‘Ms. Anita and Mr. Adeh, it’s a pleasure to see you again. My lovely soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Adeh Simpson. Welcome’ , the counsellor chanted with a broad smile.
‘Why am I the only one smiling? Ok, sorry for keeping you waiting. You know I had to cut my trip short to meet with you. You are special clients; I can’t ignore your call. Calling few days to the wedding is really important,’ she continued.
‘I am calling off the wedding’ Anita interrupted hysterically.
‘What? You must be joking. You can’t do this. You dare not! How could you?’ Adeh asked.
‘Calm down guys. Let’s get to the root of the matter. Anita, do you mind telling us what the problem is? Why the change of mind? Remember your feelings are valid and so feel free to talk about how you feel. First, you need to take a deep breath’, the counsellor admonished. ‘Take all the time you can. We are here for you’, she added.
‘She must be stupid for thinking she can walk out on me just like that. Anita, I own you’, Adeh threatened.
‘You see what I’m talking about? I have had enough. I can’t’, Anita said sobbing.
‘Alright guys, we are making progress, Let’s talk about this, shall we? The counsellor calmly asked.
Adeh: Ask the crazy girl.
Counsellor: Why call her ‘crazy girl?’
Adeh: Only a crazy girl can pull this type of stunt. I mean, I have an image to protect. I made her who she is she today I picked her from the gutters, disemboweled her and she has the guts to call off the wedding without pre-informing me? Who the hell does she think she is?
Counsellor: Mr. Adeh, I’m worried about your choice of words today. You really need to calm down.
Adeh: You dare not tell me what to do. In fact, why am I wasting my time here. Anita get up let’s go.
Anita: I will go nowhere with you. It is over between us. I mean it this time around.
Adeh: Don’t dare me. I will be in the car. You have five minutes to move your lazy and rotten butt to the car. Don’t try me…. And you madam counsellor, don’t meddle in our affairs any longer. Don’t push your luck. Excuse me, please!
Counsellor: Calm down, Mr. Adeh. I understand you are angry. Don’t leave yet. Don’t attempt driving in this state. Please stay! Oh! He is gone. Anita, maybe we need to reschedule this appointment.
Anita: I can’t go with him. He will kill me.
Counsellor: Why? Has he threatened you before? If I must help you, you must come clean with me. Take your time. Talk to me when you feel ready. Ok? Wipe those tears, my darling.
Anita: I am ready now. Thank you for allowing me to take few minutes to put myself together. I know we have had sessions in the past. The love story we shared was false. He came up with this crazy idea because his parents insisted that we must wed in the church. His father is not only famous but influential. He is a deacon in the church; a respected man, I must add. Adeh is the black sheep of the family. They sent him abroad to study when they realized they couldn’t manage him, that was after several relapses. He had been in and out rehabilitation centers. He appeared few years before we met without his parents’ notice. He just showed up.
Counsellor: Tell me, how did you meet?
Anita: Hmmm! We met three years ago in a night club. For the records, I was a woman of no virtue, who made excuses for her loose life. I was a full-time….
Counsellor: Take your time. The cup of coffee next to you might help.
Anita: I was a prostitute. I was living off men, jumping from one bed to the other, from one hotel to the other, from one man to the other. None of them really wanted me: none of these men really paid attention to me. I got used to not being wanted or loved. Sex became a chore; a job, you know, that kind of stuff. To appeal to them, I bleached my skin, swallowed different pills and concoctions to stay in shape as well as to prevent pregnancy. It worked for me until I met Adeh. The first night was strictly customer-client relationship. He promised to double the normal charge of N1500. I followed him home. As a reward for a good performance the previous night, he served me breakfast in bed. No one don treat me like that before. It melted my heart. For the first time in my entire life, I felt important and special and I couldn’t snap out. I was just 18. I guess, I didn’t know better at the time. I am not making excuses for my loose life.
