Click to read Episode 7
Eniola got dressed. She’d inform her husband of Lola’s disappearance and sought for permission to stay back for some time until Lola was found.
Her husband had been very supportive. He’d taken charge of the home and the last thing she wanted to do was take him for granted. She had to return home as soon as possible.
On her way out, she stopped in front of Olamide’s room. The door was slightly ajar. She peeped into the room and saw her sister throwing her belongings into a big box. Her daughter stood beside her, folding some clothes. Eniola opened the door and entered.
‘Where are you packing your things to? Are you leaving?’
Olamide stopped. ‘Which of the questions am I supposed to answer first. Besides, how’s this your business?’
Eniola sighed and quietly left the room. She wouldn’t allow her sister’s sour mood affect her this morning. What was paramount at the moment was finding Lola.
In the dining room, Simi was having breakfast. Eniola pulled out one of the chairs and sat down.
‘Fried eggs and sausage.’ Simi said, pointing at a tray in the center of the table. Beside the tray was a loaf of bread.
Eniola shook her head. ‘I’m not hungry jare. Finding Lola is what’s on my mind right now.’
Simi stopped eating. ‘Have you called Kola?’
‘Yes. They still have not found her. Kola should be here any minute from now.’
Simi drank the rest of her coffee and set her cup on the saucer. She hugged her sister. ‘I wish I could join you in the search, but work calls. I’ll be praying along.’
Thirty minutes later, Kola arrived. His face was drawn and grim. Lola’s mother sat at the back, staring blankly. The wrinkles on her forehead had deepened and she seemed to have aged greatly. Eniola climbed into the front seat before turning towards Lola’s mother.
‘Mummy, cheer up, we’ll find her.’
Kola held the steering. ‘Sis Eniola, are we really going to find her?’
‘Yes we will. Where are the others?’
‘Taiwo and Eben went towards Oyo town. We’ll be going to Ogbomosho.’
Kola continued. ‘We’ve already filed a report at the police station and I’ve already informed the Pastor. Pastor said he’ll help us mobilize some of the members of the youth group to create awareness on social media.’
Eniola exhaled. ‘Lord, please lead us to Lola.’
‘I want to quickly get to the house to pick up some copies of Lola’s photographs. I can’t believe I don’t have a personal photograph of my wife on my phone. I’ll drop them with some of my friends and then we’ll head for Ogbomosho.’
Eniola nodded. ‘That’s okay. I’m confident we’ll find Lola today. God will lead us to her.’
Kola looked at his mother-in-law from the rear mirror.
‘Mama, you are not following us to Ogbomosho. You need to rest.’
‘Rest keh. I can’t rest until I find my daughter. We are going together. Don’t even think you can stop me!’
Kola drove into Lakunle Estate, praying silently. What if she was dead? Fear gripped his heart. He quickly dismissed the thought. Suddenly Mama jerked forward, pointing at a lady walking barefooted a few metres away from the car.
Kola’s heart raced. Eniola leaned forward to get a good glimpse of her.
Could she be the one? Kola wondered. He stepped on the accelerator. He honked his horn when he got closer. The lady didn’t turn. She just moved aside to allow the car pass.
‘Lola!’ Kola shouted and turned off the engine. The lady turned.
Kola jumped down from the car. Eniola followed. Lola’s mother remained in the car, rubbing her palms together with her eyes lifted up.
‘Jesu, o se o. Baba, thank you. Nitori aanu re. Jesu, ese. Thank you.’
Relief flooded Lola’s eyes when she saw Kola. He pulled her into his arms, tears filling his eyes.
Lola pulled away from her husband. ‘Please why am I dressed like this?’ She stopped when she saw Eniola.
‘Sis Eniola! I can’t believe this.’ She embraced her. ‘I’m so happy to see you.’
Lola’s mother got down from the car.
Eniola smiled. ‘This God that we serve. He is ever faithful!’
Lola looked from her mother to Eniola. ‘I don’t understand. What happened to me? Why am walking barefooted in a nightgown? You need to see how people were staring at me at Eleshinloye as if I was crazy. What happened?’
Eniola muttered. ‘God, you always amaze me. Always.’
He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Psalm 107:20. Eniola, I watch over my word flowing out of your lips. It always works.
‘I believe you Lord. You’ve done it again. Thank you Lord.’
Mama led her daughter to the car. The others got in. Kola called Eben to announce the good news.
Lola had been found.
In a couple of hours, a small crowd filled the sitting room. Kola, Eniola, Simi, Eben, Taiwo and Tosin. Lola’s mother stood in the center of the room dancing.
ose o jesu, a o ma yin o.
ose o Jesu, olorun ayo wa
Ose o Jesu, a o ma yin o,
Baba gb’ope tamu wa fun o
O seun seun
Lola turned to Tosin. ‘I saw myself at the center of Eleshinloye market in the middle of the night. I was afraid. I had to pinch myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was in the morning that I begged a woman who gave me some money. How did I get there? Tosin, what happened?’
