WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 23)

WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 23)

Ife is sitting on the chair that I had spent the last two hours reminiscing on; her shoulders are slumped and her face is to the ground, but I know she isn’t looking at anything in particular.

She does not seem to be crying but a part of me feels like it will be better if she is; better to let it all out than keep the energy in, let it pile until it implodes.

I want to reach for her, hold her and tell her everything will be fine. But I do not. I do not trust myself in situations like this, where my emotions are at their most raw and unorganized.

Besides, nothing is fine. Someone is dead; nothing can be fine about that.

I had figured out, the moment they arrived, from their sunken eyes that they knew about Sage’s death. I still don’t know how they knew, but I guess it’s in that way bad news fly. Fast and combustive.

I purse my lips and look to my left where Iliana is seated on the mattress with her back pressed to the wall. She looks pensive and I can see lines beneath her eyes. She is obviously exhausted.

But from what?

And why isn’t Ife in Lagos?

What – or who – killed Sage?

So many questions I know won’t answer themselves.

I want to pace the room, but it is a small space that has shrunken even more with the presence of these other two people and their emotions. I want answers, and I need their attention to get some.

Just then, Ife looks up at me with red, puffy eyes and her cheeks are wet.

Oh, she’s been crying.

I’d always thought of crying as an activity that has to be noisy.

“You are supposed to be in Lagos,” I say to her.

“We were at the…at the park…” She breaks off and looks at Iliana, as though expecting her to continue from where she stopped. But Iliana isn’t looking at either of us. She sniffs, and then continues, “We were at the park when I got a call.”

I see she is trying to choke back a sob and my belly tightens with impatience. I try to appear calm and say nothing, hoping she gets the cue.

She does. “It was a call from some guy who said he was calling from Owerri. He asked if I…if I…”

She trails off again and cups a hand over her mouth to stifle yet another sob. Her eyes are glistening and I approach her, not knowing what else to do, and wrap my arms around her quaking shoulders.

I feel tears sting my eyes but I don’t blink. If I do, they’ll fall.

Iliana gets up then and approaches us, her eyes also bright with tears. They’re also not falling. She appears calm. It must come from her being independent for so long; you build an inner strength that propels you to move even in the most daunting of situations.

When she speaks, her voice is clear. “The guy called Ife, wanting to know if she knows any Tosin Williams. I guess her number was the first on his call log because she’d called him two evenings ago.”

I feel Ife’s body jerk beneath my arms and I reflexively tighten them around her shoulders in a gesture of comfort.

“The guy told us to get on the next bus to Owerri,” Iliana continues, “that something terrible had happened to Tosin. It was a ridiculous thing to say, especially since we didn’t know him, and of course, we weren’t going to just jump on a bus to Owerri simply because a stranger said so. But then, he broke the news.”

Her eyes meet mine and I know I am not breathing anymore. Her eyes are not glistening with tears, but there’s something there, something I have not seen in Iliana.

Anger.

I can’t bear the suspense anymore. Somehow, in the course of this, Ife had grasped my hand and is holding them tightly now. Whether for her comfort or mine, I don’t know.

“So…” I hear myself ask.

“He was kitoed.”

It was Ife who spoke. She lets go of my hands and cradles her face in her. But she isn’t crying anymore.

Kito?

What!?

The shock of it would have sent me to the floor if anger wasn’t already bubbling inside of me, threatening to spill, to consume. I curl my hands into fists and uncurl them.

“He was kitoed?” I ask again, but not because I am expecting an answer. “I thought these muthafuckers simply steal from you and harass you.”

“Apparently, the lowlifes have decided to take it up a notch.”

We all look to see Mitch leaning against the door frame, with his other hand holding the door open. No one had heard him until he spoke. He steps into the room and I can see the bags under his eyes as well. It is obvious no one slept last night.

I look at Iliana who shrugs. “I told him. Your line wasn’t going through, and so I called him instead, thinking you’ll be home so he can give you the phone.”

I think about how I spent my day, on a date with Mark. It all seems so superficial to me now – like, I was busy getting my freak on with a man while someone was being kitoed and killed.

Then with a shudder, the thought drops. He died the night you were with Kenny.

Mitch’s voice cuts through my thoughts. “I am beyond mad he was killed that way. I know we made plans to fuck him up but –”

Someone gasps, cutting Mitch’s words off.

My heart stops beating for a moment, before picking up a faster tattoo as I close my eyes in consternation.

Mitch, what the fuck is wrong with you? I cuss silently at him.

“You guys were planning on fucking him up?!” Ife’s voice isn’t loud, but the hissing undertone to it is chilling nonetheless.

My eyes are still shut, but I can sense hers on me. I am willing the ground to shift, wanting to disappear. Why don’t earthquakes happen in Africa, eh God? I hate confrontations. I hate confrontations. Oh God. Oh God. My head is reeling.

