Picture Courtesy: Pinterest.
Battery full! I unplugged my phone then sat on the edge of the bed as I scrolled through notifications from different social media platforms, some needed to be replied immediately but no, I just wasn't in the mood to reply them yet. I was still going through the notifications then saw a tweet from one of my feminist idols, the tweet read thus:
"I'm about to do a thread, another experience...*sighs* men are just scum"
I wasted no time diving into her twitter timeline, I followed the thread with rapt attention and retweeted, it was indeed a bitter experience she had gone through all because she had decided to love a scum that called himself a man.
Over time I had drawn strength from her tweets and tweets from other ladies like me who had gone through hell in the name of love and at the hands of men, men! Evil species, I would give anything to wipe out every man from the face of the earth, yes, that was the depth of my hatred for the cursed specie called "males" and you won't blame me, I suffered abuse as a child, my Dad always hit my Mom & I up for no reasons while my two brothers watched, scummy brothers never made any attempt to stop him, but how could they when my older brother was always hitting me too and my younger brother was just a sissy. My Mom got divorced and married another man, the new scum she married raped me a couple of times, when my Mom found out, she confronted him and there was a fight, I saw him push her, I saw her fall & hit her head against the wall and that was the end of my Mom. She died on the spot. The scum responsible for her death fled, but karma wasn't gonna let him go far, as moments later he died in a car accident.
As far as I was concerned, I was an orphan and as such I had to hustle to see myself through school, I did all sorts of jobs, both legit jobs and despicable stuff to make money, well, except rituals and that was because I never got the opportunity, the unspeakable stuff I did made me hate men more, you may want to ask "how?" For instance; I did, moved and sold drugs- my dealers/suppliers/customers were all male. I was a sex worker with the glorified name "escort" and all my pimps & clients were men. At some point I was made to sleep with dogs by men to please men, to name a few despicable things I did. Well, the "hard work" paid out, I was rich and did my MSc. but I had lost a lot, no friends, no family, I lost my dignity, lost my pride, lost my confidence, I almost lost the will to live but twitter came to the rescue.
I became a twitter addict and I loved it, it was easy for me to relate with other ladies who shared similar experiences like mine, plus it was just the perfect platform to market my organic skin & hair care products, 98% of my clients were from on there and the business was thriving well. In no time I had joined the twitter feminists/"men are scum" movement and all we did was prove to whoever cared to read our tweets that men were indeed scum and the world would be a better place without them. With every second spent on twitter my hate for men grew exponentially, I avoided dealings with men as much as possible.
No matter how obvious I made it seem that I hated men, they just wouldn't stop coming, they kept coming in droves all day everyday and experience had taught me they were just after my hot body. Such scum! The few I had let into my heart had disappointed me, they either fled when I gave them a sneak-peek into my dark past or after they had enjoyed the sugar of my "poompoom" & my money, scummy lot! Just a sneak-peek & they would just scamper away, men were such weaklings and it irked me that they were left alive to walk the face of the earth.
Like I said earlier, I had become a twitter addict and it felt so good, I got so addicted that I began to unconsciously seek validation from my twitter clique and idols and it was such a sweet feeling especially when you knew your group had your back anytime, any day.
Ophelia was a member of my twitter clique and we soon became friends in real life, I liked her 'cause she was strong-willed and a core feminist, sometimes I felt her hatred for the men folk was greater than mine, I remember when she tweeted, suggesting that the best solution to wiping the male folk would be to abort male pregnancies as soon as the scan showed what sex the child would be. Some Whites corroborated the tweet and went further to give an analogy which implied that male babies violated women in that they came through the female "poompooms" with their tiny "weenies" without consent, which was equivalent to rape. Wow! Who would have thought it that way?!
On twitter I had a lot of friends, in real life I had only two close friends, Ophelia and Lolo and both of them were like "word & opposite", I preferred Ophelia to Lolo though for various reasons, Lolo didn't share any of my views about men, she always scolded me like I was a child and it always made me cry. I know you're wondering how and why we were still friends, well she was a very wise lady that taught me everything I knew about being an entrepreneur, I was also attached to her because she always looked out for me, even when I didn't deserve it, also she wasn't one to hide her feelings, she always said it the way it was without sugar coating or mincing words. Ophelia on the other hand never got upset or maybe she did but never showed it, we vibed well, shared similar views, we were both feminists that believed in the annihilation of men, we didn't believe in equity or equal rights because we believed we were a much superior being than the male folk.
