I am such a big fan of love. At this age and time, I am missing nothing but love. I have a highly paid job as a lawyer, I’m from a good family, I have good friends and colleagues and I have a beautiful woman whom I want to marry. Oley means the world to me. She has been so supportive and loving. An amazing woman altogether. I didn’t waste much time before I ask her to marry me. That was after 5 months of dating. Her eyes are like half the sun. Her smile was indescribably cute. I considered myself amongst the blessed men. I had a queen.

I’ve always yearned to meet her parents. She spoke so highly of them. This particular day, I was so neatly dressed going with Oley to see her parents two days before our wedding because they just arrived from Canada. We were both so happy and in love. We even wore matching outfits. Oley kept stealing glances at me.

“It is evident that you’re stealing glances at me. You can’t even hide” I said whilst we were about to enter the hotel where her parents lodged.

“I just can’t believe that in two days’ time you’ll be all mine’’ she said

I loved when she said things like this. It gave  me a moment to continue telling her how much I loved her. So, I stood right in front of her, held her hands and said “You are the love of my life. I can’t imagine doing this with any other woman. I am all yours since the day I met you and I will continue to be, forever’’. She smiled and that cooled my heart in a mysterious way. We walked to the receptionist who called her parents and asked us to wait at the lounge. Whilst waiting for them, Oley told me how scared she was about the future not failing to emphasize her confidence in me mentioning that she knows I will be a great husband. I had goosebumps and I didn’t stop telling her how much I loved her. We sat there for about 10 minutes before her parents showed up. I was bending towards her when I heard a voice behind me say:

“Hello, ma princesse” and she stood up to hug that person.

“I know that voice” I said to myself. I got up and turned around to look at who it was. That was her father and her beautiful mother. Her father looked at me and paused for a minute. I looked at him and shed tears.

“Is this your father”

“Bae, are you okay? Is everything okay?” she asked.

“Are you okay, my son?” Her mother asked. Her father now starts rubbing his head, looking at me and looking at his wife and daughter. I rushed and left. I went straight home. Knowing Oley may come there looking for me, I didn’t park my car anywhere she could see it, I turned off all lights and didn’t leave any sign for her.

I got home and decided not to think about the past or anything. I made myself believe all of that was a dream. I tried to fool myself but it wasn’t working. Flashes of that day when that man was violating me kept coming in my head. I screamed so loud like a baby. I felt the same pain I felt that day. My chest was heavy that it felt like it was going to tear. My whole life turned upside down. I began to feel every pain I felt, every bitterness, even the smallest feeling of fear. My past was rubbed on my face. How can I ever have explained this to anyone. That the father of the woman I was going to marry raped me? Or that I wanted to marry the daughter of my rapist?

When I was 10 years old, my father passed away and my mother had no choice but to become a maid so she can get me to school. She used to work for Muntaga Sey who happened to be Oley’s father. His wife and daughter were away in Canada that year. I used to go there to assist my mom or wait for her to close so we can get home. Muntaga made me his friend. He treated me like a son only to end up penetrating me. He did it not once, twice but thrice. Later that year, his wife and daughter were coming for a holiday and he used that occasion to sack my mother immediately, paid her a lot of money and asked her to move to the next town. That was the last time I saw him and that town, Sembe is the place I hated the most until Oley tried to make me fall in love with it through pictures.

I couldn’t believe what my life was turning into. I had just met the love of my life, the daughter of my rapist. Unbelievable! I met Oley the following day. I wanted her to know everything I knew and I owed her an explanation. She had been an amazing person, a good person and she didn’t deserve that. After I told her, she cried her eyes out. I have never in my life seen anyone who cried as much as she did that day. I felt pity, I felt anger, I felt so much more than I can explain today. I decided to let her go. She begged me, she crawled, she held my legs and refused to let go. I have never in my life seen any woman in a more vulnerable situation than she was that day. I hated doing that but only the truth shall set me free. I had a new priority then. I had to focus on myself. I needed help. I had my entire childhood ruined by Muntaga and I needed to fix that as an adult and I could no longer have any feelings for Oley. It all died out the night I found out Muntaga was her father.

About a week later, I saw on the news that Muntaga hung himself to death. I didn’t want to know the rest of the story. I was going through a recovery process and I had to withdraw myself from all of that and anyone who reminded me of it. It’s been 13 years since I last saw Oley. Today, I am 41 years old, marrying another love of my life, Sarata who has same character, behavior and personality with Oley. Unlike Oley, Sarata is humorous and more open.

I have accepted my life the way it is. Despite having such a painful past, I have so much to be grateful for.  I am wedding a wonderful and beautiful woman who holds the key to my heart, I have an amazing stepson and most importantly, I am with a great state of mind. I want you to know that I was here, I lived and you can too. Beat the violence, rise above ranks and take time to heal.

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