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“She has been charged with attempted murder. We have her statement. The state has refused to grant her bail, because of the heinous na...

“She has been charged with attempted murder. We have her statement. The state has refused to grant her bail, because of the heinous nature of her plan to kill you. Uchenna, the young man he had sent to kill you is facing trial too. Because of his cooperation, we hope he will get lesser sentence,” Sergeant Okilo explained to Donald. Maureen, his parents, Wendy and Chidozie were with him. “I would like to have a word with her,” Donald requested. “Why do you want to talk to the winch (witch)?” Donald’s mother asked. “I just want to talk to her,” Donald insisted. “There is nothing she will tell you that she has not already told us. She is a cold-blooded killer. She had brought some cyanide-poisoned guava to you some days back in an attempt to finish you off,” Okilo remarked. “I still want to have a conversation with her.” “I can’t believe my ears. I could have eaten that guava as well as Chidozie,” Maureen pointed out. “I was fighting for the guava. I thank God that Donald was stubborn enough to refuse me the guava,” Chidozie said. “I had already spoken to the police, so I knew she was a key suspect. There was no way I was going to eat that guava or let any of you taste it. Besides, the way she is pressuring me to eat it got me scared,” Donald said.

“I still need to have a conversation with her alone. Please sergeant, let me talk to her,” Donald pleaded. Okilo took him to a conference room. Soon, Enem joined him. She was shackled in chains. Her hair was disheveled. Her eyes were filled with hate. She sat a distance away from Donald. “Why did you do it, Enem?” “As if you didn’t know? As if it was right for you to treat everyone else like a piece of garbage? I threw myself at you with my whole heart. All my life, men have told the same stories. You are so beautiful…you are this, you are that. As soon as they get in your skirt, they are heading to the next bus stop, which is certainly not yours. Do you realize how much it hurts? Have you any idea that what was a game for you was an important relationship for me? While you were busy searching for sex, I was busy loving you. I gave my whole heart to you and you smashed it on the floor like a glass plate. Donald, I wish that stupid boy had shot you to death. I watch you and Maureen and it leaves a stabbing pain in my heart. You love her don’t you? You know how it feels when the one you love does not want you because months ago, she said not to you for the things that you did.

“You went about hanging your head down, chasing her all over the place, begging to take you back. That was how I chase you back. When it did not work, I offered more sex to you, throwing my body at you and like a starved wolf; you took me again and again. I was chasing and begging you with pain and sorrow ravaging my heart and soul. Yet, you did not see my pains. You only wanted to satisfy your own selfish desires. Now you want us all to rally around and support you because you have found love’ the same love you promised me, Chinwe and Wendy. The only thing that you deserve for all that you did is death. It is a pity I am the one in chains now. I am the devil in the eyes of the law, but no one bothers to ask how I became a devil. Piece by piece, you killed every life and love that ever existed in my heart. You squeezed them to death slowly but surely, turning me into a monster that the world sees today. You are the real monster. You should be in chains not me. You destroyed me, Donald.”

Donald felt a pang of pity for her. Guilt ran through him. He recalled how insensitive he had been to girls. “I was selfish, Enem, but I don’t think that warrants killing anybody.” “That is what you think. Girls, we love hard and strong. When our hearts are broken, it hurts…it cuts so deep that you feel like dying. Many nights, I lay in bed with tears in my eyes and holes in my heart. The one I loved looked me in the eye and said he loved someone else. Before that, he had told me he loved me…until he went past my skirt. You devalued me. You destroyed my self-confidence. You simply told me that I did not matter…I was unimportant. If Maureen cheated on you, how would that make you feel?” “I would feel terrible, but I would not plan her murder.” “It is easy for you to say until your heart is broken repeatedly,” Enem shouted at him. “So all this while, you have been smiling at me while you were planning my murder?” “Yes. The world does not like the truth. I tried to make you see what you were doing to me, but you had your eyes elsewhere. If you complain for too long after heartbreak, people tell you to get over it and carry on. But it is not that easy; not for everyone. It is certainly not easy for me. I have been used all my life. Enough is enough, Donald!”

