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A Birthday To Remember - Literature - Nairaland

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A Birthday To Remember by anneabidemi(f): 5:20pm On Apr 08, 2013
The cell was so cold, no thanks to the rainy season. Tonia curled up like a foetus on her bug-ridden half inch mattress. It was June, and she had spent almost eight years here. She had been here since August 2013, precisely 10th August 2013. And she had experienced many rainy season on the death row. She had been here on chilly nights, at nights when water trickled in from the tiny window of her 5ft by 7ft cell, where she had awaited death everyday, where she had seen many she called close friends walked towards the gallows to be killed like animals. If she were to be asked, she would say 2021's rain had been the most torrential of all she had witnessed on the row.
Last year July, her closest friend on the row, Cynthia, had been killed by lethal injection. She had been given two options, the lethal injection or the gallows, just like every other inmate convicted after 2012. She went for the injection because she thought it would be more humane and would let her slip away without feeling any pain. Only God knew if Cynthia got what she wanted. She was no longer there to tell the story, but Tonia would never forget that night. There was so much excitement on the row. People moved in and out of the prison, there were strange faces everywhere. Press men lobbied to witness the execution, human rights activists and religious groups who were against the death penalty gathered outside the facility to protest the execution. Guards who had been nice and friendly suddenly looked mean and deadly. And what she would always remember about that night too was the way all inmates were handcuffed and shackled. The cells were locked and the main entrance to the row was shut permanently. Three nights before then, Cynthia had been moved to the observation room, where the guards ensured she had no access to harmful objects that could aid suicide. There were no sleeping pills, no heavy objects of any kind, and a guard was permanently positioned at the cell gate to keep watch on her day and night.
The row had been very quiet, inmates were praying that a miracle would happen in one of the courts where Cynthia's lawyer had been running to for a stay to be granted on her execution. But so far, there had been no luck. The appeals kept being struck out because of Cynthia's nature of crime that got her on the row. Besides, the state governor who had the last stay, till that moment hadn't granted a stay, what with the kind of bad press Cynthia's case attracted.
Cynthia got to the row five months before Tonia. She had been found guilty of murder. From what was rumoured around the row, she was a professional prostitute, the type people called courtesan. Her kind of clients were high-ranked politicians and businessmen, whom she serviced without shame. However, Cynthia's waywardness and avarice got the best of her one day, when she had an expatriate client. The white man hid nothing about the kind of business that brought him to Nigeria from Cynthia, he told her about the kind of money involved, and the amount he had on him as at that moment in the hotel. Her love for money got the better of her, and while the poor man was sleeping, Cynthia stabbed him to death and took the money. It wasn't her lucky day because of the CCTV cameras in the hotel where the man lodged, and also because of his status and personality, Cynthia was nabbed, and was executed last year.
Tonia had cried like a baby. She hadn't cried since the day she got to the row, but that night she cried. She felt sorry for her friend, she felt sorry for herself, for other inmates on the row, and for all their worthless pathetic lives.
Since Cynthia's execution, three more people had been executed. Kola who was a serial killer, Yusuf, a terrorist, and Chioma, who abused and mutilated young children. Last month, another execution date was chosen, 22nd June 2021, a day to Tonia's 34th birthday, the inmate who would be executed that day would be Tonia Balogun.
There she was, a week away from the gallows, which she chose because of the horrible way Cynthia was killed. The executioner who handled Cynthia's death was a pure novice, since doctors who knew about IV injections would never be used in executions due to their life saving oaths. Cynthia was bound to the gurney, with IV tubes and all around her, she wailed and wailed for almost thirty minutes on the gurney before the drunk executioner got it right. From the rumours gathered from witnesses, she suffered and was in great pains before she died.
The thoughts of death took her mind back to what got her on the row. Tonia had been a beautiful young lady of 26. She was 25 when she met Timi. Though he was much older than she was,there was almost ten years difference between them, but they were good together. She looked so young and naïve, he looked so matured and wise, he was handsome, muscular and very pleasant. She called him her hero, her prince charming, her knight in shining armour. He was her best friend, her everything.
Though they met online, on one of the many dating sites that existed then in 2012, since the first day they set eyes on each other, they became inseparable. He was single, she was engaged to a man she didn't really love, she removed the ring the first day they kissed.
He had been at work when she got to his house, but had instructed his cousin to receive and entertain her. His cousin, Dapo had been the chitty-chatty type, he talked about almost everything and really made her feel relaxed and at home, though she hadn't seen her blind date.
Hours later, he came in, all 6ft, towering her petite shape, and the first thing Tonia said to him was 'Hey, tall man', he responded wt a kiss that lasted for two minutes, not minding Dapo's presence. Then he told her to go shower and change her cloth because they would be going out, it was a Friday. While undressing in the room, he came in, held her and kissed her again, this time exploring her mouth like his life depended on it. He held her so tightly and she could feel his erection against her body. She was aroused. She kissed him back, and held him too. He unhooked her bra, fondled her breasts and tickled her nipple. She was now moaning and held his head, rolling his hair between her fingers. The probe of his tongue in her mouth became faster as he loosened her belt, all this while they were still standing. Then he disengaged his mouth from hers, and carried her like a baby to the bed. He placed her gently on the bed and removed her denim, exposing her fair thighs. She closed her eyes because she was shy and couldn't look him in the face. He unbuttoned his shirt, removed his trousers and briefs, and lied naked beside her. He kissed her again, probing her womanhood with his middle finger, which made her wriggle in excitement. When he thought she was ready enough, he went it, thrusting slowly at first, then faster, and faster. They found a rhythm, she moaned, he groaned, five minutes later, they were both panting, exhausted from the strength of their climax. That day, Tonia decided she was going to stay, and stay she did.
