GENRE: Romantic Thriller
Memories of what happened plays in Jude’s head as he heads home… Jude had parked in a deserted street and pleaded with Chioma to forgive him. He unstrapped his seat belt and moves closer to her; to kiss her or maybe not. He can’t remember but the next thing he remembers is being on top of her and her struggling with him.
Why is she struggling with him? The boy is too drunk to understand the reactions he is getting from Chioma, so he assumes she is just playing hard to get.
While pulling her black gown up, she says “No” or was it “Yes”? His brain couldn’t remember either. What he remembers is, he had sex with her and enjoyed it so much…It was his first time and from the little struggle he had, it is obvious it is her first time too. Afterwards, he pulls out of her and looks into her eyes, with love in his heart but she looks back at him with disgust and hatred.
He didn’t mistake the look. It is a signature he gets from people he loves the most but never loves him back. It hurt him so much that it came from her. So he tells her sorry, gets off her, wears his pants while she adjusts her clothing, he settles into the driver’s seat again and drives her home.
“What have I done?”… “Why did I do it?” Jude asks himself questions as he parks into the driveway of his father’s house.
He hits the steering wheel so hard, so many times that his palm becomes red and sore.
Then one of several bangs on the steering wheel touches the horn attached to the wheel and the car’s horn goes off alarming those in the main building of Jude’s arrival. Soon, the lights to the main house come on and he sees his father storm out of the main building. The built man walks towards him with his wife tottering at the back trying to calm her husband.
Jude gets out of the car.
“Where did you go?” Jude’s father confronts him.
“I went for my graduation party and I told mummy before I left the house.” Jude responds
“What graduation party? You this ungrateful boy” Jude’s father says spitting the words right in front of his son’s face.
Jude’s mother pushes her husband away from her son.
“Enough!” “That is enough” Jude’s mother yells at her husband.
Jude walks past his parents and heads for his room, leaving his vibrating phone in the car. The expression on his father’s face is what he recognized on Chioma. His heart hardens as he walks into his room. She deserves everything she got that night and such a girl can never get his love. Coming to this conclusion makes him feel so good. He jumps on his bed and falls asleep within minutes.
Jude wakes up hours later with a headache. He checks the time and it is almost noon.
“What?” he says
“Was he that drunk last night?” His inner thoughts ask.
So as fast as he could, he takes a shower, gets dressed and heads out of his house with his car keys in his hands.
He walks out of his house and heads straight for the driveway, thankful that he did not bump into his mother or father or the both of them. Over time, his mother is now nothing but a weakling to him, always tottering behind his father, doing everything his father says and never standing up for herself when he beats her. Women are nothing but weaklings to him. He opens the driver’s door, gets in and sights his phone showing a low battery. He takes the phone from its slot at the centre of the car and checks all his messages.
“Haba! 35 missed calls?” “What does Chioma want?” he says as he notices she had called him since he dropped her off at home. He dials the number back. It rings and rings until it stops ringing.
Jude dials the number back again but this time it does not connect. So, he takes out his car charger, plugs his phone into it, he slots in a mix CD on his mp3 player, and skips songs until he gets to Rihanna’s single “FourFiveSeconds”. The young man increases the volume of the song to the loudest as he drives out of his house; the part of the song that makes him very relaxed is the part that says “All of my kindness was taken for weakness” so he sings along with Rihanna every time the lyrics comes up.
With no more tears left to cry and a damaged phone, Chioma is exhausted from crying all night and continuing at day break. She pulls off the little black gown she bought with most of her savings.
”What a waste of investment,” she says to herself as she removes her underwear.
Folding the clothes in a neat pile, she puts them in nylon and dumps the nylon into her school bag after taking out her blue skirt and black tank top she had worn the previous evening to the party. She wears a jeans trouser and a chiffon top, takes out facial wipes from her makeup purse and cleans out her face. Afterwards, she combs her hair and packs it into a nice bun and avoids looking at the mirror.
Walking from her room straight into the bathroom, Chioma finds her toothbrush and a paste, brushes her teeth, goes back into her room, grabs her school bag and walks out of the house. As she steps out of the house, she takes a long breath in and breathes out.
Kunle is in his room practising on his guitar for the presentation in Church the next day when his mother tells him he has a visitor. Then his mother tells him the visitor is Chioma.
He stops playing
“I will be with her soon”, he responds although he wanted to tell his mother to tell Chioma he wasn’t in but thought otherwise.
