Tuesday, 24 June 2014


After several attempts, Biola made for her father to see reason failed; we decided to rent a flat at Palm Avenue. After a week, I left Ajegunle and my home without a backward glance.  Her mother stood by us all these period. “Marry any man you believe can give you happiness,” she told Biola.
My parents objected to my living with Biola, but that didn’t stop me. I was bored stiff of staying with them in the one room apartment. I didn’t care to seek the advice of my friends because I knew they might discourage me, especially Kola.
One day, I visited home to collect my remaining loads. My father called me and asked whether I understood that Biola could never marry me.
“Chika, you want to marry Senator Harrison’s daughter without his consent? Just be ready to spend the rest of your life in jail. That’s if you’re lucky to be alive. If you want to commit suicide, why not find an easier and less painful means. It’s a terrible thing to want something you know you will never have. The bible described people like Senator Harrison in Psalms 73 verses 6 – 8. ‘Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily,’ he quoted. ” 
“She loves me. Her father has no right to tell her whom to marry. She’s an adult and knows what’s good for her.”
“Imagine the nonsense you’re talking. Many of you so-called educated children of today have no respect for our culture. Our culture demands that the father of a girl should give his daughter to the man he believes can take good care of her. If he doesn’t want to give his daughter to you, you better leave her alone.”
“Come son, a girl is not worth dying for. There are so many of them to choose from,” he said impatiently
“Biola is worth dying for.”
My father crossed his arms, his eyes sparked with irritation. “Okay. Go ahead and die.” His voice cut the air like the crack of a horsewhip.
“Dad, you don’t understand, Biola is a gem.”
“What do you mean by that? What is special about her?”

“She is considerate, well behaved, intelligent and humble. She knows I am from a poor home, but she refused to leave me for another man from a richer family. I love her because she’s an epitome of womanhood.”
“Do you know you’re risking your life by your continuous association with that girl against her father’s wish?”

“Yes, I know.”
“He is a child, he has only infantile judgment,” my mother said. “Nevertheless, if we don’t explain things to him now, he’ll never understand them.”
I carried my loads and took a taxi to Palm Avenue, leaving my poor mother looking bewildered. We started to live as husband and wife. We ate at a restaurant near our flat. Our happiness was however short-lived. I came back from work one afternoon to meet three heavily built men waiting in the flat. I froze. “Damn!” I muttered beneath my breath. I felt paralyzed and benumbed, but I soon recovered.
I could understand night robbery, but broad day robbery was more than I could comprehend. But if they were robbers, they would’ve collected what they wanted and left, I reasoned.
“Come gentlemen, what do you think you’re doing here? In the first place, how did you gain entrance into the house? In your own interest disappear before I raise alarm.”
“Shut your trap, motherfucker,” the shortest one snorted. “If you talk to us that way again I’ll knock out your teeth. We’ll do the talking and you’re to listen. And listen well. This isn’t a social visit.”
A shiver rode through my body. My bluff didn’t work.
“We’ve come to return Biola to her father. In your own interest desist from seeing her again,” the short man continued. “If you don’t heed this advice, we shall pay you another visit. Then we shall tear your arm from its socket and beat you to death with it. Henceforth your movement shall be monitored. You’re warned.”
Our gazes locked in animosity. “So Biola’s father hired you?”
“Shut up. Who hired us is none of your business. Just do as you’re told if you want to remain in one piece,” the one with a disfigured nose said.
Demoralized by the unexpected turn of events, I felt deep anger and frustration. “You’re raving mad. Has anybody ever suggested to you to see a psychiatrist?”
He crossed over to me and slammed his fist into my face with the force of a mule’s kick. I saw stars and was temporarily blind.We sat in silence while the thugs smoked marijuana. When the hands of the wall clock stood at five thirty, Biola entered. I heard the sound of her car, but there was no way I could warn her. Immediately she saw them her eyes popped out.
“Darling, it looks you’ve got company?”
“They’re not my friends,” I managed to say. “They’re thugs.”
“Please take away anything you want but spare our lives,” she said thinking they were armed robbers.
“It’s you we want babe,” the short one said.
Biola changed color. “What for?” She replied, surprising herself with the sharpness of her tone.
“Your father wants you back home.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“How dare you!” the short man continued. “How dare you betray in tawdry fashion your father who truly care for you and follow this bastard? Forget this bastard, he is only after your family’s wealth? For you,” he pointed at me, “You’ll pay a high price for your greed,” he warned. My relationship seemed objectionable because of my poor background.
“What does my father want to do with me? Marry me?” Biola asked sarcastically.
The men stood up and moved towards Biola. She tried to run, but where would she run. They surrounded her.
“Chika, please don’t let them take me away,” she begged, staring at me with a pleading look. I threw my hands upward and outward in a gesture of hopelessness. She began to sob hysterically. They carried her out to her car. Two of them sat with her at the back while the other sat behind the wheels. They gagged her. I stood at the door like a dummy.
“If you don’t stop messing around her, you shall soon meet with an accident,” the short man warned before they drove away, with the tires squealing. I sighed, wondering why there always had to be complications.

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