Tag Archives: marriage

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #16

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noka

My mom, the religious nut she is, will always tell me, “Nothing is ever hidden under the sun. One day God will expose you.” It makes me always wonder what type of mother she is. Normal mothers support and protect their kids but my mom will gladly throw me under the bus to please Jesus. And today, she has reared up her ugly head to remind me that nemesis is at my door.

“Mommy, I have heard you,” I say to her on the phone. I don’t even know why I answered her call. I am in the middle of something here.

“Ojonoka, pray o! Pray well-well! Devil wants to use you.”

Devil is already using me. He’s six foot tall, rugged, the exact opposite of my husband and he is presently screwing his fine tool into my lady parts. So, nothing new, mommy. I am potty in the hands of the devil because you refused to help me cover my sins.

“Can I go now?” I tell her gruffly, biting down my lower lip to contain the pleasure the father of my illegitimate son is giving me. I can’t tell you his name, so let’s call him B.

I dump my phone on the floor and clasp my arms around B as he digs in deeper in a manner that would make you think he wants to drill a hole all the way to my mouth. But it’s pleasure to me. It comes with pain that I’m used to. Pain that I like. This is a lot better than waiting and begging to be loved by Ibro. Forget that I shed tears before Celia just the other day. It’s tears of regret, not of guilt. I regret that I didn’t listen to my mom when she told me to be straight with Ibro on the issue of my first son. The money was all I saw and I was going to have it even if it meant denying my own blood. That was what I did, and now, I am paying for it. B has refused to stay in the shadows but it’s all good. This is a blessing in disguise. He gives me the attention Ibro denies me. Yes, I have to pay for it but body no be firewood. This is me loving myself. So, please don’t judge. You have no idea what it means to be neglected and to spend many nights alone until you have walked in my shoes. I started collecting B’s tool a long time ago but for people like Celia and Bimpe who like to poke their noses into people’s affairs, I had to play the victim card.

The two annoying creatures caught me leaving a hotel with B a year ago. It was after dark and we had the shadows to our advantage but that hawk-eyed Bimpe sighted us from afar as B was shoving his tongue down my throat while begging me to go back with him to the hotel for another round.

“Is that not Noks?” I heard her say. I froze and spun around. Guilt filled my face but I played a quick one, when I turned around, slapped B and hurried towards my friends.

“Noka, what is going on here?” Celia asked. I began to cry. She faced B. “Excuse me, what were you just doing to my friend?”

B laughed. “Ask her.”

And then he walked away. I held Bimpe tightly and bawled my eyes out. When they were finally able to get me to stop, I opened up to them and revealed everything. The only part I doctored was the part about how I enjoyed my moments with B.

“Please, don’t tell anybody,” I cried. “If Ibro hears it, he will divorce me. What will now be left of me and the boys?”

Celia who was also in tears with me, promised that she would keep her mouth shut. Bimpe also gave her word. All has been good so far. My mom’s prophecies can hit a brick wall and shatter to nothingness for all I care. The universe is on my side. Ibro does not love me. B is my recompense.

“Is he as good as this?” B asks me, his hand grasping my hair as he grinds me senseless.

“No,” I reply breathlessly.

“Say it.”

“You’re the best,” I moan.

“Again!”

“You’re the best!”

He is not the best, though. Ibro is. My husband can make love like humanity depends on his dick for survival. But dick that can form for Africa, is that one dick?

I hold on to B, clutching his hairy butt for more of what he’s giving but I know dude is spent. So I brace myself for the end of my short-lived pleasure and start making plans for dinner. My boys are spoilt; they won’t eat yesterday’s leftovers or the nanny’s meals. I have to go home and prepare something fresh.

“Please, don’t cum,” I beg B. If only he listens and lasts as long as Ibro does.

“I’m sorry, baby but…”

He cums. Hard and noisily. I wish I have another fifteen or more minutes to spare to get the full measure of the type of pleasure I want.

B withdraws from me. I pull my legs up. He can see that I’m not happy but he doesn’t care. Shey he has taken all my money and gotten his satisfaction.

“Same time, next week?” he asks. “Or rather, come earlier. These days you just want to pop in and dash out. What’s up with that?”

I shrug. These days I’m being careful. Celia is insisting I tell Ibro the truth and my mother keeps preaching to me. Somehow it’s all getting to me.

“Nothing. I’m just busy.”

“Don’t be too busy for me.” He taps my ass, and when I try to walk away, he pulls me back. “Watch this.”

He shows me a video on his phone. It’s the latest recording of our son. Tears fill my eyes as I watch the boy playing football with a friend. B might be greedy and lacking of morals but he’s a good dad. He actually uses some of the money I send to him on our son. I am grateful for that.

“I’m tired of him asking for his mother.” B stops the video midway. “When are we going to tell him the truth?”

My tummy knots. “B…” I sigh. “You want me to lose my marriage? Where will the money come from if I do?”

“Your son thinks you’re his aunt and that we’re brother and sister. How does that sound right in your ears?”

“As right as you eating my monthly income!” I yell. “I don’t hear you complaining about that! But if you want it to stop coming, go ahead and tell him who I am! In fact, go and tell the whole world! Or better still, invest the money so that when my husband eventually kicks me out of his life, we’ll have something to fall back on!”

I hiss and pick my clothes off the floor. He watches me without saying a word as I dress up.

“See you next week.”

I pick my handbag and phone and head out. The moment I shut the door, I bump into Eno.

I gasp. Loudly. She gasps as well. She is also leaving a hotel room, and I can hear the voice of a man. Well, well… This should be interesting.

“Noka.” She recovers faster than I do. “What are you doing here?”

I am about to throw the same question at her when the door behind me opens and B sticks out his brainless head.

“Baby, you forgot your watch.”

I grab it from him and he retreats, totally oblivious of what he has just done. I turn around to find Eno’s arms crossed and a malicious look on her face.

“Noka, what did I just use my two eyes to see?”

“I should also ask you the same question,” I throw back at her as the man she is with steps out of the hotel room. Unfortunately for me, even before she says a word, I can see a clear resemblance between her and the guy. They possess the same complexion, same eyes, same lips and same color of brown hair.

“You mean, this guy?” She laughs. “This is my baby brother who just completed his NYSC and is here for some seminar being organized by this hotel. Should I assume that the guy that just handed you your wristwatch is your brother too?”

“Erm…yes. I’m his sister.”

“So brothers call sisters ‘baby’?”

I laugh drily. “That’s what everyone calls me at home.”

“I see. So, Ibro knows him?”

“I… No. Ibro hasn’t met him yet. He doesn’t live in Nigeria. He just came in from…Kuwait. He’s a…basket baller. See how tall he is? Hehehe.” I scratch my neck uneasily. I’m a rusty liar.

“I see. Why don’t you take him home? Why is he here?”

“Erm…”

She walks past me and knocks on the door. Stupid B opens it.

“Hey, Noka’s tall brother.”

B frowns at her and then turns his eyes on me.

“I’m Eno, Noka’s mate.”

“Mate?”

“We’re married to the same man.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, nice to meet you. I was just scolding her about letting you stay here when she has this really fancy house.”

“No, it’s fine. I’m…”

“Nonsense. You should come to hers. My husband would be glad to meet you. Seems you guys haven’t met before, which is quite strange. He knows every member of my family. I don’t see why he shouldn’t know Noka’s.”

Right now, I am praying for a bomb to drop or rapture to happen so that I can escape this mess. How do I get out of this one?

“Really, I’m fine here.”

“Okay. If you say so but Ibrahim won’t like it. Welcome to Nigeria.”

B looks at me. I smile.

“Thank you.”

He goes back into the room. Eno turns to her brother.

“Get your things, let’s go home.”

I see a complaint on his face but the frown she flashes him makes him disappear back into his room. The moment he leaves, she faces me.

“You smell of sex, you know that? Your hair is a mess, your lipstick is gone and there is guilt all over your face.”

“Sex? What are you talking about?”

“I have nothing more to say to you. Ibro will hear about this…”

“Eno, no.” I grab her hand. She looks at me and I withdraw. “Let me explain…”

She opens the door to her brother’s hotel room. “Explain it to your husband.”

And that is how my mom’s has used her mouth to jinx my good fortune. I clutch my fearful heart and handbag and leave the hotel to my car where I mull over what awaits me. It doesn’t matter what I would cook up to tell Ibro, Eno will paint a terrible picture and that would be the end of me. The only person that can save me is my mom but she would rather be burnt at a stake for Jesus than lie to save her daughter’s ass.

I am done for. Nobody can tell me anything. My own is finished. I better call the girls and start finding a way to twist this tale my way.

∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞

I haven’t seen Naomi since the incident. I had taken her to the hospital that night, following what her husband did to her, and stayed until the morning when she begged me to leave. She expressly told me I was never to visit her again. I knew it was the abused woman in her talking and so I ignored her pleas, went home and checked in on her later that day. I wasn’t allowed in to see her, however. I left and made plans to visit the following day. When I returned, I was told that she had been transferred to another hospital. According to the nurse at the front desk, the doctor who had handled a few other similar cases from Naomi was tired of her shielding her husband and lying about her injuries. She had claimed the latest one was from a car crash and he wasn’t buying it. Hence, he asked her to leave, stating that he was scared of being implicated if she eventually ended up dead. No one knew what hospital she was taken to. I called her number several times but she ignored my calls. I am scared for her.

It’s a Tuesday, a tiring one, but not too tiring for me to respond to a call from a friend. I don’t do it alone. I take Peace and Honey along to see Mary. I don’t really suggest the visit. I just drive up to see Peace, pick her up and then do the same to a whining Honey.

“I’m tired,” she complains. “This is 3pm. We’ll jam traffic on the way. Can’t we do this during the weekend?”

“No. Lasting friendships do not run on convenience. Mary needs us…”

“No, she needs you. She called you alone.”

“Honey, stop being such an annoying person this afternoon.”

“I’m tired!” she almost cries.

“Enter the car, jare.”

“You’re lucky I used a cab today. I wouldn’t have followed you,” she says, taking the backseat. Once she gets in, she sets to nurse Jiney. “I hate you, Celia.”

“Feeling’s mutual.”

I get in behind the wheel.

“What’s with Mary, though?”

“I don’t know. She called me, says she needs to talk.”

“Then it’s serious. Mary’s the one we all go to when we need to vent. Now she needs to talk to someone. That’s new. I hope Kene’s not being an ass.”

“I hope so too.”

I put the car in gear and we drive away. For the first part of the journey, we are quiet. Well, Honey and I are. Peace is on a phone call with one of the girls manning her boutique. After trying her hands at different businesses and small-time jobs, Peace decides to settle for running a boutique. Reno finances the project single-handedly and now her stylish shop stands in one of the lavish spots at the Lekki mall, the one owned by the BSD Group.

“I didn’t want to go expensive,” she explains to us after the phone call, “but Reno insisted. And now, the shop is draining me.”

I rub her thigh. “Things will be fine.”

“But I think the whole thing is Reno’s way of letting you guys know that, despite the fact that everyone’s giving him the silent treatment, he has not crawled up into one hole and died. He is doing very well.”

“He’s a rapist,” I remind her even though I know it would hurt her.

“Ex-rapist,” she corrects.

“Celia, be nice,” Honey scolds.

“But he’s your current friend with benefits?” I look at Peace.

“Cee, don’t start.”

“Swear that you’re not having sex with him.”

She stares away from me.

“You see?”

“Once in a blue moon.”

“That’s why you dumped the German guy? Eyha.” I make a weepy face. “And I was hoping for cute kids.”

“Oyibos are overrated if you ask me,” Honey states. “Besides, he couldn’t fit into our circle.”

“Hon, he got circumcised for her and she didn’t even let him taste the goods.”

“I was not in love with him, Celia,” Peace responds. “Apart from that, at my age, I shouldn’t be looking for love. I shouldn’t even be looking for a man. I can do well by myself.”

“That’s the spirit.” I give her a high five. She doesn’t slap it.

“Awww, you’re hanging my hand. What’s wrong, darling?”

“Nothing.”

She seems annoyed. I really have to stop bringing up these discussions. They always leave her uncomfortable. It’s not an easy decision when you choose to walk on the path of solitude. The new Peace is done with giving her heart to men and to getting involved in any kind of relationship.

“There’s something empowering about being alone but it can also get lonely,” she whispers. “That’s why I still spend some nights with Reno.”

“We’re not judging you, P,” Honey responds. “Ignore the rapist statement Celia made.”

Peace smiles. I smile too. Peace is all grownup. Just the other day she was crying over how much she needed Reno. Today, she is doing fine by herself. Even her sense of fashion has improved. She has evolved into her own style. She’s doing the whole Naturalista thing; replete with the Ankara head-wraps, earthy sandals, African inspired jewelry and long Boho skirts. In fact, this is the precise description of what she is wearing now. A batik tee gives her appearance a modern edge that leaves her looking younger than her current age.

“I hope Mary has food.” Honey takes a long yawn that pushes me into yawning as well. “This child is killing me with all her sucking.”

“Pele.”

“I’ve not even had lunch.”

“Mary always has food.”

We all go silent as I navigate a busy street. My thoughts are on Naomi, and on the threatening text I received from her husband last night. It came in one short line: leave my wife alone, Celia.

I have read it so many times that I now feel I wrote it myself. I didn’t show the text to Shady and my reason is simply that I want to handle the situation alone. I need to get Naomi out of the abusive situation she is in right now. As for her husband who thinks he can send me texts, he doesn’t know what his problem is yet. Dude is soon going to suck on his own balls for making that mistake with me.

“I’ve not seen Noks in a while,” Peace murmurs. She is rummaging through her handbag as she says this. I wonder what she’s looking for.

“I haven’t seen her too. Have you called her?”

“No.” Peace stops her rummaging. “Have you?”

“Nope.”

“Honey, have you?”

“I don’t care. Meanwhile, I have found out her dirty, little secret…”

Peace makes a sharp turn. “What secret?”

I look at Honey through the rearview mirror, trying to see if she’s kidding.

“I’m not telling anyone, Peace. But Noka should never insult me or any of you or I swear, I’ll expose her.”

“What’s the secret nau?”

Honey shakes her head.

“Please nau!”

“No. Face your front.”

“Whatever it is,” I say, “if it will ruin her marriage, Honey, please don’t expose her. I know she’s been mean to you but it’s not enough reason to share whatever you saw with anyone.”

Honey holds my eyes in the mirror. I look away.

“You know the secret, Celia.”

Chai. This Honey sef. Why is she always this smart? And how on earth did she find out about Noka?

“I don’t know anything,” I reply.

“You do.”

“So two of you know this secret and you’re not telling me?” Peace whines. “Tell me how that is fair.”

We both ignore her and she goes on and on until we arrive at Mary’s.

“We’re all not good friends, Cee,” she concludes. “We’re losing our little circle. I blame Bimpe. She was the glue that kept us together.”

“We’re fine, madam,” Honey snaps. “Nobody is losing anything.”

My car stops outside Mary’s compound. I honk and seconds later a guard comes out. When he sees us, he smiles and returns to the compound. Soon, the gate slides to let us in. I drive through. Mary is waiting at the front door, dressed in white leggings and a matching top. She blends with the whiteness of the house, except for the pitch blackness of her new hairdo.

We walk up to her. She has hugs waiting. We haven’t seen each other in a few days but it isn’t us she’s really interested in. The moment she sights Jiney, she gets all mushy. She takes her off Honey’s arms.

“Come in.”

She leads us into her beautiful home that still manages to take my breath away even after my many visits. The décor makes no attempt at being modest. Our dear Ekene is ostentatious; the house reflects his person. Mary, on the other hand, is the opposite. As long as she is comfortable and the house is clean, she can live in any condition. It’s interesting how both of them find a balance.

“First of all, food!” Honey cries. Mary laughs.

“Help yourselves. Jiney and I will be right back.”

“You kukuma have big breasts. Give her some while you’re at it.”

Mary disappears while three of us help ourselves with meals of our choice. There’s so much to pick from and we knock ourselves out. We settle in the living room. Mary joins us shortly with Jiney, now dressed in a complete Versace baby ensemble.

“Whoa!” Honey exclaims. “What have you done to my baby?”

“The same thing she did to Dara and Sammy,” Peace answers.

“I got some things from my last visit to Paris with Kene.”

“Awww, this is so sweet. Jide will fawn over her.” Honey coos at Jiney and gets out her phone to take a photo. “Jiji, did you say thank you to Aunty Mary?”

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Jiney lets out a grin and Honey takes a photo. I also take a few shots.

“Mary?” I call, after we go back to our meals. “Are you fighting with Kene? Is that why you called me over?”

Mary smiles sadly.

“You cook a lot when you’re upset. You know that? What’s going on?”

“Yeah… Kene and I are fighting.”

Peace passes her a glass of orange juice. She declines. A minute later we are listening to her talk to us about her desperate need to have a child and how it has become a problem between her and Ekene.

“Now, he’s avoiding sex, and even when we do it, he uses condoms. All he wants is for us to keep going out on dates, traveling to exotic places, doing romantic stuff and all that.”

“Isn’t that a good thing, May?” Honey asks.

“Hon, we have all the time in the world to do that but my uterus can’t wait another year. It’s not him whose biological clock is ticking.”

“May,” I put my hand on hers, “do you love this man?”

She withdraws her hand in quick anger. “What type of nonsense question is that?”

“Exactly,” Peace mutters.

“I’m sorry. Let me rephrase. Do you love him as much as he loves you?”

Mary’s angry bearing disappears. “I love Kene but you know me…I can’t express it the way he does. Apart from that, I’m still growing into loving him.”

“No, you’re guarding your heart, May. And you have to stop it. Your days of spinsterhood where men hurt you are over. You don’t own your emotions alone now. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’ll advise that you give Kene the key to your heart, please.”

“That’s scary. And I don’t think it’s okay for me to do that just because I’m married to him. He will hurt me. I have seen it happen to all of you. P, look what Reno did to you. And you too, Celia. Men do these things. They hurt us. I have to stay guarded.”

“Mary…”

“Kene and I had an agreement. We are to play our roles as husband and wife. But he’s turning the script by demanding too much from me. I just can’t let down my guard like that.”

Honey and I sigh at the same time without meaning to. Mary has always been this tough with men. Jide was the only man she loved wholeheartedly and then he went and broke her heart. In addition, what Reno did to her left her with deep trust issues. Our dear Ekene has his work cut out for him. But I think we can lessen his load a little.

We advise her on ways she can let her guard down and allow Ekene in. We teach her how to express her love through numerous means without losing herself.

“You’re sure it’ll work?”

I nod.

Honey raises a finger. “And please, make love, not babies. Then watch the babies drop in unannounced. That’s how more than half of the world gets pregnant, my dear. So, get with the script. If you do it right, Kene won’t have time for condoms. Imagine you hearing his car driving in at night and you rush out to meet him and take him right there, while the engine is still running. Will he have time for a condom?”

“Abi o!” I exclaim.

“Hmmm…” Mary gives our words some thought as she rests her chin on her cupped palm.

“And remember this…” Peace takes the last sip of her juice. “You don’t have a great marriage. You make a great marriage. You fight the odds to make it work.”

I nod in hundred percent agreement. Told you my darling Peace is all grown.

“Well, I feel better now,” Mary comments. “Tonight, I’ll swing into action.”

Loud laughter takes all of us. I stand up to have a second serving of my meal. When I return, Peace asks about Naomi. I set my meal on my lap quietly. I don’t want to talk about it but when I’m with the girls, there’s really nothing I can keep a secret. So, I take my seat and let out everything.

“What sort of monster is he?” Honey is most appalled. “So because she won’t get pregnant for him he decides to destroy her womb?”

“How did they even meet in the first place?” Mary asks. “Most times, the foundation of a relationship can tell you a lot about why that relationship is the way it is.”

“Well, they’re both from rich families but Charles’ family is richer and Naomi’s family basically sold her to him. He is almost nine years older than she is.”

“Thought as much,” Mary comments.

“They never loved each other but Nay wanted it to work in the beginning. Charles wasn’t just there. He would go away for long periods and when he returns he looks for reasons to abuse her.”

“That’s sad.”

“Would you believe it if I told you that they have been married for six years and have had sex only twelve times.”

“What?!” Honey yells. “Twice every year or what?”

“I don’t know but that’s what she told me. And twelve times, it was terrible. He would give her everything – his money, cars, access to his bank accounts but not himself.”

Mary frowns. “Is he gay?”

“No. He has a mistress.”

“So why can’t he love his wife?”

“Naomi is beautiful, educated and from a wealthy family. She also runs his business well. She is the perfect wife and he can’t do without her. She knows this, and that is why she has refused to get pregnant for him.”

“And why she chose to be a lesbian?”

“She said she found love in the arms of her aerobics instructor four years ago and hasn’t looked at any man after that. Asides that, the abuse makes her hate men.”

“I’m happy for her,” Honey says snidely. “She should just carry her lips away from yours. And I think it’s time you too should leave her and her marital problems alone as her husband warned.”

“Honey, he has involved me and I will give him what he’s looking for.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning, I want to know what he means by that his threat. The fool must be mad to send me that type of text. And that nonsense he did to Nay, he will pay for it.”

My friends are shocked at my stance on the issue.

“Cee, this is just a harmless question o,” Peace utters quietly. “Don’t be annoyed that I’m asking but are you in love with Naomi?”

“So I have to be in love with her before I help her out of an abusive situation abi? You girls think that if it happened to any of you I would just walk away?”

“No. I was merely asking…”

“Naomi is my friend. I have grown to like her and I will not sit down and let anyone touch her again.”

“But Celia,” Honey faces me, “what if you know only half of the story? What if there’s more to this?”

“Honey, I will not sit and let a friend get hurt.”

“But when did you even meet her that you now call her your friend? It’s not the same type of friendship we have.”

“You and Genesis nko? If her husband abuses her, will you sit down and watch it happen?”

“You’re not getting me, Cee. The basis of this your friendship is not on leveled grounds. Your feelings are genuine but Naomi wants to have something deeper…”

“She is an abused woman! She only fell in love with me because she was looking for an escape!”

“I know…”

“Please, let’s leave this talk. I’m getting annoyed here.”

I see Mary pass Honey a look.

“Fine. I’ll let it be,” Honey tells me in a resigned tone. “Just be careful.”

“I’ll be.”

No one says a word for a while. I feel somehow about the way I just spoke to Honey. To lighten the mood, I leave my seat and hug her, kissing her cheek.

“Seems like your Naomi has infected you with a kissing bug, Cee. Step away. I like dick too much.”

