Continued from the earlier episode…
TYPING: It happens in a flash…
My lids were blinking rapidly, slowly evolving the horrified expression I had on earlier into a vacant one. My breathing went ragged, my heart’s beating rate slowed, my pulse leapt to my ear as I stood rooted in my spot. Now, I could run, but if only I could move at all. I could run anywhere. Anywhere I wouldn’t hear Mandy’s persistent confession ringing in my ears along with the fading sounds of the party-people beneath.
As I watched Mandy bury her face into Celeste’s shoulder crying a puddle against the sleeve of the latter’s gold lame dress, I felt my world split into two planes: my present and past, as though I was having those surreal out of body experiences people so often related. And my brain journeyed to a memory—
I was raped. I was raped. I was raped—
A memory, until now, I thought I’d successfully obliterated.
TYPING: … One incident. One moment. A déjà vu experience. And old memories and fears you’d rather want to bury flood back into your system.
Flashback to the end of fashion week, a little more flash-forward and I was standing outside my lecture hall. In shorts.
There were only few times I wore shorts. One, when I felt like wearing shorts (——which was never). Two, when I felt like I didn’t want to wear shorts but had to wear shorts. As I tapped my feet against the cemented floor, crossed my arms over my chest in a ready-to-pounce action, whistling with effort like I was just playing cool, for the umpteenth time, I swept my gaze over my opponents.
Never mind they were beefy, taller, or were acting like they were too cool for school. I had an advantage over them, my shorts. And I wasn’t giving up till I sat front-row at the lecture today.
The sound of the lecturer announcing the end of his ongoing class could be equivalent to a traffic warden blasting his gun on ghetto streets. This was it, the School Gate Guide Survival. Everyone outside not excluding me, sprang for the gates. It was that moment I verified wearing shorts had been my best idea yet, because there was a crash of students pouring out of the lecture hall and others forcing their way in. Just like a game of rugby.
I quickly went on all fours and began crawling through lots of legs I had to pry apart.
I got through the gates of the hall and stood up. I cast my glance at the crowd behind me as I plied through, ignoring the shouts, the grunts and curses on my way. The students who would be sitting for the lecturer’s next class were far behind. I was the only candidate leading the throng that minute.
Just as I went on all fours again, surveying I could no longer push through unless I wanted a girl swinging her bag in my direction (a second time for accidentally burying my head into her cleavage. Accidentally), my phone rang. Shit——not a good cursory term to use when you were down on your knees.
Everyone who knew me would tell you I could never watch my phone ring and not answer it. With today’s social media, you’d be lucky if you ever got a phone call from someone. I had very old-fashioned ideas, so even if I was still fighting Vietnam (like now), I’d still answer my phone——
Ouch! A heel punctured my other hand as I reached the back pocket for my phone.
“Kobby.” It was Audrey, a very good old friend from senior high.
I looked ahead of me through loads of legs of all sizes. I could give crawling a break and speak to a very good old friend from senior high. Besides, I was ahead anyway, even if people did cross me, I’d still be privilege to sit on front-row. Or close enough to use my auto-correct on this lecturer. Between you and I, most of my lecturers didn’t have refined English.
“Hi, Audrey.” You could hear the smile in my voice despite the cacophony around me. Except Audrey wasn’t grateful for the lengths I was going to be a great host, down the line, I could hear a giant sob. OMG, all these years, I’d forgotten what a drama queen she could be. Spill milk, and she’d cry. And that wasn’t an exaggeration or a referral to an old idiom. It had been a recorded incident in our yearbook under the Most Likely to Have Dried out Their Tear Ducts before College (or Childbirth, for Unfortunate Circumstances) section. “Audrey, are you OK?” I bothered myself asking——
Then it happened.
Out of nowhere, I felt a heavy weight crushing my back——watch where you are going Mr.!——two hands came in front of me, squashing mine and accidentally sending my phone flying from my ear onto the floor. Oh no, I couldn’t miss Audrey, I made an attempt to grab back my phone before one of the surrounding heels went through its screen. But I froze to the spot. OMG, was this guy…?
Was I being mounted? The thought almost got me gagging with laughter——really, I cannot be that silly to think THAT——but I was sure I felt a stiff erection pressed tight against my shorts. My eyes went wide, fixed on my phone as I heard them. Those two grunts in my ear accompanied with a number of quick, whiplash, waist-action against my bottom, they were so insignificant you could have missed them. Should I give whoever it was a backhand? I was too late to decide, because when I turned to look over my shoulder, the crushing weight had relieved itself off my back. And staring right back at me were his sinister eyes gleaming with satisfaction.
I was too horrified to decide what to do by now. Had I just been… I did the only thing that came to mind in my scattered, befuddled head, I scrambled for my phone. “Audrey?” I placed the phone back on my ear in my little moment of terminal insanity.
“Kobby? Are you there? Did you hear me? I think I was raped.”
Her news jolted me into sitting position. I knew that moment I’d given up crawling. In a split second, I looked around. But I could see HIM nowhere. It was just me, and all the other crowd of students who were now easing through the lecture theatre. By this time, I wasn’t sure I wanted any front-row seats. Or I could even get any.
“Audrey,” I clasped my phone tight to take control over the situation before I was rendered feckless, “listen to me, you are not alone there. We would get through this, I promise we would.” As I said those words, I just wished I wasn’t partly consoling myself.
I was raped. I was raped. I was raped.
I jerked to my feet, and walked for the back-rows of the lecture hall. Nothing happened, I kept repeating to myself, nothing happened.
TYPING: How can you be sure you have been raped?
It was funny. So funny for me I had to repeatedly slap my forehead to stop myself from laughing. But yet, I really couldn’t stop the spontaneous shaking of my shoulders, the rumble of laughter that started in my belly and the loud explosion from my lips that followed. LOL! How could one be so sure they weren’t turning bonkers?
“Are you OK, Kobs?” Audrey who sat by me on my bed asked with concern as though I was the one who’d been abused. Only if she knew.
“Yes, yes,” I answered through raucous laughter, my shoulders wracking with mirth as I shielded my face from her view with my palms. “I’m really, OK. It’s just…”
“It’s all funny, isn’t it?” I impulsively nodded, though I didn’t think so, and there she went launching into her tale of un-consensual sex a second time.
So Audrey had a boyfriend back in Senior High. They’d actually been dating since their bloated bottoms were strapped with napkins. Dan wanted sex, Audrey wanted sex too. But she’d only do it if they said their vows and tied the knot. Well, Dan had other ideas. He waited till it was her birthday, which was yesterday and jumped her as a ‘gift’, convinced she’d enjoy it. (He said no one should turn twenty without having broken their cherry——I would have said he hadn’t met me, but that wouldn’t be accurate). Audrey was so confused the first thing she did was to jump on a bus and head here, because back in school I was the only guy girls mostly confided with. I just had this whole therapeutic listener thing going on like I did now, when Audrey was putting her worry across.
“I mean, there were no bushes, no guy in dark glasses, no screams. It was just me, my boyfriend, on my own bed.” She stated plaintively. “How could that qualify as rape?” She stood up from the bed and began to pace. “I did say no, so many times, do not get me wrong. But it was as though that was green card enough for him to just jump me and… bam, bam, bam. I think I was too concerned with him snapping my bed post after sometime.”
I was partly listening to her, partly caught up in my own plight. How really could you be sure you’ve been raped? Certainly, there must be an explanation somewhere. Could it be some cosmic cathartic way of taking away some of the victim’s pain by making me go through the same ordeal? Albeit, a supernatural kind, because I was sure this perpetrator was just a figment of my imagination.
Was there any formula to figure out if you’ve been raped or not? It was even still so hilarious. Me, being mounted! The idea!
TYPING: Does no, really mean, no?
I did figure out the only way I could get over my predicament was to help Audrey sort out hers. There was no way I was raped. And if I stopped being self-centred, I could send Audrey, who was currently residing in my hostel, packing to Accra, before I gave her the opportunity to cry over spilt milk. I could be very clumsy at times.
“If you’d ask me, I think she had it coming for her.” Maya replied after glugging down a glass of water along with some pills I figured out were contraceptives but I wasn’t going to ask. It was quite refreshing you weren’t aware your friend was minutes away from doing the nasty around the block when you thought she was only with you to enjoy some brunch.
“Despite the number of times she said no?” I inquired, wolfing down my fish and chips, gazing around the fast-food joint under a tent with other brunchers enjoying their meals alfresco too. “I thought if you ever said no, you meant negative.”
Maya shook her head fiercely as though I’d completely lost the plot. “Do you know the number of times I’ve said no to Raymond yet he still shags me and I feel like I’ve entered another planet? If he listened to me every time I said no, do you think I’d have as much sexual experience as I do now?”
Trust me, I almost got enraged, setting my organic orange juice down the table with a fierce bang. “But no, really, means no!”
“Not when you are not digging your nails into his shoulder and creating blood trails along his back, no.” She said pointedly. “Eighty per cent says she just laid limbo and watched him shag her while she said no. Really, how effective could that have been?”
