“Nkem..how?” I looked at my friend.
This is the girl I knew since I was a child, she never traded best friends, I was her one and only even after we fought. She hated confrontation so she did all she could to not cause trouble and was always eager to fix any problems between us. This used to annoy me, but after I hadn’t seen her for years, I began to miss that trait in her. So you can imagine my shock hearing.
1) that she was unfaithful to Nick and 2) that she did not tell me.
She just shook her head and sniffled. Her eyes were pinned to the floor and she would not look me in the face. This was all so new.
“I’m a mess.” She finally murmured.
The silence afterwards was really heartbreaking and within me, I could feel the turmoil happening in her mind, the war with self that raged within her and it hurt me.
“Nkem..You know me, I love you, what happened?” I knelt in front of her, grasped her palms and bent my head to look at her face. A lone tear drop fell to the ground between us and she sniffled again.
“I don’t know how to start telling you.”
“You could start from the beginning.” I urged her quietly.
“you know Nigerians, everything is black and white. You’re either bad or good, and we don’t allow room for anything else.” she looked up and wiped her face.
“I guess I’m bad here, in my own little nollywood movie I’m the bad girl, the harlot, the whore.” she laughed a little, which quickly became a cry “I’m a mess girl, a big mess..I thought this was over, but it never was..I’ve been pretending this whole time.”
“mm-hmm.” she nodded “remember that time Uncle Sunny was staying at the house?” I nodded, grimacing.
“What about that devil?” My hackles began to rise. This was someone that had hurt Nkem, and till this day I was ready to beat the lights out of him if I ever laid eyes on him. Unfortunately he died five years ago, still I would dig up his body and kill him again if I could.
“I tried blanking that memory out and telling myself it didn’t happen over these years but, it’s affecting me! It always affected me.” She held my hand tighter.
“Those years we were apart, I was as promiscuous as anyone you could imagine, from thirteen years old. But I was ten! ten when he did that to me. Till this day I wonder what I ever did to deserve that.” She started to lose her breath “I was ten for crying out loud, why did he do that? what did I do?”
“Nkem relax, it’s over.”
At that she laughed “but it’s not! that’s the illusion, you think it ended after the last time he touched me? no my dear, it kept happening again and again. I’m spoiled, don’t you see?” She drew back from me and touched her heart “I’m rotten.”
“Nkem don’t say that, you know you’re not.”
“But I am, I’m ruined, not because my virginity was taken, but because my soul was removed from me. How can a man, one man, who so foolishly thought that raping a ten year old would be okay, how can such an idiot take me, he took all of me! he pulled my soul out of me, spat on it and rubbed it on the ground. Why did he choose me?” She looked at me like I had the answers “Why did he do that?”
“All these years I’ve been walking around, barely lifting my head up, holding it up on a string and tying it to the rest of my body with duct tape.” She laughed sadly “Because I hurt, and it’s hard to show that to the world. Nobody wants to know. They think I’m alright, when I feel lower than shit all the time.”
“I always envied you, you know? I wondered what it would be like to live a life of innocence, one that was never spoiled. I always felt a need to protect you, if anyone tried to steal your soul I would eat them alive.” She laughed.
“I want to go and kill Sunny right now.” I mumbled.
“He can die again for all I care.” I sat down beside her “I love you girl, I really do. I don’t know why he did that, but it was never your fault I can tell you that. He was screwed up and he put that spirit on you because it was too much for him to bear, but don’t blame yourself please.”
“I know. I’m coming to terms with it being the truth of my childhood, something I can’t change.I just wish I could get rid of this constant need to sexualise myself, I’m in a cage here feeling like all I’m good for is to use my body. I can’t even love Nick properly. Any immense feeling of love turns to lust, deep down I believe that that is all I’m good for and the part that sucks is that I don’t know how to change that. I’m aware of the feeling, but I can’t force it out of my mind because my body is programmed to respond that way.”
“I cried out to God the other day to change me, and I felt such peace. He told me that he still loves me, he still cares for me. He does not judge me or condemn me for my promiscuity because he understands why I do it.” She began to tear up “Isn’t that amazing?” she looked at me “He loves me, me, even when I’m like this.” She shook her head “I don’t understand his love.”
I held her “I love you too.”
“Thank you.” She hugged me back.
“I don’t know how I started sleeping with Felix. I justified that stupidity in my head, told myself that it was okay, as long as Nick had my love, Felix can have my body.”
I nearly died “oh God of mercy! That’s the father of this child?”
She sniffled ‘Unfortunately. You know him right? I met him at one of y’alls parties.”
“That’s my husband’s partner..the creep!” I nearly yelled.
“He knew you were married too.”
“He’s not the only one to blame, in fact he’s not to blame, I’m the stupid one here.”
“Eii!” She smacked my lap.
“What?” I laughed and sobered up “So what are we going to do then?”
“I have to tell Nick. I doubt he would understand, something I don’t even understand. In the meantime can I please stay here?”
“Ofcourse woman. Okay for now though, no more chatting, you go and sleep and let tomorrow take care of itself. Promise me you will sleep and not worry.”
“That’s a joke right?”
“Try now? try small.” I pulled her off the couch “Let’s pray first.”
We prayed for peace of mind, forgiveness for the heart and faith to be led.
My husband was still up when I got into our bedroom,
“So Felix, I’m gonna kill that little..”