Siki opened her mouth to say something but her voice was muffled by the anguished exclamations of three women. They had arrived! I looked over Mamus’s shoulder hoping that I would not see the very person my heart longed to see. This was crazy, I felt like a teenager. I was brought back to reality by Amaka’s accusation.
“Amaka I know what the nurses said but I have spoken to Siki, her husband didn’t do it.”
My declaration started another burst of market-square chatter as the threw women aired their views at once. I knew that my usually cultured friends were still in shock about the degree of assault on Siki but I also realized that if they didn’t quieten down, the nurses would come and chase us away.
“Siki can I tell them?”
I knew it was unfair to put her on the spot but I also knew her confession was beyond me and she was definitely going to need all the help she could get. Siki shrugged and nodded obviously too weak and defeated to argue. Amaka, Mamus and Zainab looked at me expectantly.
“The monster who did this to Siki was her first husband. I don’t have the details but somehow he found her at home and did this to her. Her husband doesn’t know- frankly I don’t know how much he knows…”
I looked at Siki and she looked away, her eyes filling with tears. I continued…
“All I know is that our friend needs our help. Mamus you will have to convince her hubby that his wife was beaten by an armed man who broke into the house just to corroborate Siki’s story. Amaka you will need your father’s connections to ensure that this man is found and made to pay for his crimes and that he never has access to Siki again…”
“What will I do?” Zainab asked. I had gotten so wrapped up in my master plan that her question momentarily threw me off balance.
“You and I will take turns watching over Siki at the hospital. We must make sure that there is someone with her at all times. I know you work but please while at work tomorrow see if you can contact Siki’s sister. The four us, Siki’s husband included will run shifts watching over Siki. Mamus and Amaka will also chip in. We do not want a repeat attack.”
“I have an idea, why don’t I get my fiance to organize some mobile policemen to watch over her instead of us running compulsory shifts?”
“I thought he was a fashion designer Mamus?”
Mamus stared at me awkwardly.
“I never told you what he did for a living”
“Sure you did”. I laughed a little too loudly. “Don’t tell me you are starting to forget our little chitchats?”
Mamus exchanged glances with Amaka. Zainab sensing things were getting a bit awkward glanced at Mamus with a look that said drop it and announced that Mamus’s idea was splendid.
I couldn’t care less about what just ensued. If Mamus probed deeper, I would just let her know that I had checked him out on Facebook out of curiosity as I didn’t want my friend to fall into the wrong hands. What I did care about was the fact that Mamus had used the word ‘fiance’. She wasn’t wearing an engagement ring but definitely something had gone down. I needed a breath of fresh air and told the girls I would be back.
I was leaning on a car behind the hospital psyching myself to get it together and forget this Azeez of a person when I heard a voice that made me jump.
I looked up and there was Azeez with a smile playing on the corners of his full lips as he stared back at me with an intensity that burned my skin.
“H…how…I don’t understand…”
“How did I know it was you? I admit I never got a good look at your face but I memorized the sound of your voice and when you opened the door at M’s house I couldn’t immediately place why your voice was familiar but just now I was walking towards the ward when I overheard your laugh and suddenly it all made sense to me. Oh Modinat!”
I looked at him in what was a mix of shock, horror and pure longing. He took a step towards me and I froze.
…to be continued