I thought he was going to kill me.
Dad stood there , his belt coiled in his hand, glaring at me. His face was all worked up, you could see his veins standing out as if they were going to burst out of his face. Any minute now I expect him to start spitting fire like a mythical dragon. He was that angry.
“ Look at you !”, he screamed,”…dressed like asewo!”.
I wasn’t that bad. Alright so I had a mini-skirt on, short cropped top and high stilettos. Everybody dresses like this now. I’m twenty years old surely he can’t tell me how to dress?
“ D’you think I sent you to university to dress like a prostitute ?”, he said coiling the belt. He coiled it just like a snake would coil itself before attacking its prey and constricting it.
My mum was crying in a corner, she knows when not to get involved when dad wants to blow his top.
His hand moved.
Here it comes I thought. I don’t know what I was scared of the most, his belt or him. Perhaps it was the combination of both I was really scared of, him lashing me with the belt till I had bruises and welts all over my body and screaming my head off.
I was going to get a good beating whether I liked it or not. It was late at night and none of the neighbours would intervene. He had already locked the front door anyway and my mum would be powerless to stop him once he got started.
I braced myself for the worse.
To my utter surprise he sat down and threw the belt on to the table, slightly out of his reach.
I breathed a sigh of relieve, temporary stay of execution.
I still stood there in the corner not taking my eyes off him and not moving an inch. He could still flip and give me a good beating.
My crime had been three fold. Firstly I was caked in makeup and dressed like a prostitute(- so my dad says).Secondly, I was caught trying to sneak out of the house , late at night, to go to a party. And my third crime was to have a ‘good-for-nothing-rubbish-Christian’ boyfriend I was having sex with.
I pleaded guilty to two of the charges with the exception of the sex bit. I haven’t known James that long to sleep with him, but trying telling my dad that.
Poor James! You should have seen the way he took off when he saw my father coming after him with a sharpened cutlass. He would have put Usain Bolt to shame the way he sprinted down the road as fast as his legs could carry him. I guess I’ll never see him again.
I on the other hand had no where to flee to. I still lived at home and my father had always made it clear that as long as I lived under his roof I would obey his rules.
But rules are meant to be broken…..
“ I ‘m not going to beat you tonight,” he said at long last,”…but I’m going to punish you”.
Now what punishment could he have in mind ?
“ Come here !”, he barked pulling a large plastic bag out from underneath the table.
I slowly walked over to him still wondering what he was going to do. There’s no predicting this man when he is angry.
When I reached him he handed me the bag.
“ Inside is a dress…you will go into your room, scrub that nonsense off your face, put on the dress and come back here!”.
“ Yes sir”, I more or less grabbed the bag from him and ran off to my room rubbing off my make-up with a sleeve end as I went.
When I got into my room I emptied the contents of the bag out on to my bed and out popped an abaya and hijab, the full length black cloak that covers you from head to toe and the head gear that covers everything but your eyes. There is no way I’m wearing this! It’s a ninja uniform! I’ll be the laughing stock of the neighbourhood! Not even my mum wears this garb.
I thought about storming out of my room, going to confront my dad telling him where he can stick his ‘ninja-uniform’ and then storm out of the house. But where would I go ?
I was trapped. Ninja uniform it had to be.
I came out of my room about twenty minutes later to present myself to my parents.
“ Nice,” he said actually smiling,”…now you look like a proper Muslim girl…from now on this is all you’ll be wearing”.
“ Dad…”, I tried to protest.
He just ignored me,”. when you go back to your room tonight you will pack all your ‘prostitute’ clothes into a bag and give them to your mother along with your cellphone and sim card…And if I catch you wearing anything else apart from this and I will kill you!”.
I was dead anyway. There’s no way I’m going to be seen wearing this in public. I know my dad is a devout Muslim but until tonight he’s never said anything about the way I dress. But yet again he’s never seen me in a mini-skirt wearing a top with my boobs threatening to burst out!
If my father wants to ruin my life he has succeeded. I’m effectively grounded. Thank goodness it’s the summer holidays. I just have to hide at home until the term starts. If someone sees me like this I’ll be trending on Twitter and my Facebook reputation will be shot to pieces.
Over the next few weeks all I did was stay indoors, study, watch TV or go online. I had to lie to people I was chatting to online saying my webcam was down and they can’t see me till I get it fixed. I had a few friends come by, female of course, and I warned them to dress conservatively when coming over with the exception of Sade.
Sade is the Imams daughter and she has been wearing her black cloak and hijab since she was a kid going to the mosque with her dad and all that stuff. So she was used to wearing her top-to-toe black ninja uniform as an everyday apparel.
My parents were going away for the weekend and I asked if they didn’t mind if Sade slept over to keep me company. I had been promising her a girlie sleep-over for ages.
They had no objections. She could come and stay with me for as long as she liked .They actually thought she was a good influence and could perhaps help redeem me! Again without any doubt they’ll have my brothers and neighbours to spy on me and to make matters worse my dad has recently installed a CCTV system around the house. So there will be no sneaking out or any ‘illegal’ friends coming in.
Come Friday evening just as my parents were leaving she came up the driveway carrying an overnight bag. They called out her name and she waved to them till they drove out sight.
It started to rain so I ushered her into the house and into the living room where my two younger brothers were busy playing a computer game. Somehow they had got their hands on the latest Grand Auto Theft game and with our parents away they couldn’t wait to play it.
“ Hello auntie Sade”, chorused the two as I steered her towards my room. They didn’t even bother she didn’t answer back as they were too engrossed in their game.
Once inside I locked the door.
“ I don’t know how you can wear this thing”, said James wriggling out of the black gown and face mask I had given him to wear,”…you can suffocate in there!”.
I laughed wriggling out of mine to reveal a mini-skirt and skimpy top I had on underneath.
He opened the overnight bag he was carrying ,”…I’ve got us beer, some snacks and a DVD…how much time do we have before your parents come back ?”.
“All weekend”, I replied kissing him.