I am done with this marriage! I said as I drove home. Even in my rage, I felt somehow vindicated.
Why didn’t I think about this all these years? I rubbed my arms. I could still feel the pain shoot through my body.
My phone rang. I ignored it.
When I got home, Mama and her children were spread out in the living room watching, ‘House of Radarada’on GoTV.
What sort of miscreants are these? Can’t they find something reasonable to do with their lives?Bisi, the eldest in the house would be Fourty two in June and it was obvious that her life was yet to begin. Taiwo’s husband has spent only two months with her in their one-year of marriage. He claims he has a flourishing business in Cotonou and yet he has refused to take his pregant wife with him. Yetunde, the youngest daughter, has had terrible luck in getting five credit in her WAEC. The guy she paid to write her exam hadn’t shown up for the exam.
“So what did the doctor say?” Mama asked as I walked in. My disgust for her clogged my throat.
“Ask your son.” I responded and headed for my room. I began to arrange my clothes into my box. I was tired of the marriage. My home was choking me.
The thought of putting up with Wale for the time being crossed my mind but I pushed it aside. It was too dangerous especially now that I was vulnerable. Kemi’s place was not an option either. Her house was home to countless relatives. She had enough problems to deal with.
Where do I go? I had requested for a week’s leave and my boss had been kind enough to give me. But could I get a new apartment in a week? I laid back on the bed thinking.
I sat up and quickly dialled her number.
“Can I stay over at your place for a couple of days?”
“Sure. But what’s going on?”
I hesitated. ” I’ll explain when we see.”
The cash in my bag was not enough to fuel my tank for the two hour drive to Ibadan
I’ll stop at the ATM, I said to myself. The thought of visiting Ibadan again made me excited. The door opened. Peter entered.
“You can’t just leave me alone Kike. I need you.”
I looked at the man I had once loved. Only sympathy remained in my heart for him.
“Peter we don’t have a marriage.”
He frowned, considering my words. “Divorce is a sin.”
“But separation is not, right? At least I won’t divorce you but we won’t live under the same roof. “
Peter was on his knees. “Baby please, for the Love of Christ, don’t leave me. I love you.”
“I don’t know if I can say the same thing about you. Peter, I need a clear head. ” I grabbed my box. He held me.
“At least tell me where you are going to”
The sitting room was empty and for once I wished they were all there. I wanted to see shame cover their faces.
I got to Ibadan, around 8pm and I was thrilled to see Peju. That night as I narrated my experiences to my friend and her husband Charles, they stared at me speechless. Peju placed her hand on my shoulder.
“You can stay here as long as you want.”
I smiled. Right from my childhood, Peju has been the nice girl. Always sacrificing her biscuits and sweets to the crying child, always willing to take the blame. I wondered how she ended up with man like Charles. A man who dished out smiles like gold. His frowns made me uncomfortable.
“You must forgive your husband and move on. No marriage is perfect.” Charles said.
I was irritated. “If you are not comfortable with my presence, just say it and I’ll leave. Charles reclined against the sofa and folded his hands.
Peju stood up. ” Let me show you your room. “
I stopped at the entrance of the room.
“You remember this room?”
The memories returned. We’d painted the room some weeks before Peju’s wedding and the night before I was excommunicated from my church. I remembered Jennifer, Ken, Dare. I could see their faces exploding in laughter as we painted that room. Afterwards, Charles had ordered food from the buka across the road and we had sat at the center of the road, talking and eating with our barehands.
I began to unpack. Peju was talking excitedly about her business and I was enjoying every bit of it.I laughed heartily at her jokes and watched how her eyes lit up as she spoke. I had missed her. Her words were like massages on tired bodies. I wanted her to continue talking, to push back the pain and hurt my marriage had brought me.
I looked up. Charles was at the door, His face stern as usual. If I hadn’t known him for a long time, I would have thought he despised me. But I knew Charles better than most of our friends in church.
Peju hugged me. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Charles maintained his gaze I could see a smile forming at the side of his mouth. “You are welcome to stay with us as long as you want.
I smiled. ” Thank you. I’ll be out as soon as I can secure a place.
“We’ve missed you in church.” He said, his eyes warm.
I nodded. “Goodnight.”
I dreamt Peter came to see me in my room. He was on his knees pleading with me to return home. Mama was holding my legs and screaming, ‘My daughter, don’t leave us!”
I stretched out on the bed and with my hand, blocked the rays of sun flooding the room.
Oh God, are you really up there?
My eyes caught a Bible on the bedside drawer. I looked away from it and faced the wall.
Peju dashed into the room.
“Kike, you have to come to the living room now.”
“Dress up and come joor. It’s a surprise.”
The moment I stepped into the living room, I almost fainted. Titi, Yinka, Jerry, Tayo and a sizeable number of the members of the youth group were standing there, screaming and shouting. A large cake inscribed, ‘WELCOME BACK ‘ sat on the center table. We hugged, laughed and took pictures. Then we sang a song that brought tears to my eyes.
We are heirs of the father
We are joint heirs with the Son
We are children of the Kingdom
We are family, We are one.
I am home, I shouted excitedly, but soon my joy was cut short.
Next. Epiosode 7