Man Down (Part Two)

I need you to know that recounting this story to you isn’t easy. My heart breaks all over again each time I tell it. And I must have repeated it over a hundred times to the policemen who ‘investigated’ the case. Of course they never found any leads or suspects.
The criminals got into Kenny’s car and drove away that night and that was the last of them.

I ran to Kenny’s side crying and screaming and having one of my famous panic attacks. I couldn’t feel a pulse or a heartbeat. No way Kenny could be dead. He was too … alive. Our phones had been stolen with the car so I just lay there with Kenny, by the side of the road. About 9 cars passed and ignored my cries for help (apparently suspecting what Kenny failed to suspect) before someone stopped and helped me.

My baby was pronounced dead at the hospital, about an hour later. A part of me died with him. I almost ran mad. By morning his family was contacted and they came to arrange for his body to be moved to a morgue. His mother held me and cried with me, but his twin brother (who had never liked me) gave me a look that suggested that he hated me even more now. I think I was crying too hard, because a nurse came and injected me with a sedative.

It was 6pm on Sunday when I woke up, and my mum was beside me; she had flown in from Lagos. I started sobbing as soon as I saw her. “Mummy please tell me it was a dream. Please mummy!” I cried. And then she started crying with me.

The police came the next morning to interrogate and whatnot. Kenny was buried on Monday afternoon. It was a small burial; family and a few friends. By Wednesday, my mum and I travelled back to Lagos to “go on with our normal lives”. When my mum said that during the flight, I laughed, for the first time in 4 days. Ah, but it wasn’t my usual bubbly infectious laughter. It was a dry, sarcastic one. “I don’t know what a normal life without Kenny is”, I said to her. She didn’t say a word till we got to Lagos.

Back home, everyone somehow expected me to go on with my life like nothing happened. I plunged into depression and isolation. I didn’t go to work for a week until a superior called my phone and informed me that if I didn’t resume on the next working day, I might be fired. And so I resumed, but I wasn’t my usual cheerful self anymore. Along with the depression came extreme anger issues. I was angry at the world. A good man stopped to do a good deed and what did he get in return? Death. I was angry at my parents and friends for saying stupid stuff like, “Life goes on, get over it“, or “You need to get back out there.” I just wanted to be left alone honestly. At the slightest provocation, I’d flare and break things or yell at people. I even shoved my then pregnant sister roughly one day. I’d never have forgiven myself if anything happened to her or her baby.

About seven months after Kenny’s death, I finally gave in to my parents’ constant persuasion to see a therapist. After a couple of sessions, the man announced to me that I needed both psychiatric assessment and anger management therapy. This provoked me and I yelled all sorts of horrible things at the poor man. I stalked out of his office and never went back. That night I informed my parents that I wasn’t seeing anyone about my supposed issues anymore. “I’m perfectly fine”, I said to them as I walked out of the living room.

My performance at work was suffering terribly. I had gotten almost a dozen queries but there was no improvement on my part. I think the only reason I wasn’t fired was because everyone knew that Kenny’s death was hard on me. But it was beginning to become too difficult to excuse me. By this time, my anger issues were way worse. In my few moments of sanity, the fear of what I might do came to haunt me. I got so scared I started getting high to eliminate my fears. I smoked weed, popped pills, drank codeine, just anything to numb my thoughts, my fears, my pain.
I’ve lost a lot of weight and have started to look pale. In fact, just two days ago, when I went home and Mother saw me she burst into tears. I am a shadow of my old self.

This morning, I was sitting at my desk when I got a call from a superior’s secretary, informing me that he needed some files in two hours. Earlier on, I’d been informed that they would not be needed until three days time. I could feel myself getting angry. How would I finish 3 days’ worth of work in two hours? “Stupid bald man”, I muttered under my breath as I got to work.

Two hours later, I was nowhere near done when the secretary called again and informed me that I had to be at her boss’s office immediately. Angrily, I grabbed all the files I needed and headed to the 7th floor. As I approached the elevator, I saw one of those holier-than-thou colleagues that would have tried to give me a sermon I couldn’t care less about, so I diverted and took the stairs instead. The stress of climbing up 4 floors further aggravated my anger, and by the time I got into Mr Olaollu’s office I was visibly fuming.

Mr Olaollu was a short, bald man in his late forties who had always had a thing for me since I came directly under his supervision last year. He asked me to take a seat and hand over the files, which I did. After going through them, he started whining and complaining about my poor performance and how more hardworking youths out there were jobless and seeking. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose my temper through all his meaningless banter. I just blanked out on him and thought about happy times with Kenny.

Next thing, Mr Olaollu got up from his seat and came to stand right in front of me. He started caressing my hands and saying a lot of things.
“I’ll take care of you.”
“You’re a beautiful girl and I want you.”
“You have to give me a chance if you love your job.”
Before I could react, he put his lips on mine and tried to kiss me. I roughly shoved him off, but he came back even harder. I slapped him off again, and the struggle continued, till as a last resort I grabbed the first heavy object my eyes fell upon—a heavy stone sculpture sitting on his table—and swung.

I don’t know how I did it, but I know I picked it up and started hitting Mr Olaollu on the head.
He was screaming but nobody heard him (his office is sound proof because of the confidential discussions that take place in there.)
Oh, but those screams didn’t stop me. I hit him. I hit him again. I kept hitting him.
Then he stopped screaming, and I could see blood spurting out of his head, but I couldn’t stop hitting him. I hit him. I hit him again. I kept hitting him.

Suddenly, I snapped out of my trance-like state and my actions slowly registered in my head. Mr Olaollu was not moving. I leaned over to feel for a pulse and there was none.

Memories of Kenny’s death came rushing in and I had to sit down on the floor a while to steady myself. I still wonder how I acted so calmly after that. I got up, washed my hands in his washroom, kept the sculpture by his side, calmly walked out of his office, and informed his secretary that he didn’t want to be bothered at all until the end of day.
I then literally power walked down the stairs and straight to my car and drove home like I was being chased.

And now I’m writing this.

I’ve never been this confused in my life. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t even know why I’m writing you. Its just, if I do get arrested, I really need someone to know that I didn’t mean to do this.

I should go now. Thank you for listening. Its time to bear my cross. Remain a good person.

Yours,
Oreoluwa.

Posted by Delia.

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