TEN STORIES (I) ‘DUNNI’

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‘Do you really believe that? That it is everywhere? That innocent girls who have been deflowered by depraved men like Wale will always be confined to such dastardly fate?’
‘Lawyer, it is not-‘
‘It’s an unfair tradition. It is contrary to equity and good conscience-‘
‘It is not a matter of grammar.’
‘Of course it is not. Someone needs to put an end to all that,’ he was persuasive. ‘Why should you suffer double jeopardy for the inhuman act of another? Because you’re a girl? I mean you’re the victim here you shouldn’t be the one who cannot move on to a better life after what’s happened because the society says so?’
‘This is not court fa.’
‘I know, he smiled at what had come off to her an overreaction.
‘Dunni,’ he took her hand, ‘you deserve a better life. You deserve to move on from what’s happened and have the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of, the kind of life you want.’
‘What are you saying now lawyer?’
‘I want to help you have that life,’ he wasn’t looking at her now. ‘And I want to be a part of it- a part of your life.’
‘You are now, sebi you’re my big brother. And you will help me sue Wale.’ She smiled artlessly.
‘Dunni, he was earnest now, taking her other hand in his other hand. ‘ Look at me.’ Their eyes locked in an awkward stare
‘What?’ Her smile thinned into a questioning look.
‘You’re a great woman. Any man would be lucky, privileged to have you in their life.’
‘Thank you,’ she looked away, slipping her hands out of his embarrassedly.
‘I guess I’m just trying to say that,’ he waited for her to look up, ‘I love you.’ There was a slight hesitation to his voice.
‘Hun?’ She was quiet shocked.
‘I mean I’m in love with you and it’s driving me crazy because you’re here looking up to me like a brother and friend and I just want to be more than that to you,’ he gathered momentum as she stared on in disbelief.
‘Look I know it sounds a bit crazy coming from me but I can’t help it. Not anymore. I find myself thinking about you all the time, looking forward to our next meeting, I don’t want you to hang up the phone, when you go back to the village it’s like a part of me is not there. I just- I just want to make you happy Dunni, he was passionate, I want to be everything you want in a man, I want to-‘
‘Brother Oye?’
‘Don’t do that Dunni, please. I know you had a bad experience with Wale but I swear to God I will not treat you like that,’ he was as sincere as he could be. ‘I’d respect you and play the game your way. I just want to be a part of your becoming the woman of your dreams, I want to be there for you, I want to…‘
‘You are mad,’ she was emphatic, her forehead and cheeks sequined with sweat already.
‘Dunni,’ he reached for her hand.
‘If you touch me!’ She cowered. 
‘Iru iro ni iborun.’ She grabbed her purse and got up. He rose up and blocked her. She raised a hand to slap him in defence, the events of the night she’d been raped instantly replaying in her mind. He caught her hand in action.
‘Dunni!’ he was baffled. She struggled free, pushed him away and stormed out of the restaurant. He followed her, oblivious of onlookers.
‘Dunni! Dunni please, wait.’ He was at his wits end. He hadn’t in his wildest imaginations thought things would turn out the way they had.
‘Dunni please now,’ he kept at her. They were out of the restaurant now. She glanced back at him with glistening eyes and broke into a run.
‘Dunni!’
She was making for the road now. ‘Dunni- wait, I’ll take you back home, I’ll…’ She crossed to the other side and frantically flagged down a bike. 
‘Dunni!’ One last trial. He saw her wipe off a tear as the bike zoomed into the distance. He was crestfallen.

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