Tosin narrated how she had lost it after she heard of her son’s death. How she escaped from the house the previous night and how they had gone to different parts of the town to look for her.
Lola listened to every word. She remembered the Doctor telling her about the death of Benjamin but she couldn’t recall anything else. She relaxed, watching the others laugh lightly. Eben had joined her mother on the dancing floor but her mother was beating him down with her many dancing steps. The two ladies who she had never met laughed and clapped for Mama.
Lola asked for her daughter. Tosin said she’d bring her home after school. Simi left the others and stood in front of Lola.
‘I’m so happy Lola. When my sister told me you’d been found, I had to sneak out of work to see you.’
Lola was puzzled. ‘Who is your sister?’
Simi pointed at Eniola. ‘We came to the hospital to see you.’
Lola smiled. ‘oh. I see. Thank you very much.’
‘I have to get back to work now. I’ll come see you some other time.’
Simi left. Eben, Taiwo and Tosin also had to return to work. Kola was overjoyed. As he settled beside his wife, she shifted in her seat.
Why was Kola acting so happy to see her? Did he think she had forgotten all that he did to her? His words came back to her along with the pain that had torn her heart to shreds.
Why should I cuddle you? Maybe when you get back in shape, I’ll change my mind because with the way you are, my hands can barely go round your waist.
Just look at you. You are just round like a buffalo. No shape. Nothing. Just see pounds of flesh dancing under your arms. Very disgusting. I wonder what made me marry you.
She knew this man she had married. It was only a matter of time before the insults returned.
Kola touched her hand. She withdrew and turned her attention to her mother who was still dancing.
‘Lola,’ her mother called. ‘What will you like to eat? Just say the word and you have it.’
Lola stood up. ‘Anything hot will do. But I need to take a shower now.’
‘I think I saw Quaker oat in the cabinet. Let’s start with that.’ Eniola said and walked into the kitchen.
As Lola left for the bedroom, Kola’s phone rang. Lola stopped and turned to look at her husband who was staring at his phone.
The leopard never changes his spots, she smiled sadly.
Kola raised his head and saw Lola’s gaze fixed on him. Her eyes read distrust and contempt and that made him sad. Lola turned her face away and entered the room. Kola’s phone rang again.
What does Bimbo want from him again?’
Kelvin had warned him a year after he started the illicit affair with Bimbo.
‘Don’t stay too attached to this girl. I’m warning you o. Try other babes Kola. Girls are very funny creatures. If you give them all your heart, they’ll suddenly feel entitled to you. They can be dangerous too o. Their emotional attachment is out of this world. Be careful.’
He had not listened. He wasn’t comfortable sleeping around. Every time Kelvin and his colleagues met at the hotel, he insisted on keeping Bimbo. He remembered the corper lady downstairs who had brought her seductive body to his door and her touch had driven him nuts. Bimbo had entered just as they landed on the bed. Apart from the corper lady and Bimbo, he’d not touched any other woman.
‘Bimbo, I’m asking you, what do you want?’
‘Baby, I’m sorry the way I walked out on you the other time. I didn’t know you lost your son that day. It was Kelvin that later told me about what happened. I’m sorry.’
The memory was still fresh. He had left the hospital for the hotel. Bimbo had been angry when he refused to take her to the hotel room. She had walked out and a man, round and stunt, had ran after her. She entered his car and left him standing in front of the hotel.
‘Listen, Bimbo, whatever we had is over.’
‘I know you are still upset with me. Please, forgive me. In fact I didn’t even enjoy sex with that short nonsense man with a stinking breath. Baby, I have not seen any other guy since that time.’
‘Things are different now. Bimbo. I can’t-’
‘I’ll be waiting tonight at the hotel room. Don’t be late.’
She ended the call. Kola let out a breath and rested his hands on the iron railings.
God, get me out of this please.
In the guest room, Lola stood in front of the mirror dressed in a simple navy blue gown. Eniola combed her hair, stopping to pour coconut oil on her palms. She rubbed her smeared palms over Lola’s hair.
‘You are beautiful.’
Lola turned around to look at Eniola. ‘I wish that was true.’
‘I’m serious. You are stunning.’ She turned Lola’s attention back to the mirror. ‘What can you see?’
‘Rolls of fat everywhere.’
Eniola wrapped her hand around her waist. ‘Stop saying that. You are beautiful.’
The door opened. Kola entered. Lola became conscious of her flabby arms. She grabbed a veil from the bed and wrapped it around her shoulder. Eniola stepped aside to give room for Kola. Lola was scared. With her eyes, she pleaded with Eniola not to leave. Eniola stood at the entrance, watching them before quietly leaving the room.
