When I first saw the bright smile on her face, I thought it was the same wry smile she had worn for the past three years to assure me that everything was going to be alright but I was wrong, this smile was different.
“Hazan take a look at my feet.” She said and I watched her toes wiggle for the first time since the accident four years ago. My heart leapt for joy as I saw the miracle I thought would never happen.
“The Lord has answered our prayers.” She said again. Seeing tears of joy streaming down her face, I remember the day I took the life altering decision.
My foot was trembling with fear as I stood inside the witness chamber that day, answering balls of questions being thrown at me.
‘Where were you coming from the evening it happened?’ The lawyer asked.
‘I was coming from my fiancé Chidinma’s house’ I answered diligently as I have been taught.
The lawyer waited a few seconds before throwing me another bomb.
‘Tell me Hazan what did you take at her house?’
‘She was having her dinner of tea and bread so I joined her’ I replied.
‘So you telling me you took only tea at her place, No strong drink?’ The lawyer queried again.
‘It’s my fiance’s house, she doesn’t drink and wouldn’t allow me to.’ I said shifting my gaze from the man beside me to the light-skinned woman sitting close to my dad.
‘Please Mr Hazan we would like you to narrate the Incident to this court’ the lawyer said saving the lady from the arrow of eyes pointed at her by diverting the crowd’s attention back to me.
I took a deep breath and swallowed hard.
‘I was on my way driving home from my fiance’s house when I suddenly sighted a figure lying on the road. Owing to the fact that I wasn’t over speeding, I was able to pull my car to a halt in time.
I came down and saw the young lady drowning in a pool of blood.’ I paused to prevent my memory from playing the gory scene.
‘Please continue Mr Hazan’ the inquisitive man urged.
I continued trying to prevent the ocean in my eyes from flooding.
‘I rushed toward her, administered the first aid treatment and called for help.
The neighbors came and accused me of crushing her down’ I concluded finally bursting the dam in my eyes.
My trick won over nearly everyone at the court but the victim’s younger brother whose eyes were red with anger and her mother who obviously had cried her eyes out refused to be subterfuged.
How excellent was I in acting the drama which was written by our family lawyer and produced by my father, having Chidinma who I was seeing for the second time in my life as the supporting actress.
‘Mr Hazan you saw the woman lying down in blood right? From what you saw can you please describe what you thought happened to the lady?’ the lawyer fired.
‘Objection my lord’ our family lawyer came in to rescue me.
‘Objection over ruled’ The judge denied.
The question caught me off guard, it wasn’t part of those I had rehearsed. I log into my brain to find answers but instead I accidentally triggered the memory fought so hard to erase.
That day, I went to the club to drink away my depression cause I had seen the true nature of the man I called dad. Had I been told elsewhere, I wouldn’t have believe it.
Twelve neatly wrapped pack of hard drug lying inside the suitcase under dad’s bed was the sight that would linger still in my memory. I felt so sad, angry and betrayed to know the man I had thought was the best father in the world was a drug baron.
I wanted to be better than him but I knew the charade I was putting up wouldn’t help me so i needed to clear my conscience.
Read: Heading south
Hot tears drop from my eyes as I opened my mouth to answer the question.
‘Am so sorry.’ This was the only word I could mutter.
‘What do you mean sir?’ the lawyer pressed further.
To everyone’s surprise I narrated how I was driving heavily drunk and accidentally knock down the lady walking by the road side. I told the court how my conscience had stopped me from running and how I stayed to take care of her despite people raining curses on me.
By the time I finished, the judge made a deep sigh and my interrogator finally let me off the hook and went to his seat.
After a few minutes the judgement was delivered, giving me two options. Five years imprisonment or a year imprisonment with a fine of five million naira.
I happily took the second option and was later released after serving my time. Dad had wanted to send me abroad after I got back but when I heard that my victim had her back broken with a very slim chance of ever setting her foot on the ground again, refused to travel.
In other to atone for my sin, I made it my responsibility to take care of her.
Looking at her now, I can’t see that hopeless lame girl anymore but a damsel I will walk down the aisle, the moment she gets on her feet.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe