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I remained greatly confused for the next ten minutes. Several thoughts crossed my mind but none of them made sense. I began to question my journey to Ibadan. I concluded that it has brought me nothing but misfortune. I was raped. I lost my mother, I was losing a valuable friend and here was Presido with the Lawyer in his office, I was tempted to take out my frustration on him. I felt like tearing him into pieces, but I knew that wouldn’t solve the problem. Especially when my job was the only thing I still had going. Then it occurred to me that if Kike actually spoke ill of me to Bade, how long before she takes away the job too. The rage I bottled within was so much I began to shiver, before long I began to weep. I wasn’t sure of why I was crying.
“I will right my wrongs” I whispered to myself.
The Barrister came out with Presido, they shook hands and he returned to his office. Presido approached me arrogantly, pulled a chair that was lying around and sat in front of my desk. I clenched my fist as we gazed into each other’s eyes, then I became weak. I was intimidated by his presence, something broke within me and I began to cry bitterly. The pictures of how he and the others molested me flashed through my mind. He stretched his right hand towards me and said,
“Fine boy, no cry, I go take care of you. I dey tell you, I love you die. I don miss you die.” He laughed hard as he enjoyed every bit of the mockery. I reached for the pen in my front pocket and warned him to leave,
“If you don’t get out of here right now, you will regret it.”
“Na Presido you dey threaten o.”
“Get out of this office right now before I lose my mind” I yelled at him, “if I no gree comot nko” he retorted.
Spontaneously, I stabbed his right hand with the pen and he screamed so hard the Barrister came running. Presido banged his left hand on the table and promised me,
“You go suffer for wetin you just do.” He rushed out with a bleeding hand and I began to pack my bag, it was already closing time.
“Are you just going to leave without telling me what transpired between my client and yourself?” the Barrister asked authoritatively. Instantly, I paused and took a deep breath, and then I narrated my ordeal to him. After expressing some sympathy he voiced his concern,
“You met a man in a prison cell who unfortunately raped you. Your seventh sense should tell you that he is a hardened criminal. Do you actually think the best way of getting justice was to stab him? Why didn’t you come to me?”
I remained speechless.
“Do you know what trouble you just got yourself into? He is my client so I know how dreadful he is. The man is very dangerous. You didn’t establish a case when you were raped; it is silly for you to take the law into your hands now. Permit me to be sincere with you; the only way out of this is to stay out of sight for a while. Forget about this job for now and save your life. He is always getting into trouble, perhaps your luck will make him get into one he wouldn’t escape.” He patted my shoulder and returned to his office.
The job was gone. My happiness was short-lived, my life felt like a harvest of pain, frustration set in and I was scared again. Morenikeji’s words were the only reason I concluded that giving up wasn’t an option. As for Presido, I will live to fight another day. Right now I have to settle with Bade. I left the office for the church. The service was still on when I arrived so I waited impatiently, to my amazement Kike was seated beside him. Men do evil and come to God’s presence with unrighteousness. If God was a man many of such hypocrites would have perished. The pastor talked about ‘preparing for marriage’, it was a youth fellowship bible study.
He said, “If you cannot forgive your partner then don’t think of marriage,” and I noticed Kike reaching out for Bade’s hands and her lips whispering words I couldn’t make out. The pastor went ahead to talk about imperfection in all relationships,
“The only way to make a relationship work is to embrace each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Every marriage and relationship has its own battle; it takes a forgiving couple to win it.”
I came to terms with what the pastor said the same way I came to terms with the fact that his sermon had just made it more difficult for me to convince Bade that Kike was the serpent.
“On a final note, be deaf to what the world has to say about your spouse. Trust each other’s words only,” the man of God concluded. After the service I approached them and sought Bade’s audience and he accepted on the condition that Kike was present while I spoke.
“Bade, I am so sorry. I know I messed up, but it isn’t what you think,” I pleaded while I tried to explain.
“You forced yourself on my fiancée, what do you want me to think?”
“She forced herself on me; she came to me of her own will. I was stupid to have fallen for her deceit.”
“You stand here and accuse her of infidelity. Kunle, I respect you a lot and I will let this pass. I don’t ever want to see you again. You should be glad she isn’t pressing charges of sexual abuse. The next time I see you should be when you come to remove your belongings from my house and that should be tomorrow morning. Goodnight.”
“Bade please,” I begged, but it was too late. Kike leveraged on Bade’s physical abuse to win him over. I couldn’t expect less from a Lawyer, a smart one at that. They walked out of my presence. I managed to walk to a well in the front of the church where I sat down, my legs shook terribly. I was there for over thirty minutes, thinking about my life and the next step to take. I didn’t know who to call or where to sleep. The church premise was becoming scantier and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the security guard escorted me out, so I left.
As I trekked down the street I heard my phone ring, I looked at the screen and saw that it was Kike who was calling. What did she want now? Haven’t she wrecked enough havoc? I thought to myself. I pressed the receive button and she was done with all she had to say in fifteen seconds,
“My colleague told me what happened between you and his client today. We will discuss it tomorrow after we’ve gotten you where to stay. I have not stopped being in love with you. Goodnight.”
It felt like I was day dreaming. Who is this lady? A Chameleon? I snapped out of the thought and kept pondering on where to shelter for the night. My phone rang again, this time it was my uncle.
“How is Tayo’s health now sir?”
“That’s why I am calling you” he took a deep breath, “Tayo died this night, you have to come home tomorrow.”
“Tayo se kini sir!”
“He died son”
“But that’s not possible sir, he was responding to treatment”
“Be easy on yourself son. You are a man, you have to handle this with maturity, and your sister needs you more now. I am so sorry son”
I ended the call when I realized he was done talking. He was responding to treatment, what happened?
“God why? First it was mum, now it was my younger brother.” I wept. Pain manifests itself and gives no room for maturity. I kicked my leg against a car that was parked on the road side. I was willing to die.
“Take me Lord! Take me!”
I sat on the floor, buried my face between my knees and wailed like a child. I soon realized I wasn’t alone; I looked up and found five men hovering over me. I recognized Presido immediately.
“Fine boy, oya dey run make I dey see you.”
As I tried to make a run for my life, the other four grabbed me, dragged me into a dark corner where Presido did the deed again, they all did. When they were done, he broke a bottle and inscribed Presido on my buttocks.