Not So Happily Married ….. Episode Eleven

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I never speed while driving, it’s a personal decision. I had vowed to myself after my father lost his life in a motor accident that nothing will make me speed or drive rough. But that afternoon, I ignored my vows and drove like someone who was being chased. I wanted to meet my wife at home if that was where she went to.

I would have been on time if not because I had decided to obey the traffic light on the highway just before my estate. I was driving in through one gate when I saw Femi’s car drive out of the other.

I parked, ran out and started yelling my wife’s name. There was no way she would hear but yelling made me feel better.

So she is going to Calabar. I thought. She had told me about the event earlier but had said she wasn’t interested in going.  I didn’t need to wonder what made her change her mind; I just didn’t understand how she could be so irrational.

Another woman would stay to ask questions, get angry or throw tantrums. Why do you always abandon me instead Boye? I muttered.

I decided to try her number again. I waited for it to ring, I willed it to ring, I begged it to not give the same not reachable message I had been getting while driving down but it wasn’t my lucky day.

“I have to go to Calabar too.” I decided

“Okay, relax first Jite.” I told myself. “Why on earth will you want to go to Calabar? For what na?”

“What will I be doing here? My life is going to be empty without Omoboye. The fact that we might not even talk throughout her stay there will only make me more miserable.”

“Oh my God, you sound pathetic.” I chided myself

“Is this what marriage does to people. Does marriage make an adult male so dependent, so wimpish or is it just that I have a problem?”

“Why did I get married, why did I marry Omoboye? Is this what the rest of my life will be like?

“Things do not have to remain this way” I said continuing my soliloquy.  “You are the man here. You can take charge. You need to make her know she can’t just walk out on you whenever she feels like it. Go to your house, take a bath, go out with your friends, go clubbing, do whatever. Just have fun. When she comes back, don’t allow her in until she begs. In fact pack her bags for her, let her meet them in the hallway.”

I laughed at my own words thinking one of my ancestors must have taken over my mind for a minute. Throw her bags out? Who does that these days?

Here is what you will do. I will swallow my pride and take the next available flight to Calabar. I will go to my wife, sit her down and force her to say everything on her mind.

With that, I started the car.

 

*****

I saw his car when we were driving out, I could have told Femi to stop the car. I think I wanted to only I didn’t. I knew I could quit the drama and demand explanations but I was growing fond of taking time apart when we have issues. It seemed like an easier way. 

Femi and I got to Tinapa late in the afternoon. Our flight which should have been for 12 P.M was delayed for an extra two hours for reasons we were left to imagine.

It wasn’t my first time in Tinapa but still I mouthed a “wow” upon entering the resort. My room overlooked the Sea and I thought of how much more beautiful it would be if Jite were around. Funny how I always think of him when I am having a good time. I thought.IMG-20120215-00573

The event slated for that day was over by the time we got there but we were still able to meet up with some key people in the industry. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I just kept thinking of my husband. Why did I even leave Lagos? I wondered. Why didn’t I just talk to Jite?

It’s still Jite ooo, the guy that forgave me for killing his baby. Why didn’t I just hear him out? Who knows, maybe Skipper’s baby is not even his after all.

That would be nice to know wouldn’t it? I didn’t want to think of Skipper’s pregnancy because it only reminded me of my own failure to take in. Several thoughts had been running at the back of my mind; thoughts that perhaps I had damaged my womb. It even crossed my mind that perhaps, I was destined to have one child and I had wasted my only chance. I had Nollywood and the movies where they try to make us believe there was one place where you choose the number of children you would have to thank for that. But I kept pushing the negative thoughts back.

I think I should call him. I decided switching on my phone.

 

*****

There are days when it would seem like everything on earth conspired to make your life miserable. That day was one of such. I needed cash; I had more than I needed in my account only I couldn’t access my money. Every ATM that I checked had the same story to tell. “Issuer or switch inoperative” From the little I know, I understood it could only mean there was a problem with my bank’s network. I also knew things could remain that way for the rest of the day but still I had to go to Calabar. I had 5000 naira on me and I was sure there was no way I could get to Calabar with that. I thought of driving to my Mum’s place for help but decided I had to solve the problem on my own.

I drove back to the house confident that there would be some money lying around. Omoboye is a cash person, she doesn’t believe in using her ATM card although she has one. She believes that having cash at hand was still the most reliable way.

