The Crazy Anne

by Annie Akinnagbe

If you are still awake, it’s 3am here and I am awake too, as usual. This has been my routine for the past five years. At exactly 3am, she wakes me up. It’s cold in here; the AC is on, the fan too. But I am sweating and this duvet is soaked with my sweat. Tope did quite a number on me tonight. F**k her! My message was very clear but she chose not to listen.  Wonder why I have to lose sleep over this, especially as it’s over five years already.

We were not friends. I didn’t even know her from anywhere. She was just an unfortunate soul who chose to meet me the same day she died, the awful coincidence that has made my life miserable for five crazy years. My message was clear, but the whoring idiot was too desperate to stay clear.

There had been other men before him, I mean Dave; other men whose shits I swallowed. I bent, I curved and I cracked, just to accommodate their shortcomings and be the good woman. Heck, I swept out used condoms, dirty panties, broken nails and all sort from their rooms without flinching. I never complained, I never murmured. All I wanted was to be perfect for these men and be the only one they cared about. I was a dove, the purest of souls even when they were raving lunatics who chased everything in skirt. All that changed when I met Dave, and with him, I said ENOUGH!

With Dave, I became the lunatic. I was that jealous, insecure and over-possessive lover who would crack a skull at the thought of any slight threat. I was a ticking bomb. I loved him so much that I could kill for him. I wanted him to be mine and mine alone, which unfortunately couldn’t be so. There were lots of broken bottles, fractured limbs, black eyes and swollen lips, but we always made up. Our fights always strengthened our bond. We were inseparable. A couple of times, I had to fight women off him, I snatched wigs, ripped shirts, scratched faces and bit like a dog. The message was clear: STAY OFF MY MAN! But Tope was a goat; she didn’t listen.

That day, I didn’t tell Dave I would visit because it wasn’t planned. I fell sick at work and had to leave early. His house was closer to my workplace than mine, so I chose to stop by and rest a little before heading to my place. I could have called but I didn’t. I loved pulling such surprises on him. Unfortunately, I was the one who got the shock of my life because they were too stupid to lock the door. I saw his car parked outside, so I knew he was home. I was relieved. I would have cried and blamed myself for not calling ahead. I got to the door and it wasn’t locked, so I pushed it open. I saw the handbag, then the earrings, the pair of sandals. I started paying attention. His phone was on the couch and there was another phone also. I didn’t shout. I didn’t yell his name. I was too dazed to react. I only managed to grab a seat and was there for what seemed like a long time. It could have been one hour, or five hours, or two days, or fifteen minutes.

Finally they came out; he in his briefs, and the lady in just her panties, laughing stupidly till they saw me. Now, I can’t remember the details of what happened afterwards; it’s a bit sketchy but I saw her leave. I didn’t still say a word. He would have been able to handle it if I reacted immediately. My normal reaction would be to rush into the kitchen and grab a knife, or break a bottle, or sink my teeth in someone’s chest, but I just sat there, looking like a fool. He loved it when I reacted fast; he always knew the right words to say to calm me down. But a few times that I delayed till after two or three weeks, it was a case of snatching knives from me at 1am, or waking up to the smell of gas as I played with a lighter when the house was on a lockdown. He desperately wanted me to say or do something, but I did not.

I left. I felt even worse and knew I could slump if I didn’t grab a cold drink immediately. I got to the nearest bus stop and walked into a store to buy Lucozade boost. I met her there, the same idiot I saw with my boyfriend. She was buying some Panadol or something. I wonder what caused her headache. I didn’t even hit her. I bought what I needed and walked out of there.

While waiting for my bus to fill up, I saw a lady rush pass from the corner of my eye, she looked like Tope and I quickly turned, it wasn’t her. I slouched on my seat again and chided myself for even paying her mind at all. Then I heard it, faintly at first until it got louder, the shout of “Ole! Ole!! Ole!!!” Trust what the shout of “Thief!” can do in Lagos, there was a crazy pandemonium immediately. People started alighting from the bus out of curiousity. I was curious too but I was too sick and heartbroken to not mind my business.  I saw people gathering stones and tyres and kegs. I said a silent prayer for whoever it was; those bloodthirsty animals would make barbecue out of that unfortunate human. I closed my eyes.

The voice of a woman who had returned into the bus from her sightseeing mission woke me, “Na wa o! All these fine girls wey their own thing no go dey their eyes. If you see as the girl fine well well, she come even yellow join. Na person phone she thief o, she dey there dey shout say no be am, but dem see the phone insai her bag”. I opened my eyes as she continued, “Dem don beat am tire, na petrol dem go find now, dem go burn am”, she finished excitedly. 

That was when I saw it. It was Tope, and she had been beaten to within an inch of her life.

 What a pleasant surprise.

Imagine what five minutes can change. Her right eye was swollen already, even from the short distance I watched from. I jumped down from the bus and walked towards the mob. They were lacing her with tyres just as I pushed my way to the front. Then she saw me and yelled “Anne, Anne! please tell them we just left Dave’s place together! See, Anne is my friend, ask her, I am not a thief!”

I walked away.

Bitch, I am not your friend. I only just met you today, sleeping with my man. I should have killed you but hey, this slow painful death would work better, I thought. I could still hear her screaming “Anne! Anne!!” as I kept walking. Then the fire. I smiled as I saw the smoke. Burn in hell, bitch! Burn even from here.

It’s been five years. Dave and I broke up already. He cheated again and I stabbed his buttocks so deep that it took about sixteen stitches to patch him up. It also took a restraining order and his mum’s curses for me to finally stop seeing him physically. I still stalk him on Instagram and I know the lady he is dating now. I know her house too and where she works. I also have her two phone numbers and I know her cousin’s place where she mostly hangs out. I have not visited her though.

Lately I have been too busy to even stalk anyone. Tope has really been dealing with me. She visits every night. Sometimes she is peaceful, other times she is angry. Her moods are so unpredictable. Today she brings food, tomorrow she comes with a whip. I didn’t kill her, the mob did. Maybe I could have said something, maybe a word in her defence, but she slept with my man. My message was clear: STAY CLEAR! But she was an idiot. How can anyone make me feel sorry for that? I hope she will get off my back so I can focus on this new Dave’s girlfriend.

Whenever Tope visits, I always say byebye to sleep for that night. Now I have nothing else to do than log into Dave’s account, and maybe Sheila’s too. The new girl’s name is Sheila. She is cute, but Tope was finer. I hope she joins Tope soon, and Dave’s mum can join them later, when it pleases her or when I say the time is right.

He knows what we have: it’s either a life contract or a death contract. With me and Dave, there is no in-between.

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