Episode 6 - (OGE`S TERROR)
"Uhmm, what`s the difference naa?" she giggled.
"The big difference is LANGUAGE"
"Ok oo, TONIO"
"Yeah, so what about you?" I asked.
She turned to look at me, as if to be sure I really deserved to know her name, before she said: "I`m Helen by name"
That was how and where I met Helen for the very first time. Thereafter, I asked of her number but she relented and said there was no point giving me her number, since we barely knew; I persisted but she insisted. Then I gave up trying and we went home around 11pm, we didn’t see again till I bumped on her inside the shuttle on that fateful Tuesday. The funny thing was that even after we met again and went to her house, even after the familiarity and insults – we ended up not exchanging contacts. I wondered how we could ever see again. Her huge brother gave me an insult I haven’t gotten in the two centuries I had witnessed in life.
Inside the Keke Napep which drove me home from Bakkassi, my thoughts diverted from place to place on the path of my memory lane, but I came to myself the moment the driver asked of my t.fair, I brought out my wallet and paid him, and as I walked to Ifite school gate, I couldn’t wait to reach home before I dialled Oge`s number. Thank heavens she picked at once. I told her what her boyfriend said when he called me some minutes ago. She said she was even planning to recharge in the evening and call me about the same matter.
"Evening would have been so far my dear" I spoke through the phone, as I strode towards Amsterdam Junction. "Oge, you need to see how your boyfriend sounded to me on phone today"
"Tonio, Tobias is really getting on my nerves. What have I not done for this guy?" she spoke in a quivering voice, as if I provoked her to start crying.
"Easy my dear. Like I said, evening is too far for us to see, I`m heading right to my lodge, can you come over any moment from now.
"Tonio, wi...will I will I.. Lai... die for this guy?" she cried.
"You will hang up the phone now and start coming, won`t you?" I tried petting her the best way I could.
"Oh my goodness" she cried once more and added: "I will be on my way dear... you will... you... yu...you will se...see me right away" her stammer often increased whenever she was angry.
I got to my lodge and could perceive the aroma of jollof rice which boiled from Pamela's room. She had been a neighbour whose meal was to me a delicious one, yes I wanted to settle the problem which was on my neck, but then again, my stomach needed to be settled too. Therefore, I decided to knock at Pamela's door and hail her, just for her to be aware that I was back from school. She wouldn’t fail to do her normal charity of getting me a plate whenever she was done.
"What`s up naa; how was lectures today?"
"Fine, fine oo" I sauntered behind her and slammed her door.
"You don’t look fine oo. E be like say pesin find your trouble" she walked towards the boiling pot, and got a plate filled with smoked fishes. She opened the pot and started placing the fishes on top of the boiling rice. The sight of the rice was mouth-watering, because tomatoes and other ingredients gave it a nice colour; and the steam which oozed into my nostrils was welcoming. I silently drooled.
"No oo. Pesin no fit find my trouble naa, dey never born am sef" I tried picking one fish to chomp, but she gave me a wicked eye, and swayed it away from my hands.
I smiled a smile of disappointment as she resumed what she was saying: "Or na your girl wey don break your heart? Tell me naa, let`s get ready for a fight." She winked.
"Pam, don’t even start again" I said and we chuckled.
Then, I left for my own room and not too long I changed my dress did Oge knocked at the door. I welcomed her and without much ado we started discussing over the issue on ground.
"What actually happened my dear?" I studied her and sensed uncontrolled eagerness, so I added: "Don’t rush it, just take your time; I`m all ears"
It was from Oge that I got to know that Tobias was actually a final year student of Mech. Engineering and Oge who was in the same department was in three hundred level, two classes above me. But I was older than her, and would've been in three hundred level if I had continued schooling the moment I left secondary school. But notwithstanding the class and level barrier, Oge confided in me and told me crucial stories about her. Stories an average girl would choose to hide and keep to herself while she dies inside. I wasn’t so much a motivational speaker or one of the Chinua Achebes around, but I tried my possible best to give her the advice I would give to my junior sister if I had one. It was when we got to the middle of our conversation that I realised what brought about the uproar and Tobias' harsh words on me. It was the statement which I made to Oge the day she told me that Tobias always pestered her about sex. As a realist, I told her that in a relationship like this, the both of them should`ve defined their terms before starting. I mean, what and what not would be done in the relationship, I told her that if sex wasn’t what she wanted in that relationship, why not spell it out to him on time before engaging into it. And then at the end of our conversation that day, I urged her to state her terms straight before him, so that he would know her dos and don’ts.
That was actually what I told Oge; and one way or the other she must have dragged me into the matter during their discussion, which made Tobias to start sounding harsh to me through text messages and phone calls. I didn’t even know that sex was one part of it, and there was a bigger problem more than that.