I knew she had a point. But I didn’t want to believe making your childhood sweetheart bleed was the sure way to prevent him from having his way with you.——
“I am sick and tired of other women blaming female victims of rape.” Celeste, campus no. 1 personal stylist who happened to be my friend, and leader of the I Would Not Let Raymond Obeng Take Advantage of Me (Never! Never Again!) fan club (——the lengths she’d go to destroy my roommate’s sex life!), was quick to refute as she dusted blush on a customer’s face.
I’d called her knowing she’d offer a feminist view on the topic which would make Audrey look less black than Maya painted, and she’d directed me to meet with her at the Ghana Makeup Fair where she had a stall with other aspiring make-up artists giving free How To Select That Right Mineral Blush For Your Skin Tone tutorials to makeup enthusiasts whose attempts at applying blush always ended in their features resembling a murder scene.
“Kobs, no definitely means, no.” She affirmed as she worked on the lids of her customer. “Maya is so silly enough to not know that, because the only time she uses the word is when a guy wants to go down on her, because she’d rather want to have her way with him.” Word.
I nodded briskly as though this piece of information was useful in anyway. Celeste and Maya were sworn enemies because the former wanted to be more than a fuck-buddy to my roommate so she’d rather not have any relationship with him if it wasn’t serious whilst Maya would just accept anything my roommate offered even if he was screwing some other girls along with her (sometimes, while she watched). And I think I might have side-tracked Celeste to dwell on this hatred because currently she was calling Maya all other names synonymous to ‘loose’ under the sun. Including ‘slut’ and ‘Miley Cyrus’.
“Celeste,” I cut her off. “So you think that is rape?”
“Yes.” She answered brusquely. “It’s what is referred to as marital rape these days, given the couple is married. Since they are not married it’s kinda hard to put a label on it. But it’s definitely a kind of rape.”
“So now that we know, what do you advice she does?”
“Two words,” Celeste began with a nonchalant shrug I was dreading what would spill from her lips next, “law enforcement.”
TYPING: Should you bring law enforcement into ‘a kinda rape’?
“Wait, a sec, Audrey.” I pulled her outside the campus police station before she could walk in. “You are not allowed to do this. Don’t you think it’s kinda harsh?”
She shook her head naively as though the gravity of the question I’d asked was synonymous to inquiring if sanitary pads and diapers were the same. “C’mon, Kobs.
We are just coming to make enquiries. It’s no big deal. Besides, if they say Dan belongs to jail——“ she laughs humourlessly “——I really wouldn’t turn him in, would I?”
Hell. No fury. Woman scorned.
I just nodded on with a smile as though I believed her.
“Bwah-hahaha-bwah-hahaha-bwah-hahaha.” The policeman on duty guffawed after hearing Audrey’s tale. “So let me get this right. You are asking if we could do anything about your boyfriend, who happens to be your childhood sweetheart, who happens to be that same guy who’s promised to marry you and bang so hard till you give birth to your kids orally, who just raped you?”
OK. Perhaps Audrey had given off too much information. But this policeman had a sweet face it wasn’t so hard getting chatty with, even I must admit. Audrey and I exchanged glances, telepathically communicating to each other the police weren’t exactly friends of the civilian.
“No, missus.” He stated abruptly before launching into another bout of laughter. “It would be your word against his. We need evidence it was rape.”
From the corner of my eye, I noticed Audrey’s shoulders sag. This made me spin to her in confusion, wondering if she would have let Dan, her childhood sweetheart spend nights in jail being taught lessons by other inmates who were really in for sexual abuse on How To Really Rape A Girl If You Wanted To (——Bulletin 1: Tilt your ass towards me). But she turned away and walked out of the police station.
“Hey,” I run back to the counter. Something was bothering me. And I wanted to share it with someone. Someone who could give me suggestions. “So, um,” sweat began piling on my upper lip. “Have you had cases where guys have been raped on this campus?”
“Why,” his face took on a grim expression. “Any problem?”
“I really do not know.” I sighed exasperatingly, after minutes of chewing my lower lip. “I might have been raped by, um, a guy?”
“Oh, yeah, right. Did he cover up that hole when he was done?” Jesus! You’d think the building was about tumbling down. This policeman laughed so hard I noticed the pillars of the building quake. He was literally crying when he pulled out a paper and pen demanding I write that statement in case his colleagues came in from patrol and wanted something hilarious to end their moody day with.
