Originally written by Engee Mbah dept -Radiography
By the time I rush to the police station, I am basically running on fumes. My belly is all but weeping for food. When I get there, Chika is already there. She is seated on a bench across from the counter, with Perpetua. I walk up to them, demanding to know what is going on, as I sit beside Chika.
“They have Robert.” Chika tells me. My brows rise as it always does when I am surprised
“Why?” I want to know. This debacle is beginning to not make sense.
“Francis woke up. He said Robert was the one who attacked him.” It’s Chika who replies again. Perpetua looks like she is besides herself with worry. Her brows are furrowed and she keeps chewing her lip.
Chika’s reply leaves me speechless for a moment.
“Why would he think Robert attacked him?” I ask. There is absolutely no way that Robert attacked Francis. That’s when Perpetua speaks up.
“I don’t know o. I don’t even understand what’s going on.” She laments, with her hand on her jaw.
“Well, what did the police say?” I ask.
“Nothing, yet. They picked him up from the office. They said Francis said it was him. They said they are questioning him..” She answers.
“In that case, doesn’t he need a lawyer or something? This one has passed questioning and entered arrest. The victim’s testimony is a damning evidence.” I say. In my head, I can’t picture Robert attacking anyone, not to talk of slicing someone’s scrotal sac open. That sounds more like something a woman would do.
“Which lawyer do I know, now?” She murmurs, almost inaudibly.
“Her brother.” Chika answers, just before I can point out that my twin is a lawyer. Chika immediately digs out her phone from her purse.
“What’s his number?” She asks. I call out the digits as her hands fly on the phone screen. She dials the number and explains the situation of things as best she can.
“He’s coming.” She announces, when she cut the call. I lean back against the back of the bench as a wave of dizziness shoots through me.
It’s not until nearly an hour later that Kaycee comes in, his stripped shirt neatly tucked into a trouser that looks like it had been ironed for hours. My brother is anal when it comes to what he wears.
As he steps into the police station, he motions for Perpetua to step forward. He drags her to a corner where they whisper for some seconds. Then, he walks up to the counter, all swagger and confidence, as he goes into lawyer mode. After some minutes of speaking with the officers. One of officers leads him away and they walk further into the building, through a door.
It takes a long while, before he comes back out. He walks towards us.
“Can you get him out?” Perpetua asks.
“Not tonight. But, I’ll start working on it immediately.” He answers.
“Did you talk to him? What did he say?” I am curious.
“Quite a lot.” He replies. The look in his eyes communicates all I need to know and more.
“Can I see him?” Perpetua wants to know. Kaycee shakes his head.
“He said I should get you home. You can come back tomorrow.” He says. I stand from the bench, taking care to go slowly so that I don’t end up on the ground as a result of dizziness. Chidi stands too.
“Why can’t I see him?” Perpetua inquires. She was starting to sound miffed.
Kaycee holds her hand and starts walking her to the door.
“It’s what he wants. I’ll do the best I can, in the present situation to help him out. Just trust me…” He mutters reassurances as we all walked out. I am beginning to think that the present situation is really really bad.
We all get into my brother’s car.
“If to say I get car, I for just go house straight.” I mutter to myself. The one time I had mentioned buying a car, my mother had gone all, “what do you need a car for? So, you can scare all the potential suitors away? Buy it when you get married.”
We first take Perpetua to her house, then, we drop off Chika at her house, before heading to mine.
“He did it, didn’t he?” I ask, when he stops at my gate. He nods.
“Why?” I want to know.
“Take a wild guess.” He says. I think and think, but nothing comes to mind.
“There’s a girl.” He tells me.
“Another one.” He replies. For a moment, I am speechless.
“Are you serious? He’s married!” I say, when I finally speak.
“People cheat.” He says, with a shrug. I shake my head at how blase he is about it.
“Men are idiots.” I tell him.
“Even me?” He asks playfully, with a smile that is all innocence.
“Yes.” I reply
“Even Chuba, your BFF of life?”
“A bigger idiot, that one.” I answer.
“Ohhhh! I sense a story there. What did he do?” His voice is laced with curiosity.
“Nothing.” I claim.
“Come on. No dey lie.” He pokes me at the side. He keeps up the poking when I say nothing.
“He asked me to marry him.” I finally capitulate.
“Ooookay. Is that good or bad?” He asks, sounding very unsure.
“Truthfully, I am not sure.” I answer. Then, I proceed to tell him what happened.
“Women are crazy.” He announces, when I am done.
“Is that all you can say?”
“First of all, I am hurt. You were questioned by the police, but didn’t think to call me?” He yells.
“Telling you basically means telling mother and I didn’t want to deal with her wahala.” I explain.
“Secondly, a man you totally like proposes to you and you throw him out of your house. Are you well at all?” He continues, feeling my neck with the back of his hand, as if to check whether I was running a fever. I push his hand away.
“But you like him, shebi?” He wants to know.
“He’s my friend. Of course, I like him.” I answer.
“Shut up. You know what I mean. You ‘like like’ him. I think you have for a long time. You should think about what you really want. Now, get out of my car, so I can go home.” He says. I push the car door open and step out of the car. He zooms off and I remember I should have told him not to tell mother.
I enter the house and hurriedly down the noodles, which has gone cold. After twenty minutes, which by my calculation is the amount of time it should take Kaycee to get home, I dial his number on my mobile phone.
“Don’t tell mother.” I tell him, as soon as he picks.
“Sorry, too late. I just got off the phone with her.” He says.
“Are you serious?” I yell.
“She called me as soon as I got home and we got talking and it sort of slipped out.” He replies, defensively.
“I will kill you the next time I see you.” I threaten, just before I cut the call. I immediately switch off my phone, because I know my mother will try to call me.
Early the next morning, some minutes to nine o’clock, I am getting ready for work when I hear a knock on my door. I pull the pencil skirt I want to wear over my hips and button it across my abundant waistline. I need to start doing something about my stomach. I am starting to get a pouch there.
I put on an orange blouse and hurry to the door.
It is Perpetua at the door. She looks a mess, really, with her eyes all swollen and red.
I usher her into the living room and close the door.
“I went to see him. I took him some food this morning.” She says as we sit side by side on the sofa.
“How is he?” I ask, not knowing exactly what to say.
“For an idiot, he seems to be doing fine.” She answers, with feeling. My brows rise but I say nothing. What am I to say?
“He did it.” She tells me.
“Did he say why?”
“Does it matter why? He sliced someone’s balls open. Who does that?” She yells.
“Your husband, apparently.” I thought but kept mum.
“And for what? Because he felt Francis betrayed him by raping his mistress.” Her anger is palpable in every word she says.
“For Christ’s sake, it’s not like he slept with his wife!” She says, angrily.
“So, you’re not angry that he cheated?” I ask, carefully, sounding puzzled.
“I try not to be. Men are such philanderers. I expected him to cheat. I just didn’t expect him to publicly humiliate me with it or go to jail, over such rubbish.” She tells me. I am shocked into silence. Is she for real?
“I don’t know what to say to you right now.” I tell her. She is about to say something when someone starts banging on the door. I know that knock. It is my mother, I know; always knocking like she owns the place. I let her in, ready for her to dish out her brand of torture.
“Good morning, mother.” I greet.
“What is this I heard?” She asks, as she marches into the living room totally ignoring my greeting.
I just know I am going to be late for work.