…‘Don’t cry Sandra, please. He’s sorry. He loves you. Please.’ Mariam said rocking me gently. I wanted to scream, wail, but I couldn’t. Somehow I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t mad at Habib, I was just hurt, scared and confused. I stood up slowly and everyone stood up too. I looked at Habib in the eyes, he was truly sorry, pained and afraid. I wanted to say something but I couldn’t say anything. I looked at Mariam, she was angry and pained too. I wanted to hug her and tell her I love her for fighting for me but I couldn’t either. I turned towards the door and I walked slowly out of the house. I heard footsteps coming after me and I looked back, it was Habib.
‘Don’t…’ I said quietly but clearly. Somehow I had found my voice but it didn’t sound like mine.
‘Sandra please don’t go. Let’s talk ab…’ He was saying but I spoke again;
‘No!’ This time I said it louder and as I walked out of the house, I heard Mariam told him;
‘Let her go! As you lay your bed, so you lie on it.’
If I didn’t believe in angels before now I do! I remembered leaving Habib’s house but I couldn’t remember how I got home. An invisible superpower must have driven me home, it couldn’t have been me! I was moving like a robot, my mind refused to digest what just happened. I walked into my house like a stoned fellow. Surprisingly no one was home which I was grateful for because I couldn’t handle them or explain myself. I walked into my room and dropped myself on the bed. I tried to close my eyes and mind. How sleep claimed me I couldn’t say but I slept off. Maybe if I sleep then I will wake up from this horrible nightmare.
Someone was shaking me, shouting on me to wake up. I didn’t want to wake up but the person kept on shaking me and calling my name. I managed to open my eyes and all my friends were there looking scared.
‘Sandra, open your eyes. Kilode?’ Koyin asked.
‘Sandra, what’s wrong with you? Are you okay?’ Bimpe asked.
‘Does she look alright? She parked the car just inside the gate blocking everyone else. She didn’t remove the key from the ignition, she left the car door open, she left her bag in the car. Look at the way she’s sleeping with her shoes on! Have you ever seen her like this? I think she’s stoned! Sandra? You smoke Igbo?’ Amanda asked laughing and all the girls hissed at her. No, I didn’t!
‘Can’t you be serious for once? Something is terribly wrong with her!’ Bimpe said shaking me again. Stop shaking me!
‘Sandra? Please say something. What happened? Is it your work? Were you sacked?’ Koyin asked. No, I wasn’t sacked!
‘They can’t sack her, she’s a good employee and even if they did, it shouldn’t make her feel like this! Arh? Her parents nko? Sandra? Are your parents okay?’ Amanda chipped in. They were fine the last time I checked!
I wished to speak out but I couldn’t, the best I could do was answer them in my heart. I wanted to say something but I was scared if I did it will become my reality. I was doing fine in the dream world. I wanted to tell them that I was fine. I wanted to tell them to go away but my lips wouldn’t move.
‘Wait ooo! Is something wrong with Habib?’ Bimpe said and hearing his name broke me!
‘Noooo! Don’t mention his name!’ I screamed!
‘Calm down Sandra! What did Habib do to you? What’s wrong with Habib?’ I couldn’t place the voice that said it because I was already going back into my shell. I began to shake uncontrollably. I hugged my knees to myself like a fetus in a womb.
‘Bimpe do something! She’s going into a seizure!’ Was I going into a seizure?
‘Bring water!’ Someone screamed. But I am not thirsty now! Then I felt cold liquid hitting my face and I felt cold.
‘She’s still shaking! Bimpe what next! Let’s take her to the hospital!’ Am I sick?
‘Wait let me try this! I saw our doctor do it once to a patient whose baby died and the woman refused to face reality! Raise her up.’ You people should go and leave me alone!
‘I think she’s in shock!’ How do you know if you are in a shock? Then I felt airborne. I was in a sitting position and they were holding me in place.
‘Okay guys. Here it comes!’ What was coming?
‘Paaaarrrhhh!’ A hand hit my face. I didn’t feel the sting much but the sound was deafening. Somehow I stopped shaking.
‘She’s not shaking anymore! Slap her one more time maybe she will talk!’ Oh no! Please don’t!
‘Paaaarrrhhhh!’ This time it was harder and I felt it to my core. I couldn’t hold the pain and I screamed.
