a vague melody as she rocked Keith to sleep. Kayla was crawling around the bedroom.


The next morning, she woke up staring into the ceiling. She had slept off after Rita had come back to take the children from her. She figured that the best thing to do was to pack some of her things and leave with the babies. She had to. But where would she go? Enugu? She couldn’t bear it if Ayo eventually told his family everything. 

She got up and grabbed her suitcase. She went into the walk-in closet and started to pick some clothes and dump them into it.

She heard the door creak open.

“Rita, not now, please. I’ll come outside to meet you.” She said, without looking back.

Then she felt those strong arms go round her waist. She didn’t have to turn before realizing it was her husband. But the surprise made her turn.

“Ayo!” She raised her voice, surprised.

He looked into her eyes. Then he went on his knees.

“What’s going on?” Muna said. "When did you get here! How?"

"I thought about everything you said, babe. I had to think. And I had to leave and come home to you. I’m sorry. I should not have judged you. Muna, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me the most. I’m so sorry, my Precious. I wish I can hunt and kill the bastard!”


“Ayo…it’s…”

“Virgin or no virgin I would never have left you, baby. I appreciated that you had not slept with anyone and you had kept yourself but that is not the reason I fell in love with you. I fell hard for you because I have never met a woman more phenomenal than you are. You are strong, sexy, smart, spiritual…I can go on and on. I am so sorry.” He said.

She looked up, trying to stop the tears from falling.

“What about the kids? What will your parents say?” She said.

“Muna, a father is not necessarily the sperm donor. A father is the man who nurtures a child to adulthood. A father is a man who grooms and protects and caters to children who are his. A father is a man who has fallen helplessly in love with his twins! Please let me nurture them to adulthood. Please let me…”

“Oh, Ayo!” She hugged him.



He lifted her in his arms and claimed her lips, kissing every inch of her. He pushed her suitcase on the bed aside and lay her on it, unbuttoning her blouse.

He stopped.

“Are you ready or should I still give you time?” He asked.

Muna turned and climbed over him. She unbuttoned his shirt and the rest, kissing him and taking in whatever perfect imperfections there were. She was a go-getter.


They heard the slight thunder from outside in unison as he knew her and she was known.

It had started to rain.











The end!




According to reports, there were about 150 rape cases recorded in Lagos state. Rape in Nigeria is a silent epidemic but what is more is because of the stigma associated with it. A lot of rape victims end up being imprisoned by the trauma for a long time in their lives, while the rapist walks the streets a free man. Rape is condemnable. Rape is violence. Victims of rape often suffer post traumatic stress disorder, depression etc. I think it should not be covered up. It helps to seek help.

Say No to rape.

I lend my voice. 
Please lend yours.








*fisayotalabi

*Heatintheraindrops

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