Tears expressly cruised through Kamil’s eyes, as he continued to cry profusely from the depths of his heart. While Abeebat still hugged him tightly. They both remained that way for a while before Kamil slowly withdrew himself from her embrace.
He sniffled now, his eyes red from the incessant flow which hadn’t stopped. However, he was calmer. His body was no longer shaking from the friction created by the energy he exerted in letting go those tears. Kamil faced Abeebat now, watching her with his reddened eyes. She looked more beautiful at that moment even though she was in a dishevelled state. All thanks to him. Her compassionate disposition towards him endeared her more to Kamil’s heart.
Kamil sniffled again, using his forearms to wipe the tears that haven’t stopped trickling.
“Was that why you became friends with those boys and started doing bad things? To ease the pain and the guilt you seemingly carry around?’’ Abeebat inquired calmly, studying Kamil.
Kamil swallowed. How could she read him so well?
Kamil batted his lashes. ‘‘Yes,’’ He agreed. ‘‘I became friends with Dimeji and Sodiq and gradually learnt to smoke and drink. So, I turned to alcohol, cigarettes and… sex to numb the pain. To distract myself,” Kamil chuckled. “I even started to bully people.’’
‘‘And has that helped you in any way?’’ Abeebat questioned after a while.
Kamil shook his head. ‘‘No. For a while, it did. I was able to occupy myself with them. But no, the pain never went way. The guilt I felt for not being able to protect my mother, never went away. And now,’’ He let out a dry chuckle. ‘‘I’m going to father a child at 18.’’ He shook his head at himself pitifully. ‘‘My life is fucked up.’’
Abeebat looked at him with sad eyes and reached out to squeeze his hand. Kamil stared down at their intertwined hands and then back at her and for a moment, his heart fluttered at the unexpected gesture. ‘‘Your life is not fucked up,’’ Abeebat stated, firmly. ‘‘And you are definitely not guilty of anything. You were young and helpless. Your father’s abuse on your mother was not your fault in any way.” She subtly, yet firmly consoled Kamil.
“You need to go home, Kamil. Talk to your dad. Tell him how much you are hurting because of how he treated your mother. Tell how his abuse on your mother and her untimely death caused you to turn to irresponsible things. Tell him. Iron out your issues with him. And if you can’t tell him about your girlfriend’s pregnancy yet, wait for another time. Take everything slowly.”
‘‘I can’t forgive him, Abeebat.’’ Kamil said, after a while of looking plaintively into her eyes. ‘’I’ve not even forgiven myself yet.’’
‘‘You can Kamil,’’ Abeebat said, squeezing his hands again. ‘‘You can and you will. I know that.’’
Kamil half-smiled, staring at Abeebat affectionately. “You just called me by my name.’’
Abeebat returned the smile. ‘‘You too. You called me by my name.’’
Kamil hesitated as he stood in front of his father’s room. He raised his hand again to knock but let the hand down again. His heart was skipping beats but he refused to feel any form of fear. His father did not deserve any sort of fear and respect from him. Kamil took in a deep breath and let the air out slowly before finally knocking.
“Yes?” His father’s voice called.
“Come in.” His father said, clearing his throat loudly.
Kamil stood in front of his father, watching him as he flipped through a copy of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper, his glasses firmly balanced on his pointed nose. His father always had this innocent look. No one would ever be able to guess that he was a man that physically abused his wife.
“Are you going to talk or keep standing there like a moron?” Kamil’s father said, without taking his eyes off the dailies.
Kamil stood still, watching him without saying a word.
His dad cast the newspaper aside as well as his glasses, and sat upright on his bed where he had been reclining. “Are you here to apologize for your misbehaviour towards me?” He asked, folding his arms in.
“No.” Kamil countered sharply.
His dad swallowed hard and restrained himself from throwing something sharp at his son. Was he crazy?
“I’m here to tell you that I’ve impregnated a girl.” Kamil said unperturbed.
His dad slowly rose from his bed, stupefied at what he just heard. He walked to his son. “What did you say?” He asked, in a raspy voice.
“I impregnated a girl.” Kamil replied, looking at his father in the eye.
Kamil’s father’s hand rose swiftly to land a thunderous slap across his son’s face. “Are you crazy?! You did what?! You impregnated a girl? Are you out of your mind?!” His father was furious as well as dumbfounded. “You impregnated a girl?!”
“Yes.” Kamil replied without so much as batting an eye. The part of his face where he had been slap stung hurt to the core of his marrows, but he refused to be ruffled.
“What?” His father was astounded. “You still have to effrontery to say ‘yes’?
“Yes!” Kamil yelled out of the air. “Yes!” He splurted out again, spiralling out of control. “So what will you do? Are you going to beat me up the way you normally beat my mother up? Are you going to hit me heartlessly the way you used to hit mom? Are you?!” Kamil vibrated with rage and contempt.
His father was once again, rendered completely stupefied and speechless.
“Tell me now?!” Kamil shouted, moving closer to his father. “What are you going to do? Tell me? Are you going to kill me the way you killed mom?!” Kamil gnashed his teeth in pain and anger, oblivious to the tears streaming down his cheeks. “Tell me.” He said, softly breaking down now. “Tell me daddy. Tell me!” He held on to his aching chest as he spoke. “Why did you do that to mommy, daddy? Why?” Kamil inquired, dropping to the floor and shutting his eyes tightly as he burst into a fit of uncontrollable tears.
Kamil’s father dropped to the floor in front of his son, already crying a ton too. “I’m sorry, Kamil. Forgive me my son. Forgive me, please. Please forgive me. I regret every single thing I did to your mom. So forgive me, please. Please my son!” It was not hard totell that the man was indeed remorseful.
“No, daddy, no!” Kamil cried, shaking his head vigorously. “Bring my mommy back! Bring my mommy back right now! Bring her back right now! I want to see her! I want to see my mommy again!” The pain with which Kamil cried his eyes out was heart wrenching. “I want my mommy back!”
“Repeat again,” Dimeji asked again as he puffed from his cigarette from his mouth and nostrils, his eyes widened with disbelief.
Sodiq rolled his eyes in anger at his friend. “Shut up, Dimeji. How many times do you want him to repeat himself?”
“Calm down, man,” Dimeji said, narrowing his eyes at Sodiq. “This is crazy news. Are you not shocked at all?”
Kamil had his head bowed, staring blankly at the rough ground in front of him. As usual, they were gathered at the uncompleted building at the back of their school. All three were seated across from each other on the bare floor.
Dimeji faced Kamil now. “Tell her to get rid of it man. We’ve not even started writing WAEC. What the hell.” He shuddered and then continued to drag from his cigarette.
“Have you told her to abort it?” Sodiq inquired calmly as he watched his friend.
Kamil raised his head up and started to shake his head hopelessly. “I don’t know what to do guys. I’ve been avoiding her for days now. I don’t even know how to deal with this. I’m barely 18 guys. My life has not even started.” He let his head drop again.
“But guy, why did you ever bang her without protection?” Dimeji demanded, not able to fathom how his friend could be so careless. “You guys don’t use condoms?”
Kamil raised his head up again. “Every single time, without fail.” Kamil shook his head again. “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I’m confused.”
“You have to tell her to get it out, Kamil. You are a kid, and you definitely cannot father a kid right now.” Sodiq stated,his voice painted with sympathetic seriousness. “Your P-man must not even smell this news.” He warned, unaware that his friend’s father was aware of the news already.
“Hell man. She has to get rid of it.” Dimeji agreed before taking another drag.
Kamil was torn. At that point, he didn’t know where his life was headed anymore…