The Last Thing I Remember. By- ShalomNgbala-okpabi.
I met Larry few months ago.
From the profile picture I saw which seemed to be real,I already started crushing. He was one handsome Fellow,one of a kind really.
I sent him a friend request, Larry Shawn.
I didn't expect him to accept,cause I felt I was way beyond his class,but he did anyway. It was like a whole spring ofjoy washed over me.
I was joyous, and that's an understatement.
We got along pretty well,from the"hi's"and"heys",we started talking,not the"haveyou eaten?"or"what did you eat?"talk,andI was like,mehnn,this guy is just the one for me.
He really cared,we'd chat almost all day,Pure Vibes! Lovely moments!, or so I thought!
He asked for my number after chatting on messenger for sometime and of course,I gave him because I had grown to be very comfortablewithhim.
One day,he requested for a videocall,I didn't want that at first,because I don't like video calls,I thought I wouldn't look pretty enough.
But on a second thought,I wanted to be sure too that the profile picture I see is his face,so I agreed.
That day,I put on a little makeup so that if worse came to worst regarding my camera, I'd still look okay.
Time for the video call came and I was having so many ventricular contractions .It was like I was waiting to get interviewed for a highly rated job.
The call came through,I picked and saw him in all that handsome glory. Looking more beautiful than what was displayed in his profile.
He noticed I was tensed and after a little pep talk,I relaxed my nerves and swallowed myself in this pleasure.I hadn't let my guards down in such a long time,we talked about any and everything.My secrets became mere gists for me and I laid the mall on the table of WhatsApp video call for Larry tosee.
I didn't have any fears, he looked so innocent,or so it seemed.
He suggested we meet sometime.
I agreed without thinking twice,atleast I had seen his face,if we meet,I could touch his face.
We agreed on a day.
I am a university undergraduate and school was in session.
I was so happy,atleast I didn't have to tell any lie so my parents would let me go out.
So the day arrived,I hadn't dressed up that much in a long time,or taken time to double check if I was okay.
I could sense the"love"in the air.(Although now I can't understand what that was). I told my roommate I was going out.
"Ahah,Courage,when did you start going out,you don't even go out with me?",Bisola,my roommate said."People growo",I replied her and we laughed it off.
As I was leaving she shouted,"egungun be careful o",it was funny then,but I wish I took that to consideration.
I got to the park were we decided to meet,and I called Larry's number and as usual my heart danced as I heard his voice.
Again I was convinced, this was Love.
He told me he was very close to the park,that I should stay on the phone and describe where exactly I was,I toldhim.
Some few seconds later I felt a tap on my shoulders,for a second I screamed"Larry"in my head,I gave myself a quick composure talk and I turned.I was like"ahah,who be this".I looked at the person with the"Ehen,care to explain who you are?",look."Ohh,I'm sorry, thought you were someone else",the stranger explained.I wasn't listening, I looked up,Larry was walking towards me.
Oh Sweet Lord,you created this boy in your image.
He walked up to us,I just pushed that guy aside and hugged my"soon to be official Love of my Life" .
He returned the hug and asked who the other guy was,I ignored that question,I was staring into those beautiful eyes.I was lost!
I dragged him on and then we entered a cab.He said he was taking me somewhere special. A place were we could be comfortable,he said.
What did I know?
The love I thought I had closed my brain,I wasn't thinking.I stopped thinking the day he accepted my friend request.
The journey was short.
We stopped at restaurant/guest house place.
For a moment,little sense entered me and I wondered why we would go to a guest house.
I asked him,"we are going to he restaurant part of it,I just wanted the best for you,or should we go somewhere else",he replied.
"No,no,it's okay,I love the place,wasjust wondering.."I already saw the care in his eyes and I wasn't ready to stress him or anything.Seemed he setup alot for this special day.
As we walked in I turned and gave him a quick peck on his cheeks.Wow,I hadn't done that before.
I guess he deserved it for trying to make me happy. He just smiled. Or smirked?
I took that as a smile,maybe his smile just looked cunning.But I know,or I thought I knew he wasn't cunning.No,he wasn't!!