She caught him cheating on more than two occasions, and all those times he apologised that it was never going to happen again. She was the possessive type, she was jealous, she nagged, and she acted irrationally at times, because she really was in love with him and couldn't bear the thoughts of sharing him with another woman.
Truth be told, he was loving, caring, and very matured, her ideal man, the kind of man she had always prayed for. The only issue she ever had with him was about women, which almost broke them up at a time.
Then she had noticed he was becoming unusually quiet, ignoring her at will, and not caring enough. She had decided to play it her own way, ignore him too, get him jealous by flaunting men she knew she would never date. She had even made new friends to take his thoughts away from her mind, maybe that would reduce the love she had for him, but it hadn't worked. She loved him more and more everyday, and it hurt so much. Then she decided to let it out, she engaged him in a mobile chat and accused him of giving other women the attention he was denying her. He got angry, they both became furious and he deleted her from his contacts. It was like a rapture. She told herself that was the last straw, and that then and there she would call it quits. She couldn't. Minutes later, she called him, he ignored her calls. Then he sent him a text, telling him if he knew he wasn't going to love her, he shouldn't have started it at all, and that she was going nowhere until she stopped loving him, which they both knew would never happen. They made up. She should have ended the relationship, but she didn't. Because she didn't have the strength, breaking up with him would kill her. She knew she was stuck. She was obsessed. He was her obsession.
She became sad, the lively Tonia began losing her high spirits, she was becoming a shadow of herself, people told her she was losing her beauty. She started having sleepless nights. He was having fun, going out on fridays, meeting people, flirting. Then she decided to talk to him. Again, they were engaged in a chat, she told him her fears, he apologised and promised never to hurt her again. Finally, she was happy, she had her love back.
And they lived happily ever after. . .until two months to his birthday, she knew there was a certain colleague he had, a lady, who always called at odd hours. Whenever she was with him, her calls woke them up in the morning, she called late at nights. If she coughed, she called him, if she sneezed, she called him. She became curious, and of course jealous, in spite of the fact that she had promised herself never to doubt him again. She asked him about it, and he told her she was married, and that what in the world would he want to do with a married woman. But the calls never stopped coming. She became worried, resolved to her best tool, and discovered there might be more than just friendship between them. She started acting up as usual, which didn't make him bulge. Out of habit, she again told him what was eating her up, but he dismissed it like it meant nothing. That day, Tonia realised Timi would always favour the so-called married woman against her. And that whatever he was having with her was far greater and superior to the relationship she thought she was having with him. She was bitter, depressed, angry and felt cheated.
It was two weeks to his birthday, though she already planned his birthday was going to be celebrated in a big way, in spite of his indifference to all the plan. But the issue she had with him made her change her mind, though she pretended not to be hurt, she had her plans.
His birthday was on a Saturday, she should have been with him since Friday, but she worked in a broadcasting house and had to be on duty on Saturday, so she wasn't able to make it. However, she left on saturday afternoon. When she called him that she was in town already, he told her where he was hanging out, celebrating his birthday with his friends, and told her to hurry and meet him there because his friends had been asking after her. She took a bike straight to the venue, a murderous look on her face. She got there, saw them, flashed him her sweetest smile, and excused him so she could wish him a happy birthday in her own way, and in private. He followed her, smiling and commenting on how naughty she could be. It was growing dark, they went behind the bar, he held her and kissed her, telling her she should have been there on Friday, so she could be the first person he would see on his birthday, she whispered her apologies in his ears, inserting her tongue in his earlobe to distract him, while at that, she brought out the small knife she had been keeping in her back pocket, looked him straight in his eyes, and wished him a happy birthday again, then stabbed him five times. Twice in his stomach, once on his chest, once on his ribs, and buried the knife in his neck. His screams brought people to the scene, her hands were stained with blood, her obsession's blood. He died holding his stomach, with his eyes open and his mouth like he wished to say something to her. He was gone, he would never speak to her again. She had killed him. She had killed her obsession. It was over. She had lost her virginity to a certain lover on his birthday, she had taken the life of another on his birthday too.
The shouts of 'Tonia what happened, Tonia what happened' made her realise where she was, and what she had done.
The trial was fast, it didn't take long at all. What with Timi's family spending all their life savings on it. She was found guilty and given the death penalty.
'Tonia Balogun' the guard shouted from the main entrance to the cells, 'the doctor is here to see you'. She jumped from her thoughts, and remembered she was to be examined that day. The state had to be sure she was sane enough to be executed, to be killed like an animal. In two days, the Reverend would come, to prepare her soul for the task ahead. He had to make sure that if she lost her life, her soul wouldn't be lost. Her appeals had been exhausted, no stay had been granted. She would be killed, to the joy and cheer of Timi's family. But before then, she had better hurry to keep her appointment with the doctor.

1 Like

Re: A Birthday To Remember by luvmijeje(f): 6:52pm On Apr 08, 2013
Wow! I hope this is not the end. *following*
Re: A Birthday To Remember by Hydronium(m): 11:26pm On Apr 08, 2013
Not bad.
Like the lady at the top, 'hope this is not the end?'

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