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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Forever (3)



Alewa drove listlessly through the streets of Lagos, not ready to go home to her empty apartment and far from ready to face her demons yet. She wanted some distractions, she wanted some peace of mind, she needed to not think or feel for some hours but just observe.

 She decided to drive down to the beach, there will be plenty to see and observe there to take her mind off her woes.

As she navigated through the Lagos traffic, she put on her car stereo and listened to some music all the while trying not to think of her life and what it could have been like if her mother had not died and if that man had not decided to make her his pseudo wife.

 Now, she’s so closed off she can’t bear to have any relationship or even make friends. She’s so terrified of forming any lasting relationship with anyone, scared that if she dared, at some point she might be asked about her past, and she could not dare to reveal that.

She finally got to the beach, found a parking space, removed her high heeled sandals and took out the slip-ons she always kept in her car for emergencies like this. 

She put them on, rummaged in her purse for a hair tie and used it to pull her hair into a ponytail when she found one. She put her phones in her jeans pocket, removed her jacket, leaving just her yellow chiffon top, rolled up her jeans, used some facial wipes to wipe her face free of all makeup and traces of tears. She then locked her car, and set off on foot towards the beckoning water.

She walked past tourists haggling over prices of adire, a particular tie and dye material specially made by the women selling them, she walked past couples strolling hand in hand too absorbed with themselves to notice anyone or anything around them, she walked past young boys with earphones glued to their ears and their head shaking as they enjoyed the music blasting in their ears, she walked past young ladies in bum shorts looking for a maga to treat them right that day, she walked past them all, oblivious to the man walking closely behind her observing all her moves.

She was focused on her goal, she walked steadily towards the water until she could feel the coldness on her feet, the cold reminded her that she was still human, it reminded her that at least for now, at this moment, she was alive.

 Alewa closed her eyes, and absorbed the feeling; she stood there and just let the water lap at her feet.

“It feels good, doesn’t it?” King said beside her

Alewa almost jumped out of her skin. She started and quickly turned to the spot where the voice came from. She was surprised to see the same guy at the parking lot standing right beside her. Is he stalking me? What is he doing here?

“Wha…what…what…?”

“What am I doing here?” he looked at her and smiled

She nodded vigorously, at a loss for words.

“Same as you, just enjoying the beautiful serene atmosphere out here.”

She looked at him incredulously. “Are you not the one I saw some hours ago at the hospital?”

“King Karo at your service ma’am. My friends call me K.K.” He bowed lavishly

“You’re a king?” she stared

“No.” he laughed. “My parents just had a thing for royalty. King is my first name.”

“Oh.” She didn’t even crack a smile.

“So, what’s your name?”

She looked at him and just moved away without replying. King watched her go, wondering what her problem was. Is it that she has a thing against men or is it just me? But I can’t give her what she wants, I can’t leave her alone. Lord, is this you or just my flesh? Why do I feel so drawn to her?

Alewa walked on without looking back. She wondered what the guy’s problem was. Has he been following her all this while? What does he want with her? It is just too bizarre to contemplate and she’d rather be left in peace anyway.

I don’t need the hassle of any overzealous guy presently; no matter how good he looks.She thought.

Alewa kept observing her surroundings. She got a soda drink from a nearby vendor and then found a bench a short walk from the water and sat down. She opened her drink, took a sip and kept looking at the water. 

She thought back to all the doctor had told her earlier and wondered what her life would be like now. Her life had never been interesting anyway due to the conspicuous absence of friends and family, now it promises to get even less exciting.

King watched her some distance away, close enough to see every expression that crossed her face and far enough so as not to be construed as a voyeur or stalker. He wondered what she was thinking of as he saw the myriad of expressions go through her face.

 He was stumped, watching her, wanting to be close but having to stay back. He had never been unsure of himself around any woman in his lifetime. 

Ever since he was a baby (as told by his ever ready to exaggerate mother), women had fallen all over themselves to carry him, coo at him or just be near him.

 Since he became an adult, he had to practically fend women off with a stick (figuratively of course) and for the life of him he could not understand the seeming aversion this lady had for him. 

Nevertheless, he was determined to see this through; there was something about her that keeps calling to him, which kept him from walking away.

He saw her stand up and dust the seat of her jeans; she then started walking towards the direction of her car.

