Week One of the Three Weeks for sending entries in for the Baba Risi Illustrators Competition is gone and entries have come in. Looking forward to the more entries over the next two weeks. If you haven’t heard about it, read about it here https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/baba-risis-court-boys-scouts/ Enjoy today’s Rekiya’s Tale!
Never pray to be faced with the kind of choices that I was faced with as I entered Rekiya’s living room that night. None was easy, both would hurt and the options were limited. I had the choice of sharing what I had found out and saving my friendship with Rekiya but destroying whatever fragile trust she had left in men, or not sharing and letting her keep thinking of me as the villain.
I hadn’t thought I would meet all these people here. Rekiya’s dad, Ochuko and a lady I now recognized as his wife. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw Ochuko in flesh and blood. How the hell had this guy survived that plane crash? For a couple of minutes, I lost my tongue and couldn’t say a word. And I could see that Rekiya was about to fly off at me now. I tried to recover and say something, to ask how Ochuko was here, but she spoke faster than me, and she was shouting.
When your world is determined to shatter, it seems everything you hold dear in that world looks for the highest cliff and jumps off its face to smash into smithereens.
All eyes were fixed on the door as Farida came in. She had changed from the dress I remembered her wearing, and she seemed even more beautiful scrubbed free of makeup. She must have rushed here from wherever she was coming from, because she was still wearing a hairnet. And I know Farida, she would almost never be caught dead in a hairnet outside the house.
“I obviously forgot to take my keys from you abi? That’s why you can still let yourself into my house and show your face here. What did you forget to finish en?” I was shouting at the top of my voice.
“Rekiya, what is the problem? It’s Fafa you are talking to like this.” Daddy said sternly, reprimanding me and holding me back. Then turning to Fafa, he apologized on my behalf. Hearing him apologize to her enraged me even further and I blew my lid.
“Daddy, are you taking her side now? She’s the reason I lost my baby and even almost got Ochuko…”
“Will you stop speaking and listen to yourself young woman? You are blaming her for what exactly?” I did not respond and he continued “I thought so. I am disappointed in you Rekiya, highly disappointed that you would even speak these type of things. Come on!”
I felt ashamed of myself and knew Daddy was speaking the truth. But I kept struggling with it. The only way I was holding off the torrent of self blame was by passing it on to Farida. Admitting now that she wasn’t guilty meant only one thing. The dam would burst open and I would break down. I crumbled onto the floor and the tears began to flow. “I killed my child,” I sobbed. I took it all on myself now. I turned to Fafa and said from the floor through the tears “I was wrong. It was all my fault. I should have…”
If I hadn’t been such a mess that day, I would have noticed that she was struggling with something as I spoke. What she told me later was that she couldn’t bear seeing me take the blame for what I didn’t do, and knowing me, I could do something that would make her regret not speaking up for the rest of her life. It was that thought that helped her make her decision. She interrupted me and said “there is something I have to tell you” in a monotonous voice. Something about the way she spoke caught my attention and the tears stopped for a moment. Daddy raised his eyebrow and said “we are listening.”
As an answer, Farida brought out her phone and pressed it for a few moments. I thought she was calling someone and my eyes darted to the door, wondering who else was going to walk through it this night. I was surprised when I heard Farida’s voice play out from the phone. It was a conversation she had recorded. The male voice was unmistakable; I had been speaking with him just a few hours ago. It had only gone beyond greetings when I burst in.
“Farida, what is this?” I asked, even more confused. I mean, what was she doing speaking with Doctor Phillips? It was all so confusing. She hushed me and merely said “listen” and then restarted the playback. We all listened in rapt attention and as the conversation progressed, things became clearer. A part of me wished I never heard the conversation.
“What the hell? This man did this to me? How? I’ve known him for as long as I can frigging remember, what the hell, he probably took delivery of me. Why? Farida, you aren’t saying anything. Are you behind this?”
“That drunken drinking fool!” daddy exclaimed. That unexpected and uncharacteristic outburst caught me by surprise and I turned to him.
