by Oreoluwa Fakorede
She struggled in vain, arms flailing wildly. The man pinned her to the dirty, naked mattress on the floor, one palm exerting pressure on her chest while the other muffled the moans coming out of her dry mouth. He had previously ripped the short skirt on her small waist and its ragged remnants now absorbed the warm red liquid that trickled down her inner thighs as he stabbed and thrust with his organic weapon. In one singular redefining moment, she had passed from ignorant adolescence into nascent womanhood. But what would otherwise have been a passionate, joyous occasion was full of anguish, pain, torment and every other one of their synonymous brethren. The rapist grunted with pleasure as his seed erupted, gushing with natural force into the violated vagina. The orgasm that the girl felt could not be enjoyed as its harbinger was an undesirable evil in itself. The pleasure only made her hurt, reflected in the tears that streamed down her contorted face. And as she suffered, her mind flashed back to the harmless events that led her into hell.
It was an ordinary afternoon. The sun, high in the sky, was scorching. Rivulets of sweat raced each other down the hawker’s face and back, drenching her faded floral blouse and short skirt. She was not unattractive, hips swaying effortlessly as she balanced the tray of oranges on her head with skillful familiarity. Her head turned sharply in the direction the voice came from. She looked up to see a man leaning over the balcony of a nondescript house across the street. She was only too glad to cross-over, having made meager sales all day. It was hard being an orphan at fifteen. She climbed the precarious steps at the side of the house and set her tray down before the man, who was naked save the dirty white boxers on his waist. His belly sagged slightly, perhaps from years of drinking cheap beer. “How much?”, he asked in a husky voice. “Three for ten sir”, replied the girl sweetly. He gave her a fifty naira note and picked five greenish-yellow oranges, clutching them to his hairy chest with his large hands. The girl smiled slightly, putting the crumpled note in her waist-purse and eagerly rummaging around for the man’s change. “What are you doing?”, the man asked as he gave her the once-over, licking his lips lasciviously. “Looking for change sir”, said the girl. “I’m buying ten, I just hope they’ll be sweet.” “Yes, they are. Thank you sir!”, replied the girl, beaming widely. She proceeded to put the remaining fruits in a black polyethylene bag. “May I carry them in for you?”, she offered nicely. “Go ahead, drop them on the table on the left.”
The girl entered the dimly-lit one-room apartment without a thought for her safety. An ancient television set from the pre-independence era sat tiredly on an equally antiquated chest of drawers that dominated the small confines of the room. A shiny motorcycle was propped against one of the unpainted walls. In a corner, a naked mattress flattened from years of use was lying on the floor. The girl located the table and dropped the bag on it. As she turned to leave, she heard the key turn in the lock and before she could question the man’s action, he pounced on her with blinding speed, clamped one hand over her mouth and dragged her down onto the mattress. Then her grief began.
In the present, the man got up from his prostrate position with little difficulty. He wiped the sweat off his face with a piece of the girl’s skirt and looked down with macabre pride at his limp penis. He swore as he noted the blood on the head of his tool and turned towards the girl who was cowered in a corner, whimpering like a whipped puppy. “Get out now!”, he barked while striding towards the door. His visage broached no argument as he swung the now unlocked door open. Ramota got up on shaky legs and stumbled her way towards the patch of sunlight in the doorway. Bitter tears flowed unrestrained from her bloodshot eyes. She stooped to pick up her upturned tray and saw that she was semi-naked. The cushion that had previously been wedged between the top of her head and the bottom of the tray was an old wrapper rolled up into a tight circle. She unrolled it and wrapped her lower body to save what little dignity she had left, but it was gone, stolen with her virginity. And she was like an unfortunate orange plucked by a passerby in the absence of the tree’s owner.