The Runaway Bride Episode 14

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Joseph looked up from the laptop he was
typing from and saw his friend grinning from
ear to ear into his phone; he shook his head
and went on with what he was doing. The
room was getting hot and he does not want to
put on the generator at that time of the night.
“What is the matter Dave, do you realize
Chinwe is a married woman?”
Davis looked up at his friend and asked his
friend “what are you talking about?”
“Who you dey follow chat?”
“Clara!”
“Clara? Aha I saw her this afternoon; she
stopped by at the café before she went home.”
”That is what she is just telling me”
“I thought you were chatting with Chinwe, I
for say make you tread gently before her
father have you picked up”
”That will not happen, I am not breaking her
marriage, it seems as if there was no
marriage between those two”
“Still it is not right to chat with a married
woman at this time of the night”
“Na you sabi, why is your laptop screen
shaking? ”
“Henry almost broke my laptop; I am
surprised it is working with that kind of fall”
“That boy ehn!”
Davis’ phone rang and he decided to end the
call, so he could call his sister back.
“Blessing how are you?”
“I am fine, how are things there?”
“Fine, what is happening, I hope you are
fine?”
“I am o, just said I should say hi”
“What is the problem, I know you have more
than hi to say, if you are calling at this time?”
“I have another carry over, making it a whole
18 unit I have to clear after the normal units
of the regular course for the first semester. I
am tired of my life and I don’t know what
else to do”
“What is your CGPA now?”
“1.18”
And your last GP is?”
“1.22”
“Okay, so what do you want to do, I have told
you before now, drop out of that course and
go for literature that you love and wanted to
go for, you have no interest in this course you
are pursuing”
“After 3 years? Dad would kill me”
“He would kill you all the same, but painfully
and slowly if you continue to have so much
carry over and have to take an extra year”
“Dave…”
“It is the truth, I wanted to study Statistics, he
thought Engineering would sell more, I did
the engineering and now he wants me to
come and head a business I know nothing
about. I told him I wanted to get my masters
in Business administration, he wanted me to
go to Canada to study international business.
He will not stop running your life. Cut the
leash now and live your life before he runs it
down, don’t worry about the tuition fees, he
will pay, he would not want to appear bad to
his friends.
“But still, I am scared, I have gone 3 years,
this is my second year after pre degree and I
am not getting any younger,”
“Yeye, you are just 21, you are young. If you
want to be happy and not turn up on your
27 birthday to be a frustrated fool like me,
you better take a hold of your life now, I will
support you.”
“Is 21 young?, anyway, I will think about it”
“Think fast and let me know before I start
investing in the things I want to do here”
“Alright big bro, I will. Thanks so much, if I
say I love you now, ”
“E go sound like America film” fondly, he
ended what has been their bye -for-now
anthem for some years now.
“Na wa o, I just don’t understand your
parents, they have money to support your
dreams, but they are forcing their dreams on
you both, where as my own papa dey
encourage me to go for any course as long as
na university I enter, I just don’t get it”
“I wish I developed some balls earlier, the 4
years I spent messing up his business with
innocent people covering up for me all in the
name of the CEO’s son has caused me more
embarrassment than I can allow my sister to
go through.”
I know jack importing and distribution of
those tanks and containers he sells, leave me
with any broken device and the right screw
driver and I will make it work again if God
wishes it, but asking me to seat in front of a
computer just drowned my brain. It got to a
point that I installed PES on my official laptop
which I would play from 8 to 4 sometimes”
“Na wa o, if my father has the half of what
your father does, he will move mountains, I
swear. Although he also has his own faults,
don’t marry Yoruba, don’t marry Hausa and
all those things he is still holding on to. I plan
to make him wait to the extent that he will
beg me to come home with any girl I find on
the street”
Davis and his friend laughed heartily at
Joseph’s joke “but who will suffer the
consequence? By the time you are 50 and
your son is 4 or so, what joy and fun will be
there? When you can’t play football with him
and some other things together.”