One day I suggested the ladies of feminist/men are scum twitter organize a hangout, they agreed and I volunteered to host, I felt so elated when the leader of the feminist/men are scum twitter gang sent me a DM commending me and offering to assist in the preparation. A date was fixed, a private beach was the venue. Lolo didn't approve, but she still assisted with the preparations. On the said date I was shocked at the turnout, they were much more than I expected and it was a good thing we had prepared for a large turnout, being the host made me so happy because it was the first time I was hosting anything and hosting something big.
The party went well, now I could place live faces to the tweets, I noticed something about the gathering was off but I just couldn't place it and I wasn't even bothered, everyone was looking happy, even Lolo was happy even though she was in a different world, yeah, she came with her fiance and they stayed apart from the rest of us. I studied the whole scenery from a vantage point, the happiness Lolo and her fiance exuded was totally different from the ladies, I don't know, but theirs felt natural while the ladies' felt like they were acting a script.
"I thought this was supposed to be a private beach?" A voice said from behind, I looked back to find the feminist twitter Queen herself.
"Oh it is" I muttered, still dazed that I was standing right in front of my role model who wielded so much power on twitter.
"Then who are those ones over there? I thought it's a strictly female affair" She said, pointing at Lolo and her fiance
"Yeah, that's just my Sister with her fiance , I'm sorry she doesn't share our views but she contributed a lot to this though" I didn't know where the lie about Lolo being my sister came from, anyway she was like a Sister to me.
"Alright" she said with a sigh "Nice get together you arranged" she added
"Thanks" I could feel myself blushing
She looked at Lolo for a while then muttered something that sounded like "love is beautiful" as she turned to walk away. I wasn't sure I had heard her well, I looked at Lolo and her fiance playing in the sand, giggling like kids, oblivious to those of us around them. For the first time in a very long while a certain feeling was trying to let itself lose, a feeling I had imprisoned, a feeling I thought was no longer there. My gaze shifted to the ladies and to my surprise, most of them had their gaze fixed on Lolo and her fiance, from the looks on their face I could tell they all craved a relationship like that and that was all shades of weird because this was supposed to be a feminist/men are scum/man hate group. It seemed like Lolo and her fiance were stealing the whole show and making the ladies mushy including me, so I signaled the DJ to turn the music up, alcohol kicked in, then the ladies got their groove on. One major highlight of the party was when Ophelia got very high and started blabbing about her "boyfriend", how she had offended him and how it made her feel really bad. I wasn't sure whether it was Ophelia talking or the alcohol. In all, the party was a success but I still had this feeling something was missing.
Months later, we were still the active self-proclaimed unapologetic feminists/men-are-scum advocates on twitter that no social media troll dared mess with, if nothing, it was increasing my fanbase, most especially my organic skincare clientele, life was good till Lolo told me she was getting married soon. My friend told me she was getting married, a normal human being would be happy for her friend but I wasn't happy and don't get me wrong, I wanted the very best for her, I just felt her getting married would create a hollow in my life 'cause she was like a friend, Sister, Aunt & Mom rolled into one.
"Lolo, are you sure about this decision to get married?" I asked
"Oh yes, why? you don't want me to get married?" She asked
"I do, it's just....I'll be forgotten" I replied, I was close to tears.
"No boo, how can I, you'll still have me and those your other friends" She said as she hugged me
"But have you given it a thought? I don't want you getting into something and finding out you can't cope...you know all these marriage stuff"
"Baby, don't worry, we'll all be fine in the end... let me tell you, if I looked back at all I had been through with men and didn't move on or allow old wounds heal then I would have had every reason to join your group of men-haters, but for the reason of missing a good thing forever I decided not to, you really can't hold all men responsible for the sins of a few, baby girl don't allow your past let your present disturb your future, there are really good men out there."
Even with all the assurance, a certain gloom took over me and I didn't understand why, hanging out with Ophelia wasn't helping, I discovered something about her that made me feel worse, she had a man in her life and she was getting distracted, as she barely had my time again, she was either texting away or on the phone with him and what's worse, she was hiding it from me whilst maintaining the feminist/men-are-scum persona on twitter. Wasn't that being two-faced?
