Dear Zara (2)

by Jennifer Nwanede

Zara scrubbed her body vehemently, almost peeling off her skin. But no matter how hard she scrubbed, the pain just wouldn’t go. She gave a loud cry and slumped to the ground, crying fervently.  Few hours of heart-wrenching sobs, and she was relieved. She picked herself up, wiped her body dry and went straight to bed. She had never felt so empty in her life.

But it was as if the memory of the rape had vowed to hunt her for the rest of her life for even in her sleep, she could not find peace. Flashes of the rape kept on invading her sleep. She wondered if she would ever get over the experience. But with time, the memory began to fade away and Zara began to return to her old self, to the joy of her friends who had tried in vain to find out what was eating her up.

“Zara!” Chike was surprised when he opened his door and saw her standing there. He had not seen or heard from her since the rape incident. She looked so beautiful and he felt like hugging her but he had to restrain himself.

“I am pregnant,” Zara told him not moving an inch. “The evil seed you planted in me has finally yielded fruit,” she told him staring him straight in the face with dark eyes filled with rage.

Chike was transfixed and didn’t know what to say, of all the things in the world, pregnancy was the last thing he wanted in his life now. It would only complicate his life. What had he gotten himself into, he thought.

“I don’t understand what you are saying,” Chike finally spoke up, feigning ignorance. “If you are pregnant, you should be telling the prospective father and not me, although I rejoice with you over the great news. The father is a very lucky man,” Chike concluded.

Zara was taken aback for a few seconds but she quickly recovered, she was not going to let Chike have the final laugh for it was obvious he was trying to play smart. She made to say something, but on a second thought, she smiled instead. She turned around and left, without saying a word.

Chike kept on staring at the door long after Zara had left. What in God’s name had he done? He asked himself. It was bad enough that he had raped her, but denying the fact that he was the father of the child she was carrying was the height of inhumanity. To think that life had given him a second chance to right his wrong and he had thrown the opportunity to the wind. There was no point denying the fact that he was madly in love with Zara and he felt like beating himself up for betraying her a second time. He hoped she would forgive him when he eventually mustered enough courage to ask for it.

Chike heard a loud bang on the door. He looked at the clock on the wall, it was 9:00pm and he wondered who could be at the door at that time of the night. He called out and when there was no response, he decided to find out who was there. It was dark outside and there was nobody at the door. Chike made to close the door, thinking probably it was his imagination. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his chest and was shocked when his hand came in contact with a warm and thick substance, blood. He had been shot.

As he laid in his own pool of blood, gradually slipping into unconsciousness, all he could think of was Zara and how he never got to ask for her forgiveness. He silently said a quick prayer of penance for he knew that karma had finally visited him.

“Chike is dead. He was found lying in his pool of blood this morning and there was no trace of the murderer,” Tamara told Zara.

Zara was petrified, her hands went to her abdomen but she quickly withdrew them. When Tamara realized she was not going to get a response from Zara, she let her be. Since Chike was dead, Zara felt that the only right thing to do was to abort the pregnancy for there was no way she was going to birth the child. Luckily for her, no one else knew she was pregnant but her and Chike, and he was dead.

The abortion though nearly cost her life, but she was lucky. She decided to pick up the pieces of her life and start all over. Luckily for her, despite the chaos in her life, she still managed to excel in her academics and so she plunged herself into her studies and avoided friends like plague especially the opposite sex. She also made up her mind to become a human rights lawyer so that she could fight for young girls and women going through rough times.

As for men, Zara decided she was done with them and vowed to stay away from them for the rest of her life but then, she met Tobe.

Zara had just been posted to a private law firm in Lagos for her youth service after her graduation from law school. On her first day of resumption, she had woken up very late and was rushing to make it to the office in time and so had not seen the young man coming in the opposite direction. She rammed into him and the cup of coffee he was holding poured all over his shirt.

Zara let out a disgruntled sigh, as if the day could not get any worse.

“I’m so sorry,” Zara said when she eventually found her voice.

“You should watch…..”Tobe left the sentence unfinished as he raised his head and beheld the most beautiful woman he had seen in his entire life.

“If you continue to stare at me like that, I might just disappear,” Zara said jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.

“Please pardon my manners, my name is Tobe,” he told her trying to get a hold of himself as he stretched out his hand for a handshake.

“My name is Zara and I am really sorry about your shirt,” she told him stretching out her hand to accept the handshake.

“It’s nothing,” Tobe told her, casually waving off her apology, “I was going home anyway. Are you new to this establishment?”

“Yes, I am a youth corps member,” Zara replied.

“I thought as much because I have never seen you around,” he replied her. “Let me allow you go inside so that you don’t get into trouble.”

“It was nice chatting with you,” Zara told him hurrying off while she thought of an excuse to give for her lateness.

Tobe kept on starring at Zara until she was out of sight, before turning and made for the exit. He was definitely going to see her again.

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