"...So after so much hesitations, I gave up and we started sleeping together"
"Why? You changed your mind?"
"Not that I changed my mind, but I wanted to do everything that will make him happy. I didn’t want to deny him of anything that I know I could..."
"He is just your boyfriend not your husban..."
"I know he`s not my husband, but at least I love him, or rather I loved him"
Deep down me, I wondered why some girls could love someone who is just their boyfriend or fiancée so much that they’ll do everything within their limits and sometimes above their limits to make that person happy. I wanted to ask her the question but then I decided not to sound so holy, besides I wasn’t her father.
All I asked was: "But why did you love him that much, why did you let him own your heart?"
"Tonio, when I entered this school, there was no one to guide me through the strange things around, and our department was so strict and tough. Tobias was there for me, instructing me and making things much easier. He provided handouts of tough courses for me ev...eve..evvee...even before the lecturer shared it out to us. He made Engineering easier; he made me pass FEG courses. Not that he was so much brilliant, but he was handy with academic materials and told me the best way to avoid carry-overs" she became more solemn and her words were filled with emotions. "The day I mistakenly paid my first accreditation and tuition fee which was worth eighty thousand naira plus into the wrong account, To...To...Tobias was the one who struggled with the influence of his un...uncle who was a bank manager, making sure the money was returned to me and that I paid into the right account. Such mistakes are non-refundable in banks you know, but even though it took him over two weeks of being absent from lectures, he didn’t mind. He was just happy that I got the money back and paid into the right account" she sniffled and continued. "Thru...thru...throughout my year-one, he had displeased himself a lot of times just to please me, cleaned my house and washed my plates whenever I was sick. He di..did all this for...for...for me and wouldn’t stop talking to me even though I bounced him out whenever he wanted to sli...sleep over. Even though I had almost slapped him one day, he endured my bad character and harsh words all through." She took a breath and added: "And he allowed me one full year before finally proposing to be my boyfriend in my second year. Who wouldn’t accept such a pretentious nice guy? Why...why wouldn’t I accept him, To...Tonio ju..just why?" I sensed bitterness in every word of hers. She had been a mild stammerer but anger made it chronic.
"Oge, calm down your..."
"It`s not about me calming down, Tobias came with the best tactics, he caught me. I never knew he was going to turn into a traitor to my life. Pestering me back and forth and demanding crazy pleasurable things without even..."
"You know these..." I wanted to say something, but she caught me short again.
"Wi...wi...without even minding whe...whether it ple... it pleased me. He would just take his own pound of flesh and wouldn’t care to know how...how I felt"
"What actually made him to start behaving that way recentl..."
"Tonio, I was lost in love, I gave him my heart in a platter of gold. He noticed I have been enchanted in his love and he started using my head, my body and virtually everything. Tonio, guys are just wicked, Tobias taught me that no matter how many boys going after a girl, it's just one boy who the girl dies for, that is going to bring her down, including her dignity. Tonio, this love is eating me up and I'm caught in the middle of it. From where I am, the road is far for me to start going back. Because it has gotten to what I can`t bear anymore. I rather die than do this one"
Within me, I was like – 'do which one?'. Then, I saw she was emotionally pouring words without stopping, I realised she wouldn’t stop if I didn’t stop her, so all I did was hold her shoulders with my two hands. She was still talking before I started saying: "Oge, Oge, Oge, just stop, please take a breath first. Take a breath!"
"He...he asked of sex, I ga...gave him, he as...asked of blow job, I resisted and it became a big trouble for over a month. The main proble..."
"Take a breath Oge!" I said, and like a wave, one of the words she said last, rang into my ear again and I asked: "Did you just say he demanded for blow job?"
"Yes. And I did that just once, after much hesitations. But I almost vomited that day, so I swore not to try it again. An...and he have claimed he understood why I should stop, but whenever I did a small thing he would make mountains out of a molehill. I guess it was because he was still angry with me"
I couldn’t hide the surprise and shock anymore. It was written all over my face, she noticed it and said it wasn’t even the main problem. She said that after their breakup she realised yet another bigger problem.
"What problem is bigger than all this which you`ve said so far." I asked with a very ugly grimace.
"We`ve dated close to two years now. So don’t mind the fact that I told you the whole thing in a split of some minutes. These were problems which came up at intervals, within two years. But the bigger problem I am talking about is..."
"Even if it came at intervals they were still horrible" as if I heard what she said last, I asked: "What bigger problem is it and how am I involved?"
She opened her mouth to say something before Pamela came in with a plate of food.
...To be continued
© 2016 Nwoye T. Anthony
(CHRONICLES OF TONIO LAWREX)