Click to read Episode 3
Olamide raised her head and tried to smile. ‘Hello Simi.’
Simi stared at her sister, alarmed. Her right eye was black and swollen.
‘What happened to you?’
Simi’s mother stood up. ‘How can a sensible man do this to my daughter? You see what I’m saying. There is a curse on this family. Look at me, a business woman making profits in thousands. All of a sudden, your father’s people visit my supermarket and my business runs down. I’m barely able to break even. Simi cannot keep a man. Today she will introduce a man to us, tomorrow he will disappear.’
‘Mummy stop abeg. I don’t need to be reminded of those horrible experiences.’
‘Let me talk o! Twice, you have done your introduction in this house but few weeks before your wedding, the men barked out. Do you think it is normal? See your sister, her husband beats her like an animal right in the presence of her children. Even your brother, it’s charge and bail lawyer he has been doing for two years. After the thousands of naira we spent on law school fees. I cannot sit down and watch those wicked people destroy my children.’
Simi sighed. ‘Only Eniola is different from us. Everything is going smoothly for her.’
Simi’s mother clapped her hand. ‘Don’t say that o. I know the evil people that I’m dealing with. They are planning something terrible for her but I will not allow that to happen. In fact, I’m going to call for an emergency family meeting. None of you must tell your other siblings what I have in mind. Let me handle this.’
When she left the room, Simi sat beside her sister and wrapped her hands round her shoulders. Olamide began to cry.
‘Stop crying. Everything will be fine.’
Simi’s mother returned with a first aid box. She placed the box on the bed and began to tend to Olamide’s wounds.
On Sunday morning, Simi hurried to the media department barely before the worship session ended. David had still not shown up. Simi was now scared. She had gone to his house several times and met his absence. She didn’t have the numbers of his siblings or the address to his place of work and for the first time, she realized how little she knew of the man she wanted to spend her life with.
While the Pastor’s wife led the congregation in intercessory prayers, Simi sneaked out of the church for David’s apartment. She made up her mind that if she didn’t meet him at home, she’d file a missing person report at the police station.
David was sitting in front of his flat, polishing his shoes when Simi entered the compound. He stood up ready to bolt, but it was too late. She had already seen him.
Oh God! How do I escape this girl?
Simi’s eyes blazed with anger but beneath it, she was relieved. At least he was alive and fine. David smiled and pulled her into his arms.
‘Oh baby, I’ve missed you.’
Simi pushed him hard. He staggered and fell back against the wall.
‘Baby! What was that for?’
‘I’ve been calling you for days abi weeks sef. It’s either your number is not going through or you refuse to pick my calls. What for heaven sake is going on?’
David sat on a plastic chair in the veranda, his eyes on the floor. ‘I’m so sorry. I just didn’t know how to tell you.’
Simi’s heart pounded. What was it he wanted to tell her? Was he planning to break up with her? Jesus, not again. I cannot lose him. Jesus I can’t. ‘David, What is it?’
David hesitated. ‘I lost my job.’
Simi let out a deep breath. ‘Oh sweetheart, what happened?’
‘Downsizing. My boss said my services weren’t needed anymore. Can you imagine that? After everything I’ve done for the company. I’m sorry I kept it away from you. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you.’
Simi took his hand and pressed it against her face. ‘David, I love you so much. I know how hard this is for you. I’m ready to support you until you get another job. Come, let’s go inside.’
When they settled on the sofa in the living room, David smiled. ‘Thank you. I don’t know what I’ll do without you in my life.’
Simi loved when he said those words to her. It gave her joy and confidence. She wanted the words to keep rolling out of his mouth, but instead he tickled her until she was laughing so hard.
Simi was on the floor, her ribs cracking, tears running down her eyes. ‘Please!’
David pulled her up and planted her beside him. ‘God! I’ve missed you so much.’
Two small dimples appeared on her cheeks. ‘What should I prepare for you. Efo riro, eguisi, just name it. I can run to the market to get the ingredients.’
He held her chin, gazing into her eyes. ‘I’m not even hungry anymore. Just looking at your beautiful face fills my stomach.’
