Her heart was beating as they waited for her mum to come. Teju’s mind was filled with a thousand thoughts. How come nothing happened to her? Not even a scratch. She could have died but she was still alive. Did God really love her that much? The cry of Akin brought her back to reality. She tried to calm him down by telling him that everything was going to be okay but even the way she sounded wasn’t convincing enough. She knew she was in serious trouble with her mum. This was not how she imagined that this night would turn out to be. How she wished she could go back to the beginning and change everything.
Teju was in her room when she got a text from Akin inviting her to a party that he was going to tonight and telling her that she had to go because they rarely went out together. Akin was the guy Teju had been dating for the past three months. Only her best friend and younger sister knew about him and ever since her sister knew, she had been using it to her favour. Like the time she wanted one of Teju’s earrings, she threatened to tell their parents if she didn’t give her. Knowing what her parents could do, Teju had had to give her but that was the price she had to pay to keep the guy she was in love with.
When her mum came back from work, she told her that she was going for one of her coursemate’s birthday party. How long was she going to keep lying just to go to places she wanted to? Her best friend, Rachel, didn’t even have to tell her parents where she was going to. As long as she told them she was going out, they would allow her without them thinking twice. The reverse was the case with her. She always had to tell one lie or the other that was good enough or else they wouldn’t let her go out. She wasn’t a kid anymore. She had thought that when she turned eighteen, things were going to change but they were still the way they always were.
Her mum at first hesitated on her going but after enough pleading, she grudgingly said that she could go but that she had to be back before eight. At least she gave her till eight this time. Other times it was six. It was never past six until now. Dressed in a black jeans and a cream top, Teju was ready to go. She had already told her mum that one of her course mates was coming to pick her up. Thankfully, her mum didn’t bother to get to know the person. If her dad didn’t travel, he would have demanded to see the person she was going out with.
The party was held at Haven Nightclub. Akin introduced her to his friends who were around and they all kept saying that she was beautiful.
While Akin was chatting with his friends, Teju sat at the bar, sipping her lemonade drink. So this was what a club was like. It wasn’t that great like people projected it to be. She felt so out of place. The loud music, dancing and drinking wasn’t her thing. At a corner, she saw some people inhaling something from a long cylinder. What kind of party was this? At that moment she badly wanted to go home. She looked at the spot Akin was standing and noticed that he wasn’t there.
“Looking for me?” She turned to her side to see a smiling Akin. “I want to go home,” she said. “Not before we dance,” he tried to pull her up but she refused. He questioned her as to why she wanted to leave when the party was only getting started? She explained to him that she wasn’t feeling well and needed some rest. She told him that he could come back after he had dropped her at home. As they got to his brown Ford car, she noticed something strange about him. It took him close to two minutes to open the car because his keys kept falling from his hand. Was he drunk? She never took him to be a drinker. How was he going to drive when he couldn’t even open the car successfully? There was no way she was going to let him drive. She was still too young to be below six feet under the ground and so was he. “Are you drunk?” She asked to be sure. He chuckled and replied, “Just because I had one bottle of beer doesn’t mean I’m drunk,” so he did drink. At least now she knew that she wasn’t over thinking things.
Suddenly, she began to see him differently. What other things did he do that she didn’t know about? He could be a fraudster, kidnapper or even a serial killer. She calmed down and told herself that she was only being paranoid. How he convinced her to enter the car was what surprised her. All he did was tell her that she had nothing to worry about. Maybe it was the way he said it that carried so much power or maybe she trusted him too much. Her mind wasn’t as ease at all. With one hand on the steering, he held her hand with his other hand. He could tell that she was nervous from the way she was tensed up. “Relax,” he said. He slotted in a CD and began singing when it started playing just to make her feel better. She laughed not because she was feeling better but because of his horrible baritone voice. He was happy, thinking it had worked. Having his eyes on her, he didn’t notice the dog trying to cross to the other side of the road.
“Watch out!” Teju screamed. The tires of the car made screeching noises as he tried to avoid hitting the animal but he lost control and the car ran into a tree. It took Teju minutes to open her eyes. What just happened? Was she in heaven already or still on planet earth?
“Are you ok?” Akin asked. She nodded, she was okay, other than being in serious trouble, she was okay. She was about to ask him the same question, but his cry prevented her. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t feel my legs,” he told her. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do. It was then that she realized that she should have paid more attention to her Physical and Health Education class. What was she supposed to do? It didn’t look like there was anyone around. She brought out her phone and dialed the only person’s number that came to her head.
“Who are you calling?” Akin wanted to know.
“My mum”, she replied. “She’s not freaking picking up!”
“You can’t call your mum, you’re going to get in trouble.” Teju was surprised that he was still thinking about her getting into trouble in a situation like this. Was that how much he cared about her? Well, she didn’t have a choice, she was already in trouble anyway. It was on the fifth ring that her mum answered the call.
Her mum arrived with the paramedics and the police. Akin was put on the stretcher and taken into the van while Teju had to answer series of questions from the policemen. Her mum drove her to the clinic that night to see Akin. Since her mum arrived at the scene, the woman hadn’t said a word to her. When they got to the hospital, the Doctor assured them that Akin was fine, but that he had to use the wheel chair for a while.
“I’m sorry, mum”, Teju apologized when they got home. Her mum told her that she was wasn’t angry only disappointed. She told her to be grateful that she was alive and not even injured. That was the most important. It took Akin two years before he could walk again.
This piece was originally submitted for the PenAStory Love Contest but didn’t make the cut due to the length of the story.
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