By Pelumi Hassan
“Kola.” She thought to herself. With rush of regrets bursting out of her heart to every pain of her body. With great painful effort she tried to lay on her side, at least to prevent the slimy liquid from falling to her face.
“Kola.” She thought to herself again this time, trying to say his name, she whimpered. With the intention of sitting up, she vibrated violently, sobbing with convulsion, her back met the floor again.
“Kola!!!” she wanted to scream her lungs out, but all she did was to kick and puke with rage. When she was done offloading her gut, her dizzy mind wandered back to how it all started.
Some people say they get signs to warn them on the day they meet with the devil. They say it is usually a very simple but strange sign like striking your left foot against a stone or a sudden change of weather or even a calm voice to warn you against going out of your house.
Well, I must be an unlucky one because the day I met Kola started like every other Tuesday. I had woken up to a screeching alarm, grumbled out of bed to join the rest of the Collins family for morning devotion. In fact, as sleepy as I was, I avoided colliding with the wall or bumping into something. Everything was normal, or did the calm voice speak to me when I fell asleep during morning devotion? Maybe it spoke while I was singing in the shower. My name is Adebimpe Collins and this is my story.
My mother’s car horn blazed out as I grabbed a mouthful of moi moi. That morning was so bright and blue that all Mrs. Collins yelled was my full name when I got into the car.
“Adebimpe Collins, if you don’t win Miss Nigeria in 4 years, you will have to apologize to the family.” She joked. The ride to school was smooth, I had the habit of looking into the blue sky to appreciate its beauty. I felt the cool breeze caress my face as Ajoke by Fireboy; a Nigerian musician played. It was a perfectly normal morning. I arrived school just early enough to talk to a few friends before assembly, I didn’t talk to a lot of people, just Tinu and my classmates.
“Bimpe, can I see your literature assignment?” Joseph asked. I nodded.
“But there is no way I’m letting you copy it.” I added as he stared me down.
“So, it’s exactly a month Mama SU left for America.” Tinu stated, adjusting her glasses. Tinu was a sweet girl and the closest to me in school. Tinu was tiny; she was short and very slim, her pink and purple uniform must have been repeatedly adjusted to fit her light skinned body. Her freckles were so cute that they could not stay hidden under her very big glasses. Her size made people believe she was a very fragile person so she lurked around the only person that didn’t see her size.
“I even pity SS3 class because we’ve not had civic class for a month now and they will write WAEC soon.” I replied pulling a comb out of my bag to run it through my teeny weeny afro. I was the only girl in senior school with low cut, and possibly the only one that hadn’t permed my hair down. What was there to perm anyways? I was glad that people thought it was cute, I was amongst the 3 girls that topped the class most beautiful list. I mean you had to give it to my melanin hour glass shape. I was not too slim, neither was I too fat.
“I really hope we find a replacement for Mama SU ASAP.” Tinu said. Mrs. Oliver was our Civic Education teacher, but we started calling her “Mama SU” because her skirts were long and big enough to hide the sins of the world. She had to leave the country with her husband to America. She left Hilton High without a replacement teacher so the senior students hadn’t had Civic Education classes.
Tuesday timetable started with Civic Education. We were expected to read a book or send for another teacher but there was no harm in starting the day with a free period, so the noise began.
“Principal is in school!” Joshua shouted as he ran into the class and immediately everyone placed a book on their tables and soon there was silence. Hilton High was quite big but if you sat in the right corners, you could see almost everything happening in the school. I was close to the window so I saw Mrs. Kingsley, the principal. She was quite petite and cute but somehow she commanded the respect she deserved. She just knew how to combine her outfits, nothing she wore felt wrong to me. She matched a flower-patterned fitted gown with black heel on her beautiful ebony skin. She stood in front of the staffroom like she was waiting for someone and then the staffroom door creaked opened and out of it came a tall man I had never seen.
“How tall is Mr. Kingsley?” I asked Tinu whose seat was very close to mine.
“Principal’s husband?” I nodded, “Err… well, he’s taller than she is.” We laughed.
“You might want to keep it down, Mrs. Kingsley is heading for this class.” Atinuke, the class gossip said and we focused on the book before us.
“Good morning all.” The principal announced her presence smiling from ear to ear at the doorstep. We jerked out of our seats chorusing a “Good morning ma” followed by a comfortable quietness. She nodded with content presenting her escort the class.
“Yes, have your seats. This period is for Civic Education right?” We nodded.
