“You may open your eyes. Now, don’t you feel better? ”
I opened my eyes cautiously and then sat up as I was laid down on her sofa. She had tried getting me to relax via some mind procedure. I got up, walked to her window and looked out.
“How do you feel Rhoda?” She asked
I turned to face her as I slowly shook my head, “I am not crazy or suffering from anxiety either. The procedure is fine; great even, for whoever might need it, but I don’t. I swear I spoke to her and she knew things about me only I know. Can’t you just believe me?” I pleaded
Sighing, she rose to meet me, “But it’s just not possible dear; it sounds ridiculous. How for instance do you want to explain both your existence within the same time? Shouldn’t she have been born earlier?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I’m having a peculiar experience.”
The look she gave me proved the folly of my statement.
“I think you shouldn’t mention this to any other person. Your state of mind may be called to question.” She said
“Thank you for your time and you needn’t worry about that.” I snatched up my bag and walked briskly to the door, the sound of my heels muffled by the Psychologist’s heavily carpeted floor.
At the door, I turned back to her and my eyes skimmed the room, noting its simple beauty. “Please do not mention to my parents; that this (waving my left hand around to indicate the procedure I just underwent) failed, because it did. Please?
Without waiting for a response, I turned, opened the door with the same hand and stepped out.
I got to my car outside and reached into my bag for the keys. Someone tapped me and I instinctively knew it was her!
“What do you want? Who are you?” I asked annoyed
She chuckled and said, “Too many questions dear, I do recall that curiosity once killed a certain cat in ancient history. Question 1: Well dear, just wanna prevent you from making the same mistakes I made but knowing you, you’ll probably not listen. I didn’t! As for question 2: you really don’t know?” She asked with a mocking smile.
“I do not know you Ma’am and you do not know me” I had shouted at her “Oh, and I am not making any mistakes either.”
“Actually, I know you. We have met because I used to be you. You are yet to be my age so you might claim to not know me.”
Truth be told, there was no denying the fact that the lady before me could pass for an older version of me but still I insisted, “Please Ma’am, you are and were never me. You also need to stop stalking me.
“Stalking you? Ha! I knew you were gonna be here child; the same appointment was made for me as well. Just so you know, you’ll never get answers to all the questions swirling around in your mind but this much I can tell you with all certainty; I am who you will turn out to be at my age, if you do not heed to my words”
I started, startled!
“I am sorry I scared you but I am just trying to make things right. If you’ll listen, you could end up living a very different life from the one I have led and its consequences.” She continued “Please!”
So I agreed, if only to make sense of what was going on.
She said she wanted to take me some place first and gave directions. A left turn here, then another, down a long stretch of road, a couple intersections…and then it dawned on me where we were headed. I looked at her and she smiled gently at me. She fell silent after that and I navigated my way home; the house I grew up in. I hadn’t been there in ages and did not even know it had been rebuilt after the fire.
I parked some houses away but she sat still in the car and so did I. I was overcome with emotion. Then she asked:
“Do you know what date it is today?
“25th July. So?”
“So? Really? You do not remember?”
“No! Am I supposed to?” I asked
She looked at me and pointed ahead. A car was parked ahead and a little girl was hopping along without a care. It wasn’t until she walked up to the car, peered in it and shrank back did I remember. It was the day I caught Uncle Emeka masturbating. I was only 8years at the time. I had slipped back unnoticed, or so I thought. Sitting in my car a few metres away, I realized I had been wrong; he had seen me. I could now understand how and why through the course of time; he began and continued to pay me unwarranted attention. Soon, he was called away. We ended up at her place where I cried my eyes sore.
I started to hang out with Rhoda from then on. Ironic, isn’t it? 2 Rhodas: the present and the future. My mind reeled from the sheer insanity of it some times and I woke some mornings, hoping it had all been a dream. None of it was.
We were about to re-write history and we needed to work through the past to not just give me a better future but young Rhoda as well; young, naïve Rhoda! There really wasn’t much to do save to wait; wait to save young Rhoda!
In the meanwhile, I was to court young Rhoda’s friendship and gain her trust, enough so that she’d be free with me. It was kinda hard as it meant I’d have to pretend her parents weren’t also mine, or were they?
Anyway, Rhoda and I had a disagreement about Sola; my fiancé. She said I shouldn’t marry him because he would turn violent, a drunk and a cheat but that I should rather marry Timi, but couldn’t say how a life with Timi would turn out. That was when I damned it all to hell. Told her off and threatened to have her arrested should she come around me again.
Sola and I, asides from our parents having a lot to do with hitching us, liked each other from the get-go and saw no huge deal in being friends and eventually, lovers. So what if it served our parents’ purpose as well? He was a caring man, accustomed to the comfort levels as I was and had an inheritance to boot. Mind you; he was also hardworking and so was I. Timi was a selfmade man but had no fancy name or family fortune. He was a good friend and yes, though there were times I figured I probably loved him, well…let’s just say Sola was my thing.
Seeing that I was angry at older Rhoda; I neglected to follow through on young Rhoda and so the deed happened: Emeka raped her, continuously and eventually, it became consensual. She had abortions and when she couldn’t abort the last one; Emeka denied it and she’s yet to own up to her parents.
“Isn’t that right?” I ask young Rhoda sitting across from me in my living room, who promptly bursts into tears.
“Oh honey, do not cry! I am so sorry that I didn’t take older Rhoda’s words to heart back then but she’s gone now and I am now in her shoes. She was right and I beg you; in the name of all you hold dear, do not give away this child. There will not be another one ever or maybe there will be one with Timi and not Sola. Trust me, the man’s no good!”
Young Rhoda, all of 18years is pregnant with Emeka’s child. Here’s my opportunity to set things right. I know what she’s thinking to do because it’s what I did: I burned down the house whilst Emeka; my Dad’s most trusted PA slept, and well, once you start, it’s hard to resist the urge. At least, so older Rhoda told me; she murdered Sola. He was a horrible man; the fallout of his murder was her incarceration for years on end till she was eventually released. I had marveled at her lucidity and she’d told me the hope to save the next Rhoda kept her sane. I looked at young Rhoda:
“I know what you are thinking of doing honey, Emeka-wise; it’ll only backfire. Talk to your parents and fight against giving your child up for adoption. You’ll be surprised what they are willing to concede to you when you stand your ground.”
We spoke some more and agreed it was better not to bring me into the picture. She was yet to meet either Sola or Timi, University will take care of that but what better time to know about the enemy than before he strikes, right?
She left after dinner.
I went back to older Rhoda when she sent me an address to go to. I may never be able to tell why I went but I found Sola my fiancé, with another woman less than 3months to our wedding. I probably would have forgiven him had I not been prior warned by older Rhoda. I went to her house and apologized. She told me she never went on that day when she was called by one of her friends to.
I owned up to Timi and married him, or rather, he married me. Does he believe the ‘Rhoda story’? Well, what can I say? There are some stories one tells that are at best, impossible to believe. Therein lies the answer. As for young Rhoda; she’ll be okay. I just know it. Now to take my medications; I am dying from the pain of serial abortions done badly. It ended older Rhoda’s life and looks that way for me as well. I am yet to tell young Rhoda though; one challenge at a time.
“Aren’t you coming to bed honey?” Timi calls
I open my eyes cautiously and refuse to sit up. I search my mind and it registers:
My name’s Rhoda, 18years and I just had the most absurd of dreams; except that I really am pregnant for Uncle Emeka who has denied responsibility, I am yet to tell my parents and my mind is bent on vengance.