Broken Pieces Of Me
Shadows from the past . . . A story of misplaced love.
She could feel Moses staring at her lips as she told him off yet again. “- And could you look into my eyes as I’m talking to you!” She was getting nervous; she couldn’t stand it whenever he looked at her that way.
He shifted his eyes away from her lips and looked into eyes as she had told him to. “I’m sorry. I- I just can’t help myself. You’re an extremely beautiful person. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but I mean it.”
Victoria folded her arms and eyed him. “I’m still not interested in you. Don’t you have any shame coming here to meet me?”
He moved closer to her, unperturbed by her last words. Victoria looked at him in shock. She unfolded her arms . . . slowly stepping back from him and bumped into one of the love-seats she had as furniture for her small living-room. She placed her hands on it and steadied herself. The scent of his cologne filling her senses and going straight to her head. All of a sudden she wanted him to hold her and kiss her. I’m not thinking straight . . . “Moses, what are you doing?” She whispered.
He moved his hand to her head and massaged her short afro with his strong hands. The same hands that had touched her on different occasions. The hands that had wiped away so many of the tears while at the same time causing them. Victoria moved away from him and walked over to the refrigerator that stood at a far corner. Her back to him, she told him to get out of her one-bedroom apartment.
“Why are you doing this Victoria? Why are you being so stubborn? I know you love me. I know you care about me.”
Victoria shook her head vehemently, knowing he was right but not wanting to believe it. She didn’t want to love him. “Moses go back to your wife and leave me alone. Get out of my house!”
Victoria could sense him moving close to her. He placed his warm hands on her shoulders and rubbed it gently. “It’s you I want Victoria. Only you.”
That was all that she wanted to hear, as she fell into his arms yet again for another night. He had failed to declare his undying love for her and tell her he would leave his wife for her, but the thought of knowing that he wanted her, and only her at that moment, had made her break the walls she had put up.
It was dark, but not literally dark. It was just her world; filled with ups and downs and terrible mishaps that she had no control over. Victoria opened her eyes and reached out to her phone beside her bed. It was a quarter past seven. She dropped the phone and moved her arm to the other side of the bed, looking for someone she knew wasn’t there any-more.There was a part of her that she never wanted to remember.
Victoria sat up and rubbed her eyes as tears filled them once again just like every other day when she woke up in the morning to discover he wasn’t there any-more. Victoria’s palms balled up into fists as rage filled her. Why was she so weak? Why were her defences so low? Why was she so cheap? Even as she questioned herself, she already knew the answers.
She swung her legs off her bed to the ground with force and got up from the bed. “The next time he comes I would send him away!” She said to herself. “I can’t keep doing this.”
You know you can’t say no. You’re good for nothing! The only way you would be happy with yourself is when he comes back. That’s the only happiness you deserve. That’s the only love you would ever get in this lifetime.
Victoria shook her head at the thoughts and yet found herself agreeing to them. She made her way to her bathroom, which had a shower curtain as a door. The long shower was needed to scrub away the feel of his touch from her body . . . No matter how much she loved them. . .
Two years ago, she had met Moses Ekafor at a friend’s party. She had been disillusioned by his rugged handsomeness. The aura of confidence he carried about him that drew her to him. Victoria could feel her insides warm up when he looked at her. The first thing she had done was check his fingers for any indication of a ring. There had been none. She guessed him to be in his early forties or late thirties. Either way she didn’t care. He was single.
Victoria had mingled with a few people while they played the cat and mouse game with each other, eyeing each other on different occasions. She wondered when he would finally approach her. Then he had.
“Good evening.” A baritone voice said behind her.
She had turned around slowly to meet his laughing eyes on her. His handsome face intimidating her now that they were a few inches apart. “Good evening sir.”
He had chuckled at the sir bit. “Please don’t call me sir. It makes me appear to be old. I’m Moses and you are?”
He nodded. “The name fits the face. I couldn’t help but notice you were staring in my direction, and why wouldn’t I notice. You’re a gorgeous woman.”
Victoria looked down at her sweaty can drink in embarrassment, she didn’t know how to take his compliment. “Elm, thank you.”
“So how do you know the celebrant?” He had asked and cocked his head towards the old man celebrating his fiftieth birthday.
“His daughter is my friend.”
Moses raised his brow. “Really?” He raised his glass of what Victoria thought to probably be beer. “That’s good. You attend the same school?”
Victoria nodded. She was too shy to speak.
“So what are you studying? You look like an arty person . . .”
Victoria chuckled. “Dentistry.”
He looked shocked and it had pleased her at the time, she had never guessed it was all a façade. “Really? That’s awesome.” He looked at his watch then and said he had to leave. He reached into his trouser-pocket and brought out his wallet and from it his card. “I want you to give me a call. I have a friend who could help you out with a job. It’s best you start looking into one now before more dentists are pumped into the labour market.” She had seen sense in what he had said and thought him considerate to help her out. That was how their rendezvous had started. . .