I don’t step away. I hug her again. I can’t help it. She smells like a baby. I think I might be having baby blues.

Just then my phone rings. I’m surprised to see that it’s Naomi calling. I leave the girls to take the call.

“Nay?”

“Cece?”

I smile. I am genuinely happy to hear her voice.

“Nay, how are you?”

“I’m good. You?”

“Great.”

“Gosh! I miss you, sweetie,” the lesbian in her says. I ignore the emotions I hear in her tone as I walk into Mary’s all-marble kitchen. I find a chair and lower myself on it.

“How are you feeling, Nay?”

“A lot better. I am so sorry about the way things went these past days. Whenever Charles gets into his monster mode, my world turns upside-down.”

“Charles did not get into his monster mode, Nay. Charles is a monster, and you have to get out of that marriage before he kills you.”

“He’s not going to kill me, Cece…”

“He almost killed you. Where is he right now?”

“He went to his girlfriend’s place. I don’t think he’s coming back until tomorrow. He forgot to take my phone along. He confiscated it and that’s why I haven’t been able to call you.”

“Did you know that he texted me last night?”

“I was with him when he did it. He questioned me about you. Apparently, he found out about our trip to Fiji. He’s convinced something is going on between us. I told him that we were just friends and that I offered you the job to be my PA and personal consultant but he doesn’t believe me. He doesn’t want me to see you again.”

“He has no right to tell you who you shouldn’t see. You’re a person of your own, Nay. You don’t have to take shit from him.”

“He’ll calm down, Cece. He’s just angry because he found out that I had been lying to him about not being able to get pregnant. All he wants is a baby. Once I get pregnant, he’ll get off my ass.”

I am speechless. My friend really needs help. She has no idea how oppressed she sounds right now.

“Nay, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to get pregnant for that man. Don’t even think about it. All that should be on your mind at this moment is how you will divorce him.”

“But I can’t.”

“Why not?” I almost cry.

“My money is tied to his. Both of us built our company from scratch but he put in more money than me. If I walk away, I’ll lose a lot.”

“But your life will be safe. You’ll be free. Don’t you want to be your own woman, date whoever you want to date, do whatever you want to do?”

“Celia, you don’t understand.”

I stare at a clock on the wall facing me. It’s just a few minutes past six. “Nay, I’m coming over so we can talk better.”

“Okay.”

I hang up and hurry back to the living room.

“I want to dash somewhere and come back real quick.”

“Where are you going?” Mary questions.

“It’s not far from here.”

Honey stares at her watch. “Let me kuku follow you and find my way to the family house. We have a meeting.”

Peace shakes her head. “The Onuoras and their meetings.”

Honey stands and takes Jiney in her arms.

“She’s so adorable,” Mary comments, kissing the child’s forehead.

“Don’t worry, you’ll soon have yours,” Honey tells her. “Thanks for the sweet rice.”

“Don’t mention.”

I impatiently wait for Honey by the door as she hugs Mary and Peace.

“Cee, you can go home from there,” Peace says to me.

“Sure?”

“Yeah. I’ll find my way. Don’t worry about me.”

I rush back and hug my friends and dash out with Honey.

∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞

I park outside Naomi’s compound and walk to the gate. The gateman lets me in after informing me that Naomi is expecting me. I take a long walk to the main house and I am let in by the maid. I see Naomi walking towards me just as I step in.

“You can leave,” she tells the maid as she spreads out her arms to hug me. I notice, just before our bodies touch, that she has lost so much weight.

She hugs me and clings to me like I am a long lost lover.

“You have no idea how I’ve missed you, Cece.”

I want to tell her I’ve missed her too but I don’t want to give her the wrong impression.

“How are you?” She breaks the hug but caresses my cheek. If she is Shady and we are in this position, we would be kissing now. The awkwardness makes me pull away. She takes my hand.

“Come this way.”

She leads me to her main living room. This is quite different from the one I was taken to the first time I was here. It is more spacious and carries that look that marks living rooms of people who collect expensive art and décor items from all over the world. Everything in it is either gold-plated or nearly so. If one sells the room and the items in it, the money made would be enough to rent another house for years. It’s a shame that Naomi has all of this and can go anywhere she wants to in the world at a whim and yet she has no freedom.

“Let me get you something to drink.” She walks through another door, leaving it slightly open, and I see that it’s the room I was led to the first time I was here. The place is cozier and has a modern feel to it.

Naomi soon returns with two glasses of God-knows-what. It’s amazing how her skin heals. I had expected to see her still marked by bruises but nothing on her shows that she has faced any type of violence, except for a fresh scar on her chin.

“It’ll go,” she tells me as she notices me staring at it. “I heal nicely.”

“I noticed.”

“Here.”

I take what she offers, smell it and decide I don’t want it.

“You don’t like it?”

I shake my head. She downs it at a go, clutches her glass and sits beside me.

“I really missed you.”

“Cut it, Naomi. That’s not why I’m here.”

“I know.” She lifts a leg up on the sofa and leans towards me.

“Nay, you have to get out of this marriage fast. And while you’re planning to do so, don’t make the mistake of getting pregnant.”

“Cece, I understand why you want me to do this. I really do but it’s not so easy to get up and just leave…”

“You can.”

“I can’t.”

“Are you waiting till you’re six feet under?”

“God forbid.”

“God has nothing to do with it, Naomi. He will not force you out of here. Only you can do it.”

“Charles is…” She clasps her fingers around her glass of liquor. “He’s not always like this. It comes and goes. Sometimes he hits me just twice a year and it’s always my fault. Maybe I was disrespectful to him at work or he gives me instructions and I ignore them or I am rude to his mom… He’s generally nice. You understand it, don’t you? It’s like what happened to you with your husband. He’s a nice man but you pushed him to the wall and he reacted. We women are like that and men, they don’t know how to hold themselves.”

I rub my eyes in utter frustration. I can’t believe this side of Naomi. I’ve always seen her as a strong, independent, successful woman. Who is this person with me?

I am about to respond to her when she suddenly springs up, runs to the nearest window and peeps out.

“Shit! He’s back!”

“Who is back?”

“Charles! He’s back! He’s not supposed to come back this night. Cece, you have to go. Get up.” She stretches her arm to me as she returns to the sofa.

“I’m not going anywhere…”

“Celia, please! He’ll kill me if he sees you here. Please!”

I stand up. “I’ll stay right here. I’m not going to run out like a rat hiding from a cat. I’m not afraid of him. And I think it’s time someone faced him. I want to see if he’s man enough when his shit is thrown back at his face.”

“Celia, please.” She clutches her dress, eyes darting to the entrance. “Please, don’t do this to me.”

Unfortunately, my ears are blocked. I am enraged and have gone into that mode that Shady says only God and peppered chicken can get me out of.

“Celia!”

Too late. The door opens and soon we hear Charles’ footsteps. I brace myself for what is to come, and it comes at us as I expect it would. Tall, huge and quite ugly. A beast in human skin. It looks at its wife and back at me with four o’clock eyes. Even I will abort any offspring it deposits in me. Charles Ogbeiwi is an appalling man.

“Hi darling,” Naomi greets as she sweeps towards him. I note that he doesn’t respond.

“You have a visitor,” he says after she hugs him. He gives me the look that demands that I acknowledge his presence. I don’t.

“Yes, this is my friend…”

“Celia,” I say defiantly.

“Celia,” he repeats. And then laughs. I smile, lifting just one corner of my lips to spell out a smirk. I wait for him to say something about the text he sent to me but he doesn’t. Rather he speaks into Naomi’s ear and they both walk to the other room.

Things are silent for a while and even when I pick out their voices, they’re very low. Something tells me to leave but I don’t listen, not with the way my heart is pounding. I want to see how this ends. The problem with us barrack kids is that we love trouble. I remember Joey taking me around Kaduna town in his small Volkswagen beetle in those days, just looking for who would cross our path. We both enjoyed the thrill of seeing stupid bastards get beat. It is the same way I feel right now.

I hear a sound and I pay close attention to the door leading to the next room. It is left open but I can see only Naomi. She is speaking, shaking her head, gesticulating in a defensive manner. As I try to make out what is happening, I see her head fling to the side as if she has just been slapped. It happens so fast that I am not sure I witnessed it. I hold my breath to see what will happen next. Several seconds go by and when I begin to conclude that I imagined what I saw, it happens again. And this time, I actually see the hand that hits her. I can’t believe my eyes.

But he does it yet again and she moves backwards, begging, whimpering.

“Didn’t I say I didn’t want to see her near you?!” The monster emerges in a bawl as his hand strikes one more time. It’s more forceful than the rest and it sends Naomi to her knees. I am in utter shock that he would do this in my presence. My feet itch to move and the boiling rage in me longs to rush towards her but curiosity keeps me back. I want to witness this. I want to know what my friend goes through. I need a story, a reason to react.

I watch as she lifts her hands to shield her face when he towers over her. She is crying and begging but he doesn’t listen. He throws yet another fist and she falls flat to the floor. My feet move fast and I rush into the room.

“What type of devil are you?!” I scream as I jump in-between them. He advances towards me. I face him squarely. “You’ll hit me too?! Please, go ahead and make my evening!”

He looks down on me in condescension but at the same time I can see that he is taken aback by my brazenness. It fuels my trouble.

“Hit me, coward! Or I’ll give you reason to.”

“Celia, no.” Naomi stands and puts her arms around me from behind.

“You’re a small man!”

The veins on his neck bulge out as his breathing reaches a crescendo. I expect him to burst anytime soon but he remains there, a man whose ego has been deflated by a woman. I wait, still, for him to do his worst. Instead he points at the door.

“Get out of my house!” Spittle hits my face as he growls.

“Let’s go, Nay.” I can feel her holding tightly to me.

“Naomi, if you step out of this room, never come back here! I’ll divorce you and leave you with nothing!”

“Fuck you and your threats! She’ll see you in court–!”

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

I make to move towards the door with Naomi but he grabs my shoulder with his paw, grabs Naomi’s hand with the other and tears us apart. When he lets go of me, the force of his strength flings me to a bookshelf. A vase resting on it shaken by the impact, leaves its position and crashes down on my head.

Perfect! This is what I have been aiming for. All I need is just a scratch and Joey will have his boys burn this house down.

“Jesus! Celia!”

Naomi tries to come for me but Charles stops her by pushing her behind him. He then comes for me, hooks those ugly hands on my upper arms and drags me out of the house. I know I should stay calm but I struggle and make it difficult for him. I want his fingers to leave marks on my body. I want to stir my brother’s bloodlust. Charles must pay for everything he has done to Naomi through the years. He must bleed for every drop of blood of hers that stained my clothes that night when she passed out in my arms.

As he takes me towards the gate of the house, I hear Naomi calling and crying. The sound of her voice breaks my heart. I fear for what he would do to her when I’m gone. I pray she stays strong. I hope I have not made things worse for her.

©Sally@Moskedapages

Images: Black EroticaPinterest

 

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #14

Missed previous episodes of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday? Catch up herezach-and-zoe

“I don’t want to do this,” Genesis says out loud. She is talking to no one, although she is in the company of Zach and Zoe whom she has just dressed up for an outing. Her expression of frustration gets their attention and they both fix their stares on her.

“You guys want to go see grandma?”

Zoe gurgles.

“You do?”

The gurgle turns into a smile. Genesis sighs, regretting her decision to have the twins visit Mamisi. But the woman had begged to the point of embarrassment and left Genesis with no choice. Now, she wishes she can take back her consent.

“Ma, I’m ready.” Iya Idaya emerges from Genesis’ closet where she went to keep a few clothes. She is set to take the twins to Mamisi’s. She would stay there with them before bringing them back home by six.

“Please, always have your eyes on them.”

“Yes, ma.”

Iya Idaya lifts Zach from the bed. Genesis takes Zoe and together they leave the bedroom. The sound of Dominic’s robust laughter rings through the house as they walk down the stairs. He has a few friends over. Having just had lunch, they are now seated in the living room, drinking over hearty conversation.

“I want you back here with them at 6pm sharp, Iya Idaya. Not later.”

“Yes, ma.”

Genesis and Iya Idaya step outside to a waiting car. They strap the twins in their seats at the back and after giving them each a kiss, Genesis stands and watches as the car drives out of the compound. She goes back into the house only when the gate slides back into place.

Loud laughter from Dominic and his friends greet her when she walks in. She takes a peek to see how things are going, having no desire to join them. But Seyi who is among the group, calls her in. The conversation stops as she enters the room. Seyi makes space for her to sit beside him and as soon as she does, the banter continues.

“I think I’ve fallen in love,” Seyi reveals to her in a low tone.

“Fallen in love? That’s new.”

Seyi leaves the sofa and goes for a glass of wine for her.

“And who is the lucky girl?” Genesis takes the glass offered.

“Someone I’d like to meet today.” Seyi sits and crosses his legs, straightening creases on the navy blue kaftan he’s wearing. A pair of lace-up leather boots completes the attire which Genesis approves of. She has always argued with herself over whom she feels is more stylish between Seyi and Dominic. Although Seyi’s fashion sense is more expressive, it lacks the attention to detail Dominic has. But both men always impress with their looks, pampering themselves with the same attention they give their women. Not that Seyi has had a woman in a while. His last relationship with a much younger girl ended quite dramatically after a pregnancy scare. Since then he has stayed off females completely, concentrating on work as much as Dominic does.

“Remember your friend on Friday night at the party?” He straightens out his moustache.

“What friend?” Genesis asks.

“The fair one who was in the company of her husband, whom you called Sugar or something like that.”

“Honey?”

“Yes, that one. Honey.”

“You’re in love with Honey?”

“No. But maybe if I had met her before her husband did, yeah, probably I’d have fallen for her. She’s got it. And that dress she wore…” Seyi gives a thumbs up.

“You even noticed her dress.”

“I’m sorry, my eyes pick out and appreciate sophistication by default… which reminds me to compliment the way you looked on that night. You killed it as usual.”

Genesis fights off a grin but her dimple betrays her. And for some reason, Dominic’s eye falls on her from across the room, adding to her blush.

“Thank you,” she says to Seyi.

“So, back to my crush.”

“Your crush…”

“She came with your friend.”

“Okay?” Genesis tries to recall the events on Friday night. So much had happened that she gave little attention to the people around her. She can hardly remember all that transpired that night.

“She was wearing a teal dress that had stones on it.”

“Oh! Hauwa!”

Genesis had spent the entire Friday with Honey glamming up for what she thought was a charity ball. On their way to the party, Honey had made a quick stop at the junction of their street and picked Hauwa whose dress left a mark on Genesis.

“I loved that dress she had on,” Seyi comments.

“Me too.”

“So her name is Hauwa?”

“Yeah.”

“She’s a Muslim?”

“I don’t know anything about her, Seyi. She’s Honey’s friend.”

“Is there a way I can see her today?”

“Today?”

Seyi leans in closer. “I thought about her all night on Friday, and the most of yesterday. So, yeah…I think maybe it’s something deep I feel. I need to see her to be certain.”

“I hope you’re not planning to just sleep with her, Shay. She seems to me like a responsible type.”

“I just want to see her before I travel back for business.”

“I think that can be arranged. Give me a minute.”

Genesis leaves the living room and returns some minutes later, talking to someone on her phone. When she sits, she concludes with the call.

“Honey will have us over for dinner tonight,” she informs Seyi.

“I hope we won’t be intruding?”

“She insists. I was going to have us do the ‘we’re in the neighborhood and so we decided to drop by’ type of visit while she had Hauwa over but she insists on dinner. She’s happy to entertain us for the night.”

“Okay. With Nick?”

Genesis glances at her husband. “Your friend is very anti-social. What’s the deal with that?”

“Self-importance, maybe?”

Genesis bursts out laughing. Dominic stares at them with a frown.

“You know he’s an arrogant prick.”

“Hey, he’s not. And to prove to you that he isn’t, we’ll take him along.” Genesis adjusts her sitting to a more comfortable pose. “So tell me what you like about Hauwa?”

“I have no idea, Gen. You guys walked in together and trust me, you were smashing and your friend…”

“Honey.”

“Honey was gorgeous as well, but Hauwa…” He shakes his head. “She got me like damn!”

“You think she could be the one?”

“The one?” He chuckles. “Take it easy. I don’t even know her. She could have a man on the side.”

“Whatever she has, please, Shay, no hit and run with her.”

He taps his chest. “Scout’s honor.”

∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞

I had planned to have a quiet Sunday. Just stay in bed and sleep until I hit the gym in the evening. But family drama will not let me be. First it’s Mex and Yazmin. After ignoring her for a whole week, Mex stomps into my house, barges into Yazmin’s bedroom and demands that she returns home or the marriage is over.

I have never been a fan of Yazmin but I just can’t stand and watch a woman being treated like shit, so I step in and order my brother out of my house. He is tipsy, of course. I don’t give a shit. Instead, I call Oba over and ask him to drive him to Kalu’s. After they are gone, I have a moment with Yazmin which basically ends in me being a shoulder she weeps on for a whole hour. She tells me she desperately wants to leave but is torn not because of the pregnancy but because she still loves Emeka. Even more now, with all their issues. She explains how they fall deeper into each other after every fight.

Crazy. But then the whole love triangle is.

Before I let her be, I notice that she is running a temperature. I get my thermometer and stethoscope. I check her vitals. Things don’t look good.

“Have you started attending antenatal?”

She shakes her head and breaks down again. “I don’t want this baby!”

Good Lord. What am I to do with this mess? Where is Honey when I need her?

“I want to have an abortion.”

I sigh and balance my butt properly on her bed. This is going to take long.

She explains to me her reasons, which are quite logical. Emeka doesn’t want the baby, they never planned for it and she feels guilty over the whole thing. She feels getting rid of it will give her some peace of mind and heal her marriage.

I let her speak until she falls silent. Only then do I make her see reasons in keeping the pregnancy. Unlike many of my colleagues, I am pro-choice and strongly believe that a woman should be allowed to make her own decisions as pertaining to her body. But I’m never going to go outright and tell anyone that comes to me for advise to terminate a living, breathing fetus.

“We will take care of your baby, Yazmin. You have brothers and sisters and parents who will be here for you even if Mex isn’t. We will never break your heart. You are family and so is that baby you’re carrying. So, please, think about it before you make your decision. Okay?”

She nods with a smile so faint. I smile back. I think I have taken to her finally.

I get off the bed and walk to the door. She stops me.

“I want to keep the baby.” She sniffles. I look at her. “Yeah, I want to. I didn’t plan for it but I think it’s innocent and shouldn’t have to die because Mex and I were careless. Yeah, I want to keep it. But will you be my midwife? Please? Because if you’re not, I don’t think I can stay strong.”

I mull over it for some seconds.

“I need to check you. I don’t feel comfortable with that fever you have. Is it okay if I have a quick look?”

“Sure.”

I go to my room and return with a few items. I take Yazmin’s vital signs again and calculate her due date. I find that she is already thirteen weeks pregnant. I question her about her gynecological and reproductive history as well as any medical conditions in her family that I need to know of. After that, I examine her for gum disease which can be an indicative factor for preterm labor. Done with that, I check her breasts, abdomen, and listen to her heart once more. Finally, I do a thorough but delicate pelvic exam. This is one of the reasons the gynecologists at the hospital where I work don’t really like me. I have been accused of trying to take over their jobs. But that’s far from it. I am just thorough with my methods, having trained specifically as a gynecological nurse before moving on to midwifery. This is all part of my process. The doctors usually run the first tests and once the pregnancy clocks twelve weeks, I take over, but sometimes, I am stubborn and break the rules with patients who have little trust in their doctors.

“Tomorrow, I’ll take you to the hospital to have some tests run.”

“Are they going to do another pelvic exam?”

“Yes. I’ll refer you to an OBGYN who will run further tests.”

“I always freak out with pelvic exams but you were gentle and I hardly felt a thing.”

I hold my tongue. I am not to say thank you to that. I have just literally shoved my fingers into her vagina. I doubt that Emeka will find it funny.

“I’ll be there with you,” I promise. She seems relieved.

“I’ll get you something for the fever and a full bottle of water. Please stay hydrated, draw the shades close, turn off your phone, use earplugs and go straight to sleep. Didi will watch Tobe.”

“Thanks.”

I stroll out and find my wife’s beautiful face smiling at me as she steps out of the kitchen. She has just returned from the market where she went to get foodstuff for tonight’s dinner with the Ditorusins.

“Is Yaz okay?” she questions.

“She’s fine. Nothing a little rest and Tylenol won’t fix. How are you?”

“I’m good.”

The scent of her perfume is like a pheromone and I follow it until my lips are tasting the sweetness of her mouth.

“Can I help out with something?”

“No, I got it all covered, hotstuff. Just sit down and put your ear out for Jiney when she wakes up.”

I’m not in the mood for Jiney or anything else. Having just had a taste of Honey’s lips, I want the rest of her. However, I take a couch in the living room and visit my blog to do some technical work in the backend. Barry makes it hard for me to concentrate. Chewing my jeans and yapping for no reason is his idea of male bonding. I ignore him and when he gets tired, he sits quietly beside me. By now I’m done with my blog and I’m trying everything I can to get laid but nothing is working. Not even when I use Barry whom Honey now considers the cutest thing asides Jiney. Amused at my antics, she takes a picture of both of us and quickly uploads it on Instagram, tagging me.

724715-1She captions it: all shades of cuteness. Is your hubs as hot as mine?

I tap on the little heart icon to like the picture, agreeing with her about my cuteness. I seem to have gotten sexier as a married man. I tell her that and give her kudos, all in a bid to get tail but Honey is not falling for my sweet mouth.

“Later in the night when I’m tired, you’ll be molesting me anyhow,” I tell her as I follow her into the kitchen.

“I’ll touch you anyhow I want, hotstuff,” she responds, stroking my junk as her other hand stirs something in a pot on fire. I drag her away and pin her to the wall for a steamy kiss but my phone lodging in my back pocket starts to ring. Honey pulls it out and hands it to me.

“Nne,” she utters.

I answer the old woman’s call.

Nne’m oma, how are you, darling?”

“Tired,” my mother answers. “Please come and speak sense to your younger brother before I pour pepper in his eyes.”

“Nne, I have washed my hands off Emeka…”

“Which Emeka? I’m talking about Obasi.”

“Oba is at home? I sent him to Kalu’s a short while ago.”

“He’s here with me. He just got in and it seems he has lost his mind with the nonsense he’s telling me. I will soon slap him and pour that pepper in his eyes.”