Simi giggled. ‘But you have to eat something.’
He looked at his wristwatch. ‘There is a woman who wants to help me get a job. I have to go see her now. I’ll eat when I return. But Simi, I need one favour from you.’
‘Anything for you dear.’
‘I couldn’t wash my clothes yesterday because I was so weak and discouraged. Can you help me?’
Simi nodded. ‘Sure. Listen David, I’ll always be here for you.’
He encircled his hands around her waist and planted a kiss on her lips. ‘My wife. My sweetheart. My love.’
When he tried to kiss her again, Simi stopped him. ‘Remember, we said we won’t kiss again until our wedding night.’
David smiled. ‘Hmmm…wedding night. Can’t we rehearse now so that when the time comes, we’ll do it properly.’ He kissed her again. Simi relaxed in his arms, desire rushing through her body. Her hat fell behind the sofa when he reached under her shirt.
Simi stopped him. ‘David, No. We can’t be doing this. It is wrong.’
David sighed. ‘I’m sorry.’
She peered closely at him. ‘Are you angry?’
‘How can I be angry? I should thank you for stopping me right before I did something stupid.’ He stood up. ‘I have to go now. I’ll be back soon.’
Simi got ready to work. She stopped when she entered David’s room. Clothes were scattered everywhere. Beside the bed, half-eaten takeaway packs of beans and rice littered the floor. The room reeked of rotten barbeque fish.
How did she fall in love with a dirty man like this?
One look at the laundry bag and Simi almost fainted. The bag overflowed with dirty clothes and boxers formed a heap in front of the bag. The last time she cleaned his room, for days, her back ached. She still remembered opening his wardrobe to find ants feasting on grains of sugar spilling out of an opened pack of Dangote sugar.
She offloaded the clothes into the washing machine and returned to the room to sweep the floor. She thrust the broom under the bed and pulled out empty sweet packs, torchlight, pen, breadcrumbs, plates, spoons.
She loved David and he loved her too. If this was a cross she’d bear, she’ll gladly take it.
‘But who lives in a place like this?’
Power went out. The sound from the washing machine died. Simi exhaled. Now she’d have to take the rest of the clothes outside to wash by hand. She wanted to please David. She wanted him to return to a house sparkling clean.
When she finished mopping the room, she sat at the back of the house and began to wash. By the time she was done, her hands were red and she could barely stand up. But she was happy all the same.
The main gate opened as she draped the wet clothes over a wash line.
Her heart leaped with excitement. ‘That must be David.’
She imagined the satisfaction in his eyes when he saw how much work she had done. He would hug her and say thank you a million times. He would tell her how much he adored her and how she was the best woman for him.
He’d pull her off her feet and swirl her around and when she escaped his arms, he’d chase her back to the house until she was panting and laughing at the same time.
She decided to do what every good wife would do. Run to hug her man and tell him she missed him. Encourage him and remind him of her support. She had learnt that lesson at a relationship seminar she attended. No matter how tired a wife is, she must put aside that feeling and present a smiling face to her husband.
As she moved away from the line, she saw three men walk towards David’s flat. They were from the media department in church. Simi covered her mouth in shock and ran into the house through the back door.
What will Bro Segun, the head of the media department think when he sees her in David’s t-shirt and knickers?
The front door was opened. She had to get to it quickly and lock it. As she ran through the dining room to the front door, she didn’t see a pool of water in front of the refrigerator. She slipped and fell flat on her back.
The knock came as she got to her feet. She froze. She tip-toed towards the door.
‘Bro David!’ Someone called from outside. Simi stood at a spot, her heart panting.
Lord, please don’t let them open that door.
She crawled to the back of the sofa and stayed there.
Simi remained there, long after they left.
‘That was close.’ Simi whispered, sighing deeply before returning to her chores.
It was almost 7p.m by the time Simi finished cleaning the apartment. She had pressed his shirts and laid the bed. She prepared stew, made eguisi soup and filled the drum in the kitchen. The house was sparking clean. By 8p.m, David had still not returned. She called him.
