When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of that region, saw her, he took her and raped her.
My back hurts like hell. And my arms are numb. I must have fallen asleep cradling Baby. Baby is awake. She is just staring blankly into space. Carefully, I separate our tangled limbs and roll of the bed. My body is protesting. I feel like my thighs, back in the days of squats and lunges. I place a wet kiss on her forehead. She doesn’t make a face. I quickly clean my tears before they drop on her face. The question I went to sleep with at the back of my mind takes centre stage. I clear my throat.
‘Who?’ She doesn’t answer. I raise my voice. ‘Who did this to you?!’ No response. I kick at her dresser. ‘WHOOOOO?!’ I reach for Baby. She is just staring at me. I pull her up and hold her chin with my right index finger and thumb. ‘WHO?! WHO DID THIS?!’ She is just there, limp like a rag doll. My husband rushes in – he’s been good at that lately. He drags me away from Baby, and tries to calm me down.
I am slapping his chest, his head, everywhere.
‘I DON’T WANT TO BE CALM!!! I NEED TO KNOW!!!’
I slap him twice. Then I slap him again.
‘You knew! You KNEW! JESSUUUUSS! YOU KNEW!’
I leave him in Baby’s bedroom and find my way into ours. I am breathing heavily.
‘Listen Pearle. We should go to the police. She needs a therapist …’
I move closer to him as I speak. I jab his chest with my middle finger for emphasis.
‘She. Needs. A. Doctor. ‘
I am so exhausted. And I begin to cry.
‘Why did you have to hide this from me? Why?!’ More tears. Then a lot more. Oh God, help us please. Help Baby.
I watch Leke get dressed. ‘Who?’
He stops his movements abruptly.
It’s like a building collapsed on me.
‘Wait. Bosun as in your best friend?’
He says nothing.
‘Bosun, as in Baby’s godfather? As in, B is for Uncle Bosun? As in Ride or Die? As in Tessy’s husband?’ I throw my hands in the air. ‘I am dead! My life is all over.’ The pain is so much, I fall to my knees.
He begins to punch the wall. I have never seen him like this
‘Leke’, I crawl between him and the wall. ‘Please…’ I can’t tell him to be calm. ‘Baby needs us now. We must be strong. For Baby.’ I guide him out of the bedroom and out of the house.
‘Get Baby, Leke. Let me bring the car around. She will be more comfortable if you carry her.’
But he doesn’t. He stays there looking at me. ‘Why does it feel like I am dying?’ I shake my head. He puts his hands on my shoulders. ‘It’s my fault. She didn’t want to stay that night. I insisted.’ I shake my head. ‘What was I doing? Nothing. I didn’t want any disturbance while I was sleeping. So I sent her into the Lion’s den.’
‘That’s not true Leke. Baby sleeps over at Tessy’s place regularly. She loves playing big sister to their children. I could have taken her there that night. It could have been me’
Leke’s shoulders begin to shake.
‘I should not have sent her there. I shouldn’t.’ And before I know it, we are having another round of tears.
God, what’s the fairness and justice in all of this? Somehow we manage to get Baby into the car. Bosun will see me today. The randy dog. The beast in human skin. The Antichrist. Worthless piece of trash.