“Hi.” I said to Willie-Willie as he toyed with his face that had just been slapped.
He looked at me and walked past as though he didn’t recognize me. It can’t be.. this fool won’t play smart with me. Daniel came to my side.
“I’m so sorry you had to see that. Can you imagine such rubbish?” He dusted his palms as if he had just dug them in a bin of dust.
I had lost my voice. The shock of seeing Willie-Willie and he acting like he could not recognize me rattled me.
“Are you alright?” Daniel asked.
“Yes”, I managed to whisper.
“Let’s say we get out of here and go back to the hotel.”
I thought about it and weighed my options. Justice or a chance of romance? Naaaaa, justice! At least for now.
“No, let us stay. Moreover I am here to work, remember? I wouldn’t want my boss searching everywhere for me.”
“Yeah, you are right on that. I almost forgot why we are here.”
“H.R.” I teased. He finally grinned. I had never seen him get angry before, so it was quite amazing to see him lose it.
“Shalewa, you still haven’t told me what happened?”
“Please, let’s not talk about that now; let’s talk about you – more about you. You never really told me why a handsome man like you is still single.”
“Meanwhile,” I cut him short. “Is he really..” I pointed at Willie-Willie.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“Wow! Who would have thought?”
“Well, we all do have them.”
“You have a gay brother?”
“Hell no!!! Moreover, I’m an only child.” He stuck out his tongue.
I smiled at his show of childishness.
“Can we at least take a stroll, pleaseeeee?”
“Alright.” I said.
He took my hand and led the way. I felt like I was being watched so I looked back. Femi was staring at us. I took my eyes away immediately and pretended I didn’t see him. After all..
We walked towards the garden and found a spot to sit. I was so overwhelmed from the drama that I lost myself and allowed my head rest on his shoulder.
“I have a daughter. She’s five.” He said.
After all the bombshells of the week, this didn’t move me. I think I’m numb.
“Go on”, I whispered.
“Her mother was my first love and she still has my heart.”
“So why are you not together?”
“She let my mother get to her. Being an only child isn’t easy. My mother is like my first wife.. she is like a leech, she wants to size up every girl I bring home and so.. she got to Khadijat.”
“I see. So where is your daughter?”
“She lives with my mum and I.”
“What! You still live with your mum?”
“Well, what can I say? She’s lonely without me and she refused to remarry after my father’s death. She took care of me, sent me to one of the best universities in the world..” He began to laugh. “There was this time in the States; I was seeing this girl, Sheila. I brought her to my house for the first time. My mum was home in Nigeria, or she was supposed to be home. We spoke 5 days before this particular day. Anyway, I was making out with Sheila..” Daniel was holding back his laughter. “And she had half her clothing off.” Now he was gesticulating. “My pants was down and I was about to.. you know.” He started to laugh really hard. “I heard someone exclaim and scream my name.. it was my mum!”
I started to laugh too.
“She came to the States without informing me with the excuse that she was unable to reach me on phone, so she took the next available flight. She let herself in and.. anyway, that was the only shot I got with Sheila.”
We both kept laughing.
“You’re so beautiful.” he whispered.
I stopped laughing immediately. Not like he has never said it before, but this time it sounded really genuine.
“I’m sorry I’ve never told you about Dara.”
I looked confused.
“Dara is my daughter.”
“Oh!” I said. “It’s alright, I forgive you.”
“Can I kiss you? Please.”
How many more kisses? How can I make up my mind? How? It was time to talk to the girls. Not with this new discovery of Willie-Willie sef.
“Ehmmm..” I blinked uncontrollably.
He pulled me up and we walked to a deserted underground car park. He rested my back against a door and looked into my eyes.
“Omoshalewa Benson, I am falling deeply in love with you. I know you have stuffs you are not sharing: secrets.. but I want you to know it’s okay to talk to me. I will take care of you; love you, if only you’ll let me..”
He kissed me. I tried kissing him back but I couldn’t. All of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe – images of Willie-Willie and Robert came back into my head – I lost it. I pushed him away and screamed.
Daniel covered my mouth and began to shake me. “Shalewa, Shalewa.. look at me.. look at me.. what is it?”
I broke down in tears. “He raped me! That son-of-a-bitch raped me.”
“Look at me. Look at me Shalewa!” He held my face. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.” He wiped my tears. “Talk to me, who raped you?”
I started to cry. I cried for that night. I cried for my father’s death. It was different from all the tears from my past. This was comforting. My psychologist had told me, it would take a day like this to help me let go. Finally, I could let go – I could accept my father’s death. I could let go of the guilt. It wasn’t me; it was Willie-Willie’s fault. He made me an orphan and he had to pay. I know what I must do to get my pound of flesh.
“Who raped you?” He asked again.
“What?” he gave me a funny look?
I started to shake uncontrollably. He was about to carry me when we heard a noise. “Who is there?” Femi asked. He looked around but found no one.
We heard someone run. The footsteps sounded like it belonged to a woman. I could faintly hear the click-clock of shoes with heels.
Daniel held me. “Tell me everything”
Omoshalewa Benson: Tales of a Lagos babe is written by Tobilola ‘Bella’ Agoro (@tobiagoro)