I checked the places where I knew she kept money and was glad to find an envelope which contained 15000 naira. It wasn’t much but at least I was sure of having enough to take a flight down. I told myself it was risky to depend on the fact that Omoboye would be there and I could share her hotel room.

Her phone has been switched off for a long time now, what if she intends to leave it that way? What if you can’t get through, where will you sleep?

The University of Calabar’s campus, the hotel lobby, the airport….anywhere. I replied myself with false confidence.

 

******

 

The text message from Boladale came in while I was trying to call Jite. She said something about how she finally found the courage to tell the father of her baby (my ex) that she was pregnant and that she had given him an ultimatum of seven days to tell his wife or she would. She ended the text message with “wish me luck babe”.

I did wish her luck only it was the negative type. Who is this new Boladale? I thought wondering how I didn’t know what she was capable of. Why would she want him to tell her? What does she hope to achieve?

But isn’t it better that she knows? A tiny voice whispered in my head

Is it? I replied myself wondering if I would want to know. It was easy to put myself in the shoes of my ex’s wife. I believed I was going through something similar too.

Do I really want to know If Skipper’s pregnancy is for Jite? I knew the answer was NO, a part of me would rather not hear the truth and I knew that was why I ran. I was afraid of hearing that he was responsible after all.

But you can’t run forever Boye; sooner or later you will have to face these issues.

I knew that and some part of me was ready to talk to Jite but his phone stayed unavailable.

 

****

I thought of Skipper all through the flight. What game is she playing? She is pregnant but still won’t leave me alone. What on earth does she want? I kept sighing. I was restless and uncomfortable despite the fact that the flight was a smooth one.

I thought of sending her a text message that read

 “Samantha Nkiruka Ofure Ismail, what do you want from me?”

 She was a contradiction just like her name. Born to an Edo/Igbo mother and a Fulani father, she had also been exposed to all three cultures. As with her physical beauty, that should have meant a beautiful character and mind but for the fact that something had twisted her. Sometimes I would wonder if it was because she had been raped by their house help when she was Eleven, other times I would think that perhaps it was because she had once been in an abusive relationship that lasted several years but most of the time I would conclude that it was most likely a combination of the two. Her parents had refused to prosecute the boy claiming their decision was to protect her; she had never forgiven them or herself for it. The boyfriend, a cultist did not only abuse her body and mind, he also made her participate in their initiation orgies.

After hearing about all she went through, it had been easy to understand why she was so addicted to sex and why despite having a gorgeous body, she had no respect for it. I did feel sorry for her and on some level wanted to help her heal but I knew I wasn’t that man. I didn’t have the patience and neither did I love her enough

I ruminated on her pregnancy thinking perhaps if the father of the baby decides to accept her she would leave me alone. I had not been too surprised when she had told me on her third call that she was pregnant and who she was pregnant for. She claimed the baby’s father wasn’t ready to accept her pregnancy and she didn’t care if he did or did not. I knew that was a lie, she had always been searching for acceptance and love. I could sense that not getting it was the reason she was bent in making my own life miserable.

Perhaps she thinks if she couldn’t be happy, I shouldn’t be also. But that was strange too. I thought of another text message I could send her but I knew I wouldn’t dare. I thought of saying. “Skipper, why don’t you just hunt the guys that messed up your life and ruin theirs? Why don’t you just leave me and my wife the hell alone?”

 

******

Femi called at 5pm that day that dinner was at 8.00pm and that he had arranged with some other guys for us to go sightseeing by 5.30pm. I wasn’t interested in anything and had even started contemplating leaving for Lagos early the next morning.  I asked him where we would be going and he mentioned the Calabar slave museum, the sea port and that we were also going to take a boat ride.  They all sounded exciting especially the slave museum part. I had once been told that it would blow my mind. Although I didn’t feel like doing anything at all; I told him I would be ready.

All I wanted to do was put the lights off and bury my head in a pillow. The room was perfect for such, with the lush furniture and the magnificent ambience; I could enjoy being depressed there only I was sure it was designed for happy things. I could imagine it as a love nest and that made me miss Jite more. Tomorrow morning I will be out of here. I decided. I need to talk to my husband about everything; my fears that I couldn’t trust him ever, my fears that I might be infertile.