‘Aaarrrrhhhhh!’ I was now fully aware of my surroundings. My bed was wet and my cheeks were hot! Koyin shook me.
‘Sandra are you back? She’s not talking. Hit her one more time!’ Amanda said.
‘Noooo! Don’t!’ I screamed protecting my cheeks with my hands.
‘Then start talking and stop scaring us! What happened?’ Bimpe asked. I opened my mouth to talk but then I began to cry. It wasn’t a silent cry, I was wailing with water works and mucus coming out of my nose.
‘Arwawrawrarwrarwra! Arharaharanaraharaharah! Yeeeeee! Hhffnn!’ I wailed clutching Koyin.
‘At least crying is better than silence.’ Amanda said as the girls consoled me.
‘Don’t cry dear. Don’t cry. Whatever it is we can face and fight it together. We are here for you. Ssshhhh!’ This went for over twenty minutes before I could calm down. I was hiccuping very bad as I tried to stop crying.
‘Do you want something to drink?’ Bimpe asked me and I nodded my head because suddenly I was hungry and thirsty. She left and came back with a cup of juice. I drank it slowly but I finished it.
‘Okay dear. If you don’t want to tell us what happened right now, it’s okay. But you need to stop scaring us. Right now you need to get out of these wet clothes, have a shower, eat something, use some drugs and sleep. Then we will talk in the morning. Is that okay?’ Bimpe the mother hen asked. I nodded my head.
‘No, say it.’ She said practicing her nursing skills on me.
‘Yes.’ I said faintly. My cheeks were beginning to sting me. Those slaps were hard and I didn’t want another one!
‘Your bed is wet, you can have mine for the night.’ Koyin said gently. I was grateful for them. They began undressing me and I cooperated. I went into the bathroom and showered. My pajamas were waiting for me and I wore them. They escorted me out of my room to the dinner where I tried to eat some rice. I gulped the drugs Bimpe dumped into my hand and minutes later I was feeling sleepy. She must have given me some powerful sleeping tablets. I remembered getting into Koyin’s bed but then nothing more.
I woke up slowly with a strange feeling. My surroundings were strange to me and I was foggy. My head aches, my face hurt, and my heart throbbed. I touched my cheeks and everything came back to me. Hot tears ran to my eyes and it poured down my cheeks. The pain in my heart was so physical. It was like someone was hitting my heart with a cane. I grabbed my chest in order to protect my heart. It didn’t help. I wished I could take my heart out of my chest and squeeze it. I must be getting punished for all the bad things I have done. Karma must have caught up with me! How could Habib do that to me? Was this all lies? How can you love someone in the morning and sleep with someone else in the evening?
‘Hold it there Sandra. You don’t know exactly what happened in that room.’ One part of my conscience said.
‘You don come? Why do you like deceiving her? A man and a woman came out of a room barely dressed and you say nothing happened?’ The other part replied.
‘Sometimes things aren’t as they look. Habib said nothing happened. Give him a chance to explain! If Habib had caught you in Chief’s arms that day, do you expect him to give you a chance to explain?’
‘They are two different things oo! No compare am! When he said nothing happened nko? So you expect him to say something happened? He will just lie to you if you allow him to explain! I remember warning you that love is not real oo!’
‘What do you gain in adding to her pains? My dear, love is real but people make mistakes. Men are not as strong as women when it comes to things like this. Maybe the girl seduced him.’
‘Hehehehe! You are funny oo! Seduced him? Is he a baby? And did the girl teleport into his house and his bed? You people should stop deceiving yourselves oo!’
‘Sandra, don’t listen to her. If he didn’t love, care or respect you, he wouldn’t send the girl away for you. Just listen to him once. Let him explain please.’
‘Love, care, and respect? And he brought another girl to his house!’
The headache was climbing higher so I shut both of them up. I put my hands under the pillows searching for my phone but I didn’t see it. It must be in my room. I stood up slowly and felt my way to my room. I didn’t want to on the light and risk waking up my friends. I closed the door to my room gently behind me and switched on the light. My phone was charging but it was off. My friends must have turned it off when it was ringing and they must have plugged it for me. I removed it and left my room.
I had thirty-five missed calls from Mariam, fifty-three missed calls from Habib, ten missed calls from Ademola and twenty-two missed calls from an unknown number. I had messages from all of them on BBM, WhatsApp, and text. I read everything and I was surprised to find Habib online. I hate WhatsApp for this reason. He didn’t waste any time the moment he saw me online.