We got inside, took our seats. Beautiful place!
I asked him how he got the reservations for the place and he said,he works and gets his money."My dad is rich,but I don't depend on his money.This is his place,but I decided to pay,I can't rely on him.I'm not a small boy you know".We both laughed and I stared at him with admiration."That's nice"I replied.
"If I don't work,how will I take care of you"He said that out of the blues.
I wasn't expecting that.I blushed real hard.He just looked at me and smiled. Or smirked!!!
The waitress came along, asked for our orders.
I just wanted a drink first.He did too.(We even have the same preferences,this wasjust going on well).
The waitress came back with our orders.
For a moment we had a neye battle of who'd drink first. My name is Courage right,I took a sip first.
We burst into laughter."I like that,you're just your name,"He said.I was happy he admired me too.
He took a sip of his too.We started talking about random stuff,maybe we were just turning on the ignition for a wondrous vibe.
I drank mine..
I don't take alcohol right?
Yes,but this tastes different.We ordered for an orange juice,so why.....why...why am i feeling tipsy.
Larry is two...I came here with one Larry.
"Am I two?".I asked him,IknowI'mnot.
He said "Did you think twice before coming with me?" What does that mean...
I don't know what's going on here. What's happening to me.
With my eyes closing, I saw that smile for the very last time. Or smirk!!!
That's the last thing I remember!
My name is Courage.
I thought it was just a name but it was me.Most times I acted really stupid and I will ask myself,where did my name go?
This was a typical situation, and to be honest, Idon't know where my name went!
That was a really bad dream. Why did Larry do that?He's a good person.Yes he is. I tried opening my eyes, I couldn't.
I tried lifting my legs and it refused. My hands didn't even bulge.
From the calculations in my head,Ijust had a dream and I should be sleeping,right? I should be on my bed.
What happened yesterday? What's going on?
I came back from classes,I told Bisola I was going out,I went to the park. Larry I saw Larry.
The tears already began threatening to sip out of my closed eyes,the memories came slowly, my head aching the more as the events unfolded in my mind.
It wasn't a dream.
The last thing Iremember is Larry. I was seating with him. I saw two of him...
I wanted to scream,my mouth was sealed.Like my lips were too lazy to release. What happened after that?
I tried recalling,I tried hard and each time it was like I was pressuring my brain to create a story that never occurred.
I began to hear faint sounds,"bip..bip...bip ",it became faster.A door was opened,that
should be my room door, but it sounded so far away...
I felt someone touch me,touch my left hands.The touch was really light.I don't know who thati s,I can't open my eyes.I felt another touch on my right hands,this one was faint too, but soothing,the person was rubbing my hands.
Now,I'm in trouble.
Who are these? Or What are these?
"From the scan here,we are noticing traces of stress in the brain.It seems she is responding to treatment.She's in a coma,but she "Somebody was talking,I guess it's the person that
held my left hand,cause I didn't feel that touch anymore. Wait! Co..what?
I wanted to scream "mummy", I can't be in a coma, no I can't. No.. no.. no!!!
What did Larry do?
Jesus forgive my sins. What have I done to myself.
I decided to pay attention to the person talking.
"She seems to be awake,but can't open her eyes or talk.Patients in coma may or may not be able to respond to stimulus properly.Most of them hear,but can't respond.So you could try talking to her,let's see if we can get any response.I'll leave now,Ma'am,if you need anything or notice anything.Just press that button by her side."
Few seconds later I heard the door close.
I'm screwed! I'mfinished!I'm dead!I continued lamenting.
But I couldn't do nor say anything
I think,I'm in a hospital,that should be the nurse or doctor?How did I end up here??
I kept asking my self questions,I was full of regrets but what could I do? Physically,I couldn't even lift a finger.
"Courage.."Mummy . That was my mom's voice.
"I love you,if you can hear me,just know that I love you no matter what."I love you too mom,I told my brain that,of course she couldn't hear me.I felt wetness beside my eyes.The tears were out already.