 King unconsciously started following her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, it was the highest level of privacy violation, but he could not help himself.


  ***

King stayed in his car for several minutes watching the front door, looking for any sign of life in the house. Everything was as quiet as it looked and he wondered if he was in the wrong place.

He checked the street again and saw he was actually in the right location. He watched the house again and saw the curtains were tightly drawn and the house as silent as a tomb.

He knew for a fact that she was home as her car was parked outside for everyone to see; he wondered what she could be doing alone in the house by herself all day.

He decided to find out.

The three days since he last saw her and followed her to the beach and back here to her apartment had been the most restless of his life. He had thought of her constantly and it kept coming to his mind to pray for her.

 Although he prayed and asked God questions over and over, he still had not gotten any answers to his questions. God was silent, but he knew in his heart what he had to do, hence his visit today.

Alewa stared listlessly at the TV screen. She was on her couch, still in her nightgown which she had been wearing for a week, munching on some cookies with a bottle of 1.5l of coke on the small table beside her.

 She had been perpetually in this position for a week now, ever since she got back from the hospital that terrible day that she got the news she was HIV positive.

She did not see the need to take drugs if she would still die anyway. The doctor had been calling her non-stop all week, telling her to come to the hospital for her drugs as she had not waited to get them the day she got the news, but she had refused to go.

What’s the need for drugs? Why prolong the inevitable? She planned on sitting right there waiting for death to come knocking.

Her father had left her enough money to live on for the rest of her life if she never wanted to work again and if she spent prudently. That was the only good that came out of being related to that man, the fact that he invested his money wisely and left it all to her.

The knock on her door jolted her. Could that be death? Could he be here already? And so soon? She sat there staring at the door, out of her mind with fear. Nobody came visiting her anyway, so it must be death.

Since she moved here, nobody had ever knocked on her door. She was still staring when another knock came. Alewa stood up slowly and approached the door cautiously.

“Who is there?” she whispered, but the person on the other end of the door could not possibly hear her.

“Hello. Anybody home?” a voice called out, it was a male voice.

Alewa moved away from the door towards the kitchen. She was going to get a knife or anything she can use as a defense against any intruder. The voice stopped her again.

“Hello Miss. It’s King Karo. Are you home?”

That stopped Alewa. Where have I heard that name before? King Karo? Oh my God!! She flung the door open before she could stop herself. This handsome devil.

“Hello miss,” King said

“What are you doing here? How did you know my house? I’m going to call the police.”

“In Nigeria? Please.” He smiled

Alewa’s hand flew to her neck while her mouth slid open. Fear suddenly came into her eyes.


To be continued

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Forever (2)





Alewa came back from school one day and met just her aunt’s husband in the house. Before she knew what was happening, he had her pinned to the floor, her skirt up and her panties off.

“Uncle, please, please.” She sobbed and screamed but he didn’t answer her.

“You’re so beautiful Alewa and don’t tell me you don’t want this cos I see the way you look at me with those sexy eyes of yours. I just want to give you what you’ve been asking for all along.” He mumbled in her ears while struggling to pull off his trousers.

Alewa was helpless and all her pleas fell on deaf ears. They were still in the damning position when her aunt walked into the house and saw her husband on top of her charge. Her husband scrambled off Alewa and quickly righted his cloth while pointing an accusing finger towards Alewa.

“She seduced me darling. She just came in and attacked me, tearing my clothes off.”

His wife looked at Alewa accusingly. “You witch.” She slapped her. “So you took my son from me and now you’re working on my husband? You are a wicked girl. After all I have done for you?”

Alewa had tried to explain what happened but her aunt didn’t give her the time. She insisted she leave her house that very moment. Alewa didn’t have anywhere else to go to; she was barely eighteen and didn’t know any other relatives in Lagos or even anywhere in the world she could run to. She had to fall on the mercy of her father’s lawyer.

She called the lawyer, explained her predicament and he came to pick her. It was then he told her about the settlement her dad provided for her in his will before he died. In fact, he left all he had in the world to her; amounting to millions of naira which she was supposed to have access to once she was eighteen.