She then goes off in Igbo in one long ass lamentation.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.” I groan silently as she rings off. Honey gives me a comforting peck. To show appreciation, I squeeze her boob and correctly aim for the nipple. She shrieks, pulls back and smacks me. Barry, who has been watching us, begins to bark at me. The beast is quite protective of her.

“Shattap.” I playfully kick it and it goes for my Nike slipper. We struggle for a while before I fling it off and hurry out of the house.

A sunny sky meets me outside. No, scratch that. Burning hell meets me outside. My car offers little comfort. The AC is bad. I let down the windows and hit the streets.

I yawn. I am tired, hungry and horny. The last thing on my mind is Oba and Nne’s drama. I pray it doesn’t take my time.

I arrive at the family house and from the gate I hear Nne’s raised voice. When I get in, I expect to see Oba in the same state but I find him seated on a couch in the living room, thumbing over his phone screen.

“What’s going on?”

“Ask her,” he replies. I look at my mother and I don’t need to be told that she has gotten into her bitch mode. This happens once a year. Woe betides the person that is responsible for bringing out this side of her. What is her grouse this year? Oba wants to leave the house and move in with a colleague. That is all! Nothing else. To her, Oba is still her little baby boy and going to live on his own means he has joined bad gang. The old woman is not having it. And yes, she has fresh pepper, pounded and waiting to pour into his eyes.

I put my arms around her and lead her to the kitchen where I sit her down, placate her and explain to her that Oba is now a grown man and should be allowed to do as he pleases.

“Nne, one day he will get married and leave you and your husband. Will you follow him and his wife to his house?”

At this, she keeps quiet.

“He is an adult now, mom. Please, it’s time you let him be.”

“Abeg, help me tell her.” Oba is standing by the door, hands in his pockets. “She doesn’t want me to go, yet she won’t let me have any girl over.”

“So that you will be romancing them in my parlor, in broad daylight!”

“Will you let me carry them to my room?”

“You see it? You hear your brother, Jideofor? All he wants to do is fornicate, and that is why he will not leave my sight! I can’t have a useless son, going around with a wayward penis!”

“Jide did it and nobody said anything.”

I turn to him. “Hey!”

“Jide did it and that’s why you too you want to do it, okwa ya? I will not only rub pepper in your eyes! I will hold that your thing and bathe it with the pepper! Open that your nonsense mouth again and see what will happen to you!”

“Mommy, free me nau! Let me go! It’s just out of respect that I’m still here o! You know I can walk out and there’s nothing anybody will do to me!”

I see hurt in my mother’s eyes. I gesture to Oba to leave. He goes away, grumbling. I take her hands in mine.

“Nne, you know you’re fighting against the wind. You know that, right?”

Tears fill her eyes.

“This is not a crying matter nau.”

“No. You don’t understand. It’s your father’s late mistress that is responsible for all of this!”

“How did she enter this talk now?”

“The only reason I am holding on to Obasi is because of that her useless daughter.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I suspect something is going on between two of them.”

“Oba and Ndidi?”

“Yes. I don’t want to ask him because it will be like I’m accusing him. I have not seen anything directly that connects them but I sense it, Jideofor. I sense it. And I don’t want that girl in our lives in any way. She has the same strange, evil spirit her mother had. She will ruin my baby. Please, help me talk to him. If he can stay away from her, then I’m fine with him living anywhere he desires to but as it stands, I want him under my nose all the time before she will destroy him. Please, talk to him.”

Wow. What a lot to take in. Oba and Didi? It’s unlikely. Nne must be imagining things. Nonetheless, I assure her that I’ll have a word with him.

“Let’s go for drinks,” I tell him as I come out to the living room. He picks his phone and follows me out. I allow him drive my car. I sit back and turn the radio on.

“So, what’s going on between you and Didi?”

Oba looks at me for some seconds and then throws his head back in laughter.

“Nne suspects there’s something between us?”

“Mm-hm.”

“Ignore her jare. There’s nothing going on between me and Didi.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah.”

And so I rest the matter. We stop at a sports bar, play a game of pool over drinks and after two bottles, Oba begins to sing a different tune.

“I have a crush on Didi,” he confesses. “Basically she’s been using me as her driver since she came to Lagos. And hey, I’m not complaining. She’s hot. I’m her baby brother, so it’s all good. We get to hang out a lot…”

“And you drop her for dates with other guys and spend money on her, abi?”

He gives an uneasy laugh. “I really, really like her, Jide, but it’s not just the brother and sister issue. I mean, I could just tell her that we’re not related.”

“And watch yourself burn in popsi’s hell.”

“I can handle that. But here’s my issue with Didi – and I’m not supposed to tell anyone this. Can you keep it to yourself?”

“Talk already.”

He breathes out loudly. Whatever he is about to say is difficult to let out.

“Didi is auctioning her virginity online to the highest bidder.”

I put my beer bottle aside.

“The URL of the website is sellyourvirginity.org and Didi is registered there.”

I quickly pick my phone up and type in the site’s URL in my Google Chrome.

“You can’t find her there. It’s a very private site that protects its members. It’s run by Bunny Ranch in the US.”

“And what’s that?”

“A brothel. Once Didi’s auction ends, they’ll fly her to the ranch to meet her bidder and basically, she’ll be stuck there as a ho’.”

My tummy churns. “Oba, are you sure of all you just told me?”

He nods.

“Can you please help her before she fucks her life up?”

I am dumbfounded. Unable to say anything, I down my beer as I ignore my ringing phone. Honey is calling. I guess the Ditorusins have arrived. I call one of the bar girls to come over with our bill. As I wait for her, I take a good look at my brother’s face and feel sorry for him. Dude is really in love.

“Not Ndidi,” I tell him as I rest a hand on his shoulder. “Find someone else, Oba. Not her. She’ll break your heart.”

©Sally@moskedapages

Images: www.pinterest.com, dariuswilliams

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #3

Hi guys,

I want to say something… I have failed you guys…

By not answering comments as I should…

I feel bad over this…

I am very sorry….

I’ll start doing things right from today.

Thank you.

And for today’s episode…

Kasiobi’s mouth has just gone dry. His hands holding his phone are both unable to move. Lexus’ last message has somehow become the only thing on his phone screen.

-Yours, Kas. She’s your baby.

His mouth gets drier.

“Kas, what’s going on?” Kira questions but her voice seems to him like it’s coming from outer space. He has no idea what she just said. Everything else apart from the message ceases to be relevant.

“Kas?”

He feels a little pain on his arm and comes to.

“Talk to me or I’ll pinch you again,” Kira threatens.

“Excuse me, abeg.”

He pushes her away and gets off the bed. He makes his way out of his bedroom to his studio, a lot of questions driving him there in haste. When he gets in, he slips into the dark voicing booth and sits on the bare floor. Saliva returns to his mouth in a rush as he gathers his wits from the breaking news.

He sends Lexus a reply.

-You were pregnant?

Her answer to his question comes back immediately.

-It was why we broke up, Kas. I’m so sorry

-So sorry?

Anger starts to grow in him.

-Please let me explain

And so she gives him details. She tells him the baby’s name is Trinity, amongst other things. At the end of her tale, Kasiobi draws in a long breath and lets it out to shake off his nerves. He is not taking the story in well. He believes he is being pranked.

-Stop playing with me, Lex. Just come clean

The message is delivered and he waits for her reply, but what he gets is a video – a close-up shot of the baby’s face, her mouth latched to a nipple as she is being breastfed. Kasiobi can hear Lexus’ voice in the background, telling the baby how angelic she is and how her daddy is going to be head over heels in love with her.

Another message from Lexus drops.

-Convinced now? I have more of these. Wanna see?

-Yeah

She sends four pictures of her breasts taken at different angles; none of them has her nursing Trinity. All the same, Kasiobi notices the breasts are fuller but he is irate by her pranks.

-Are you alright?

-Lol!

She sends videos of Trinity. Two of them. And by the time he is through watching them, all his doubts are cleared. Replacing the shock is a new feeling of fondness for Trinity and respect for Lexus.

-When are you telling your dad?

-Tomorrow morning but I’m freaking out Kas. He’ll lose it. Remember how he warned us before we traveled not to get pregnant

-Yeah but there’s nothing anyone can do now. We just have to tell him

-We? He’ll kill you Kas. Don’t come near my house for the next week abeg. I love you too much to watch Dominic fuck you up

-You love me? TF is that?

whatsapp

 

 

-Bitch, don’t play me. You got preggers, dumped my ass, went to stay with a white boy, had a whole baby without telling me and you’re here talking shit about love. TF is wrong with you

-Nigga it’s not that deep whatsapp2

-It’s not that deep? You had a whole baby, Lex. You, of all people! You breastfed and shit and didn’t tell me and you’re here talking crap about it not being that deep? You high or something
whatsapp3

 

 

-You need serious ass whooping

-On which ass? This one?

novocaine

-Stop playing. When am I going to see Trinity? By the way, I don’t think she’s mine

-Then do a DNA oga. I’m not even gon get into any crazy drama with you, Kasbi. She’s your kid.

Kasiobi takes a short break from the chat, letting it all sink in. His emotions come to him in a mix. He’s uncertain of what to feel.

-Tell me more about Trinity

-You can call her Trini, Kas. Trinity is too long

-But you named her that

Blame the nurse who enters my room with this huge ass crucifix hanging off her neck and tells me that they need a name on the baby’s birth certificate. I ask her why she can’t just use Baby Ditorusin. She says she just can’t. I have to give her a name. So I’m staring into the air and my eyes catch her crucifix and I think of the holy trinity and I tell her that I’m calling my baby Trinity

-Are you ok???

-It will make daddy happy and it’s a good name. Hopefully she doesn’t get the generational curse of getting preg outside marriage because God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit are with her

-Smh. Just tell me about her

-Let’s meet and talk

-Where?

-Just come and pick me

An hour later they are both watching the waves of the Atlantic lap at the shore of a quiet beach they both call Fuck Zone. The place is famous for car sex. People drive there simply to have sex in their cars. Some, with the windows up while some enjoy the thrill of being watched. No one bugs anyone. Not even robbers drop by. Once you pay the touts manning the area a fee of five hundred bucks, you’re allowed through to do as you wish.

Thus Kasiobi and Lexus sit in Kasiobi’s Renegade, feet hanging out as Lexus smokes a joint. Her first since she left Nigeria. She had made a promise to Dominic not to touch the substance while in the States. Now she is back home and on her favorite high. Kasiobi, on the other hand, is nursing a bottle of Hennessey mixed with a coke. They are listening to Bryson Tiller on the SUV’s speakers. Kasiobi is anxious to get more information about Trinity but he waits until Lexus is done smoking.

She steps down from the car and stands before him like she is about to render a performance of some sort. He figures she is high.

She begins: “On why I broke up with you…”

Kasiobi raises his hand to stop her. “That’s not why I’m here.”

“Please, Kas. Let me explain.”

“What’s there to explain? You woke up one day and decided we were done and then you moved on to Russell or whatever his white ass name is.”

“That’s your own version. Don’t you wanna hear mine?”

“No, Lex. I came here to hear about the baby.”

“Fine. Trinity is yours…”

“You already said that,” Kasiobi replies gruffly, lifting the Hennessy bottle to his mouth.

“But she’s not mine.”

Kasiobi’s hand freezes.

“She’s Chichi’s.”

Kasiobi lets the bottle down in slow motion. He turns down the volume of the music.

“What kind of nonsense play is that, Tonbra? Which Chichi?”

“Which other Chichi do you know?”

“So the baby is not yours?”

She laughs – long and annoyingly.

“Me, a mom? Are you out of your freaking mind? I’m not having kids! Ever! Who wants that type of yeye responsibility?”

“So all the shit you were telling me on Whatsapp…”

“Just pulling your legs, Kas.”

“But your boobs are bigger.”

“Somebody cannot even add weight again?”

“I hate you. I really hate you.”

She blows him a kiss.

“Someone needs to choke you almost to death.”

She crosses her arms. “So, apparently, when you left New York at the start of summer last year, you came back here and started piping Chichi?”

“So? She was my ex. I was heartbroken. She was there for me. We had sex but I am not the father of that child.”

“Kas, Trinity is yours. She has your ears and pink lips.”

“All babies have pink lips!”

“Calm down.”

“Where did you even see Chichi? She’s in South Africa! And last I checked you guys weren’t talking to each other.”

“When Chichi was five months pregnant, she sent me a DM on Twitter, telling me how you guys hooked up again when you came back and then she had to leave because her mom was sick. Two months later, she discovered she was pregnant. She freaked out and tried to abort it but her mom told her she had a dream in which she saw her bleeding to death. So, she said she called you and told you but you denied…”

“Why won’t I deny? Chichi and I went bare only once and then she told me she took a morning-after pill only to call me two months later to say she was pregnant, that the pill didn’t work. What sort of nonsense joke is that? Am I a fool? Chichi that can sleep with anything. Abeg, nobody should bring that bullshit my way.”

“Anyways, I felt for her, asked her to send me her number. She did. I called her. She was crying on the phone, saying you blocked her on social media and you were refusing to take her calls. She even called Genesis but Genesis said it was not her business.”

“She was rude to Genesis before she left. The woman fired her ass from Novo.”

“She said so. Anyways, three weeks ago Russell and I flew to South Africa for their SA menswear fashion week. I didn’t feel like going but I was curious to see Trinity. So, I went to Durban, to Chichi’s and spent a whole day with her family. Chichi has changed, Kas. Motherhood changed her and that’s because Trinity is adorbs! The cutest, little baby. I took loads of videos. She makes me want to have my own babies.”

Kasiobi washes down a bad taste in his mouth with his drink.

“I know you don’t believe she’s yours but trust me, Kas, you’re her daddy. The first time I saw her, I was looking at a smaller version of you.”

“She’s not my kid, Lexus. What the fuck is wrong with you? Chichi is a ho!”

Was a ho. She’s changed. She even goes to church now.”

Kasiobi snorts. “You don’t know that girl. And I’m mad that she’s using you to get to me.”

“Just fucking do a DNA, dude. She’s flying in soon with Trini. You guys can do a DNA so you can rest.”

“You think it’s that easy? That I’d just do a DNA and the kid is mine and things go chill? Do you know that once you’re a parent you can’t undo it? There’s no going back?”

“Then you should have had protected sex.”

“We went bare only once! And she was supposed to take care of herself!”

“Well, it takes two to make a baby and you did your part well. Get over it.”

Kasiobi raises the volume of the music once again. His mood is not lifted and the liquor does not make him feel any better. He corks the bottle and dumps it on the backseat. When he lifts his head, he catches Lexus yawning, her arms stretched out under the full moon, lifting her t-shirt to reveal a body he had missed. Kasiobi eyes rests on her navel briefly before they travel up to her breasts which are not held in a bra.

She returns to the SUV. Quietness takes over. A moaning woman lends her voice to the night as the waves provide background music to her pleasure. Kasiobi feels some kind of calm settling in.

“Russell was not my boyfriend,” Lexus reveals. Kasiobi looks at her. “We never fucked. You were the last guy I laid with. Russ and I were just friends.”

“He was all over your Facebook and gram.”

“He was in love. I wasn’t. I was still all about you.”

“Why did you leave?” Kasiobi asks.

“Kas… I turned twenty-seven and reality hit hard. All my friends were getting married or having babies and I didn’t want that. Not then. Not now. Not ever. But you were there, making me breakfast in bed, talking about how many kids you wanted, asking if I’d like a diamond ring… We wanted two different things, Kas. You just automatically assumed that because we had something deep going on, that I wanted to commit and that I wanted the same things you wanted…”

“Then why didn’t you say that?”

“I did. So many times but you thought I was playing. And so I had to leave. I didn’t want to lead you on or get to the point where I was forced into wearing a wedding dress. It was the hardest decision to take, Kas. In many ways, I regret it but at that time, I just had to leave.”

“Your dad is right about you. You’re spoilt, selfish and impulsive. Why are you back sef? To torture me again?”

“To build my life, Kas. My tattoo parlor needs to really kick off and I want to do something huge with my art. Diversify. Maybe go into fashion or anything that needs designing. I’m not so sure. But I’m tired of America, abeg.”

“After breaking Russell’s heart.”

“I was not his girlfriend like that.”

“So what do you want from me?”

“Nothing. Just you and me as friends like we used to be.”

Kasiobi cackles. “Yeah, good luck with that.”

He climbs down and makes to walk to the driver’s side of the SUV but Lexus stops him.

“I’ll drive. You’re tipsy.”

He hesitates for a second and then gives in. She takes the wheel while he sprawls on the backseat, head on one end, feet resting on the other.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Vhasti wakes him up, all four limbs doing a catwalk on his body. He’s thinking to himself as he stirs awake that one of these days he’s going to kill the cat.

He picks her up by her neck and flings her off the bed, across the room. She whines angrily before scuttling away. His eyes open fully, colors of grey and claret, mixed with a deep shade of brown that seems almost black, come to him intrusively. The scent of Genesis’ mild perfume caresses his nostrils and he immediately longs for her, noting he is alone on the bed. Their fight from yesterday carries on, no doubt, and he knows it falls on him to make amends.

She had slept beside him the night before, Zoe in her arms. Zach who is a lot different from his twin can sleep well in his cot without any fuss. But Zoe is different. She still enjoys being breastfed and sometimes nuzzles in Genesis’ arms before she sleeps. Last night she had kept them both awake and slept only after Genesis sang to her, much to Dominic’s annoyance. But he had dared not complain because Genesis’ wrath was waiting in a corner, ready to be unleashed. This morning, he hopes it is all expired.

He leaves the bed to the bathroom, and after washing his mouth, he walks back to the room and out to the balcony where breakfast is laid on a table and Genesis sits staring out, wearing only his shirt.

He takes it as a good sign as he bends to give her a kiss. The cold feel of her cheek beneath his warm lips reminds him that she is still mad at him.

“Coffee or tea?” She regards him with silent eyes. He sits.

“Tea.” He yawns.

She lifts one of two silver kettles off the table and pours him a full mug of coffee. He pretends not to notice.

“Sugar or honey?”

“Sugar.”

She tips in honey.

“Milk or cream?”

“Whatever you want.”

She adds nothing and passes him the mug.

“Thanks.”

“There’s toast bread I made. It has cheese and egg in it with slices of sausage.”

“No, I’m good.”

She pushes a saucer of the said toast towards him. He knows better than to reject it.

“Thanks.”

As he takes his first sip of coffee, he keeps his stare on her. Netted hair, face free of makeup, passive-aggressive, she presents an un-screwable-with exterior. The moment passes by in quietness and then she speaks.

“Don’t ever call me names again, Nick. I’m not that type of girl. Don’t do it. Ever. Give me the same respect I give you.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

She rises up. He smiles. He loves this side of her and relates better with it than the side that cries and throws tantrums. But she won’t be Genesis if she doesn’t switch from diva to boss lady at caprice. It is what keeps her employees on their toes.

He takes her hand as she makes to leave.

“Let’s go somewhere today. To Seyi’s place. Back to that bedroom where we first made love as husband and wife. You remember.”

Warmth clouds her eyes briefly.

“To what gain? You’ll disappear tomorrow to some end of the earth. Why bother?”

Dominic pulls her onto his laps.

“We can recreate that night. No kids. No work. Just Mr. and Mrs. Ditorusin.”

“Tempting, but no thank you.”

She tries to remove his hands from her body but fails.

“You do this every time – come home, wow me with gifts and great sex and while I’m still recovering from the magic, you disappear. I feel like I don’t own you, Nick, and I don’t think I ever will. No one can. I’m beginning to understand that.”

She manages to free herself and gets back on her feet.

“I’ll be waiting at Seyi’s this evening,” he says. “Please, come.”

Genesis walks to the door.

“Nice ass, by the way,” he compliments. She stops and turns. He doesn’t look at her as he picks the day’s newspaper off the table.

Later on, after the fight is settled over angry sex in his study, Genesis tells him she is making plans to bring Mamisi to come live with them. The reaction to this is a cutting glower from him.

“Can you repeat yourself?”

“Mamisi is well now. She’s out of her catatonia and can communicate as well as she used to. I don’t want to take her to a retirement home, Nick. She deserves more.”

“She deserves nothing.” Dominic’s husky tone comes with a sting. “I wonder why she didn’t even die.”

“Nick!”

“She is not coming here. Period.”

“Nick, she’s my mother. She raised me when I had no one and took me to the best schools…”

“She taught you how to sleep with other people’s men and then bring them to nothing. Have you forgotten? This same woman arranged five men to rape you and sat there watching the whole ordeal. She is not your mother and she is not welcome into this house.”

“She has nobody, Domi. Nancy is no longer in the country. All she has is me and I think I owe her that much.”

As Genesis speaks, Dominic pours himself a stiff glass of whiskey.

“And I think she has changed after her ordeal. She lost everything.”

Dominic leans on his work desk and turns his eye on his wife.

“Please, Nick. I know how you feel about her and I know you think I’m being weak… but my conscience won’t let me rest if I send her to some old people’s home when she’s full of life.”

Dominic ponders on the situation. Genesis is still oblivious of the fact that Mamisi is her biological mother. He fears that the old woman would let that cat out of the bag if Genesis threatens to cut her loose. He also understands where Genesis is coming from. She alone had paid Mamisi’s hospital bills during her nineteen-month stay in a mental institution. She alone visited her every Saturday, judiciously, throughout the woman’s stay there. Dominic understands how difficult it would be to sever that relationship. But what he doesn’t understand is why it has to become part of his life too.

“That woman is soulless, Gen, and to have her here with the kids worries me.”

“Me too. And that’s why I want to suggest that we put her in the guest house, upstairs.”

Dominic shut his eyes. “Please, don’t do this, Gen. Don’t do this.”

“Please?”

“Okay, we’ll do it this way. I will rent her a house close by and get a maid for her and you can see her as often as you want. Is that okay?”

Silence meets his suggestion. He opens his eyes and sees a sad Genesis.

“That’s the most I can do, sweet cakes.”

“Okay.”

He drops his glass of Johnny Walker. “Come here.”

Genesis walks over to him and he holds her in a sheltered embrace.

“Your good heart will get you in trouble, baby,” he whispers. “Sometimes you just have to be a coldhearted bitch.”

She smiles.

“But you’ll learn. You’ll learn soon.”

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

This is one of those days when I don’t feel like going to work. Owing to the way the weather has been since the month before, it has become increasingly difficult to leave my bed at mornings. I’d rather sleep in for an extra hour or two but sadly, I don’t have that luxury. Not when the breadwinning role falls on me.

I start my hustle as early as five in the morning and it doesn’t end for me until I get home in the evening, many times, to no food and a messy house. And then it falls on me to prepare dinner and clean up the place, also attending to a toddler, who, having missed me all day, clings to me butter to bread. I am always left exhausted, falling to bed like deadweight until my alarm sounds the next morning and I start the hustle all over again.