One day I was taking a stroll, then I suddenly felt very weak, I decided it would be best to just cross the road and take a bike back home, just as I got to the middle of the road, a dizzy spell hit me, it hit me so hard my legs gave way, I collapsed right there on the road and seconds before I hit the ground and blacked out I saw a car swerve probably to avoid hitting me- anyway that was all I remembered.
I came to much later, feeling woozy, I looked around me and didn't need to ask where I was, the question was how had I gotten there? I was going to get out of the hospital bed, but the throbbing headache that started when I raised my head made me change my mind and just stay put.
"hey baby you're up...thank God" Lolo said as she came into the ward with the Doctor, a nurse and another young man.
"Lolo...how did you know? How did I get here?" I asked
"Well, about how you got here, this 'ere young man was your ambulance, if he hadn't gotten you here as fast as he did, it would have been a whole different sad story" the male Doctor said while examining my pulse and heart rate.
"His car even needs serious repairs 'cause I think, while trying to avoid hitting or running over you, he had to swerve away from oncoming traffic and into a barricade" Lolo added.
"I'm so sorry" I muttered to the man.
"It's okay, what's more important is your life and I'm glad I was able to rush you down here, plus I saw a message from Lolo on your phone's notification and felt she would be the best person to contact" the man said.
"Okay, now that we are cool, it's time for you to get some rest" the Doctor said to me with a warm smile as he ushered Lolo and the young man out.
"Doctor" I called out
"Yes my dear patient" the Doctor answered.
"What's wrong with me?" I asked
"oh, it's nothing serious, you just need lots of rest, but you'll be under observation for a while" he replied with a smile and a wink.
"how long?" I asked.
"Well, that would depend on how well you rest, and while you're at it, don't think about anything...you'll be fine in no time" They left the ward.
I was at the hospital for seven days, it's not like my condition was that bad, in fact by the third day I was fit as a fiddle, but truth be told I enjoyed the attention I was getting from the Doctor, Lolo, her fiancé and the good Samaritan, the pampering made me prolong my stay at the hospital four more days. I liked the Doctor even though he was male, he would come chat me up and make me laugh, the female Doctors I had gotten used to previous times when I visited the hospital were very cold compared to this Doctor. Was I beginning to get soft?
On the last day at the hospital, I went to the Doctor's office for my bill.
"No, Ben already took care of everything" he said.
"Ben?" I asked
"yeah, Ben, the fella that brought you here...nice young man"
"hmmm" was all I could mutter as I was dazed.
Lolo came to take me home from the hospital, she was also shocked when I told her what the Doctor told me about Ben footing the hospital bills, I wondered how a total stranger would do all that.
"he's a gentleman"
"I must send his money back to him" I replied.
"And why?" Lolo asked
"Because I don't want to be indebted, so please call him and tell him to send his account details" I answered.
"Hell no Madam, this one is your cross, I saved his number on your phone at the hospital, so call him yourself, but please thank him first before your foolishness takes over" I felt like crying.
The rest of the trip back home was in silence, which at that moment was the best because with Lolo's mood, anything else I said could result in my getting the most painful dress down of my life which in turn would make me weep like a child. She dropped me at my gate and drove off without coming in, she was still upset and I couldn't tell if it was because I asked her to call him or because I wanted to pay him back, perhaps both. If I knew Lolo very well, each time I got her into moods like that, she always called back about five minutes after or ten minutes tops just to check me up.
I called Ben a couple of times, he neither picked nor returned the calls so I sent him a text thanking him and asking for his account details so I could pay back all he spent on his car and my hospital bills, he never replied the text hence I gave up trying to contact him.
Months went by, still no response from Ben, I wanted to believe something had happened to him, perhaps he changed his phone or maybe he was dead, because I couldn't understand the fact that a man would go out of his way to be that nice for nothing and disappear without a trace, it just wasn't possible with men because no matter how nice they seem, they would always remain scum. I intended to talk about the whole thing on my twitter timeline but on second thoughts I dismissed the idea and I don't know why. All the while I was away at the hospital and away from Twitter, none of them bothered to check me up, not even Ophelia whom I thought was my good friend. I felt really disappointed.
My little organic cosmetics business had grown so big, it needed more hands, more space and a professional branding/advertising touch. I finally got information about an advertising agency and thought I should check them out, I drove down there first thing in the morning, the reception was packed and I wondered if we all had the same purpose, so I walked up to the receptionist.
"hello, good morning" she greeted.
"Morning dear, I love your makeup" I said, let's forget that I was being extra-nice because I needed a favor from her, her makeup was actually nice.