Victoria got out of the bathroom and wrapped her pink towel around her small body. Her parents never showed her what it felt like to be loved. She never knew what love was meant to be like . . . Only what she was given. Why was she weak? ‘cause she loved him. Why were her defences low? ‘cause she didn’t want to lose his affection for her. Why was she cheap? ‘cause she felt no one else would want her. Her story went back . . . Way back . . .
There was blood everywhere and Kayode couldn’t tell if it was more of his blood or the woman laying unconscious on the floor. What had he done? He raised his hand to touch his head but stopped short. He didn’t want any blood stains on his head. The sight of blood irritated him, but then it made him know that the pain he meant to inflict had been felt.
“Theresa please wake up. Please . . .” He pleaded. He thought fast on what he would do. He rushed to the bathroom and washed his hands clean of the blood. His knuckles hurt as he scrubbed off the blood. Next thing he did was to hurry to the bedroom and pick her off the floor. He heard her moan and gave up a sigh of relief.
“Thank God,” He whispered and rushed down the stairs to his car. He drove like a mad man to the nearest hospital. Thankfully, there were few people in the waiting room so she was attended to almost immediately.
“What happened to her sir?” One of the nurses asked later on, after Theresa had been admitted.
“Elm, sh- she fell down the stairs.” He fabricated. “There was no water in the building and she had gone down to fetch some . . . People had poured water on the stairs and it was too dark for her to see . . .”
The nurse nodded sadly. “I’m sure it must be all this government houses sha. Lord have mercy . . . I’m sorry sir. She has a broken leg and hand, and has several cuts on her face, as well as a large bruise on her cheek.”
Kayode grimaced. The nurse sounded like she was reading out a grocery list. “Would she be okay?”
The nurse smiled at him then. “Yes, sir. She would be fine.”
Kayode nodded and let out a breath in relief. He thanked the nurse and made his way out of the hospital. He couldn’t go to meet her. Years back he had vowed to himself to never be the man his father was. To never raise his hand to a woman . . . But all his vows had been for nothing. He couldn’t control himself. Not even with his fiancée. He needed help. He wanted help.
Not looking at where he was going, he bumped into a figure. “I’m so-” His words cut short when he saw who it was he had unfortunately bumped into.
It was raining heavily when Tomike woke up that late afternoon. She sat up and rubbed her eyes; a yawn escaping her lips. The weavon on her head suddenly itchy and her hand flew to it almost immediately; her long natural nails working to give some relief.
“I don’t want to go to work . . .” She groaned.
Letting her head fall back on the soft pillow, she pulled her duvet closer to her body. The romantic mixture of cold, warmth and the sounds of rain gave her a tingling sensation and yearn for a hot cup of Milo. She opted to close her eyes and let the loving arms of sleep whisk her away again to la-la land when she heard her mother shout her name then. Oh no . . .
Tomike pulled the covers over her head. She wanted so badly to pretend that she was asleep, but her mother knew her voice could even wake the dead up!
“Yes mum!” She yelled back.
“Are you not going to work again? Abi what happened?”
“I’m going ma.” Tomike knew that was the end of her second round of sleep. She grudgingly got up, shivering from the cold. The tiles were cold as she placed her feet on them and walked slowly to the bathroom outside her room. The smell of freshly cooked Egusi soup greeted her nostrils as she got to the passage way. Her stomach grumbled. Why is it when I’m going out that they cooked all the delicacies? She frowned. Though, if I eat Eba right now I would want to sleep. . . Maybe I would buy something from KFC on my way to work.
That decided, Tomike filled up the bucket in the bath with both hot and cold water and brushed her teeth. It didn’t take long for her to finish up in the bathroom. Already having in mind what she wanted to wear; a Jean trouser, a Polo shirt, and a thick cardigan to shield the cold from her luscious bod, she quickly got dressed.
After buying burger, fries, chicken and Pepsi, she headed over to work. The traffic was killing and she was grateful to God that she left the time she did, or she would be late for her show.
As Tomike drove into the compound she had finalised what discussion she would bring up in the next hour. One thing she had learnt about being a radio presenter was to be natural, not to force someone you were not. The listeners wanted topics and someone they could relate to. They also wanted an avenue to express themselves. In all? The listener’s expectations had to be met! And so far, she had done that.
“Good evening everyone!” She shouted over the sounds of Stella’s high-pitched voice as she walked in through the thick wooden doors into the cold room. “Chai! You people wicked o! You guys aren’t cold or what?”
Ade, the secretary and ‘big mummy’ in the studio, smiled. “I no no o! You’ve forgotten all these people are thick-skinned. See me sef as I dey wear winter coat.” She pointed to the black windbreaker she had on.
