What was supposed to be a great day, perhaps her greatest since joining Edozie Express, didn’t quite come with the adrenalin rush Rain had anticipated.
All of the dark and painful issues she was dealing with, from her past and present, took away a large chunk of the exhilaration she should have felt at hearing the news of her promotion from Chief Edozie himself. It was what she had always wanted, this respectable position as Chief Business Analyst in the Finance and Business Development department of the company. She had wished for more recognition and greater responsibility, and when God granted her wish, it felt hollow because she didn’t have anyone to share her good news with.
She and David hadn’t spoken to each other in almost a week, even though they lived in the same small house. She was mad at D3 for refusing to admit that something happened in the house when she was away in Port Harcourt. His explanation about how the mysterious waist beads found their way into her drawer didn’t add up. David wanted her to believe that it was a surprise gift for her, but David didn’t do surprises. Besides, she didn’t like surprises – and he knew it.
Then again, the beads were broken and the clasp was old. If her boyfriend wanted to gift her with a piece of jewellery, why did he have to go for an old broken one? And when she asked him about the price of the beads and where he got them from, he stormed out of the room muttering something about gift horses and why the ancient civilisation didn’t look them in the mouth.
David’s refusal to admit that he was unfaithful and apologise made her question many things about their relationship. She wondered if it had happened before and how many times he used the bed they shared for his shenanigans. D3 told her all the time that he only had eyes for her and she believed him. Now that it was looking very likely that there was someone else, or perhaps some others in the pictures, Rain felt like a sixteen year old that had been played.
As for her mum and younger brother, Moroyei, it was agonising not picking their calls. But Rain thought it was best to distance herself from them while she was still hurting. She didn’t wish to have anything to do with them for as long as her mother wouldn’t acknowledge and confront the man that defiled and robbed her of her innocence.
As if the rape wasn’t bad enough, the latest betrayal and deception was more than she could handle. Rain knew it was wrong not speaking with her only brother, when clearly he was also in the dark about the secret her mother kept away from the two of them all their lives. However, she knew it had to be done. She and Moroyei were close as kids and Rain was certain that their mother would want to use that closeness to get through to her. She had tried it before; she would try it again. That was why she decided to cut him off as well, and not answer the phone when he called until she figured out her next plan of action.
Rain had so many questions for her mother, but she was too scared to ask any of them. She just didn’t know where to begin or maybe she just wasn’t ready for the answers.
She desperately wanted to know if the man she called ‘Father’ all her life wasn’t her biological father, then who was? Did her real father love her mother? Were they married when her mother became pregnant? Was he alive? Did he have other children? Was he rich and influential? Was he kind? Did she look like him? If he had raised her and they had lived under the same roof, would he have raped her like Randall Tamuno did? Would she have spent the last 12 years of her life running away from herself, and moving from one distant relative’s house to another for solace and shelter? Would she have had to lie to close friends, schoolmates and colleagues about who she really was and that she was actually from a wealthy home?
All these questions bugged Rain’s mind, but she wasn’t ready for the answers. She wasn’t prepared for how the truth would affect her and the people she loved. Digging further could topple the stability and confidence she had work so hard to build and open up old wounds. Rain didn’t want that to happen.
For days, she had been asking herself if knowing who her biological father was and meeting him would change anything. Would it erase the trauma of being lied against and forced to run away from home when she was only fifteen? Would it make her whole again? If it wasn’t, then she was better off not turning that corner.
When Rain packed a few things into her school bag that Sunday evening, fleeing the place that damaged her, she didn’t have any destination in mind. She just wanted to get as far away from the rapist and his accomplice – her mother, as she possibly could. She roamed the streets of Port Harcourt for hours and didn’t stop to rest until her legs were sore and unable to carry her and the weight of the trauma and confusion doing battle in her innocent mind.
That night, she slept under a busy section of the flyover in Rumuola junction. She was the only female in the midst of so many men, but she wasn’t afraid of them or the darkness that provided the perfect backdrop for more attacks and harm to her person.
Some of the men drank and smoked in a nearby kiosk while others huddled together in small groups, fast asleep and snoring loudly. Those who weren’t sleeping were conversing in low tones, but in the quiet of the night their every word was as clear as the mosquitoes buzzing in her ears. The men discussed their paid and unpaid encounters with women of easy virtue and the torture they had inflicted on countless vaginas.