‘Where are you?’
‘Baby, I’m so sorry. You won’t believe I’m still waiting for that woman. She just drove in now. I don’t even know how long our meeting will take. But you can leave the key under the drum outside. I’ll call you when I get out of here.’
Simi waited till 9p.m. When he didn’t show up, she left his apartment. Her eyes were heavy as she drove home. She tried so hard to stay awake.
‘Where have you been? I looked everywhere for you after the service. I tried calling you several times.’ Ada said, as soon as Simi entered the house.
Simi yawned and staggered to her room. ‘I went to look for David. I was worried about him.’
‘It’s a long story. I need to sleep right now.’
‘I seriously don’t know what you see in that guy. You deserve someone better. I hope he didn’t turn you to a house girl again.’
Simi rolled her eyes at her flat mate before opening the door to her room. ‘Goodnight.’
The emergency family meeting took place the following weekend. Simi’s brother, Rotimi, was boiling with anger as they sat in the living room.
‘Mummy, are you telling me I took a night bus all the way from Port Harcourt to listen to this nonsense? You want to organize prayers for us? Mummy are you listening to yourself at all? This is bullshit!’
‘Rotimi, calm down.’ Olamide said. ‘How can you be talking to mum like that.’
Tears stung the woman’s eyes. She faced her son. ‘And I’m doing this because of you o. It’s your best interest I’m looking out for. This man of God, he is very good. His wife is a prophetess. They have seen countless revelations about our family. Some people want to ruin us.’
Rotimi clenched his fists. ‘I can’t believe this. A man of God is coming to pray for us. Who told you I believe in your God. When will you all stop deceiving yourself. There is no God! I can prove that to you.’
‘Ahh!’ Simi’s mother shouted.
Simi’s elder sister, Eniola, just stared blankly into space. Simi wondered what she was thinking about.
Simi’s mother stood up. ‘Rotimi, What is your problem? Why are you always acting so stubborn. Look at you, for two years, you have been working in that shack you call a law firm. These people don’t want you to make progress.’
Rotimi shook his head. ‘Mum, Nobody becomes successful overnight. I just got out of law school three years ago. I know where I’m going to and I’m working hard to achieve it. When I hit it big, it won’t be because one crazy man up there made it so.’
‘Rotimi!’ Olamide shouted. ‘You were raised in a church. You were taught the word of God.’
Rotimi opened his mouth to say something to his sister but he changed his mind. He turned to his mother. ‘I can’t stay in this house. I’ll book a hotel room tonight and first thing tomorrow, I’m out of here. Mummy, please, don’t ever call me for this kind of thing again.’
He stormed out of the house before anyone could stop him. Eniola looked at her mother for a long moment.
‘Why are you looking at me like that? Do you want to join your brother? Go, if you want to go. God knows I am doing the best I can. Eniola, if you want to go, Go! Because I know you, you’ll soon start spilling nonsense.’
Eniola reclined on the sofa and folded her hands. She watched her mother exit the living room, muttering words to herself. The confidence Eniola exuded annoyed Olamide. There was this tranquility that settled on her face. Simi wondered if anything ever bothered her. She acted like she had everything under control.
‘What happened to your face?’ Eniola glanced at her sister, concerned.
Olamide hissed and turned her face away. What right did Eniola have to ask about her face? Was it because she had a husband who adored her?
She still remembered the night she spent with her sister in Abuja. She’d never seen a man treat a woman with warmth and care. At first she thought it was just a façade. But when she woke up very early in the morning to find the pair laughing in the living room, she’d been jealous.
Life was going well for Eniola. She had a good job, they lived in the house her husband built, her two kids attended one of the best schools in Abuja. Why would she mock her because her marriage had not worked?
‘I’m talking to you.’
‘Nothing happened to my face!’ Olamide jerked out.
‘Your eyes are swollen, Lamide. Martins did this to you?’
Olamide jerked in defence. ‘Are you looking for the downfall of my marriage? Why would Martin hit me?’
Eniola raised her hand. ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.’
