Wale shut the front door and tip-toed with trepidation towards the guest room. He half expected to meet her still lieing on the floor.
His fingers curled tightly on the handle of the little bag he was holding. He knew nothing could erase what he had done, but the first aid kit may do a little to keep it between the two of them. Amanda had always been a sweet girl. . .a seemingly contrite heart and animated attention should suffice in buying her forgiveness.
He had dreaded her coming. When his sister had called to inform him that his favorite niece would be coming to stay with him for a week, he had felt a stirring up of tepid waters.
It had been years since he last saw her, yet the surge of desire felt as familiar as his morning coffee.
His heavy legs took him up the flight of stairs. His face stung with alarm as he entered the guest room and didn’t see Amanda.
He rushed into the bathroom and checked the closet. No Amanda.
”Amanda”, he called out, his voice rising with high pitched fear.
No one answered.
He slid down and sat slowly on the edge of the bed.
”What if she remembers?”
There was still a tiny patch of blood on the rug. He had not meant to hit her that hard. The girl’s hairpin poking the skin on his neck hurt more than he expected. The blow was only a reflex.
He called out her name again and received silence in reply.
He got up and used both hands to keep his head from exploding. What if she did remember?
He turned and saw her phone blinking under a tiny fold of bedsheet.
Fifteen missed calls. Eleven of them from ‘Mom’.
The scratches and slight gash on his neck seemed to burn a little more.
He dropped to his knees and let reality wash his insane hope for normalcy away.
Nothing would ever be the same, and morbidly, he envied the dead.
Eventually, common sense prevailed. There was the role played by common sense, but mostly it was the gentle urging of caring friends and the concern in their eyes and voices. They wound up at the police station. There was a frumpy officer behind the counter. The place was silent. It was Amanda’s guess was that they took turns sleeping and the man couldn’t wait for his. He eyed them warily.
“Good evening sir,” Kate was the first to speak. Amanda was looking at the door as though it were a Christmas treat. It was obvious she was already wishing she hadn’t budged.
“It’s morning, yes?” He snapped, making them wonder if they were going to get any help here.
“Good MORNING. We’re here to report a crime.”
Officer F12SA shook his great big head wistfully. His shift had been peaceful so far. Now that it was almost up, some kids were here to yank his chain. It irked him so. He hated them. Spoilt children that watched too much TV and began to see the world as their reality show. What manner of drama were they bringing now? The boy and one of the girls looked like they may have come straight from a party. The other plain-looking girl, he couldn’t quite figure out yet. Not that he was interested.
“Sir, did you hear what she said?”
Ah appropriate. Knight to the rescue.
“Okay,” he gruffed. “Fill out these forms.”
Taken aback, Kate asked, “Aren’t you even going to ask us what it is first?”
See. They even thought they knew their job better than you. He felt like smacking that upturned nose into her ears. Instead, he forced calm into his voice. These rich kids, one had to be careful. No knowing who is who.
“What CRIME are we reporting here?”
All were suddenly mute. No one had been able to voice the word since Amanda had used it in the house. It seemed ages ago. Sensing their discomfort, she stepped in. “I was sexually assaulted.” They thought she hadn’t been listening. She didn’t even turn from staring at the door way.
“You say?” The officer came.
“I was raped.” She spat the words bitterly this time, and turning around in such fluid motion she looked like a ballerina executing a turnout.
“Okay.” The man said deliberately, with all the emotion of an astute poker player. “Fill out these forms.” He stalked off from the anteroom.
No one could look at her face still. She felt like a masquerade. Dutifully, she picked the forms and the blue-and-red bic which was actually two pens joined together by formerly yellow rubber bands, now blackened with age. In a last minute surge of defiance, she used the red.
Five minutes after she was done, there was still no sign of the officer. They called out and he came, rubbing bloodshot eyes.
“You don finish?” Amanda nodded. “But why did you use red na?”
“That’s what I use. Problem?”
“Hmm. Ok. Then that’s all.”
“But you didn’t even look at the report! Will you arrest him?”
Condescendingly F12SA said, “We will conduct our own investigation and make any arrest we deem necessary.”
Whether it was because he was trying to put on airs, or because he had used that statement too many a time, it came off stiff, with all the cadence of a plateau. The next thing they saw was his back….
With Dr Phebe