Are you alright?
Please talk to me.
Let me explain please.
Please just say something.
I love you Sandra.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry please.
Talk to me baby.
OK! Can I call you?
Please pick my call.
Okay love, I beg you in the name of God. Just tell me you are okay and I won’t bother you again.
Please my love, say something.
Sandra: I’m okay. Thank you.
Habib: Arh baby! Thank God! Thank you.
Please talk to me! Pick your call.
Okay! I’m on my way to your house!
Sandra: No! Please don’t do that!
Habib: Then talk to me. Give me a chance to explain. Just pick your calls.
Sandra: What’s there to talk about? Please leave me alone.
Then he started begging and calling again. I wanted to be angry and cursing and abusive but I couldn’t do it. I was just hurt and it was more painful that I still loved him and I was pitying him. One part of me wanted to listen to him but the other didn’t want to. Soon I saw
Mariam online too. Habib must have woken the poor girl up.
Mariam: Hello my love. Are you alright?
You have all the rights in the world to be mad at him.
God knows I hate him right now.
But love, please give him a chance to explain.
I’m not trying to justify what he did but when he explained what happened to me, I discovered it wasn’t what we thought.
He was wrong to bring her to his house but he’s foolish and senseless. Sandra please just talk to him. Don’t be mad. For my sake. I love you and he loves you too! This was a mistake.
Sandra: I’m not angry Mariam, I’m just hurt.
I haven’t stopped loving him but I can’t talk to him right now.
Don’t worry yourself about me. I will be fine.
How is he?
Mariam: He’s miserable and he deserves to be!
Sandra: Are you still with him?
Mariam: I’m still in his house.
Sandra: Be gentle on him. Take care of him for me. Okay?
Mariam: I can’t even stand him right now and you’re still pleading for him? Sandra, let him see and explain what happened to you. Please!
Sandra: I’ve told you. I will see him when I’m ready. Just give me some time.
Mariam: Okay love. I will call you in the morning.
Mariam sorted, I went back to Habib’s chat. He had already left plenty of messages begging and threatening to show up in my house. Suddenly I was tired and sleepy so I put off my phone and went back to bed.
I was having sweet dreams and nightmares in dreamland. At a point, in my dreams, Habib was in the room begging me, holding my hands and kissing my forehead. The horrible girl’s face kept coming into my dreams anytime I was with Habib and I saw Mariam beating her up! She even threw her into a pit! Everything was confusing. At some point, I was in Habib’s arms and he was about kissing me when the smell of fresh coffee nudged me awake and I slowly opened my eyes leaving Habib’s arms in my dreams. Koyin was sitting at my foot on the bed with a tray.
‘It’s about time for you to wake up. I was scared Bimpe gave you too much sleeping tablets. So I made coffee and hoped for the smell to bring you back!’ I sat upright holding my head because it still aches. I took the cup from her saying;
‘Thank you. What time is it?’ I asked sipping the coffee.
‘It’s past eleven!’ She said and I panicked. I have to go to work! She saw my panicked state and quickly said;
‘Calm down. I called your office. Since you were alright yesterday morning I didn’t think anyone would believe you were sick. So I told them you have a family emergency and have to travel. Also, I told them you forgot your phone at home in your hurry and that I will find a way to send it to you. I asked for a week for you. Today is Friday anyway!’ I relaxed and thanked her.
‘Where are the others?’
‘Bimpe is on the morning shift and you know Amanda, she has to go make money!’
‘Yeah, that’s true. Thanks for staying but you really didn’t have to.’
‘It’s no big deal. Today is Friday and there’s no much to be done in the office. Are you okay dear?’ She asked touching my thighs.
‘I will be fine.’ I said sipping more coffee.
‘Well, Habib has been here twice and I told him you were sleeping. He looked miserable Sandra. He pleaded to just look at you while you slept. I allowed him. He kept saying I’m sorry baby! Do you want to tell me what’s going on?’ Wow! It wasn’t entirely a dream! So Habib was really here.
‘I thought I was dreaming… Is he okay?’ I asked Koyin.