That made Olamide more upset. Simi didn’t know how to come between her elder sisters, so she remained silent.
The door opened. A man in a fine black suit was followed by a woman wearing a long gown and black turban. Simi’s mother walked behind them laughing.
‘Peace be unto this house.’ The man said.
The three sisters just stared at the pair as they settled into the living room.
Mum made a fuss about them, asking what they’d like to drink and setting Simi up with the task of entertaining the visitors.
The man stood up. ‘ Yesterday, while my wife and I were praying, I saw a woman in white standing by a river. She carried a basket and in the basket were four tins. I saw all your names written on the tins. One after the other, she threw them into the river and said some words of incantations. Then she made a statement. ‘You will never prosper.’
‘Jesus!’ Olamide paced the living room. ‘Who have I offended in this life?’
Eniola sat there amused, watching Simi trembling beside her.
‘Jesu! sha anu fun wa o! Help us o!’ Simi’s mother shouted.
Eniola leaned forward. ‘You saw my name inscribed on a tin. Whoever held the tin threw it into the river. Let’s say this is true, what’s the implication for me.’
The man hesitated. ‘Are you not Eniola?’
‘Of course I am.’
‘You are the target right now. In fact, what I see in the spirit is disastrous. They know that everything is going well for you and they have planned to destroy your family completely. I see your family melting like ice under the scorching sun.’
‘God forbid!’ Simi’s mother yelled. ‘They will not get my daughter. Never!’
He stood up. ‘Right now, I’m seeing darkness covering you and your children. It is so thick that I can literally feel it.’
Eniola began to laugh. She laughed so hard that she slipped from the sofa to the floor. The others stared at her, wondering if she had gone crazy.
Her mother moved closer to her. ‘Eniola! What is wrong with you?’
She sat up. ‘I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. But from where I came from, our first reaction to things like this is to laugh.’ She hesitated, panting hard. ‘You know, he who sits in heaven laughs and I’m seated right there.’
The Pastor’s face was hot with rage. ‘You think this is funny? You don’t even know the destruction already at your doorstep. Your children will die one after the other.’
‘Enough! The children the Lord has given to me are for signs and wonders. I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Eniola has been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. This darkness you talk about, where did it come from?’
Olamide exploded. ‘You are so proud. I swear, you will taste of this evil befallen this family and I will watch you cry. It’s only a matter of time before they wreck your life.’
‘If they have to get to me, then they’ll touch Christ first. Because I am in him. Don’t you get? I’m seated with Christ in heavenly places.’
Simi’s mother was fuming. ‘Shut up your mouth! Listen to the people who have come to help us. They killed your father. They have almost destroyed my business. Your sister’s husband is a beast. Simi cannot keep a man and you are here talking rubbish. Is it until they ruin your life before you return to your senses.’
‘Okay mum, I’ll listen to them. But I have something to say.’ Eniola hesitated and returned her gaze to the Pastor.
‘On your way here, did you plan to charge my mum twice the amount you usually collect?’
A slap landed on Eniola’s face. ‘Are you out of your mind?’
‘Mummy, that slap was hot.’
‘If you don’t have something reasonable to say, then shut your mouth up!’
She rubbed the side of her face where the slap had landed. ‘But mum, did you not give this woman 70,000 naira last month to find out the name of the man Simi will eventually marry?’
Simi’s mother stood there, shocked. ‘Who told you?’
Eniola returned her attention to the couple. ‘All these lies you concocted, the woman throwing tins into the river, the darkness story and all of that rubbish, you planned them in your room at around 3a.m. and from here, you are going to deceive one woman called Janet. Am I right?’
The couple looked at each other, their mouths opened.
‘Your daughter is a witch. She needs deliverance!’ The man barked. He grabbed the hand of his wife and left the house.
Eniola laughed. ‘See me see trouble o. I just asked simple questions.’
The others stared at Eniola, speechless. She yawned and stood up.
‘I’m really tired. We’ll talk more when I wake up. Afterall, you invited me here. I have arrived.’
They were still staring at her as she walked out of the living room.
Click here to read Episode 5