I am losing my youth fast. Just the other day, I saw a line breaking on the side of my nose and threatening to go down the side of my mouth. Actually it was Peace who noticed it. She had held my chin and turned my face this way and that and said to me, “Celia, you’re having worry lines. What’s wrong?”

I had laughed, making her look silly with her assertions. But what was I supposed to do? Tell her that I’m both the woman and man in my home? That Shady is not on his way to superstardom and sits about the house in his boxers doing nothing? That we’re relying on my salary alone to take care of us? That I’m on the verge of losing my mind from the suffering?

No, I can’t tell her these things. I just can’t. The façade must continue. Shady’s face must be saved. We must give the impression that all is well with us. We must not let our friends know.

Those had been Shady’s words, actually, not mine, on the day he sat me down and told me that his huge acting break was never going to be as the show was canceled even before it started because the Nigerian crew had squandered a huge sum and were being sued by the producers.

“I have nothing, Cee.” My husband’s voice had been barely a whisper. “I quit my job and I have nothing.”

I had hushed him, told him to stop being pessimistic, told him something bigger was coming. But he laughed and repeated, “I’ve lost everything.”

And I didn’t understand what he meant until months passed and I watched him sit about on the couch all day and all night, doing nothing. Only then did I realize that he had lost his will to do anything. And for me, I had lost the Shady I used to know.

I don’t need to tell you what it means to have a man whose pride is bruised, whose manhood has been robbed of him. And I’ll spare you the ordeal I go through daily to ensure that I keep sane and not wake up one day to set the house on fire with him in it. My job is all the distraction I need but at the same time, it is killing me.

I mumble a prayer as I leave the bed. The bedroom is a mess, of course. Later on, while at work, I will text Shady to help me clean up, praying he catches the mood to do so.

I get into the bathroom and while I shower, I decide that I’ll go see Mary today to borrow some money so I can pay the rent. We’re six months behind and the landlord, who lives next door, isn’t smiling anymore. I am yet to think up a lie to tell Mary when I ask for the money. I’m considering just opening up and telling her the truth. Lord knows I’m tired of lying. Maybe if all our friends know that Shady has been jobless since November, they can all come up with ways to help him. I’m tired of nursing his lazy behind and ego.

When I step out of the shower, I go to the sitting room and without thinking it through, I put a call across to Mary. It’s still dark outside. My landlord’s chicken is crowing.

“Hello?” Mary answers, and only then do I realize I had called too early.

“May, I’m so sorry for waking you up.”

“That’s okay, Cee. I’m wide awake,” she says and chuckles. In the background I hear Ekene’s laugh as well. I instantly know I have interrupted an intimate session. I feel a sting of jealousy. Life is unfair. Mary and Ekene, much like Jide and Honey have everything – the money and the love. But I pine away here, unable to even afford my next salon visit. And sex…let’s not even broach that topic. Shady, amongst other things, has lost his erection as well. I have been in a sexless marriage for months.

“What can I do you for?” Mary asks before bursting out laughing. Ekene’s voice is louder this time. I hear something like a spank and then Mary squeals.

“Cee, can I call you later? I’m kind of in the middle of something here.”

I want to tell her my reason for calling, that I want to see her later in the day but I think against it.

“Okay. Take care.”

“Bye.”

She is off with another giggle. I put my phone away and stare into the dark, feeling tears in my eyes.

“God, for how long?”

I am too weak to pray these days. What do I even pray for? I feel the little strength I have leaving me. I’m no longer the Celia everyone knows. When last did I throw a party or go shopping for underwear or even pay my tithe? In fact, when last did I genuinely smile?

Sobs shake my thin frame and I let it out, knowing I must brace up in a few minutes and embark on another monotonous day. I don’t even have the luxury to cry properly anymore.

“Lord, please give me something new and different today. I’m tired of this life I’m living.”

I stop the tears midstream and dress up for work. I take the bus. The car has issues. It’s somewhat of a miracle that it was able to take us to the Onuoras’ home and back yesterday. I am thinking of selling it but Shady has warned me not to try it. The car, like his fancy clothes, helps put up the impression that all is still well with him.

I arrive at the office to smiley faces from energetic colleagues. Somehow when you’re down in a financial rot, it seems like all is well with the world except you.

“Oga is asking of you,” one of my colleagues informs me.

“Any problem?” I ask, putting my handbag down.

“No. He just poked in his head a few minutes ago and asked of you. Says you should see him once you get in.”

I straighten out my jacket and head straight to my boss’ office, following a long corridor that has walls which appear to be closing in on me. I have often thought about this – if it’s my imagination or if the corridor is too narrow. I am yet to ask anyone if they feel the same way about it.

“Come in,” my boss answers to my gentle rap on his door.

I walk in.

“Morning to you too, Cecelia.”

I smile. There’s something calming about this man. Forget the fact that he is so fat he probably hasn’t seen his toes or penis in years. Forget that he blinks forty-two times (yes, I counted) in one minute. Forget that he has bouts of rage that come from nowhere. Forget all of that and you have the coolest boss in the world who answers to greetings not thrown at him and calls his employees by modified versions of their names.

“Morning, sir.”

“I’m good. And you?”

“Great.”

I make to sit but he asks me to remain standing.

“And that’s because you will be on your way to see Mrs. Charles. Clearly, she was impressed by your first visit and is asking of you.”

At the mention of the name ‘Mrs. Charles’ the image of a young woman in her mid or late thirties or even early forties comes to mind. One can’t really tell how old she is, considering the fact that she takes good care of herself. She reminds me of Genesis Ditorusin, only less glamorous but not lacking in refinement.

However, there’s something strange about her. I just can’t figure it out yet.

“Her driver is already waiting outside to pick you up. She’s up to an early start today and requests to see you this morning.”

“Okay, sir.”

“Please, do everything to impress her the second time, Cecelia. She’s paying big for our services.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Go slay.”

I laugh. This man has jokes for life. Which one is go slay again?

I leave his office, elated that I don’t have to sit behind my desk or hound potential clients with phone calls. Sometimes the job of a financial consultant is easy. Other times, it’s not so much fun.

I step outside the office building. An expensive-looking SUV is parked away from the other vehicles and by intuition I walk to it.

“I’m here for Mrs. Charles?” I say to a sleepy man behind the wheel. He jolts up and bows his head in a greeting.

“Mrs. Celia?” he asks.

I nod. He steps down, goes round and opens the backdoor for me. I enter the luxurious vehicle and soon we’re on our way to see Mrs. Charles. It’s a long drive, one in which I fall asleep. When I wake, we are driving into a compound that takes the breath right out of me. I feel like I have been taken from the streets of Lagos to a dream that stands grand and white with greenery and flowers that could have only be cultivated by a horticulturist suffering from OCD. It’s all too perfect and intimidating and beautiful at the same time.

The driver leads me into the house through a huge glass door I am sure costs as much as my rent. I find myself taken into a cozy den with a little too many couches that have rich fabrics giving off an overall feminine feel. There’s a collection of black and white art and an extensive assemblage of books on shelves that line two walls. The colors are a range of brown and mellow beige, made diffuse with dim lighting coming from wall lamps.

I am asked to make myself comfortable and I do so, waiting for Mrs. Charles. She walks in after a short while, tall and fair, with long braids falling all over the place. The scent of her perfume spells money. But she comes to me, all smiles as if I am an old friend.

“Hello, sweetie.”

I am given a hug and a wet peck on just one cheek.

“How are you?” she asks, some foreign accent present. Can’t tell which.

“I’m good, ma.”

“Ma?” she puts her hand to her chest and laughs. “I’m not that old, baby. Call me Naomi, with a ‘Nay’ not ‘Nah’.”

“Okay.”

“So, have you had breakfast?” she asks, walking away from me. “Follow me, Celia.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Great. Breakfast is already served.”

She takes me out of the cozy room and up a staircase that brings us to a large empty room with white walls and huge double doors. Naomi throws open the doors and to my surprise, I see a body of water below us. Breakfast is a rich meal of all sorts on a table laid out on a terrace overlooking a lagoon and most of Lagos Island. The sight is amazing.

“Sit down, hon.”

She takes a chair that is wooden except for the all-white cushions resting on it. She stretches out as I settle into the second chair. She is backing the view but I can see it all and I am wondering how much the house itself costs.

Naomi engages me in mild conversation about everything and then finally touches down on the topic of husbands. Her voice mellows at this point and then she stops, asking if she can trust me.

I nod.

She goes ahead to tell me how her husband does not remember she exists.

“I can’t recall when last we had sex. I stopped counting when we went past a year.”

She breaks from chewing a slice of apple.

“It’s like I don’t exist. You don’t know how hard that can be. To have a man constantly around you but you can’t have him.”

I relate to this, I blurt out. Her brows perk up.

“How so?”

I hesitate a little but I can’t hold back now. I need someone to unburden to. And so I tell her everything, my tale coming in tears I have not had the luxury of letting out. Naomi comes to me and lends me her shoulder. It is comforting, as is her hand on my back. When I’m done crying, she suggests we should spend the day at the spa.

“I’m sorry, Naomi. I must go back to work.”

“Work? How do you people do that boring thing?”

“Well, we must survive.”

“Work, work, work, work, work, work,” she sings in a not-so Rihanna tone. I laugh. “It’s all nonsense! Trust me. You need to get your own thing going on, bae. Give me a minute.”

She picks her phone from the table and calls my boss right in front of me, telling him she has hijacked me for the day. They talk for some more minutes and then she hangs up.

“Let’s hit the town, baby.” She winks.

We’re on the road, she behind the wheel, me listening to Melissa Etheridge on the car’s speakers. Mind you, we’re not in the same vehicle that picked me from the party. This is a Bentley—luxurious and girlish—chosen out of a collection of seven cars. Naomi first takes me shopping, calling it retail therapy. She doesn’t buy me much, just a change of clothes out of my office attire. She then drives me to Tirta Ayu Spa in Lekki, a place Noka always talks about. We are given first class treatment, the whole works, something I have never experienced before. It leaves me feeling crisp, refreshed and beautiful.

spa

After that we have lunch at Bangkok Restaurant not far away. At this point, I tell Naomi I have to call it a day.

She opens her handbag and takes out an envelope.

“This should help you solve some of your financial issues.”

“Naomi, you don’t have to…”

“Shh. Just take it.”

“Naomi…”

“Celia, please accept it.”

She clasps my hands around the envelope.

“Don’t open it yet.”

“Okay. Thank you so much.”

She looks into my eyes. “You’re welcome.”

“So, take care,” I tell her, “and I’ll call you tomorrow to know how far on your decision on which brokerage firm you decide to go with and then I’ll also guide you how you can get the best out of them.”

She nods absentmindedly. I doubt that she has heard anything I just said.

“Bye.”

I go for the door handle but I feel her fingers around my neck and before I realize what is going on, Naomi’s lips are on mine.

Shock. Total shock. Earth-shattering shock. Shock that makes you want to slap yourself a few times to wake up shock.

I pull away. “Wh-wh-what the hell was that?”

She returns to her seat, patting her lips as if she is the one that has just been assaulted.

“I like you, Celia.”

“You’re a lesbian?”

“No. I don’t know… I just know I had to kiss you. I’m not a lesbian. I’ve never been with a woman before. I just…I really like you, Cee.”

“Don’t call me Cee!” I shout.

“Please, keep your voice low. I hate when someone shouts on me.”

“Then don’t call me Cee or ever put your lips on me again!”

She nods. “I’m sorry.”

“So this was what this whole day was about?”

“No.”

“And this envelope too?”

“No, Celia. The thing is I hardly have friends. The few I have, it’s either they have slept with my husband or are planning to or they just don’t really like me.”

“Yeah, I can see why.”

“No, no, no, please don’t think of me as this crazy person. I liked you the first time and then again today, I just sort of fell for you…”

“You know what? Take your envelope and it’s goodbye from me. Our business relationship is over.”

She picks the envelope I have flung at her and pushes it into my handbag. “Forget the kiss. You need this. Please, take care of your family. Please.”

I almost burst into tears, realizing how desperately I need whatever it is she is giving me. I really need it. And I hate that I really need it.

I pick my handbag and open the door.

“Bye, Celia.”

I catch moistness in her eyes as I leave and also the look of warmth. I shut the door. There’s a keke passing by. I quickly hail it and it stops a few feet ahead of me. I hurry to it.

“Eko Hotel roundabout,” I say. The keke rider nods. I hop in. Naomi’s Bentley zooms past.

As the keke continues its journey, I take out the envelope and to my shock I find bills of hundred dollars, all thirty of them.

My heart misses its rhythm. I take out the money, shield it with my bag and count again, slower this time – and nothing changes. Three thousand dollars. I quickly get out my phone and calculate how much this amounts to in Naira. The figure I get can pay my rent twice and leave me with change.

I sit in silence, robbed of reasonable thought. I remain that way until I get home. Shady is sitting in his boxers as usual, holding our daughter who has just returned from daycare. I walk past him, uttering a sparse greeting. The smell and state of my house suddenly irritates me having tasted the luxury of Naomi’s home and the spa.

“Did you go to work dressed like this?” I hear Shady ask. I don’t give him a reply. I enter our bedroom and take the money out one more time. It is still the same.

I exhale. How can a fellow woman give me this much money?

I hear my phone ring in my handbag. I take it out. Naomi is calling, of course. I put the phone away. It rings on until it stops. Next, an SMS comes in. I open it. As I suspect, it’s from her.

I’m actually not sorry for the kiss, Cee. I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to more. Please don’t say no. I’ll take care of you better than any man can. And that money, it’s chicken change. There’s more where that is from. Please, think about it, bae.

I fall back on my bed, staring up at the ceiling.

Lord, when I said I wanted something new and different today, I didn’t mean this. Please, take away this temptation.

I close my eyes, clutching the dollars. The kiss lingers.

©Sally@moskedapages

Images: psychologybenefits.orgbombshellssonly.tumblr.com, tirtaayuspa.ng

 

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #2

Good evening,

I’m so sorry for the missed episode of The Immortals’ Code. I was too lazy to do a last minute edit. Please, don’t be mad.

Read the first episode of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday

 

novocaine saturday

It is Noka who first notices the ring on my finger barely seconds after I let them into the house. She has an eye for glittery things, a look of greed I’ve come to accept as part of her nature. And it’s not just the look. It’s her entire person. She is of a covetous kind. It was for this reason she got pregnant for Ibro and became his wife and is now in a loveless marriage. One would expect that she would have learned after all this time but she gets worse by the day.

She clutches my hand and gasps.

“Honey! This is so sexy!”

I smile at her. I think her dress is sexy too. It is worn for Ibro whom she hasn’t seen since in a while. He now lives with Eno in a smaller house somewhere in Ikeja, miles away from her. I can’t imagine her pain. She literally begs him to touch her and it seems she would be doing so tonight. Her dress is red and hugs her curves sinfully, showing off a plunging neckline no one can ignore. It’s a good thing the men are all outside. It would be awkward to have people’s husbands trying not to stare at her boobs.

“Why did you buy it?” she asks of the ring as the others make themselves comfortable on pale yellow couches.

“Jide bought it. It’s my push present.”

“Are you serious?”

“Push what?” Mary asks, glowing in all lights of Ekene’s love. I hardly recognize her these days.

“Push present,” Celia repeats. “It’s a father’s way of saying to the mother of his child, thank you for pushing my child out of your vagina.”

“I’m just hearing of it,” Peace confesses. “But I love the sound of it. I wish men would start giving sex presents too.”

“Well, I get a present every single time Ibro and I have sex…”

Celia stops Noka. “Which is like almost never. Abeg, spare us. We know your husband has money. It’s getting quite irritating the way you remind us. Can’t you learn from Mary? Does she brag about everything Ekene gives her? By the way, they are probably richer than you people but no we won’t hear word from you. Abeg, shush.”

The message is to Noka but somehow all of us comply, no one saying a word after the outburst, waiting for Noka to retort. But she doesn’t. She sits beside me, silent as a mouse.

“Am I the only one that is anxious to actually see our little Jiney?” Mary turns to me. “Madam, go and bring the latest Onuora bundle. Abi you think we came here to look at your ugly face?”

I rise to my feet but stop when Genesis steps into the living room with my little angel. Another moment of jerky silence follows. Of course, my friends are not awed by my baby but have been taken unawares by Genesis’ presence.

“Hi ladies,” she greets, calling each of them by name. Their replies are polite but lacking of cordiality. Only Mary responds with friendliness, rising up to take Jiney off her arms.

“Awww, she’s so adorable. See her face like her daddy’s.”

The others crowd around Jiney and she gets passed round, taking kisses that Jide would not approve of. He is already very protective of her.

Peace is the last person to hold her. She gently rocks her back to sleep after she had been awoken by our loud voices. While she drifts off, we talk about my birth experience and share a good laugh over how it went. They each tell their own birth stories, Celia lamenting on how long it took for her to regain her body back after she had Dara.

“I tied my tummy like there was no tomorrow but it didn’t work. Last-last I resorted to aerobics and tummy exercises.”

Noka lifts my t-shirt without permission. “Who tied yours for you?”

“Nne. Jide doesn’t like it, though. He says it’s archaic.”

“It is,” Genesis agrees.

“It is not,” Noka counters. “It worked for me.”

“And me.” Peace lifts her hand.

“Maybe I didn’t do it well,” Celia says. “It should have worked for me if I did.”

Her statement is said only to oppose Genesis who simply smiles back at her.

“Well, I didn’t tie mine,” Genesis insists.

“And you’re flat like that?” Peace asks, taking everyone’s attention to Genesis’ scandalously-dangerous curves. She is wearing a loose jumpsuit that should naturally understate her sexiness but it does nothing of the sort. Genesis has the type of body that even a blanket would find hard hiding.

“You must have done liposuction,” Noka concludes. “I did mine in Abuja. Who’s your doctor?”

“I didn’t do any liposuction. This is the way my body is. I dance to keep shape.”

“Ah. You’ll come and teach me the dance o!” Mary pats her own tummy. “I need it.”

“No wahala.” Genesis stands up, as do I. I can hear Jide entering the house through the backdoor. I’m guessing he’s getting drinks. They’ll also need peppersoup.

“So can I get you ladies anything?” Genesis asks. “There is goat meat and catfish peppersoup, party jollof, yam porridge and egusi with pounded yam.”

“You cooked all of that?” Peace gapes at her.

“Well, I’ve been here since morning, so…”

My friends look at me as though I have betrayed them but I pretend not to notice. Genesis is as much a friend as any of them. Even more than they may ever be. She had visited as early as 8am, melancholic in her manner when she cornered me in the kitchen to ask how she can help. Nne was leaving to the hospital at that time. Elsie’s eldest daughter, not so accustomed to Nigerian weather, had fallen ill and was admitted in the hospital. Hence, Genesis’ presence was much needed. I asked about why she looked so glum and she told me she had a fight with Dominic just before leaving home. She had admitted it was her fault for giving him stress over his constant absences. She had planned to apologize later in the day but Dominic had resurrected the issue and led them into a row that saw them exchanging offensive words with each other.

“I am tired of the money,” she sobbed. “It’s become a burden. The fame, the status… I wish someone would just take everything away. Just strip it off and let me have Dominic again.”

I lent her my shoulder to cry on and she had a good one. Shortly after, while we ate breakfast with Jide, she told us how she came into Dominic’s life and how they ended up together and built their business to what it is today. It was a peculiar story but a beautiful one. Jide and I advised her to be patient with Dominic and find subtler ways to express her concerns next time. After breakfast, she and I got busy in the kitchen. She did all the cooking while I entertained visitors. I am surprised that she is still pumped to serve my guests after all that work.

“Don’t worry,” Celia speaks, getting up. “We will serve ourselves. This is our house.”

She leads Noka and Peace to the kitchen. Mary stays behind, obsessing over Jiney.

“It’s almost seven o’clock, Honey.” Genesis reads the time on her watch. “I have to go.”

I look at her with a grateful smile. I don’t know how to thank her. Apart from the cooking, she has left a check for Jiney with an amount I’m still reeling from. I give her a bottle of vintage wine to take home to Dominic, and just as she is about leaving, Noka walks in on us with an expression I’m not comfortable with.

“I’ve been trying to place your face, Genesis.”

“My face?”

“Yes.” Noka drops her dish of peppersoup on a stool and straightens up. “Did you ever date the petroleum minister some five, six years ago?”

“Me?” Genesis places a hand on her chest.

“Yes, you. Were you dating him then? He was just a director or something like that in NNPC.”

Peace and Celia file in, each with a dish of something to eat.

“What’s happening?” Celia sits.

“I was just asking Genesis if she ever dated the petroleum minister.”

“That’s silly,” Mary puts in. “The man is in his fifties or so and married with kids. How could she have dated him?”

“Well, shit happens.”

I am upset with Noka. I don’t know where she is going to with her assertions. Genesis is clearly embarrassed by the line of questioning. I already know of her past but I don’t think she needs to explain anything to anyone. I decide to step in.

“Genesis has been here all day and has left her babies for almost twelve hours. Please, allow her go home to them.”

“Just answer the question,” Noka presses.

“Yes,” Genesis replies. “Yes, I dated him. Any problem?”

“So it was you who tore my aunt’s marriage apart.”

“Ojonoka!” I scold. “What’s wrong with you? Behave yourself!”

“Honey, I have to leave,” Genesis announces a second time. “Thanks, again. Goodnight, ladies.”

They all respond, excluding Noka. I walk Genesis to her car and apologize for Noka’s rudeness.

“It’s okay. The past will always come calling, Honey. And maybe I deserve what I’m getting from Nick after what I have done to other people’s marriages.”

“Haba! Don’t speak like that. Your marriage is fine. Dominic adores you. And your past is your past. Ignore Noka. She’s just being the basic bitch she is.”

Genesis pulls me close for a hug. I can feel her heaviness through her hold. I assure her that all will be well. As she drives away, I stand outside until the taillights of her car disappear. Jide calls me over to say hi to the guys. I spend a few minutes with them, accepting congratulatory messages and lighthearted teases. They eventually let me be and I enter the house to give Noka a good scold for her rudeness to Genesis. She listens to my rant without uttering a word but doesn’t show any remorse.

“She ruined my aunt’s marriage, Honey. You would hate her too if she did the same to you.”

“So you hate her?”

“I didn’t say so.”

“You just said so. You hate her for no reason.”

“She is a husband snatcher.”

“Was! That was her past! Why are you judging her without even knowing her?!”