“Dude forget, with this body and the way I
plan to stay fit, even at 50, I will still be
bouncing”
”Yeye boy”
“But I like your advice to you sister, if it were
some other big bro, they would confuse the
poor girl more and make her feel like she is
not being serious”
“Well, I did that the first year, but I see
articles this girl writes for our church and her
school magazine and how she is able to read
stories, interpret and narrate them, I
concluded she does just not have interest in
the course she is doing now”
”Ehya”
“Yeah, Dad is manipulative, he hears that his
friend’s child is studying this course and he
thinks it is the best, he hears about that
school and concludes it is the best, and
sometimes when I expect mom to help, she
starts her love in Tokyo talk about how our
father knows the best and wants the best for
us. I am just tired”
“All is well. Our parents cannot be 100%
perfect but in all their fussing, they actually
want for us what they think is the best.”
Power was restored, so Joseph stood up to
plug his phone and laptop into the wall
socket.
“Watch out for that wire, so you don’t pull
your laptop down” Davis cautioned his friend.
“Lest I forget, a lady dropped her laptop for
me to help her find someone to repair it; can
you take a look when you come back from
class tomorrow?”
“Sure, it is in the café right?”
“Yes” They talked more till one of the fell
asleep.
Chinwe called Clara and they spoke about a lot
of things, she talked about her job and her
new boss, saying she likes him but not sure
he is a single man. Chinwe encouraged her to
be open with him and expect nothing from
him, saying men are all the same.
“Well, I understand, but how many men have
we met in the universe that could lead to that
conclusion”
“Well the ones we have met are enough to
make us say that” Chinwe argued stubbornly
“Chinwe, you need to be realistic. Your
situation hurts me more than you can ever
know, my cross should not be a barrier for
you in life, I am truly sorry for what I have
caused you.” Clara said with a tinge of
sadness in her voice.
“Clara, it is not your cross that has blocked
me, it is the error of an undisciplined man
that has refused us the peace we so much
deserve, and also you need to stop
apologizing.”
“But has he asked you what your reasons
were, for running away I mean?”
“Yeah, he did”
“And what did you tell him?”
“The truth; that his past mistake has ruined
someone’s life”
“And his reply?”
“Trust any man now; he said he did not
understand what I was saying, until I asked if
he would also rape me for him to recall the
incidence of 4 years ago”
“Could it be he does not recall the incident?”
“Who knows, maybe there have been so many
that he can’t even keep track”
“So he denied it, I am sure when he sees me
and his son; he won’t be able to, not even
with the resemblance with Henry. I see his
face in my dreams sometimes; I can never
ever forget that face. He was brutal, he hit me
several times Chinwe, threatened to cut off
my throat after he finishes if I dared to shout.
He raped me in the toilet and left quickly,
before I could even dress up, the police came
and took us all away.”
“You don’t have to recall that horrible event
Clara”
“I never stopped remembering, you can
imagine losing your virginity to a man like
that, but in all that I thank God everyday for
the son I have. His face makes the dreams
bearable. I can live with myself knowing that
what happened that night was not my fault”
“No it was not, it was mine, all mine and I
tend to make him pay for it”
“It was not yours either, but his. I have lived
with it for 4 years but I hope you know I did
not just make up a story”
“Even if you did, are my eyes not working?
Henry is a spitting image of him and that
birthmark on his head, Clara, that is enough
to take the story”
“But I think your father needs to know exactly
who he is, maybe that would make him allow
you divorce him”
“Hmm, forget that man, I will not bank on
that. Even when his action could have saved
me years back, he did nothing. Now that his
money is involved in our union, he would
never agree to it. You know what he told me?
Even if he is the devil, you must marry him”
“Na wa o, what about your mum, someone
needs to know, you can’t continue to live like
that, with him forever”
“Mum has enough on her plate; handling or
coping with Dad, she would love to help but,
Clara my reasons are best known to me”
“But how long can you stay like that?”