"thank you and how may I help you Ma'am?" she replied grinning from ear to ear
"Ese, I'll be right back" a male voice called.
"okay Sir" The receptionist answered.
"I need to see the Boss like now" I said as I opened my purse to get a thousand naira bill.
"that's the man that walked out now, his name's Mr. Benjamin" She whispered so others won't hear.
"oh my, thank you" I said as I quietly passed the thousand naira bill to her with a wink.
I stepped out of the reception and realized I had no idea what the said "Mr. Benjamin" looked like or what he wore, so I called after a man in a suit.
"Mr. Benjamin! Mr. Benjamin!" I called out as I walked briskly to meet up
"Yeah, I'm right behind you" a male voice replied behind me, I stopped; I knew that voice, that was the voice I heard few minutes ago tell the receptionist he would be right back. I turned to look and found myself staring at Ben, yeah! Ben, the same Ben I mentioned earlier, the Ben that disappeared without a trace.
"Well well well, look who showed up finally" I said.
"Hello...you know I never got your name" Ben replied.
"You never asked...I'm Layo and you've got some explaining to do." I answered, he smiled.
"It's good to see you again Layo" He said as he smiled, I couldn't miss it, that was a typical scum smile, I knew he couldn't be different ..."alright Layo, see you around some other time" he turned to leave. It seemed like each time I wanted to pin the scum tag on him, I failed.
"Hold on Mister. you saved my life, foot the bills, refused to pick or return my calls, disappeared for a long time, I see you now and you just want to walk away? No explanation, nothing?" I asked.
"Well I didn't want to delay you, seeing as you were going after a Mr. Benjamin" He replied smile that seemed like a smirk.
"And seeing as you've made me miss him, what's next?" I asked
"With the multitude in the reception, I doubt if he'll attend to you, but I'll give you a heads up, he won't receive visitors on a day like tomorrow, I'll put in a word for you so you can meet him tomorrow" he answered.
"Oh you must know him personally?" I asked.
"oh yes I do, he's a close friend" he said.
"Okay then, guess I'll have to come back tomorrow"
"We'll see tomorrow then, I need to run along now" he said as he turned to leave.
"Oh alright, tomorrow it is, see you" I called out.
All through my drive back home, for some strange reason all I could think about was the fact that I had seen Ben and truth be told he was a very fine man. Damn! Was I getting soft? I was supposed to be a certified and verified man-hater and here I was thinking about a man and smiling.
That afternoon I went to see Lolo, her wedding was coming soon and I really wanted to support her with all that I could.
"Baby you look so happy today, did you win a lottery? or have you finally decided to stop hating men and seeing one already?" Lolo asked.
"Lolo, men are still scum and they can't have any influence on my happiness, it's seeing you that's making me happy" I answered.
"I'm praying and fasting seriously for you, God will help you ooo" Lolo replied as she shook her head.
"So, what's up with our wedding preparations? That's what brought me here" I changed the topic.
We set to discussing, planning and comparing prices, and that was all we did till night, she walked me to my car.
"You still haven't heard from Ben after all this while?" Lolo asked.
"Oh I intended to tell you, I ran into him at the advertising agency I went to" I answered
"wow, that's good news, so what happened?" She asked, I explained all that happened.
"no wonder!" Lolo exclaimed.
"no wonder? What do you mean no wonder?" I asked
"no wonder the extra glow since you came" I could see the smirk on Lolo's face and was hoping she couldn't see the blush on mine.
"Lolo goodnight, I'll see you tomorrow afternoon" Was all I could say as I got in my car and drove off. If I didn't know Lolo better I would have said the whole thing about me looking so happy was made up but she had the ability to see through me and it left me wondering what the cause of my happiness really was, one thing was certain, it definitely wasn't about Lolo's wedding.
I was at the advertising agency as early as 8:00am the next day and just as Ben had said the previous day, there was no one at the reception save the receptionist.
"Good morning Ma'am" the receptionist greeted.
"good morning dear, how are you?" I replied.
"very well thank you, thanks for yesterday" she said
"oh it's nothing, is your boss in?" I asked
"yes and he's expecting you" she said as she directed me to his office
I knocked, then stepped in. The office was well furnished and from the looks of it one would know the occupant had good taste.
"Good morning" I greeted
"Good morning Layo" he said as he turned his chair around to look at me. I couldn't believe my eyes, right there on the seat was Ben.
