Meeting Femi was unbelievable. It was the most awkward meeting you can imagine, embarrassing as well, but definitely awkward.
My friends and I had travelled up to the swamps for research purposes. Unfortunately for me, on our last day, I brushed up against a poisonous tree and was totally consumed with lesions and rashes and had to be rushed to a hospital.
Of course, my regular doctor had to be out of town and not only was a cute doctor assigned to me, he just had to be Nigerian as well.
With my partially swollen eyes, I drank in the handsomeness that Dr Femi was.
“Nurse, please seal her off in a private ward, I don’t want her stinking up the entire hospital.” Those were his first words to me and before I got the chance to have a crush on him, his big mouth ruined it all.
I actually had good retorts for him, but my lips were the size of ripe bananas and no matter how hard I tried to speak, it all came out as muffles.
“Ma’am, please stop trying to speak, you’re only going to make it worse.”
“Doctor, how long would it take all the rashes to go away?”My friend, Ashley asked.
“About a week; I’ll get a dermatologist in here to see her as well, but a week should do it.”
“Hang in there Bimpe. I’d hold your hand but the Doctor says I can’t.”
It did take a week, with a lot of baths, lotions and IVs, but even I had to admit that my skin had never been as smooth and silky in all my life as it was when I was completely healed.
“Hello there, Bimpe.”Femi walked in glancing at my chart and smiling.
After his comment on my then terrible odor, all my possible ‘love’ had gone; but his smile could melt ice though.
“You are absolutely free to go! Your friend, Ashley called in and wouldn’t be able to pick you up, something about an emergency. However, she’s called a taxi for you and has paid for it, so you should be okay!” he flashed another smile.
“Thanks” I smiled in return.
“Doctor, I don’t have anything to wear.” I pointed at my hospital gown.
“I assume the clothes I came in have been thrown out or burnt.”
He frowned for a minute and then simply walked away.
I sighed; I didn’t even have slippers to leave in.
Dr. Femi was back in minutes with what appeared to be half of a department store.
“I didn’t know what you’d prefer, so I just got them all!”He shrugged.
“Thanks, that was very sweet of you.”
“I’ll just take what I need to get home so that you can return the others, I’m sure this cost you a fortune.”
I knew it didn’t cost a fortune; most of the items were jerseys from the clinic bookstore.
“Actually Bimpe, Ashley could make it, I asked her if I could drop you at home instead, that’s only if you don’t mind!”
I hid a smile as I looked through the bags for the best fitting clothes.
“I guess there’s no harm in that.” I replied eventually.
“May I have a minute to change please?”
“Sure.”He stepped out into the hallway.
The ride from the hospital to my house was the most bizarre experience in my life. I’d seen people fall in love on TV and I’ve been quite cynical about it, but here love stood, right at my very doorstep.
Cupid had chased me, tackled me and was making sure he shoved enough of those arrows into my heart that I wouldn’t be mistaken.
Femi was so easy to talk to, and even though while I was covered with lesions I hadn’t noticed, but he had the perfect sense of humor.
It felt like I was talking to an old friend and I didn’t want to stop.
So when we got to my apartment, it only felt natural that I’d invite him in for lunch, to know him better.
Dr. Femi wouldn’t have any of it, he insisted on cooking for me, and making sure I just relaxed and recuperated like a good patient.
Ah Cupid got me!
We ate, we laughed and we became friends.
Just friends, we didn’t start dating until a year later, when we were more than certain that we were hopelessly in love with each other.
Our dating led to courtship and the relationship was respected with a holy reverence.
Not only would Femi not demand intimacy from me, he didn’t ‘tempt’ me either.
I recall the day I saw him in the shower, naked to the glory of God he was!
It took all of me not to jump in there and ‘express’ the deep love I had for him.
I couldn’t not only because I knew Femi wouldn’t let me, but because, Femi assumed that the reason I abstained for physical intimacies was for religious purposes and that I was saving myself for our wedding night.
This wasn’t true.
I had nothing of ‘myself’ worth saving. The surprise had long been removed from the package.
