Twenty Ways I Thought I Died. Chapter Eleven.
Why on earth is Ini's number not going through! For Christ’s sake of all days, Ini chose today to switch her phone off? Where on earth could she be now, I better be sure she is home before heading to her place. I wish I had gone to the bank all these while to renew my ATM card and I had stopped using my mobile banking app. I was low on cash and I couldn’t get to my best friend ini, and I had just ran away from rooming around at 8:15pm. I decided I call Etoro to find out if Ini was with him.
Yes Ufoma, Ini is here, but in the shower now. I think you show come aroma to my place and meet up with her; so you both can go to her place together because I won’t be able to see her off today. Will text you my address, come quickly. With that he hang up, and happily took a cab to lakware bus stop where Etoro lived.
It was my first time being to such a shabby environment. It was so dark and cramped! Everyone managed to get a tiger generator, which made the neighborhood Smokey and still dark. I wonder if it were a crime here to put on the outside light. I had to call Etoro to come lead me to his apartment because I was so scared to walk alone in this dungeon.
Ufoma! Ufoma! Over here. He called out.
Hi Etotro, sorry to have bothered you.
It’s nothing. Let’s walk through this way, my room is just by the Conner. As we walked t his room, I just wondered again what Ini saw in this man. And for the first time, I wondered why Etoro was so poor. How could a man of his age with a master degree be this miserable. What has he been doing with his earnings? Womanizing? Gambling? He didn’t strike me as a man who would spend his money on helping his family. He looked too selfish and lazy to carry such a responsibility.
Here we are! He announced as we got to his doorpost, bringing me out of my thoughts. He opened the door and we got in.
Where is Ini? I asked as I scanned the tiny room that had just a mattress on the floor, a standing fan, a fridge, and a very tiny TV set sitting on a TV stand. The room was painted white and it smelt of harsh, cheap air freshener.
Didn’t you see her on the way? He asked me after a while.
See her in the way? If I had seen her would I have asked you? Won’t I have alerted her of my presence? I asked irritatingly.
Besides, why are you with a travelling bag?
That’s why I came looking for Ini. I snapped.
Please I will be back. I need to go see my neighbour briefly. Ini went to get her phone from the phone repairer down the road. Her phone as been given her issues. She brought that juice out from the fridge for you. Please help yourself while you wait for her. With that he rushed out in a hurry.
With a sign, I just sat at the tip of the mattress. Can you imagine, he doesn’t even have a plastic chair for visitors to sit on. Maybe no one visits him because he is such a pathetic loser. I stood up again to help myself with the juice, I was dehydrated and angry. I didn’t dare take use any of his glasses. I just drank from the packet of juice directly as I impatiently waited for Ini.
Why was she taking this long? I asked aloud but my words came back to me. This stupid man couldn’t even put on the small tiger generator his neighbors owned. The type they fondly called: I beta pass my neighbour. He just left me here with his phone light on. I wondered again how Ini coped with this man, in this room.
I suddenly began to feel sleepy. My eyes were just too heavy as I tried to reach for my phone to call Ini again; but the last thing I saw on my phone was the time, it was 9:15.
Everywhere was suddenly dark, was I sleeping? I wondered as I went deeper and deeper into a place I would describe as death. No dreams, no thoughts, no consciousness. I was dead.
I was woken up by the reflection of daylight penetrating my eyes. My vision was blurred and I was so weak. I tried to move but was stopped by a hand, then a voice said: lay back Ufoma you are still weak, thank God you are finally awake.
Aunty Ejiro is that you? I managed to ask. Am I dreaming or something? What’s going on? I turned to my left to try assist myself to sit up with my left hand; only to be pulled back by a sharp pain through my vein. Ouch that hurts! What’s that? What’s going on? And what are you doing here?
Who would find me?
Ufoma, what have you done? What did you put yourself into? Just stay still let me tell your father. And make sure that drip doesn’t fall out from your hand.
My father is here? Where am I? This looks like my room. How did I get here and is wrong with me. My questions just faded away as aunty Ejiro reentered my room again with father this time and Ini too.
Ufoma, are you okay? Father asked.
Yes father I am. I think so. What happened to me.
What do you remember my child?
My memory seems faint. Ini, what are you doing here? I suddenly turned to her. I remember trying to see you yesterday.
Yes, and you stopped at my boyfriend’s place instead. Ini answered.
Yes, I called you severally but your line was switched off all through. I was desperate to see you, so I called Etoro to find out if you were with him. And he said yes.