“What is it daddy? Are you saying he did this simply because he was drinking?” I got up as I spoke, a thought creeping into my heart, a thought I fought hard and tried to kill. But as I looked at my dad, and I saw the way his eyes averted my gaze, it tore through my heart to my mouth and the words came tumbling out “daddy, did you have anything to do with Doctor Phillips killing my baby?” I trembled as I spoke, a mishmash of emotions tearing through my body.
“Look, angel, you know I love you, right? And love does what has to be done, no matter how much it hurts,” he said, trying to touch me.
I shrank from his touch and snarled “I did not ask for a lecture daddy. I simply want to know if you had anything to do with that conversation we just heard. It should be a simple yes or no answer sir.”
He hesitated briefly, then as if he thought “whatever”, he shrugged and said “I did what a father should do! Rekiya, you were being stubborn and was ready to become entangled with this dubious godforsaken fellow for the rest of your life. You were willing to make it difficult to find a husband. Make no mistake, once a child is between two people, there is always a reason for the person to be part of your life. I am the one that taught you that abortion is bad, so when I advocate it, shouldn’t that tell you that it is in your best interest? When that opportunity presented itself…”
“I hate you. With everything in me, I hate you” I said in measured tones to him, meaning every single word I spoke.
“Rekiya, listen to me. I did what I did for you. You are the reason. You might not see it now, but you will be thankful I made the sacrifice. It was the best thing to do in the circumstances”.
Without stopping I continued muttering “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you,” like a mantra and kept evading his touch.
Daddy turned on Farida “so you are happy now? You have made us enemies and so you are happy?”
Farida was about to answer when we heard it. We had totally forgotten about them, wrapped up in our world. The sound of the gunshot shattered our bubble and we were brought back to reality. Ochuko lay screaming on the floor, blood all over the place especially around his left leg. She stood across him, smoking gun in hand, looking incredibly calm for someone who had just shot her husband’s kneecap off.
Smiling eerily, she turned to us and trained the gun on me. “Now, shall we all sit down and talk over this?”
When we all hesitated, probably out of shock and disbelief, she fired a shot that whistled past my ear and buried itself into the thick couch. Sharply, we all came alive and all hurriedly sat down on the couch.
She smiled again and then turned to me “you are running your mouth and hating your father for what he did today?” I didn’t say a word and she trained the gun on me and said menacingly “young lady, when you are spoken to, respond!”
I nodded my head vigorously. Pleased, she said “you can answer verbally. Now answer the question.”
“Yes I was angry at him,” I said tersely.
“Well, it was the more reason he had to do what he did. You are a foolish child. Do you know what he delivered you from? He delivered you from becoming what me and five other women have become.”
Was I hearing right? She was telling me that there were five other women who had borne Ochuko children. I listened with rapt attention as she continued.
“I’ve had to do this, or something like this, five times. I’ve travelled to five different countries, met five different women. And each time, he would beg me, plead with me and promise me he would change. I believed him every time. So you, Rekiya should be thanking your father, and not disrespecting him like you are doing. Now kneel down to him and say thank you.”
I refused to budge. That was how much I hated this man. I didn’t know who I was dealing with. She calmly walked over to Ochuko and blew another kneecap off. He screamed and writhed in agony. I didn’t wait to be told a second time. I was on my knees before daddy immediately, saying thank you through chattering teeth, thoroughly rattled by what I had just witnessed.
“Good. Now you can return to your seat. Oh, and learn to listen to good friends like this one. You don’t get them often, and if I had listened to mine, I would not have ended up with this scum. Do you understand?”
I nodded my head vigorously once again and she smiled that eerie smile again. “Good, now that your lessons are learnt, let me end this.”
She calmly walked up to Ochuko who was still in a pool of his own blood on the floor and kissed him on the forehead. She looked at him in the eye, smiled and said “I love you, always,” loud enough for all of us to hear. Then she straightened up and blew his head off. She turned to me and now even the eerie smile was gone and her eyes were glazed. It was as if by killing Ochuko, she had disconnected from whatever was keeping her last strands of sanity. I knew I was in big trouble.
All I could ask myself as I sat in that couch beside Rekiya was “who send me message come this place today?”