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Get me a sharp blade…
Those were the words mum said as we ended the prayers that we devotionally say after every church service.
Dad didn’t follow us home because he had to wait behind for a post-service meeting.
I looked into mum’s face, wondering why the tone with which she spoke was so fierce.
I had expected a severe punishment after the scene I created in church in the morning anyways
But a blade?
I couldn’t just understand
“Mercy, move here” she said as her daughter handed a razor to her
She examined the blade as I drew close to her
I was anxious and restless
“What sort of a stupid blade is this Sissy? Bobo, go to the toilet and check under the towel rack. I kept a broken piece of louver…” she kept saying when he cut in
“Is it the one that you angrily broke when daddy said the food you cooked was salty?” he asked on and she widened her eyes
“Jesus! Bobo, are you mad?” she screamed.
Bobo, sensing trouble quickly ran away, giggling as he did
I shook my head and sighed aloud
“Stupid boy” she cursed out and looked at me angrily, eyeing me disdainfully
“You this good for nothing, mischievous girl, you had better moved here before I slap you with the back of my hand” she said as she faced me
If she was earlier angry, she had become anger itself now!
I went close to her as she pulled on a tall stool on which she sat.
I looked on at her while she looked at me too.
She dipped her small finger into my eyes suddenly.
I felt the salty peppery sensation travelling through my eyes down to my brain and forth.
I screamed in pain as I jumped out of motion
“I was looking at you and then you had the guts to look on at me too? Chai! You have made a mistake ooo because I am soaked in the blood of Jesus. You can do me no harm”
She pulled me and bent me down until I was seated on the cold tiles in front of her.
I had started crying
She kept my head between her laps forcefully occasionally depositing hot knocks into it when I resisted.
“Sissy, bring me the keg of palm oil like a good girl. If you like too, come and remind me that your dad screamed like a mad dog before he gave me the money to buy the oil when we were coming from Kemi and Femi’s wedding in Akure, that day that it was raining. You bastards!” she cursed on as she bent my head further, clamping it with her big laps.
She was just a definition of a talkative!
She had just said herself what probably nobody even knew
Bobo peeped from the window and whistled
“Mum, your broken louver is here” he said
“Bring it here before I say what is in my mouth to you because it will be binding forever” she said angrily and Bobo suddenly walked out of his hiding place, a wide smile on his face.
He slid the piece of louver on the floor and it came straight to Mum’s leg
“Yeh!” she cried loud as she pulled at my back in a tight pinch
“Sorry” he said as he ran back inside the room, locking the door behind him.
“Sorry ma” I said and she hissed as she slapped my back angrily
“That’s all you could say abi? You watched as the boy insulted me abi? You have failed o Mercy! You are so messy…no wonder everyone calls you Messy Mercy…that’s the name that suits you o…mermaid!” she shouted at me again raining down two solid blows on my lower back where it hurts most
I screamed as tears streamed down freely
It was just a transfer of aggression
It was not a new thing but it was so frustrating- why must it be me everytime?
Suddenly, she held the tips of my long cornrows in one hand.
“If it is this hair that is making you really possessed, I will put an end to it today. Today is the day!” she said and I realized what she was up to
“You wanna cut my hair?” I asked, facing her suddenly.
“Yes” she said, smiling devilishly as she aimed at my face with the edge of the broken louvre
I quickly faced front
“You were supposed to wait and dare me if I wouldn’t even write you wonderfully made tribal marks” she laughed loudly
My heart started racing
I hated low cut like anything- it always made me feel like my head was big
I had maintained, cultured and nurtured my long sleek dark hair with such care that cutting it would mean a serious heartbreak that would take decades to heal
That was how I felt until I felt the struggle she had as she cut my hair with the edge of the piece of louver in her hand
“Please ma…don’t do that. Please. You can kill me if you like but my hair? Please” I cried as I held one of my long weave that had fallen off my shoulders.
She had started cutting my hair!
I held her leg as I pleaded but she didn’t response at all
“Keep shaking around like a barber’s chair…is it me that would get cut? Rara oo…it’s you…when you were behaving possessed in the church, you didn’t know right? Biting people here and there…Kai! Before you kill us, we will kill you first. You evil girl!” she screamed into my ear.
“You have cut the length but please don’t touch my head please ma. Please” I cried on and she laughed scornfully
“Mum, but why are you cutting her hair? Why?” Sissy cried, tears on her face
Mum was shocked as I was too
“You are crying?” she asked, surprised greatly
“Its not fair” she cried further
This was the first time both children would tackle their mum since I knew them
They had never supported me
The support Sissy gave me really touched my heart that it bled the more
“Would you get inside now” She said to her
Sissy banged her legs on the floor as she went
“That’s what you do whenever you are wrong! Always sending us in” she said as she entered
She handled my head more fiercely
“You think you have succeeded in turning my children’s back at me? Na lie ooo” she sang on until she had finished scrapping my head, so low that it would never be noticed that the hair of over 50cm long had grown from the pores ever !
