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ARAMIDE
ARAMIDE
Author: The African Girl

[1] UNCERTAINTY

“He-he killed him!" I sobbed out, drenched in sweat. I ran my hands through my hair and paced about. My body shook rapidly, one would think I had epilepsy at this point, but I assure you, if you were in my position, you'd do the same thing.

*****

“When I was a child — Everything felt so permanent. My wants, my needs, people, bonds. Now, as an adult, I have realized that nothing is. It's all temporary. We could lose it all in the blink of an eye. That has been the scariest part of adulting.

Things weren't always like this. It all began with my mother's accident — Tolulope Adegoke. She died in an accident on my fourteenth birthday. Some claimed it was an attack, others said it was just bad timing. Either way, as an orphaned child, I ended up with my Uncle.

It was all sugar and Candy, Till well, you know, it turned sour. I remember the day clearly, the day my uncle had stripped me of my dignity, It was that day I understood what it meant to feel worthless, that same day, Hatred was born, Deep hatred.

I was an only child as you can imagine. At the age of seventeen, I was no longer innocent or pure, I was empty, an empty vessel fueled by hate.

It was then Dayo came into my life. Dayo was your average Bad boy that every girl wanted in University. Sadly for them and Unfortunately for me — Dayo set his sights on me, He showered me with love and affection, but I had vowed never to let another person hurt me.

Anyways, on October 16, 2018, I fell, I fell for Dayo. Hook, line, and sinker. So pathetic, right?

It took only two years for it all to turn sour, my bed of roses, were thorns in disguise and when I was finally comfortable enough to lay, It pricked me. It pricked me hard.

I ended up at the mercy of Dayo's leather belt — don't get confused, He too has many scars he'll have to live with, but mine, those were scars I would die with. Those types of psychological scars could mark you for life.

Back to the present, I was currently hiding in my closet pacing to and fro. It was a small room and although I was not claustrophobic — It still gave me the irks. I had managed to steal his phone, My heart rate increased as I ran my hands through my sticky dark afro, Wondering how I got here. All my dreams and ambitions were lost — wandering in the air of my fears.

Today I had to make a choice, I had to pull myself out — with or without help. I dialed a familiar number, one I hadn't called in a while, but I was sure would be more than willing to help.

Bola.

"Who is this?" A familiar voice spoke, It had been a few months, but her voice was still the same, soft and soothing.

"B-bola!" I sobbed.

"I-it's Aramide! I need your help!" I said as I tried to sound coherent. My breathing hiked up, The walls of the closet seemed to close on me and for some reason — Probably due to her tone or the fact that I was just realizing how detached I had been from the outside world, I felt my defenses crumbling down.

For the past two years I had been strong, dealing with the pain silently, never letting that monster see my weakness. You see, this isn't one of those pathetic stories where the girl is still in love with the psychopath, no way. I felt nothing for Dayo, Not even hate, he wasn't worth the energy I put into my emotions, That much was clear.

I bit my lip in an attempt to control my emotions and properly explain my situation to my best friend on the other side of the world, but of course, I failed miserably. How exactly do you tell someone the man you are about to marry is a murderer?

"He-he killed him!" I sobbed out,drenched in sweat. I ran my hands through my hair and paced about, my body shook rapidly. One would think I had epilepsy at this point, but I assure you, if you were in my position, you'd do the same thing.

"Who killed who? What are you talking about?" Bola said.

"D-dayo killed my uncle!" I whisper-yelled, Bola went silent for a few minutes and only my hard sobs were heard.

"You need to get out of there Aramide, Now!" Bola’s voice sounded strained,

“I can't! He's locked all the doors!" I whispered, glancing around constantly to check if someone was behind me, Terrified he would Spring upon me and say "boo!"

"Call the cops!" Bola stated. I shook my head furiously. That was the worst thing I could do!

"Bola this isn't London, it's Nigeria! Here Bribery and corruption is a day-to-day thing!" I lamented as I looked back once again, I took in a deep breath and cut her off before she could speak.

