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Thursday, April 18, 2019

True Story: ASHAWO

*This picture is for representational purpose.
Not long ago, I was a guest of an old friend who recently moved to a new apartment. The house was new and in a new neighborhood too. The fence was low with security wire neatly installed on top. When it was nightfall, the guest room got intolerably hot for me because of the season and coupled with the fact that there was a power outage. If there is anything I hated with a passion, it's heat. I trust most of you do too. As such, I decided to seat temporarily outside to receive fresh air.

The hour was almost hitting the midnight and I didn’t know. The street was deserted which is not surprising because the neighborhood is just coming up. Most of the residents who you can possibly count on your fingers were already indoors.  It was also partially dark. That is because there was a power outage on one side of the same street. Going by the standard of the people there, I believe It would have been appreciably silent but for the sound of generators coming from a number of the houses around without electricity.

Suddenly, the smaller gate of one of the two houses opposite a medical facility flung wide open. And as if being chased by something or chasing something, a female figure hurriedly came out. She was of average height, dark complexioned, and moderately fat. She was dressed in black leggings and a white fitted top and she clutched what looked like a white shopping bag bulging with more items than it could possibly hold.

After coming out, like a scene out of a Nigerian home video, the lady all of sudden stopped right in the middle of the empty, bumpy and un-tarred road as if she has come under a spell. And before you say heck, she started to pull off her cloth. Within seconds, she was half-naked from the waist downwards and raising her two hands in the air as if surrendering to something or somebody not visible. And she kept moving in circles.

O dear, here is another victim of the powers that be, I said to myself. I agonize and felt really bad that another pain of childbirth has just gone to waste. It was the most appalling sight I’ve seen in a long while. Yes, I have seen women and men likewise fought half-naked and dirty on the streets of Lagos. But those were intentional and dramatized insanity. This is not and I was short of words.

Still in shock and disbelief, I immediately put on my palm sandal, stood up and briskly moved to a vantage position to have a closeup view through the iron bars of the fence what more would unfold.  

Almost simultaneously, a group of men and women from the building followed and were circling. Ahead of the group was a sturdy and heavily bearded man. He was dressed in a complete black sports tracksuit. Obviously, he took the following pack by surprise as he descended on the half-naked lady. He began to rain quick and sharp blows on her. She staggered from their impact and fell helplessly on her back to the floor. The beating continued while she was on the floor and struggling to find her feet. At some point, she was being dragged on the floor too. It was a scene of a most vicious attack on a woman by a man for stripping herself naked intentionally or not. The atmosphere was tensed and full of potential harms to the lady.

Separating them became another tug of war. Now, the following pack had circled. Some pulled at him with all their strength. Some were suing loudly on their voices for peace. For a while, he proved to be a man not to be easily restrained for there was so much anger in him waiting to be spent. But a particular woman dressed in a white nightie stuck to him like a leech and won’t let him continue the ferocious attack on the lady who was still on the floor. She kept calling his name pleadingly and asking that peace be allowed to reign. And there was a temporary halt to the assault. By now, what was left of her smart top too has been completely shredded.

During this period, they propped up the lady to her feet. She was also given a towel to cover her badly soiled and bruised nakedness. The co-tenants then smuggled her back into the premises. They would go on to hide her in one of the apartments while the man was being held back outside. But he kept threatening assault.

The next thing I heard was: “Ashawo”! Common prostitute!! The man still angry and restless screamed repeatedly. Threatening and looking like he was going to pull off the woman that held him, but the lady was up to the task.

Why would you naked yourself in public like that? Why? He asked in a rasping voice still full of anger. In fact, I don’t want you back in this house! He vowed.

And he kept going round and round the premises looking to see if he could locate where she was hiding to no avail. Some of the men stick around and asking him to calm down and assuring him things would be fine. Later, he appeared to be listening because he suddenly became conscious that some things on him, especially his phone, was missing.

Where is my phone? Give me my phone? He demanded from by-standing co-tenants. The phone by then was already dissembled. They jointly looked around for the scattered parts. When they were pieced together, a few of the features were damaged. The screen is badly scratched and the stylish cover was nowhere to be found. It might have fallen in the sewer full of dirty water because they couldn’t found it. The raining season is about to start and there have been a couple of light downpours. They all retired back into the building and the smaller gate was shut behind them. So I was left clueless as to what really transpired. But I had to figure out things on my own.

As I slouched back to where I was previously seated, I kept wondering who was what and why the horrific show. So many questions came to my mind and I tried to proffer answers.

Where they couple? I doubt they were. For if they were, nothing warrants the show of shame that just occurred. No sane couples, no sane woman would do such thing as removing her cloth in public to press home her grievances no matter how genuine they were, I concluded.

Where they lovers in a relationship? Possibly! But what disagreements could have prompted a lady that was well brought up to so badly misbehave and publicly too? My answer is she must have been wayward to be capable of such. In fact, she must have been a street girl or still a street girl who all the while has been pretending to be a good homely girl with the intention to get a man to marry her. Now she has been found out because like they say, the behavior is like a smoke, and in no time it will manifest itself.  

Where they strangers on a one night stand? It looked more like it than all other hypotheses. But I’m not sure because the other tenants all seemed to know the lady so well. If not, they wouldn’t have come to her rescue in unison and offering her a covering and safely hid her in their apartment.

Perhaps, she is a prostitute truly because to some extent only prostitutes are more capable of such scandalous behaviors and won’t feel ashamed about it. But there is always an exception to every rule. More so, there is, like the medical people would say, in everybody a streak of insanity that may manifest itself when least expected. Perhaps it was her day to manifest hers. But who would like to marry people whose insanity entails stripping themselves naked in public? As for me, I wouldn’t. No sane person should too.

There must be other forms of mild and tolerable insanities. This, definitely, should be too much for anybody to devour. It’s not sticky at all. And if I’ve to advise the man, he should bring the relationship to an end and even informed the parents of the lady about the show of shame she has just put up. I wouldn’t be surprised in the final commentary, if the relationship whatever its status is, comes to an end on the night.  

*A point to note: This is a work of fiction meets reality and meant to entertain and teach moral.

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