***Continuation from part I***
I was at such a loss for words the only thing that I could croak out was, “ Ar-Armed Robbers?”
She collapsed in uncontrollable sobs as she narrated the entire sordid affair to me. I could barely make out what she was saying because she was crying so much. There had been an argument about something…she may have said car or hat, but that was hardly important. Her husband had bought the Car/Hat for one of his relatives and when she expressed her disapproval of this move, he had proceeded to turn her into a punching bag. She had managed to escape and had in the security guard’s quarters till she was able to get a phone and call me.
I didn’t know what to believe. My eyes or my ears. It was hard to reconcile this mess of a person with the proud arrogant co-worker whose voice made my blood boil. It surprised me how sad I found the whole scenario. I tried to hug her, to console her. I offered to drive her to a hospital to get her head stitched. She refused, saying she didn’t want anyone to see her that way. It was just like Funto to retain some of that pride even in such a wretched situation. But it broke my heart to see how she had been reduced to this. I had to keep myself from crying as she told me how she had to hide in the guard’s toilet till her husband left for work that day then snuck back into the house with a spare key. I asked her about the kids and she said they had spent the weekend at her mum’s. Thank God! I tried to convince her to go to a hospital but she still wouldn’t budge so I had no option but to tend to her wounds myself. I had to make do with meager supplies from her first aid kit but soon I had managed to stem the bleeding from her forehead.
Just then there was a knock on the door. We both froze.
I glanced quickly at Funto and I could see the fear in her eyes mirrored mine. There was no way the two of us could handle her husband if he decided to get violent again. To make matters worse, I’m really small compared to her so if he had succeeded in making her look like she had been hit by a Mack truck, I would be lucky if anyone would be able to identify my remains.
I was about to suggest climbing down the building through a window when the knock was repeated, followed this time by a female voice. “Funto! Mayowa! Is anyone home?”
You could hear the loud sigh of relief from Funto and I. She quickly opened the door to let in her mother who came in with her three kids in tow. Her mother was a plump middle-aged woman with a pleasant sort of smile that must have made her one of the most liked mothers in her neighborhood. But her smile immediately vanished when she took a look at her daughter. She let out a loud exclamation in heavily accented Yoruba. I decided it was best to take the kids into the bedroom to spare them the drama. By the time I returned, the two women were in the middle of a small argument.
“Have you gone crazy? Eh, Omo mi? You want to spend the night in this house so Mayowa can come back and finish what he started?”, her mother was asking.
“But I can’t leave the kids”, she started to protest.
“Of course not. They will come with us”
“Mami, I can’t go….it..It’s okay. It’s my..my fault. I annoyed him”, she said, sounding strangely like a scared little girl. At this point, her mother looked so angry, I feared she would actually slap her so I quickly stepped in and started to appeal to both of them. Finally, we concluded that it would be best if her mother stayed over that night. The warm motherly look I observed earlier had been replaced by a fiercely protectiveness that any mother has when the safety of her child is in question.
I got up to leave and she started to thank me, heaping traditional blessings on me as if I were some super-hero who had come to her daughter’s aid. Funto was silent as she led me to the door but once I stepped out, she took my hands in hers with tears brimming in her eyes and she whispered, “ Th..Thank you”
“P..Please…don’t,” she started to say but I cut her short.
“I won’t tell anyone. Don’t worry”.
***To be continued***