Written by Apapa Kehinde RärèGem
“You have a call” Lois called out to me.
“You have a call oh” she shouted again.
“Who is it?” I asked as I came out of the balcony where I was washing plates.
I picked the phone that was beeping from the table after I have cleaned my hands with a napkin.
The name on the screen revealed that it was Damisi.
“Oh, my sweetheart” I muttered to myself as I slid the receiver icon.
“Hello dearie” I said.
“Are you in the hall?” was her reply.
I was surprised that she just went ahead to ask me a question without any greeting.
“Yes” I answered.
“Please, come to the park as quickly as you can” She said amidst sobs.
“What is it?” I asked, surprised because she was sobbing.
“Just come please, I am on my way to the hall and I will be there in few minutes” She said as she sniffed.
“Okay. I will be on my way soon” I replied and the line went off.
I lowered the phone from my ear slowly and stood, staring into the air as I was wondering in my mind what could have happened to her.
Could it be one of her results? Did she receive a bad news from home? Was it her health?
“Darasimi, are you okay?” My roommate asked, interrupting my thoughts. I startled and turned to look at her.
“Yes” I answered briefly as I began to put on my shirt and a knee-length skirt.
I picked up my key, phone and put a black silk scarf around my neck.
“I will be back” I told my roommate.
“Where are you going to?” asked my inquisitive roommate again.
“I am not going out of the hall, I will be within the hall” I assured her.
“What is so urgent about the call that you received? Have you forgotten that you were doing something before?”
I turned the knob of the door, opened it and turned to her again to say “I have to go dear. I’ll be fine” then I went out.
As I walked down the corridor, I remembered suddenly that Damisi asked me to come as quickly as I could. I increased my pace and was almost running. I descended the stairs and walked past the buttery that was on the ground floor.
I discovered that the buttery had closed for the day. That was when it dawned on me that time had gone. I checked my phone for the time and it was few minutes before ten
“Geez!” I exclaimed
“Where was she coming from at this time?” I asked myself”
I got to the park, only few people were there. The car park in my Hall of residence was our place of prayer. There were trees planted for shade, and even though there was no sun in the night or in the early hours of the day, people sit or stand under the tree to pray.
As early as 5’oclock in the morning, Idia girls will be scattered all over the car park, praying, some in twos, some in groups and others individually. Also in the night, as from 8’oclock, you will see them one after the other, moving towards the park to speak with their maker.
I looked around to see if my best friend was there. I did not find anyone that looked like her. I was about to dial her number when I sighted her approaching where I was. She looked dejected. If there is anything that I always thank God for, it is the grace to be calm in crisis that God has given to me.
I just stood there waiting for her to get to where I was. When she got closer to me, I took one step forward and gave her a warm embrace.
She started crying again. I patted her back continuously.
This is one characteristic of Damisi- she is so emotional, she can cry!
After a short while, she stopped crying.
I released her and asked
“Are you okay now” She nodded twice and we sat on the big stone that was on the lawn just beside the park.
“Whatever happened, dear I want you to know that it is not the end of your life, so do not feel too bad about it” I managed to say immediately we sat down.
There was no response from her so I continued, “I want you to tell me what happened” She tried to speak but no words came out of her mouth, instead, she broke into tears again, I did not know what to say or do. I just patted her back.
God please, help me.
I prayed in my mind.
At this point, my heartbeat started beating faster than normal.
What could be wrong with her? What could be wrong with my Bestie that is causing her to cry so much like this?
Then suddenly, amidst sobs, she said repeatedly
“I am dirty”
“Darasimi, I am dirty” she said as she broke into tears aloud.
“You are dirty?” I asked her.
I tried to decipher what she meant by that statement.
I got a clue eventually, but I wanted her to come out clear.
“I hope it is not what I am thinking” I said, not knowing when I said it.
“Please, stop crying and tell me what happened” I said anxiously.
After a while, she stopped crying, sniffed and wiped her face with her handkerchief.
“I was with bro. Tope this evening, we were reading together”
“Hmm-mmm” I nodded.
Brother Tope is Damisi’s classmate.
Although, they are not in the same department, they became classmates during this penultimate year because at this 400 level, all the departments come together to offer the same courses in the Large lecture Theatre (LLT) of their faculty.
They were initially seat-mates because they often succeeded in sitting on the front row after competing with hundreds of students for the same space.
Afterwards, they became reading partners.
So, I was not surprised when she said that she was with him and both of them were reading together.
“After a few hours of reading, he said he was hungry” she continued.
I nodded, looking at her steadfastly, to show that I was with paying attention.
As she was talking, she was not looking at me, rather, she was fumbling with the white handkerchief in her hands, looking down at what she was doing.
“So, we decided to go to the cafeteria to eat”
“where were you reading?” I asked.
“At the foyer on the ground floor of the Veterinary Medicine building, close to their security stand” she replied.
“Okay, I am listening” I said, urging her to continue.
“We had to walk to Tedder hall cafeteria because the cafeteria at the faculty had closed for the day.
As she said thus, she looked at me to be certain that I was actually getting her. I nodded to affirm that I was getting her.
“So he started again”.
“Started what?” I asked, surprised.
She hesitated a bit, and then she said briefly
Damisi had complained to me about this guy several times.
Each time they were alone, he would put his arms around her shoulder or even round her waist sometimes.
She hated it, so she would always remove his arms gently and tell him that she does not like it.
For Heaven’s sake, I don’t understand why a Christian brother would put his arms round a sister’s shoulder or waist continuously!