“Honey, calm down,” Mary pleads.

“I’m pissed, abeg!” I retort, keeping my eyes on Noka. “You come to my house to visit me and then you insult my guest! Why can’t you just be a nice person?!”

“I wonder,” Mary murmurs. “You were totally out of line, Noks.”

Noka ignores us both. For all she cares, I might be a buzzing fly trying to steal her peppersoup. Peace motions to me to calm down.

“I think you really need your husband’s dick to help you take the edge off,” I add acerbically. “Try and do that tonight. And by the way, Genesis is here to stay. You just have to get used to her.”

“As long as she’s not stealing my husband, we’re good.”

“Your husband is already stolen,” I bite back as I march off to the kitchen.

What a way to end the day! I wish Bimpe was here. She alone knows how to put Noka in her place. I wonder how she and Bright and the kids are coping in Angola. The last time we spoke on the phone she expressed that she was making friends with other expatriates. She actually used to be my least favorite amongst the wives but I now realize how her presence had been influential on them. Noka needs to be tamed and since Bimpe is not here to do it, I’ll take it upon myself to put her straight.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Dominic is welcomed into Wura’s three-bedroom home by her cousin. He’s a young boy in his teens, face riddled with pimples and sporting a few strands of hair on his chin. He greets Dominic with a smile much like Wura’s. Dominic returns the gesture as the boy points him into a couch of navy-blue fluffiness that matches little, azure dots on buttery-colored curtains that hang off the windows.

The room is small and cozy, the type of space lovers might enjoy, snuggling in under dim lights and the fragrance of mild incense which Dominic spots burning in a corner. Certainly, Mahmud’s northern influence on Wura inspires her décor choices. The couches all bear distinct Afghan designs that complement each other. And Dominic, without having to look twice, can tell that they are all imported pieces, including the Moroccan lantern hanging off the ceiling that gives the room its subtle lighting.

Dominic makes himself at home in the comfy space, putting away a toy truck he almost crushes as he sits.

“Aunty is in the studio with Pastor Ralph,” the teenage boy informs him. “They’re rehearsing for their concert.”

“Just tell her I’m here. But she shouldn’t rush out. I’ll wait. You know who I am?”

The boy nods.

“Okay. Just inform her I’m here.”

“Yes, sir.”

The boy disappears through a door to his left, leaving it wide open. The sound of music floats in, carrying rich, full notes from a piano playing a familiar song that puts Dominic in a calm disposition. Before long, the smoky tone of Ralph’s voice hits the air, harmonized by Wura’s subtle soprano as they take on Bebe and Cece’s It’s Okay.

Maybe we can talk it over
And save our hopes and dreams
Though the waves seem endless
Somehow we’ll cross this angry sea
With love all things are possible
If we just believe

I need to know, yes it’s okay
Can I hurdle this storm
Yes but only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
Somehow, things will work out just you wait and see

 Oh it will, believe it will

See real life confrontations
Caused our vows to break
But I learned the word forgiveness
Can time chase the pain away
True love made our hearts inseparable
If we just believe

But right now it hurts so bad
And feels so bad
But tomorrow waits with laughter
If we endure the tears then joy comes after

I need to know, you need to know
It’s gonna be okay
Can I hurdle this storm, oh-oh-only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
And somehow, somehow
Somehow I can feel love again
Somehow, things have worked cause you stayed with me
I’m glad to know it’s okay

 It’s okay

As the ending notes on the piano die down, Dominic realizes that the song has taken him to an emotional place. His fight with Genesis earlier had been the worst they ever had. He had called her names that he wishes he can unsay. The pain he saw in her eyes as she hurried out of the house might need more than a verbal apology from him to heal. It would need all of him, and he isn’t so sure he has the time or endurance to give Genesis what she wants at the moment. She was raised a diva, taught to be demanding of her men. She either gets the best or nothing, and this includes affection and time. If Dominic doesn’t love her the way she wants to be loved or spends quality time with her, they get into a fight. He is coming to learn that as successful and as business-savvy as she is, she is beginning to lose grip of what’s important to them as entrepreneurs. He fears that she will let her sentiments get the best out of their business and ultimately ruin what they had both worked for. It is for this reason he is paying Wura an August visit. She alone can fix things.

“The Don himself!”

Ralph emerges from Wura’s studio. Dominic rises up to share a handshake and a manly hug with his childhood friend. Ralph enquires about Dominic’s family and Dominic replies that all is well. When Dominic throws the same question his way, Ralph presents an uneasy smile.

It is hardly news that he and his wife are going through a difficult divorce. As Ralph had shared with Dominic a short while ago, the marriage had been hanging by a thread for years, both of them managing each other for the sake of their reputation as church leaders. But his wife woke up one morning and decided to share with the women fellowship in a tear-jerking session that she was leaving Ralph. He got the shocking news from the general overseer’s wife after it had spread around the church like a California wildfire. Ralph did everything within his power to change his wife’s mind but it was obvious she stopped loving him a long time ago. Thus, their nine-year marriage was tossed into the hands of court documents and lawyers.

The collapse of their relationship left Ralph broken but filled him with a desire to minister to folks like him going through tough times in their marriages and relationships. And what better person to have on his tour than Wura, a woman who was publicly disgraced when her past was shared to the public in sordid videos that went viral just a week to her wedding. She had withdrawn from church and work, following the devastating scandal, also breaking off her engagement with Mahmud who was insistent on marrying her despite everything. She then fell into depression that saw her admitted into a psychiatric clinic. Ralph stood by her through the duration of her hospitalization, especially when Mahmud had to leave the country for a surgery course in Saudi Arabia. During the period, two broken souls sought God and found healing, and together commenced on the tour that has so far run for three months and will come to an end in a mega gospel concert organized by Novocaine Knights at the end of the month. As told to Dominic by Ralph, this final concert would be Wura’s first appearance since her public disgrace. Prior to this, she had stayed behind the piano and lent her voice as a backup singer alone. This would be her chance to share her story and redeem herself through her music.

“Hello Wura.” Dominic smiles at her as his eyes shifts to the corner where she stands like a stranger in her own home.

“Good evening, sir.” She curtsies in her usual courteous manner.

“I like what you did with this place.”

“Thank you, sir. And you’re heartily welcome to my home.”

“Where’s Bilal?” he inquires of her son.

“Sleeping.”

“By this time? Ah. You’re in trouble at night be that.”

Wura shakes her head in exaggerated self-pity. “He keeps me up every night. Every single night.”

“I feel your pain.”

“Sorry for interrupting you guys but I gotta run.” Ralph extends his hand for a handshake and blows a kiss at Wura before stepping out.

“Mr. Dominic, can I get you something to drink? Don’t mind my stupid cousin. The boy doesn’t have manners.”

“No, it’s fine. I’m good.”

“This is your first time here since I decorated the place,” Wura says, moving towards him, her long Ankara skirt making a whooshing sound as she walks.

“Yes, it is.”

She settles into one of the Afghan couches and picks a throw pillow that has gold trimmings on its corners.

“So, Mr. Dominic, this one that you visited me this evening, I’m scared o.”

“Relax.” Dominic laughs. “It’s all good news, the first of which is that Lexus is back.”

Pleasant surprise fills Wura’s face as she gasps. “Are you serious? When?”

“I was in my study this morning and next thing she was standing in front of my table. Best surprise ever.”

“Awww, that’s so sweet. I can’t wait to see her.”

“I’ll give you her new number before I go.”

“Okay, thank you. Yay! Lexi’s back!”

“So, Wura…” Dominic moves forward on his seat. “The reason I came here is to offer you your old job back.”

The pleasantness drains from Wura’s face.

“Novo needs you, Wu. Your management skills are top notch. Genesis and I haven’t been able to fill that hole you left. You were our most valuable player on the team.”

“Sir… you’ve forgotten that a client recognized me from the videos.”

“A client. Just one. And really, it doesn’t matter. We, your family, we did not judge you. We stood by you through that difficult time and we’re still here for you. You’ve been brave enough to put yourself out there again in your music tour with Ralph.”

“I stay in the shadows literally.”

“Well, it’s time you stepped out. You can’t keep punishing yourself for your past, Wura. You have to let it all go. And since you’re going to be on stage with Ralph for this final concert, I don’t see why you can’t take back your place as Novo manager again.”

“Sir, I don’t know. Even the thing with Ralph, I’m still contemplating. The moment I step on that stage, they’ll resurrect everything. The videos will resurface.”

Dominic leaves his seat to hers and lifts her restless hands off her skirt.

“Remember I was accused of murder and I had no one to defend my name?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You never asked me how I got over it or maybe somehow you think my heart is made of stone.”

“No, I don’t think it is.”

“It is not. I’m as human as you are and I’ve been where you’ve been and the only way I survived was just to keep going. Your shit is already out there. You can’t do jack about it. Some people will forever call you a stripper. You can’t undo that. But what you can do from now on is to write a different future for yourself. And we all believe in your greatness, Wuraola. We need you to start believing in that greatness too. Will you do that for all of us?”
Wura nods, eyes brimming with tears.

“Your salary would be doubled and you’ll get a brand new car plus other benefits. Please, consider the offer.”

“I’ll think about it, sir.”

Dominic lets go of her hand and stands up.

“Lexi’s number?” she requests as she pulls out her phone from her pocket. “So she’s completed her art course?”

“Yes, she has, and she’s back home to stay.”

“Yay! I’ve missed her like mad.”

Dominic passes Wura his phone and she copies out Lexus’ phone number.

“She says she still has to go back to iron out a few things but she particularly came because she has a surprise for us.”

“And you don’t like surprises.” Wura laughs.

“You know me nau. I was like madam, I hope you’re not pregnant for that white boy sha. That one will not go down well with me. I’m sorry but I agree with my wife that I’m the occasional racist. I will not be the grandfather to white kids.”

“Sir, it’s not that deep nau. If Lexus decides to marry the guy, then I’m sure he’s cool.”

“And Kasiobi?”

“I think you just have a bias for Kasi.”

“I do. He’s been endorsed by Gen and I and Lexus better adjust her sights on him. Enough of this her white boy persuasion.”

Still laughing, Wura shakes her head as she hands Dominic back his phone.

“I’m on way, Wura. Take care and be sure to give me your answer soon.”

“No wahala, sir.”

Wura walks him to the door and once he steps out into the night, he dials Genesis. For the eighth time, she refuses to take his call.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

novocaine saturday

Kasiobi stares inattentively at the girl in the voicing booth. She is just another voice that would be forgotten soon, even before she is known. There is no question about the power of her vocals. Her cords pack a punch but that is all there is to it. She lacks what it takes to be a star. He had sensed it on their first meeting, by just looking at her, that she wasn’t hungry enough for the fame, but he had obliged her– only as a favor to a friend.

He lets her have her moment in the booth while his mind travels to Lexus whose image he can’t quite get out of his head.

He had gone to pick her on Genesis’ request and found her in a t-shirt and distressed black skinnies, topped with a red fedora. A pair of gray Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers which probably cost a fortune also caught his eyes. Her overall look screamed ‘model off-duty’. Casual, yet chic. Kasiobi concluded her designer boyfriend was responsible for her new sense of style which had turned her tomboy looks to something modish. And he also noticed that she was fuller at the hips and bust, having added some weight in the right places. It gave her an overall mature look which turned heads. Everything about her begged to be noticed but in typical Lexus fashion, she was oblivious of what was going on around her.

Taxi drivers had tried unsuccessfully to get her attention but her phone had all her concentration. She didn’t even notice that Kasiobi was standing a couple of breadths away from her. His eyes had been on her tattoos, checking to see if she had inked on something fresh, but all he saw were the old ones.

Nothing new. Yet everything different about her. She remained the same girl who used to be his best friend amongst other things but was now a stranger.

“Lex?”

Her head jutted up, her eyes falling into Kasiobi’s in surprise.

“H-hey.”

Some uncomfortable seconds passed and then she put her arms around him for a hug of which he didn’t object to. He felt the familiar crush of her breasts on his chest and the softness of her skin that translated into memories of intimate moments.

“I’ve missed you, Kasbi.”

He had realized just then that his anger at her would not last long and it got him irate at himself. Having Lexus as a friend was fine but having her back as the girl that had the power to crush his resolve put him on edge.

Lexus broke from the hug. “Let me guess. Genesis sent you to pick me up.”

“She’s busy.”

“It’s fine. Awkward. But fine.”

They didn’t speak after that. He helped put her baggage in his vehicle and they carried on in silence as they headed into town. However, Kasiobi interrupted the peace when they hit their first traffic stop. He unfastened his seatbelt and leaned towards her. When she returned his stare, his lips took hers unexpectedly. He kissed her like he had forgotten something in her mouth and was searching for it. He went in deep and hard, his puny anger making a comeback. But he stopped abruptly and went back to the wheel.

The silence continued, now burdened with fresh sexual tension that Kasiobi had supposed was dead. He was amazed at how quickly Kira was forgotten and all he thought about was kissing Lexus again. He looked at her. Her face was pressed to the window. Her fedora was resting on her laps, letting free her full, long hair which fell all the way to her neck in different tones of brown. Preoccupied eyes continued to stare out but she turned suddenly and caught him ogling.

And to him, that had been the defining moment. Looking into her eyes, he knew he was going to let her back in as easily as it had been for her to walk out on him. The thought annoyed him a great deal and he expressed it with more quietness, giving quick, terse responses when she tried to engage him in conversation.

“Clearly, you’re still mad at me,” she finally said when he neared the street that led to the Ditorusin mansion. He kept his face away. The sight of people walking about a drab street on a busy morning was good distraction.

“Kas, I’m sorry.”

“Let’s not go back there, Lex.”

“I tried to explain but you never let me,” she complained in a Nigerian drawl that had been tainted with an American accent.

“Tonbra, shut the fuck up.”

She obeyed – but only for a few seconds.

“You know what? Fuck you, Kas. You think breaking up with you was easy? It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I had massive feelings you.”

“And yet you walked away.”

“I don’t expect you to understand what I was going through at the moment.”

“Oh, it’s about you now and what you were going through? When did you become so complicated sef? You have feelings for a guy and yet you leave him? I don’t get it. What happened to the Lexus who loved the simple life and lived for the moment?”

“That was what I was looking for!” she uttered. “Just the moment! Just two of us being two of us and having fun every day but…”

She broke off, staring out again.

“Tonbra, what happened to you?”

She looked at him with a weary smile. “You. You happened to us. You screwed up what we had with bullshit talk about love and marriage and…having kids.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“It was scary. I wasn’t ready to be responsible for anyone’s feelings or even be responsible for anyone at all.”

Kasiobi tried to ponder on her words but shook the silliness of them off his shoulders before they settled in.

“You know what? I officially give up on you. We should end this talk now and never have it again.”

“Fine.”

“Good.”

The silence returned, and went on until he pulled up in front of her house. When he said goodbye to her with a hug, he sensed that she had something to say. But she stepped back and he waited, watching stray curls of her hair, blown by gentle morning breeze shimmer in hues of brown as they flipped across her face.

“I don’t want to lose our friendship, Kas. It was and still is more important than anything else.”

“Lexus, you can’t just separate our friendship from our love life. They were interwoven. You did not only betray me as a girlfriend. You broke my heart as a friend and it’s hard to go back to being us.”

“So I should give you time?” she asked.

He gave no reply, entered his ride and fired it up.

“Bye, Lex.”

He drove away, leaving her outside the gates of the house with a look on her face that was going to break him if he stayed longer. When he got home, he fixed himself a scanty breakfast and let Kira in just to watch her grovel.

Twelve hours have gone by since then and Kira is still groveling. While the ambitionless girl in his studio sings herself into a delusion, Kira prepares a meal of starch and banga soup to appease Kasiobi. She sets a lavish table and pokes her head in to let him know that dinner is ready.

“I’ll be out in a jiff,” he replies. But he takes longer. A whole hour later. When he eventually comes out, he finds a pouting Kira and a dish that has gone cold. He renders no apologies to her. Kira is now quite used to his poor eating habits, and being that she is still in a contrite mood, she makes no complaints about her food being ignored.

“Don’t you have somewhere else you have to be?” Kasiobi asks, walking into his bedroom. “With Mayor or something?”

“He dumped me. Said I should move out of the house.”

“Maybe you’ve been begging the wrong person all day. He’s your sugar daddy. Go back to him and grovel. I’m not going to take over from him. I can barely feed myself.”

“I’m not asking you to take care of me.” Kira clutches Kasiobi and rests her head on his chest. “I can take care of myself.”

“By finding a new blesser?”

She gives no answer.

“Go home, Kira. We’ll talk tomorrow, abeg.”

She looks up at him. Her expression turns innocent. “I’m still your girlfriend?”

Kasiobi stares back, finding her artificial lashes and the deep red blush on her cheeks distracting.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he repeats.

“I want to spend the night. I’m scared of what Mayor will do to me if I go back there this night.”

“Kira…” Kasiobi sighs in exhaustion.

“Please, baby.”

He releases another sigh, twirling the edges of her hair in his fingers. He has no plans to do away with her just yet. She could be good reason to keep Lexus away from him.

“Just tonight.”

Fingers dig into his joggers from behind and squeeze his butt as a kiss meets his lips, seizing his mouth without consent. His t-shirt is peeled off his body and he finds himself falling backwards until he hits the bed. Kira sits on him, her face disappearing in the darkness as the power goes out.

novocaine saturday

She drops her weight over him for another kiss but a flash of light from his phone on the bedpost alerts him of a notification.

He picks the phone and sees that it’s a Whatsapp message from an unknown contact. He taps it open.

-Hi Kas, this is Lex. Store my new number

He types out a reply.

-Okay

He adds her to his contact list as another message comes in.

“Who is it?” Kira inquires. Kasiobi ignores her and reads Lexus’ message.

-I’m about to send you something. Please, don’t freak out

He waits. A blurry photo pops up in the chat thread. He taps on it and waits some more. When it clears up, the photo of a baby held in Lexus’ arms is displayed. Kasiobi frowns and thumbs over his keyboard.

-Whose baby is it?

He glues his eyes to his phone screen as the double tick that indicates his message has been delivered turns blue. An uneasy feeling takes over his mood. A few more seconds pass and he repeats his question.

-Whose baby?

Lexus’ answer drops in.

-Yours, Kas. She’s your baby.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

 

Images: www.avitalandco.comneversatisfied.comtight hugs kisses smile on Instagram

It’s Another Saturday…#28

Read Previous Episodes Of It’s Another Saturday

I’m So Not Sorry

I don’t let them drive with me. They are tailing my car and I’m wishing to God that I can just lead them off a cliff or lure them to some place where someone will have them abducted or something worse. I do not want them near the Onuoras.

I honk my horn at the huge gate before me as I bring the car to a stop. A smaller, pedestrian gate opens and a uniformed guard walks out to meet me. I let down my window.

“Aunty, good evening,” he greets.

“Good evening, Solo. How you dey?”

“Fine, ma. Erm…una no fit enter. No space to park inside.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Maybe you fit give me your key make I park the car for you.”

“That would be great.”

I turn off the engine and step down. I walk to the car my siblings are sandwiched in and relay the news to the cab driver they came with.

“Is this your house, Erhinyuse?” Jessie asks as we head into the Onuora residence.

“Yes.”

We file in through the pedestrian gate. I notice that Emeka’s, Tola’s and Kalu’s cars are all parked in the compound, hence the lack of space.

“You share the house with other people?” Harry questions, his eyes scanning the environment.

“Yeah,” I reply. I lead them right to the front door and knock. Seconds pass, Jide comes to the door and opens it. Harry’s face transforms into an ugly expression. It is the only dignified way he can express shock.

“Good evening,” Jide greets. “We’ve been expecting you.”

I am dragged in with a light kiss on the lips and we both step out of the way to let them through. They walk in cautiously but nothing prepares them for the sight they find before them. The Onuoras are all waiting. Daddy, Nne, Kalu, Emeka and Oba, all of them, present.

I did not anticipate this pleasant surprise, one which is very much appreciated. I wonder if it was planned before I informed Jide about the meeting with my siblings. This can’t be a last minute setup.

“Our guests are finally here!” daddy says heartily. “Welcome! Come in, come in!”

I can see the infuriation that takes over Harry’s countenance which he masks with a smile. He hates being taken unawares.

“Good evening, sir.” He greets daddy. The others follow suit, acknowledging Nne as well. Eventually they settle into the couches offered to them.

“We feel sort of ambushed,” Harry mentions with a laugh. “Erhinyuse didn’t inform us that we would be coming here or we would have prepared. She told us she was taking us to her home.”

“This is her home,” Nne answers offhandedly.

“No, what I meant was…”

“She is part of this family. That’s what my wife is trying to say,” daddy elucidates. Harry keeps mute. “I think we should be properly introduced. Honey, can you do the honors?”

I am only too glad to show off the Onuoras to my siblings. One by one, I mention names and occupations.

“Impressive,” Harry mutters. “Our little sister learned well from us, choosing the right family for herself. It’s a pleasure to meet you all.”

The maid comes with drinks. I choose to serve them myself. When I pour drinks for Jessie, she leaves unkind eyes in mine and rejects what I offer. After I’m done serving them, I sit beside Nne.

“So, what brings you here?” daddy queries.

“Nothing of special occasion,” Harry responds. “We just wanted to see how our baby sister is doing. We haven’t heard from her since our father died and being that she was the closest to him, we were worried that she was finding it hard adjusting. We didn’t know she was being well taken care of here. It’s good to see that she is faring well.”

I feel my blood sour.

“But aren’t you in town to talk about your father’s estate with her?” Jide probes. I look at him with furrowed brows, the same way they all stare at him.

“Excuse me?” Jessie asks. She is trying to keep a plain face.

“The only reason you called Honey to see her is to talk about the estate your father owned which you turned over to the bank while he was sick and dying. Your plan right now is to bring fake documents to Honey, telling her the estate belongs to her, passed down by your father, and that it is about to be claimed by the bank unless she contributes money to save it.”

Jessie laughs. “What is this boy talking about? You sound confused, my dear.”

“You all know what I’m talking about. You plan to take everything her mother passed down to her under the guise of saving your father’s sweat and blood which he invested in that land. You will convince her that each of you is putting in a substantial amount to save the estate from the bank. Am I lying?”

I turn away from Jide and look at Jessie and also at Harry, who at the moment is finding it hard to hide his shock. Slowly they focus on Jane; she shrinks into her seat.