“After talking to her, I feel guilty,” Donald complained to Maureen. “Why?” I drove her into this state. I looked into her eyes; they have gone cold and insensitive. She practically feels nothing. I hurt a lot of people. I don’t want to see her face the firing squad. That will hurt me for the rest of my life. It was my selfishness…my unbridled desires that drove her to this state. I feel terribly responsible.” “You cannot take responsibility for her actions. If we all went after everyone that hurt us, no one would be left in this world. She cannot take the laws into her own hands and expect you to be responsible for that.” “But honey, I hurt her repeatedly, coupled with her past experiences. She snapped. It is a pity that she did snap right after her relationship with me. I lied to her. I used her. I feel guilty for that.” “She has you where she wants you. What of Wendy? You hurt her too but her kidney is keeping you alive this very moment!!” Maureen shouted in a desperate attempt to help Donald overcome his guilt. “But we are all different. Wendy has a different heart from Enem. I shouldn’t have hurt anyone in the first place.”

“Then why don’t you stop living in this imperfect world. We all make mistakes, honey. You hurt me too. Think of it, Wendy whom you probably hurt the most did not take the law into her own hands. Chinwe tried but she learned her own lessons. Foluke did not kill you either. We are studying law, and we both know that a society that practices jungle justice has no justice at all. Enem made her own choices, and as far I am concerned. She should shoulder the responsibilities and not pass them off to someone.”

As weeks passed by, Donald could not help wondering how Enem was coping in prison. Months later, her trial began. Her statement to the police which she tried to recant unsuccessfully was far too damaging. She was found guilty of attempted murder. Donald, Maureen, Wendy and Chidozie were in court on the day of her sentencing. Wendy was pregnant. She and Chidozie got married a few months back. She was still in school, hoping to finish the semester before having her baby. Donald had become a completely changed person, devoting himself to his studies and to Maureen. Their love blossomed. Donald did not stop thinking of Enem. He hoped the judge would be merciful at her sentencing.

“Mr. Donald, the target of Ms. Enem’s planned attack has requested to say something before Enem’s sentencing. Donald, please could you come to the podium. Donald mounted the podium, looked around the courtroom and spoke calmly. “Your honor, I could have died sometime last year after suffering severe gunshot wounds. Before this, I was romantically involved with Enem, sort of. To me, it was a game, but to her, it meant so much more. I hurt her feelings and thrashed her emotions. I trampled on her trust. I used her over and over again. A part of me feels very sorry for that. However, I recognize that she cannot take the law in her own hands. Considering the role I played in driving her to a cold and numb emotional state, I wish to ask that you show some mercy in sentencing her. She was once a good person, and I believe with rehabilitation, she can become good again. Please do not condemn her to life in prison. That would be a waste of youth. Consider the role I played in this and show her some mercy. Personally, I have forgiven her.”

Donald stepped off the podium and returned to his seat. There was pin drop silence in the courtroom. Enem’s parents were in tears. Heartbroken. “Ms. Enem, I do hereby sentence you to eight years in prison. I have considered your age and the fact that the person you wanted to kill has forgiven you. I hope you will learn from this and turn a new leaf in prison,” the judge announced. Enem’s parents were mightily relieved. Enem looked at Donald for a moment and then faced the ground. I t was as if she said ‘thank you’ with her eyes. As she was being taken away, she walked past Donald was sitting. “Thank you,” she said. “I wish you all the best,” Donald answered. Her parents came over and hugged Donald as he walked out of the courtroom. He and Maureen remained madly in love. Wendy continued her study as Chidozie’s wife after having her baby, which turned out to be a boy. They remained friends. Once in a while, Maureen and Donald visited Enem. She turned to God in prison, devoting most of her time to helping other inmates.


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CONVERSATION - Episode 15 An African Literary Blog
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