I met Brendah back then in campus a year and a half ago. She was a quite girl with sparkling white eyes and dark lips. She looked like she was always lost in her thoughts and when she stared at you you’d see a fierce black woman who probably would not entertain your chitty chat.
But all that intimidating look faded the minute she’d open her mouth to speak. She has always been very articulate and does not mince her words, confidence in her speech her tone remains somewhere in between harsh and kind but being well schooled she will bring the point home without losing you somewhere in the vocabularies.
At the time I was running for the highest student government office in the University and I needed smart and hardworking individuals to spearhead my campaign. After having lunch with her two months before the campaign started I knew from the start that she would make a good member of my committee and when the day came I made her the Vice Chair for the main committee that would put me in the ‘Iron throne.’
Long story short the campaigns came and went and for another year I lost her in the midst of academics, personal life and work and when she resurfaced it felt like I had met a completely different person. She was now lost in her thoughts more than ever, she now had one friend who she walked around with as opposed to the four cohorts that hobnobbed around her when I first met her. She wore black all the time like a woman in mourning and was on a strict diet with the aim of cutting her tummy and pushing all that fat down to her bums. She was basically sad.
So I invited her for lunch so that we could catch up and tell tales of when we were young and what not. She then showed up at the agreed time and place, titivated in a black garb from head to toe. A black top and a fluffy jacket (Like the one for ‘Man’s not hot’) to cover her arms. Her black Adidas sneakers matched well with her black tight pants and her dark lips were covered in a black rich lipstick, the kind of black that glows and shows nothing but class.
The next hour was followed by conversations that were neither here nor there. We talked about everything, how tough the campaigns were, how good and bad life has been to us in the past year, academic progress and anything that would kill time before she got comfortable to get into the finer details.
“You know why I asked you to meet, right?” I finally cut the chase.
“No King Nduti, please bring me up to speed,” She jested.
“What’s up, you’re alright?” I queried.
She paused then her mind went on her trip and then her gaze moved away from my eyes and she looked away. Her once sparkling eyes were now a dark shade of dejection and deep down you’d see a woman who was heavy laden, hoping she’d find rest.
“I was 12 when my misery started, I am such a mess and I feel like I’m in a deep dark pit, its suffocating.”
“My mom used to travel a lot when we were kids. She’d leave for work and my brother and I would be left home with our dad. At the time we lived in a squeezed two bedroom house in Githurai 44, so my brother and I shared the room but we had different beds. When mom was a way something peculiar would happen, I wasn’t sure what was happening at the time..it was just crazy, something new to me that I couldn’t fathom.”
Like a rose in the morning sun she started opening up, revealing her most vulnerable past and pouring it all out because all she wanted is to be free, free from the ghosts that have been haunting her for a decade.
“At night I would hear someone coming in our room, I couldn’t tell if it was a he or a she but could tell it was an adult because I could feel the size of the hand. But since I was the only girl in the house I was sure it was a he. When mom left for work the only people in the house left were my younger brother, my cousin who was like ten years older than me and my dad. The person would come, lift the tacked in net and grope me, in that darkness I could feel his big hand touching me everywhere, and he would caress my tiny boobs then slide his gigantic hand down my panties and touch my parts then finger me – at the time I didn’t know what it all meant.”
At this point as she narrated her ordeal and where her life started heading south I am freaking out, I am hoping that the person doing all that was not her sweet father who before she opened up always spoke highly of him, a hero, a family man who wanted nothing but the best for his family.
“Did you tell anyone? Did you confront the person while he was doing that?” I ask worriedly.
“I was shaking like a leaf when it happened, every time it happened I just lay there, my heart beating fast like the formula 1 cars, scared to even turn to see if I could see his face. So I just laid there and closed my eyes, praying that he’d leave me alone. Then one day my cousin left and it was now just me, my younger brother and my dad. Deep down I hoped that it was my cousin with such mannerisms, I was relieved that he was now gone. So that night I slept feeling less afraid, but just when I was beginning to catch some sleep I heard footsteps approaching our room and then the door screaked open. The man approached my bed and did what he always did, I was in so much pain as his huge finger penetrated my parts but the most painful thing was knowing now for sure that it was my dad!”
