An array of belts on the bed, six in all and Ojo inspected them carefully, He wanted to ensure she got the message, but at the same time he had no desire to injure her more than it was necessary.
He wasn’t proud of what he was planning to do but there was only so much he could take, the woman was driving him crazy and it was time to shut her up. For weeks, she had steadily been flogging him with words, she would describe him with all sorts of adjectives and he would always keep quiet but he just couldn’t take it any longer.
“Mayokun will feel my fury today”; I will show her why a woman should speak less and listen more. He felt his heart flutter in fear and wondered if this was the right thing to do. He thought about it and shrugged, after all I have been taking these things for a while now without any complaint. It had been bearable when there was no audience to the tongue flogging but after a third party had witnessed her doing it, the dynamic had changed.
That Sunday morning- the day they had an audience, all he had tried to do was use her Car to drop Baba Ijemo at the motor park. Baba Ijemo – his father who had come to Lagos to attend a burial ceremony which held the previous day. He had taken her keys and that was it. She hadn’t even respected Baba’s presence but had proceeded to scold him on how he was supposed to have serviced her Car for weeks now but like in every other responsibility he had failed woefully. He had immediately returned the keys and picked his but that didn’t stop her tirade, even her goodbyes to Baba Ijemo had been punctuated with her raining insults on him.
For the first few minutes in the Car Baba Ijemo had been quiet until suddenly he said; Ojo, you disgrace me. You mean you talk and Mayokun dares breathe? Wait, you didn’t even say anything o, you just picked her keys and she said all that to you? She couldn’t even stop herself seeing I was there. She might as well have insulted me too because I felt so disrespected.
“I apologise Sir. E ma binu”
“you apologise? Ojo, are you sure you came from this my loins?” He added.
“ Ki lo se e? What is your problem? Is she the one feeding you or did you make a blood covenant with her?
“AhnAhn. ki lo le to yen? You are taking this too far Daddy, She didn’t mean any of it.” Ojo had protested vehemently.
“Ojo oro yi le jubayen lo o. This is a very serious matter . She didn’t mean kini? Are you that used to being verbally trashed by your wife? A woman you married with your own money? I will not allow you to continue disgracing me like this. No wonder, I have been wondering why your wife carries her shoulders like she is the man of the house, it’s because you have been letting her talk back to you.”
Ojo sighed deeply, “Daddy you won’t understand, you don’t live with us. She just woke up upset today, that’s all. She is not usually like that.”
His father laughed scornfully at his words. “Ojo, do you think I was born yesterday? I saw how you hurriedly returned her Car keys and the look of long suffering that was on your face. It told me it’s not an unusual thing. In fact, I can tell this happens regularly. Now park the car and let me tell you how to resolve this. I am your father and an elder. I have been married to your Mom for decades now and you know how she treats me with respect and adoration. Let me teach you how to handle a woman.”
Daddy, I don’t think that’s necessary, besides you need to get back to Ijemo on time. I am sure you will have some things to do.”
“My friend, find a place to park this Car o jare. What is so important for an old man like me to do on a Sunday morning?”
“Toh.” Ojo sighed. He knew he could never win the argument. So he found a spot, parked and tuned to face his father.
“Ehn,Ehn, good. O kare.”
“See Ojo, You have to whip her. Yes. Women are like children, they lack the ability to reason like we men and so need our guidance so they can behave in the way we want. Have you ever seen your mother raise her voice at me? There is a reason she wouldn’t dare Ojo. If she tries it, she knows I will whip her skin off her back.” Baba Ijemo burst into a fit of laughter after this, laughter that made Ojo feel awkward after all this was his mother he was talking about.
“This is what you will do, get an Atori – a whip or a strong leather belt that is not too thick, the next time she mouths off at you, ignore her like you did this morning and let her talk. When she exhausts herself, invite her into the room; don’t let your anger show in your face so she doesn’t suspect anything. Then you lock the door and whip her till she promises to behave well. You will need to put on the Radio or television when you do this. You do not want the neighbors hearing anything.”
“Daddy! Are you kidding? Ojo asked an amused look on his face. I should beat my wife till she begs? This is Mayokun o, my beloved wife; she will be so disappointed in me if I try such a thing. In fact, I can’t even do it. I can’t hurt her like that. No way.” He added shaking his head.
“ Look at him. Didnrin – Silly fellow.” Are you not disappointed in her for what she has been doing to you? I say disappoint each other and then both of you can mend fences and you can have peace. I am not saying you should beat her every time or that you should injure her. I am just saying some days show her who the man is. Let her learn to respect and revere you.
“Baba, this thing is not for me o. I do love my wife.”
“Shior. Did someone tell you I don’t love mine?” Baba retorted. “If you like don’t heed my advice and continue to be Mayokun’s wife. You can start your car and take me to the motor park.”
Mayokun’s wife! Ojo clenched his teeth as he remembered just how his father had said it that with scorn and disappointment in his voice. I really have no choice. he said to himself. Mayokun brought this on herself. It’s been more than a week since his father visited and he had been certain he wasn’t going to heed the advice but Mayokun had kept pushing him and now it was time to strike.
Mayokun – the one who was about to be beaten was pacing the dining room expressing her displeasure with her husband. She knew Ojo was in the room directly above and would be hearing her raised voice. That was exactly how she wanted it.
“I will give him an earful today, shey he doesn’t want to change for the better. Agbaya jatijati- fool. I don’t kuku know what I saw in him sef” All this she said loudly so Ojo could hear.
Of course she knew what she saw in him, he had been that handsome gentleman she had always wished for, and he had been her sweet love. As at the time they were getting married she had been sure she was always going to be drunk in love with Ojo. Somehow in just two years she became a bitter nag and even she couldn’t explain how it happened. All she knew was everything he did and didn’t do irritated her.