“Good, so you are going to be the first class to experience Mr. Kolawole James’ teaching. Say hello to your new Civic teacher.” I don’t know about the other student, but when I saw Mr. Kolawole James my heart skipped a beat or two. Everything around me slowed down as I took in every detail of his body. Mr. James was light and taller than all the boys in class, he was even taller than Faruq the iroko tree of the class. He had the glorified natural pink lips with the perfect moustache for it. He possibly had his hair cut the day before because he was definitely the neatest being I had ever seen. His eyes were black but they were beautiful. He had beaten Mr. Henry off the rank of the most handsome teacher in Hilton High.
“Hello class…” he spoke, revealing his white pearls, using them to bite his pink lips as he tucked his hands into his pockets. “Father Lord did you create this man on a Sunday?!” He was just… just beautiful. He was nervous and it showed as he chuckled with his black eyes to his glossy black shoes. He took a deep breath in and started again.
“Hi guys, sorry but I’m not the formal type of person, so you can chose to call me Mr. James or just… Kola.” He winked as the class applauded with joy in spite of Mrs. Kingsley’s protest. I wasn’t even in class anymore, I was already saying my wedding vows to this Mr. Kolawole James.
“Seriously Kola would make me feel better.” He spoke again, Mrs. Kingsley shrugged as she walked out of the class.
“Sit down guys, so, can I get the whiteboard marker?” he asked looking around for someone to come to his rescue.
“You, with the low cut.” He pointed at me. If you have never heard your heart beat when someone you love talks to you, I don’t think you will understand how I felt. I froze but my heart raced for joy. He actually noticed me! But how could he not, I stood because I wanted to stand tall enough for him to see that I was the complete package.
“What’s your name?” he asked visibly impressed with the beauty in front of him.
“Bimpe sir.” I was glad that he was glad.
“Bimpe can you get me a black marker?” I nodded and he smiled at me. You see that smile was the beginning of everything. As I raced to the staffroom for black marker, all I could think of was his amazing smile, he had the most beautiful smile ever! I got back to the class just in time to see his smile again. His fingers brushed my skin and sent cold shivers down my spine when I delivered the black marker, I knew the contact wasn’t strong but I liked the way it made my throat run dry.
“Oh God, am I in love?” I thought to myself as I returned to my seat.
“Why are you smiling?” Tinu asked me. I wanted to tell her I was in love with the new teacher I met few minutes ago but I just smiled and said;
“You wouldn’t understand.” And focused on how Mr. Kolawole James taught Human Rights.
You see love is indeed a beautiful thing but it can make you blind to your stupidity. Sometimes it made no sense. My love for Mr. James made no sense, it happened so fast and it kept growing. Of course no one knew how I felt, not Tinu, I couldn’t even write it in my diary. I got back from school every day to cling to my pillow in thought of him. To make him hold me in my fantasies, if only he could just look my way.
However, Civic Education was moving so fast that in 6 weeks; with the help of Saturday classes, we had almost finished the syllabus. Saturday classes were fun classes. First I had the opportunity of leaving the house on Saturday, I also had one more day to drool over him. Secondly, Mr. James developed the habit of walking Tinu and I home since we found out that we followed the same route to our houses. Tinu’s house was the first stop, then mine. So I wasn’t really jealous when SS3 girls hovered around him, I had 30 precious minutes with him alone each Saturday and that was all I needed.
Mr. James was a fun loving man. He loved nature, and mythology. He often talked about his philosophies. To him, love was painful and he used cupid and the arrows to prove it. He must have gone through a horrible heartbreak in school or something because his face was always pale when he talked about love. He studied Chemistry in Obafemi Awolowo University but he couldn’t get a job.
“I am just teaching in your school for a while, I will get a job soon.” That was almost like a chorus as I heard it every time we talked. It was always painful to hear that though. I knew he had to go someday, but I silently prayed it would be later.
“So, I don’t know if you want me to take you out sometime. Just the two of us.” He asked one burning afternoon.
“Sir?” I was dumbfounded.
“Come on, I already told you to call me Kola.” He smiled.
“We will just go out for some drinks, not alcohol oh! Drinks like Fanta, Coke, and Sprite. I know you like Sprite. Just the two of us…” was he proposing a date?
“Mr. James, I don’t think I will be allowed.” I replied. I was going to nod my head and scream yes but when and how will I be allowed to go out? What was I going to tell my mother?