“Hi”. The only words he says when he sees her in his living room
“I need to talk to you”. Chioma responds
“Can you come back later; I am practising for my presentation and the notes are not perfect yet”. Kunle says
“No, it can’t wait. I need to talk to you now!” Chioma replies
“Remember last year in Church, health workers came as facilitators for the medical outreach and they taught us so many things.”Chioma says making alot of gestures with her hand because she is nervous.
“Yes, I remember”. Kunle says confused and wondering where the conversation is going
“The class we both took on first aid and emergencies which includes rape. Can you remember what the facilitator said the victim should do after the rape occurs?” Chioma asks looking at Kunle hoping he will catch up quickly
“Do not shower?” Kunle responds
“After that” Chioma replies
“Chioma, what point are you trying to make?” Kunle says frustrated
“Kunle, the next thing they asked a rape victim to do?” Chioma asks looking at him and wondering why he wasn’t catching up on the discussion.
“Don’t get rid of the evidence. Do not throw your clothes or underwear away no matter how much you want to get rid of it.” Kunle says
“After that Kunle, think!” Chioma shouts
“Tell a friend or family. Someone you can trust”. Kunle remembers and understands what is happening. He says nothing else. They both stand there staring at each other for a minute or longer until Chioma takes a sit. She avoids looking at him because the shame had engulfed her entire being.
Kunle stays silent. He feels sad trying to recall the class again and how they advised a rape victim be handled. Then he remembers they said it is never the fault of the victim. “No matter what, yes the victims were naive, but no reason is justified for the abuser”. The facilitator had said
“You need to go to a hospital”. Kunle says breaking the silence
“Yes I know. I will go after I finish talking”. Chioma replies
“Okay”. Kunle says sitting beside her. “Are you sure you want to talk to me? You should talk to a counsellor instead. I don’t know what advice to give Chioma.” Kunle mutters
“It’s awkward talking to you, but I trust you right now with this information. I will talk to a counsellor, but I am not ready to tell anyone else. Those facilitators said the victim should talk to someone to ease the pain and help you heal, someone you trust”. Chioma says
“They said it could be a stranger, someone who won’t judge you”. Kunle replies
“Okay, I admit you were right, you told me and warned me but I didn’t listen. Your mind is saying I told you so right? I shouldn’t have come here Kunle, my explanation might end up unlikely and it will hurt me more“. Chioma says standing, ready to storm out of Kunle’s house.
“No, don’t go. It is no longer a secret so, just tell me everything. I won’t judge you Chioma although I am upset. I can’t say if it’s because you didn’t listen or the fact you got hurt not listening. I am happy you came and I will never betray your trust. If you don’t want to tell me I won’t judge you. No matter what, what happened is not your fault and the abuser is wrong and should be punished”. Kunle responds
“Thanks, Kunle”. Chioma says and sits next to him, this time looking at him without shame.
She tells him everything.
“I will never forget his face when he finished. It glowed with peace; I looked back with disgust and hated him. He told me he is sorry and then drove me home. I got home and believed it was consensual. I might have wanted him or prompted him to rape me. So I picked up my phone and dialled his number. He didn’t answer. I didn’t stop dialling and with every dial of his number, the realisation hit in deep. I was raped and he couldn’t care less. By the 35th dial, I stopped and threw my phone hard on the wall. He calls back a few hours ago but my damaged phone didn’t allow me pick the call so I smashed the phone again. I was so angry”. Chioma explains
“Then I decided to talk to someone before I do something stupid” Chioma says
“I swear I want to kill him”. Kunle responds
“I want to kill him too”. Chioma says
They smile at each other and laugh at each one admitting to the thought of committing murder.
It is such a relief she was laughing again.
“Have you had a bath?” Kunle asks
“No”. Chioma replies
“Good, let’s go to the clinic. We will go to the one those health workers came from. I collected a pamphlet and kept it. It has the clinic’s location on it, we should be able to locate the place“. Kunle says standing up and heading for his room.
Ten minutes later, he shows up with a pamphlet in hand and shoes on his feet.
“What if they ask for money?” Chioma asks
“I have money in my wallet and I took the identification card they gave us last year as volunteers. It should count for something”. Kunle replies
“Yes, it should. I am now ready to go to the clinic”. Chioma says.
Story by DADA DUPEOLA.
Watch out for TILL IT HAPPENS TO YOU chapter 3 next week Saturday and don’t forget to drop your comments below>
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