"Ben? You? You mean...? I can't believe this"
"I got you, didn't I? Please sit" he said with a mischievous smile, he really got me, I had been so dumb to notice the simple connection between the names "Benjamin" & "Ben" and that was partly because I was expecting a man in a suit and tie ensemble, not one wearing jeans, a tee and sneakers.
"Ben, be rest assured I'll get my pound of flesh" I retorted.
"I'll be ready anytime any day, so what brings you to my domain?" He asked.
We discussed the expansion and rebranding of my business, he introduced me to his team (all women) and I must say I was impressed because they came up with wonderful ideas and I could already envisage a successful advert campaign and indeed it was.
Lolo's wedding finally came and it was exclusive, I got so excited that I momentarily forgot my hatred for men, so much so that when Lolo threw the bouquet of flowers, I gladly caught it and shouted "I'm so next", I must have said it unconsciously though because days after the wedding, when Lolo reminded me what I said, I denied with everything not till I was shown the video-clip.
After Lolo's wedding, I knew I couldn't disturb her again with my problems especially business related problems, at that point in my life I would have felt really lonely and depressed, but as if there was an agreement between Lolo and Ben, From the day after the wedding he took it upon himself to call me everyday and check on me other days, truth be told I loved the attention I was getting and in no time I found myself warming up to him which was against everything twitter feminists like me stood for but I just couldn't help it.
Ben and I started seeing each other more often, his ideas and business advice gave my business tremendous boost and he was one hell of a fine gentleman, sometimes I would fantasize about us becoming an item and smile at the thought, then the man-hater in me would remind me about my past experiences with men making me quickly dismiss the thought of us being an item. There were a lot of things about Ben I didn't understand like I still couldn't understand why he didn't want me paying back the hospital and damaged car bills, each time I brought it up he would tell me to forget the past, I didn't understand how a man could be so nice and not ask for anything in return, I didn't understand how after almost a year of our friendship he had never made the slightest of advances at me. There was just no flaw to make me tag him "scum", perhaps he was pretending, but to what end? Maybe if I told him about my past, the scum in him would be unleashed and I would see him for who he really was, maybe just maybe i thought to myself. But why mess a good relationship up just to prove he was scum too? I asked myself, what if after everything he turned out good, what next? The man-hater in me was all about hating Ben for the sins of others and as such wouldn't listen to reason not to mess our beautiful friendship up.
One beautiful evening, Ben and I went to the movies, after which I persuaded him to follow me home for dinner, he reluctantly agreed after much persuasion. I smiled because everything was going as planned and I would be able to prove prove he was as scummy as other men. When we got to my place, rather than stay in the living room, he joined me in the kitchen and that was so not part of the plan hence I had to improvise, so I told him to stay put while I went to change into something more comfortable, I intended to wear just a lacy pant and bra but thought it would be too extreme so I just settled for a bumshort and a tank top, I admired myself in the mirror and smiled, my weapons of man's destruction were all set to bring down a woman's son. All efforts to seduce him proved abortive, he just behaved like my body wasn't there then I thought to myself "perhaps alcohol would do the job" but he declined as he didn't do alcohol, at that moment I just gave up, perhaps he really wasn't like other men. We were chatting and forgot about time, the conversation got deeper and personal, in no time I had opened my heart, taken him through the darkness of my past, every single thing I had done, everything I had been through, every sordid detail. I lost control and couldn't hold the tears back, I wept uncontrollably. Ben held me in his arms as I wept.
"it's okay dear, it's all in the past now...look on the bright side, look how far you've come" he said as he comforted me, the warmth of his embrace felt so good I fell asleep.
For the first time in forever I had the best sleep, it was so good I didn't wake till the following day and that was a first for someone who was used to waking about six times before daybreak. I opened my eyes, his arms were still wrapped around me and I wished we could stay like that a while longer, but that would be selfish, making him stay the night was already selfish enough.
"Hmmm, good morning Ben" I said.
"hey, good morning, did you sleep some?"
"My first real sleep and I can't thank you enough, I'm sorry I kept you here overnight" I answered
"It's nothing to be sorry about, I enjoyed every minute and I wish it..." he stopped short.
"You wish? Tell me your wish and I just may be your genie"
"Well I wish...I wish...I wish I didn't have to go out today" Ben said, I didn't need special powers to know he was using some tactical evasive maneuverability to deviate from the real answer.
