But he would not listen to her; and since he was stronger than she was, he overpowered her and raped her.
I don’t want to go home. My husband has been bristling since yesterday. My daughter is another matter entirely. I bite my lip as I get my things from the car. I could be a little optimistic and hope that everything is back to normal. A sound from my phone lets me know that I have received a text. My husband will be a bit late. He will also be eating out. I am to give Baby a goodnight kiss for him. I should also not wait up. I roll my eyes. Talk about a ‘bit’ late. I heave a sigh of relief. At least, I don’t have to deal with Grumpy – yes, as in Snow white and the Seven Dwarves – this evening. I send him a reply – ‘okay’. Then I add, ‘I miss you. Come home to me.’ Then I delete it. I send him ‘okay’.
I eat alone. Baby is deep asleep already. I give some instructions to the house girl. Whatever she does, we have this very clear rule – Don’t ever cook for my husband and forget about cleaning our bedroom. A bit dramatic. I am not saying I don’t trust Leke. I am just saying I would rather avoid not having to trust him. I contemplate having a lemon bath. The sound of running water interrupts my inner debate. Baby is having a bath? Curious, I disregard my state of undress and walk quietly to her room. I push open the door quietly – On a normal day, I have to say the password, which you wouldn’t believe if I told you – and take in her neat room.
Sometimes I worry that Baby is not enjoying her childhood much. She is such a responsible child – she wouldn’t raise her voice, won’t throw a tantrum, helps out in the house. She says the most thoughtful things. I know what I was like at that age. She is so grown up. My baby. I stifle a yawn. It’s too early for that. I notice a pile of clothes at the foot of her bed. Weird. She has a laundry basket, which is not empty from what I can see. I gather up the clothes to dump them in the basket, but my nose is assaulted by a funny smell. I throw them in the basket anyway. Baby doesn’t have BO. Or I haven’t noticed. Then I see her pink panties – with blood stains. But she said she hadn’t seen the red robots yet. I want to barge into her bathroom and knock her on the head. But I decide to wait. Water has stopped running. Five minutes. Baby is not out. I walk round her room adjusting shoes, refolding clothes, straightening stuff, laying her bed. Thirty minutes. She is still not out. I look to the ceiling. Oh God, what am I dealing with this time?
I push open the bathroom door. The steam of the hot water creates some sort of fog in the bathroom.
‘Baby!’ No response. ‘Baby!’ Silence.
My heart is racing in my chest. Then a whimper breaks forth. I heave a sigh. Thank God. My hands are trembling. My toes are caught up in some clothing. I bend down to retrieve it. In my hands, I am holding Baby’s panties. It would have been okay, if there was no blood on it coupled with that odour.
She is curled in a ball, knees folded to her chest, in one corner of the bath. I lift her in my arms and carry her out of the tub, the bathroom and onto the bed. As soon as she touches the bed, she begins to struggle against me. I lose my balance and fall to the ground hitting my head against her dresser.
‘Baby! Stop this nonsense, now!’ I put my hand to my forehead, it is wet. Great! I am bleeding. I am also determined to get to the bottom of this without alarming Baby. She avoids my eyes and mumbles her apologies. I get her towel and begin to dry her body. When I get to her groin, she squeezes her thighs shut quickly, and winces. I smile at her.
‘It’s okay, Baby. Mommy loves Baby.’
She looks away. Her lips tremble and she begins to cry. ‘M-m-mommy?’
I pat her cheeks. ‘I-i-i-i-tt h-h-hurts’
I lean closer. ‘What hurts? Let me see, Baby. Open up.’
She shakes her head. I pump her pillows and guide her to her back, with her knees bent and her thighs thrown apart. I rush to my room to get my phone. I put on the flash light, hoping to God that it is not what I think it is.
I am not prepared for what I see. My phone drops to the floor as I let out a heaven rendering wail. My husband barges into the room He must have come in not too long ago. He takes in the scene and rubs his two hands over his head. He knows. He had always known.
I throw the towel over Baby. And gather her in my arms. Then, I let it all out.