Funmi tapped the end button as she felt her phone vibrate signalling a call. She didn’t have to look to see who it was to know that it was Bode calling. She switched her phone to silent mode as she expected a repeat call and true to her expectation and less than twenty seconds later, the backlight of her phone blinked repeatedly to signal a call.
She picked her phone up and looked at the screen just to confirm her suspicions of who the caller is, she was right. It was Bode.
She put away both of her phones but not before placing the second phone on silent mode too, as she was sure he would call her other line if she still refused picking his call.
Why was he calling? What was he calling to say? These were the questions that raced on the lanes of her mind. He obviously didn’t expect her to reply his text and even if he did, she was sure he did not envisage the nature of the reply that he got.
It felt strange at first to feel a smile cover her face after almost a month of pain. And then to think that she, ‘Funmilola Badejo’ would contemplate suicide was unbelievable. She remembered burying her head deep into the pillow, she remembered the increasing dullness of her brain that characterised the gradual fading to nothingness by suffocation until her mum’s voice snapped her out from her hypnosis. She had come to tell her that she was going out, but more than that, she had saved her life by that timely interruption.
‘Funmi!’ Jumoke had screamed on hearing the account of her attempted suicide. Her voice rich with a blend of shock and pain, ‘you want to leave me without a sister?’ She asked in a tone that exposed her hurt.
She could feel her elder sister’s voice quivering over the phone. It had that tremor to it that usually preceded crying. She had seen Jumoke cry only twice. The first was when grandma died and the reason for the second she never got to know. She only realised that Jumoke stopped sneaking her out to see Ebuka after that day. Definitely Jumoke wasn’t about to cry again, unlike her, Jumoke wasn’t into crying. ‘What in the world would I have told Jason happened to his aunty? Who will be aunty to this one I have in my tummy? Who will I boast to my friends about?’ She was on a roll asking questions that had no answers and her voice was breaking with every word, ‘You are a fighter Funmi, not a quitter. You can’t let an incident or an animal make me lose you.’ Jumoke said in a voice choking with emotions. She finally broke down in heart wrenching sobs, clearly overwhelmed with pain. She was devastated.
‘I’m sorry,’ was all she could say as she listened to her sister’s painful sobs over the phone. It dawned on her that she had been selfish not to have thought of her family, those that genuinely cared for her before cowardly trying to kill herself.
The next thirty minutes on phone with Jumoke changed everything. Crying together like only sisters can, made her realise she was not alone. The situation was not as bad and scary like she thought and she definitely was not weak. As Jumoke kept on saying ‘You’re Funmilola Badejo, you’re not a quitter,’ she felt a bust of strength well up in her.
By the time the call was over, she had become a new person. Jumoke had even offered to travel down from London but she had stopped her, it was not too safe to fly at this stage of her pregnancy, besides she was sure she could handle the matter herself moving forward – she had been reinvigorated. This was not the old weak Funmi, ‘this Funmi is a fighter,’ she said under her breath. A plan had been set up by the two sisters and Bode was going to get a run for his money.
She had just found a Violence Against Women (VAW) centre on the internet that was at Ojodu when she received the text from Bode, you made a big mistake by not coming to the party yesterday, it was your chance for a truce. I’ll send you the link when the video is published, you’re about to get famous. It was a wrong time for the text to have come in as she was in her warrior mood and with a clear head and a calm state, she had typed her reply. And when the text returned a message not sent report because the phone had no units in it, she had patiently typed a repeat message on her other line and sent it with her name signed at the end of the text.
She could still feel the smile playing around her lips, she had cried for too long, she had no regrets letting the smile continue. She switched off the light with the bed switch and welcomed the darkness to her room. She couldn’t wait for Monday, to begin her quest for justice. ‘I’m Funmilola Badejo,’ she whispered to herself in the darkness, ‘and I’m a warrior.’
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
SATURDAY, MARCH 8th, 2014.
Bode looked at his phone in horror as the call returned with a Number busy response. He tried again, but this time there was no response as the call rang out. The number wasn’t her regular number but he didn’t need a prophet to tell him that the text was from Funmi, after all she signed out with her name.
Where did her boldness come from?
He was clearly agitated as he tapped his feet on the ground uncontrollably. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he felt an urgent need to pee.
He looked up at the air-conditioning unit to check that it was still working, and surprisingly the green light that shows that it is, was on. He got up and made for the toilet, gritting his teeth as he did.
He hadn’t seen this coming at all. The tables looked to have been turned against him in this one. Whoever went to court for rape? Didn’t they say stigmatisation and shame stopped girls from reporting rape cases? So why now? Why in his case?
Dunni was the key to stopping this mess before it got any messier. ‘Bode, calm down,’ he muttered, trying to re-assure himself, sucking up air in a bid to relax. He hated himself for being so lily livered. She had sent him just one text and all his organs were already working on overdrive. He searched out Dunni’s number on his phone but decided against it, seeing that it was already too late and besides, he didn’t think he could trust himself talking in this condition. Thank God Funmi did not even pick her call earlier, this was the wrong time to appear rattled. That would extinguish every form or hope of leverage he possessed in this fight. Like Kasparov in a chess game, he was determined to outwit that nitwit by the name of Funmi.
He slipped into the bed after reducing the temperature on the air-conditioning unit some more, bringing the needed cool back into the room. He needed some soothing music to relax his mind and make his brain function properly. He picked up the remote for his home theatre system which was already playing but which was merely audible as he had earlier reduced the volume when he was trying to make a call to Funmi. He tried increasing the volume but just like yesterday, the control wasn’t responding. He tapped the remote control against his palm and miraculously the home theatre system responded as he could hear Fela loud and clear. He would have to change the batteries of the remote control tomorrow as he didn’t like this tapping technique at all. He pressed the buttons to skip the song, he wanted some classical tunes to prepare his mind for this impending war, it was time to listen to Yanni, but Fela stubbornly refused to stop singing. He tapped the remote control against his palm and tried again but the home theatre didn’t respond this time. The batteries were finally gone.
Confusion break-ee bone-ee yepa…Confusion break-ee bone-ee yepa
‘Damn!’ He cursed, ‘this is indeed soothing.’ How come Fela is preaching confusion at the exact moment, he wanted clarity of mind? If he was not so tired he would have gone to put off the music. He took his pillow and covered his head trying to muff the sound but the music seeped through. Double wahala for dead-ee body and the owner of dead-ee body, as the music played, all he could hear was Double wahala for dead-ee bode and the owner of dead-ee bode, he sprung out of the bed and made for the home theatre, the music was driving him nuts.
So even Fela now wants him dead. He tapped the ‘off’ button, silencing the home theatre but as he made his way back to his bed, he realised that the music was still playing in his head, Double wahala for dead-ee bode and the owner of dead-ee bode. It was going to be a really long night.