Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Things We Do For Love - Seven

Shivers run down my spine as I shuffle into the rundown hotel. It has been a long walk from the bus stop and my feet feel like heavy logs of wood. I am hot, sweaty, and worst of all – damp patches are rapidly forming at my armpits. I hate damp patches, and I hate the nervousness they signify.

I stand in the poorly lit reception, awaiting the receptionist. A run-down sign in the corner proclaims “home away from home”, but this place does not feel like home in the slightest. The way I feel is somewhat akin to what Daniel must have felt as he walked into the lion’s den all those years ago.

“Can you please turn that sign away?” I blurt out to the receptionist when he finally arrives. He peers at me, his spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose, then quietly turns it away. He hands me a form and waits in silence as I fill it out. I imagine that he is sneering down at me as I sign my name “Kehinde Helen”, so I glance up covertly – but he is dozing – neck bent and drool forming in his mouth. I clear my throat to call his attention and he snaps back to life momentarily. He collects the form and money, then hands me a bronze key with a broken key-chain. A boy of about ten years old, presumably his son, volunteers to lead me to my room, so I head off after him. I turn after a few steps, intending to ask the Receptionist if the air-conditioning works – but he is dozing again.

I press a hundred naira note into the boy’s hands and lock the door after he leaves. I am grateful for the few moments I will now spend alone. I feel a strange calm, somewhat like the lull before a storm. I look around the room, absently, taking in my surroundings. Strangely, the room is clean; cleaner than I expect given the run-down façade of the building. I bend to look under the bed on a hunch, and my intuition is confirmed when an irritated horde of cockroaches swarms out from under it.

I pluck out my Blackberry and quickly tap out a terse message, “Here, 10” and hit ‘enter’ before I overthink things and change my mind. I hunt through my handbag, searching for my trusty can of pepper spray; then put it in the phone compartment, where it is within easy reach. Who knows? I might need it if things get out of hand.

I walk into the toilet and look at myself in the mirror. My face is set, but I feel great turmoil within. I focus on my face for a brief moment, my full red lips filling my mind. My strength is almost gone. I want to cry, to wail; to let out my frustration at Mofesola’s inability to find a job, to let out my shame at what I have come here to do.

I walk back into the room and sink into the single plastic chair, drape my arms around myself, and start to cry. Unable to maintain the semblance of control that has brought me this far, I let the tears flow, ruining my makeup and pooling beneath my chin. After four years of being strong for Mofesola, of assuring him that God will do it, I finally break down in this run-down hotel room and ask myself if he is worth this sacrifice.

By and by, I hear footfalls outside the door. They are heavy and sluggish, suggesting a lazy man who is not accustomed to lifting his feet off the ground. My heart stops as I await the knocks. I wish he is not here. I wish he has been hit by a bike or run over by a truck; I wish he has been arrested by the police, or worse still hit by an accidental discharge.

None of that has come to pass, however. He knocks. Rotimi is here.

Resignedly, I walk over to the door and begin to unlock it. I tell myself that this will be alright. He must use a condom, I say to myself, and this will not last any longer than it has to. There will be no fooling around. He will respect me and acquiesce to my requests. After all, is it not Rotimi?

The smell of alcohol hits me as the doors open. I could not have been more wrong. It is not Rotimi. It is a drunk Rotimi. There are few men in the world more unreasonable than a drunk Rotimi.

As he staggers into the room, he drops his backpack and reaches for my breasts in the same motion. My expectations that we will talk about Mofesola’s job and then have mechanical sex immediately fly out the window. My game plan did not take Rotimi’s reputation for binge drinking into consideration.

He abruptly stops a few paces short and turns to pick up his bag. I have a bad feeling about this bag. When his back is completely turned, I quickly leap over the bed so as to be closer to my handbag. A brief glance confirms that the phone compartment is unzipped and my pepper spray is within easy reach. I turn my eyes back to Rotimi, who is now chuckling to himself as he removes items from his bag. I am horrified when he fishes out a horsewhip, gag balls, and handcuffs!

Rotimi is a masochist!!!

Maso-kíni? A violent feeling of disgust grips me. What was I thinking when I came here? What did I expect from sex with this rotund, pot-bellied, always-sporting-an-erection idiot? The very sight of the kinky items in his hands nauseates me, and I immediately know that today is not the day Mofesola gets a job.

I grab my little can of pepper spray and hold it out of sight behind my body, waiting for the right time. Having arranged his motley assortment of kinky items on the bed, he looks around the room to find me then heads in my direction. He unbuttons his shirt as he walks towards me, revealing a thick mass of hair covering his belly. Good Lord! I hate belly hair! When he is only two steps away, I lift my arms as if to embrace him – and pepper-spray him right in the eyes.

Rotimi falls to the ground, screaming loudly for his mother as he goes down. I feel a strong revulsion, and it is all I can do to keep from kicking at him. He is such a child.

I scoop up my bag and rush out of the room. As I run down the stairs, I hear the sound of thunder. Shortly, I see the laconic Receptionist running towards me, evidently intending to investigate the screams. I lean into the dip of the stairs and spring at him, my right foot aimed at his groin. He goes down in a heap, and I run past him.

Now I have hurt two grown men. I must not be caught.

I need to get to the bus stop, and fast.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! So she actually fell for the cheap bargain?