 

****

I got to Tinapa around 5.15pm, I was scared for myself. I had just 5000 naira left on me. I knew there was no way I would get a hotel that cheap in the resort. Omoboye’s line was still not going. I didn’t know the name of the program she came for but I trudged on hoping that there won’t be so many things going on in the resort. It was deserted in a way that I liked. I had expected it to be busy and was pleased that it wasn’t, not only because it would make it easier to find Omoboye but also because it made it my ideal place for a vacation. Refreshing view of nature, clean fresh air just what I believe every Lagosian needed from time to time.

I asked for directions and was pointed in the way of the hotel where the participants of the beauty products exhibition were lodged. I summoned courage and walked up to the front desk.

“Hello madam.” I said ensuring that I sounded confident.

“Hello, you are welcome.” She said smiling. Good customer service. I filed that away as another reason to come on vacation later.

“Thank you lady. Errrm, my wife is here and I can’t get through to her right now. Her number is not reachable. We came to Calabar together but I had to take care of some business in town first. You see she is part of the beauty products exhibition thing and I decided to accompany her thinking we should make this a weekend getaway of some sort. The thing now is I need to know the room where she is.”

“I am sorry I can’t give you that information. It’s against our regulations. I would love to help in any other way. You could sit at the reception and keep trying her number.

I murmured thanks and proceeded to the reception. I made myself busy with the magazines there and also kept looking out for anybody who might know Omoboye.

“Hello there, aren’t you Omoboye’s husband? She didn’t say you were around. I also came in with my hubby. It’s our first time being in Calabar.”

Excited, I stood up to greet the speaker. I couldn’t remember her but was sure I must have met her somewhere. All that was unimportant, what mattered was someone knew who I was and had seen Omoboye.

“Quite a long time.” I replied smiling and giving her a warm hand shake.

“We didn’t actually come in together; I took another flight because I had to take care of some things before leaving Lagos.”

“Oh okay.”

“I am so happy to see you. I am in a fix here. My wife’s phone line is not going through and I don’t know what room she is in.”

“Oh, that is not a problem at all.  I can get that for you. I am in charge of logistics so I have a schedule of where everybody is. Let’s see.” She added opening the folder in her hands. “Your wife is on the fourth floor. Room 40B. “

“Thank you so very much ma. I am grateful.”

“It’s Sholape. I guess you’ve forgotten the name. You came along with Boye to our anniversary party last December and I was at your wedding too.”

“Oh, I am so sorry. I am very poor at remembering names and faces.”

“It’s no problem sir.”

“Thank you very much.” I said taking brisk steps towards the elevator.

 

****

It was 5.25pm. I was ready, I expected Femi to knock any minute. I sat in the darkened room running my palms over my dress. The dress I wore was something I wouldn’t have worn to an outing back home not to talk of an outing with the top shots in the beauty industry. Do I have to go? I wondered. Yes you have to. You have to leave this darkness and have some fun.

I opened the door immediately Femi knocked.

“No makeup?” He asked the moment he saw me walk out.

“Yes, Femi no makeup. Woman shall not live by makeup alone.”

“Hmmmm….. That’s strange coming from someone who makes up when going for a swim.”

“I’ve wanted to ask you this; what’s wrong with you? Are you and your husband having problems? There has been something about you all day, something dark and melancholy.”

“Femi, leave the poetry. Let’s go.”

“No, Boye talk to me. We are friends right?” He asked tilting my chin upwards.

“I can’t.” I whimpered feeling tears spring to my eyes before I could stop them.

“Its okay.” he said drawing me close.

I snuggled up to him and allowed him to comfort me.

“Stop crying Omoboye. We could go in and talk about it.”

“No.”

“Stop crying please”, he said rubbing my back and laying a hand on my buttocks.

I paused wanting to slap it off but I didn’t; at least not for several seconds. For some strange reason it felt good lying there.

“Let’s go.” I said breaking the contact after several seconds.

“We don’t have to go. “

“Femi, we either leave now or I go back into my room and lock myself in.”

 

*****

Omoboye’s dress was the first thing I saw as I entered the fourth floor. She said she hated this dress, why is she wearing it? I thought. It warmed my heart to see her in the dress. It was my gift to her for her last birthday before we got married and she had said it wasn’t good enough for her taste.

I stood at the elevator entrance and watched her walk down the lobby.