My eyes lit up and I sat upright, my chest now hot and perspiration evident on my face. I couldn’t believe it, I just sat there, not knowing what to do. She wasn’t crying or showing any signs of tears. Her eyes now darted across the room and stuck on a TV that advertised content in Viusasa.
“Did you confront him?”
“No. I was so scared and disappointed to do that.” She continued.
“The next day I decided to end my nightmares by staying awake all night until he came. I wore a full neck and tucked it inside my sweatpants. I then drank a lot of coffee but really it wasn’t the coffee that kept me awake, it was the fear of facing reality. When I finally heard the footsteps I pretended I was asleep. He then started touching me like he always did, it was dark and quiet and even though his breath was labored I could still hear him breathing like a hungry tiger as he touched my chest. I then counted to three and turned abruptly, my tiny hand landing on her huge wrist. I instantly clasped at his hand and tightened my grip but he was stronger than me. He freed himself from my grasp, fleeing into darkness.
The following morning I couldn’t leave my room, I was scared and angry at my dad. After minutes of pondering whether to go to the living room I heard my mom speaking, she was finally home! They were laughing and giggling heartedly. I was so relieved that mom was around, I therefore decided that I would report him to mom so that he could explain his actions. I left my room prepared to name and shame the monster that had been caressing me and touching my parts when mom was away.
“Tell her what you did!” I barked. “Tell mom what you have been doing to me.”
I said, tears rolling down my face. Mom, who was in the kitchen making breakfast remained silent, she didn’t even come to the living room to find out what was going on, instead she chose to leave me deal with my father alone. When our eyes finally met I could see the guilt and shame in his eyes but he pretended that he didn’t know what I was talking about.”
‘You mean when I came to your room last night to cover you and make sure your net was well tucked in?’ My father replied, all the while pretending to be the best daddy in the whole wide world.
I couldn’t believe it.”
She stops, looks down in disappointment and uses her nails to wipe her watering eyes. At that point I could not even utter a word, I was devastated by the details of her story. I could only imagine how that had and has been for her so I reached for her hand and soothed her palms, I sympathized with my actions because I was afraid I would open my mouth and say the wrong thing which would open a can of bigger worms than the ones that came from the one she had opened.
“I tried to call my mom, I was so angry and as I stood there near the shoe rack I felt alone and betrayed by own parents. A father who would molest me at night and a mother who was so scared to confront him. I started throwing all the shoes in the rack at him, crying and wailing like a lakeside woman during their theatrical burial ceremonies then stormed out.
Later in the day I came home only to find a new phone from my dad and new headphones, things we couldn’t even afford at the time – Was it a coincidence that now my father could afford that?
“Your father apologizes for what you think happened last night, he was just there to make sure you guys were alright,” My Mom finally spoke to me.
I just went to my room and cried and from that day I decided to block the whole incident, and since then we have been living like nothing happened. I’m in a mess Nduti, I am lost and I feel like I’m sinking low and low into obscurity. At least that’s how it all started”
She finished with a sigh. I had even stopped taking notes, my palms were sweaty and my mind wandered about all the things that might be going through her head.
“Are you sure you are comfortable about me writing all this?”
“Yeah go for it, if it helps you win the Pulitzer award, hehe…”
I smile, not knowing if that’s a joke, sarcasm or she’s just not foreal.
“Anyway, I hope my story inspires someone to tell theirs because I know there are so many people who are suffering out there, hiding the deepest parts of their lives, things that eat them up every day. It helps talking to people, helps one to move on,” she added, giving me the greenlight.
Do you know anyone out there with a story they would like to share? Any story, sad or happy, but something that has affected them either positively or negatively and they would like to share put it out there? Hit me up at email@example.com and I will meet up to get your risto.
That was part one of the story, part two coming up next week.