“You are a mess!” Amanda roared at Ahmed, leaving me more addled. “I loved you, I gave up everything for you,” she continued, her voice rising with every word. “I did everything just to make you act on the love you claimed you have for me, but nothing worked. You instead went behind me to sleep with my friend.”
I boggled. My lips deserted each other as I gawked at her and then at Ahmed, whose face wriggled in shock.
“What?” Ahmed shivered, disbelieving what he just heard.
“Don’t act all saintly on me, you know what I am talking about,” Amanda shushed him. “I hate you!” she breathed, with all energy, making me feel the impact of the hate although it was not directed at me.
“What are you talking about Amanda?” confused Ahmed asked, still clutching his cheeks. “Which friend are you talking about?”
“It’s over between us,” she added. “I was a fool to have chosen you over others.
I smiled at her teary eyes, gulping the indirect compliment all down without hesitation. Then I wondered if she knew I was standing within hearing range. Otherwise I did not see the reason why she would break up tearfully with the guy she dumped me for right before me, while indirectly confessing she would have stuck with me. I coughed, drawing her attention.
She glanced at me, pulled a handkerchief from her handbag and dried her eyes. Then she walked away, silent yet heartbroken.
“Amanda!” Ahmed called, like a defeated child bent on proving his boasted strength to his mates. “Amanda!” she called again as she heeded not to his calls.
He turned to me, with a curious face desperate for explanation. I threw my hands in the sky. I was not going to meddle into something I did not know when and where it started. He took Amada from me; an act I was mad at him for, so I did not think it wise to engage him in any conversation about what I hate him for. But curiosity did not allow me take that walk. If truly Ahmed slept with Amanda’s friend, I’d like to know who that friend was and why he left his supposed girlfriend to sleep with another girl. I was about throwing the question at him when a thought hit my confused brain. The gender of this friend was never revealed. What if the friend was a guy? I grinned, feeling the possibility of that.
“Who is he?” I asked, confident that it was a guy.
“Who is who? Wait, did you say he?” Ahmed charged at me, igniting the strength he could not wield in front of Amanda. “Don’t be ridiculous, nothing happened with anybody, a guy or a lady. In fact I am as shocked as you are,” he added.
“I don’t know if I am supposed to believe that, but I don’t anyway,” I said. “For whatever happened between you and Amanda shouldn’t be any of my business. So off I go,” I phonated and left.
“Common Thony don’t do this,” he said as I walked away. “Thony!” he called as I gave him the same treatment Amanda gave him.
A reasonable distance away from him, I turned. He was talking with a female nurse. I stared for some time, feeling guilty for not stopping when he called. He was a friend, despite all that happened and was still happening. I wanted to go back, talk to him and maybe know what rough patch he might be going through with Amanda. A step towards him, I halted. Ahmed should not know or think that I still have any atom of feelings for him. He should not think that I was still that weakling of years back, that innocent naive kid who has no thought of his own. And why should I even care about the break up or what led to it? Amanda was my past, and so was Ahmed, although he was yet to come to terms with that truth, and a call from the past was never to be answered. I glanced at him again and our eyes met. He had discharged the nurse and stood staring at me, with an expression which hoped ardently that I return to him. I sighed, reversed and dashed out his sight.
Three days later, Eric was yet to give a situational report on what we planned to do with Ahmed. I returned from the hospital that day feeling upset, confused and sad. My little chat with Hope that day has revealed so many things to me, things stranger than strange; things I did not know how to fix even as I wholeheartedly want to fix them. As I locked the door to my room, the words of Hope hit me like a meteor rock.
“I am trapped,” she had said, followed by a drop of tear. “I want to leave but yet I am not supposed to.”
“How do you mean you are not supposed?” I asked, seeing no reason why somebody as beautiful as she was would want to remain in an abusive relationship because she felt she was not supposed to leave; a feeling I couldn’t understand. “This guy is a monster and from what you told me now, this is not the first time. Do you want to leave him in a body bag?” I queried, knowing how scary that statement.
“I don’t!” she scowled at me. “Nobody wants to die at the prime of his or her age.”
“Well you saying you are not…”
“Same way nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds him,” she cut in.
“Oh!” I inhaled. That has always been on my mind as the reason why she would want to stick to such animal as a lover. “So this is what it’s all about?” I said, more like a statement than a question.
She adjusted her posture on the bed where she lied and glanced at me. I saw pains in her eyes, one not fuelled by the bandaged hand and face but emotional pains engineered by inescapable torture, pain hanging on a hurtful past; a past best understood through experience. Yet behind that pain and sneering face, I saw beautiful young lady who has a bright future and was determined to achieve that future no matter what.
“I am sorry you have to go through all these just to survive.” I dragged my chair towards her bed. “But you should know that you have a choice, no matter how messed up you think you life is. Resigning to such lunatic is never going to see your dreams come through, it would rather terminate your life.”
She stared at me. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she bothered not to clean them up. I didn’t bother too. She needed it. She needed to shed those tears and free her mind of all pains her wrong choice has inflicted on her.
“It’s the living that purses a dream, the dead knows nothing of such nature. If you die in the hands of Idima because you feel he is your alpha and omega, your entire dream will end. And give him just two weeks; he will lay with another naive and scared little girl promising her the whole world. You need to take this one bold and giant step and free yourself from him. No matter what you think you are gaining, you deserve better than abusive relationship. No woman should go through such,” I paused.
It was a long speech, the one I was glad I gave. The tears in her eyes clouded her sight and I could see her struggling to see clearly. I pulled out a white handkerchief from my pocket and dried her eyes.
“I am deeply sorry about this okay?” I said.
She looked at me, grinned and looked away.
“Hope,” I called after some minutes of uncomfortable silence. She turned to me. “Who are you?” I asked.
I know the absurdity of that question, its impromptu nature and how hard it might be for her to understand but I asked it anyway. I felt knowing her more would aid my understanding of what she was going through.
After seconds of severe circumspection, she opened up, telling me everything I needed to know about her life.
Being the first daughter of the family, she was burdened with the responsibility of providing for her two younger siblings after her parents died of a terrible motor accident. After the burial, the uncles bombarded them and took away everything their parents left behind, with a claim that they were too small to be left in charge of such fortune. When she grew up and requested for the return of her father’s assets or the use of those assets to train her and her siblings in school, the uncles simply asked her to find a nice man and marry. It was hilarious yet devastating.
She dropped from school, took series of menial jobs to provide and train her younger sibling in school. After years of impoverished living and hard labour, she registered for WAEC, hoping that one day her knight in shining armour will come and rescue her, and she would return to school to study the course of her choice. Returning back from her WAEC exams, her boss sacked her, leaving her jobless again. That was when she met Idima.
….the story continues….