I felt my mom rub my right hands,something dropped on them.Mom was crying. Is my situation that bad?
"Don't cry baby,it will be fine.The doctor said you are responding to treatment.I'm happy.You've been dormant for 2 days.I thought I would lose you.Dad and I have been here.He went home to have his bath and get food for both of us "Mom was just talking.
It's sad.I don't know what happened to me.Mom isn't saying anything.
But something tells me I would have stayed in the hostel.I wouldn't have gone with Larry.
This isn't good.
If only I can wakeup!!
I think mum reached out to my face,cause I felt a peck on my forehead.Still really faint feeling though.
I heard the door open.
"Yes ma'am,did you notice anything?",the same voice I heard earlier said."Oh yes,"mum sniffed.."I think she's crying".
I felt something, a very abstract feeling.
Like I was just taken out of a bodybag or something.But that feeling was good.Real good.
Slowly I opened my eyes.
Saw my mom.She was on a sofa by the side of the room.Or a ward.It's like she slept off
while watching me.
I could lift my fingers.I could raise my legs.I could lift my hands.I could see.I could talk....
"Mummy",I called out rather slowly,not sure if she'd hear me.I called out again.
My mom opened her eyes and sprang up."Courage..Courage,You're awake..You're awake".She hugged the life out of me."Mum,my neck hurts"."I'm sorry,I'm sorry "Mum said as
she released my neck.She was crying already and what did you expect? I joined in the shedding of tears.
"What happened to me,Mum?".She was just staring at me."How did I get here?".
She wiped her face with the back of her hands."I'm not in the best position to tell you that.I know what happened,but I can't describe how you got here,the young man who brought you has been itching to see you."
What young man? Did Larry bring me here?
"He said his name is Lanre.."She said."Larry or Lanre?"I asked.At the mention of Larry,mum burst into tears again,more severely."Honey,I dont know who Larry is,but it seems he raped you ". She said amidst the tears.
Ahh!!!Rape!This is my worst nightmare.I couldn't talk.I just had one wish.I wish this wasn't true.
I put things together.
Why else would he take me to a restaurant/guestroom? I continued crying.Of course,I've
been crying since I heard"coma".I've been crying physically and inside me.
He mentioned his dad owned the place.He would have access to anything.I didn't want to think further.I just laid there.Staring at the white ceilings.At that point,I couldn't pity myself.I felt bad for my mum.How would she feel?Could I ever regain her trust?Would
she understand I didn't bargain for any of these happening to me?Would she understand I was just foolish?
So,I lost my virginity without my knowledge to a guy I met on facebook! A guy I saw just once!! My life's story just got sore.
"I'm sorry,I just said that out loud..I wanted to tell you rather slowly or later on.The mention of that name just put me off.I'm sorry dear".My mum said.Now I could see the real care and love in her eyes.It was different from what I saw in Larry's eyes.I didn't reply her.I was dumbfounded!
"Mum,can I see him?"I asked after few minutes of silence and tears.She just nodded,stood up and went for the door.
She came back a moment later with someone.The face looks really familiar though,but I'm not interested in remembering either.I think I just started to hate men.
The guy came in and sat down.My brain was trying to remember where I saw him.My mind didn't want to.
"Hi..Courage"he said.His eyes were slightly red.Has he been crying too?"Hi"I replied him, turning my face away.I could still feel his stare.
"I'm sorry,I couldn't help you enough"He said and I could hear him sniffing."What do you mean?"I asked,not turning towards him.His sniffing was rather annoying to me.I wondered why he wascrying.
"I've been seeing you around.."He began."Bisola is my friend,and I always see you together,but I was too shy to may be talk to you".Could he just get to the point already??
He continued talking.."She once mentioned about a Larry you fantasized about.I didn't want her to know I was into you,so I just asked about him like I didn't care.She told me in passing that he was just a facebook friend.I took that and didn't ask anymore questions".I remembered those digital moments with Larry.How I imagined telling our children about our love story.Ofcourse,I was gonna say yes if he ever mistakenly proposed to me.That's how much I was into this guy.