"I don't want him to kill me" I whispered "I won’t go down without a fight" I continued

"Aramide, You can do this, You are the girl who always picked herself up when the world threw her down. Yes, your life has been one drama to another, but you are still that fighter and that strong girl that stood up for me, it's my turn, let's save you— Together."

"tsk, tsk, tsk. So this is what we have here?" A deep voice spoke. My eyes widened. I felt chills run down my spine, but it was now or never, I was done with letting fate play games with me, I would write my own story, how I want, where I want, When I want, and with whom I want.

"Idiot." He spat as he dragged me by my hair, I winced. But I couldn't put up a fight in the closet, I'd be cornered.

"Fool" I spat in response. “Coward! rapist! You cheap delinquent!" I yelled out profanities as he dragged me towards the kitchen.

Perfect.

"Who were you talking to?" He demanded, He smelt of shaving cream and sweat, it seemed like he had just finished working out. I internally gagged, then replied.

"What? Are you now an illiterate?" I sassed

"Don't test my patience!" Dayo roared as he caught hold of my hair once again, shoving me towards the slab in the kitchen.

His dark hair was hidden in a bandana and his abs poked out. He glared into my soul with his steel brown eyes and a gaze that could kill, His fists tighter and suddenly it felt like there was too much carbon dioxide in the room because if the rates at which we were both breathing heavily.

Dayo groaned and slammed his hands into the wall right beside where I was, successful snapping me out of my daze. Our eyes locked. My heartskipped a bit, the room suddenly became as silent as a grave yard as our staring contest continued.

“Dayo...” His name rolled out of my mouth as my eyes stung with tears. Tears of frustration and anger because of the predicament I was in. Dayo smiled wickedly and brought his nose to my skin, I grimaced and looked away, feeling disgusted and violated.

"So, you've been calling Bola — you think she can save you? From me?" He asked as he forcefully grabbed my chin and looked into my eyes in an attempt to intimidate me. But I was Aramide, I had been through worse things and been betrayed by even closer people, I could not afford the luxury of being intimidated, especially not by a man.

These past few years I had spent it monitoring him, how he locked the doors every afternoon, where he kept the keys, which were currently on him while he stared at me.

Oh freedom...

"Look, I... I don’t want to do this anymore" I said in a low tone, He raised an eyebrow at me, “I just...” I paused and caught my breath, “can't we go back to the way we were? We’re getting married in a few days Dayo, Let’s not do this,” He seemed to be calmer as his hands left my face. I swallowed and continued “If what you want is for me to stay indoors with you, then fine, I love you Dayo... I really do” I tried to convince him as I eyed the kitchen knife.

Dayo seemed to believe me. His facial features softened. “I knew it! I knew you would come to your senses and do what is right my love,” He locked his lips in mine but before he could get too far, I grabbed the knife and pushed him off.

“Don’t move” My voice came out thick and heavy. I didn't even sound like me anymore, All I could think about as I pointed the knife at him was how disgusted and enraged with this man.

I could not believe that I was actually going to walk down the aisle with a monster like this, I would have said I do to him and ended up with a worse fate than my mother. History was not going to repeat itself though, I would not let it.

No matter what, I was getting out here today.

"What did you think? That I would become your slave? C’mom Dayo, We aren't teenagers anymore" I spat at him.

"You can't kill me, You are too weak" Dayo smirked as he tried to rile me up, It wasn't going to work though, I had put in so much effort and I was not going to ruin it.

"nah," I said as I took a step away from his and towards the door "I'd rather stain my hand with something worthwhile, not your blood, you don't deserve it" Tears filled my eyes.

“Don't leave Aramide, If you walk out that door, I will find you and I will kill you" Dayo spat as a glint of anger ran through his vision.

"Well then you better prepared. Give me the keys!" I demanded with one hand outscretched while I pointed the knife in his direction with the other.

Dayo swallowed. "Think about this, where are you gonna stay? You are all alone" He tried to emotionally blackmail me.