The lawyer, who had been a close friend of her dad’s was the executor of the estate and he was to make sure everything was ready for her by the time she is of age. Alewa had been shocked and at the same time gratified to know that she had something to fall back on. The lawyer explained to her that he had sent a monthly allowance to her aunt for her upkeep; so they didn’t lose anything by taking care of her all this while.

Alewa was grateful for the money but that didn’t reduce the bitterness she felt in her heart and soul towards the man who gave her life. He had done the unthinkable to her and for that she could never forgive him.

  ***

After everything she had been through in her young life, she couldn’t believe this was where she was to end up, rotting away from a disease contracted from her father.

She guessed it was fitting though; her sin had prevented her from living a full life so why prolong the inevitable. She had shut herself from the world, could barely stand the sight of a man not to talk of his touch, could not fathom trusting a man enough to let him in her life, have children with him and then watch him molest his daughter, could not even break the chain of despair her father had wrapped around her since she was thirteen.

Better to die now, no one would miss her and she would definitely miss no one. She knew this was the last straw, this would be the straw that would break the camel’s back, this was going to be the death of her; literally.

King watched as the young lady wove her way drunkenly through the cars in the parking lot until she got to a small Toyota parked some distance from his car. It was her erratic movements that arrested his attention but it was her attire that retained it. She was dressed classically albeit casually and he couldn’t believe a woman that exudes such class would be so drunk so early in the day.

He continued watching her closely as she searched through her purse presumably for her key and eventually dumped the contents out. His curiosity was satisfied when he saw her take out a set of keys, opened the car door and quickly went in. She started the car and just sat there, not moving with the car apparently running. King wondered what was going on and he felt compelled to check up on her. He told himself he was just concerned about her, but the fact was he was undoubtedly curious about the young woman.





          ***
King approached the car cautiously, careful not to attract undue attention to himself and be mistaken for a stalker or worse. He got to her car and saw her head on the steering wheel. He gently rapped on her window to attract her attention but there was no response. He rapped harder and she raised her head abruptly, looking a bit disoriented. She looked like she didn’t know where she was, like she was trying to get her bearings. King kept a smile on his face so she wouldn’t be frightened. She looked at him questioningly and he could see tears streaming down her face but she didn’t seem to notice. In fact, she didn’t seem like she knew most of what was going on around her; she just kept staring at him, waiting for him to explain the reason for his presence.

King indicated she lower her windows so she could hear him speak. She kept looking at him morosely and he repeated his request. Her eyes finally cleared and she reached to lower her windows, all the while looking at him expectantly.

Once the windows were fully lowered, King could see her face more clearly and he saw she was even younger than he thought she was and she was incredibly beautiful. Her eyes, filled with tears, seemed like a pool he could fall into and never come out of, they had such depth and awareness, he couldn’t fathom it. He looked endlessly into her eyes until she nervously shifted her gaze. That brought King back to the present. Her beautiful face was scrunched up tight from trying to keep herself from crying, even with that it was still arresting.

“Are you alright ma’am?” King asked

“I’m fine.” She answered quietly

“Are you sure?” King was more concerned now

She frowned and closed her eyes as if to ward off an evil spirit. “Oga wetin now? I told you I’m fine. What do you want?”

King was a bit taken aback by her vehemence. “I’m just looking out for you miss. I can see you are not feeling so well.”

“I’m feeling great, thank you.” With that she rolled up her window, laid her head on the head rest and closed her eyes.

King didn’t need anyone to tell him he had been dismissed. He watched her for a few moments more before walking slowly back to his car. All along he was haunted by her beautiful face, those depthless eyes and the tears in them. He wished there was something he could do for her, he wished she would lower her guard enough to let him help her, at least cheer her up.

He leaned back on his car, still watching her car. After a few minutes of standing still, under the hot sun, looking at one spot, King was ready to throw in the towel and move on but he had a strong check in his spirit to hold on and remain where he was. Before long, he saw her reverse and drove out and he decided to follow her. After thoroughly convincing himself of the prudence and importance of following her, he put his car into gear and drove after her out of the parking lot.



 To be continued
  

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Forever (1)




Alewa rummaged through her purse for her car keys at the parking lot. She remembered dropping them in earlier when she got to the doctor’s office. She searched and searched as silent tears trickled down her face. 

She could not believe this was where everything led to, she could not accept this would be her punishment, her life long sentence; the result of her sin.