I just laughed at my stupidity altogether.How did I let this happen?I will be telling the answer to my daughters if I ever get one.
"....I was in the park when I saw you "He was the guy from the park.I remembered
instantly,that's when I turned to look at his face.I felt sorry for myself this time around. " You seemed too busy.I was just going to walk up to you and maybe start up a
conversation if I was able to.When I got there and tapped you,all the COURAGE I had fled.The tone of your response was dismissive.So I justlied.I said you looked like someone I know.Or maybe I didn'tl ie,you are someone I know."I began listening with more attention than I did before.
Out of the blues you called"Larry",and I remembered the name instantly.I thought he was a facebook friend because from what Bisola told me,I don't think you guys had met physically before.So I put things together."This is their first time of meeting".I said to myself.As I said that,i don't know but some thing compelled me to follow.At first I thought I was just doing it because maybe I was a curious guy who likes you.You guys came down from a cab which I was closely following.I also boarded a taxi.I came down and watched you guys enter the restaurant.Why would a guy bring a girl to a restaurant/guesthouse?
There were many fun places around without guesthouses.I don't know why I was thinking that far.Normally,I wouldn't.I had a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach.I sincerely didn't want anything bad to happen to you.
I watched you two take the juice you ordered for and I felt so jealous as i heard you laugh.I wasn't the one making you laugh".He sniffed again,may be getting ready to talk about the scary part.
You started acting rather weirdly.I watched the Larry guy stand up.He lifted you and supported you as he walked towards someone,he took a key and left.I stoodup instantly following the same direction.I just told the person there I was gonna use the bathroom.Not likes he cared to know.I had to know where he took you to.I followed.I was lucky to just see him take you through a door and then he shut it.I was about to walk towards the door when I saw two guys walk past me.They walked past me into that room~where you were with the Larry guy."At this point,he couldn't sniff anymore.He was crying profusely.My mum was facing the wall by the corner of the room and I bet she was crying too.May be this was her first time of hearing the full story.My head was aching so bad.
I couldn't go in there with three guys inside.They were just gonna kill me.I just stood there. I'm sorry I couldn't help you.I lost my phone earlier,I hadn't gotten a new one yet.So communication wise,I was cut off.I couldn't call anyone for help".He stopped talking for a while.I could feel the tension in the air.Tears everywhere."Now I blame myself,maybe I would have just gone out and used someone's phone or something.I didn't even think of that. All I know is I was frustrated and I felt helpless.After sometime,the door opened.I waited for them to leave there entirely.I rushed in.I saw you in a pool of what seemed to be your own blood.I saw a knife in your hands with blood on it.I wept".Silence enveloped the room."I found a back door and took you out.I couldn't go through from where I came.No one would see me with a girl,blood every where and not cause a scene.I hailed a cab.I just told the guy "hospital",he drove me down here.They took you to the emergency ward,that was the last time I saw you till now".
I blacked out!!
"She's waking up...",I heard my Father's voice for the first time since this incident.I opened my eyes slowly.My dad was sitting just by my bed holding my hands.He looked at me and smiled.I wanted to smile back.How would I smile in such a situation?Mom was fixing something bythesideoftheroom.Ididn'tseeLanre.
"Daddy...",I managed to say.I was about opening my mouth to talk,not sure of the words that'd comeout,but my dad beat me to it anyway."Don't stress yourself.We are not angry with you,atleast not anymore.You've been through alot and our anger wont help you recover.
I am happy you're alive and that settles it.I wasnt ready to be fatherless".Was that my strict father being emotional.It was a little bit funny though,but I couldn't show it.I guess he wasnt really coming around cause he was scared.I later learnt he preferred sitting outside my room.
I found a new peace as my Dad said that.I dont think I've been through anything worse than my father's anger.
Mum walked up to me with a tray and a small bowl inside in it.She brought pap for me."I know you're hungry,I wish you could take something heavier."She said as she helped me sit up so I could eat.Or drink? The pap was very light.