‘He didn’t look okay! It’s very difficult to know who hurt who between you too! You are both looking miserable! Anyway, he left this note for you.’ She said passing an envelope to me. I looked at it, made to open it but stopped because I was scared. Koyin smiled at me, moved closer and told me this;
‘Sandra love. I want to tell you this. Love is crazy, you know that already. Sometimes, things that happen in your relationship should be kept to yourself because only you know what you feel. Sometimes, someone we love do things that hurt us beyond saying but ask yourself this. Is it worth throwing away what we have going? I’ve not seen you this happy in a long while, in fact, I thought you were incapable of love until now!’ She said. Tears started streaming down my cheeks because she was telling the truth I didn’t want to hear. She moved closer and wiped my face with the back of her hands.
‘I won’t say don’t cry, cry if it will stop the pain or make it bearable but think too. Should you throw away the dirty water with the child? I sincerely don’t know what happened but darling, try to work it out with the person that matters. You remember when Usman and I broke up, you guys didn’t believe it. Do you know why?’ I shook my head.
‘It’s because I kept a lot of things away from you. Not that I was being secretive but I made up my mind that my friends were going to respect my lover and that wouldn’t happen if I told you all his mistakes. What I’m saying to you is this, if telling us what Habib did to you will make us hate or disrespect him, don’t tell us! We love you and we will always be on your side but we will make you see everything that is wrong with him. If you have to talk to someone, talk to him or his sister. They will give you reasons to stay because they are on his side! But if you have made up your mind to break your relationship, please tell us what happened so we can diss him and help keep both of you apart! I will leave you now to think about things and read your letter. I’m going to see Opeyemi, we are going to the movies!’ I saw the happiness on her face when she mentioned Ope’s name. I have been so into myself and Habib that I hadn’t had time to ask my friends how things were with them.
‘How’s Ope? I mean how are you two?’ I asked.
‘We are fine. This is the first time we will be seeing after our weekend date but we talk everyday! I miss him very much. He’s a good person.’ She said giggling.
‘I’m happy for you darling.’ I said hugging her and crying again.
‘Stop crying. Everything will be fine!’ She said patting my back.
‘I know… Thanks for the advice. I needed it.’
‘Good! There’s food in the kitchen and your bed is dry now. Oya go back to your room! I want to arrange my room in case Ope wants to come home with me!’ She said mischievously!
‘Naughty girl! Go, I will take care of it for you.’ I told her.
‘Nooo! I want to set a romantic tone and only me can do it besides, you still need to rest. Gbogbo oju e lo wuyi.’ She said touching my face.
‘Arh! I will kill Bimpe oo! My face still hurts!’
‘Pele! You scared us too much yesterday!’ I hugged her and left her room.
I showered, brushed my teeth and had brunch because it was after twelve o’clock. I sat down in front of the TV but every channel I tuned to was talking or showing a movie about love so I settled for HIPTV but it was no better! The likes of Adekunle Gold, Simi, Kiss Daniels, Toby Grey, Tiwa Savage, and Timi Dakolo wouldn’t stop singing love songs! Where are the war movies when we need them? I looked at the envelope Koyin gave me. Should I read it now? My phone was still off but I wasn’t up to talking to anyone. So I decided to read my letter.
“Sandra, my love. My heart. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
I’m sorrier for hurting you and seeing you in tears.
I’m a monster! A beast but I love you.
I made a mistake, a gravely one that may cost me you.
My love, I don’t want to be a coward by hiding behind a letter.
I want to tell you what happened face to face.
But trust me my heart, nothing happened between me and her.
A day without you is miserable and I don’t ever want to feel like this again.
I know I hurt you and you are mad at me but baby, please hear me out.
Give me a chance to explain to you.
Don’t give up on me please. I love you!
Please call me or pick my calls.
I’m sorry and I love you.
Please give me a second chance.
I will never hurt you again. Please.
I need you baby. Please save me!
Please forgive me. I’m sorry.
Call me. I love you.”
Tears were streaming down my face as I read the letter over and over again! The words that touched me most were “I need you baby. Please save me!” My baby needed me to save him from those hoes who were bent on getting what was mine!
Bitches! Thieves! Joy killers! Witches! Happiness snatchers! You all should beware! Run as fast as you can because I’m coming for you! You ain’t taking what belongs to me! I will fight for what I want and win too! You can’t take away my love!
These were the words going through my mind and I made up my mind to call him and hear him out. I was about putting on my phone when the doorbell rang.
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…To be continued…
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Written by Olatorera
Edited by Olatorera and Ola Adeyemi Smith.
© 2016 by IBIOLAT communications.