“But it is you, Mr. Harry, who has lost everything to the bank.” Jide goes on with so much calm, it’s scary. “Your name was one of the names listed under the Central Bank directive as owing hundreds of millions. You ran your business in debt and built houses and bought cars for your siblings with borrowed money from different banks. You have already given away your father’s estate but it was not enough to settle the massive debt you’ve acquired for more than ten years. The only way to stop them from ruining you is to rob your sister blind, knowing the moment you mention anything that has to do with your late father, she would gladly give in.”

“Lies!” Jessie laughs. “Plain lies.”

“Your sister, Jane, did the right thing, coming to me with this information,” Jide mentions. “Your wickedness has gone on long enough. It has to end.”

I feel tears leave my eyes. I try to speak but words fail me.

“Erhinyuse, Jane, you two brought us here to humiliate us?” Harry accuses in Urhobo.

“Brother, I did nothing. It is you who is trying to steal from me.”

“This was a setup between you and Jane! You brought us here to humiliate us in front of these strangers!”

“They are not strangers!” I retort.

Daddy steps in.

“I think your cup is full, mister man. It is time for you to stop your wickedness or something worse will happen to you. All the horror tales Honey told us about the maltreatment she received in your hands, it all ends here today. I am adopting her as my daughter. She is an Onuora from now on and I know your father and her mother will be happy to know that they did not leave her as an orphan. My son, Jideofor will take care of her and treat her the way a man ought to treat a woman, not the way you did. You will stay far away from her and desist from troubling her life from now on. Am I clear?”

Harry, whose eyes are set on me, can’t seem to utter anything. And for the first time, I am audacious enough to hold down his glare.

“Am I clear?” daddy repeats.

“Yes.”

“Honey?”

“Yes, daddy?”

“You have anything to say?”

I think of all that has been burning in my heart for years, all I wanted to tell them about how they hurt me. It’s right there on my tongue, a whole speech put together, memorized and rehearsed so many times but somehow, seeing them all intimidated, speechless and humiliated, I realize they are not worth my breath.

“I forgive you,” I tell them in a small voice.

“I forgive you,” I repeat, a little louder.

“This is all nonsense!” Jessie growls.

“I forgive you for all you did.”

Jessie stands and makes for the door. Jide who is standing by one of the windows, parts the curtain.

“Solo, let out the dogs!”

Jessie freezes. Her eyes widen.

“We’re not prisoners here! You can’t hold us against our wishes!”

“Then sit until Honey has finished what she has to say.”

“Madam, sit down,” daddy orders.

The sounds of angry dogs barking outside forces Jessie to behave. She returns to her place beside Harry.

“Sister Jess, you held me down and put hot pepper between my legs because you caught me talking to a boy. Not once, not twice. Brother AB, you punched me on my nose because you lost your five naira and you thought it was me who stole it. You always threw frogs and lizards on my bed while I was sleeping at night; even dead rats in my schoolbag. Why?”

Abel, the quiet one, the psychopath amongst them gives me a squint for an answer.

“Brother Harry, you beat me every chance you got and then threatened to kill me if I reported you… You made my childhood and teenage years hell. All of you. But I forgive you. I do hope that all you did was worth it in the end, though. None of you deserves my forgiveness but I’m doing this to move on. That’s what our father would have advised me to do. So please, do me a favor and forget that I exist. Don’t call and don’t text.”

I give Jane a smile.

“Thank you, Sister Jane. You came through for me again.”

Jane smiles back. Harry rises up.

“Thank you for the drink and the cozy welcome,” he says to the Onuoras. “Erhinyuse, you have my blessing to marry your boyfriend. If you people want to do things the proper way, you will be warmly received at home.”

He clears his throat.

“I admit that we might have done hurtful things to you in the past. But I want to assure you that it meant nothing. It was all youthful exuberance. Please, let bygones be bygones.”

“They can never be,” Jide fires. “She still lives with the scars. Can those be bygones? Can you take them away? Can you undo this so-called youthful exuberance?”

Harry flashes a tight pout. I have never seen him this mousy before. I had no idea it could take so little to get him to cower. It turns out that Jessie is even gutsier than he is.

“I think your answer is as good as mine,” Jide concludes. “Bygones can never be bygones.”

Harry draws out a noisy breath. “Well, in that case, if you don’t mind, please tell your guard to hold the dogs while we leave,” he entreats.

Jide parts the curtains and leaves orders with the guard. While we wait, there is an itchy silence which no one cares to break. Beneath it all, I’m beginning to feel weightless as a feather. Years of pain are being lifted off my back. The emotions are running deep and I wish I had Jide’s chest to unburden myself.

“The dogs are secure,” Jide informs Harry. “Y’all free to go.”

Not adding any more words, Harry flurries out. Jessie and Abel follow while Jane remains. I walk over and hug her.

“Sister Jane, is it safe for you to go with them?” Jide asks.

She nods. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you.”

She hugs us both, says goodnight to everyone and exits the house.

The Onuoras break into banter with Oba replaying the drama we all witnessed. He gives his own hilarious version that has us all entertained.

“How do you feel, sugar lips?” Jide pulls me into a hug.

“I feel…good. How did you and Jane plan what happened here today?”

“Well, their incessant phone calls always left me restless and annoyed. So, I had Bobby contact friends in Warri who followed your brother around and found out he had serious debt issues. When your cousin’s wedding came and they got into town for it, I called Jane and we had lunch and I drilled her, giving her the little information I knew. She spilled everything, including their plans to take your money. So, we devised our own strategy and I’m glad you listened to me and brought them here.”

“Thank you, hotstuff.”

He kisses me. Once, twice and when we go for the third one, daddy stops us.

“Biko, no be for here o!”

Jide unlocks from my grasp to face him. “De Lawrence?”

“Sir?” daddy answers.

“Since she is your daughter now, can I officially ask for her hand in marriage?”

“Put a ring on it first.”

There is uproar of laughter. Only God knows where the old man learns these things.

Emeka comes to us. “Have you guys seen Tola?”

“No,” Jide answers. “But her SUV is outside. It’s been here all day.”

“Momsi said she parked it this afternoon and left. She didn’t say where she was going. I’ve been trying her line all day. Nothing.”

“Last I saw her was in the morning, we were at the salon together with Mary,” I recall. “And then she said she had a patient to see. Have you checked the hospital?”

“She’s not there. Well, if she calls you, please tell her to call me. I’m worried.”

“Sure thing.”

He makes a turn but stops and tells Jide something in Igbo. The look in his eyes is not friendly. Jide does not reply. Emeka walks off.

“What did he just tell you?”

“Says I should stop putting ideas in Yazmin’s head.”

I give Jide a pointed look.

“Yeah, you told me so.”

“So what plans do you have for the night?” I put my arm around Jide’s waist.

“I’m thinking loud music, lots of sand and the sound of the ocean.”

“The beach?”

It’s our thing to take long walks by the beach at night once in a while. After each walk, we’ll stop to have suya and drinks and watch high people do stupid things while getting intoxicated from secondhand weed smoke.

“Let’s go.”

We say goodbye to the family and head out.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

Mary has different faces to her. There is sweet, caring, selfless Mary whom we all adore. Also there’s wise, insightful Mary that we all turn to for guidance and good counsel. And then there’s stubborn as an ass, irrational Mary that is nothing like the woman we know. She hardly ever gets into that mode but when she does, oh my God! You just feel like giving her a good beating.

That is how I feel right now.

“Mary, you shouldn’t do this.”

“Are you going to follow me and be useful by toning down my excesses or are you going to sit there, trying but failing miserably to stop me?”

I watch her slip into a long batik-designed gown.

“Mary, he is a man of God. You don’t just question him like that.”

“You see, that’s the problem. You people think these men of God are unquestionable and that’s why you can’t confront them. Well, me I don’t see them like that and that is why I’ll go to him and ask him if he really heard from God about my situation or not. It’s a simple question that deserves a simple answer.”

“Mary…”

She packs up her hair.

“I am not listening, P. So not listening.”

Again, I watch her. She applies lip gloss, lines her eyes, slips on her earrings and pushes her small feet into a pair of designer slippers.

“I’m ready to go.”

There is no use trying to stop her. She is resolute on her decision. I’ll simply do as she suggests.

As I follow her out of her apartment, I ask myself why I decided to visit her this morning. If I had kept my bored feet at home and engaged in my daily job search online, I would have been oblivious of her mischief and enjoyed my day in bliss.

Outside her apartment, we get into my car and I appeal to her one more time but she snaps at me.

“Madam, drive or I’ll get into a taxi and leave you here.”

I shake my head and start the car.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

Pastor Bayila has a busy day and we are told we have to wait to see him. Mary doesn’t mind. She has come with her earphones which she insists on sharing with me. We both have the same taste in music, so I sit quietly with her, listening to her song collection. The only time I stop for a break is to receive a call from Celia who is babysitting Sammy.

Finally, Pastor Bayila asks us into his office. He is having breakfast when we get in, although it is lunchtime.

“Good day, ladies,” he greets. His boyish face reminds me of the COZA pastor anytime I see him. I always want to ask if they are related.

“Sit.”

He offers us seats in his comfortable office. Mary makes herself at ease as do I.

“Sister Peace, how are you?”

“I’m fine, Pastor.”

He nods and invites us over to eat with him but we both politely decline.

“So, how may I help you?”

“Um…” I lean forward. “It’s my friend here, Mary. She asked to meet with you.”

“Hello sister Mary.”

“Good afternoon, Pastor.”

“I am listening.”

I look at Mary. I think she is a little surprised by his down-to-earth manner. She hesitates before she speaks.

“I am not a member of this church, sir but I have been here a few times, invited by Peace. I was here for the beginning of the year one week program.”

“The fasting and prayers.”

“Yes, sir. I attended each day.”

“Okay?”

“Erm…I don’t think you remember me.”

Pastor Bayila shakes his head graciously. “I don’t. Please, remind me.”

“On the last day, on Sunday, when you were preaching, you picked me out from the crowd. You told me God had a word for me…”

Pastor Bayila puts down his cup of coffee and is off thinking.

“Really?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You said something about me meeting my husband…”

“Oh!” Pastor Bayila recalls with amusement. “The lady in green Ankara! That was you?”

“Yes.”

“Oh my! You have lost a bit of weight. How are you?”

“I’m fine, sir.”

“Good! Good. So you are our dear Sister Peace’s friend?”

“I am.”

“Great.”

“Sir, I’m here to ask you some questions about what you told me that day.”

“Go ahead.” He picks his coffee again.

“Sir, was it really God who told you those things?”

I shift in my seat at Mary’s direct question. But Pastor Bayila merely smiles.

“You think I came up with it myself?”

“I’m not saying that. I just want to be sure that God spoke to you because marriage is a serious thing and I don’t want to simply run into the arms of a stranger just because you said God said…”

“Mary?” I scold.

“It’s okay, Sister Peace. Let her speak.”

“I don’t believe in prophecies. I’m a very practical person and when it comes to my love life, I’d rather choose my husband myself. I like taking things into my own hands, so you see where this whole prophecy thing leaves me…”

“It leaves you out.”

“Exactly. Right now, I feel I am not allowed to make my own choice. I feel confused. I feel frustrated. I need to be sure, Pastor. I need to be really, really sure you heard God, that you did not imagine the whole thing. I need to be sure.”

Mary is all nerves. Her voice trembles with each word. I feel bad that I did not recognize her frustration earlier.

“Sister Mary, from what I deduce you seem to have found your husband and just like God made clear, you are rejecting him.”

“I have no feelings for the man. He popped into my life from nowhere and proposed to me. If I was to ever agree to marry him, I think I would prefer to know him better, to fall for him on my own terms but right now, I can’t. I am being forced to say yes to him or miss God’s plan for my life entirely. Do you understand my dilemma, sir?”

“Yes, ma.”

“And to worsen it, he is my friend’s ex-boyfriend. You see how messed up it is?”

“I see.”

“He waltzed into my life so casually. The day was not special and I never saw a sign. There should have been something in the skies on that day. Maybe a heavy rainfall or…something! But there was nothing!”

She moves forward until she is on the edge of her seat.

“Maybe you have another message for me, something entirely contrary?”

Pastor Bayila sighs out.

“God speaks to me mostly from the bible, Sister Mary. That’s the only way he knows he can get through to me because I am as much a skeptic and a practical person as you are. I’d have some divine revelation in a dream and brush it aside until he confirms it through another person, so I understand where you’re coming from. And that is why when he speaks to me the way he did on that day in January, I make sure it is from him.”

Pastor Bayila props back on his swivel chair.

“God gives his word and it’s up to you to obey it. He will not force you. We have the gift of choice, Sister Mary. Feel free to do as you desire but do not come back here to complain about the consequences.”

“Okay, sir. Thank you for your time, sir.”

Mary is up on her feet in haste. She doesn’t give me the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to Pastor Bayila before she leaves. Nonetheless, I stop to thank him.

“Have you heard from him?” he asks, concerning Reno.

I recall Reno’s visit four nights ago. He came in tears and a thousand apologies and with that look on his face that always did me in. I almost let him kiss me.

african_couple_kissing

 

Almost.

“No, I haven’t heard from him.”

“Stay strong, Sister Peace.”

“I will. Thank you, Pastor.”

I walk out of the office. Mary is waiting in the car when I get to the parking lot.

“You told Celia?” she flares when I slip into the driver’s seat. I see the backlight of her phone held in her hand go dim.

“Yeah, I told Celia.”

“When?”

“Last night after we spoke.”

“I didn’t ask you to tell anyone else! When did you start letting out secrets, P?”

“I’m sorry. I thought it was just one of those things we share amongst us girls.”

“I kept your secrets secret, P. How about a little show of respect on your side?”

I stay mute and contrite.

“I’m sorry.”

“Just start the car, let’s go.”

I do as she wishes. We haven’t gone quite a distance when I realize she is crying.

“May-may?”

I slow to the curb of the street we’re on and stop the car. I try to touch her but she slaps my hand away.

“It’s stupid that I’m crying over this. Stupid!”

“It’s not.”

“Is God going to come save me when this so-called husband turns into an asshole and starts hitting me or cheating on me or raping me?!”

“Mary, you are judging a man you don’t even know.”

“I don’t want to know him! My life is going in a certain direction and then he jumps right into it and I can’t keep going where I want to go because we are allegedly paired up by God! And now, I have to marry and play wife and have kids to a man I don’t freaking love!”

I so want to give up on her right now. She is completely gone bunkers.

“Mary… No one is saying you should marry him like immediately or even give him a yes.”

“The entire saga is making feel claustrophobic, P, and I’m afraid that I may end up falling for him. I just wish God could have let me make that choice all on my own. Who says I can’t pick a good life partner? Look at Jide and Honey, they chose each other without any divine intervention. Same with Shady and Celia and all our friends. Why must my own be different?”

I have no answer for her.

“I want to go away, to move to a new place just to get away from him but then I remember the story of Jonah who tried to run away from doing what God asked him to do and got swallowed by a fish!”

For some reason, I break out in laughter. Maybe it’s the tone of her voice or the analogy she employs but I am laughing real hard and I can’t stop. Soon enough, she joins me. We both laugh until the humor dies away and she is left with a distressed face.

“Reno came to the house some nights ago,” I reveal.

“He did?” Mary wipes her nose.

“He said he wanted to see his son. I let him in. He stayed with Sammy, put him to bed… And then we talked. He said a lot of rubbish; that he was sorry… that he missed me. He wanted us to get back together but first he wanted to kiss me.”

Mary tilts her face to look into my eyes.

“Did you?”

“No. No, I couldn’t.”

Mary doesn’t respond to what she’s just heard and I stay in silence with her until her phone begins to ring.

“Celia wants to talk,” she informs me. “Let’s drive over.”

I start the car again.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

yazmex6

Breakfast in bed the way Yazmin does it is always epic. She works her ass off to sexually satisfy me like any sidechick would. I hate to call her that but she reminds me every time that she is fine playing second fiddle to Tola. This morning, however, I am the one serving and I give her the full princess treatment. I initially did not have plans to touch her because she just returned from the hospital and is yet to fully recover. But each time Yaz begs for the D like one hooked on steroids, I simply cannot say no. Nobody likes to shine congo like her, plus she’s a junkie for my love.

We start the morning with selfies. She has me all over her Instagram. Every moment we share together is a reason to upload something new; today is no different. She tags it #malariafree #grateful #inbedwithhubby #aunaturale #wokeuplikethis. Never mind that she spent a good fifteen minutes tempering with her face and now looks nothing like one who just woke up or is recovering from an illness. Mexican chicks and makeup, though.

Not long after her upload goes live, we get a comment from a user @poonydoc. It simply reads: use a condom, please.

Yazmin shows me the comment and I shake my head. Tola hides behind that particular alias, being a constant nuisance to Yazmin on Instagram. Well, I’m glad she’s back on my radar, nuisance or not.

“I hate this bitch! Arghh!”

I take the phone from Yazmin.

“Is she another of your hoes, papi?”

“We already had this talk, mi vida. I don’t know this person. And it may be a guy. The handle says poonydoc, which means…”

“I know what it means but why does the person keep stalking me?”

“Because you’re sexy as fuck.”

I start to kiss her in places that are too sensitive to ignore. It takes seconds to make her forget poonydoc and abandon her phone. Her mind goes back to begging for sex and so I give her what she wants, slowly, gently, intensely. I surrender all of me like I do to Tola, annoyed that Tola has abandoned me and gave me hell worrying about her. I fully expend myself in pleasing Yazmin.

I am so deep into the whole thing right now that even if a bomb drops, I won’t stop. The cool of the morning after a heavy downpour, her moans and the numerous Spanish expletives she uses, the way she claws at my back and bites my shoulders… the girl is driving me nuts. I feel myself getting close to the peak. I drive in harder and deeper and then…

“Can you cum already so we can talk?”

I pull out from Yazmin in a flash and swing around to see Tola standing by the door. Yazmin covers her breasts and snaps close her legs.

“Are you crazy?!” she screams at Tola.

“Doc?” I make no attempt at covering myself. I face Tola with an unpleasant expression. There is no need asking her how she got in. It was she who helped get Bose as a maid for Yazmin. The girl will always remain loyal to her.

“Sorry for interrupting your thing, Yazmin, but I need my husband urgently.”

Swinging her backside provocatively, she strides out.

“Yaz, I’m sorry baby. I’ll be right back.”

Yazmin is angry. She cusses in Spanish, throwing my clothes at me. I hurriedly wear them and force a kiss on her lips.

Outside, I find Tola waiting in her SUV. I get into the passenger seat. She gives me a full stare from my head to my feet and then she stops at my midsection on her way down again.

“So, you’re really into her? It’s not just sex?”

“You shouldn’t have walked in on us.”

“Walked in?” Tola titters. “Dude, I stood there and watched you guys for a long time. You were so lost in that Mexican vagina, pounding it like a sledgehammer.”

I hold back a laugh.

“Well, all I know is that you can’t use those same moves on me again.”

I pick something naughty in Tola’s eyes.

“Were you turned on watching us?” I ask.

“It’s either that or I get jealous. This is for better or worse, abi? Including swallowing my pain when I watch my husband screw another woman senseless and then somehow turn that pain into something perverted so I can have a sane mind.”

There’s no mistaking the presence of this ‘pain’ she speaks of in her tone.

“I’m sorry about the claudia thing, Tols.”

“Your wife gave it to us.”

“No, I did. There was some chick…”

She lifts her hand to stop me.

“Condoms from now on.”

“I did the tests as you asked.”

“Condoms until the baby is born, Mex.”

“Fine.”

She massages the area above her left brow. That’s her way of calming frayed nerves. I lean over and kiss her neck. She lets me take her lips.

“You taste like vagina, Onuora.”

There’s no annoyance in her tone. Beyond all the long talk, I know Tola too well. She loves the idea of another woman in my life or Yaz would have been history by now. She enjoys the drama Yaz’s presence brings and I will not be foolish to stay exclusive to her. If I try, the babe will just straight-out disrespect me. She’ll ration sex, food and affection. Yazmin keeps her on her toes.

“I’ll make nsala soup for us.” She plays with my sideburn. “And then you can buy me chocolate ice cream and some chicken pie to go with. Coleslaw too. Peppered gizzard, apple juice and finally, Sade Adu to keep me sane. All night long, baby.”

No, seriously she literally means all night long. She is the only woman I know who would spend six straight hours loving a man and still wake up in the morning to serve him breakfast. She scares me sometimes. I’m glad it happens only once in a blue moon.

“But first, go in there and give some excuse why you can’t continue where you left off. I will not let you waste one more drop of sweat on her.”

I can’t even dream of protesting. Yazmin will just have to wait her turn. Madam is back and I want to be a good boy for her highness.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

Na wa for Celia o! Drinking medicine for another person’s headache. Is it by force to have a man and get married? See me see wahala! Abeg, people should just learn how to give advice and end it there. Just because you’re my friend doesn’t mean you should try to impose your ways on me. If it wasn’t for Peace’s long mouth, you won’t be involved in my love life presently. All of you should just leave me alone jor!

I hiss out loud, so loud the woman sitting next to me in the bus gives me a curious stare. I pretend not to notice and hiss again. Celia and Peace are really pissing me off. They believe that my life will suck balls if I don’t heed to Pastor Bayila’s prophecy. But the more they push, the more obstinate I get. They will soon get tired and leave me and my life alone.

“Owa o!” I call out as the bus nears my stop. The conductor bangs his palm over the hood of the vehicle and the driver slows. I step down and begin the short walk that would lead me to my apartment.

On the way I stop to buy akara and yam. I also get some raw pap. I have a deep freeze full of different types of soups but I have no appetite for my own meals. I’m no different from other cooks who would rather have junk food or eat someone else’s less-appetizing cooking.

Having purchased my dinner, I follow a busy path that leads to my house. I have scarcely gone in and put some water on the electric cooker when someone knocks on my door. Concluding it’s my neighbor’s teenage daughter who loves coming around to watch cable, I open the door without a second thought.

An unpleasant surprise greets me. I gasp at the face that meets my eyes. On impulse, a foot of mine steps back.

“Good evening, Mary.”

My hand goes for the door to shut it but my unwelcomed guest stops me.

“Please, I want to talk. You can step outside if you wish. In fact, I think that’d be best.”

“Have you lost your mind showing up here?”

“Mary…”

“To the same place where you raped me? Have you lost your mind, Reno?!”

“Calm down, Mary. And listen to me, please.”

“Go away, Reno!”

He moves back one step and goes on his knees.

“No, Reno. You can’t do this. Just go away!”

“I am sorry, Mary. I am very sorry. I am not asking you to forgive me; I just want to let you know that I am sorry. I will say it anywhere, to our friends, to the police, to anyone…I will confess what I did to you…”

There are huge tears coursing down his cheeks but I am not in the least bit moved. I just want to kick his face in.

