When I woke up the next morning, I still checked Isabella’s room and she wasn’t back yet. I was really worried and didn’t know what to do next. I decided to go prepare for church. I had my bath, had breakfast and was ready for church. Diana and I had still not started talking to each other much after the last misunderstanding that we had so I barely said anything to her. She was still lying on her bed and didn’t seem to have interest in going to church. As I was stepping out of the room heading to church, I bumped into Isabella. She was crying and looked unkempt.

“Where have you been?” I asked her as I led her to my bed to sit.

She didn’t respond but continued crying. Diana got up from her bed and came to my bed to console Isabella.

“Where you raped? Did he hurt you?” I asked looking at her body closely for any sign of an injury.

Isabella still didn’t say anything and continued crying. Diana urged her to say something and tell us what happened. After much persuasion, she finally spoke up. She narrated how some police men stopped the car that had picked her up at the wedding reception. They searched the car and found illegal drugs in the car. So they arrested everyone in the car including her. They took them to the police station and seized her phones so she couldn’t contact anyone. They thought she was into drugs meanwhile when she had only just met the man and had accepted a free ride. She explained to the police men that she was innocent but they wouldn’t believe her. The man who had given her a ride didn’t want to confirm that she was innocent.

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“Can you imagine that he just stood there keeping quiet as if he was dumb? I begged him to tell them the truth and he refused. If not for his driver that spoke up, I don’t know what would have happened to me. They released me because the driver confirmed my story but it was too late to come back to the hostel. So I decided to sleep there for my safety. Look at my body, all the mosquitoes fed on me all night. Plus the cold and that dirty smelling place,” Isabella lamented.

“I’m sorry about what you went through,” Diana said.

I wanted to say something but Isabella shut me up.

“Don’t even say ‘I warned you.’” She said to me.

I responded immediately, “I wasn’t going to say that. Thank God you are safe and nothing happened to you.”

“But you should be careful next time,” Diana said.

‘I know,” Isabella retorted.

“You need to have your bath and sleep,” I said to Isabella

“She needs to eat first. She looks famished. And the canteens aren’t opened yet,” Diana said.

“Will you eat golden morn?” I asked Isabella

“Is she a baby? I have Cheerios. George bought it from London for me. Edidiong bring milk and water. I’ll bring the cereal and plate,” Diana said as she got up to bring the items from her locker.

“What’s Cheerios?” I asked

“It’s a foreign cereal,” Diana responded.

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“Speaking of George, did he travel? Because I haven’t noticed you going out to see him recently.”

Diana hissed. “I’ve been avoiding him. Can you imagine that George said I should go for an HIV test?”

“HIV test?” Isabella asked in shock.

“It’s not a big deal na,” I said.

“I’m not HIV positive and I told him. But it seems he doesn’t believe me. That’s what annoying me. That he doesn’t trust me,” Diana said

“If he says you should go for the test, then just do it after all you said you are negative,” Isabella said trying to encourage Diana.

“Yes na. Me too, I want to know my status,” I said.

They both looked at me. “What are you not telling us?I thought you said you are abstaining from sex now,” Diana said as she drooped the plate and cereal on my reading table and sat on my bed.

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“Yes. I am. I just want to know my status. After all, HIV is not only transferred through sex. Diana, don’t worry. I will go with you for the test.”

“George insists that he goes with me. It’s so annoying. Does he think I’ll fake the result?”

“Calm down now. You said you are negative so what’s the fuss.”

“I’m angry he doesn’t trust me.”

“I don’t know what to say again. Here’s the milk and water,” I said dropping my tin of milk and a sachet water on my reading table. “I’m off to church. See you girls when I come back. Isabella, please eat, bath and sleep.”

When I came back from Church, Diana told me she had agreed to go with George for the HIV test. She was scared and I too was anxious on her behalf. I hope she comes back with some good news.

 

End Note: This is a fiction story and episode 22 of the #UduakObongStorySeries