I backed towards the door. This should be clear evidence nothing happened to me. I mean, look at how I’d made this policeman’s day when he should have been out there searching for my fictional perpetrator because this news angered him so. I wasn’t sexually abused. It didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t slapped around to stay calm as some hulk of a guy had their way with me. Or threatened if I told anyone I would die afterwards. I wasn’t raped.
“Hey,” The policeman called before I made an attempt to chase after Audrey. “Tell your friend, the only thing she could do to her boyfriend is to end it with him.” The most salient words which had come out of his mouth throughout the whole ordeal. I was beginning to think that despite everything, this man could be the wisest cop on the earth. Until he added, “And you, quit wearing provocative clothing.”
My shorts. Even I laughed on my way to Audrey.
TYPING: Sometimes it happens. Memories we plan on burying, surfacing to haunt us. We keep on idealizing our fears as a figment of our imagination. Thinking nothing awful really happened to us…
“Audrey, are you sure you want to do this?” I inquired as Audrey held my hand tight towards our destination. The skies were pitch-black and the trees ahead rustled in the breeze predicting a heavy downpour.
“Why wouldn’t I?” She answered bravely though I could tell by now she’d feel her heart breaking every second.
I pulled her to my chest once more. And this time, the tears began to spill, then the sobs. Before I knew it she was weeping all over my outfit. I didn’t mind she was a crier. At this moment, she needed a shoulder to cry on and I was happy it was mine. If you’d ask me it was kind of a relief because I knew the only way she could vent out her sorrow was to release the tears. Apparently, spilling milk only got her wiping your counter instead.
“Audrey?” She quickened her steps into the lecture hall at the voice of Dan who had travelled all the way from the capital to hear her verdict. He did look sorry from the bouquet he was holding. But I really wished he hadn’t brought anything to appease her. Because that would mean he knew he was guilty, and very aware he’d raped her.
I attempted to leave but Audrey held me in my position.
“Audrey, I am sorry.” Dan began, “I really didn’t think I was doing that to you——“
“Yes,” Audrey cut him off, sniffing, her eyes red from the earlier crying incident. “But it happened. And you did.”
“I’m sorry it happened——“
“But then it did.” She interrupted him again. “Dan, I want out. I really wish I could go on with this.” The tears were on free flow now. “But I cannot really spend a lifetime with someone who… yes, did that to me.”
All this talk was making me feel awkward. My throat was choking with emotion. I wanted to pull Audrey back out and make her reconsider. Or better, just hit rewind and forbid myself from feeding to her the police’s suggestion. Doing away with a relationship that had lasted for years was hard, even more so, when you think of the memories you’d created with this special person. But then I thought of the position Audrey was in.
“How could I live with someone who raped me?”
It was at this point I freed myself from Audrey’s hold. I couldn’t stand this anymore.
TYPING: …but sometimes we have to face our fears, to move on. So we could file these fears into a big drawer that says, “Been there, filed that.”
“It’s over, Dan.”
I heard Audrey over my shoulder as I excused myself to the lavatory.
I was going to wait for Audrey because I knew she needed a friend when all this was over. I needed to turn my damp shirt inside-out for her too.
TYPING: …Sometimes our fears can also sense our cowardice. And though we might not have the strength to face them…
The fluorescent bulbs were flickering as I entered the lavatory. In moments, the whole place would be dark, then zing, lights on, lights out again. You could hear the dripping sounds of the showers in the stalls. A burst pipe was making a spiff sound in the background also, spraying water from one corner of the room.
I threaded on the tiled floor with care so that nothing seeped into my sandals because if anything did——eek! I had heard stories where students were so in a hurry to piss they eased themselves in these puddles.
I stood to excrete all my tension away in the urine stall. The lights flickered on and off so many times as I wondered how Audrey’s life was going to be now that she was losing a part of her who’d been around almost all the years of her life. More importantly, I wondered how Audrey would be able to pick up the pieces and get on with her (sex) life.
TYPING: … they face us.
I shrugged, shaking all the urine out of my system. Audrey was a big girl now. And even if she couldn’t handle it, I would always be there for her.
Zing, zing, flicker on.
I sensed a presence as I zipped up my flap.
He was dark. He was tall. His eyes were as sinister as I remembered.
My perpetrator. No figment of my imagination. This close to me. Easing himself like any other real being did as he kept his steely gaze on me.
And I would have noticed him earlier if I hadn’t been too concerned about my shrinking penis size.
“Aaaarrrgh!” My loud piercing scream.
TYPING: ... What would we do if our darkest fears face us instead?
Author’s Note: Catch Sex and The City Campus every Saturday on this blog. I’m grateful for all your comments and your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you. Love you.
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