“You raped me, you bastard.”

I feel my own tears coming.

“And I can never take that back, Mary. I know.”

“You raped me, Reno. In my own house, on my own bed… You choked me with my own pillow. And now you’re coming here to say you’re sorry? Sorry for what? For making me hate my own house? For making me not trust even my closest male friends? Or are you sorry that your wife has abandoned you and you have no friends anymore and you spend your nights getting drunk and screwing prostitutes? First you visit Peace and load her fragile heart with BS and now you’re here trying to spit out the same drivel? Reno abeg, leave before I scream rape and they set you on fire in this neighborhood. Go!”

“I’m sor…”

“Leave!”

He wobbles up and turns away. Something about him is broken but like I said, I don’t give two. I retreat into my house and lock my door. Not long after, I hear another knock.

“Oh God! Didn’t I tell you to go away?!”

I dash into the kitchen angrily, pour out the water I have set on fire into a bowl and hurry back to the door. I’ll give Reno a lesson he’ll never forget.

Without pausing for a second, I wrench open the door and in one swoop, I furiously hurl the water out, just to realize a little too late that I have assaulted the wrong person. The bowl falls off my hand as I lose control of my muscles the moment shock takes me.

Holding his face in agony and falling to the ground is Ekene.

“Jesus!” I clasp my hands over my mouth.

Oh Lord, what have I done?

©Sally@moskedapages

Images Credits: r5ftnickjonas.tumblr.com, www.wattpad.com

 

To continue with this story please click HERE to find it on Okadabooks or simply send me an email to moskedapages@gmail.com

It’s Another Saturday…#27

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Last night, I was down in the pits. There was a trigger, a text from Harry that I ignored, and before I could stop myself, I lurched into this senseless state of melancholy that I couldn’t get out of. I went to bed and found myself feeling like the walls were closing in on me. Tola and Mary had long gone to sleep and when I checked the time, it was 1am.

I sat by my window for a while. The bed seemed to be laid with pins and needles. It took me exactly twenty-seven minutes to decide that I needed to sleep in Jide’s bed to feel better.

I got the car key, slipped out of the house and drove all the way to Jide’s. I had not expected to find him at home. When I entered his room, he was in bed, awake and reading.

He looked at me when I walked in, showing no surprise.

“I’m getting used to this,” he said. “The impulsiveness. The spontaneity.”

He turned a page in his book.

“I understand that it’s your way of fighting your snags but can you please call me next time you want to leave your house at 2am to come see me?”

“I didn’t expect to find you here.”

“Just…call me next time.”

He didn’t understand that I did not want to burden him with my problems, that at that time of the night I just wanted to get away from the four walls of my room and it didn’t matter if I put myself in danger.

“I’ll try.”

He went back to his book while I entered the bathroom for a shower. It made me feel better, the change of environment, the cool of the water. I breathed out when I turned the shower off.

These days I try not to worry about certain things even though it’s hard. I take each moment as it comes as Jide has taught me. It’s difficult to have my shortcomings and my gloom laid bare before another person but he doesn’t complain – not when I sometimes withdraw to some place to brood or when I lash out at him for no reason or even when I dive into some unexplainable mood of excitement. He’ll tell me there’s no difference between me now and the person he fell for. But I know the difference; it’s something I suffer daily. Having finally been taken off my meds, it’s hard to keep a balance.

“And that’s because you worry yourself about staying normal. Just live.”

That’s what I’m trying to do. I wish it wasn’t so darn hard. I wish my siblings would just stay out of my life for good.

“Hon?”

I walked back into the room where it was freezing. He winched up the blanket and I stole in. He had his arms lifted to let my head rest on his chest but that wasn’t my final destination. I slid all the way down, taking his Calvin’s along. I needed something to distract me.

He didn’t protest.

And here I am this morning, tired, lazy, not willing to leave the bed for my morning out with Mary and Tola.

“Sugar lips?”

Jide taps me. I pretend not to hear.

“You should wake up.”

I moan.

“Honey…”

“Leave me. I want to sleep.”

“Your period is here.”

Straightaway, I throw off the bedspread I’m covered in as I jump up. True to his words, I’ve stained his bed. I look at him in shame. He’s seated at the other end, eating an apple, calm.

“I’m so sorry. I’ll clean this up immediately.”

I drag the bedspread and dash into the bathroom. I’m a bit sad that my period is here. It means the baby we’ve been planning for is not coming anytime soon. This threatens to dampen my mood but Jide appears with a pack of tampons.

“Maybe history will repeat itself,” he says and kisses lips I’ve pressed together. “I’m going to work and then off to my parents’. Will you promise me that you’ll not let your menstrual cycle or whatever it is that made you drive into the night dictate your happiness today?”

I nod, determined to act upon his words but I have no idea that somewhere in town, my evil siblings are thinking of the best way to ruin my day.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I am staggered! I simply cannot believe this.

Somebody please tell me I am not dreaming right now. Please tell me my eyes are not imagining things because I am sitting here lost, confused, shocked to my bones at the sight before me.

This is not just happening.

“Mary, you’re not saying anything.”

Of course I am not saying anything because my mouth is hanging wide open and my tongue has lost its speech. How do you expect me to speak, Ekene?!

“Mary?”

I manage to bring my dazed eyes away from where it has been held bound and direct it to Ekene’s hand on mine. His touch is warm, yet strange on my skin.

“Please, say something. Even a ‘no’ would be a lot better than this silence.”

I take my eyes away from his hand and look into his face.

It’s a stranger’s face. I don’t know this man at all. Not his pink lips. Not his rubbery nose. Not his light-brown eyes. Not even the whole beard gang thing he has going on.

I don’t know him!

“Mary?”

Something snaps in me and I recoil from his touch. He raises his hand, moving back a little. I pick my phone and handbag, and still maintaining my silence, I hurry to the door as if chased by a ghost.

“I need my answer in four days, Mary!” he says as I open the door. “Four days!”

I slam the darn door and half-run, half-walk my way to Honey’s house. When I get in there, I collapse into a chair in a huff and stare at Jide who is watching some TV.

“He proposed,” I say.

Jide turns down the volume of the television.

“What did you just say?”

“Ekene proposed to me.”

Jide’s reaction is one of puzzlement. He calls Honey who walks in with questioning eyes.

“What’s going on?”

“Ekene proposed to me. He got out a ring and just popped the question from nowhere.”

“For real?” She grins. “Where’s the ring?”

I blink a couple of times at her and shake the dazedness out of my head.

“What ring? You think I’d say yes to that type of proposal? First of all, he tricked me into coming to his house. There was no girlfriend there! None! Just me and him and a house that can take twenty more people. I asked him where his girlfriend was and he was like the dinner was a surprise for her and if she knew about it, the surprise would be ruined. I believed him and went ahead to cook and he stood in the kitchen the whole time, not talking, just staring at me and giving me the creeps. After I was done and served the food, he asked me to sit. He confessed that he had lied about having a girlfriend and was hoping that I’d be the one.”

Jide stopped me. “Wait, what?”

“My thoughts exactly. I now asked him, ‘Ekene, what type of creepy, by-force toasting is this that you Igbo boys like doing?’ Sorry Jide.”

“Be nice.”

“No, but seriously, have you not seen those market traders that will grab your hands and pull you, calling you stuff like ‘my wife’ ‘my color’? Ekene looked like the same thing to me! No difference! I had scarcely recovered from him calling me his girlfriend when he brought out this blinding diamond ring from nowhere, looked straight into my eyes with that his cockiness and said, ‘Mary, marry me’.”

“No way,” Jide remarked.

“I swear. He said it like that. Not ‘Mary, will you marry me?’ And he didn’t even go down on his knees!”

“And your answer?” Honey asks.

“I freaked out, Honey. In fact, I am still freaking out! See, how my heart is pounding in my chest. My tummy is even turning sef.”

Honey is laughing; Jide is equally amused.

“Why are you freaking out, though?” Honey wonders. “I’m sure you’ve met different types of men. Kene can’t be the weirdest.”

I stand up. “He is. By far, he is. I just can’t deal.”

“You like him,” Jide states. He is not asking; he sounds sure.

“Me?”

“Yes, boo. You. See the effect he has on you.”

“He scares me. I don’t like him, Jide. When did we meet that he’ll propose to me just like that? Abeg o! I’m sorry, Honey, I know he’s your friend but his actions today ring of all shades of ritualist behavior.”

“Haba nau.”

“Then explain why a man that rich who has been around the world and has everything going for him will go and buy an expensive diamond ring and propose to a girl he hardly knows? It makes no sense! Unless he wants to use his wealth to dazzle me into marriage and then offer me as sacrifice to prolong his life.”

Honey rips apart in laughter.

“She really likes him,” Jide tells her. They both nod.

“Can you stop saying that, Jideofor?!”

“He’s getting you all worked up.”

“He is not!”

I breathe out.

“He is not.”

Another breath.

“I am calm. Very calm. Very, very calm. And I will repeat: I do not like Ekenedilichukwu Obiecheta.”

“Wow!” Jide sits up. “You called his full names, using the correct Igbo accent and you didn’t even stutter. Abeg, husband him.”

I am mad at Jide. I hiss and pick my handbag.

“I’m going home.”

“Why?” Honey frowns.

“All of you are annoying me. You and you and Ekene…all of you. Ekene clearly doesn’t understand the concept of boundaries and feels he can just pop a proposal from nowhere and I’ll say yes. Then instead of you two to be on my side, you’re making fun! You should all enjoy yourselves. I’m going home!”

I don’t give them an opportunity to respond. I know I am being silly but I haven’t been in this mood in a really long while. I march into the guestroom and shut the door behind me. But then I remember one vital piece of information I didn’t pass to them. I poke my head out.

“Oh, and he told me right before he asked me to be his girlfriend… he said, ‘I can have anything I want. Anything, including you.’ Can you imagine?”

“You don enter,” Jide sniggers.

“No, she has not.” Honey tries to remedy things. “Kene is just being Kene. He teases a lot and he understands boundaries, Mary. Please, don’t go. I’ll talk to him and tell him to behave. Just please, don’t go, Mary boo.”

I give a vehement shake of my head. My mind is made up.

“Okay, can you allow me speak with him first?” she requests.

“Still not changing my mind.”

“Please?”

Honey goes for the door and she’s out in a jiffy.

“You want to know my thoughts?” Jide asks.

“No, thank you.”

I close the door, leaving him still amused.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

mary's ring

“I told you not to propose to her, didn’t I?”

“Hi Honey.”

Ekene lets me into his house. The place is grand and spotless – as usual. The only difference from the last time I was here is the aroma of food in the air.

Ekene leaves me standing in the living room and walks to the dining area. I trudge after him and find him seated at the table, having dinner. The meal and setting is something only a professional like Mary can pull off. My tongue longs to have a taste but I’d rather listen to him explain his actions.

“You had to go freak her out, Kene. Why?”

“Well you know me, I don’t have time beating about the bush. And I’m too old to be doing boyfriend and girlfriend unlike some people I know. I learned my lesson with you. Years of my life wasted in love. Look where it got me. No more time for long talk, baby.”

I pull a chair and slide into it, my eyes catching the glitter of the controversial diamond ring as it sits in its box, untouched.

“Kene, you’re probably the closest friend I have and Mary and I pretty close; she’s an amazing person. And that was why when you told me you were crazy about her, I gave my blessing. In fact, I even dreamt about you guys getting married. I wanted you two to work but the way you’re going about it is wrong, Kene. You can’t force love. You have to…”

“Who said anything about love?”

He picks a piece of watermelon from a bowl of intricately-diced fruits and throws into his mouth. He looks at me.

“Because you’re in love you think everyone else has to go your way to maintain a happy relationship?”

“No. I…”

“Honey, I am not looking for love. I am looking for a wife. A beautiful, godly, industrious, humble woman I can take home to my dear, old mother. Mary fits the bill. Simple. Abeg, don’t go mushing up things in her head and filling her with romantic ideas. Plus I really, really like her. Do you know she has a birthmark on her neck that is shaped like the one on my left ankle?”

I smile at him. “But you used to believe in love.”

“I still do but not love at first sight and all that nonsense about being struck by lightning and having butterflies in one’s tummy. I want to grow into my feelings.”

“Well, you have a point. I’m just saying the whole proposal thing…”

“Is medieval. I know, and that’s how I do my thing. Leave me be, abeg.”

“You scared her.”

“I’d be worried if she wasn’t scared, Hon. The way she bolted out of here was proof that she is the one. Do you know how many women would walk in here and see that ring and go nude for me? But she didn’t; she got scared and that’s why I want her.”

I stare at the ring.

“Is this the same one you got for me?”

“No. I returned that one the day I went over to your house and from outside I heard you moaning and screaming out your boyfriend’s name like he was the best thing you ever had.”

“He is.” I give Ekene a straight face.

“Well, I’m glad you’re happy.”

I pick a slice of apple and stand.

“I know Mary will say yes,” Ekene adds. “She just needs to figure things out. She likes me. Maybe not as much as I like her but she likes me. And that’s enough for me.”

“I really want you guys to work, so stop being cocky and try not to screw things up.”

“How are you these days sef?” He looks at me.

“Good.”

“He knows?”

“Yeah. And he’s so amazing, and so patient, and so…”

I stop as I think of the many, beautiful ways Jide has been there for me from the moment I shared with him the story of my bipolar disorder.

“He’s an angel, Kene. And this means you have to stop being an ass to me. I have a bodyguard now.”

Ekene smirks. I tell him I’m leaving and he waves absentmindedly as he concentrates on his meal. I stroll back home with plans to talk with Mary but when I get in, Jide Informs me that she is gone.

“She says to tell you that she is sorry but she misses her home.”

I dump my sad self on Jide’s laps. His arms enfold me. I’m going to miss Mary. Tola is gone already. I have come to love both women in the short time they spent with me. Jide is right about having friends who will stand by you in dark moments. They both know about my depression and have been beside me, patient and supportive. I have had a couple of blue moments which they helped me through. The house is going to be quiet without them.

“You can come bunk with me if you need a roomie.”

Jide’s breath on my earlobe gives me goosebumps and other ideas. Too bad it’s that bloody time of the month.

Jide stares at his watch at the exact moment my phone starts to ring. I groan. I decide to let it ring out.

“You won’t pick the call?”

“Nope.”

“Okay. Um…I have to pop back to my parents’.”

“Again?”

“Family meeting.”

“Is everything alright? I don’t understand these family meetings you guys have been having all day.”

“Everything is fine, baby.”

“Can I come along?”

“No.”

I try to read his eyes which seem kind of evasive at the moment. Jide is always open with me about everything. What is he hiding?

“Are you coming back?”

“Sure.”

He kisses me before he leaves. Worrying about him, I stand by the window and watch until he’s out of sight. The moment he’s gone, my phone rings again. The Caller ID tells me Jane is calling for the millionth time. I know she wants to scold me for not honoring our cousin’s wedding, an occasion had no intention attending.

“Good evening, sis.”

Jane huffs on the phone. “Erhinyuse, why are you treating me like this? Fifteen times I called. Fifteen!”

“I’m sorry, sister.”

“This is not fair at all.”

“I know. And I’m sorry. I was busy.”

“Too busy for me?”

I stroll to the kitchen. I am so not in the mood to be scolded. I’m having cramps and the last thing I need is someone breathing down my neck.

“I’m sorry,” I say for the last time.

“Why didn’t you come for Sabina’s wedding?”

I open my fridge. “Well, you know… everyone else will be there and I don’t want drama. Brother already sent a text, telling me I was acting irresponsibly for not attending the wedding even though Sab and I are in the same town.”

“And what did you reply?”

I am staring at a fridge stocked with fresh fruits and salads. “Nothing.”

“That’s good. Ignore. Anyway, I want to see you.”

Immediately, red flags go up.

“You want to see me?”

“Yeah. Are you at home?”

I quickly recall a casual conversation I had with Jide two days ago about my family and how he warned me not to let any of them near me. His warning had sounded odd and when I asked why he came up with it from nowhere, he simply repeated himself and added, “If they want to visit, don’t take them to my place or yours. Bring them to my family house.”

I asked no more questions after that, finding it uncanny that at that moment we spoke, my cousin Sabina was having her traditional wedding and no doubt my siblings were present. I did not want to share that information with Jide. I felt my family issues were mine alone to handle. Just being with me was enough burden on him, although he must never hear me speak this way of myself.

“Can I come over?” Jane requests.

“Erm…I’m not at home right now…”

“I just want to drop your aso-ebi with you.”

I frown. “I don’t recall contributing for it. Or is Sab giving it out for free?”

“I paid for it to save face, okay? So tell me where you are let me hand it over to you with some other food ingredients I brought from Asaba since you have now started cooking.”

“You know what? Tell me where you are and I’ll drive over.”

“Even better. I’ll send a text.”

She goes offline and I remain standing, the light of the refrigerator in my face. I settle for a bowl of chicken salad. While I await the text, I dive in with a fork.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

Jane is at some fast food restaurant as her message says. I drive there, still with no intention of informing Jide. It isn’t until I park the car in the parking lot and realize that Jane is not alone that I decide to dial his number. Annoyed, I speak to him on the phone.

“You were right about not trusting any of them,” I tell him.

“What’s going on?”

“Jane is in town. Everyone else is here as well for my cousin’s wedding. Jane told me she wanted to see me and asked me to meet her at this fast food joint. I drive here, thinking I’m meeting with her alone and you won’t believe who she’s here with!”

“Your other siblings.”

“I have a very good mind to turn this car around and go home right now, Jide! I am so pissed! She tricked me into coming here!”

“Calm down, sugar lips.”

“I trusted her.”

“I know. Just calm down and listen to me. Go and meet them. It’s safe. It’s a public place. Just go there and tell them you’d rather host them at yours–”

“Never!”

“Listen to me. Remember what I told you the other night?”

“Yeah.”

“Do it. Tell them you’re taking them to yours but bring them to the family house.”

“Jide, I don’t want them near your family. It will be a disaster…”

“Let me worry about that, sweetheart. Just bring them over.”

“Jide…”

Bring them.”

I concede, but not wholeheartedly. Imagine the shame if Harry or Jessica decide to act up in the presence of Jide’s parents.

“And take it easy on Jane.”

“She betrayed me. I’m so done with her.”

He laughs. “See you soon, sugams.”

I leave the car. Jessica is the first to spot me. The huge glass windows that act as walls do not hide what’s going on in the restaurant. I see them all looking at me. Jane is the only one with a lowered head. I grip my wallet tightly to still my nerves as I walk in. They keep their eyes on me and there is not one smile to go with their offensive stares.

I, however, maintain a poised exterior as I amble towards them.

“Good evening,” I throw in a general greeting. For a moment it seems my show of respect would be ignored by them as they used to do years ago but Harry breaks into a scary grin that halts my steps.

“Erhinyuse, my darling sister! Come and give me a hug.”

I stand frozen. Something evil crawls up my spine and fills my throat as I glare back at the same hands that abused me throughout my childhood now spread open to me in a show of love.

What on earth has this old devil up his sleeves this time around?

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

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I am not sleeping. I’m sprawled on my floor, eyes to the ceiling, hands on my chest.

To watch the video or not to watch the video.

This is a rerunning dilemma in my head. I have one good reason to watch the video and an equally damning reason why I shouldn’t. Following my hysterics earlier at Honey’s house, I have decided to handle the situation with commonsense. One would think I’d toss Ekene’s proposal aside but I can’t. This video holds the reason why.

I turn around. My laptop is asleep. I tap it awake. It takes me another ten minutes or so of fighting the urge to go on YouTube. In the end, I do. I search for the video and with a palpitating heart I play it.

It’s a recording that stretches for an hour and twenty-one minutes. I should forward to the frame that mostly concerns me but I decide to watch from the beginning to calm my nerves. I sip cup after cup of green tea while I watch. I’m into my fifth cup when the video gets to the moment of truth. I sit up and clasp the cup with both hands.

“There’s a sister at the back row there!”

The voice of Peace’s pastor fills my ear, bringing nostalgia and a host of other feelings into me. My eyes stay glued on my laptop screen and I am transported back to the day the video was recorded.

Peace had invited me to her church for some program they were having at the beginning of the year. It was something they did annually. Seven days of fasting and prayers. I had begrudgingly attended; the end of last year had seen me in a terrible relationship that left me somewhat depressed. Church was the last thing I wanted but Peace assured me that I’d feel better when the program ended, and so I decided to attend just to get her off my back.

It ran for one week and finally we came to the last day, which was a Sunday. The church was packed to the rafters that morning and I had found myself somewhere at the back because I came late. The service was one of those power-charged affairs and when finally Peace’s pastor took the stage, people’s hearts were open to hear God’s word with a lot of expectations. I wasn’t one of those people. I was a tad disappointed that a whole week was wasted and I didn’t feel any better about my state. Years of failed relationships had left me bitter and resentful of the male species.

Somewhere in the middle of his sermon, the pastor stops, turns and directs his eyes straight into mine. But he says nothing and continues preaching. I tell myself I imagined the occurrence. However, towards the end of his sermon, he repeats his action and this time, he calls out.

“The sister at the back row there!”

He points. Heads turn left and right, including mine.

“The one with the green and yellow Ankara!”

Now, all eyes focus on me. There’s no one else wearing a green and yellow Ankara outfit except me. Slowly, I put my hand to my beating heart to confirm if it’s me as I rise to my feet.

“Yes, you. You have a surprise coming for you this year.”

Yeah right, my inner skeptic remarks. I have always had a strong dislike for pastors who did things like this. In my church we do not entertain such. We are more orthodox in our way of worship.

“Your husband will come this year,” the pastor continues. My inner skeptic snorts. It’s clear that I am not married because I am not wearing a ring. Please, man of God tell me something else.

And he does.

“God says to give you two signs so that you will know this message is from him because the man will come into your life and without these signs, you will throw him off.”

Okay, this is getting interesting.

“First sign: he will propose to you without any relationship going on between you two. Second sign: when he proposes, he will give you a short time to return with an answer.”

I remain a doubting Thomas.

“And God says you should say yes to him because that is your husband. He said he has made events and situations in your life align to that man. Your years of searching and frustration are not wasted years. The time was not yet set but before this year ends, you will wear a ring on your finger.”

The congregation choruses out a loud ‘amen!’ that terrifies me. I slump back into the chair, annoyed at Peace. Clearly, she told her pastor things about me.

“I did not,” she says in sincerity after the church service.

“You’re sure?”

“Why would I even do such a thing, Mary?”

