The bane and burden of spinsterhood for me ended the night it rained heavily in Lagos from morning till night that everywhere was as wet as the poor church rat. My office then was on Victoria Island and before I could struggle for a means of transport out of the flooded island, the strong ones and friends and colleagues had all gone home. By the time I got to Aguda-Surulere where I was living, it was already midnight. As I was walking the adjoining streets, I was seeing only dogs and rats screaming and making out. My mind strayed a bit as I remembered that I would be going home to my self-containing flat to hug my pillows until day break again. I said in my mind that tonight would be perfect for making-out.
Then, on getting to Cele Junction, I overheard the moans of some couple copulating inside one of the stalls that I suffered instant hardening of my nipples. At the back of my mind, something was telling me to be careful of what my wishes in this dead of the night had become.
At the age of thirty-four, I was no longer considered shelf-worthy. Fate had already condemned me to the archives. It’s true because I use to get a toast from guys on daily basis when I was in my twenties but now that thirties happened, it came far and in-between. I’m done with attending vigils in churches and having nothing to prove for my effort. It has also become clear to me that not every woman is destined to live under same roof with a man she calls husband. Hence, I resigned to fate and starting praying for a man who can only wrap me up inside his arms on this kind of numbing cold night. Even this prayer was becoming hard to get an answer to.
What would a poor single girl do but to carry her cross and still swing her waist like it’s nobody’s business at least to set guys on the edges of their seats? I’ve got everything going for me in the beauty department; an appreciable height, the only problem is that guys eyes have gone into their heads and asleep whenever I’m passing. Everybody is doing half-nude parade and I seemed to be the only person who is still old-fashioned. The worst you could find me is in my negligee when its bedtime. And in the morning, I’d quickly hang it and dance into my fitted office suits as a front desk executive in a five-star hotel. I don’t even wear suits that pair with trousers. Not that I’m a born-again Christian or Moslem, far from it. I’m simply so in love with decent-looks and fashion sense that makes me most comfortable and not in the people’s eyes. Low-profile is my wardrobe’s name.
When I walked into my street, everywhere was as calm and quiet as a solemn graveyard. The gate had been closed until I had hit a stone against it repeatedly which made one of the security men to materialize out of ghostly form and opened the gate for me. My compound was without a gate, so I had no trouble walking up to my apartment on the first floor.
“Home sweet home! Thank God for bringing me safely home tonight. Wow! Lagos you no go kill person daughter for me!” I was saying while quickly disrobing until I was completely wearing my birthday mink suit and feeling my entire body to warm me up.
I usually boil water and leave inside my flask, so I grabbed the flask from my kitchen and walked into my bathroom and showered. Of course there was no light anywhere. NEPA at her best! Except for the rich landlords who could afford the diesel, only the big generating sets were still droning the night away. I had dampened my wet and cold body with the diluted hot water and was washing off lathers of foam when I felt a hand grab my neck and a voice warned me not to make a sound or else my neck would break in a snap. The shock of this experience caused me to go into subconsciousness.
When I came to, I calmly inserted my fingers into my body and realized that I had been raped. The man’s semen was still on my orifice. I was alarmed. I used to keep that delightful medication for emergencies one never prepared for. But unfortunately for me, I had run out of it. It was my cycle, so you can imagine my anger which took over my fear when I realized that I was barely conscious to enjoy this thing that had been denied me for like ever. I jumped out of my bed and trained my torchlight here and there to be sure my assailant had left my apartment. A scream came to my mouth but I couldn’t let it out. I did my best to perceive the body scent of my rapist. He had that masculine smell most active men wear all-day long – an admixture of stale sweat and ogogoro – I felt so angry when I supposed I might have been raped by an area boy. What if he is HIV-positive? God! What is this supposed to mean!
I started shedding real tears as I went into self-hate. My trauma couldn’t let me sleep. In the morning I called in sick and vowed to report the matter to the police. When it was daylight, I couldn’t summon the courage to go out there and face someone who could be my attacker. The animal deserves to die! I was boiling inside. I thought about going to the hospital but couldn’t just believe myself telling my company’s doctor – the man with roving eyes – that I have been raped in my own house. Had it been when my younger brother was living with me before he traveled to South East Asia for his university education, such a violation wouldn’t have come about.
Three months later, the result confirmed my worst fears. I told my mother and because we are good Catholic adherents, she advised me to keep the pregnancy. My father is of late, so his radical approach to my dilemma didn’t rattle me.
I left my job and my street for my sister’s house in Port Harcourt where I had my beautiful son. I later secured a job in PH but when my son turned five; my company transferred me to Lagos due to expansion as someone with the knowledge of Lagos terrain. I secured a two-bedroom flat in another section of Surulere. One Sunday evening, I was walking our new neighbourhood and ran into a man that best fitted the description of my attacker. Worst still, he is a street urchin. My son took after him. When I saw him, I knew he is the father of my son. He’s a well-known face among the agberos at a popular bus stop in my former neighbourhood. I wouldn’t let him see me nor my son. Ever! Not this one I’m seriously about to settle down.
If you were in my shoes, what would you do?