That day to her Ojo’s crime was unforgivable. She had told him two weeks earlier that their second Gas cylinder was empty and needed to be refilled. It should have been an easy task considering she believed she didn’t give him that much to do anyway yet he had forgotten to do it and now they were both going to starve to bed as the gas cylinder she was using finished mid cooking.
“Take out the trash, feed and clean the Dog, make sure the generator has fuel, ensure there is cooking gas, get rid of the Cobwebs and feed yourself. That is not too much, is it?” She said loud enough for him to hear.
“I really don’t know where I went wrong with you. I just know you want to kill me with stress; you want to be a useless husband. You want a slave who will minister to your needs all day without complaint. News flash, I am not a slave o and will never be and I will not allow you to injure me with stress. You better come downstairs and drink Gaari because that’s your dinner tonight. This is the kind of suffering I go through just because I have a husband who wants to be good for nothing. What do you even do for me that I can’t do for myself? I might as well be single.”
Ojo felt himself shiver from the tension. God! How did the sweet girl he married turn to this angry bully? “It has to be tonight.” he decided. “I can’t continue like this”. He caught his reflection in the dressing mirror and wasn’t happy with what he saw. “My face is not serious enough.” He made faces at the mirror trying to create a face that will tell Mayokun he was at his breaking point.
“Why is this so hard?” Ojo wondered. After several attempts he managed to work his face into a frown and left the room to unleash plan A – walking out on her. He knew he wasn’t following his father’s blueprint but he wanted to give her a chance to repent.
The moment she heard his footsteps on the stairs, Mayokun raised her voice a little louder. “See Ojo, I am tired; I don’t ask for much, I do 90% of the house work and still contribute financially. All I ask is for you to do very little things for me and even that appears to be too much for you. O ti sun mi ooo. I didn’t sign up for this rara. If I knew I would have just remained single.”
Ojo really wanted to just walk out silently but her words were piercing his heart. “I just have to beat this woman. I think this is the best thing to do. Let me just beat her.”
So he stopped. “Mayokun keep quiet”. He said in a quiet but menacing tone.
“No, I won’t keep quiet. I am tired, I am tired of everything, I am suffering too much in this house, What is it? Ojo do your duties, is that too much to ask? I don’t ask for much, Just do your duties as a man. Haba, you are my husband, do your duties. Do right by me.”
Ojo’s knees went weak as it suddenly hit him. “Ohhhhh.” He mouthed. Mayokun was still screaming and this time with tears streaming down her face.. He walked up to her and held her close to him, tightly . She struggled frantically but he held her in a tight grip, enveloping her in his arms, mad at himself for being so blind. He exhaled as she softened in his arms sobbing profusely on his shoulder.
“I am so sorry babe” he said. “I was wrong, I have really wronged you. Please Mayokun allow me to make things right. I want to make love to you. Allow me babe. Please. He felt his manhood already straining at his trousers. He was amazed at the rush of desire he felt but didn’t allow himself to think of it.
“Kai Baby”. She said still sobbing, her face still on his shoulders. Ojo was now very sure of what he had to do and so he got to work. He pulled her away gently, wiped her face with his hands and kissed her. At first it was slow until their lips took on a life of their own and communed in a frenzy. There was no time to climb the stairs to their room; the fever that enveloped them both was impatient. He not so gently walked her to the living room rug where they fell together in a heap. The hunger was raw and maddening. Wandering hands turned frantic as urgency enveloped them, She could feel her depth screaming to be filled, he was so hard he could burst. Clothing got flunged in different directions and seconds later they were dancing to a rhythm they would have sworn was long forgotten. Lost in their own world, they allowed waves of desire to wash over them in torrents. There was only one thing that mattered – sating the hunger.
When they were done, they laid there. Her back to him, his right hand under her shoulders, his left hand embracing her. They both were speechless thinking about the nights and days they had wasted in conflict when they could have been sharing bliss. They thought of the beauty of peace and how complete they both felt.
It was Ojo that spoke first. “Babe I am really sorry. I got so consumed with work and life generally and forgot the one thing that mattered most to me. I really don’t know how I allowed that to happen. At a time tonight while you were saying those angry words, it finally dawned on me what your anger and bitterness was really about.”
“I am sorry too baby.” She said. “I am so ashamed of myself. I realize I have been so mean to you. I could have handled things better.”
“Yes Babe, you could have. Ojo replied. I hope you can try to take things easy with me, if I forget to do something for you including knacking o.” He added tickling her as they both giggled. “Please understand it isn’t because I don’t care. Just remind me with love and I will do it”.
“You are right Love, My anger and bitterness wasn’t really about the chores? It was something deeper, I was angry and frustrated that we were in this house together and you refused to touch me for over two months now. I thought maybe you didn’t love me anymore.”
“But Mayo, you know I have had a lot of issues at work lately and I have been so preoccupied and distracted, why didn’t you just ask?”
“Ask ke, that one is a man’s duty oo before you will think I am a loose woman”
“Are you for real right now? Why will I think such a thing?’
“Well really now that I think of it with a clear head, you wouldn’t but asking for sex is not something a woman does. It’s a male thing.”
Really? Who made all these rules though? You are my wife, we love each other. What if I told you taking initiative for sex will be a real turn on for me? Societal rules about what is expected of a man and woman shouldn’t apply to us. Do you know if I had followed my Dad’s advice we won’t be here?
“Chai. It occurred to me that Baba must have been displeased o. .He was really angry abi? I really should call and apologise. What advise did he give?”
My dear, don’t worry about that. he replied kissing her neck to prevent her saying anything further.