“Maybe out of concern.”

“Please believe me, I did not. And you know what’s even scary about what happened here today?”

“What?”

“Our pastor hardly ever does what he did. He is more of a teacher than a prophet. If he prophesies in a year, it might be two or at most three times. What happened today was rare, so please take it as a message from God.”

Indeed. And that’s how I go through the year, a disbeliever, even though deep inside I know the message wasn’t a hoax. For fear of wanting it to come true, I refuse to entertain the presence of any guy. I dedicate my year chasing my career.

And then Jide returns home after five years and the feelings I once had for him are re-ignited, especially after the kiss we share. I tell myself he is the one. I speak to Peace first but she dissuades me, reminding me of her pastor’s prophecy. Ignoring her words, I share my feelings with Celia and the rest and they are only too happy to pair us up. Peace is not in support but she keeps mum and goes with the flow. When Jide brings Honey to the get-together at Celia’s and throws all of us off, only Peace shows support for their relationship. Well we all know how that story ends and how the next day, I debase myself by stripping for Jide and he gives me the tongue-lashing that I rightly deserve.

Peace’s reaction to the incidence is an ‘I told you so’.

“Shebi you will listen to God now?”

Listen to fire. I tell myself that the chances of that prophesy coming true is one in a million. I am more likely to get a yes if I propose to any random man out there than find Peace’s pastor’s dream husband for me.

I carry on with this state of mind as the months go by, oblivious of what waits for me around the corner.

Ekene is a blow to my face I don’t see coming. His proposal knocks me off balance and the after-effect still leaves me swooning. I am fighting him with everything in me and even after watching this video as a confirmation of where my life is supposedly ought to be heading, I insist on rejecting him.

“I do not like Ekene,” I say out loud. I need to believe this. I need God to hear me. “I don’t like him.”

I finish my cup of tea.

“I will not marry him.”

©Sally@moskedapages

Images credits: www.virgosandkisses.com, mystictalia.com

 

 

It’s Another Saturday…#23

It Must Have Been Love

Shit has hit the fan at last. We have been called to a family meeting by my parents on this humid Monday morning to settle issues between Emeka and Tola. As told to me by my mom, Tola had threatened to kill Emeka with a knife last night, literally holding his penis hostage for nine hours until the sun came up and Kalu drove over to rescue him. They say she is still in bad shape but Nne has been able to calm her down. Now, she wants to have a word with everyone.

I really don’t know why I have to be there. I wish they would just cut me off from anything that has Emeka’s name on it. I have my own issues to deal with, the biggest being how I am going to convince the woman I love that I am not a colossal ass.

God will not easily forgive me for what I did to Honey. I think yesterday I got to the lowest point of my life with my words to her. I didn’t sleep through the night. I spent the entire time whipping myself psychologically and emotionally. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was trying to get through to her line but was unable to.

“I don’t know what to tell her, boo,” I say to Mary over the phone.

“Just apologize, Jide. And assure her that you didn’t mean those words.”

“I didn’t but truth is I freaked out.”

“You are a grown ass man, Jide.”

“Boo, I needed time to think it through and let it all sink in. A baby is not a new gadget or a new car you just acquire. A baby is a life, an entire human being. If I don’t welcome him or her mentally and emotionally, then accepting them physically would be a farce. I had to prepare myself!”

“Well, see what your preparation has caused you.”

“She was inconsolable. My God! She cried like she was losing her dad all over again. I felt so terrible and I still do.”

“Abeg, don’t waste time. Go and tell her sorry before I take it personal.” Mary hisses. “Na dis kind story dey vex me. You just fall my hand big time, Olajideofor.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t tell me sorry! Go and tell her. And get an engagement ring while you’re at it for heaven’s sake!”

“Okay ma.”

Mary hangs up. I look outside the window of the cab I’m in. There’s Monday rush traffic building up ahead of us. I brace myself for wasted time and use the opportunity to cancel appointments with my patients, reassigning them to junior midwives. I intend to take the entire day off to be with Honey. She needs to know how much I love her and that I do not plan to bail on her or the baby, even though I am yet be excited that she is pregnant.

I arrive at the family house really late, hoping they had carried on their meeting without me. Unfortunately, I meet them in good time. The old man is about to speak when I enter the sitting room.

“Sorry I’m late,” I apologize. “Traffic.”

“Sit down.” My mom points to an empty space on a sofa beside Oba. When I get myself comfortable, I take in my environment.

Tola is seated in-between my parents on one of the three-sitters. Emeka and Kalu are put together while Yazmin occupies a single couch. My mom appears more exhausted than saddened. She holds Tola’s hand in both of hers. Yazmin seems uneasy and she draws no comfort when her eyes briefly catch mine.

“I was about sharing a true story before you walked in Jideofor,” my dad speaks. “You remember your late Uncle, Festus, my eldest brother?”

“Yeah.”

“He fell into a similar situation with Chukwuemeka when he recently got married to your aunty. Festus played away match with one small girl in a neighboring village and she gave birth to twin girls for him. Meanwhile your aunty had a son for him already. So, it was that he wanted to secretly settle the mother of his twins and send her on her way but our father said, ‘No. We do not do such in our place. The woman has given birth to your child and by doing that, you have completely killed her market. Who do you now want to leave her and the twins for? What man will even take secondhand cargo?’

“So, your grandfather refused. And thus, Festus and all the males in the family went over to the girl’s village and paid her dowry and brought her home. She was given her own room in the compound and they all lived in peace with your aunty even after your uncle’s death. What is the essence of my long story?”

“I wonder,” Oba murmurs. My mom eyes him.

“My daughter, Omotola,” my dad continues, “we cannot drive the mother of one of our sons away, especially since he is a first son. It is not in our culture to do so. It is better that the mother on her own accord, chooses to leave. We will bless her and send her on her way in peace but she will not take our son along. I have already told this to Yazmin. She says she has no desire to leave. You were here when she said it. Your husband who is also her husband wants her to stay. We too, we want her to stay. Omotola, I know it is painful but my daughter, what has happened cannot be reversed. And that is why, as a family, we plead with you in God’s name to forgive two of them and accept Yazmin as your sister.”

Tola looks away from him.

“Forgive your husband for his foolishness.”

“But daddy, if the table was turned and I did what Emeka did, won’t you be throwing me out of the house now?”

“Good question,” Oba comments.

“My dear, I am not a hypocrite. I will not throw you out of my son’s house if you did what he did. It is his right to do as he wishes, not mine. I may suggest it to him but I’ll leave him with his decision. The same way I am letting you know right now that it is your choice to stay with him or to go. But we are hoping you stay because you are now part of us and you’re carrying an Onuora. It will hurt us immensely if you go away but we will understand. Nevertheless, we beg you to forgive, to accept Yazmin as your sister and to manage this misbehaving Igbo family as part of yours.

“As for Chukwuemeka, your chapter is not closed in my book. There will be consequence for this grave wickedness you have displayed. May God deal with me severely if I see your face in this house after today. From now on you are banned from coming here.”

Emeka gulps. “What?”

“Lawrence…”

My dad raises his hand and stops my mom. “I’ve said what I’ve said.”

“You’re disowning me?”

“I have no right to. You’re still my son and that’s never going to change but you are not welcome here any longer.”

“Daddy, please.” Tola pleads.

I stare at my mom, expecting her to speak on her son’s behalf but she doesn’t. Her eyes hold tears that may take twenty years to spill. Her mercy has reached its limit and so has everyone else’s except Tola’s.

“Daddy, please forgive him.”

My father’s face is set in stone as he looks at Emeka who has gone on his knees. He dare not approach him.

“I’m sorry, dad. I screwed up big time. I’ll fix it–”

“How?” My dad probes. “You mess yourself up and the women who love you and you say you will fix it? How? What legacy do you want to leave your children with? When Tobe grows up to be a man tomorrow, what would he have learned from you? Or do you think women are rags you use to mop the very floor you walk on? When did you become this useless person? Where did we go wrong?”

The weight of my father’s pain falls on me and I am reminded of my own responsibility waiting. How do I present my case to them without them concluding they have failed as parents? I don’t feel any different from Emeka. We are both fuckboys. Our dicks have spoken for us and chosen the paths of our destinies. While Emeka seeks to ‘fix’ his issues, I intend to make things right with my woman.

I watch as Tola leaves her seat and plants her knees on the floor before my parents.

“Get up,” my mom commands. “Don’t kneel on his behalf.”

“Please mom, I want to speak. This is the reason why I called everyone together.”

“You’re pregnant…”

“I am fine. Please Nne, let me speak.”

“Go ahead.”

“Daddy, mommy, you’re the only parents I have. You have been kind and loving to me even with my flaws and mistakes. I owe you more than I can ever repay you. Right now, all I have to give back is my love and respect and this child I am carrying and that is why I have no intention of leaving Emeka. I have vowed for better or for worse and if this is the worse I’ll have to live with, then I’m ready for it. Oyibo woman no fit enter my domot come kolombi my husband. All of us go die on the line.”

Oba sniggers and I smile.

“Mommy, daddy, I just want to say thank you for stepping into this messy situation.”

Nice one, Tola. You just scored high on the scale of best daughter-in-law. Yazmin, your storytelling skills won’t cut it in this round.

Tola dabs her eyes with the back of her hand and returns to her seat.

“Emeka,” she confronts her husband. “I don’t know if love you the way I used to. It will take God’s grace to get us back to that place of love. Last night when I held your… When I held you, I had a lot of time to think things through. And I have come to the following conclusion if we want this marriage triangle to work. One: this baby I’m carrying, whether boy or girl will be considered your first child. Two: Yazmin is not entitled to anything you own. You will take care of Tobe and her but if anything happens to you or she decides to leave, she goes with nothing. Three: Yazmin must live in this same town with me. Not far away from me. I don’t trust her; I want my eyes on her. Four: I am the official Mrs. Chukwuemeka Onuora, the one you take for public functions. Five: If you do not accept my terms, you are free to leave but I will make sure I drain you of every last kobo you have. These are my terms.”

There is a hush that allows everyone present mull over her words.

“Thank you, darling,” Nne says. “Chukwuemeka? Yazmin? What have you both to say to all that Tola has just laid down?”

Emeka nods and looks at Yazmin.

“I’m fine with it,” she replies.

“It’s not just to say you are fine with it,” my dad drops in. “You are to say, ‘thank you,’ because no woman of this generation is this generous to share her husband with another woman, so don’t sit there and act like it’s your right to take what rightfully belongs to her.”

“I’m not trying to…”

“In short, you have no mouth or claim over Emeka as long as Tola exists in his life. She has become your madam. You’ll call her aunty. You will respect her the same way you respect us. If Emeka does anything to hurt you, you will not come to us but go straight to her to report him. She is your mommy as well. I will not hear that you were rude to her or you try to rub shoulders with her. Do you hear me?”

“Yes, dad.”

“That is our culture here. In the olden days in some parts of Igboland, the first wife was responsible for searching for and initiating marriage procedures to bring in a new wife for her husband. And once that wife has been brought in, she must accord the older wife all the respect she deserves. That is how it is done. If you cannot cope with the terms, Yazmin, feel free to find your way back to your father’s house but you must drop our son for us. Do you understand?”

“I do, dad,” a tearful Yazmin answers. She seems harassed by the old man who before now has been a cool dad to her.

“Oya, say thank you to Omotola.”

Yazmin faces Tola. “Thanks.”

“Which one be thanks? No, my dear. Do things properly. Yorubas love respect. You saw how she went on her knees before us? Do the same.”

“Dad?” Emeka protests.

“Shut your mouth,” my mom fires back.

With tears streaming down her face, Yazmin lowers to her knees before Tola. “Thank you, Tola.”

“Get up, abeg. After you’ll go and give him head behind my back.”

I try hard not to laugh but I can’t help it. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of drama between both women. Yazmin looks like she has some trouble in her as well.

“Dad,” Emeka speaks up, “please take back your words about me not showing up here again. I’m really sorry for everything. I would do anything…”

“You have done enough.” The old man stands up. “You need to start undoing now. Until I see a man in you, a true husband and a responsible father, you are not welcome here. Have a nice day, everyone else. I have things to do.”

As he walks up the stairs, I see our perfect family falling apart. I wonder if things will go back to the way they used to be.

I hang around a bit to add some comfort to my mom’s life but she assures me that she is fine.

“I’ll spend the rest of the year praying, Jidenna. Everything is so confusing right now and I don’t know which way to turn but I know God will heal this family and set things right. The devil will not succeed.”

“Amen,” I say sincerely. Holding her frail form in a hug, I tell her I love her. She pats my cheek and I step into the kitchen for a drink of water. I see Yazmin sitting before the kitchen table, her phone is placed before her and she is on a video call to a woman I’m guessing is her mother. I don’t understand Spanish but I gather that the woman is mad at her for some reason, going by the way she is screaming. I feel somewhat sorry for Yazmin. Honey has told me she is also having a hard time on her own.

yaz

I take my drink of water and rinse the glass cup.

Yazmin looks at me briefly. She is on her way to a smile but I step out of the house through the backdoor.

“Jide!”

I turn to see Emeka trudging after me.

“I was thinking…” He walks up to me. “I’m trying to get Yaz her own place because I don’t think she’ll be comfortable here again. So I was thinking that since she’s in good terms with Honey, she could bunk up with her until…”

“No.”

“You didn’t even let me finish.”

“My girlfriend’s house will not be a hotel where you drop by to shag your wife whenever you’re horny. Besides, Honey is going through a lot right now. She doesn’t need stress.”

“Okay. No wahala.”

I start to walk away but he stops me again.

“I don’t want this thing to tear us apart, JD.”

“It won’t. I just have my own ish to deal with. As for Yazmin, I’ll come round. Just give me time.”

My answer seems to please him. He goes back to the house while I head out the gate. There are usually no cabs cruising by at this time of the day, so I decide to take a walk and while I do, I try Honey’s number. It rings, much to my nervousness. I have not prepared a speech for her yet.

“Hello?”

Hearing her voice takes the edge away.

“Hello?” I repeat. I can’t work up the words to express how sorry I am.

“Um…are you home?”

“Yeah.”

“Can I come over?”

She sniffles. “Alright.”

“Honey, are you okay…?”

She disconnects the line and I’m left staring at my phone. I hear the horn of a car, cock my head to see a cab and I flag it down.

The driver takes me to Honey’s house. Saratu lets me in and I head straight to Honey’s bedroom. I find her crouched on the floor and her head on the bed. Her face is to the wall, she is not crying.

“Honey?”

At the sound of my voice, she blinks but says nothing. I pull her up from the floor and try to look into her eyes but she wouldn’t let me. She dives into the bed and burrows her head in a sea of pillows.

“Honey, talk to me.”

“She won’t.”

I turn to the door where Saratu is standing.

“She’s been like that since last night.”

“What happened?”

Saratu’s expression shows that my question is ridiculous.

“Let’s talk.”

I do not want to speak with her but it seems she has something to tell me. I follow her to the sitting room and take a seat. She sits facing me.

“She had an abortion,” Saratu reveals and my chest constricts.

“Yesterday when you left, she went to some pharmacy in God-knows-where and bought a pill. In the evening she was tossing and crying in pain and bleeding as well. So I took her to the hospital where it was discovered that the pregnancy was threatened. A D&C had to be carried out immediately. We came back home around ten and she has since been like this.”

“Has she eaten?”

“No.”

I stand up and turn towards Honey’s bedroom.

“I think maybe you should go,” Saratu says to me, arms crossed. “You have done enough damage already.”

“Excuse me?”

“My friend loves you to death. The pregnancy was a mistake. She didn’t plan to trap you or whatever rubbish you told her yesterday. She nearly killed herself with that pill. All because of you! So you don’t deserve her. She has a full life ahead of her and she doesn’t need you in it.”

“Erm…Saratu, I understand your concern for your friend but it does not give you the right to be rude to me.”

I walk back into Honey’s bedroom.

“Close the door,” she says.

I do not only close the door, I turn the key in the lock and face Honey. She is now seated with her back to the wall, a pillow on her laps.

“I killed our baby, Jide. And I’m scarred.”

I walk to the bed in a slow pace.

“I wasn’t thinking when I drove out to buy the pill. I was just so mad at you and I wanted to get even. If I had just waited until the morning…”

She sniffles.

“My dad used to tell me to wait until the morning whenever I’m angry because daylight makes a person see better. I should have waited. Now, she’s gone.”

“She?”

“Our baby. She’s gone.”

I sit beside Honey and take her hand.

“I slept briefly this morning and had a dream about her. She had very weird hair like an albino. And then she had this really cute pink dress with tiny butterflies on it. She was on a swing chair and I was pushing her gently but she wanted me to push harder and higher and she was saying, ‘mommy, up! Up!’ And so I pushed harder and harder until she disappeared and the chair came back empty. And then I woke up.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Guilty. Depressed. Angry.”

“Physically, how are you doing?”

She laughs drily. “Fine. And that’s what’s weird. I take a life and I feel fine. My womb should be killing me right now or something.”

“It doesn’t work like that, Honey.”

“God will punish me. I know that. This is the second time, so God is on my case. Maybe when I eventually get married I won’t be able to have babies again.”

“Don’t talk like that.”

“I shouldn’t? Jide, I committed murder! I killed an innocent life!”

“Calm down.”

“You’re not angry at me? You’re not mad that I killed your baby?”

I scratch my head. I don’t want to answer her question. Of course, I am upset that she did what she did but what right do I have to scold her? It was me who told her that I wanted nothing to do with the baby. I stood and watched her cry her heart out and still accused her of wanting to trap me. In my opinion, I am equally culpable, if not worse. It’s like the case of Adam and Eve and I will not make that mortal mistake of putting the blame on her.

“I am not mad at you, sugar lips. Rather I am mad that I made you do such a terrible thing.”

“I am sorry, Jide.”

“Me too. For what I said and how I acted yesterday. Can you forgive me?”

She runs her hand over my beard. Her smile is broken. I want to take her in my arms and heal her but I feel this rift between us. It’s in the way her eyes look at me. There’s something missing in her stare. But maybe it’s just the psychological trauma that she’s passing through. It’s not something new to us in the medical field. Whether through careless mistakes, deliberate attempts or medical conditions, we get mothers like Honey, who after losing their pregnancies or babies, temporarily lose their mind to guilt. Abortion can be devastating and I have heard of cases where women immediately regretted their actions after the deed is done and plunge into deep psychological trauma. Oftentimes, they do not want to be consoled as they feel the guilt is the best punishment for what they have done.

“I shouldn’t have,” Honey whispers. I squeeze her hand. She pulls it away from me.

“We need to talk,” she says.

“I’m listening.”

“I think we should break up.”

I crease my brows. “What’s the meaning of that?”

She looks at me. “I’m not in a good place right now. I can’t be the person I used to be. I need to go through this alone.”

“No, we’ll go through it together, Honey. Your pain is my pain. Your loss, my loss. We will weather this storm together.”

She shakes her head. “No.”

“I’m not listening to you.”

“Jide, we are not good for each other. We are not ready to love. It was all about the sex and good times but when we both faced reality, both of us thought only about our selfish interests and in the process, lost a life. Do we need a prophet to tell us that we are not meant to be?”

“Honey, we will heal and learn and grow from our mistakes; not run from them.”

“I’m sorry I just can’t continue. All I felt before, the warm emotions, the feelings of desire, the sheer joy of just being around you, they’re all gone. I don’t see you the same, Jide.”

“You’ve fallen out of love?”

“What is love, Jideofor? Butterflies in the tummy? Passionate sex? Dinner date and trips to the cinema? Breakfast in bed? What is it exactly?”

“It’s when two people care for each other the way we do.”

“It’s a lot more than that, Jide, and sadly, we don’t have it. We’re just two selfish people infatuated with each other and it’s time we went our separate ways.”

The look in her eyes I saw earlier is now full bloom. The Honey I used to know is no longer there. Dear Lord, what have I done to a good woman?

“Honey, you’re just going through a phase right now and you’ll overcome it. I am here to hold your hand through it. That is what true love does…”

“No, Jide.”

“Honey…”

“No,” she emphasizes and rises up from the bed. I watch her in dazed silence as she walks to the door and holds it open. It is not until I spot tears in her eyes that I realize I am actually being dumped.

“You’re not thinking clearly, sugar lips.”

She says nothing. And I think she’s sparing me the indignity of a nasty breakup. I stand up and take slow steps to her in the hopes that she’ll change her mind but she looks at me with a blank stare that is alien to her features.

“Honey, I love you.”

“Me too. But I need to understand what that all means.”

“Do I give you time?”

“Don’t wait for me, Jide. I don’t know what is happening to me right now and I don’t want to keep you waiting. If you find someone else, please move on.”

“I will not move on. I’ll wait for as long as you keep me waiting, Hon. You are my wife and what happened yesterday only solidifies what we have. We have just experienced our first and probably only loss…”

“Just stop, please. And go. I need to be alone.”

“I respect that.”

She avoids my eyes but I pull her close and hide my face in her neck. I breathe in her smell and my hand feels the smoothness of her skin as my arm goes round her waist. I can’t believe she wants to take all of this away from me. What do I do with myself in her absence? How do I cope without her sugar lips?

I plant soft pecks on her neck and chin until I find her soft lips. Just one taste of her and my mind takes me back to that first kiss at Celia’s home party.

“We’ve come such a long way, sugams. Why do you want to throw everything away?”

“Go, Jide.”

I kiss her some more and her body naturally settles into mine.

“Go.” Her voice is weak and so are the hands that try to push me away. I know I can easily take advantage of her but I choose not to. I step back and catch a glimpse of how much she loves me through eyes veiled with tears.

“Keep the car, keep your key to my house,” I tell her. “Like I said, I’ll be waiting.”

“Go, please…”

I kiss her forehead and walk out. It’s the longest trip I have taken from her bedroom to the front door and each step is agonizing. She is not the only one who will go through the pangs of guilt. Mine awaits me in the dark places of my heart.

I step out to the sun and for some reason it burns hotter than normal. A lizard scurries past me as I step on the trimmed lawn beneath me. I look down and the grass doesn’t seem so green, the same way little blooming flowers in a flowerbed nearby have lost their color.

Must be my eyes or the blinding sun or maybe this is what heartbreak really feels like.

Mixed race couple holding hands

©Sally@moskedapages

Image Credit: www.revistapredicciones.clwww.veooz.com

Translations:

Na dis kind story dey vex me – It’s this type of story that gets me angry

Oyibo woman no fit my domot come colombi my husband – a white woman cannot just show up in my territory and snatch my husband

No wahala – no problem