I looked around and paused, The kitchen was a mess, in the basin were dishes I couldn't wash last night because Dayo had come in drunk. The corner of the kitchen floor still had my blood stains from where I had bruised my knee last week. Everything. Every single thing was like a memoir.

"I'll stay anywhere... Anywhere but here"

*****

"Aramide!" Bola exclaimed as she pulled me into a hug, I relaxed into the needed embrace.

"Gosh, I got lost, girl, this place is big!" I exclaimed with a shit-eating grin.

"I bought it two weeks ago, What can I say? I loved the scenery," We both chuckled. Knowing fully well she was lying.

Bola wasn't a nature kind of person.

The fair-skinned girl with brown eyes sat opposite me on her purple couch which matched the cream tiles on the floor. The walls in the house were painted grey, on one wall was the inscription "Bola Rocks!" If I didn't know any better, I'd say she was proud.

Bola was my childhood friend, She was once based in Lagos before she relocated to London, Her mother was a businesswoman and her father owned a shipping business, Bola wasn't the smartest person, but she was intelligent and Empathetic. And she always knew what to say.

She was currently wearing a black off-shoulder top with bump shorts. Her long half cast hair fell onto her shoulders but barely touched her jawline. That shocked me. Bola was one of those girls who was obsessed with long hair, and she was cutting hers? Did the world flip over or something?

"How are you?" In my entire existence, no Exam, no test, no interview was harder than answering those three words, Cause you'd have a lot and nothing to say at the same time. So I replied like the average person "I'm fine"

"Am I supposed to believe that?" Bola challenged with a raised eyebrow, as if saying ‘test me’

"You don't exactly have a choice" I bit back with a small smile.

"Jeez Bola. Forget about it, let's focus on my career, I left Lagos to finally be free and to leave that whole circus behind, I want to start a new life again. No drama, no relationship, just me, myself and I" I said, "and you of course!" I added when she feigned offense

"I own an advertising company, I could get you a job there" Bola suggested as she sat up.

"No boo, let's do this my way, huh? I'll make some inquiries yeah?" I decided. I did not want to take advantage of her kindness.

"If you say so," Bola shrugged. That was one thing I loved about her, Bola knew just when to stop pushing, She knew when to stop, that attribute was rare.

**********

“Black long sleeves?"

"eew!"

"Purple off-shoulder gown?"

"Hell no!"

"Crop top?"

"Are you for real?" I asked bob smacked, Bola rolled her eyes and smiled. Her dimples poking out, she was the perfect definition of flawless beauty.

"We're back to the two-piece suit then" she sighed, seeing my face drop.

"Bola, tomorrow is the big interview! I can't go there looking like I came from the zoo!" I whined as I plopped down on the couch.

"I didn't come to London, to become a freeloader here, I came to find work! Now...now...now I just don't know! Maybe Dayo was right, I can't do this" I said as I folded my hands over my stomach feeling frustrated.

"Ara, I think you are overthinking this, leaving it all behind was the best thing you could do! Besides, remember your career? how you worked so hard to get here, are you going to give up because some clothes aren't what you want?" Bola countered.

"It's not the clothes, Bola. It's everything. I know I act like I don't care, but I do. I do. I am starting to regret coming to London, I should have just stayed in Lagos, that's my home! its-"

"I can't believe you," Bola began. She got up and headed towards her minibar. Her brown hair was tied in a bun. Bola was a half-cast, her father was African but her mother was American. Though she was white, she made sure to do everything to be seen as the perfect Yoruba Girl. Typical Melancholist.

"First, you came all the way here, talking about how you wanted to get away from everything, now you are saying you regret it? Ara, am I a joke to you? If you don't believe in yourself, do you not believe in me?" Bola asked exasperated.

"I do...It's just...." I tried to defend my words.

"He abused you!" Bola suddenly snapped as she stood up. That word felt so wrong. So heavy. But it was true. Bola was looking at me like I was insane. Maybe I was.

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