Excerpt from Festus Iyayi’s Novel Violence
Adisa said nothing still, but the voices were loud in her head.
‘Or perhaps you may even need some money to make a start? Some fifty naira? I wouldn’t mind giving you all these things. But I need … and he moved to wards her. Adisa backed away from him towards the
open door, leading into the sitting room. ‘No, don’t come near me! she cried.
Don’t touch me again! Let me go away from here.
Obofun followed after her.”But you lose nothing and yet you gain everything. Tell me, what do youlose? Your virginity?
‘It is adultery!’
Obofun stopped in his tracks and laughed. ‘Adultery!’ he laughed, pouring all the scorn he could muster on the word
This is no adultery. You do it, or let me put it another way. We do it because of something you need.
Where is the adultery there? I have told you I’ll give you the drinks at the lowest price ever. Then I’ll give you another fifty naira so that you can start off in your own trade. Do you call that adultery? Do you still insist that it is indeed adultery?’
I don’t know anything,
Adisa cried. I only know that when a married woman sleeps with another person who is not her husband, then it is adultery. I want to go home. Please let me go.’
Obofun put his hands in his pockets. ‘No use fighting her,’ his senses advised him. I will let you go,he said.
“But you can always come back. Any time you want the drinks. I am not forcing you.
He came up behind her again and she was afraid that he was going to touch her. But he merely opened the door for her.
She almost ran out of the room, but as soon as she was clear of the chalet, she ran and did not stop until….
Nor could she understand why this man was so obsessed with her. Fifty nairal Heavens. Only to sleep with mel’ She looked at him as he spoke rapidly into the telephone.
‘And what have I got to lose?’ she asked herself.
Nobody will ever fund out. Nobody will ever imagine that I can be involved with such a man.
We need the money and I must have something I can always do. A small shop of my own. Nobody will find it out. Nobody…Not even Idemudia.’
“The sandwich will soon be here,’
Obofun announced, breaking into her thoughts.
She stared at the floor, at the rug, she couldn’t look at his eyes, she couldn’t bear to. Within her, she knew she was defeated. Only Obofun did not know this. He thought she was uninterested and hostile, even now.
I will give you the cartons of whisky, Obofun said in a small voice.
She looked up at him quickly.
Then he added, “And one hundred naira . .. for you to start off She couldn’t speak. She didn’t know what to say.
There was a knock on the door and then Obofun also stood up and when he opened the door, a waiter came in, and on the tray he carried two club sandwiches, a bottle of beer and a bottle of maltex. He set them down on the centre table and without a word, he left the room. Obofun shut the door after him.
“They brought a sandwich for you,’
‘And a bottle of maltex. Obofun said.
‘I do not want to eat,’ Adisa said. ‘And really I must go now.
She stood up and very quickly circled the
table. Obofun stood up quickly, and went and stood by the door.
Really, I must go, she said, but her voice was weak and she knew she could never fight Obofun now.
‘So, one hundred naira means nothing to you? And the whisky…?’
Please let me go! Please!’ she cried.
Obofun stood where she must pass and Adisa knew that if he grabbed her and embraced her, she would be unable to fend him off. Not with her mind the way it was.
Obofun looked at her intently and then shrugging his shoulders, made way for her to pass. Surprised, Adisa sighed with relief and very quickly grabbed the door knob and turned it. But the door would not open.
She looked back at him. “Please open the door!’
*Adisa! ‘ He moved towards her.
Her hand grabbed the door knob more tightly. But already his hands were round her and gripping her shoulders, forcing her towards him. She felt her hand falling away from the door knob, and she knew that she was beaten. She let him drag her into the bedroom.
But when he made for her clothes, she fought him. It was an unconscious fight, her consciousness had already given in and so the fight was weak. Then, suddenly, the telephone bell began to ring. It rang shrilly, then stopped. It rang again. Obofun cursed the telephone mentally and ignored it. ‘You can ring a million times, he cursed. The phone continued to ring.
And now, the panic built up inside Adisa. She struggled once more and attempted to break free but it Was no use. Obofun weighed down heavily on her and her fight was nothing but the last spasmodic more.
ments of a dying animal. She gritted her teeth and her body was tense but cold and her eyes were vacant, as if she was not here but far, far away.
And then after some time, there was a knock on the door outside and although Obofun was lying now by her side, he did not get up to answer it. The knocking grew louder, more insistent, and then he heard voices but still he would not get up. He felt curiously empty and dissatisfied with himself.
Adisa did not hear any knocking. Her face was buried against the pillow and she was weeping.
You must not cry, ” Obofun said, and turned to her.
He had conquered her. Yet he felt deflated. To him, there was nothing exalting in what he had achieved
The woman had been impassive, he had felt at one stage as if he was making love to a dead woman. And so he had moved to hurt her. He became rough and harsh. But still Adisa had closed her eyes and had not responded.
You must not cry,’ he said now and his voice was rough and harsh. You have lost nothing.’
Then he turned her over with one hand. Adisa held the dress tightly to her body and with the other hand, she covered her face while the tears came out of her eyes and down her cheeks, slowly.
Obofun scratched his head. He had never felt like this before.
This woman was a direct challenge to him.
He was going to pay her one hundred naira and yet she was weeping! Worse still, she had not really given in to him. He had given in to her. He had been passionate and very emotional, she had been dispassionate and cold.
He stood up from the bed and went into the toilet.
He entered the bath as he was, stark naked and turned on the shower. He watched the water going all over his body. His head was bowed. Christ! He had never felt so depressed in his life!