• Dami Afam Ade-Odiachi


Updated: Sep 23, 2021

It is nebulous. It is in the air. Red. My mouth is sour. Black. There is tension. My eyes have drawn tight. My teeth are clenched. My shoulders have climbed. I’m as tight as a coiled viper.

How dare you. How very fucking dare you.

Your mother didn’t born you well. Your poor father’s head must not be correct. It is only through the dual misfortune of a father with a discombobulated head and a mother with broken loins that you could have come out so monumentally stupid and unsuited for human purpose.

You abused me. I delivered myself to your apartment that night, a chicken. I was slaughtered. I couldn’t even cry as you stabbed me.

Before you I’d thought that if a man did things to my body that I didn’t want done, I’d have what it took to, at the very least, shout Cookoorookoo.

I went home thoroughly plucked, feeling naked, feeling braised, missing my feathers.

"Na me do am.”

“Na me do am to myself.”

I wasn’t ashamed, no. There was nothing to be ashamed of. I took myself to the house of a useless man and I was uselessed. It wasn’t a problem. There was no calculus, no algebra, it was a simple equation.

“If you treat yourself uselessly the world will follow your example and you will not like it.”

I hugged myself and said, universe 1 Afam 0.

I forgave you on the train. I stripped you of the blame and carried the load.

He didn’t know. It’s not his fault. That’s what I said to me. That’s what I told my friends. I delivered news of the traumatic event like a seasoned reporter.

"Afamefuna visited a friend in South London and was sexually assaulted at some time in the night."

Unactionable details of my life designed only to inform. Hard news. The past.

One of them was angry, Jojoba. His eyes drew tight. His teeth clenched. His shoulders climbed. He sat coiled... like a cobra.

But what of me? The so called victim?

I felt nothing. I’d accepted it. What else could I have done. It was life life-ing away, knifing at will, trauma for me, not unique or specific, tragedy on a whim, human plight.

I didn’t protest too much so he doesn’t know. I’m not going to confront him about it either, it won’t serve him to know, the news might change him, traumatise him, hurt him. I’ll bear the load. My shoulders are broad, my heart is deep. I’ll clasp it around my neck like a yoke. It’s what slaves do. These are things I whispered to myself.

But he did know.

When he called in the heat of "me too” I answered. I expected an update, something mundane, I’m seeing someone, my father died, all is well. I didn’t get that. I got a question.

Do you remember that night? The one we spent together when we were lovers. The first and only time you came to my apartment? The last time we saw in person before we dissolved? What happened? What do you remember?

Remember? I remembered everything. His face, his touch, his hair, his skin. His grunts, his force, my shock, my fear. His cum dripping, sliding, staining me. Spent, he collapsed on his newly defiled. Remember? I remember everything.

I told him. Not like that. Softly. I took out the anger. I left out the pain. I stripped off the disgust. I kept it tame.

He listened at first and I was glad. But then he came back again, again, again, forcing me to retell, making me relive, locking me in a moment that made me want to die. He suggested different theories, tried to alter memory, I remember he said, “I thought it was like, you know, a first wife. How she lies there, allowing, waiting, for her husband to finish.”

He’d hurt me again, but I didn’t say. Insinuating that I was his thing, his tool to be used, a fleshlight, a sex doll, entirely at his disposal and completely at his pleasure. I said nothing.

“Sodiq*, it happened. I’ve moved on. I will not revisit the past. It is beyond revision. I open to you a new chapter that you may write in it a new beginning, make a new story.”

I sank in a chair after that conversation. I tapped myself on the back. How kind you are. How Christian of you. You’re such a fucking strong and remarkable person, Afam. Fuck! You did that! Astounding benevolence, impossible virtue, a mansion must await you in heaven. I smiled through tears that didn’t fall. I felt around my neck for the yoke, I hoisted it up. The past, I would carry it, in silence, with joy. Affliction struck and I prevailed. Never once revealing my ugly.

I was foolish. I’d given a princely gift to a ghastly dog.

That new chapter? What happened to it?

He took it and used it to tell me that he rejected my account of events a month later. It hurt. I felt it.

Then I looked down at the knife in my chest, the one he'd put there. I pulled it out. I put it in a roaring fire. I staunched the bleeding.

I felt for the yoke around my neck. I broke it with a snarl.

I can carry any human load, bear any human pain, but I cannot do it for an ungrateful cunt. I refuse. I will not. Not on my life. Not on my death.

“Sodiq*, do not contact me again.”

“I will never contact you again.”

He sent me an email two weeks later asking me to loan him my words, my pieces, my work.

“Sodiq*, do not contact me again.”

He sent me his newsletter, his words, his pieces, his work.

I unsubscribed without thought, the withdrawal of the tide before the wave. My rage burst forth like a nuclear flame.

Come! BFG and Jojoba! Bring Shasta, Michael, Demola. Take up your banners. Raise them high. We go to flay a man alive.


*I named antagonist of this story Sodiq because it sounds quite like Sour Dick. And if there's sexual assault in the mix, the dick cannot be sweet. And if it is not sweet, then it must be sour. That's how the antagonist of this story came to be called Sodiq.

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