“DING! DING!! DING!!!” went the alarm clock in my room. It always made sure I never went late for my exams because I usually read late into the night. I had already set it for 6:00 am because I had my geography exam the next day. I hadn’t realized it had been two hours since my step-father left my room.
Yesterday night’s experience left me exhausted and in shock. The last time I felt this traumatized was when I came home to my crying mum and my father’s corpse in the bedroom. He had been sick for a while and the doctors literally sent him back home to die. After daddy’s death, mum and I found a way to survive and be there for each other. We were best friends and did almost everything together like we were sisters until last year December when she broke my heart.
I remember that day vividly. Before mum left for work that Friday morning, she told me that she had something to talk to me about. She said this to me with so much excitement in her voice and refused to tell me what it was until she got back from work. When I heard the sound of mum’s keys at the door knob, I jumped out of my bed and ran to the living room to give her the traditional bear hug welcome. It was when we broke off the hug that I noticed the other person in the room smiling at my mum and I.
“Chii, you know Mr. Kevin from the choir in church nau. Say hello” my mum said to me while studying my face.
“No, I don’t ma. Goodevening” I said to him and he replied with a nod and a smile.
“Nne take my bag inside let me see him off. Please prepare my bathing water.” my mum said to me.
“Bye, Chinda” the guy said to me
I pretended not to hear him and walked away into the kitchen.
I actually remembered mum’s friend. He sang with the choir at our church and whenever he took the microphone to lead the choir’s special number, I usually just tried to figure out what exactly was off about him. He always wore neatly ironed clothes and you could see the shine from his shoes from way behind the church. He had an awesome voice that drove many people into the spirit realm. My suspicions grew the day he approached my mum at the end of the service to invite her for a house fellowship. Seeing him in our sitting room just confirmed my suspicions.
My mum gave me the news later that night. She and Mr. Choir man were courting and she needed my blessing. I was devastated and heart-broken because I was very sure that this was now the end of our fun and happiness. I couldn’t say anything about Mr. Kevin not because she wasn’t going to listen to me but because a 15-year-old knew nothing about people and love. I decided to find comfort in the fact that my mum was finally moving on and she was happy about it too.
They got married three months later and we had to move out of our one bedroom apartment at mile 1 into Mr. Kevin’s house at Eleme. Mum had to quit her job at the bank because the house was too far from there. I also had to change schools and leave all my old friends behind within short notice. All because of HIM.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Kevin’s job can take care of all of us.” She said in reassurance.
The new house is quite spacious with three bedrooms all en-suite, a large kitchen and a large TV. It is luxurious and clean. I have my own room to myself and I even have my own bookshelf. It had been one month now and I have been enjoying my stay except the part where I have to actually relate with Mr. Kevin who had become my stepfather. My mother had travelled to see grandma two days ago and she was going to be back on Friday. I had started my WASSCE two weeks ago and all the reading kept me too busy and also helped me to avoid my mother’s new husband.
“My heart, please be nice to your new dad, he owns this house and he paid your waec fees, please be nice to him, biko…” Out of the love I had for my mother, I agreed and then she left me with my new dad till the weekend.
The past two days had been very quiet with occasional pleasantries and necessary conversations. My mother suspected that it was going to be awkward so she pleaded with me to relate well with Mr. Kevin. Things were going good until today when things turned sour.
It was 11p.m and I had served him dinner and had mine in my room while I watched the season finale of Legend of the Seeker. When I was done eating, I took my plate to the kitchen, did the dishes and said goodnight to him.
“Are you still reading? I want to put off the generator” He said from the sitting room.
“Oh, yes you can, I have a reading lamp” I replied slightly irritated.
Luckily I was already done with the dishes so I just put off the light switches, shut the back door and headed out to my room to take a shower.It had been a long day because I finally unpacked the last moving box and arranged my bookshelf. I also did a lot of reading and was going to do more before going to bed.
When I was done with the warm shower which I badly needed I stepped into my room while drying my body until I saw a familiar figure on my bed looking at me while smiling at me with an intense look in his eyes. My brain told me exactly what the situation looked like and reflex ordered me to run back into the bathroom.
I quickly started for the bathroom but I tripped on my towel and fell on my face. He just sat down there like he expected the towel to be in my way. I turned around in pain not just from the sharp pain in my temple but from the irritating snicker that followed my fall. I tried to get up but I was still dizzy from the pain. I watched him walk towards me but I couldn’t look up.
He grabbed me by my hair and pulled me up to face him and then he smiled again.
“Do you know that when I bought this house, I noticed that the walls are so thin eh! You can hear every single thing that happens in the next room. I can even hear you breathe while you sleep so all those things you tell your mum about me, I hear everything” He said breathing down on my face.
“You should thank your mum for doing you a favor by marrying me. You would have been a drop out if not for me. All I needed from you was a little respect. How old are you again sef? Because a 15-year-old shouldn’t be as mature as you look” he concluded with his eyes all over my body.
I cried, screamed and begged and promised never to talk about him like that again but they all fell on deaf ears. I tried kicking and punching but he held my arms behind me and pinned me face down to the bed while I watched him through the mirror as he hurriedly took off his boxers and raped me over and over again and I could not do anything about it.
After a while, I stopped screaming. The pain numbed my nerves and my screams turned into quiet sobs. I just lay there waiting for it to be over. All I could here was his groans and mutters, my sobs and the occasional creaking sound from the bed frame. Through it all, I was angry with my mother. How could she have left me here with this monster? Why did she have to marry this monster?
After I put off the alarm, I just lay there on the bed angry, sad, frustrated and too tired to even get up. After a while, I got up like a zombie, got into the bathroom and stood under the shower for over 30 minutes staring blankly out the small window.
“Chii? Chiii? Sweetheart” I heard my mother’s voice in the room and didn’t bother answering her. I switched off the shower and stepped into my room silently.
“Sweetheart, give me a hug nau, I have been calling your name.”
“Chii? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” She asked, touching my temple. I just stared at her because I didn’t even know what to say to her. As I opened my mouth to speak, I burst into tears. Amidst my tears, I told her everything and even showed her the bruises on my wrists, my forehead, my neck and my thighs. When I was done, I looked at her face expecting a reaction – any reaction. Anger, sadness, hatred, pain – anything. Instead, I saw disgust, disbelief and betrayal.
“What exactly is this you are telling me?” She said, letting go of me and moving away
..To be continued.