I cried so hard as I held the massive, soft, black sleek silky endowment from God which had been uprooted from my head.
I rolled on the floor as I rubbed my plainly scraped head.
She pulled me closer again and was about rubbing in palm oil.
The door opened and Dad stepped in.
I stood up and started going to the bedroom.
“Stop there” he said as he dropped his briefcase on a stool
His wife stood and walked towards him
“Welcome dearie. How was the meeting?” she asked on
There was no response as his eyes were glued on me
“Come over here” he shouted and I twisted my mouth to a side
What is it again?
I sobbed on occasionally, heaving deeply and loudly as I did
“Did you now see Pastor Abolade and Jegede that you wanted to see? Did you tell him that the way he really did at the Pastor’s thanksgiving programme was very…” she ranted on.
Her husband took her hand and pushed her into a cushion chair
“What happened to her hair?” he shouted as his eyes had suddenly gone red
She was shocked
“It was a punishment for all she did in…” she went on
My eyes jumped out of its socket as I saw as a very time-changing blow descended on mum’s chin
She screamed as her mouth bled
“I am not asking for stories…” he screamed, panting for air
“What did you do to her hair?…what?” He asked again, shaking vehemently
She screamed on and on
“I cut it…it was in your defense o…ahhh” she cried on and on as different slaps and punches landed on every parts of her body
It had never happened before
He had never been too provoked to lay hands on her before.
I was so shocked
“Now I am in serious soup” I said to myself as I tried to hold in my sobs
I needed to something about this whole thing
I was confused
I swallowed hand as I placed my hand on my head
“Stop!” I screamed so loudly that he stopped at that instance, panting like a demonic beast.
“Yeh o…elder has killed his wife oo…ahhh…Dimeji, you have killed me….because of one small witch….you want to kill the mother of your children….Ahhh…Somebody help…” she cried on as she ran to the door.
He looked at her side and threw his fist into the air
“If you get out of this house, that is the end of this marriage and I mean it!” he said angrily
She fell to the ground and tugged at her hair
“I have suffered” she repeated as many times as she could, looking at me and spreading her two palms at me, muttering some words as she sobbed heavily
“Come over here” he said authoritatively, his stony eyes running down my body
“There is no need for that. Thanks” I said and his wife looked shocked, still sobbing heavily
He walked closer to me and took hold of my hand even as I struggled
Exactly what was the display for?
Just for sexual pleasure?
I already saw it in his face
Anytime he felt so excited, joyful, bored, angry or something, that would be when he would approach his available sex doll for it.
“The spoilt brat that he is supposed to beat to stupor so she can change, he won’t deal with at all. Its his poor wife always” she said as he walked towards the door.
He kicked her rear as he pulled me out through the door.
“Where are you taking me to? Exactly where?” I asked on but got no response
He opened the car door and stuffed me unto the front seat while he entered the driver’s seat.
He fastened the seat belt for me and so, his Pathfinder car glided out of the compound as neighbors watched on.
“What was the show for Pastor Elder? Where are you taking me to? Where?” I asked weakly and he looked towards me
“For the first time, I beat my wife. All for you my dear…do you still need an interpreter to tell you that I love you?” he asked and I felt that disgust from inside
I started puffing as my chest rose and fell
“I don’t want you to ever tell me such ever in your life…never!” I screamed at him and he laughed
I looked into his face
When did this good man become like this?
Where has the one I had always called dad evaporated into?
Into the thin air?
I wondered on
It was when he held my chin that I realized that he had brought the car to a halt
“Confess that you never liked it too” he said, smiling devilishly
I looked around where we were and it was in the middle of a bushy area…tall grasses everywhere
Only God knows since when he had been planning this next scheme
He laughed scornfully into my ears and then grinned and then frowned as he rubbed my head.
A cold shiver ran down my spine as it dawned on me that I had already lost what was most precious to me after my eyes and virginity- my hair
Tears ran down my face again
He held my hands and rubbed it softly
“Don’t cry baby. That’s why I am here. I will continue to protect and defend you from now on until you accept me. Until you accept my love. I won’t stop because it’s you I love” he said and I looked into his face
Was he crazy?
Is insanity running in his family?
Didn’t he know the repercussion of what he was saying?
Did it even make sense?
But I could not talk!
How my life became this way and what my offence was that God, if He truly exists would allow this was what I couldn’t fathom
“Where do you prefer? The grass outside or here?” He asked, coveteously
“Anywhere is okay by me” I replied and and he looked lost
“It’s okay here” I said, pursing my lips
His eyes widened
“Wow! For the first time, my baby consented …good!” he said and then looked into my face
Tears ran down in quick succession as I held the chair firmly with my two hands.
I was going mad!
He wiped my tears as he smiled coyly
“You don’t need to cry baby mi. That is why I am here- to comfort you!” he said as he started easing me off my clothes.
It was without any resistance!
…..And that was how he did it the way he had always done….
Since this experience, he had had a carnal knowledge of me countless times, meeting with no restrictions of any type.
I had graduated to a point that even if a goat came to me, it would have been a yes!
Two eyes were looking at me…
Whose were they?
Everyone had already gone on break…
I thought I was alone until I saw some eyes staring at me… but who was it?
My head was on my locker as I was having serious stomach ache- maybe it was my period that was coming or something, I didn’t know at all
The students after about a month of bullying me because of my skinny haircut and calling me different nicknames have stopped since my hair had started growing again.
I still led in every subjects in class as my intelligence was natural
Not that I read or practiced Maths much- it was just luck!
But who was staring hard attempts me?
I tried to shift in the chair that I was seated in and supported my side with my bag
I looked to my right and there he was- Jean!
My heart danced like a rubber bounce!
The look on his face….
What was that?
What was that exactly?
“Everyone thinks you are weird recently” he said eventually and I looked at him, not knowing how to talk to him
My mouth was filled with saliva- fever symptom
“But I don’t think that way. I think that there is more to your recent wildness” he said in his ‘ tush’ accent and my heart jumped the more
Did he mean it?
Was he going to tell me about Jesus too?
If he could successfully say whatever it was that he wanted to say without touching me in a way of petting or mentioning the name Jesus, there would be no problem
But if any of the blunders is committed….
Akoi wahala sose! (There would be big problem)
“Could you tell me what is wrong?” he asked and I blinked severally
Someone wanted an explanation?
And he expected an answer?
Never would those words fall out of my mouth
The day I say those words would be the day I would die, I swear!
“If you don’t want to tell me, then don’t tell me. But, let’s be friends” he said, stretching his hands towards me
Fresh hands tho!
Nice brown skin!
The friendship I so wanted was being offered me on a platter of gold
I had to say something to this guy but my mouth was saliva-filled
He stood up and went to our bag shelf.
He checked through his bag and brought out a roll of tissue paper.
He took an ample size and walked swiftly to my side
I looked at the tissue paper
“What?” I signaled with my hand
“There is spittle in your mouth. Throw it here please” he said as he tried to help me up
He touched my shoulders as he did
He had aroused the devil in me!
But I was weak
What punishment could I give him for this?
With one of his hands on my shoulder and another trying to adjust my bag, I released the imprisoned, warm spit on his hand and he jumped up as he left my bag
“What was that? That was why I brought tissue paper Mercy! What’s all these? What?” he asked, irritation written boldly on his face
I looked away
“That would tell you never to touch me anyhow” I said weakly and he looked at me, shocked
“I was just trying to be nice, as a friend” he said again, cleaning my dirt off his hand with the tissue paper and I shook my head
“We aren’t friends” I said and he looked into my face, hurt
“Really” he said, widening his eyes
“Really!” I replied him
I was not worth his friendship
Not when I had become a sex doll to someone who I called father!
“Now I get it. You know how many people wanna be my friends but hadn’t given them a bit of attention? You ain’t even appreciative at all and all I could get was a bit of your shit? Gosh!” he said, loudly
No matter the boldness and ‘I don’t Care’ attitude he wore, I knew he was deeply hurt and I was very sad.
He had turned his back at me and had started going when I wanted to call him
He looked back just then
But he talked first and what he said, killed me totally!
“No wonder they call you Messy Mercy!” he said, hissed and walked out of the class.
I was broken!
I was crushed!
I was shattered!
It was as if my whole world had come crashing down.
I was stuck for some minutes, blinking so hard as tears ran down my face
I picked up my note and pen and jotted down as I did everyday
“I just don’t worth Jean’s friendship! I am filthy and dirty that saying yes to his friendship proposal would even be a sin! But who would understand my predicament? Nobody! But he broke my heart! He just joined the bandwagon to call me Messy Mercy!
I was very pained
As the beast in me roared so high, I stood up, carried my locker and straight at the wall, I banged it hard, screaming hard as I did
As the heavy, metal locker came crashing down, I fell on it too and screamed loudly
As I grew weak and fainted gradually, I heard some movements
“Mummy” I heard Jean’s voice as he screamed
I heard some hasty footsteps
“Jesus!” a woman screamed too as she came closer, pulled me and held me close to her chest
It was Jean’s mother- our proprietress!
“Pack all her books in her bag and let’s take her to the clinic. She is bleeding” she said and my ears became duller
“Jesus! Bleeding? See her uniform…oh Lord!” Jean exclaimed too
Why would I be bleeding?
She lifted me up and seemed to look back
“Let’s go this boy” she said and started moving again
She stopped suddenly and looked back
“Wait! You just put a book inside now. Bring it out” she said and I think he obliged
“Something is written behind it…read” she said and he started reading it
I started wriggling in her hands if I could get down and collect the book from him
I never would want anybody to read that!
But the more I tried was the more I fainted!
But he broke my heart!
Those were the last words I heard him read before I finally passed out
…..I wished never to wake up again!