Mayen felt nothing. And it was the worst feeling she had had in a while. No, it was the worst feeling she had had in her life. They was a panging in her stomach but she didn’t feel it as much as she knew it was there. She wanted to die. She deserved to die.
She rolled over on the bed dragging a pillow under her. She wouldn’t think about it, she wouldn’t even try to remember it. There wasn’t anything to remember anyway. Her mind had shut down when she went through those doors again. And she wasn’t sure it had come back up. How could she be alive when two children were dead because of her? Because she had believed the devil would change, that things would get better. That was why she had stayed on. And how she had been wrong.
She stood up and walked out to the balcony ignoring the pricking she felt in her belly. It had been blood, fatty looking blood. That blood had been a baby, her second baby. This was what she was now, a baby killer. She was tired. So tired she felt her bones would crumble within her, unable to hold her weight together. She needed to get out; she needed to be gone, just like that blood she had spilled in the clinic.
Maybe she should jump. She leaned across the railing and peered at the hard coal tarred ground below. Maybe she should jump headfirst. But then she might even survive, it was just a one floor drop. But she could still do it. She could drink something, maybe slit her wrist or push a knife through her rib. The idea festered and grabbed hold. He wouldn’t come back to see her again and she wouldn’t have to look at him and feel this pain and shame.
She dragged through the room into the kitchen and took the knife. The makers had gone through the trouble to itch “stainless steel” on the blade. She smiled weakly thinking how she was about to stain it with her life. She walked back to her room. She would do it on her bed. That was where it had all started, that was where he had taken her the first time; it would be where she ended it.
She put the knife and the dias of her bed and straightened it out. She wouldn’t leave a note. She pulled her Louis bag up beside the bed. She hadn’t really unpacked after she arrived yesterday. She sat with the bag between her feet and picked the knife, beating it against her palm. She didn’t know how long she sat there, just beating that knife against her wrist. But she thought of many things. That first day, the days after that, how she hadn’t known what to feel about it, and then that time when she had moved beneath him because she liked it. She thought of her mother, maybe this was all her fault. How could the woman not have noticed anything? How could she send her from boarding school to vacations and then to this terrible place? At least the doctor gave her his attention. But this had to be her fault Mayen knew. It was hers not her mother’s or anybody’s, she didn’t know what she had done but she knew she had done something, why else would a fully grown man have wanted her.
She thought of Basi and with her friend she thought of coco. She thought also of that kiss and how it still lingered. She thought of how it had been her first because the doctor didn’t kiss. And she wondered if he would ever know that she had blotted to the loo and sat there all through her prom because when Oswald, a boy who had been trying to date her all through school and whom she had attended prom with leaned over and kissed her, she had pursed her lips closed and pushed out against his. It had lacked coco in it. She was still there thinking when she heard the door push open and the doctor dragging around in the sitting room.
She hadn’t even heard his car pull up. She tried to get up but her body failed to move. She had only managed to push the knife under a pillow when he staggered to her door.
“Ashawo” he called her the name in a soft voice with a smile as if it was an affectionate one. She raised her eyes to look at him without moving her bowed head. He was drunk again. He was drunk, the realization dawned on her, she started shaking her head before the thought finished forming in her head. He was not touching her again, not today, not ever. She would die first.
“look at you., two abortions already. And you’re how old?” he pushed off the door and entered the room. “16? Or 15 sef?” he gave a dry laugh. “ashi…” he paused and really laughed at that one.
“Daddy. Please. I can’t.”
There were tears in her voice and more on her face. She didn’t even know when she had started crying.
“Daddy please stop this.”
He was looming over her now.
“Oya lie down I will do quick and go.”
The slap came quick, twice.
“I am not your father. Eh? So if you call me that daddy again…”
He left the sentence hanging and burped.
“When you see your mother, you carefully ask her who your father is and see if she will remember. I wonder which business deal you are a product of, maybe the man woke up in the night wanting another round and was out of condoms.”
He stopped and laughed again.
“Daddy please stop saying those things.”
He was her father. The only one she had known. It was why she had stayed with him through all this.
He grabbed her and yanked her towards the mirror.
“Can you see that it was a white man she was pleasuring the day you were conceived and not me?”
He pushed her to the bed and was yanking his belt out,
“Now get ready before you make me slap you again.”
He was on her again. Mayen didn’t know pants could come off that fast. She knew she was crying and begging but he would not stop. As he came at her again, she lifted her feet and kicked at him. He slipped off her and landed on the ground. She scrambled for the knife and ran out of the room. She was crying loudly by now but it was no use even if she was screaming, no one would come. No one ever came. He chased her into the parlor and she ran through the front door and out into the balcony. She was fumbling to open the protector gate when he caught up with her. The punch hit her left cheek and she lost her orientation for a while and backed up against the railing of the balcony, everything was spinning. He was coming for her again; something went off inside her, a white hot rage. The knife was still in her hand. His hand was coming down to hit her again when she lurched at him. It looked like an awkward embrace as his hand dropped against her back but without the strength it had gone up with. There was a sucking noise added to her whining crying. The doctor was moving toward the railing, as if trying to lean on something. Mayen lifted her eye and then saw it at this neck. Her hand was still clutching the handle of the knife which seemed to be jutting diagonally into his Adam’s apple. She screamed and pulled the blade and as it came off so did the blood. The choky-sucking sound had a source now. The blood fritz out like a spray can bust under pressure. The doctor was staggering backward, she was trying to hold him then there was a moment when their eyes locked and then he was falling.
The world went out of slow motion when she had then thud. She crumbled to the floor peering over the railing, crying soundlessly. She couldn’t see him in the darkness but she knew he was there and that he was dead. And she had killed him.
By Solomon Moje Ikpeme