Femi saw me first.

He tapped her and pointed at me.

I smiled rushing towards her to give her a hug.

“Jite, what are you doing here?” She asked stepping aside to avoid my hug.

“Omoboye, I wanted to see you, I wanted us to talk.”

“And who said we can’t do that when I get back? I think you should leave.” She added.

 

 photo credit: Toyinfabs’ Album

 

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Not So Happily Married…. Episode Four

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My eyes were bloodshot, a far cry from what you would expect from a new bride. I stood up from the bed, stretched and went to the wardrobe to get my make up bag.

 

Subtlety is the key and I know that. No one expects a “just waking look” to show traces of makeup. So I applied a little foundation to conceal the bags under the eyes and a hint of black eye shadow to give a smoky look. I returned the kit to the wardrobe, placed myself carefully beside Jite. I paused for a minute to adjust some settings on the camera. Shutter sound and flashlight off, I placed my head on Jite’s chest and took the picture.

 

He didn’t rouse from sleep at all. I understood that he needed to sleep after the stressful day we had. I used the picture as my BBM display and put the message;

“First day of forever! Bliss…hitched and ecstatic.”

 

Jite and Omoboye (2)

The Yoruba people will say two people cannot be deceived at the same time. If the person who is being lied to doesn’t know, the person who is lying knows he is lying. I had no guilt for the deception. I was miserable but the world didn’t have to know.

 

Who would see the message and imagine that we had both gone to bed after a shouting match that people two rooms away could have heard.

I had surprised myself with the divorce word. It was unplanned but I was totally out of control.

He had burst out in laughter immediately I talked about divorce.

“Omoboye, please don’t make laugh. I am not in the mood for laughter. You? Divorce? You won’t do that Honey. You love public opinion too much for that. You would sooner die than face the stigma of divorce especially so soon.”

“Oh, you think I won’t abi? Keep this attitude up. See if I won’t. I don’t think you realize how much I wish I could be out of this room, out of this marriage, out of it all.”

“Who brings novels to their honeymoon? Why are we even doing the honeymoon anyway, we might as well not bother. You could tell your mum to keep her money, that we don’t need it. Tell her we are the worst couple that ever existed, that we don’t deserve favors. Tell her who your wife really is; tell her what you really think of me, make sure you include how you think I’m a vile, vain, baby killing monster.”

“I’m glad you know what you are.”

“You are glad I know what I am?”  I shrieked

I picked a pillow and threw it at him.

“How dare you even judge me? It’s not like you didn’t misbehave too. Have you even apologized to me for one minute for what you did with that Cripple?”

I waited for him to respond but he didn’t. Instead he turned his back to me.

I knew I had struck a nerve.

He didn’t talk to me after for the rest of the night.

 

 

 

 

****

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Omoboye in front of the wardrobe, a travelling box in front of her. She looked good and I allowed my eyes to feast on her. She takes good care of herself and it shows, Butter scotch skin, hairless legs which she waxed every other week, a well rounded bottom the result of numerous hip exercises. She is good looking and she knows it.

 The night dress formed a perfect silhouette for her curvy hips. I could tell she was wearing nothing underneath and I felt my body harden looking at her. Vintage me would have drawn her close and we would have had a mutually satisfying tango under the sheets but I couldn’t afford to do that as much as I wanted to at that moment. She would take it to mean we were cool. I wasn’t ready for that.

 It dawned on me that this was our first morning together as a married couple and I wanted to say something, good morning, hello or whatever it is that newlyweds say to each other the morning after. But somehow my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. I was still too bitter about her mentioning my slip to even greet her.

She shouldn’t have mentioned anything about Bisade. She crossed the line with that and she knows it.

 

It’s not like I planned for what happened to happen.

 

Bisade is a dear friend and a confidant. We had never had anything intimate beyond talking but that changed the day Omoboye killed my baby.

I had gone to Bisade’s place straight from Boye’s apartment. I told her about what Boye did. She had been aghast at the extent of Boye’s vanity and had offered her comfort.

 

See Bisade is not someone I was attracted to or someone I ever thought I could have anything beyond friendship with. Ours was that type of boy-girl friendship that put proponents of “a man and a woman can never be friends” to shame.

