EPISODE 15: SHADOWS OF THE PAST
â€œHi.â€ I said to Willie-Willie as he toyed with his face that had just been slapped.
He looked at me and walked past as though he didnâ€™t recognize me. It canâ€™t beâ€¦this fool wonâ€™t play smart with me. Daniel came to my side.
â€œIâ€™m so sorry you had to see that. Can you imagine such rubbish?â€ He dusted his palms as if he had just dug them in a bin of dust.
I had lost my voice. The shock of seeing Willie-Willie and he acting like he could not recognize me rattled me.
â€œAre you alright?â€ Daniel asked.
â€œYesâ€, I managed to whisper.
â€œLetâ€™s say we get out of here and go back to the hotel.â€
I thought about it and weighed my options. Justice or a chance of romance? Naaaaa, justice! At least for now.
â€œNo, let us stay. Moreover I am here to work, remember? I wouldnâ€™t want my boss searching everywhere for me.â€
â€œYeah, you are right on that. I almost forgot why we are here.â€
â€œH.R.â€ I teased. He finally grinned. I had never seen him get angry before, so it was quite amazing to see him lose it.
â€œShalewa, you still havenâ€™t told me what happened?â€
â€œPlease, letâ€™s not talk about that now; letâ€™s talk about you â€” more about you. You never really told me why a handsome man like you is still single.â€
â€œMeanwhile,â€ I cut him short. â€œIs he reallyâ€¦â€ I pointed at Willie-Willie.
â€œYes,â€ he nodded.
â€œWow! Who would have thought?â€
â€œWell, we all do have them.â€
â€œYou have a gay brother?â€
â€œHell no!!! Moreover, Iâ€™m an only child.â€ He stuck out his tongue.
I smiled at his show of childishness.
â€œCan we at least take a stroll, pleaseeeee?â€
â€œAlright.â€ I said.
He took my hand and led the way. I felt like I was being watched so I looked back. Femi was staring at us. I took my eyes away immediately and pretended I didnâ€™t see him. After allâ€¦
We walked towards the garden and found a spot to sit. I was so overwhelmed from the drama that I lost myself and allowed my head rest on his shoulder.
â€œI have a daughter. Sheâ€™s five.â€ He said.
After all the bomb-shellsÂ of the week, this didnâ€™t move me. I think Iâ€™m numb.
â€œGo onâ€, I whispered.
â€œHer mother was my first love and she still has my heart.â€
â€œSo why are you not together?â€
â€œShe let my mother get to her. Being an only child isnâ€™t easy. My mother is like my first wifeâ€¦she is like a leech, she wants to size up every girl I bring home and soâ€¦she got to Khadijat.â€
â€œI see. So where is your daughter?â€
â€œShe lives with my mum and I.â€
â€œWhat! You still live with your mum?â€
â€œWell, what can I say? Sheâ€™s lonely without me and she refused to re-marry after my fatherâ€™s death. She took care of me, sent me to one of the best universities in the worldâ€¦â€ He began to laugh. â€œThere was this time in the States; I was seeing this girl, Sheila. I brought her to my house for the first time. My mum was home in Nigeria, or she was supposed to be home. We spoke 5 days before this particular day. Anyway, I was making out with Sheilaâ€¦â€ Daniel was holding back his laughter. â€œAnd she had half her clothing off.â€ Now he was gesticulating. â€œMy pants was down and I was about toâ€¦you know.â€ He started to laugh really hard. â€œI heard someone exclaim and scream my nameâ€¦it was my mum!â€
I started to laugh too.
â€œShe came to the States without informing me with the excuse that she was unable to reach me on phone, so she took the next available flight. She let herself in andâ€¦.anyway, that was the only shot I got with Sheila.â€
We both kept laughing.
â€œYouâ€™re so beautiful.â€ he whispered.
I stopped laughing immediately. Not like he has never said it before, but this time it sounded really genuine.
â€œIâ€™m sorry Iâ€™ve never told you about Dara.â€
I looked confused.
â€œDara is my daughter.â€
â€œOh!â€ I said. â€œItâ€™s alright, I forgive you.â€
â€œCan I kiss you? Please.â€
How many more kisses? How can I make up my mind? How? It was time to talk to the girls. Not with this new discovery of Willie-Willie sef.
â€œEhmmmâ€¦â€ I blinked uncontrollably.
He pulled me up and we walked to a deserted underground car park. He rested my back against a door and looked into my eyes.
â€œOmoshalewa Benson, I am falling deeply in love with you. I know you have stuffs you are not sharing: secretsâ€¦but I want you to know itâ€™s okay to talk to me. I will take care of you; love you, if only youâ€™ll let meâ€¦â€
He kissed me. I tried kissing him back but I couldnâ€™t. All of a sudden, I couldnâ€™t breathe â€” images of Willie-Willie and Robert came back into my head â€” I lost it. I pushed him away and screamed.
Daniel covered my mouth and began to shake me. â€œShalewa, Shalewaâ€¦look at meâ€¦look at meâ€¦what is it?â€
I broke down in tears. â€œHe raped me! That son-of-a-bitch raped me.â€
â€œLook at me. Look at me Shalewa!â€ He held my face. â€œItâ€™s okay. I wonâ€™t hurt you.â€ He wiped my tears. â€œTalk to me, who raped you?â€
I started to cry. I cried for that night. I cried for my fatherâ€™s death. It was different from all the tears from my past. This was comforting. My psychologist had told me, it would take a day like this to help me let go. Finally, I could let go â€” I could accept my fatherâ€™s death. I could let go of the guilt. It wasnâ€™t me; it was Willie-Willieâ€™s fault. He made me an orphan and he had to pay. I know what I must do to get my pound of flesh.
â€œWho raped you?â€ He asked again.
â€œWhat?â€ he gave me a funny look?
I started to shake uncontrollably. He was about to carry me when we heard a noise. â€œWho is there?â€ Femi asked. HeÂ looked around but found no one.
We heard someone run. The footsteps sounded like it belonged to a woman. I could faintly hear the click-clock of shoes with heels.
DanielÂ held me. â€œTell me everythingâ€.