“Someone is at the door…” her mother’s shout became a painful whisper as the loud bangs on the door persisted.
They knew. They knew the owner of those angry fists raining bangs on the door. They knew he was back. Misery has returned.
She took a frightened glance at her daughter and found her still clasping her face with her two open palms, she knew Iye doesn’t want to go open the door. Iye was afraid of the same fears that assail her… But the door. She trembled to it while whispering pleas to the banger to hold on for her to open the door.
He is the one.
Iye pull down her palms from her eyes and left them covering just her mouth. Now, she can see, but she can’t shout. She wanted to see if truly it was her father that has returned from prison. The truth is she wanted to look while hoping to see that he was not the one.
He was the one.
Familiar fear raced from her toes and escaped in form of a gasp from her mouth but thank God her palms were still covering her mouth, so nobody heard the gasp. They only saw her shudder. Maybe her mother didn’t. But her father who was still standing at the door regarding both of them as an Emperor would regard a once-abandoned-but-now-recovered-loot saw her shudder.
An expression that looked like a sour smile played on his lips and fell off his chin without carrying out any transaction with the upper face. Seeing his daughter shudder must have pleased him immensely. He is still feared here. 18 months in jail have not changed anything.
“Welcome Atia”, Iye’s mum greeted, struggling fruitlessly to sound happy.
He didn’t answer. He looked at her disdainfully. He took a sweeping look around the house. The furniture still look old and threadbare but everywhere looks clean. He scoffed. He knew the clean house was an outward sign of his family inward rejection ordained by his incarceration. When he was around the house was never clean. It’s not that they didn’t try, he just didn’t give a damn about cleanliness.
Now see them, they are clean, they are happy… Without him! Well, he is back; very back!
He moved, for the first time, sat on one of the old couches and slowly fixed his gaze on Iye. Cold, piercing. That’s when Iye remembered she has not greeted him.
“Welcome sir”, she muttered.
“Iye, please get your father something to eat. Or Atia, will you bath first?”
He didnt answer.
Iye hurried away… Away from the presence of the bitterness that is brewing.
“So you people left me there to die!”
“We didn’t leave you to die. We didn’t know what to do Atia.”
“You left me, me Ugbong Adung, you people left me there to die.”
Iye heard the loud accusations and the feeble pleas from the kitchen. Then she heard the shouts. She heard the screams. She heard the breaking of furniture. She heard the feminine cries. She wanted to rush in, she couldn’t. She was numbed by the memories of the pains that have returned.
Hot tears like lava from the heart of a volcanic eruption burst forth from her soul and poured out in torrents. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t sobbing, she was just teary and tearing. She looked at the kitchen knife for a long time. No. Not yet.
That night he came. Iye knew she would come. She saw how she looked at her breasts and her hips and her all. She saw the evil yearning in his eyes.
He stood at the door. She could see him in the darkness without really seeing him. She stood up and sat on the bed. He stood at the door for a moment mentally mapping his way in the dark room.
She groped for it. She felt it. She picked it up.
Iye perceived that he has taken his bath. He was no longer smelling of dirt and disease but he was still smelling of sin and iniquity.
She held it firm. This won’t happen today. This won’t happen anymore. She held it firm, knuckles burning.
He stepped forward. She perceived he was naked. She was ready. He came closer to the bed… Iye…
Written by First Baba Isa