Stockholm by Olaitan


What do you remember?”
I stared blankly at the two figures before me watching, waiting, trying to decide if I was a victim or an accomplice. I made a mental checklist of the details the way I always have. Soft eyes, dark skin, baby face, receding hairline, pitying expression- pathetic. His name tag read Johnson. Hands were soft and warm, discomfortingly so, he should see a doctor- good cop.
The other, a woman. Heavyset, cheap makeup, cross on her neck- religious, light skin no, bleached skin. Her knuckles gave her away. She was so strangely aggressive, waiting for me to slip. Too bad for her, I never do. Bad cop. Their game was so obvious I almost burst into laughter but this was clearly not the time. There was very little they could do to phase me.
With a sigh I looked around and tried to formulate a response, the lights were blinding. If their plan was to make me uncomfortable enough to give them the information they need, it could have worked but no, appeal to the emotions of the woman, she’ll crack. It’s like they just cleaned out a store room, put two chairs and a table and christened it an interrogation room. I caught a glimpse of cameras at the corners of my eyes and almost lost my composure. Cameras? They expect me to believe that the cameras are working and someone somewhere is actually watching like we’re not in Lagos again? No wahala, that one is not my business. I shifted uneasily on the slab of wood they called a chair and tried not to brush away the sweat trailing between my breasts. Every sign of weakness was a point lost to me. The room was hot, too hot, stifling even and coupled with the distinct smell of fufu and egusi emanating from Johnson’s breath, I was tempted to tell them everything they wanted to know. But how?
How do I explain that I’m neither a victim nor an accomplice? How do make them understand that I remember everything yet nothing of significance to them? The way his hands felt, his hot breath on my skin, the way he smelt like a man, a real man not all these soft, office working, suit wearing, easily dominated boys, a MAN. Will they then accept that I never saw his face but I know he has a scar on his upper lip? I don’t know where he fled to but I know he goes to the Aswani market on Tuesdays. What words do I use to tell them he doesn’t believe in oyinbo things like banks and shaving and contrary to what they may try to convince themselves, the Police was actually his friend? How do I make them believe that even I didn’t know when the blindfolds and ropes stopped feeling disarming and became erotic? No, I can’t.
You know the lines began to blur at some point- capturer, lover, protector, did it really matter? Did they really want me to believe that they could understand how my heart’s quickening beats at the sound of his footsteps changed from horror to resignation, to lust then all consuming desperation? I couldn’t seem to remember that I was supposed to loathe his presence, his touch, rather than welcome it, crave it, beg him to take me over and over till it didn’t even matter that rats and cockroaches were scurrying around our empty bowls of ogi, till the air carried a musky fragrance that was a testament to our love. Would they ever understand how he cared for me, brought me food and water, washed me, even gave me a wrapper when harmattan started? He didn’t care that I was an ‘Omo ita’ , it didn’t bother him that nobody would pay the ransom he demanded. When I went missing, I’m sure nobody even looked for me but now I matter because of him. He was more human than they could ever be. At least he took care of me, at least he cared.
“Madam answer our question, we don’t have time for this one you’re doing.
That snapped me from my reverie. Meeting each of their eyes, I took a deep breath and said, “Maybe your boys mishandled me too much, I can’t seem to remember anything”. Chaos ensued.
He’ll come back for me, I know he will.

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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.