“Don’t worry, no one has to know, I will set it all up if you want.” Something in his voice sounded odd but I just felt he could read me.
“Call me Kola” he interrupted.
“My mother will not allow me leave the house, I am here just because of Saturday classes. I’m sorry, I can’t sir.” I refused his offer and almost immediately I wished I didn’t. He nodded that he understood but face became pale and rigid all of a sudden. He looked angry and it tore my heart apart. The rest of the journey was quiet and boring. When I reached my stop, he didn’t smile or wave or speak a word, he just kept walking. I began to understand the cupid and the arrows philosophy. Maybe I should have taken that as my sign and let it go but I was terribly in love with this man, or so I thought.
Mr. James changed after that day, he became too busy to walk, talk or even smile at me. I was hurting and he knew it. I fell ill twice in a week because he refused to even look my way. My parents bought me medications and everything they thought I needed but no one knew I was suffering from heart ache. I couldn’t just tell anyone, they wouldn’t understand. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to fix it.
I approached Mr. James at the cafeteria during prep period the next Wednesday. The cafeteria was always empty and enclosed at that time of the day. I knew he would be there because he had once told me about how secured and empty the cafeteria was after prep.
“I will make it this Saturday Mr. James.” I said loud enough for his ears, there was no use explaining anything. He pretended to be busy with his phone. Come on! Mr. James, this girl might die if you don’t talk to her. My eyes got misty as he maintained a tranquil state.
“Mr. James please!” my voice was louder this time
“But I don’t understand what you want from me Bimpe!” he responded in the same volume.
“I offered to show how I feel for you but I get it, you clearly stated that you don’t feel the same way about it. So please, let it lie.” He bloated out. He had feelings for me? How could he not see that I felt the same way?
“Mr. James I am in love with you! I have loved you since the first day I saw you.” I confessed as a tear dropped. I wanted to say more but I was overwhelmed by my emotions so much that my tears kept pouring out. I didn’t understand why I was crying but I knew it changed his mood. He reached out to me shushing and patting me calmly.
“Calm, calm down dear.”
“I’m sorry sir.” I choked out. He wrapped me in his arms, slowly, he worked his fingers on my back to help me relax. That was the first time I was close to his heart and trust me, whatever illness I had was cured. He used his handkerchief to wipe my tears as he bent to my height. I could feel the warm air he exhaled, he used his fingers to raise my chin up.
“You are a very beautiful girl Bimpe, and I like that you love me.” He said and sealed it up with a kiss. There was no time to think about what he said, my brain had fried out. The kiss was slow, passionate and very daring. He worked his hands to feel every part of my body, I loved it. All I can say is that it felt like fireworks.
“I will set it all up, all you just have to do is come to school on Saturday okay?” he said after his lips left mine. I nodded like a fool and he smiled aware of what he had done to my head. He left the empty cafeteria but I sat there wondering who will marry this beauty if I didn’t.
Thursday and Friday had never felt so slow. I just wanted Saturday, I wanted to be with Mr. James. I was actually very excited, my first date with my first love! Mr. James became friendly and smiley again, he even winked at me when no one else was watching. They were very beautiful moments, he just knew how to confuse me with love without even toughing me. Within two days, we had exchanged calls and messages than anyone on my contact list.
Finally, the D-day came. I woke up before my alarm woke me up that Saturday. I couldn’t sleep, he was all I could think about. I had carefully selected a simple black gown and a pair of shoes. I had my bath and waited for my parents to call me out for morning devotion. I could not really pay attention to my father’s prayer points because I was praying to God that my plans didn’t fail. So as soon as the sun was out, I dressed up for “class”.
Mr. James had fixed short classes for all the senior students. The plan was for me to wait till everyone in school had gone. He taught SS1 class first, then SS2, by the time he was done teaching SS3, I had escorted Tinu to her house and in pretense of heading home, I went back to school. He did all his normal ritual of talking to girls and when he was done, he sent me a text.
“Opposite school gate now, stay hidden.” I sneaked out of school unnoticed and I was united with Mr. James or should I say Kola. How could a man look so good in a pair of shorts and polo? We took a different route, a route I didn’t know. The afternoon was hotter than usual.
“Do you want us to stay somewhere till the sun is not threatening to cook us alive?” he joked. I nodded, I cared less for where we went, I just want to be able to recreate Wednesday’s magic. We kept walking till we got to an old building. It was a quiet environment, there were no houses or shops around. I felt cold shiver of fear down my spine but I held onto Mr. James.
“Calm down.” He said sensing my fear.
“I come here a lot to relax. Everywhere is just calm.” He smiled as we found an uncompleted building . I looked around and I was bothered. Why would anyone want to relax in a place like this? It was dirty, there were cockroaches and rats everywhere. Well, one cannot judge a man for where he finds solitude. I closed my eyes to try to find my comfort.
“I’m with Mr. James.” I reminded myself. He finally found an almost neat comfortable spot. So we sat on the bricks we found.
“So, would you like to play a game?” he asked with a smirk on his face as he stood. I really did not care for games Mr. James, I just want you to hold me.
“Yes.” I nodded. He approached me, stopped just in front of me and bent to face me.
“I have never felt this way for any girl your age Bimpe.” He said with a shaky voice of desire. I knew he wanted to kiss me as much as I wanted to kiss him, so I adjusted a little. Following my cue, he held my neck till his lips finally made it to mine. There was that feeling of fireworks again. He fondled my body. It was enjoyable for the first 3 minutes but it became intense and demanding.
“Mr. James, I think we should go now.” I said when I finally broke free. His eyes pierced into mine as he muttered something I didn’t hear.
“Sir?” I asked.
“Call me Kola!” he shouted and fear gripped me. He tried to kiss me again but I declined. I really just wanted to leave that creepy place. He stood up to his full length and I saw it. The erection behind his shorts. He looked down at it laughing monstrously. Perhaps I should have taken to my heels or something at that point. My dumbass just sat there.
“Stand up.” He commanded. I was going to but I was just suddenly weak. “You don’t listen to instructions huh?” he fired with hungry eyes and grabbed my thighs. Where did my sweet Mr. James go?
“Mr. James please…” I started as I tried to free myself of his grip.
“Please? Please what? I’m not going to hurt you, just calm down.” He tightened his grip and dragged me against the rough ground.
All in a flash I understood what was about to happen. I kicked and struggled to break free but his grip was firm. With one big arm, he pinned me down, with the other, he rid himself of his shorts.
“Mr. James I’m begging you in the name of God. Please sir, please!!” I pleaded trying to stop him from reaching my panties. His other big arm landed on my throat.
“Hey! I won’t hurt you if you cooperate.” His eyes were dark and evil when I looked into them. If I cooperate? If I let him rape me? How did I get here? I metamorphosed from begging him for mercy to screaming for help. He got really irritated at this and his calm tranquil voice was raging at me to stop.
“No one will hear you here!” he yelled as he succeeded in ridding me of my panties. I kicked violently as trying to escape. He was so strong, too strong. I bit him very hard on his arm so much that I could taste his blood. He released me groaning in pain. I sprang up as fast as I could, crying and running away from the lunatic. At that moment, I wish I had joined the track team.
I saw him race past me and before I could run the other way, I felt a heavy load of pain on my head, I collapsed on the floor before the stick he hit me with did. I couldn’t hear or feel anything for a while, I was sure he had knocked my soul out of me body when he hit me with that stick. The next thing I felt was a huge sting of pain in my tummy as he forced all of himself in me. I cried and groaned in pain as he thudded and moaned. I felt pain everywhere, I kept trying to fight myself free but it was all to no avail. The pain I felt wasn’t only physical, it was mental, emotional and psychological all at once.
So I gave up, I felt sanity leave my body that moment. My time for tranquility came, I remained mute as he continued his deeds. I didn’t cry or shout or scream anymore, I was just still. He didn’t even check to see if I was alive or breathing, he just moaned and groaned.
When he was done, he took his shorts and left. My heart bled as his footstep faded and soon it became very quiet. I looked up to the old and sickening roof with drips of slimy liquids falling to my face. I just couldn’t move, or breathe or cry or even whimper. I just laid there like a corpse. I wanted to just die. If I maintained that position for a while without giving my body oxygen, maybe I would be dead. I felt my tears divide my skull. I took quick deep breath as a rush of regret gripped me.
“Kola.” I thought to myself as another liquid from the roof met with my face again. I tried to lay on my side to prevent the slimy liquid from falling to my face again.
“Kola.” I thought to myself again, I was raging. I vibrated violently in pain. I felt pain all over my body, I sobbed with convulsion, and made it back to the floor again. How could he have done this to me?
“Kola!!!” I wanted to scream my lungs out, but all I did was to kick and puke with rage. Cupid’s arrows really struck me hard.