I was helpless and I didn’t know what to do. Daniel had kicked me out of the car and I had left my purse behind. No cellphone, no ATM cards, nothing, I was in despair. I waited on the side of the road, hoping that a car would soon come my way and perhaps a good Samaritan would help me get home and rescue me from this dangerous dilemma that I was in. Soon enough, my wish came true and a pair of bright headlights appeared. I moved to the road and began to wave my arm in order to flag it down. Luckily, the driver slowed to a stop and I rushed to the other window to talk to him.
“Good evening… Please can you-”
He didn’t even let me finish before he interrupted. “This one don pass evening o. You no dey see time? Na 12:56 a.m. o.” (It’s past evening already. Don’t you know the time? It’s 12:56 a.m.)
I nodded. “I apologize but please I’m really stranded here and I need your help to get home”
He suddenly cut me off again and this time he shook his head and laughed hard. “Na wa o. Wonders shall never end! See ash@wo wey dey speak English. My friend, forget that nonsense foné, your business na to fuck, just tell me how much, I dey in the mood!” (Wonders shall never end! Imagine a pr@stitute speaking good English. My friend, forget about that nonsense phonetic, your business is to have sex, just tell me how much you charge, I’m in the mood!)
I was taken aback by his statement then looked down at my outfit before I said in an offended tone. “I’m not a pr@stitute.”
“Abeg make I hear word!” (C’mon, stop that pretense!) He dismissively waved his hand towards me. “No be all your breast full outside so? See all your lap sef! In fact, the blood wey dey your nose and the way wey your left eye don red, e be likes if you been thief person money, dem come beat you throw-way you for here.” (Aren’t those your breasts that are exposed? Even your laps too. In fact, the blood around your nose and the way your left eye is blackened shows that you probably stole from your customer and he beat you up and dumped you on the road.) He accused.
Hmm! I couldn’t blame him since the way I dressed up was the way I was addressed.
“I’m not a thief and neither am I a pr@stitute!” I yelled in frustration.
“Oh! Na me you dey raise voice for? I no blame you, sebi na because I still dey here dey follow you yan…” (Oh? Am I the one you are raising your voice at? I don’t blame you, I blame myself for staying around to talk to you.) He turned on the ignition. “Your father!” He said menacingly and drove away angrily.
As soon as he left and I straightened up, a strong waft of breeze hit my face, blowing my hair backwards and I cringed when I saw lightening brighten the clouds in the distance. That sign was soon followed by a distant rumble and I knew that it was going to rain soon. I waited, anxiously waiting for another car to come along. After waiting for like ten minutes and trying to prevent the strong wind from blowing dust into my eyes and mouth, another car slowly crawled to a stop beside me and the window whirred down slowly to reveal a fat man with a paunch.
“Hello baby!” He called out and I could immediately tell that he was from the Eastern part of Nigeria.
“Hello sir.” I said to avoid saying good evening when it was already passed one a.m.
“What is a beautiful girl like you doing here at this time of the night?” He asked and I could see his eyes ogling my body.
“Sir, I was robbed.” I lied in order to gain his sympathy.
“Robbed?” He raised his voice in surprise. “Oh, this country! I’m very sorry about that my dear. I think it’s about to rain, what do you say, that you follow me to my guest house to recover from your trauma.”
“Guest house? Sir, I’m actually going towards Dauda lane.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are going to. What actually matters is that you leave this place. This place is not safe at all. You are a beautiful girl and anything can happen to you. Hop in baby girl. Hop in and let me help you out of this situation.”
I hesitated. “But sir, I’m a married woman.” I lifted the back of my hand to show him my ring.
He frowned then suddenly smiled again then assured me. “Well, it doesn’t matter. You are not a child, you should know that being married shouldn’t stop one from enjoying oneself. I am married myself. We can just help each other out, you know? This weather is called a weather for two my dear.”
I shook my head. “I’m sorry sir but I can’t do such thing.”
His smile slowly faded. “You would rather be stranded here?” When I said nothing, he shrugged and turned the key in the ignition. “No problem, suit yourself, God knows that I tried to be helpful.” He said and zoomed off.
