It is a Sunday. Eyram is dressed for church, and she has a smile on her face as she approaches the Boys Quarters. Eyram climbs the steps and knocks on his door, but there is no answer. A slight frown puckers her brow. She knows he is inside because the outside lights are still on. They had not been on when she came home the previous night. She holds the handle, and the door opens.
She enters the living-room, and suddenly Baaba emerges from the bedroom, fully-dressed. Eyram’s face darken with sudden emotion. Baaba smiles at her demurely and walks past her without speaking. Eyram reaches out and steadies herself on the back of the settee. She takes great gulps of air as she forces herself to breathe, and then without thinking she moves forward and pushes the bedroom door open. Chris is lying in bed, naked, his hands linked behind his head as he stares unseeingly up at the murals in the ceiling. Eyram turns her back on him immediately.
Good Lord, CB. Cover yourself up!
Chris pulls a cloth around him and sits up in bed.
She turns on him, and her eyes blaze furiously at him.
Baaba? Again? You spent the night with her?After what she did to you? Goodness me, Chris! Do you think you’re still a goddamn teenager, for Christ’s sake?
(cutting in angrily)
My dear goodness, Chris! Don’t you ever learn? How could you be so damn irresponsible?
Chris stands up and ties the cloth around his waist.
He stares at Eyram with remorse.
Hey. Hold it. I messed up, yes, but I was in a bad form yesterday.
Bad form? You settle your bad moments by sleeping with crazy girls? There’s no excuse for sleeping with her! That girl accused you of attacking her, and you were locked up, remember? You should’ve stayed clear of her! She’s trouble, Chris! She’s going to give you real problems! What’s the matter with you? If Baaba had not changed her story you would’ve been in prison by now. Baaba? Don’t you ever learn, Chris? Do you enjoy it when you’re surrounded by problems and pain? How could you allow that girl to come near you? Have you given up on my sister already? You should’ve thought about Junior. You have sorely disappointed me, Mr. Chris Bawa!
Chris’ jaws work hard as he walks past her, and she sees the terrible pain in the depths of his eyes.
Effe gave up on me, Eyram, long ago.
And do you blame her, Chris? Do you blame her when you can do reckless and senseless acts like this? Sleeping with the girl who accused you wrongly of rape? Do you blame her, after you raped Elaine?
Chris turns viciously on her, and she gasps at the emotion on his face, at the torture and sheer pain.
I didn’t rape Elaine!Yes, I made love to her, and Effe caught us, but it damn wasn’t rape! She told me to make it rough, because she’d always liked it rough and hard! So I did it, rough and hard, because I was hurting then and didn’t know she had set me up. I didn’t know she had called Effe and then left the door unlocked! And do you know why? Before I met Effe Elaine was my girlfriend, in school. I told her I was in love with Effe, and I begged Elaine to forgive me for hurting her. She accepted after she fought it and realized I really loved Effe. I thought she was okay, but she hated me, strongly enough to take her revenge many years later with that silly rape charge!
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Really, Chris? Effe saw you, Chris! She caught you in the damn act, so stop being so sanctimonious! She has held on all these years, hoping you will change. She hasn’t even informed anybody that you signed the divorce papers, because deep down she still loves you, and instead of fighting for her like a man and explaining that Elaine framed you, as you’re now claiming, you rather choose to go around banging women whose heads are not screwed on properly!
My God, Eyram! Stop it! What’s gotten into you anyway? Effe doesn’t love me! She doesn’t give a hoot what I do with my life so what’s your fuss about?
Oh, stop acting like a fool and thinking with your bloody dick, Mr. Chris f***ing Bawa! Effe has never stopped loving you, and you damn well know it!
He grabs her by the upper arms quite hard, making her gasp with pain, and his face is tortured as he speaks through clenched teeth, each word ejecting like bullets.
Then explain to me why she will allow another man to make love to her if she loves me so much as you claim. I saw her naked with Steve yesterday, woman! He made love to Effe!
He leaves her, and she almost falls, and he leaves the room. Eyram totters. She feels light-headed.
Can it be true? Effe and Steve? No, she doesn’t think so. Effe is her sister, and they know each other. Effe has always said she will make love only when she is married. Eyram trusts her sister. She does not know what Chris had seen, but if indeed Effe and Steve had consummated their supposed love then she, Eyram, would be very surprised indeed. She follows him outside, but he has entered the bathroom, and she can hear the shower falling. She stands near the entrance.
Chris, I don’t want to fight with you. Stop acting like a fool. I don’t know what you think you saw, but believe me, you have a great chance of winning Effe back, if you really want her. This Baaba girl is trouble. Don’t bring her here again. I’m not going to say anything about this to Effe, but it’s your life. You’re on a course to mess up your life again. Stop it, and focus. For yourself, and for your son, be focused. It would’ve been better if you had slept with a prostitute than with Baaba. That girl is going to make you regret this, trust me. I’m really disappointed in you. I’m off to church.
When she goes out she is shaking terribly.
Baaba is waiting outside.
She looks at Eyram and smiles.
Saw you’re dressed. Are you going out, sweetie? Can you give me a lift to town, Doctor?
Eyram folds her arms across her chest and regards her with total contempt and anger.
No, Miss. Brooks. I’m not going out. Just get out of here, would you? You make me sick. You have no shame, you sick turd!
Baaba smiles and shakes her head.
Tell me, are you fighting for your sister, or for yourself?
She turns and begins to walk away.
Eyram thinks of a million things to say to her, to hurl at her, but nothing comes out. Because, quite suddenly, she is alarmed by the question Baaba has just asked.