Khadijat: “Father” she said, fear had paralyzed her so much that her words came out as a whisper, even though she was screaming with fear in her heart. The man standing before her was carrying her father’s face, but it was like she could not recognize him.
His eyes were red rimmed and bloodshot like he had been crying, and in them were filled so much hate and disgust at Khadijat.
Imam: “You Khadijat, you whom I have loved so much, has brought me so much shame” he snarled, through clenched teeth, as his fingers clenched the knife harder.
Khadijat: “Father, I know I have caused you pain, but I am sorry” she cried.
Imam: “You are sorry? Well sorry, doesn’t just make everything right, does it?” he asked. Khadijat knelt down and pled with her father, but whatever she said, was falling on deaf ears. Her father still progressed towards her, with hate, evident in his eyes. She stood up and ran away from his path, but her father followed her.
Imam: “I will take out that abominable thing” he snarled, as he swung the knife at her stomach. It grazed her slightly but it drew blood. Khadijat yelped, but even her screams did not return her father to her senses. Khadijat tried to run into one of the rooms, but her leg tripped over a small stool, and she fell. Her father came and sat astride her and then he raised the knife up and brought it down.
Between the time that he raised the knife and brought it down, there was a small window, and that was when Damilola’s mother entered. She saw father and daughter on the floor, and without asking questions, she took a statue by the television set and hit the Imam on the back. The suddenness of the attack made the knife fall out of the Imam’s hand, clattering to the floor. He turned back to see his assailant, and that was when Khadijat pushed him off and scurried out of the house. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, without thinking as to where she was running to. Her father had intended to kill her, she had seen it in his eyes. She had stared death in the face and somehow, she had lived. All she could think of, was running away from her father.
The statue had injured the Imam and drew blood, and for a moment, Damilola’s mother was scared that the Imam would turn on her, and do to her what he had intended to do to his daughter. But then, his eyes glazed over, he blinked and then looked at the knife in his hands.
Imam: “Oh no, where is Khadijat?” he asked, as if back from a trance.
Damilola’s mother: “You are asking me, you almost killed that little girl” she exclaimed, edging closer to the door, so she could escape, at the slightest appearance of trouble.
Imam: “I had come here to see her, but when I saw her” he paused and rubbed his eyes like he was trying to stop himself from crying, “I could see the little swell of her stomach, and I could not control my anger” he said.
Damilola’s mother: “Liar! You brought that knife here, with the intent of harming your own daughter. What do you people learn in your Quran? She is your daughter for God’s sake” she said passionately.
Imam: “Don’t shout on me woman! You do not know what you are talking about. She has destroyed the name I took years to build. When I make the prayers at the mosque, people don’t pray, they whisper behind my back. The Imam’s daughter allowed herself be defiled by an infidel!” he yelled.
Damilola’s mother did not bother to say any more words, she ran out through the door, and bumped into Khadijat’s mother, who was about to knock on the door.
Khadijat’s mother: “Neighbour, who is pursuing you?” she asked, puzzled.
Damilola’s mother: “Your husband has gone mad! He wanted to kill your daughter, and now she ran away, I don’t know where she has gone” she said panting with fear.
Khadijat’s mother ran into the house and held her husband by his jalabiya, this was something she had never done before.
Khadijat’s mother: “Alfa, you will kill me today. Just kill me because it is my fault that Khadijat is pregnant. I am the one who should have watched over her and known everything that was going on with her. It is my fault, kill me and let my daughter be” she cried.
Imam: “You have rightly said it, that it is your fault. But I will not kill you, I will divorce you and marry a woman who can take care of her children and make sure they don’t go astray. Now, pack your things and leave my house” he said and pushed her away.
Khadijat ran across a busy road, oblivious of the busy traffic. She did not realize how far away from home she had run, until she saw a sign post. She was confused and she stopped in the middle of the road. She realized too late that she was in the path of oncoming vehicles; she screamed and tried to run to the other side. But, it was a little too late, as a car slammed into her and flung her to the other side of the road. She fell on the rain washed tar road, and soon, it became dark. The shouts and screams from witnesses, were like it was coming from another planet.
While people came to beg the Imam not to send his wife packing, his wife went looking for her daughter, Khadijat, in all the places she knew her daughter went. She even went to Halima’s house, but the latter told her, in no kind words, that her daughter was not in their house.
Khadijat’s mother: “Please, but she was with you the other day, help me my daughter” she cried desperately.
Halima: “Oh, I am now your daughter. When you called me a bastard and a society’s reject, you didn’t know I could be somebody’s daughter. Your daughter is not here and even if she came here, I would not let her stay” she said harshly and slammed the gate in the woman’s face.
Khadijat: “Subhanalai! What am I going to do now, where do I look for my Khadi?” she cried, with her hands on her head, not minding that she had left the house without putting on bra.
Halima had her own problems; she had found out just yesterday, that she was pregnant. The abortion doctor had told her the last time that she couldn’t have any more abortions again, because if she did, she might never be able to have her own children. The worst of it was that she was pregnant for her Christian boyfriend. No matter how liberal her parents were, she could never marry a Christian, her father was an Alhaji.
Would I now be a single mother? Which Muslim man would marry me with another man’s child?
“Ha Halima, you have really outdone yourself this time”
The thoughts kept reverberating on the walls of her mind. She should have been careful, she told herself. If only she was not addicted to raw sex, if only she had heeded the advice of the abortion doctor and used protection.
“Enough of the blame game, now you have to think of a solution Halima. Can you risk excommunication from your family because of him?” She thought to herself.
She made a decision that, she would keep the pregnancy, and if her boyfriend accepted, she wouldn’t mind converting to Christianity. It would cost her a lot, but what other choice did she have? She couldn’t condemn herself to a life of barrenness.
Everyone watched the young girl splayed on the cold road, there was blood around and they thought her dead. Rather than see if she could be saved, they took out their phones and took snapshots of the accident, they had to be the first to share the eyewitness photos on the internet. The driver of the car that hit her had long vanished with his car. Other drivers maneuvered their way around the body, with pity etched on their faces, but no real will to help. An elderly woman, who was dressed in two Hollandes wrapper and a market bag in her hand, stopped and started screaming for help. When she saw that nobody was making any move to help the girl. She took to her heels, with her fallen breast flapping with the wind, running towards the closest clinic.
When she got to the bungalow clinic, she started screaming on top of her lungs. This brought out the nurses who wondered why the old woman was shouting on top of her voice.
Nurse: “Madam, wetin dey worry you. Why you dey shout like woman wey dey labour”
Old woman: “Please, help me, a girl has been knocked down on Ola Iya junction. Please come before she dies” she said with so much urgency, that a man dressed in doctors’ garb ordered the emergency unit to take the ambulance with the woman, to the site of the accident.
Question: Will Khadijat be saved or will she die with a wish on her lips?
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