Three minutes later, the first drops of rain poured from the sky and it came with a cold breeze. Goosebumps spread on my skin and I wrapped my arms around myself, I was shivering. I glanced down both sides of the road and realized that it was totally dark. There were no cars in sight. In despair, I took off my shoes and began to walk. I didn’t know how I intended to do it but I had made up my mind to walk home. The rain poured heavily now and in seconds I was completely drenched. My lower lip trembled and I regretted wearing this crap I called a dress. It barely covered my body because of it was an alter-neck style. My feet soon got muddy and my wet hair flattened against my head and face. I was a total mess. I was still trying to walk home when a pair of headlights appeared from around the bend. I didn’t even turn to look at it. All I knew was that if it were a man, he would simply want to sleep with me like the other two.
I noticed that the car did not try to zoom by but instead, it slowed down behind me. I glanced over my shoulder at the car but I was blinded from seeing the driver because of the bright headlights. I didn’t know why he was slowing down but if it was to talk to me, o have had enough of perverts for one night so I continued walking. The car honked but I ignored it. It honked twice but I wouldn’t stop nor look back. The car slowly moved along side the road till it reached me and I heard the window wind down halfway.
“Hey!” The driver called but I ignored him. “Hey!” He called louder.
“Please just go on your way and leave me alone!” I snapped without looking at him. “I’m not a pr@stitute!”
I heard him chuckle and he said next, “What the hell are you doing here at this time of the night? I thought you left almost an hour ago.”
Just then, I knew that whoever this driver was, knew me. I turned to squint at him and that was when I recognized him. “You. Chris right?” I continued walking and he still followed alongside with his car.
He smiled. “I’m glad you still remember my name.”
“Yeah, right…” I rolled my eyes.
“You know it’s pouring heavily right?” He said.
“Isn’t it obvious enough?” I gestured at my drenched body.
“Why are you here? Did your car break down or something? Where’s your husband?” He asked.
“Too many questions.” I mumbled.
“I’m just really surprised to see you here all by yourself and at this time.”
“Thanks for the concern.”
“Are you stranded?” He asked.
I swallowed hard. “No.”
“Then why are you walking?”
“I just want to do a little exercise.” I lied.
“And what kind of exercise is done in the middle of the night, on a dangerous road and in the rain?” He quizzically asked.
“My kind.” I answered.
He simply shook his head and said, “it’s high time you get out of the rain or you are going to catch a cold.”
“I’m very much fine, thank you.”
“Your being stubborn is at your detriment. I insist.” He said.
“Please, you are the very reason why my husband ditched me right in the middle of nowhere.” I told him now, my shoulders sagging.
“No, I’m not. Simply agree that you married douchebag who treats you like crap!” He said. “Get in the car.
When I refused and continued to walk, he stopped the car, got down in the rain and hurried to me. “C’mon, stop being so hard-headed, just get in the car already.” He pressed.
“No, my husband would only get more angry if he sees me with you. He already accused me of having an affair.” I mused.
“And you feel this way all because an asshole whom you caught screwing a whore in car falsely accused you? From the look of things, it’s not the first time you have caught him cheating.”
“It doesn’t matter. This is what the society accepts. It’s born in every man to cheat.”
“Pardon me but I’m going to have to tell you to shut the fuck up! It’s not an inbuilt trait! Words like these are the very reason men think they have the right to cheat and it’s appalling that even women have surrendered and accepted that bullshit! Cheating is a choice, goddamnit!”
I simply sighed and asked, “Does it matter? This is a patriarchal world anyway where men are allowed to get away with a lot of things and women are at the receiving end.”
“I know right… Well, we are not going to debate over that standing in the rain, let’s just get you in the car first.”
“I don’t want to worsen my situation, Chris. I don’t want you to be the one my husband sees when he opens the gate, it will only justify his accusation.”
“So you are just going to punish yourself in order to please that idiot of a husband who dumped you here despite knowing how dangerous this road is?”
“Please Chris, enough of the name-calling, the man you are insulting is still my husband.” I said sternly.
“Well, get in the car. If you think I’m going to leave you here, think again.” He wouldn’t give up easily.
I paused now to ask. “What’s is it to you? Why do you want to help me so bad? What do you want from me?”
He hesitated then shrugged. “I don’t know… I really have no idea.”
“Well, I think it’s high time you stopped hitting on me. You and I, can never happen. I AM MARRIED!”
