Lord of mercy.
It’s one of those nights again. Why does she keep doing this to herself? My heart is weeping. When I hear the knock around 2am, I am really scared. I am the only one at home but then I hear someone say “Please we are looking for her room.” The person wasn’t even knocking on our own door. Maybe I’m just edgy from staying awake for sister Uzoduwa. The edginess intensifies when the words sink in. I go to the kitchen window and peep without making a sound. I see her blonde Mohawk even before I see her. She isn’t even standing upright. She is slumped against the man’s chest. God knows what happened to her this time. I want to make sure the man holding her isn’t threatening. I just hope she is okay. I’m too scared to do anything. Mr Kenneth, our direct neighbour is directing them to our main door which is at the front.
“Who is it?” I hear his wife’s voice. “It’s one of those runs girls jare. She is probably drunk.” He replies her. I shake my head. It’s one of those things I’m so used to. I look carefully at the man holding sister Uzoduwa as they pass by me. I recognise him. He is one of those men working for my crush. I tiptoe stealthily to the front and open the door for them catching him unaware.
“I.. Errmm.. Oga talk say may I bring am.” He says and lifts her away from himself towards me. I grab her but we wobble because I’m not strong enough. “Make I help you?” He asked.
I weigh the pros against the cons. “No.” I say decidedly. “Thank you.” I add so as to alleviate the hurt I see manifesting on his face.
“No problem. I dey here in case you need me.” He says. I close the door in his face and drag-lift Uwa to her bedroom.
When I lay her on the bed and tear her clothes open, I can’t help but feel murderous. I know it’s a bit surprising that I didn’t ask the guy what happened. The only difference today is that someone brought her home. He beat her only once in our apartment. He does the major beating in their apartment and she comes home looking like she gives a new meaning to drums. I work out of routine. She whimpers every time I touch her with soaked warm dishcloth. I curse each time she whimpers. When I’m done, she is sleeping peacefully. ‘I have to wake up early to get her analgesics’ is the last thought on my mind as I drift off to sleep beside her.
I jolt awake to a piercing scream.
My heart starts thumping wildly as I look around for the source but the power is out. I don’t know how I got to the floor. I raise my upper body and feel disoriented for a minute. I upset the bowl of water as I feel for the ever present lamp on Uwa’s bedside table. I turn it on as soon as I feel the knob. Uwa is thrashing wildly on her bed and screaming. Again, this is not new to me but she is screaming exceptionally loud today. I crawl into the bed and try as much as possible to hold her still. I lift her head unto my laps and stroke her forehead. The bowl and dishcloth are on the ground and water is everywhere.
I start to cry.