"Why, if I may ask?" I asked
"ermmm so I could do laundry" He answered with a smirk.
After Ben left, I lay in bed reliving the memories of the previous night, I squeezed my teddy bear tight as I remembered how he cuddled me till morning, the sweet masculine scent of his cologne still lingered, in my musing I began to imagine different scenes, every hormone in me came alive, the craving was real. Deep down I knew I had developed a soft spot for Ben, the man-hater in me had failed me this time, but I needed to be extra-cautious, perhaps my dark past which I had told him about would send him running far away from me and that was the only weapon I had left to tag him "scum". All through the day, I kept thinking about the previous night, I love the burst of energy it gave me.
I checked my phone, it seemed weird that Ben hadn't called me, it was very unlike him not to call, I tried his cell but couldn't get through. Had he disappeared again? Did stories of my past scare him away? Was he scum too? Was I acting on impulse? Perhaps I was overreacting. Tears trickled down as I pondered, a buzz from my doorbell snapped me back to reality. I wiped my face as I opened the door.
"Hey Layo" It was Ben.
"oh my God" tears of joy or relief or both, just kept pouring as I hugged him.
"What's wrong? What happened?" Ben asked
"I thought...I thought...you..had...left...like...like the others" I said between sobs.
"oh no no...real friends don't leave each other because they had a terrible past, I have mine too" he said as he wiped my eyes and hugged me. Damn! This dude was a keeper, the man-hater in me would have none of that but who cared? Not me, not this moment.
"Thank you Ben, you're a good man" I said
"What say you we hangout, do karaoke, then dinner at my place?" Ben asked. The man-hater in me touched the alarm button, telling me to listen to my gut-instinct that Ben was scum too.
"really? Whoop-whoop! Let me freshen up" I answered, barely listening to the man hater in me.
It was a fun evening, trust me when I say in all my life I had never had that much fun, I had never had so much fun with a man. It brought me to the realization that there was really more to life than I had imagined. Dinner was served and need I tell you Ben was an excellent cook? I wouldn't have believed he prepared the meal if I hadn't been there while he cooked, after dinner Ben took me on a journey down memory lane and he had a much darker past, from being abandoned as a baby to growing up at an orphanage, he was adopted and trafficked, at a very tender age worked as a servant for different people while his foster Mom collected all his money, he suffered all manner of abuse and hardship, a good Samaritan picked him off the streets and enrolled him at a school to get his primary education, but the good Samaritan's family were against it so he decided to send Ben to live with his Sister, he sent money to her regularly for his upkeep but rather than take care of him, she made him hawk before and after school, she never bothered that he was sent home from school for school fees, she tortured him when he told her about it, then she sold him to some people and told her brother that he had run away.
Ben went on and on plus how he had done all manner of jobs including being a mortuary keeper and a gigolo so he could see himself through school, how he had joined a cult in the university for money and power, how he got rusticated in his final year due cult activities, how he had been jailed several times most of which were for crimes he didn't commit and on and on. I was moved to tears.
"Women had always been the cause of my troubles" He said.
"Women? How so?" I asked.
"Let's leave the fact that as a child I was used and abused by women, when I started becoming aware of myself as a man, all my plans to get money was either to please a woman, keep a woman or get a woman and I kept failing, I was rusticated because a cult, not the one I belonged to had raped a lady I had a quarrel with the previous day, a close friend of the lady who was a girlfriend to one of us thought we were the ones and snitched....." he explained, at the end of his explanation, I saw he had reasons to hate women for life, but he didn't.
"Well, after losing everything, I attempted suicide three times and each time God sent women to rescue me, I was introduced to a Pastor for counseling, turned out the Pastor was a member of a rival cult back then in school, he was supposed to be dead" Ben said
"Dead?" I asked
"yeah, I shot him three times" He answered.
"oh" I trembled within me, It was so difficult to imagine him as a killer.
"he recognized me immediately and smiled, I was so dumbfounded, he counseled me, showed me the way of peace till I became at peace with myself and then a new chapter in my life began"
He told me how he had never enjoyed any relationship, and about his last relationship, how his girlfriend whom he had hoped to marry lived a promiscuous life despite giving her his all. He had heard stories outside but chose not to believe till he caught her with a secret cam straddling his then business partner on his own bed, he walked in on them and they didn't know till he coughed, then they looked at him and he walked out, next evening he received multiple knife stabs from two people as he alighted from his car, as he lay there in the pool of his blood, he heard her whisper "I'm sorry, i'm so sorry Ben" in his ear.