“Till Dad dies; which I hope it will be soon
anyway, he is not immortal”
“You are sick babe, what if he lives longer
than… you know”
“Then you have to join me in prayers for him
to die soon enough. If I would be the only one
to suffer when I leave Tokunbo, I would not
have returned to Lagos on Saturday, but he
would make life miserable for Mum and
Nkem, so pray with me that he dies soon,
otherwise I am condemned to a life with
Tokunbo”
“Chinwe!”
“What, that is the fact Clara. He would not
make it possible. Do you know my
international passports are with him; he still
pays me stipends as monthly allowance and
does not allow my mother work for a reason
and did not allow us study outside the country
for the same reason. I and Nkem are the
pawns for getting my mother to stay with
him. His friends and informants are in every
place I could run to for help. I know the man
my father is, he is a monster and as I said
earlier, there are many things about him I did
not tell you back then.”
“waoh, but now that you are married, don’t
you think you should insist you want to work”
“I never thought of that before I married
Tokunbo, I have only known one life and that
is being dependent. I am not even sure I will
be a good employee”
“Don’t say that, you are a strong lady and
whatever you want to do, you will succeed at
it, get a job and follow instructions. Would all
those certificates waste away?”
“Clara, I have never had a job in my life”
“You start from somewhere, I did and I am
growing my confidence daily, insist you need
to work and let them get you a good place to
work”
“You are right o” Chinwe said thoughtfuly
“Yes I am, you need to have control over an
aspect of your life, and they can afford you
that”
“There’s a reason we are friends this long”
“Yes, I am your common sense, yeye”
“ahhhh, see pride o, just a compliment and it
has gone to your head already?”
“gerrout”
“I miss you”
“Me too”
“I miss you more; you don’t know what it is
like without you 2. How’s my boy? I want to
speak with him”
“I made him sleep by fire by force”
“ahah, what happened?”
“He was being naughty jare, asking me to buy
him Bobo after eating a solid meal, he cried
from Joseph’s café to the house. When I could
not make him stop, I gave him 2 towais on his
buttocks, bathed him and asked him to lie
down and sleep.”
“ahhh, you beat my baby because of bobo?”
“Ehn now, the 500 with me is what I am
holding on till they pay salary. Where is the
money for Bobo and don’t you dare send any
money to me this time, you need it too”
“You must be out of your mind, do you think I
send the money because of you? It is for
Henry and not for you. Buy him packs of bobo
and if you don’t, I will send money to Joseph
or Davis and ask either of them to buy it.”
“Ahah, I know I will have a godmother one
day soon, I have hope”
Their friendly banter lasted a long while till
Chinwe asked her to go and sleep, reminding
her she needs to work the following day.
EPISODE 15
Chinwe lay in bed, wondering what her father
would spring upon them this time, since he
would be coming with his lawyer. it would be
a civil discussion of course, but with her
father, one can never be too sure of anything.
She sensed a movement by her door and
expected the door to open but it never did, it
seemed Tokunbo changed his mind, but
before she finished that thought, he came
back and knocked on the door gently but
opened before hearing her reply.
“Hi” he said without really moving into the
room
“Hi”
“I need to talk with you, and before you say
no, you have to listen to whatever it is I have
to say”
“Well, it is your house; you can say whatever
you want to say”
“It is yours too and I would like us to be civil
about this discussion”
“I’m all ears”
“You said some things this morning and I
would like us to clearly discuss it again,
because I swear you got me confused”
“What would you like to clear?”
“The statement of yours accusing me of rape,
if I heard you correctly”
“Yes you did”
“Who is the person I raped please and can I
see her?”
“Why would you like to see her?”
“So she could say it to my face when and
where I raped her”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Please”
“When did you leave for the US?”
“February 2011”
“so that would make it 4 years that you
traveled out”, she said, making a quick
calculation in her head, the incident that
marred Clara’s life happened January 2011
and with his admission, it makes it clearer.
“Yes, 4 years”
“Okay, that’s all I want to know”
“Well, I would like to know who this person is
for God’s sake, I need to know.”