Anita: That was how we started cohabiting. Well, he wanted me to stay. He didn’t say it but his body language suggested it, so I stayed. All was going well until I fell pregnant. I was foolish to have stayed off those pills. I didn’t even know I was pregnant: I missed my period the first month but by the second month, I had spotting. Long story cut short; a doctor confirmed I was pregnant when I had fever. We agreed to abort the baby but couldn’t because he became broke afterwards. He got into a big fight with his parents over his negligent lifestyle and they decided to cut off all financial assistance.
Counsellor: How about your parents and relatives? I’m sorry for cutting you short.
Anita: Hmmm! I don’t know them. I mean, I don’t have. I grew up in an government overpopulated orphanage where we were taught how to read and write by volunteers. We were also taught how to hope for a miracle to better our lots. I learnt I was dumped by the roadside. I ran off when I turned 13. Life at the orphanage was tough. I thought it would be better elsewhere, but I soon realized I was wrong.
Counsellor: Please, continue….
Anita: Okay, Ma’am. Feeding was difficult during my pregnancy. Somehow, he found a way to remain intoxicated. He transferred his frustration on me. I became his punching bag. He was brutal. He made me feel I was wrong for being alive. I didn’t have a voice. I was not allowed to go anywhere or talk to anyone. Visitors were not even allowed. Soon, he started selling off the items in the house to buy his folly-glory.
Counsellor: What’s folly-glory?
Counsellor: Continue, please!
Anita: When labor pangs started, we had moved to an uncompleted building. I had the baby there. It was just the two of us and he was high that fateful day. I laid on the floor on a carton and spread my legs to make way for the baby. We didn’t even know what we were doing. He kept yelling and screaming and in great fear for my life, I pushed the baby out. He cut the umbilical cord like a pro and left with the baby. I was too weak to move. I felt he was going to wash off the vernix somewhere, but I was wrong. Moments later, the baby stopped crying. I became apprehensive. Ignoring the Lochia, I dragged myself to the backyard. I found the baby naked and painfully lifeless while Adeh was busy digging a shallow grave. I don’t know what he did to the baby. Maybe, he strangled it. I don’t know. I’m sorry, Ma! The tears won’t just stop. Please, pardon me.
Counsellor: It’s okay. You need to purge your soul. Take all the time you need.
Anita: I screamed in shock and for fear of being exposed, he hit my head with the hoe in his hands. I woke in the hospital a week later.
Counsellor: Why didn’t you leave?
Anita: To where? I lost all my customer. My private part was even a mess. Who would want me? I was too lost on trauma to think clearly. He feared I would report him, so he proposed to me on the hospital bed. I couldn’t resist it. It was better than nothing. He is from a rich home; I saw a future. Hmmm! So, he took me to live with his parents. He introduced me as his fiancée. It didn’t take me long to notice I was just a bait of reconciliation with his parents. In fact, I overheard his parents saying marrying a wife for him would help him stay off vices. That explained why no one wouldn’t sanction him for assault. He threatened to kill me if I mention a word to anyone about the baby.
Counsellor: Why didn’t you share this in our previous sessions?
Anita: Oh! The church wouldn’t wed us without a certificate from a certified marriage counsellor. He chose you because he has something on you. He knows about the skeleton in your cupboard and why people don’t patronize you.
Counsellor: What? Did he say anything to you about it?
Anita: NO! I just need to get this off my chest before I die.
Counsellor: Police? No! Let’s just elope.
Adeh returned to the office moments later, rage written all over him. ‘Anita, what are you still doing with the criminal counsellor of woman?’ Adeh asked. ‘And you, madam counsellor, I warned you, but you choose to remain obdurate’, he added pointing a knife at her.
‘Don’t do it. Please’, Anita begged.
‘ Ahh!!’ the counsellor groaned.
‘What have you done, Adeh? Ahh! Anita lamented. ‘I am doomed’, she continued.
‘Will you get up or do you want me to slaughter you too?’ he asked. ‘Now move it’ , he yelled.
‘Okay, sir’, she said trembling.
About the writer
Peace Habila, a resident of Jos, Plateau state is passionate about creative writing. She wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org