After twisting my ankle, I allow Tosin to carry me into his house. A place that holds a lot of painful memories. I can’t help but wonder if this is really the house I had walked up to many years ago. That daddy had sent me to steal from. Thinking back, the house seemed a lot bigger than it is now. That’s probably because I was still a child then. A child that daddy used and dumped like trash.
Tosin unlocks the door and we walk into the kitchen. It’s like I’m transported to the very first day we met. The thought of eating noodles fresh in my head. How odd, I can’t remember the last time I actually had noodles not to mention noodles with pieces of fish inside.
My chest tightens a bit. Although the pain has lessened over the years, thinking of mummy still causes a dull ache in my chest. If only daddy didn’t drink so much. If only things were slightly different, would my life have gone down this path? Would mummy still be alive today?
I shake my head as if trying to clear my memory. Regrets have no place in my head. What I have, all there is to live for, is the present.
Tosin slowly lowers me on to a high stool in the kitchen. I try to place my feet on the ground but I do it too fast and it hurts.
‘Take it easy. Let me find something to massage it with.’
‘You don’t have to. You said you’ll explain everything to me.’
I say this while folding my hands and staring at him. Ruth told me once that it’s a sign of power and confidence to look someone in the eye while stating your desire. I don’t know where she got it from, but I’ve decided to try it.
‘And I will. After all, we have all night.’
After saying that, I watch him leave and I’m left alone in the kitchen with my thoughts. Safe to say Ruth was wrong. I slowly assess the kitchen. It doesn’t look like someone lives here. There are cobwebs on the ceiling and on some pans hanging on the wall. Is this really the house of the man Daddy sent me to? It looked so grand and was oozing of wealth but now… it almost seems abandoned.
‘I know right?!’
I’m caught off guard and almost fall from the high stool. Tosin quickly rushes to my side to steady me.
‘I’m sorry I scared you.’
‘It’s fine.’ I reply with a sigh. ‘What did you say earlier?’
Tosin drops to the floor and calmly massages my aching ankle with a heat balm. I remain quiet and allow him to finish. Once he’s done, he drops the balm on the table and says nothing for a while, slowly taking in the sight of the kitchen the same way I had. As if for the first time in a long time.
‘This house… It almost seems abandoned. I know.’
After it seemed like he wasn’t going to say any more, I asked what happened.
He let out a deep sigh and sat down on the high stool next to mine.
‘Let’s say, my father’s sins finally caught up with him.’
My eyes go wide with shock as realisation hits me. Does that mean Tosin knows? Did he know all along what his father did to me?! Did Tosin play along by bringing me inside the house in the first place?! No! It can’t be. I don’t want to believe it, I need to know more.
‘What do you mean by “my father’s sins” Tosin?’
As he looks at me, I can see anger and guilt reflected in his eyes and… shame? He knew.
‘How long have you known?!’
No matter how hard I tried to control it, the anger and pain in my voice was evident. Was I a pawn in their sick game?!
‘Wait! Lola, it’s not what you think!’
‘What the fuck do you know?! Was this some sort of game you and your father played?! Messing with little girls to keep you entertained?!’
‘What?! God no! You’re jumping to conclusions!’
‘Then make things fucking clear to me!’
I can’t sit anymore. My ankle is throbbing but I ignore the pain. Is there a being somewhere who thinks it’s fun to fuck with my life every time I try to find a semblance of peace?!
Tosin stands up too and tries to hold me but I brush him off.
‘Lola, please. I had no idea what my father was into. None whatsoever. If I did, I would never have allowed you near him. You have to believe me.’
I feel my entire body shake. The memories, the abuse, everything was coming back in a wave of emotions and I had to sit down to stop myself from falling over again.
‘Tosin, why did you call me here?’
I say this as calmly as I can and watch him carefully.
‘My father travelled a lot, for business and whatnot. He was a wealthy man as you can see.’
He gestures around the house.
‘Yes. He’s dead. He killed himself.’
I’m shook. Suicide? He never seemed like the type but what do I know? He never seemed to be the abusive type either and I paid dearly for it.
‘You see my father, he was fascinated by watches. He would always buy one whenever he travels out of the country. If you remember, I told you that when we first met.’
I remember that night clearly. It was because he told me about how he might know about where his father kept daddy’s gold watch that I followed him inside his house in the first place. I can’t believe how young and naive I was.
‘It wasn’t until years later that I found out that it wasn’t just Gold wrist watches that fascinated him.’
Even before Tosin continued, I had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I closed my eyes and silently hoped it wasn’t what I thought it was. That my gut was wrong.
Tosin rubbed his face with his hands and took a deep breath before continuing.
‘He was also fascinated by little kids.’