It was half-past five and Aunt Savitri was in the living-room, relaxing and watching television. I decided that it was time for me to leave. “I’ll see you on Saturday,” I said. “And again on Sunday at the barbecue.”
“Yes, I’ll see you then. Have a good week.”
“Thanks, you too.”
“Don’t forget to take some of the cake with you.”
“I won’t. Goodbye, Aunt Savitri.”
I let myself out of the apartment and instead of heading for the bank of elevators, I headed in the opposite direction, my heart pounding at the thought of seeing Rehema. I hoped and prayed that she would be home. I hurried down the corridor and when I reached her door, I took a deep breath, smoothed my hair down and then, rang the bell. I waited anxiously for her to answer. I heard the latch being drawn back and then, there she was, standing in the aperture, surprised but pleased to see me.
“Hello,” she said.
“It’s good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too.”
She stepped aside for me to enter. In the foyer, we faced each other. “Have you been to see your aunt?”
“Yes. I just came from there. I was on my way home when I thought I would stop by and see you. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, I don’t mind at all. I’m very glad that you stopped by. Let’s go into the living-room.”
I showed her the foiled wrap cake in my hand. “I’ve some Vegan cake which my aunt made. I thought maybe you would like some.”
“That’s nice of you. Thank you. I will take some and put yours in the fridge until you’re ready to leave. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.” She took the foil wrap from me and left.
I went into the living-room and walked over to the window. I looked out. From here, I could see the courtyard below where people were milling about. It was another pleasant day with no clouds in the clear blue sky.
“Thanks for the cake,” I heard Rehema say behind me and I turned, my eyes traveling over her.
“You’re welcome. You’ll love it. I’ve had two slices.”
She smiled. “Your aunt is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met.”
“Yes. And she’s my favorite. I’ve never said that to my mother, though. I think she would be jealous.”
“Are you and your mother close?”
“Not as close as Aunt Savitri and me.”
“She was so nice to me when I moved here. I needed a friend, especially after what I had been through and she was there, supporting and encouraging me.”
“She mentioned some time ago that you had been through a lot but when I asked her what she meant, she said that it wasn’t for her to tell me.”
“Sit down and I’ll tell you what she meant.”
I sat down on the sofa but she remained standing. She leaned against the sliding door frame, her expression grave. I was on tenterhooks, wondering what she was about to reveal from her past to me. A part of me was curious and the other part was afraid of to hear her story. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” I said.
“I feel that I should,” she replied. “You know that I left Kenya to come to London but what you don’t know is that years ago, I left Kenya because someone whom I thought was my friend had told me about a job at Pathfinder International, a non-profit organization in Delhi, India. It turned out to be a scam. I ended up in a brothel.”
I listened as she told me the whole sordid story of how she had to sleep with a lot of men in order to return to Kenya because her passport had been confiscated. I felt sick with disgust, horror and jealousy. Yes, the thought of her with other men made me crazy with jealousy. I couldn’t bear the thought of them inside her even if it was against her will. I was relieved that she escaped from that hellhole and found sanctuary in a church but I was furious with her for not escaping before she was forced to have sex with those monsters.
When she was finished, I just sat there, conflicting emotions running rampantly through me. I wanted to take her in my arms and hold her because she had been through hell but I couldn’t get the thought of other men being with her out of my mind. I wanted to lash out at her. I don’t know how long I sat there with my hands balled into tight fists. It was worse than I thought. Instead of an abusive relationship or marriage, it had been sex trafficking and although I knew that sex trafficking was through threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud and deception, I just couldn’t stomach Rehema being with other men.
Several minutes passed and then, I rose to my feet and avoided looking at her, muttering, “I’ve to go.” I made my way to the foyer.
She came after me. “Trishan–“
I pushed my feet into my shoes, tying the laces quickly, anxious to get out of there. I could feel her standing there, watching me.
“Trishan, talk to me, please.”
“I’ve to go,” I said again and I grabbed the door handle, yanking the door open.
“What about your piece of the cake?” she asked.
“You can have it,” I muttered before I walked away.
Source: United Against Human Trafficking