Is love really stronger than pain?
I’m a book that holds the dearest of men’s secrets. Man is like a moon with a dark side which he hides from everyone. But I can see these dark sides because he usually confides in me.
I will tell you a secret today, not because it is my habit, but because I’m helpless and I hope you will be able to help Tola. She, like many ladies out there is battling with what she is facing. If only you can help, I will be glad. Here is her story.
She woke up with a jerk, like a frog poked while sleeping at the bottom of a pond. The sun was already in its full splendour, bathing the horizon with its vitamin D filled rays. She yawned as she stood up. She must have enjoyed her night rest, but did she? I think she knows best.
She must have noticed that she was late for school because she rushed to the toilet in her self-contain hostel as soon as she woke up. I had never seen her bath in such a hurry. I didn’t think she used a sponge on her skin because she didn’t spend up to two minutes in the bathroom, what a way to start a school week. Droplets of water were still dripping from her fair complexioned skin to the carpet covered floor as she hasted towards the wardrobe. She mobbed herself dry with a towel, opened the wardrobe and chose a plain blue blouse and a white chinos pant.
Like she did every Monday morning, her mirror duty was next. She took her makeup kit from where she stuffed it in her wardrobe, moisturised her face, and then she used a facial primer. She was careful with the concealer she applied next, carefully burying the pink discolouration around her left eye and right cheek, then she used the foundation brush to level it all up, blending the wedges.
Her mask of disguise wasn’t finished till she did a smokey eye on her eyelid, and dabbing loose powder over her face. Behold Miss Tola, the most beautiful girl in Computer science and engineering department.
She slammed her door shut and left the hostel in a semi-running state. She must have realised that she was fully late because her face was contoured into helplessness. She flagged a motorcycle and within few minutes, she was within the campus.
The lecturer with his pot-bellied stomach and jumping pants was concluding his lecture at the CSE lecture shed when she entered. He must have started the class earlier than she thought, I suppose. She found a seat at the back of the shed and sighed as she sat. Hardly had ten seconds gone by when the lecturer exited the class. The class that was in orderly before threw into disarray like ants that have been disturbed in their path. Voices clashed together as different cliques took familiar position and started discussing; some were arguing, some taking pictures, some walking about aimlessly, but only few remained in their seats in singles, trying to revise the previous lecture in the noisy environment.
Tola’s friend, Ibidun, one ugly wannabe girl, with a slim figure, noticed her at the back and came walking to our position.
“Sup Tola,” she greeted. She had a blonde attachment hair which didn’t really match her tan complexioned skin. She had this ugly look like Raganda, a witch mask in the island of Bali.
Tola squeezed her face like a woman who just had an abortion, “I’m fine o. but when did this man fix this lecture? I thought it was supposed to hold by 8am? Did he take attendance?”
“Trust your pot-bellied oga now,” she used her hand to throw the hair attachment that had covered her left eye backwards, “He always takes attendance, but I helped you write your matric no.”
“Thank you darling.”
“But I informed you about the time change yesterday afternoon while I was chatting with you that it has been shifted to 7am o.” Ibidun said, bringing out her phone.
“Oh now I remember, but it skipped my mind. Did he conduct any quiz?”
“He gave us one yeye quiz like that that nobody knew the answer.” Then she touched Tola’s cheek, “I like your makeover o.”
“Thank-you,” her voice was sluggish, like an absent minded person.
Ibidun cast a perplexed look at Tola, “Hope no problem. The way you are acting this morning seems weird.”
“It’s nothing,” she lied, “I’m not in the mood.”
Ibidun stood up. “Miss moody-moody. I’m coming. I want to see the 200L class rep. you know I’m retaking CSE 204. Better drop this moody-moody thing before I come back.”
“I will.” She watched Ibidun walk away from us, feigning a catwalk as she left. Then she took me out of her handbag and wrote:
Dayo was at it again. I asked him for the money he owed me, but he quickly buried my request with the accusation that I made eba for him with Lipton water. That wasn’t true though. I knew he said it on purpose because he knew where I was driving to. He didn’t want to hear me tell him that he spent the money I lent him on that yeye Ibo girl called Nene. Only God knows what he sees in her.
I didn’t let the accusation bury the issue, so I told him the leg of the corpse he buried has protruded from the grave. Before I knew it, scores of punches from his bare hands fell on my face. In time, he added the swing of his leather belt. I had to run out of the room to save myself, but it didn’t do much to avoid scars on my face.
Even after all the therapy I did on my face yester-night, I still had pink discoloration on my left eye and right cheek. I had to use concealer and my heavy makeover to mask it out.
Dayo didn’t sleep in the room, and I haven’t seen him since I ran out. Is this a disadvantage of couple’s life? I guess not. This is just one of the bitter experiences one must pass through in life. Couple’s life isn’t bad; I’m just having a—k”
“Madam Writer,” a voice called out. It was that yeye Ibidun. “What are you writing?” She peeped at me.
Tola quickly closed me and held me tight under her armpit, “None of your business ma.”
“It is always my business,” she snatched me away from Tola’s armpit and ran towards the podium of the shed. Tola didn’t chase after her. Watching Tola from the podium, Ibidun opened me and read the latest entry, keeping an eye on Tola to see if she wanted to stop her. When she was done, her face warped up like the face of someone who just found out he had been cheated. She walked towards Tola.
“So Dayo is still beating you abi?” she said angrily as she dropped me on Tola’s lap, “You’re still his punching bag.”
Tola placed her index finger over her mouth, “Hush, you’re shouting.”
“Why won’t I shout?”
“It was my fault. I annoyed him,” Tola lied.