I learnt I had to go through a little operation to stitch me up since I was stabbed,rather severely and severally.So his plan was to just kill me afterall.I felt bad thinking about that. Really bad.Summary is I couldn't eat heavy food for now.
I settled to eat.I took a spoonful of the pap and shoved into my mouth. What?? Nosugar??
I almost spit it out and my mum gave me that stern"swallow it"look.I did.And they all started laughing at me."No sugar too for now dear",my mom said and smiled.
I had no choice than swallow all of it.It was another nightmare I guess.
They say after sorrows,joy comes in the morning. Well, joy was by the corner.
I finished eating.I didn't enjoy my meal. Mum took the tray from me.
The nurse came in and after all the checks.He called my mum aside and spoke rather quietly to her.He smiled at me and as he was about going out,he said,"You'll be fine".With that he wentout.
Wow, that was great!
I turned to my mum who had this lookin her eyes.One I hadn't seen in a while.I sensed little happiness somewhere.Maybe I get to hear goodness after all Lanre had said.I dont even know when that was or what today is?
She walked up to me and took my hands."Well honey,there's goodnews for you.."Mum said. Has Larry been caught?Did he die?Who killed him?That was the kind of goodnews that would bring me great joy."Well??..",I said looking at my mom expectantly."I don't know how,maybe it's just a miracle or you're lucky.From all the pregnancy tests,it's been confirmed you're not pregnant."Well maybe this is the goodnews I needed to hear afterall.I reached out to hug my mom.I was happy.My dad joined.
I hadn't even thought of that.How painful it will be,staring at an innocent child and remembering a crime?I would so hate myself.What would I do about school?My life would have just ended.How would I bear the trauma of being the mother of a"bastard".I wouldn't even know the father since it was a gang rape.Oh,the thought of that.It pierced my heart.
"Thank God." That's all I could say.
*** *** *** ***
I was discharged few days later.Lanre came by once again and I was able to thank him properly.The last time I saw him,I couldn't.
I didn't attend school the rest of the semester and school year(It was second semester).I just stayed at home and it wasn't that easy.Sometimes I would see the fear in my mom's eyes when she's going out.She'd hug me like she wont see me again.She'll tell me to be careful and watch me lock the door before she left.
At work she called me very hour to make sure I was okay.Little by little,we all recovered and I was able to return to school.I was just scared of how people would look at me.Bisola told me the news went round school.Maybe I had become the case study of one lecturer somewhere.That thought alone was sickening.Never thought I'd draw attention to myself in
I returned to school.
I repeated the year.I was in 200 level.Again.The way people stared at me and whispered to themselves when I passed was not good atall.I even heard rumours that I aborted the pregnancy.I heard alot of things.It surprised me though,nobody walked up to me to ask anything.It took courage for me not to end up with suicidal thoughts.
I just told myself that I was over it. I wish I totally was though.
Oh!Bisola never let me leave her side.Anytime I mentioned the name of any guy atall,she'd just turn and look at me with those eyes.Like she's telling me"better mind yourself,everyday no be Christmas".
Well that was true.This thing has happened to lots of girls and not just me.They weren't all lucky to get a Lanre who followed them.Most of them died.
Thankyou,Lord!I just said to myself. Iwas indeed lucky.
I didn't really care what people were saying.All I knew was,Courage is my name,and courageous I'd be.
About Larry.He blocked me.I don't know but I think he found out I didn't die afterall. What did I expect?I'll tell his story to the world.I hope he's found and punished accordingly.Or killed! No,scratch that.Not killed.
Lanre comes over to see bisola and I sometimes.We even meet in school.Atleast I was able to talk to him.We became"friends"I guess.We got along pretty well.He was the only male I had close.
I was done with classes and going to my hostel when Lanre showed up.He said he had something to tell me.I gave him audience."Larry has been caught"he said.I was shocked.I didn't expect that news."No,I'm kidding".
Two months later,a young girl is seen with a book.May be reading or imagining?A notification comes in.She picks up her phone.A Facebook friend request.Larry Shawn. Without thinking twice.
She taps the accept button.
The End. Men and brethren.