Each time she scolds him for the action, he would give excuse like “I don’t really see anything wrong in what I’m doing, it is my way of showing affection to you as a friend”
Please, help me ask him why he does that only when they are alone.
“He has an intention”
I have told my friend several times but she will always reply me with
“aah ahn, let us give him a benefit of doubt, there is no suspicion in Christ like love”
And I’ll be like…
There she goes again, Miss tender heart.
My Bestie was created with a soft heart.
She forgives people easily and cares for other people as if they were her siblings.
She loves God so passionately!
This is evident in her love for prayer, devotion, worship and study of the Bible. When you are feeling like, I will be the first person to get to church today.
Alas! You got to church only to meet this ever committed child of God- sister Damisi.
She would have swept the floor, arranged the chairs and cleaned them. The ushering unit is ever grateful to her for this.
“So, what did you do?” I asked her. “As usual now, I removed his arms from my shoulder and I told him that I expected him to have changed after all my show of displeasure about what he does”
“Hmmmm” I breathed audibly.
“I wasn’t happy with Him and I did not say anything until we got to the cafeteria”
“Okay” I said, expecting her to continue
“I did not even allow him to pay for the meal that I ate”
“None of us said anything until we finished the food”
“So, did he apologize for what he did?” I asked her.
“He did when we got back to our reading table”
“So, what was your response?” She continued without answering my question.
“After settling down at our reading table, he took my hands and apologized for what he did. He said that all the things he was doing was necessary because it was a kind of training for us”
“Training? Training my foot!” I interjected.
She continued without paying attention to my interruption.
“He gave instances of ladies who got married and didn’t know how to caress their husbands and some of them even complain of their husbands touching them too frequently. Eventually, such marriages collapse”
“Eh Jesus!” I exclaimed.
She just continued softly without giving attention to my exclamation.
“He was able to persuade me to promise him a hug”
Again, I sighed heavily.
“When it was getting really dark and I wasn’t getting comfortable anymore, I asked that we should leave and he agreed. So, we packed our things and left” I shifted in my seat, waiting for the next thing that she would say.
“When we got to the ‘T’ junction, he stopped and asked us to turn to the right, so that we would pass through the bridge that links the Faculty of Agriculture with Education. I refused, saying that the place was dark. He argued that it was a shorter route. Again, he succeeded in persuading me to follow him”
At this point, my heart beat increased rapidly, beating gbam, gbam, gbam as if somebody was pounding yam in it.
“As we descended the staircase that led to the bridge, he stopped again. Then he reminded me of the promise”
“Oh my God! What kind of person is this?” I said, clapping my hands.
“I did not know what to do, I just stood speechless”
“Hmmmm” I gave another sigh, straightened my back, then bent my back a little , put my right elbow on one knee and supported my chin with my hand.
Tears welled up in her eyes that had turned red already, as a result of crying.
“He drew closer to me, pulled me close to himself and gave me a huge hug. For a few seconds, my head rested on his chest”
My eyes widened, I was no longer comfortable sitting down. I covered my mouth with my hands to prevent me from screaming.
As she continued, the tears that have gathered began to flow freely down her cheeks.
“He began to run his hands on my body, and as they got to my waist, I startled and begged him release me, telling him that I did not want to sin against God” She turned her face towards me and asked,
“Do you know what he replied me?” I shook my head, telling her that I had no idea.
Then she looked away and said
“He said that we were not sinning against God, that we were only trying to foster our relationship”
“ What relationship did you have with him? I blurted out, standing up angrily.
“Were you in a relationship with him? I asked, pacing in front of her.
“No” came her short response.
“So, what was he talking about?”
“I don’t know” she said softly.
Damisi actually told me that he proposed marriage to her sometimes at the early stage of their friendship, but her response was that she would pray about it. Though, in her mind, she was not even interested, she only said that so she would not be too strict to give him a ‘No” response immediately.
After a few days, she called him and told him that she was not led in that direction.
He begged her to remain his friend and she agreed.
What I did not understand is the relationship that he was talking about.
Could it be that he was nursing a relationship between both of them in his mind?
“I managed to release myself from his hold, repeatedly saying that I did not want to offend God”.
I resumed my sitting position just beside her.
“I started walking towards the road and he followed me reluctantly. On getting to the road, I could not find a single soul. Thank God for the bulbs of the Faculty building that lit up the whole place”
“Thank God” I muttered. “He caught up with me and asked that we should go through the back of the University library”
“I disagreed initially, but when I realized that his mind was made up, I agreed since I could not walk alone at that time of the night.”
“As we got to the big tree behind the main library building, he stopped, and said he wanted to give me another chance. I firmly refused and just moved on through the darkness, unafraid. When we got to the SUB park, I just told him to go back that I could walk the rest of the distance alone since there were enough lightnings”
That night, it took me long hours before I could help her to stop crying. She really realized her mistakes and regretted her actions. She felt irritated and dirty with the experience that she had, that I kept wondering if she would die if the real act took place. We prayed and prayed for God’s forgiveness and cleansing .I called our pastor that night to inform him of what happened. He did help in restoring my friend.
Each time I remembered that incident, I thanked God again and again that Damisi was not a victim of rape, shame and defilement. It also reminded me of my vulnerability because, if it could happen to Damisi, it could happen to me as well.
My dear reader, you are vulnerable as well. So, please, watch it! Be sensitive when a guy is going beyond his boundary and be firm to stop him. Define every relationship with the opposite sex. Avoid pre-marital sex like a plague, God frowns at it. Be prayerful and God will help you to remain chaste until after your marriage in Jesus’ name. Amen.
© Apapa Kehinde RärèGem 2016