Frustrated, she dumped everything in her purse out so as to better look for the keys, and she finally found them encased in her handkerchief. She took them out, and quickly replaced the contents of her purse, opened her car, got in before she allowed the tears come in torrents. 

She did not lower her car window so the animal sounds she was making wouldn’t escape; she just kept the car running with the AC on. 

She wanted no witness to her misery, she wanted to suffer alone cos she believed she deserved it; she was being punished for all those years, years of being involved in the lowest form of depravity, years of sleeping with her father.

Alewa had been feeling some symptoms of malaria and decided to visit the doctor. She had been feeling nausea and tiredness for some days and it was when it started affecting her output at work that she decided to make the trip to the hospital.

 Alewa detested hospitals and tried all her best to avoid going there, she figured she had paid her dues to the health system in general, the years she spent visiting her mother on her sick bed was entrenched in her mind, and she avoided anything hospital like the plague.

It had taken days of her health not improving to convince herself to go see her family doctor. She had finally capitulated and taken the trip this morning. Little did she know that she was signing her own death sentence? The doctor had taken one look at her and ordered various tests carried out, including pregnancy and HIV test.

 Alewa had rolled her eyes at the doctor, wondering how on earth she could have gotten pregnant or even contacted HIV. She was as clean as a whistle, she was sure of it; even Virgin Mary did not have anything on her.

Imagine her surprise when the HIV test came back positive. She was dumbfounded, speechless and very surprised. She had malaria all right but she also had something more deadly; she had HIV.

 The doctor had gone through his spiel of how HIV patients can still live full lives, and the different ways by which one can be infected by HIV apart from sexual intercourse but Alewa was not listening. She had known the source of the disease. She had known it was her father that infected her with HIV.





Alewa was barely thirteen when her mother had died. Her father had waited for just three months after the death of his wife to begin molesting his daughter. It started late one night. Alewa had just cried herself to sleep thinking on the death of her mum and missing her terribly. 

She had just lamented her heartbreak and loneliness to God asking him why he had allowed her mum to die, why he had chosen to leave her in this utter loneliness and despair. She was the only child of her parents and her mum’s long illness had not allowed them try for more children.

Her mother was a sickle cell carrier and she was always in and out of the hospital. After the birth of Alewa, the doctor had advised against more children, he said her body cannot take the stress and she would die, she had listened to him and did not have any more children, but she had died anyway.

Alewa was on her bed that night wishing desperately for a younger brother or sister to share her lonely days with when her body gave way to sleep and she dozed off.

After what seemed like minutes later, she felt her bed shift from the additional weight of someone. She had always been a very light sleeper and that little movement woke her up. Despite the low illumination in the room, she had recognized her father.

 Although it was strange to find him on bed beside her, her young mind had been grateful for the protection and companionship, and she had sleepily moved to give him space. He slept beside her that night but nothing happened.

Alewa woke up the next morning happy and rejuvenated, and the cycle had repeated itself for the whole week until the day her father decided to take it one step further. He raped her that night, all the while whispering how much he loved and missed her. 

Alewa had not understood his mumblings until years later when she was fifteen and discovered he took her to be his dead wife; in his mind, he was making love with his wife.

Alewa withdrew further into herself. She didn’t have anyone to talk to about what was happening to her. She had always been a reserved child and the situation she found herself just sent her into a deeper funk. Her teachers in school attributed her further withdrawal to the death of her mother and they did not question further. 

She had no friends or confidantes to talk to, and she had no close relatives to share what she was going through with. She was on her own and the man that was supposed to protect her abused her instead.

She endured the nightly torture and watched her dad wither away. She had assumed it was the death of his wife that was affecting him; she thought he died a year later because he could not bear to live without her anymore. Now, she knew better. He had died of AIDS.

Alewa was fourteen when her dad died. In the space of one year, she lost both her parents. Her mother’s death had really affected her but by the time her dad died, she was so embittered she could not summon any sadness or despair at his passing. 

She went to live with some distant relatives. The wife was her father’s second cousin and she had treated her well. Alewa got into the university and since she lived on campus she only went to her aunt’s house during semester breaks. 

She had formed a friendship with the second son of her aunty, Andre and she was pretty content living with them. She was with them for four years until the day everything changed.

To be continued



By Maggie Smart courtesy naijastories.com

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