“Well, if you are insisting you need to know,
it is only making two thoughts come to my
mind.
1. That you have raped more than one person
and you can’t keep tab of the number
or
2. you want to continue to deny it”
“I will continue to say it, I have never ever in
my life forced a woman to do anything for me
or with me. What is the matter anyway, is the
person dead, that I cannot meet her or you
are just bent on getting out of this marriage so
much so that you would cook up any story to
suit your mission?” He replied with a tight
voice as if he would like to blow it all up, but
he decided to not rise to her bait. She
obviously wanted him to lose his cool so they
could suspend the whole discussion again.
“You think I’m making this up?” She laughed
sarcastically, sitting up straight in bed and
looking him straight in the eyes
“Well, if you are not, then let me meet this
woman or is it a man?”
“I’m sorry that cannot happen!”
Tokunbo wanted to scream at her but held it
all back in again, taking a deep breath to
calm himself and then trying again
“You know what, I will make a deal with you.
Let me meet the woman and when she tells
me to my face when and where I raped her
and we can confirm that, I will give you a
divorce. I will sign any divorce petition
against myself and give you the freedom you
so much desire. I know you are here because
your father threatened you, but I swear, let
me meet this woman and I will walk to him
and tell him I want to divorce you.
The deal sounded so good to Chinwe that she
almost answered immediately but decided to
weigh the possibilities of Clara wanting to
come to Lagos to see him or even wanting to
receive him in Uyo. Well she had to make him
know he has a child anyway, she would
agree, Chinwe calculated in her brain.
“Deal!”
“Fine, so when can we meet her? Tomorrow
would be a perfect time” obviously pleased
they are agreeing on that.
“Nope, I need to inform her first and she’s
not in Lagos, mind you”
“Well, distance does not matter and I can get
her ticket to come down here, or we could go
to wherever she is to see her”
“Well, when she agrees we will see her”
Chinwe was smiling triumphantly as she
watched him stare at her. He still looked good
and she would not deny she found him
attractive but she definitely would not be
banking on it, since rapists should be
condemned to death, if it were up to her.
The smile on her face was made Tokunbo to
skip a heartbeat, making him wonder if he
truly was ready for whatever might come out
of this whole mess. He stood up gently and
walked to the door not minding that he still
had many things to say.
He turned back from opening the door and
asked her one simple question
“If you would believe such about me, after
the feelings we shared and the thing between
us; that is if you actually felt it, can I then
conclude that you were just playing me all
those months? Because I swear if anyone told
me a thing about your past that is sordid, I
would have listened to your own side of the
story before crucifying you. I mean it.” He did
not wait for a reply as he gently opened the
door and shut it behind him without any
noise.
The silence after he left made the statement
so large and thick in the room so much so
Chinwe could almost feel it floating over her
head. She wondered if she truly ever loved
him like she claimed and if she was foolish to
have behaved the way she did without
actually listening to his side of the story.
Clara could not have lied about a thing like
that and Henry is a living evidence of what
she claimed. She had met his mom and she
told her about the birthmark, insisting no
other person had that mark. No one else in
their family does. The question about a
second brother was ruled out because there
are just 2 of them. Himself and his sister, who
could not come for the wedding because of
her health condition. She had to stay back
with her husband and kid. She is a couple of
years younger than him but she got married a
couple of years back to a British man.
She thought about it clearly, the whole fold of
events and she unfolded them in her mind
again, starting from the moment her father
dropped the news on her lap that she would
be marrying him to the time she moved out
of the house to stay with Clara who was in
Lagos then. To the time her mother begged
her to come back, to the time she went to the
US to ‘see him’. When she returned to
Nigeria,she helped Clara move to Uyo after
her rent expired and to the time he came to
Nigeria and they started dating officially;
everything seemed just like yesterday.
Could she have been rash in her action? Could
it be she did not love him enough to listen to
his side of the story. But who was she
kidding? All rapists have one thing to say- I
did not do it or, she seduced me; she should
have known better.