BED OF TETHERS

The persistent soft knock on the window brought me out of dream land. My foggy brain took a minute longer than normal to register that the sound that woke me was a
knock on the window. I yawned and stretched on the bed lazily before the soft knock came again. My head jerked instinctively to the direction of the noise and I wondered what could be making the noise. A quick look at my bedside clock told me it was 1:47 am. Alarm bells went off in my head and I jumped
off from the bed as my thoughts flew to a possible burglary.

The knock came again, this time a bit harder and I tiptoed to the window. I heard the soft hissing sound of Kasali’s voice. “Bimpe open the window, it is me Kasali.” My heart fluttered in my chest and I quickly unlatched the window from the hook to let him in before going quickly to my bedroom door to lock it. He was standing there looking just as handsome as when I had last seen him which was the day before.

“What are you doing here Kasali, have you gone insane?” I whispered trying to control the excited tremor in my voice. If my father met Kasali in my room, going berserk would not
begin to describe the way he would react. Father could not stand Kasali because he was a welder’s son and so father considered him beneath me, a university undergraduate. If only father knew that despite Kasali’s lack of tertiary education, he was a smart and caring young man with a good heart. But, what did father know about love? Absolutely nothing!

Kasali stood there unsure of what to do and I realized my questions must have left him unsure of himself. I went to him and hugged him, forgetting we were under my father’s roof and that he had climbed a three storey building just to come see me. I shuddered when my mind went to the thought of him falling off while climbing. He mistook my shaking for cold and wrapped his arms tightly around. I sagged into him
and let him hold me close. No words were exchanged as we held each other close with no other witness but the moon far up in the sky, its light rays peeking into my room to catch a
glimpse of our forbidden affair. I took his hand and led him to my bed, as we began to converse in hushed whispers.

Kasali was his witty and humourous self and for a moment I forgot myself and laughed out aloud at something he said. My heart stopped in my chest as I realized what I had done and we
both stood stoic still, waiting for footsteps to announce that we had been found out but nothing happened. After about five minutes of waiting in dreaded silence for the impending
doom with nothing happening, we continued our conversation and loving embraces. “Open the door this minute Bimpe!” Father’s booming voice
came from the other side as a loud rap followed by a banging sounded on my bedroom door. Kasali and I sprung apart and I could see the fear on his face. He looked around the room
desperately before running for the still opened window even as I made for the door. I paused to make sure Kasali was out of the window before I opened the door. Father barged into the room, looking like he was ready to commit murder, his whole body shaking with rage. “Where is he? Where is the bastard?” Without waiting for an answer, his palm connected with my cheek and whatever answer I had been about to give died on my lips. He looked around the room again and this time his eyes caught the open window. He headed straight to it. “God help me and you if I catch you riffraff. Oloriburuku, omo ale,” father’s voice sounded louder than ever in the silent
night. His voice must have frightened Kasali as I heard Kasali’s scream even as mother came into the room.
Together we rushed to father’s side by the window to see what had happened.

Kasali lay on the ground below, sprawled on the floor unconsciously with his life oozing out of him. Father reeled from the window obviously still angry and landed another slap on my face, “I hope he is dead!” With that he stomped out of the room like an angry bull while I slumped to the floor crying and praying Kasali would be alright.
I heard father order Akin to make sure all the doors and windows were locked to prevent silly educated girls and their
more foolish lovers while he instructed mother to stay with me to ensure I did not do anything stupid like climb out a
window like Kasali had done. I shut my bedroom door to conceal my shame from Akin’s probing eyes which held a
mix of pity and curiosity in them. The tears flowed down my cheeks unhindered but I dared not cry out so I sobbed into my pillow.

Father’s chiding hurt badly and at that moment, I was torn between not knowing the fate of my lover and having provoked father to such fury. Mother sat looking at me without saying a thing in the characteristic manner that defined her. She dared not contradict father even if her heart
went to Kasali as I could tell it did judging from he frequent glances at the window. After about ten minutes of sobbing, my tears abated and turned into soft sobs. I tried to muffle the sounds with the edge of my wrapper so as not to arouse father’s anger again if he heard me crying. I wanted to go see
that Kasali was well. I loved him, father or anybody else could not change that. He is my life, I thought to myself.
Thoughts of elopement crossed my mind but then I was scared of missing out on my father’s blessing and having to do without mother’s grace. That part of my brain that was still functioning well with reason held me back.
The led light of my phone suddenly caught my attention and I rushed to the dresser. Grabbing the phone, my hands shook as I saw it was a text message from Kasali. The phone
clattered to the ground in my hurry to input the pin and I swore under my breath as I picked it up and tried to still my shaking hands. My misted eyes scanned the text “I cannot do this anymore.” That was all it said but it was enough to send my thoughts spinning like a whirlwind. I could not understand what it meant. “I cannot do this anymore?” Many thought passed through my mind; it could mean a million and one things. Could this mean he was leaving me? Was he tired of the hide and seek games and
finally ready to face father square on?

Mother was fast asleep in her chair where she was to keep guard over me so I made for my closet and quickly discarded the wrapper throwing on a brassiere and slipping into a gown and flat slippers as quality as possible.
Opening the door without making a noise seemed to take forever but I managed to do that without arousing mother. I said a silent than you prayer to God when I saw Father’s bedroom door closed. I tiptoed out of my room and hoped the rich Persian rug would muffle the sounds of my footsteps. The wooden staircase creaked in protest when my feet landed on it however and the sound was like the explosion of a gun going off in my ears. I paused for a moment to see if anyone had detected my actions. “Where do you think are you going madam?” Father’s voice sounded behind me in clipped tones. My heart stopped in my chest and I stood still unable to face him before my rebellious heart flared up again and I spinned around to face
him with my emotions flashing on my face “I am not telling you,” I barked at him. I was surprised at the sound of my own voice as this was something I would not have done on a normal day but today was not a normal day, I
had witness my lover falling from a building, gotten a text that left me confused. I needed answers, I could not go on living in fear of father at twenty-seven.

Father’s face registered surprise and his face contorted in a mask of rage
for what must have been umpteenth time that night “If you go out of this house, do not bother coming back,”
father barked back at me. His words hit me hard and my legs wobbled. My first thought was to bow my head in defeat and walk back to my room silently but my emotions were running high. I had reached the end of my tether, I have allowed father control me for too long. He was always the one that had the final say and the woman emerging in me was not going having any of that anymore. I had to find out the meaning of Kasali’s text, I had to know he was alright and most of all I had to speak out and free myself of father’s prison.

Mother was behind him watching the whole scene with saucer big eyes. It hit me then that she was just another
of his slaves, obeying his every command. Kasali’s text had read “I cannot do this anymore.” Father’s
words were “If you go do not come back to this house”. I had to see my midnight lover, I had to do this for me and without another word, I ran down the flight of steps without a backwards glance. As I busted out through the door, I felt truly free for the first time in forever. All that mattered was my kasali.  Where was kasali? I rummaged the entire feeder links to our house. I cupped my breasts as I ran towards the boulevard where he usually waited. Oh, my kasali! Was he truly gone? Was he fed up of me? Was he fed up of the whole drama? Was he leaving me for a greater good?

By
AKINWALE (UNILAG)
&
MR. POSSIBLE (UNIBEN)

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