"Oh my God!" I exclaimed.
"Again, I was rescued by a good woman and spent months at the hospital"
All this while I had been blindly hating men and here was a man who had been through hell at the hands of women.
"You went through all these and you still like women? Yeah I know I hate men because I'm a feminist" I asked
"Lola, when you understand that everyone has flaws and faults, then you'll learn to be at peace with anyone, you'll also come to the realization that good and evil isn't gender based but an exercise of will and also that feminism isn't man-hate or having equal attributes with men, but it's about equity, about everyone being treated equally whether male or female" he answered. He just killed the man-hater in me.
While Ben drove me back home, I was deep in thought, women had treated him badly, yet he had been saved by women, now it made sense why he saved me that time I collapsed on the road, without collecting anything back. I reflected on my past and realized not every man had really been evil to me, Some men had done good deeds but hatred had blinded me. It seemed like there was a sort of balance where evil and good was concerned, perhaps it really was that for every evil experience, good came to balance it out.
"Penny for your thought Ma'am"
"Oh we are here already"
"We've been here for about five minutes" He said.
"Oh dear, I'm sorry, I wandered"
"it's nothing to be sorry about" he replied
He walked me to my door, said his goodnight and as he turned to leave, I held his hand.
"it's late, won't you stay over?"
"I would really love to, but I've got stuff to prepare for an important client tomorrow"
"some other time then, hug me before you leave"
That night marked the beginning of change for me, I went online to read more about feminism and realized many of us on twitter and other social media were wrong about feminism and were going about it the wrong way, we just hid under "feminism" because it looked like a comfortable platform to propagate man-hate. Damn! We were so dumb, dumb because I realized feminism wasn't a tag, it wasn't about labeling oneself "feminist" rather it was about working to ensure equity amongst genders, and uplifting women in a patriarchal system.
The friendship between Ben and I grew stronger even if we weren't an item (which I so hoped & prayed for) I still enjoyed every bit of our friendship, we looked out for each other, encouraged each other, cheered each other up, had light quarrels and he was always beating me to it when it came to apologizing, ours was a healthy relationship worthy of emulation, and there was no pressure from both sides to take the relationship further, I mean why the rush anyway?!
One fine afternoon, I was editing my twitter profile, I removed "unapologetic feminist""men are scum" from it, then my phone rang.
"Hello" I said
"My baby of life"
"Haaa, Lolooooooo!!!" I screamed with joy.
"yes yes, baby there's gist ooo, give me your email address let me send you some pictures, then I'll call you back." Lolo said.
I gave her my email address as requested and anxiously waited for the pictures to come in, when I saw the pictures, at first I was shocked then I burst out laughing.
"have you seen the pictures?" Lolo called back.
"yes ooo, I'm still laughing" I answered.
"laughing? You? That's weird, is there something I don't know" She asked and I laughed harder.
"I have long gist ooo" I summarized everything Ben told me to her.
"You don't mean it"
"Lolo, I mean everything, Ben really opened my eyes to reality"
"You have no idea how glad and relieved I am to hear this"
"Ben has been a great friend, it's like you left me in his care, 'cause immediately after the wedding he made me a priority" I said
"soooo, are you guys dating?" Lolo asked?
"oh no, I hope we do, the guy's a keeper, my everyday crush"
"you have no idea how many times I've looked at my caller ID to be sure it's you I'm really talking to, you've really changed and I'm so happy for you" We talked for a pretty long while, most of the talk centered around Ben and I, she jokingly suggested I propose to him.
I looked at the pictures and info Lolo sent and couldn't help but marvel, it was quite interesting to know that the Queen we looked up to on twitter had been married to four different men in four different countries, but had separated on grounds that she slept with any Tom, Dick & Harry that knocked on their door, she was a crack addict that refused rehab, she refused to work, had no business skill, no culinary and domestic knowledge, refused to be taught or corrected and was also an ex-con. I made three different copies of the pictures and saved them on different devices, something told me they would come in handy someday.
With each passing day, my love for Ben grew, it was very obvious we loved each other much, at some point I began to wonder why he hadn't made the move, was he scared or just being careful? Or perhaps he wasn't interested, I thought to myself. Then an idea popped up.
