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The following day, I wake up to prayers in the house and a splitting headache. After the morning devotions, during which I expected prayers to be made for Bisi, but was not, I decide to get on this journey on my own. As long as I have a bed to sleep in Pastor’s house, he has done enough for me.
I was offered breakfast, of which I took a slice of bread and a cup of tea out of mere politeness. I am a man on a mission and until I accomplish it, I will not rest. I dreamt of Bisi again, at the stream, taking a skinny dip with me. Though, it wasn’t my face, it was the face of—Babatunde Ajala. Who I had no idea of what he looked like.
Why did I think it was the dead boy? Too much thinking.
First, I head for Ife. It’s Thursday and I have classes but I doubt anything will be in order in my life until my Bisi is out and free. The painful part is no one has even mentioned the boys with the machetes.
At least, if Bisi killed two people, she must have a machete in her hand. And if she ordered the hit, as they claim, then the killer should be apprehended too.
I am not allowed to see Toro because I am not family. I wait outside the ICU for an hour before I take another decision. I could check on Bisi too.
The decision doesn’t pay off. The police don’t allow me to see her. I do the unthinkable, a man on fire, and tip off one of the uniformed men. He leads me to a small, empty cell at the back of the station, and locks me in. My heart thuds. Have I made a mistake? Am I in trouble? Though if I am, the officer would not have locked me in with my mobile phone. I begin to send a text about my location and activities to my sister, but the officer shows up with Bisi.
I put my phone away and glare at her. She looks a little better than the day before. At least, there are no fresh bruises on her face. Her dress is torn at the shoulders and dirty, and she’s barefooted. Still, she looks so pretty.
The policeman opens the cell and she walks in. He locks it behind her and turns his back on us but doesn’t go away. I don’t care if anyone watches. I pull Bisi into my arms and kiss her hungrily.
“Sorry,” I murmur when the kiss is over. I smooth back her hair and place her head on my chest. “You’ll be fine. I promise you.”
Bisi’s hands hang down beside her. I wish she will hug me back, but it’s all in a matter of time. Maybe she’s still in love with Babatunde Ajala. Maybe she’s afraid to love me so Ade will not kill me too. Whatever her reason, I will give her time. As it is, I have broken the code of professional conduct by showing her any affection. I feel bad but helpless, and encouraged that her father has given me consent anyhow.
Bisi grips my shirt front. “Tisha, don’t come here again.”
I lift her face to mine. “Why, darling?”
“I no want you to come here. Is not a good place.”
“But you’re here. If you are here, I want to come and see you.” She shakes her head. I nod. “Yes. And all that talk about leaving you to die here, God forbid. I will do everything to get you out of here.”
She stares me down and finally looks away.
“Bisi, do you know how we can find Ade? He has to come out and confess.”
She snickers. “You can never find Ade.”
“Why not? Did he leave the village?”
She shrugs. “He is there. He is in the village. He is in his house.”
“At the palace?”
“So I can get police men to arrest him?”
“Tisha, he will kill you o.” She pulls out of my embrace and hugs her arms around her waist. “Tisha, just go.”
“I promised your father I will get you out.”
I thought that will excite her, shock or encourage her. Instead she shrugs. “My father has no power. Ade will get me out when it is time.”
Her words unscrew a bolt in my brain. “Ade will get you out?”
“He knows what to do.”
My pulse races. “He knows what to do? And when will he do it? When is time for him to get you out?”
She leans her head against the iron bars of the cell. “Tisha, please go.”
A sudden coldness hits the core of my innermost being. “Okay, I will go. Let Ade come and take you out. The same boy who gets you into trouble is the one you want, right?” I hit the bars. “Right?” She jumps and I curse my anger.
I pace the small space, thinking. How can she say that to me? How can she want this Ade animal instead of me?
“Fine.” I throw my hands up. “Fine, go back and wait for Ade to bail you out.” I grab the cell door and raise my voice. “Officer, we’re done.”
The policeman opens the cell and lets us out. He disappears with her and I find my way out of the station. She didn’t even look at me. Not even a single backward glance.
My trip to Ife is in vain. I want to beat something. I find it difficult to focus. What next, what next? The realization that she wants an evil animal defeats me and I lose the inner energy to fight for her.
I return to the teaching hospital and thankfully, I find Toro’s sister at the ICU. She smiles and welcomes me. At least someone appreciates my efforts. A spontaneous thought occurs to me and I give her my mobile phone.
“Since Toro is talking now, please can you tell her to tell you everything that happened on Tuesday night and record for me?”
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