Our friendship started right from university. We studied the same course and shared a desk for the four years in school. I never had any romantic feelings for her and she didn’t seem to have either. We both understood that we were always going to be just friends. I was her champion, the one who fought anyone who looked down on her. She had a bad case of Polio Mellitus as a child and so couldn’t walk without crutches. My friends would tease me to no end; they even gave me the nickname “Oko aro”. Most of the girls I dated had issues with our friendship but usually come around once they realize she wasn’t a threat and even make friends with her.

 

Boye was different however. She hated Bisade from the first time they met and would always call her a cripple. The label annoyed me and she knew it. I stopped complaining when I realized that the more I showed my displeasure at the term, the more she used it.

Bisade was only supposed to comfort me that day but even now I can’t seem to remember how things got out of hand. I just know they did and somehow we ended up having sex.

I felt dirty and soiled afterwards. We had been in such a hurry that we didn’t even remember to get naked. I had ended up with shiny pieces of her sequined dress glued to several parts of my body. It took an agonizing and guilt filled hour to get it off my skin. The mistake I made however was not getting it off my shirt and trouser and that was where Omoboye discovered them two weeks later. Shiny little snitches! Her question had been so gentle and direct that I couldn’t even think up a story fast enough and so I had told her the truth and made sure to blame it on her. She took it stoically then and I had been relieved.

That morning however I blamed myself for having a big mouth. I didn’t have to confess. I could have kept my mouth shut and retain the exclusive right to be indignant. Now not only did she have something to hold over me, my friendship with Bisade was also destroyed. I wouldn’t dare to even wave at her if there was a chance Omoboye will know.

 

 

***

Jite was even more withdrawn than the previous day. I knew he was sulking about my reference to his cripple. I knew what I was doing when I mentioned it. It was meant to remind him he wasn’t that holy either.

I hadn’t allowed myself to dwell so much on the issue. I willed myself to focus on making things better between us. I convinced myself that I deserve what happened. But that didn’t stop me from being pained. I don’t know what hurts most, that he cheated on me or that he did it with a cripple.

 

However I was ready to sheath my sword. I wanted us to show some warmth to each other. Zanzibar is a beautiful place. Somewhere I have always dreamt of going to. I had no desire to have an unhappy time there. Besides what’s a Honeymoon without Honey?

I watched as he sat up on the bed and decided to hug him. I am the woman here right? I should be the one to swallow my pride and reach out. Yes I aborted, I told him and he cheated. I should still overlook the cheating right? Forgive him and make the marriage work. I am sure Mom would agree with that.

I could almost hear her voice in my head.

“Omoboye, it’s a man’s world. If a man cheats on you, you forgive. Besides you caused it. If you had not done what you did, he would not have had reason to go to the girl.”

I went to sit beside him and hugged him. It was a one sided hug, his hands remained with him. I said “good morning husband”, he replied with a “gruff good morning wife” and disentangled himself from my embrace.

Ish. I tried. I murmured swinging my hips as I walked to the bathroom.

 

 

***

I hate flying, maybe because I am always scared about how the plane could easily crash. I glanced sideways at Jite; his face was still sporting a dark frown. I felt sad wondering how men could be so different from women.

Did it not occur to him that all this drama could end in a split second, that the plane could crash and we’ll both be gone forever. Did he not know that life was too short to live it in acrimony? My mind went to the crash that happened only months before. Who knows if one of the numerous couples that died in the crash had been fighting, how would they have felt when the plane developed problems, would they have quickly apologized to themselves, suddenly remember how much they love themselves and hug till death came?

Oh Omoboye stop thinking of death. I chided myself.

Think of Zanzibar, of sand, of beaches, of six course dinners under the stars, of belly dancers, of hammocks and beautiful nights spent entwined.

Static. It was hard to picture myself and Jite entwined without pink packets of condoms clouding my vision.

A wicked smile curved my lips as I thought of the condoms.

He would have a fit when he realizes they are gone. Tucked under the mattress where a lucky cleaner would find them.

There was no way I was going to have a condom filled honeymoon. Not when Mom’s threat that I had to get pregnant before our first anniversary still haunted me.

The idea had come out of the blues, no condom means I get pregnant and when I get pregnant, husband calms down. Everything goes back to normal and we live happily ever after. Whew! I thought a smug smile brightening my face as I placed my head on Jite’s shoulders.

* Boarding Tales is now on Okadabooks app. Click the image below to download for FREE

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