Rain wanted to be scared and take flight, but fear wouldn’t come. They looked and sounded like dangerous men, but what was the worst they could do to her? Rape her? The man she thought was her father had already done that and nothing could be worse.
The next morning, she joined the bus going to Yenagoa because the money she had on her could only take her that far. Plus, her mother’s unmarried cousin, Aunty Seiya lived there and they got along well.
Aunty Seiya enrolled her in St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, where she aced her senior secondary school certificate exams. She also got great scores in the Joint Matriculations Board Examinations on her first attempt and was offered admission into the Federal University, Otuoke. Sadly, the kind woman was killed in a motorcycle accident one week to Rain’s matriculations, so Rain was forced to live with another distant relative of her dead aunt until her graduation.
Uncle Kalku, short for Calculator, was a nice ever-smiling dark-skinned, middle-aged man that treated Rain with the same amount of kindness he treated everyone else around him. His wife was a different story. Aunty Erebi was the devil incarnate. The short big-breasted woman was determined to exterminate Rain with chores and insults.
As for their six children, Cynthia, Progress, Progressive, Prosper, Baby and Dafini, they were demons. Rain couldn’t remember a day they didn’t rub it in that she wasn’t one of them, and that she wasn’t welcomed in their house. And their scrawny local breed dogs, Fineboy and Finegirl; those two were mischievous imps that made Rain’s stay in Kalakala Street, Ovom a living hell. The way they chewed on her shoes and growled at her every time she walked past the front door, Rain was convinced they were on a mission to impoverish and embarrass her at the same time.
Even though those that hated her in the family were in the majority, and for the most part they treated her badly, Rain was grateful they took her in at a time she didn’t have anyone else to whom she could turn. The alternative would have been going back to her family house in Port Harcourt and asking her parents for help, and she didn’t want to do that.
All through the years she lived with Kalku Efeke and his family, in their two-bedroom bungalow in the heart of Ovom, she never raised her voice or got angry with any of them, and it was mostly because they didn’t stop her from reading and going for her boxing training. She played the fool until her graduation because their home was the only place in Yenagoa she could call home.
Things changed after her national youth service. Rain was lucky to have had jobs, from time to time, that paid reasonably well, and when she was out of work, she met D3 who asked her to move in with him.
She knew that God used David indirectly to open this new chapter in her life. Rain was indebted to him for this important promotion at Edozie Express and for many other things she couldn’t speak about. She loved him with all her being, but he cheated on her and it broke her heart. Still he was the only person entitled to join her in celebrating her new position, but she didn’t know whether it was too soon to forgive him.
As more and more of her colleagues came into her office to congratulate her on her good fortune, Rain was forced to put her worries behind and get back to work.
Because she was eager to learn and take on the challenges of her new position with the finance team at Edozie Express head on, Rain went to meet with her new immediate boss – the accountant, Donald Wakama. She wanted to break the good news to him in person.
“But I already know about it, Rain,” the accountant stood up to and gave her a hug. “Padrino discussed it with me a few days ago. He wanted to know what I thought about you joining management and I was all for it. You know you’re my person any day. Welcome on board, Darling.”
“Zaddy, you should have warned me immediately you knew,” Rain said, taking one of the chairs across from his. “My head is still spinning from the shock of it all. Since chief made the announcement today, I haven’t been myself. What if I’m unable to meet his expectations?”
“You will surpass them, Rain. You have the passion and you’re very smart. That combination is indomitable.”
“Thank you, Mr Waks. My greatest joy is that I’ll be working directly with you, so I know I’m in good hands. Please, don’t get tired of my questions,” Rain warned him heartily.
Wakama laughed. “As long as you ask them when I’ve eaten. You know how slow and disconnected I get when I’m hungry.”
Back in her office, she quietly cleared her desk. Since the new posting was with immediate effect, she parked her personal effects into a box she placed by the corner of the door. Chief Edozie told her the new office would be ready in the morning and she was already looking forward to the leap from coffee girl to big madam.
With nothing else to do until close of work, Rain reached for her phone on the table. It was a new handset, so she wasn’t quite familiar with all of its functionalities just yet. Scrolling through her contact list seemed to take forever, but finally she hit the green call sign when she found the particular number she was looking for.
“Hello, Annabel. Can we meet this evening?” There was a two-minute pause on her end as she listened to her friend explain why she wouldn’t be available for a visit. Rain began to cry.
“D3 is having an affair and I don’t know what to do. I just need someone to talk to so I don’t go crazy. Please, Annabel I need your advice on how to handle this situation.”