When I was ten, my mother was dating this man; he was a lawyer a very successful lawyer, Mr Segun Ola. He was good to my mother, who at this time had never seen a good thing in her life.
He cleaned her up in every sense of the word. Educated her, took us on vacations, he was the perfect man in her eyes.
Mr Segun demanded nothing from my mother, he only gave to her. He always said that all he ever needed she already gave to him.
The meaning became apparent when on my tenth birthday; he crawled into my room in the middle of the night and collected his ‘reward’.
“Have I not been good to you and your mother?” he growled, pulling at my jammies.
“Yes uncle!” I wrestled with his strong grip on my pyjama bottoms.
Strike one! He smacked my hand away from the pants and pulled them all the way down.
Everything in my mind, body and soul, screamed in alarm.
“Idiot! Are you trying to wake the entire house?” he punched me, smack in the face.
Blood trickled from my burst lip, my mouth filled with blood from a burst gum.
It tasted acidic and salty.
“Uncle please, I have been a good girl, don’t beat me!”
He laughed then, heavy grunts and sighs as though it was funnier but he was attempting to hush himself.
“You enjoyed your birthday party, didn’t you?”
Tears welled up in my eyes and fear choked me. I was too scared to say yes, because then he’ll demand recompense and if I say no, I’ll be ungrateful and be punished anyways.
“I know you did! I saw you dancing and eating cake!”
I frowned, what had that got to do with him being on top of me.
His sweaty body, pressed up against mine was becoming really heavy.
“Uncle, thank you for the party, but you’re heavy and you’re making me uncomfortable.”
He groaned strangely.
“Yes thank me!”
And just before I could utter my thanks once more, the most incredible pain rocked my body.
I screamed, it didn’t matter that his huge hands grabbed my throat and shook me till I thought I had died.
Death would have been a pleasure in comparison to what was happening to me at that moment.
He kept talking, whispering in my ears, at that moment, I couldn’t make it out, but years later those words would play over and over again, those words would cause nightmares and panic attacks.
“Mummy!” I screamed.
This time he covered my mouth with his palm.
He heaved and grunted, forcing and shoving, smacking me when I made too much noise, until he was satisfied.
The room smelt funny. A smell I’d never forget.
He picked up my pyjama bottom and wiped himself with it and tossed it at me.
“Happy Birthday!” he winked and walked out.
He took all of me in a wink.
That was all I got, one shut eye; a gesture of an agreed familiarity.
I didn’t move, I didn’t want to breathe even.
Tears streaming down to my pillows, I sobbed. My mother had warned me not to go into cars with strange men, she warned not to accept candy or drinks from even teenage boys; why didn’t she know that it was someone so close to me that would creep into my bedroom?
I cried some more wanting to scream out her name, but blood flowed into my mouth, choking me.
I decided to lay there until my mother came for me in the morning.
When she did, she met me with a swollen face, legs apart with a pool of dried blood and my pyjama bottoms lying on my belly.
“Oh my God!”
“Segun!” she screamed
“No mummy, not him! He did this.” I sobbed.
She shook her head and tears began to well in her eyes.
“No. stop lying.” She screamed.
“Stop lying.” She sobbed.
“He did. He came in last night.” I winced in pain.
I could see my mother calculate it all and the revelation dawn on her.
“Segun.” She screamed and ran out of my bedroom.
I later learnt that he was charged and taken to court, but he had a lot more money than my mother and there was only so long she could drag him to court; after a while she gave up.
His lawyers sent her an enormous cheque, saying that Segun was innocent and he still loved us both and wanted me to get the best.
I forever wish that my mother tore up that cheque, because it haunted me all that I had achieved from high school till date was payment for my tenth birthday.
It took a number of psychotherapists and counsellors to get some of ‘me’ back.
I had to do a lot of healing exercises to get to forgive him, but having never had an intimate encounter with a man, I never quite realised what was left to be healed.
My relationship with Femi got more serious and in the fifth year of our relationship, I’d summoned all courage and psyched myself to tell him everything and let the consequences be damned.
This plan was foolproof until…