The Four Walls
I sat on my bed looking at the ceiling, tears streaming down my face. I did not keep track but I think I cried for at least an hour.
I had just received news about the death of a childhood friend that was more like a sister than a friend, she died in an accident.
A week earlier, we had lunch at a restaurant in Victoria island, she had just come back from Spain; Another work trip. Olasumbo was a fashion photographer that traveled around the world especially during fashion week.
She was rarely home, so full of life and exuberant. She could light up a room with her smile and had a body with that had men walking into walls. She worked hard for that body, so she Flaunted it every chance she got.
She talked about a guy she met on her work trip, it was a two week fling. We had great sex, I took great photos of him, oh and his french is so sexy.
French?. Isn’t he Spanish?. No he is French. il a fait l’amour avec sa bouche et m’a mangé comme si sa vie en dépendait.
Abeg, Wetin that one mean? , I asked. She had a big smile on her face and replied that it was a mystery for me to discover.
After lunch, we raided a newly hairtique on Ajose Adeogun. Ooh! You should get that Derin, wear it with a sexy underwear and go visit your man!.
I laughed off her comments, we paid for the wigs, said our goodbyes, got into our cars and drove off.
Now, she is dead, gone to never return again, apparently her car had collided with a carelessly parked truck on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, it was late and dark and she was probably tipsy or tired.
Heck, it was a sad way to leave this earth, her brother called me to inform me that the funeral is on Thursday.
I got roused out of my musings by a loud bang. It was followed by a pathetic groan, then muffled tears. I rolled my eyes and sighed.
This has become routine, every Saturday, Amaka’s boyfriend turns her into a punch bag, he practices his fist on her face and body. And she willingly takes it.
I intervened once and was called out by Amaka herself, she told me that her private life is hers and hers alone. I advised her to get the guy out of her life as he would kill her one day. She hissed and told me to bug off.
Last week, i was parking my car when I saw Amaka walk up to me. Hello Derin, how are you, I got out of my car and exchanged pleasantries with her, the first thing I noticed was the black eye and the bruises around her cheeks.
I want to say that I am really sorry for being rude to you the other day, I was just so ashamed.
I stopped her short and invited her inside my apartment. Would you like some juice or water?.
No thank you, I’m alright, I love your apartment, the artwork is impeccable.
I smiled as I took off my shoes, thank you Amaka, so what did you want to talk about?.
Derin, I’m tired of my boyfriend, I tried to break up several times but he keeps coming back, he shows up at my office and he is always calling me.
Did you try reporting him to the police?.
She laughed. Police! Police! Derin, those people do not care, I did several times, but he bribed them the last time. See ehn, I am tired and at the end of my wits. I don’t know what to do anymore.
Okay, I’m sorry about your experiences, I have a friend that works with an NGO that deals with domestic violence, I will talk to her for you.
Ah no o! Please I don’t Want to end up on twitter or Instablog9ja , I would rather keep this private and I don’t Trust NGOs.
Don’t worry, they are very private and you will be fine and Amaka, you have nothing to be ashamed of, you are a victim of a man that has no morals. We discussed about the compound and she said her goodbyes.
Two days later, I knocked on Amaka’s door to give her the number of Funmilayo, my friend with the domestic violence team.
The door opened. Hi Amaka, how are you doing?.
She was dressed in a flimsy lingerie and had a glint in her eyes, her douchebag of a Boyfriend was standing by the fridge looking at us.
Ah Derin, how u Dey?. I’m good, I answered. I got that number for you, the number of the “caterer”, do you remember? The one we talked about a while ago.
She moved closer to me and told me that they reconciled and he promised that he has changed and would never touch her again. So she would not be needing the number anymore.
I looked at her and said my good nights, walked to my door. A week later, in the middle of the nights, I heard the beatings again. She avoided me since then.
Now every time I hear pitiful cries, I simply increase the volume of my tv and mind my business. The beating continued for a couple of minutes, then I heard the door open and close with a loud bang. Seconds later, I heard the engine of a car.
He was gone. I dragged myself off my bed and walked into my bathroom, turned on the tap and was about to step into the tub when I heard two loud bangs. It sounded like a gunshot, then everywhere went silent.
Derin ran out of the bathroom, and ran to the door, when she opened the door of her apartment, a horrific scene played right in front of her.
Amaka had a gun in her hand and it was pointed at her boyfriend. He was lying on the floor by the stairs, bleeding out. One final click and it was clear that he was dead, a shot to the chest just below the heart.
Then as if she was in a trance, she watched Amaka put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger, she fell to the ground in a loud thud, she laid there lifeless, her eyes were cold and strange.
Derin screamed and ran towards Amaka’s body, she was gone, her eyes spoke of the horror and pain she endured.
noun: death; plural noun: deaths
the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.
Some of the neighbors on the other side of the building had rushed in without Derin realizing. She sat there and held Amaka’s body, screaming and crying.
One week later, Derin stood in front of the gate as she watched Amaka’s sister pack her stuff into the moving vehicle, she looked so forlorn and drained.
Shit! This has to be the worst month, she had just lost her childhood friend to an accident and now her neighbor died in a senseless way. She could have stopped it, she could have pushed harder. She should have tried to be more empathetic instead of minding her business.
Every time she walked past Amaka, she could have tried to be more of a friend, maybe smiled better or even try to start a chat.
She walked the stairs into her apartment, walking into the kitchen , she walked to her cabinet and poured herself a shot of Jameson.
She made her way quietly to her couch, sat down, she looked around the room and realized that many things had happened in this room.
She made love to the love of her life. He had broken up with her because to him, she was too cold. She had celebrated promotions at work. She lost her job. She had discovered that she could turn her love for art into a career all in this same room.
She had cried so many nights and celebrated a lot all in this room, these four walls probably know a lot about her scars than anyone does.
The four walls could tell more about her than anyone. She wondered If she questioned the walls in Amaka’s apartment about what had happened that unfortunate night, would it show her the build up ,also when and how Amaka arrived to that decision that Death was the only way out.
No one really knows what happened that night, but she was informed that Amaka was also with child when she took her life. What really pushed her to that?.
Wasn’t the fact that she was having a baby enough for her to fight for more?. Why did she end it?. What transpired?.
Derin would never know, that’s a secret Amaka took to her grave.
She stood up and walked to her window, looking out at the houses in view, lights turned on. She wondered what could be going on behind those walls.
I really hope only good things; she murmured to herself, but life is funny, life is tough and forever a mystery.
The next door neighbor could be at the edge of committing suicide, or could be getting raped by a date. A lot goes on behind the walls. But how do you break it down?.
How do you let someone in or try hard to be let in?.
Life is hard and tough but you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. You shouldn’t also get to the verge that convinces you that taking your own life is the only freedom.
Is there really freedom in death ?.