I picked my car keys, went to a store and got something for Ben, then called him to allow me take him to dinner, he accepted my offer and I could hear the excitement in his voice, I made reservations for a private corner at a quiet restaurant.
"looking as beautiful as ever" Ben commented
"thanks love, a beautiful me to match a handsome you" I blushed
"So, there's a bottle of wine and wine glasses, perhaps we should make a toast" Ben said as he poured some wine and gave me.
"What do we toast to?" I asked
"a toast to...to...to"
"to us, a toast to a beautiful friendship that has withstood the test of time" I said as we clinked glasses
"You took the words out of my mouth" Ben said with a smirk.
"There's something I've been wanting to tell you" We both said in unison, then laughed.
"Ladies first, so you go first" Ben said
"Urrrgh!!! Okay" I said as I held his hand, opened what I got him and took out a ring "My Ben, will you marry me?" Yeah I proposed, something I had never imagined I would do, but I had to shoot my shot
"Now I think this is the perfect time..." Ben said.
"errr! Perfect time? You're supposed to answer...." I barely finished what I was saying when Ben knelt down, held my hand and was about to place a ring on my finger.
"Layo, I've waited a long time for this moment, will you marry me?"
"YES!!! You Sly!" I said as I wept
"I've also waited for this perfect moment to say I love you Layo"
"I love you more Baby, pet names are in order now" I said as I laughed between tears.
The rest of the evening was pure bliss, I asked how long he had the ring with him, he said the day after the night I told him about my past. We talked about different stuff we hadn't talked about before, from the wedding to how many kids we would have and how we expected them to look like. As we stepped out of the restaurant to where the car was parked, we bumped into Ophelia dressed as the restaurant's waitress, she put her head down and intended to act like she didn't see me.
"hello Ophelia" I called, she looked up at me.
"Hey Layo, what are you doing here? Been a while, you don't roll with us on twitter anymore" She asked as she looked from me to Ben, the moment she saw Ben's face, she almost collapsed and had to hold something for support.
"B...Be...Be...Ben? But you're dead" She muttered. Ben looked at her, smiled as he shook his head.
"Baby you know each other?" I asked
"Yes dear, that's her, remember the stabbing story? She's that ex" Ben answered.
"ohhhh I see, Wow! Small world, and you go on twitter bashing men when in actual fact you're the devil" I spat.
"it's not like you're not a man hater too, so quit judging" Ophelia retorted.
"Judging? No, your actions already judged you dear, and about being a man-hater, I had every reason to, but he made me see reality, my fiancé here and I are getting married soon, get a life Ophelia" I said as we got in the car to drive away, Ophelia just stood there.
"Not that it matters, but it blows my mind that after sleeping with my business partner, attempted murder so both of you could own the business, you ended up a waitress? Wow!" Ben told her as we drove off.
I told Lolo about how I proposed to Ben, she just couldn't stop laughing, I also told her about Ophelia, she was shocked. We got to planning the wedding, Ben and I wanted something really small but memorable and so we had a garden wedding, Lolo and her Mom were there, turned out Lolo's Mom was the woman that saved Ben when he was left in a pool of his blood. It really was a small world after all.
As small as the wedding was and even though we didn't allow cameras save our photographer, some candid shots were taken by unknown persons, I discovered my twitter notifications kept buzzing, I opened and saw mentions from people congratulating us and the dumb supposed men-haters dragging me and calling me names, Ophelia was one of the people dragging my name in the mud calling me a snatcher, backstabber, a hoe and all that. I discovered Queen had posted the pictures. I could decide to overlook, I could also choose to be very petty, I picked the latter and went to work. Ben had shown me the video of Ophelia and his business partner before deleting it, he forgot to empty his recycle bin, so I was able to save the video, the video showed their faces clearly, it also showed when Ben walked in, his face wasn't visible though, plus all they said about killing Ben. It was enough evidence for the police to revisit the case.
I did a thread on twitter and posted Queen's wedding pictures with different men, her mugshots, and every info Lolo sent me, I also posted part of the Ophelia video. Yeah since everyone wanted to be petty, I showed them I could take it to the extreme. Queen slid into my DM explaining that Ophelia had sent her the pictures and bla bla bla... I blocked all the men-hating asses. The pictures and video went viral, thanks to the bloggers.
Queen deleted her twitter account, Ophelia was sent to jail for attempted murder, aiding and abetting, kidnapping etc. We had no idea she had committed other atrocities. Ben and me are living happily ever after.