And when you got there what happened? Father asked coldly.
What happened? What will happen again. He said you went to pick your phone from the phone repairer, that it had been bad. He then left saying he was going to see his neighbour.
Ufoma, please try and remember if he did something to you before he left. Aunty Ejiro pushed further.
No aunty he didn’t. He was nice and in a hurry to leave. He said I should just wait for Ini and that was what I did. Then I side began to feel sleepy after I drank…. Oh yes! I remember I drank a packet of juice he said Ini left for me. And I just suddenly slept off immediately after drinking it. In fact I don’t even think I finished it. And that’s all I can remember. Dad, please tell me what happened. And why do I feel so tired?
Ufoma, I don’t know if you are strong enough to take this news but I think you need to know this now, so we can begin to press charges.
What aunty, What happened! Please tell me. I gasped
Etoro drugged you. And he attempted to rape you. He is presently in cell now, waiting trial.
What! I gasped again. He attempted to rape me? Excuse me! What did I just hear you say? Ini your boyfriend wanted to rape me?
He would have raped you if I wasn’t there on time. She fired back. Why did you have to go to his place in the first place. If my number weren’t going through, then you should have just come to my place instead of his.
Are you mad Ini? I fired back. So the man you plan to marry is a rapist and you never bothered to inform me?
I beg your pardon! I will never date a rapist or marry one.
That’s enough Ini! Father thundered. Now explain to us again how you knew of Etoro's plan towards my daughter. Ufoma needs to hear this from you.
Well, I had gotten information from a friend in Etoro's neighborhood that he was cheating on me.
Cheating on you? I cut in. Only married people have the right to complain of cheating, not two confused fornicators.
Please do not interrupt me again. She ordered. So as I said, I got news that he was seeing someone else. So I told the girl to inform me when this other woman came by again. Then just last night, she called to tell me she just saw another woman again come into his room with a travelling bag, and she suspects she will be spending the night. I guess her call came in the moment I switched on my phone. I had put it off to charge fully. So I immediately left for Etoro’s place with his spare key in hand, so I can just open up and catch them in the act. But when I opened the door, I saw you lying down on the bed and his phone light on. I tried waking you up, but you just laid there dead. I was sacred, not knowing what to make of the situation. I searched your bag for your phone and saw that you gave me eight missed calls and two text messages saying you had ran away from home and needed to spend the night in my place, and you would explain everything when we see. So I knew I had to call your father. And he rushed there with your aunt.
Yes Ufoma. Father took over from there. When we got there we met you unconscious. We sat there behind closed doors to wait for Etoro, who later arrived drunk by 12:30am. I guess he went to drink himself out first, so he can get to work on you when he got home. And by then, the drug he put on your drink could have weaken you to a considerable degree, for him to rape you.
We had to call the police and then a nurse from my private hospital to attend to you. Etoro was taken into police custody, while we brought you home. Aunty Ejiro concluded.
I was now in a pull of tears and in so much shock. What are you all saying? Ini did you not know the kind of man your fiancé is? He was sleeping around and you didn’t tell me?
He just started sleeping around when I stopped him having sex with him. It’s all my fault. I deprived him and he was starved.
Seriously Ini? Are you still ranting on that? Aunty Ejiro asked. That man has always been a rapist and he is going to end up where his likes belong! Ufoma, do you know what his excuse was when he was arrested? He said he was on heat! He doesn’t know what heat mean! He will know the through meaning of heat when he is in a cramped cell with ten thousand men!
Aunty Ejiro please don’t take him to that kind of place please. Ini pleaded. I love him and we are planning our marriage.
You really still want to marry him after what he did to me? I asked her.
It’s all your fault! She spat out. You shouldn’t have gone to his place in the first place. You went there and he was seduced.
Seduced? That man disgusts me! He has never been my kind and you know that! The fool told me he was with you. He said you were bathing! And I should come over so we can both go home together since he won’t be able to see you off. And even when I got there, he said you just passed us to go pick up your phone. He left the room quickly afterwards. And I Innocent drank the juice he said you brought out for me. I was tired and dehydrated from crying so I drank it. I was in trauma! My father was about to marry me off to a polygamist! I sent you text messages, when I got there. I was desperate to see you. My ATM card had expired and I hadn’t gone for a new one. And my mobile app isn’t functioning anymore, because I deactivated it since the last online fraud I experienced due to an online transfer. I didn’t have much money with me, and I just left home within anyone’s knowledge. And you dare blame me for your boyfriend’s misdeeds? You better be happy he doesn’t even have plans marrying you!
