Part 1

Zirwa felt fear engulf her. “Dapo… I thought I should… I thought it would be best…”

Mariam couldn’t believe his boldness.

“No!” she shouted, “How dear you?! You do this to my sister and have the nerve to confidently come to my house?” Zirwa tightened the grip on her sister’s arm.

“Mr. Alfred! Mr. Alfred!” Mariam impatiently called out to her gate man, waiting for him to show up.

“Mr. Alfred,” she started as he approached, “let this be the last time you allow this man enter this house. The day I see his face here again will be the last day you work here. I hope I’ve made myself clear.” Mr. Alfred looked at his madam with dignified confusion but chose not to argue. He would find out what happened later anyway.

“Madam, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again Ma…” he promised. Then he turned to the intruder.

“Oya, Mr. Man, please Sa, come and be going. You don hear wettin madam talk. Oya, be fast Sa!” He held on to Dapo and ushered him towards the exit.

“Zirwa, look at the embarrassment you’ve brought me. Look at the way your sister is speaking to me. This won’t be the end, I promise you! I won’t stand here to exchange words with anyone. When you’re ready, meet me at home.” He defiantly made his way to the gate.

“The audacity of this man!” Mariam exclaimed. “Where are you going Uncle Dapo?! You should stay and beat me now! Animal! A sorry excuse for a man! Come back to this house first and I promise you will never see the light of day again!”

“Mariam, please. Stop. I don’t want your neighbours to start coming around to ask questions. Let’s just go and see Dr. Ifi, I really want to take this one step at a time.”

Mariam hugged her sister.

“Zirwa, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I didn’t pay more attention. Your colleague noticed something was wrong. I’m your flesh and blood and I thought you were happy with this man.” Tears slowly stained her cheeks.

Zirwa was saddened that her sister felt the need to take the blame. She was always so protective of her. She embraced her sister in silence, but made a note to talk to her later on. She needed to make sure that Mariam didn’t carry any guilt over her failed marriage. Only she had allowed it go this far.

“Ok Zirwa, let’s catch Dr. Ifi and, if you still have the strength, we can file a police report immediately. We will have to call Mum and Daddy today to inform them about the current situation. You know, once we discuss with Dr. Ifi, she will likely call Mummy.”

.     .     .

Dr. Ifi sat opposite Zirwa and Mariam, concerned about the woman she had cared for medically since she was a child. She had a motherly affection for the Okunniyi sisters and was saddened by the fact that she had to attend to one of them under such circumstances. “Zirwa, it’s so sad to hear you’ve gone through such an ordeal. The few times I met with your husband during your engagement and wedding ceremony, he seemed like such a gentle man.”

Zirwa thought back to her wedding day. She must have been the happiest woman on the planet. Dapo had promised her the world and she had believed him.

“The hospital has a doctor who usually deals with cases of assault. But I’d like to treat you. I’ll ask a few questions and take notes… you’ll be able to use this as well as all samples taken for evidence. The samples are usually kept at the hospital while the report notes will be passed on to the police.”

Zirwa gently nodded as Dr. Ifi explained how swabs from her mouth and other sensitive areas would be collected. Her mind started to wonder and she faintly heard her doctor explain the procedures for collecting urine and blood samples. She had been raped by a man she no longer knew. Violated by a stranger in her own home. She could hear the faded ramblings of Dr. Ifi explaining that she should do a check up to ensure she had no infections. Then she froze and began to shake.

“We also encourage a pregnancy test after a month to get an accurate reading.”

Zirwa just realised she had not seen her period for a few months.

“Thank you Dr. Ifi,” Mariam began, “we really appreciate you seeing us on such short notice. I know how busy the hospital gets. We appreciate your support.”

Then she noticed the troubled look on Zirwa’s face. “Eh Dr. Ifi, may I please take a few minutes to encourage Zirwa before we proceed?”

Dr. Ifi stood from her seat. “Yes or course, I understand Mariam. I’ll briefly attend to one or two things. You may both stay in my office. Just have the nurse at reception page me when you’re ready.” She walked over to Zirwa and held her hand.

“Zirwa, you will pull through this. I want you to remember that we’re all here for you.”

As she left Mariam studied her sister. Something was very wrong. “Zirwa, what’s happening? I can understand this is all very overwhelming. We can go home and come back…”

“Mariam, I think I’m pregnant.” Zirwa could no longer hold back her tears.

“Hey, Zirwa,” Mariam wrapped her arms around her, “It’s not the end of the world. We can ensure you and your baby are safe from Dapo. He may be the father, but…”

“Mariam, if I am, Dapo is not the father.”

Mariam couldn’t hide her shock. “Zirwa, what do you mean Dapo would not be the father?”

Zirwa didn’t need her life to become more complex than it already was.

“Apart from this incident, Dapo hasn’t touched me for a very long time. He hasn’t come close to me in more than 7 months. The last time I had a period was more than 2 months ago. I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was the stress and I was also losing a lot of weight. But I forgot…”

“Zirwa, you forgot what?”

“Two months ago Dapo traveled for work. It was only for 2 days. But one of those days after work, he offered to drop me home. He kept asking me what was going on, why I hadn’t been looking and acting like myself for a while. He kept showing so much concern and care.”

“Zirwa…” Mariam felt a little impatient “Who are you referring to?”

“Mariam, I don’t know what came over me. We got to my place and I invited him in. He was reluctant, but I told him we’d talk inside. We’ve been friends for years, he’s always been so caring and supportive and at that time, I just fell in the moment. Before I knew it, one thing led to another… Oh Lord what if I’m actually pregnant Mariam?”

Mariam, needed her sister to calm down and explain what exactly was going on.

“Zirwa! Who are you talking about?!”

Zirwa wiped her tears. “If I’m pregnant Mariam, Patrick, is the father.”