By John Obiayo
Her father had called that day, something he never did. At least not without her sending a PLEASE CALL ME. This should have been a sign, a sign to tell her that what awaited ahead was pure bad luck. They talked for seconds. She replied with yes, no and a sawa here and there. Seemed like she was being used to fill a questionnaire.
She hung up and got back to picking the outfit she was going to don for the Fresher’s Bash. Mauryn, her friend was helping her choose. Not helping really but she was the one calling the shots. So she was rather making decisions for her. July felt really happy. She was finally going to attend a bash. University actually did make dreams come true. Miles away from her parents’ watchful eyes. To her the campus grounds bragged of freedom. No one asking her where she was or what she was doing with whom. Parents, she thought as she turned on the showers. They’re always concerned with stuff that don’t really concern them. The cold water brought her back to the moment. She tossed aside the misguided parental thoughts.
Minutes later she came out of the shower to find Mauryn on her phone.
“What’s with you?” She asked in pretense anger
“I’m almost done.” Mauryn replied handing her the phone.
She had updated her WhatsApp status. The two were like sisters. Her status now read “Everything isn’t fun without alcohol.” Beside that was champagne bottle emojis.
July laughed saying aki wewe ni mbaya.
They got ready to leave. The high heels, micro-mini skirt, crop top. Finished off with a Marvin embedded with the letters TWERK. A beacon of perfection she was.
Whispers of kina Mauryn wamefika filled the place when they got to the venue. They danced for a while before Mauryn went to hump with some guy like they did in the Jamaican songs. July was happy to be there. She sat and moved her body to the beats
Then came the niaje msupa greeting. In his hand was a party cup held out towards her. She took it halfheartedly and answered with apoa. She had never taken liquor before. But she remembered her status; everything isn’t fun without alcohol. So she gulped it. They had another round of drinks and danced.
The world started spinning all around her. Her knees knocked on each other and she leaned on him for support. The night was full of possibilities. She remembered walking away from the sound of the banging speakers.
“Tunaenda” July asked vaguely.
“Eeh” He replied with a mock laughter.
Her “tunaenda“ was actually a question. But the alcohol in her system made it sound like a statement. July didn’t want to go with him. She didn’t. But there she was, a sheep being led to the slaughter. Her systems jumbled up,sending wrong signals.
Falling on the bed was a relief. A relief that did not last long as she felt her legs being parted.
Minutes later he was breathing heavily beside her. July’s brains screamed but her body just lay there. The next morning she woke up to the stench of marijuana. She couldn’t remember his name. She moved. The headache. The pain. A tear fell.
She walked back to school. The regrets. The tears she held back. The hate she had for her body that reeked of semen and blood. Her phone rang when she got to the hostel, Mauryn. She buried her head in the pillow and let the tears fall free…
“I did not consent.” She told herself. Then she missed them, her parents.