Tomike chuckled. This was her family. The place where she found pleasure . . . Doing what she loved the most. Talking! She was mostly a quiet person when she was much younger, as her mother loved to point out whenever she was bragging about her ‘radio presenter daughter’. ‘You know she used to be so quiet when she was small. She’s gradually becoming more like me. A strong and assertive woman who is able to speak her mind regardless of other people’s opinions.’
Tomike shook her head at the thought as she moved to the break-room and got a seat, bringing out her oily packs of food and smacking her lips together in anticipation.
“TB! See how you just hide yourself for one corner!” George bellowed out as his big frame walked towards her. His large tummy running ahead of him.
“Geordie, I’m starving abeg.”
“I figured. What plans do you have for us tonight?” He asked and took a seat in-front of her. His cologne mingling with the aroma of her food.
She shrugged as she bit into her cheese burger. “You would have to wait and see. Just flow with me . . .”
“Good evening Lagos, this is Tomike Bello! The weather is so cold and beautiful. I feel like snuggling . . . Snuggling with my pillow in my bed. I know I had you guys there. You expected me to say I would love to cuddle with my boyfriend, but I am still very much single-”
“Single and searching ooo!” George cut in from the control room and Tomike snickered.
“Come on! You see, that’s what I don’t get. Why is it that everyone expects us to have a man in this kind of weather? Why do they say a weather for two?”
“Only married people like me know why.” George spoke into the mic and winked at her.
She smiled at him. “Na so o! I thought you would have been satisfied with the fat in your body. But wait first Geordie . . . On a serious note. All this talk on two and all . . . We are implying that a man or woman needs a significant other to enjoy life!”
“Baby that’s the essence nau. God said ‘and the two shall become one’. He created us for companionship, even with Him.”
Tomike shook her head. This man sha! Why does he have to bring God into it?
“Geordie don’t twist this. You know in what context I’m talking about. Do we women really need a man to define us? I mean we aren’t defined by our marital status right? Guys please let’s talk about this. A friend of mine graduated just last week and I’m asking what next, na so she talk say na marriage. I mean . . . what’s going on?”
George cleared his throat. “Hmm . . . Okay let’s have everyone think about that as we take this break with a song from Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking Out Loud’.”
When they were off the air George came out of the control room to stand by her side. He looked down at Tomike and smiled. “The way you’re going . . . It makes me wonder if you ever want to marry.”
At twenty-four she felt her life was just starting. She had a lot she wanted to accomplish before the thought of settling down could even sow a seed in her mind. Was that a bad thing?
Tomike smiled. “Of-course I do . . . Eventually.”
It was an art. It was a family thing . . . A way of life. It was justifiable and needed no explanation whatsoever. His father had done it, so why couldn’t he? Moses popped his collar and adjusted his tie. Victoria was his special girl. She was the most broken of his concubines, making her easy to deceive. She believed his lies, she wanted his touch . . . She wanted him.
“What are you thinking about?” Linda asked, breaking into his thoughts. She was seven months pregnant and lazy. Moses scoffed. It was most especially in this period that he found himself wanting to be adventurous.
“Nothing much dear. I have a presentation this morning and I’m so sure I’m going to nail it.”
“I’m sure you will,” she got up from their queen-sized bed and waddled towards him. “After all, you spent most of the night at work preparing it.”
Her tone wasn’t sarcastic, so he knew she knew nothing of his real whereabouts. Linda placed her hand on his broad shoulders and massaged softly. Moses raised his brow. He knew what she wanted, but he wasn’t interested. He was going to be late for work. He turned around and faced her; over the few months of pregnancy, her slim face had become rounder. It wasn’t a look he particularly liked. He bent his head a bit and pressed his lips against her forehead and smiled down at her.
“I love you baby. I’ve got to go to work now, probably when I get back.”
Her eyes lit up in excitement at the promise. “Okay. . .”
He had learnt a lot of things from his late father. He had learnt to always keep the wife happy regardless of how you felt towards her. He had learnt to keep his mistresses out of the house and also take care of them so there wouldn’t be any confrontations with his wife. He had learnt one woman could never be enough to satisfy a man.
Work had been great! His presentation had gone on smoothly and he was sure his company was going to be promoting him sooner than expected. He wanted to celebrate with the boys, but a disconcerting call disrupted his plans. His sister had been admitted to the hospital. He rushed down to the hospital. His mother was already there, her eyes red from crying.
“Mama what happened?”
Tears began to fall down her cheeks again. Moses looked on, impatiently, as she cleaned the tears away with her wrapper. The same wrapper he had bought her for her birthday some months back. “Mama talk nau!”
“Theresa is badly injured. The doctor said she has lost a baby . . . That she won’t be able to bear children again. . . “ The tears came faster this time. Moses was stunned.
The story continues . . .