It had happened again. It was the same person I saw yester night, the night before and every other night. This time, I ran with every strength left in me. I could hear his footsteps closing in on me, but I didn’t mind. I was determined to escape, this time, forever!
However, it seemed the entire world was against me as the same people I saw every other night, whose faces I still couldn’t place stood in front of me and prevented me from making my grand escape from this stranger that I knew so well. He caught up with me, gripped my skirt and shredded it to pieces. The nightmare I started having since that night in April had come to haunt me. Again.
Inumidun, meaning I am happy, is what everyone calls me. It makes me wonder if my entire life has been a pack of lies. You know what they say about names being a major determinant of one’s fortune in life? Well, my life has proven that the saying is only façade…LIES! The star never shines in my own world.
It all started after I turned fifteen and my mother, a Journalist started traveling a lot. She would leave me and my ten year old brother, Tobi with our Father, who was a policeman. I didn’t fully understand why my mother was embarking on those journeys, all I knew was she was a journalist and she was doing her job.
“Inumidun, look after your brother and cook for your father, I’d be back in a few days”. But I did more than all of that. I not only looked after my brother, I literally became his mother and protected him with everything I had. And for my father, I did more than cook. I cooked and severed his food, in the kitchen and in the other room. I cooked and I cooked.
When he walked into my rom that night in April, he wasn’t the father that would take Tobi and I to school and bring us back home. Something was different about him. He was a stranger. I took a quick glance at the clock and it was 11:30pm. Dad usually made us go to bed at 9pm. What could be wrong, I thought. As he drew nearer, I could smell alcohol on him. “Dad….what is wrong, why are you not sleeping”
“Princess, just relax. I just wanted to tell you a few things. I love you….you know that right and I won’t let anything happen to you”. He was whispering.
“Dad….. ?” I was getting scared
“Just relax” was what he said as he removed the old wrapper I covered myself with as he made his way to pull down a strap of my underwear.
“What are yo…?”
I was almost shouting this time. He covered my mouth with his hands and the rest of what I wanted to say were muffled behind his large palm.
He had his way, ripped the veil that covered my temple and desecrated it.
He left me crying, went out of the room. He never looked back. But it didn’t stop. He came back for more, bearing gifts and more gifts. Then he would go on to tell me what might likely happen to me if I dared to tell anyone. He robbed me innocently.
Few months later, I became pregnant. I didn’t even realize what had happened to me. All I knew was I was falling sick often. My mother took time to take care of me, took me to the hospital, where it was discovered that I was pregnant. She confronted me about it and I had to tell her of the pain and trauma I have had to live with in the past few months.
It broke my mum. I could see it. But what happened had happened. We didn’t speak much after that but she would often look at me and shake her head or sigh heavily. I wanted to vanish from her sight. I wanted to stop causing her so much pain.
I didn’t know if she asked dad about it. All I knew was that they didn’t speak much, in fact nobody did. Everyone went about their business quietly. Tobi would come to my room in the evenings to tell he about he was growing tall and his clothes wouldn’t fit. I didn’t see dad in the house for a while and I didn’t ask about him.
Few days after, Aunty Funmi, my mother’s elder sister showed up in our house. She and mum went into the room and conversed in very low tones. Moments later, I was called into the room and was instructed by mum to get dressed as I needed to go somewhere with them. We were going to have an abortion. I can’t remember so much of what happened but the pain I felt in the following days would forever be remembered.
It didn’t end there. After nursing my pain for a few days, mum walked into my room on that fateful Sunday, smiled at me and proceeded to pack my things. It was the first time I saw her smile in weeks. She told me to go have my bath and get dressed. I did and she broke the news to me.
“You would be going with Aunty Funmi to Port Harcourt”.
I didn’t bother to ask why. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t argue. I felt I needed to get out of her face. I had been a disappointment and I had to deal with it alone. I left the house that afternoon, without getting to say a proper goodbye to Tobi. I couldn’t even look him in the face so I gathered the memories we shared and took them with me. I had broken our family apart. I ruined everything. I could have run away or something. I could have disobeyed my father and told mom about everything. I could have fought. I could have stopped him. I could have done something, anything.
It is the third month since I left home and the nightmares haven’t stopped haunting me. I haven’t forgotten the pain on mom’s face when I left the house that day. Although she calls me regularly and tells me she loves me, I still couldn’t stop asking questions. Why didn’t mom put up a fight for me? Why was she still with the man who raped her daughter, her only daughter? There are things I can’t just put together.
Photo: Google photos