Ibidun’s legs were trembling like a fighter who is being challenged to a fight and can’t wait for the fight to start. “The last time too, you said you annoyed him. You keep on lying to cover him up. Wait sef, which kind of man will beat up his lover for any reason. No man except a wannabe man. And that’s what Dayo is. When will you open your eyes and stop being deceived with this love thing.”
“You can’t understand. You’re not in love.”
“It isn’t love that you are in. it is slavery.”
“Love is stronger than pain.”
“Ooh, you want to turn your case to Erinma and Osoufia? Shoor. When you die, your lovely Dayo will go ahead and marry that yeye Nene or some other girl, and they will mock you inside your grave.” Ibidun placed her hands on the table and stared at Tola, “Let me give you my two kobo advice once more; leave that useless thing that calls himself Dayo. I don’t see any benefits he adds to your life. He collects money from you, He beats you, He cheats on you… yet you turn to Mario saying you won’t leave him. Has he charmed you?”
“Wait sef,” she raised her open right palm to Ibidun’s face, “I’ve being watching you since. How can you insult Dayo in my presence?” Tola’s voice changed, she had a bit of anger in her voice, “You’re just jealous. What is even wrong with you sef. If he beats me, is it you he beats? You are using panadol for my headache.”
“Ahaun, on top wetin? Just because I told you the gospel truth, I’m now jealous and poke nosing abi. Don’t worry, remain with him and let him kill you. mtchewww.” She walked away from Tola, faraway outside towards Aunt Funke’s photocopy shop.
Later that night
Tola was cleaning her makeover when someone knocked at the door.
“Who is it?”
The person didn’t reply, instead he continued knocking
Tola was furious. She dropped the cotton wool she was using to clean her face and she walked briskly towards the door. She pulled the door open and was about to spit venomic words to the rude visitor, but the sight of the visitor caused her to act otherwise. The visitor was Dayo.
“What do you want? Have you come to carry my corpse?” she spat at him.
“Corpse bawo. I knew I was wrong, and I’ve come to beg for forgiveness.”
“That was the same thing you did the last time.” She swung the door to a close, but Dayo struck out his hand and prevented the door from closing.
“I promise you it won’t happen again.”
“Oh you think I will fall for that cheap stunt again? It isn’t going to happen.”
Dayo fell on his knees. “I beg you in the name of God. Remember all the good times we had, you know I regret hitting you. It wasn’t my intention, but I just found myself doing it. I promise it won’t happen again. A Yoruba adage says, if an offender accepts he is guilty, he shouldn’t be long on kneeling.” He brought out a bead necklace. ‘This is not a bribe, but a proof that I’m sincere about my words.”
Tola’s angry face fell. “You hit me real hard. You should have seen the pink discolouration on my left eye and my…”
Dayo stood up and smooched her in the neck.
“Are you sure,” she managed to say, appearing to enjoy the moment.
“I swear on my mother.” He started caressing her, and then he pushed her backwards slowly before he slammed the door shut.
Two weeks later
She woke up pretty much late than she did two weeks ago. The sun was still veiled by the grey clouds of rain. It had being cloudy for some days and the sun rarely came up except for some few hours at mid-day.
She yawned as she stood up and her eyes caught the glimpse of the wall clock. She jerked off her bed and ran into the bathroom. Within three minutes, she was out. Water was still dripping from her fair complexioned skin to the carpet covered floor. She went straight to the mirror, mobbing herself dry with her towel as she walked towards it. Having taking her makeup kit from her wardrobe, she rushed through her makeover routine, but no amount of concealer could mask the puff around her right eye. She must have thought about not going to the campus that morning, but she I knew she couldn’t. She had a test that morning.
She flagged a motorcycle and in few minutes, she was inside the campus. Luckily, the test hasn’t started because the lecturer was yet to arrive. The students were orderly seated, revising their notes and hand-outs.
Tola found a seat near the back row and brought out her note to revise. Hardly had she started when she noticed students near her were laughing mildly while stealing gazes at her. She ignored them and continued revising. The mild laugh soon metamorphosed into numerous muttering gossips. Before she knew it, almost all the class were stealing gazes at her. Some were shaking their heads while others wore no look of pity.
“That boyfriend of hers didn’t try o.” a guy near her said in a tone that pretended to be a whisper, but high enough for Tola to hear.
“Ahaun, even the Klitschko brothers didn’t beat Samuel Peters up to this level.” Another person said.
“This is the result of couple’s life.”
“It serves her right.”
“See how he turned her to a pink and black Kampala.”
Tears gathered in Tola’s eyes. She tried to ignore the insults and concentrate on her revision. She succeeded for a short spell, but all of a sudden, rain of tears gushed out from her eyes. She stood up amidst the numerous eyes trained at her. I saw Ibidun amongst. I think she must have started the gossip. With tears streaming down her cheeks, Tola ran out of the shed like a mad man- destination unknown.
I was humiliated in class today. The puff around my right eye was so big that my concealer wasn’t able to do my usual magic and the whole class saw it. I could have lied that it was an accident, but Ibidun turned her back against me and she let the cat out of the bag. I left the class, missed the test, and I’ve being indoor since. I think I’ve reached my breaking point. It is time to quit.”
I was raising my nose at her as she wrote the last two sentences. I knew that big headed pathetic boyfriend of hers will come and beg and she will forgive him, prove normal for a while before he beats her up again. But wait o, I may be wrong. Look at the way she warped her face up. She might be serious for real this time o. Heaven knows sha.
Someone knocked at the door.
“Who is it?”
The person didn’t reply, instead he continued knocking. Tola was furious. She closed me and walked briskly towards the door. She pulled the door open and was about to spit venomic words to the rude visitor, but the sight of the visitor caused her to act otherwise. The visitor was Dayo.