“What is the meaning of that, Sizikora?” she barks at me. “Eh, Mitch? You guys made plans to fuck him up – why! What did he do that could possibly make you want to do anything bad to him?”

She is yelling now.

I want to move, but my feet remain planted on the ground. And then, memories from the immediate past come rushing through me.

The snarl on my mother’s face as she said to me: You will be pleased to know that your friend, Sage, had a lot of light to shine on the dark, twisted demon possessing you.

The sound of the recording that Sage did of my conversation with Ferdinand, which she played to me.

And that coldness from her that iced through my heart as she gave me the ultimatum that ultimately led to me being homeless.

Sage did that to me. He kitoed me! A ball of anger tightens inside me and rips out of me as I cut through Ife’s tirade.

“He destroyed my life, Ife!”

The words came out like a shriek, snowballing into her and causing her to take a step back from me.

“What?” she says in a low, confused tone.

I open my mouth to answer, but I can’t. I want to explain, to tell her, but it feels like I have exhausted the energy of my vocal chords for the day.

“Your brother outed Sizi to his family,” Iliana finally says to her. “Your brother is the reason Sizi is staying with me. He was thrown out by his mother.”

If Ife feels sorry for me, I do not know because her face doesn’t change expressions; she just keeps staring uncomprehendingly first at Iliana, then at me.

I clear my voice and try to steady my emotions. I have to do that, because I fear I might burst out into tears while saying what I want to say. And I cannot have that.

Sage destroyed my relationship with my mother, my family. I do not think I’ll ever forgive him for that nor will I ever forget. However, his death is an eye opener for me, a realisation that I was never going to bring myself to orchestrate his demise. I am not a murderer.

Then, to have died the way that he did is just beyond. This is beyond petty revenge, beyond the need for closure. This is an affront on my community. This is war. No gay person deserves to die like that!

“I may have at one time thought the best way to assuage my bile for your brother was to hurt him,” I start talking to Ife. “It was easy to think that the only way to deal with what he did to me was to hurt him ten times back, to cause him immeasurable pain. It is easy to think that one bad turn deserves another. But I know better now.”

Mitch comes up behind me and squeezes my shoulders. I let the effect of his kindness wash over me briefly, before stepping out from his hold.

I continue speaking earnestly to Ife. “I will tell you now: I wanted him to hurt so bad, I even thought about having him killed. But what do I know really about taking another person’s life? Only someone who doesn’t understand the ramifications of life and death will go about wanting someone else dead. I wanted your brother to hurt – by God, I needed him to feel a bit of what I felt when he outed me, but that is all…” Something catches in my throat and I fight to keep it down. Not now, please. Not now. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. When I open them, a tear slides down. I don’t make any attempt to wipe it off. “That is all I’d have ever wanted: to sit and want him to hurt like he hurt me.”

At first, Ife keeps staring at me in that way she has since she got up angrily from the chair. Then something changes in her stance. Her fists uncurl and her chest heaves like she is drawing breath for the first time since she got into the room. With one stride, she is directly in front of me and I brace myself for a punch or something. Anything from her will be fine. We all need an outlet to expel anger sometimes.

When she lifts her hand to my face however, it is to wipe at my tear-stained cheek. And then she draws me into her arms and rests her head on my shoulder. And then, once again, she is crying. She is shaking so hard, and with such audible sobs, I do not know if I can hold her up for long.

Then as if intuiting into my thoughts, Iliana moves toward us and wraps her small arms around us. She starts to quietly sob too.

Seconds later, another pair of arms, bigger this time, joins the triad. Mitch rests his head on mine. And this is when I let myself go.

Despite the news of the day and all that I have faced, being locked in this embrace, crying without restraint or fear of being seen as vulnerable, gives me the surge of hope I need.

And for the moment, odd as it may be, the world seems right again.

Written by Delle

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  1. Mandy
    June 25, 13:57 Reply

    This was such an emotional read. I was reading and playing it out in my head. Even had sad music crescendo as all four of them embraced.
    I like how you touched on the kito-murder of gay men. I suspected that’d be what killed Sage. And just like that, a full human being turned into a senseless murder victim. Just so sad. I wonder where Sizi and Ife will go from here.

    • Delle
      June 25, 20:59 Reply

      You suspected that!?

      Wosh Mandy, I’m scared of you ?

  2. Olutayo
    June 25, 14:00 Reply

    The way this episode read, i sense that the end of this series is close. Abeg o, this one Sizikora is now thinking that flirting with man is superficial, this series should just NOT end without him finding love. He deserves it

    • Delle
      June 25, 21:00 Reply

      He does deserve true love, doesn’t he??

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