Well leave that for us to decided. Let him be! After all he didn’t rape you, and I got there on time, and I brought you back to your family before you bring more trouble on yourself.
A burnt friendship
That’s enough Ini! I thought you were my friend, but now I can see that you are not! Now get out of my sight! And just be sure, that I put that beast where he belongs forever!
With that, Ini stormed out and I felt more angry, and relieved.
Ufoma, am so disappointed in you. I cannot believe you decided to run away from home. So if not for Etoro’s foolish act, we would have begun a search party for you? Supposing it was someone else that attempted to rape you, how would you have escaped it? You keep on making unhealthy decisions without thinking of the consequences! Now your action has also ruined your relationship with your friend.
Dad please! How can she marry someone like him?
Ufoma, not every woman is like you. She has accepted her man the way he is, and she has decided to help him and be patient with him. It is her decision, her choice! Let her make it herself.
I can’t believe you Efe.
Stay out of this Ejiro.
Really! You are talking of my niece here. She was drugged and almost raped!
And whose fault is that! Hers! Can’t you see she is just as stubborn and unreasonable like you? I wish she had gotten her mother’s calm and innocent behavior too.
Oh please! Her mother wasn’t raped. That’s easy for you to say.
Wow! Is this Ejiro speaking? I remember just like yesterday, you were trying to prove in court that I had raped your sister.
Efe, with or without your approval I will send that old dog to prison. Ejiro ended her verdict ignoring Efe's sarcasm.
And dad don’t just blame me alone. You and grandpa caused this. If you two did not plan on marrying me off to that polygamist I won’t think of running away too. Ufoma defended.
And you believed I would do that? We just wanted to scare you, to make you think and ponder on your actions, so you can think of possible ways to make amends. But the only action you could come up with is to run away. How does two wrongs of yours make a right?
And how is it Ufoma's fault that an old man in his seventies still cheats around? And was it her fault that his wife decided to divorce him? He should have thought about his own actions too before assaulting her. You should be happy I didn’t press charges on hearing that.
There is nothing I say that will make both of you reason with me. Efe said tiredly. But I just want remind you Ufoma, that your choices have consequences. Next time, before you try to escape a polygamous marriage, try reasoning with me on how you could make amends, instead of just defending yourself and proving right. You could have just said you will go back to your blog or page, whatever it is; and publicly apologize to Mr and Mrs Dean for the extreme measures you took in handling that video. People lost their jobs because of you that day.
And how is all that my fault! I shouted. Was I the one who uploaded that video? So I should not have defended myself, after I let go of the assault Mr Dean gave me?
Ufoma, I think your dad is just angry that his father’s adulterous lifestyle is out in the open.
You see again Ejiro, that is just your problem. You feel everybody’s issue is your business. Are you my mother? If my mother is fine with it, or lives with it and didn’t drag it to the open; who are we to have done that? Do you know what this has caused him? Who doesn’t have skeletons in his or her cupboard? Let that person come out. We are not yet through with the nonsense that happened in Morocco, now you want go fight a rape case, causing more bad news for yourself. Let that case go! since she wasn’t raped. Etoro can be bailed out after he has been tortured a little bit. If you didn’t go to his house, non of this could have happened. And I have one request to make; keep this matter away from my father, he left very early this morning before we knew Ufoma was missing. It’s better he doesn’t know about this mess, or else nothing in this world would stop him from marrying you off as a third wife. Dad looked straight into my eyes, and walked out of my room leaving I and aunty Ejiro to sulk.
I just can’t believe that, that fool wanted to rape me. Who could have ever imagined it. That disgusting old fool! To make matters worse, Ini was on his side, pleading and begging that she bails him and the case doesn’t go to court. I didn’t know whether to call it love or stupidity.
Etoro was tortured and bailed out after five days. His bail was one hundred thousand naira, and it was paid by Ini.
It has been two weeks since his bail, and I haven’t heard or seen Ini since then. She hates me now, but not as much as I hate her too. I never knew our friendship would end this way. I will never forgive her! Etoro should have gone to prison; there is nothing anyone would say that will make me see things differently. I blame father too, who warned aunty Ejiro not to so anything about the matter. The hundred thousand that was paid for Etoro’s bail was given to the officers who tortured him by father.
I was so angry that I thought I almost died. Yes, I should have died. At the age of twenty, I was enraged with the world, and especially with irresponsible men, and gullible women like Ini.
© 2020 Jade George Anibor