Tola: A tale of pain, hope and triumph.

I know that I can make it

I know that I can stand

No matter what may come my way

My life is in your hands

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As the sonorous voice of the choir filled the air, my eyes met the head ushers disapproving gaze, and I reluctantly stood. I don’t know who made sitting during worship a heinous crime;what does it matter if I sit or stand? I’m certainly not worshipping God either way in this state of mind. But perhaps I should, perhaps if I worship him just a little more, the events of the past few years would be undone and I could live my life afresh.

A hysteric laugh bubbled out and I had to turn into a choke as the dude standing next to me looked at me weirdly for a couple of seconds before he went back to giving God slow moving wipers.

Worthy is the lamb!

Worthy worthy is the lamb!

As the pastor began his sermon, I let my mind wander and I found myself thinking about the lyrics of the song the choir ministered. I don’t have to worry. Really? I don’t? Because my life is in His hands? Seems to me like its in Bayo’s hands. The only time it’s in any other person’s hands is during the hours of 9 and 11 every Sunday morning, when I make my escape to church. That’s when I see hope and that ray of sunshine that tells me things would get better someday, somehow. I look down at my wrists and I see the scars I put there over a year ago. The scars that told me I wasn’t as strong as I should have been. The scars that told me I couldn’t help myself, that I was doomed to live this way for as long as he pleased. The scars that told me my life was in Bayo’s hands.

***

‘Tola! Tola!!’ He called out gruffly from the parlour; he had just finshed his second glass of Whiskey, “Where is the suya I asked you to go buy for me”? “Its here, in the kitchen”. “Ehn ehn? you know I bought it so it could rot in the kitchen abi? Stupid girl, will you bring it now or do I have to beg for it?” I went into the kitchen and brought the greasy nylon. “Oya drop it and go now, abi what else do u want?”

It was Friday night, the day I hate the most, because the horrors always start on Friday nights, i make my way slowly back to the kitchen. Two glasses after, he calls my name again, “Tola!” He popped the last piece of suya in his mouth. “Go and flit my room, and lay the bed too. Don’t finish the whole can o, because I know you’ve never worked for money before so you can’t appreciate it”. He grabbed my skirt and dragged me back, “and when you’re done come and call me”. I could see the evil glint in his eyes and the dark thoughts that swirled beneath them. This Friday wasn’t going to be any different.

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***

I hate her so much, the fancy spoilt brat, she always thought she was better than me, everybody thought she was better than me. Well, I’d drive such thoughts out of her head, until the only thing that remains is how I own her now, own her completely. There is nothing she can do, nowhere she can hide. She is mine for ever, and I would do as I please with her.

***

“I have done everything, the room is ready now”. He smiled and nodded his approval. He ambled drunkenly to the room and left the door ajar. I could see him, see him as he undressed. When he had just his boxers on, he called my name, just once, “Tola!” in a voice so clear for someone that drunk, and I knew what it meant. It was time, the horror was about to start.

As I walked briskly into his room, for I dared not tarry, I felt a stinging slap across my cheek. I knew it was coming, but each time it felt so unexpected. That slap was my cue as I attempted to tune him out and make myself feel nothing, but it was hard, soo hard. I felt him tear my clothes, rip them right off me. Until I stood naked before him. And then the taunting began, “Not so high and mighty anymore are we now? No longer the adorable apple of everyones eyes? The princess of the Ademola family? You’re no longer Miss Nigeria? Aren’t you better than me anymore? Better looking, smarter, more charming? Oh yeah? Not anymore? Why?”

Grabbing me by my hair, he landed another stinging slap across my face, and then he started to squeeze my breast, painfully untill I thought I would die from the pain, and then, I shut him out. I thought about my parents and the life I had before this, when I went to the best schools and lived in my own little world filled with innocence and love, when all that mattered to me were lollipops and giggling with friends, when my life was perfect, when my parents were alive and my wonderful big brother wasn’t this monster grunting on top of me. Yes, this monster is my brother.

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