“I get that fact but I would have cared all the same if it were to be some other stranded lady, so please, let’s get this over with. Let me take you home.”
“No!” I remained adamant.
“Don’t make me use force.” He said.
“You wouldn’t dare.” I uttered.
“Fine, that’s it!” He stated. “You had your chance!” Before I could say anything, he suddenly bent and scooped me up into his arms. I protested and asked hIm to set me down but he refused and simply carried me to the car where he set me down in the seat next to the driver’s then he hurried back in the rain grabbed my shoes which I had accidentally dropped before he came around and joined me in the car. He automatically wound up the windows and when he noticed that I was still shivering, he took off his t-shirt and gave it to me and reluctantly I slipped it on and it made me a bit warm even though it was partially.
As he drove off, he glanced at me and shook his head when he saw my mascara running down my face. “You look a mess.” He noticed the dried blood in my nostril and also the black patch which was beginning to form around my left eye where Daniel had hit me. “He did that to you, didn’t he?”
I simply lowered my head but said nothing. Soon, I told him the name of my street and he drove me to the gate of my house. The rain had already reduced to a drizzle. I got down the car and thanked him profusely then walked towards the gate. He nodded and slowly drove away. I was all alone now and I could hear our neighbour’s guard dog, barking. I knocked on the gate and waited. When nothing happened, I knocked yet again and I could hear movements on the other side and then a flashlight came on.
“Na who be that?!” The gateman yelled.
“Musa!” I called out. “Na me.”
He recognized my voice immediately. “Oh! Madam?!” He quickly opened the gate. “Na you? I be dey wonder why you no follow Oga come back.” He moved out of the way and I hurried in.
As I walked to the door, my husband who must have heard us, came out to the porch. I tentatively approached him now, totally forgetting that I was still in Chris’ shirt. “What are you doing here?” He asked me as he leaned on his elbows on the railings.
I paused. “Please Daniel, I don’t have the time for any drama tonight. I’m very tired.” I started for the main door but he suddenly grabbed my arm and shoved me back and I staggered but quickly regained my stamina.
“Go back and sleep in your boyfriend’s house.” He spat.
“Daniel, I’ve told you that I’m not cheating on you! Just let me be please!” I said wearily.
He advanced towards me. “If you don’t leave my house now, you’ll die today!” He threatened.
I knew that it was not the first time he was saying such to me so I ignored him and attempted to go around him to the main door but he suddenly grabbed me by my hair and punched me in the ribs. I cried out in pain and double over on the ground.
“Do you think I’m joking?! I’m going to kill you, bury you and nobody will do a thing to me!” He suddenly grabbed me by the back of Chris’ shirt, roughly dragged me to the gate as he yelled at the gate man to open it then he pushed me out. I fell and bruised my knees but I was still unable to straighten up because of the pain in my ribs. I crawled to the gate, crying and begging him to open it but I heard him yell,
“Musa! Do not let that sl@t in! If you let her come in here, you’ll follow her out! I’ll fire you!”
Half-sprawled on the wet ground, I leaned my shoulder against the gate, weakly banging on the lower part, calling out to my husband and pleading with him to let me in.
“Madam, no vex…” I heard Musa say from the other side once my husband had returned inside the house.
My ribs were hurting like hell and any slight movement worsened the pain. Just then the taillights of a car parked two houses away came on and the car reversed to my gate. I recognized the car at once. It was Chris and he hadn’t left like I had thought. He got down the car, walked around the back and came to me. He squatted on his toes before me and pursed his lips as he stared at me for a moment.
“Damn, you are in one fucked up marriage.” He finally said.
I could not reply him, tears just kept spilling from my eyes. Then I saw him look up at the gate. “If I had the chance, I’d give your husband a serious beating. No good man treats a woman this way! Who leaves his wife stranded on the road and then kicks her out of the house into the street in the middle of the night? I don’t know why the hell you are putting up with this shitty marriage but you had better get a divorce!” He stated angrily and then carried me again in his arms. When I winced in pain, he handled me more gently. He carried me to the car and gently placed me in the back seat then he got into the car and drove away. I had no idea where he was taking me to but somehow, I trusted this stranger whom I hadn’t even told my name. Slowly, I fell asleep, hoping the pain would go away.
To Be Continued….. Watch out for Episode 7… make una dey comment oooo as the matter dey unfold….