Kola held his wife’s shoulders and bent to whisper into her ears. ‘I’m sorry for everything. Please forgive me.’
Lola stiffened. Kola rubbed his thump around the side of her face before drawing her into his arms. Her resolve melted. How long had it been since her husband held her like this? Could this be real?
‘I love you so much.’ He planted a kiss on her cheek, planted another on her forehead, and finally left one on the back of her palm. ‘God, I have missed you so much.’
Lola pulled away. Kola made her tremble inside. His touch disturbed her greatly and if she didn’t leave the room immediately, she’d weaken. But why was he suddenly interested in her body? He’d hardly touched her in over a year. Why now? She met his eyes and her body almost exploded in desire. She hurried out of the room. Kola stood there, frustrated.
Eniola announced an hour later that she had received an urgent call from her niece and had to leave immediately.
‘I’ll drop you.’ Kola said, taking the car keys from the center table.
Eniola shook her head. ‘No, you don’t have to do that. I’ll just take a taxi.’
‘I insist.’ Kola said.
Lola held Eniola’s hand. ‘Please don’t stay too long. Come back as soon as you are done.’
‘Lola, I’m not sure I’ll come back today and tomorrow, I’m travelling back to Abuja. But I promise, I’ll keep in touch.’
When Eniola got to her mother’s house, Olamide was carrying a box into a white Mercedes. She stopped, immediately realizing what was happening.
‘Olamide, what are you doing? How can you allow Martins deceive you a third time with his sugarcoated words. That man is not ready to change.’
‘Who told you Martins is here?’ She turned to her daughter and slapped her. The Ghana-must-go bag she was carrying fell from her hand.
‘Did I not warn you not to call your aunty. I knew you would not listen to me. When I give you an instruction, you obey it!’
The girl began to cry. Eniola went to her. ‘It’s okay.’
‘Come on, put that bag into the boot before I give you another slap.’
The girl obeyed. Her cries were now muffled sobs. Eniola moved closer to her sister.
‘Olamide, don’t do this. Please.’
‘He has apologized. I’m tired of staying here. I want to return to my husband’s house.’
‘He’s always apologizing, Lamide. Don’t you get it? Don’t you even value your life?’
‘Mummy, please I don’t want to go back to that house.’
Olamide raised her hand to slap her. Eniola came to her defence. Just then, the front door opened and Martins came out of the house with Eniola’s mother, laughing. He kept bowing slightly as he talked with her. The smile disappeared when he saw Eniola.
‘Hello Eniola. Good to see you again.’
Eniola didn’t respond to his greetings. She hissed and entered the house. In the kitchen, there were two bags of rice, two gallons of groundnut oil, a bunch of plantain, tubers of yam, beverages and other food items. Martins sure knew how to play his game well. From the kitchen window, she watched the car pull away. Her heart broke.
‘Every marriage has its own issues, Eniola. You are in your husband’s house, shouldn’t your sister be in hers?’ Eniola’s mother said as she entered the kitchen.
‘How can you send your daughter back to that man. ’
‘He has promised he’ll never do it again. I know he won’t.’ Her eyes went to the gift items. ‘Martins tried o. After buying all these, he still gave me 200,000 naira. Just like that. Everything about him is perfect. It’s just that beating. Ehn. I don’t know why a man will raise his hand on a woman. Anyway, it’s part of life.’
‘How can beating be part of life. Mummy, it is wrong. Olamide shouldn’t have gone with him. The first time he did that to her, I had to stay with her in the hospital for weeks. I knew the pain she went through.’
‘She’ll be fine. Your own is too much sef. He said he won’t touch her again.’ Simi’s mother paused. ‘How far Lola. Has she been found?
‘Mummy don’t ask me question abeg. I’m worried for my sister.’
Eniola left the kitchen, morose.
Her mother shouted from the kitchen. ‘Is it my fault ehn! She said she wanted to go back. Should I have stopped her? Don’t get me angry o.’
‘She is back!’ Ada screamed as soon as Simi walked through the door. ‘Please tell me you are not going back to your mother’s place tonight.’
Simi smiled. ‘No. I’m back home. But I should go see her this weekend.’
‘I’ve missed you so much.’ Ada pushed her towards the sofa. Simi fell on her back
Ada grabbed one of the throw pillows and hit her with it. ‘You left me here alone.’
‘Ada, you know if I start my own play play, it is you that will start begging. I’m warning you now o.’
Ada laughed. ‘Chei! I have missed you.’
‘What’s been happening around here. What did I miss?’
‘Plenty gist. But first, let me check what I’m cooking.’
‘What’s she even cooking? Simi asked.
Ada stopped at the entrance to the kitchen and turned to her friend.
‘I’m making smoky liver salad and sausage pepper sauce. I don’t want you near this kitchen until it is ready.’
‘Ada, you and who will eat that rubbish. Oh! you have come o. Let me just go and prepare noddles.’
‘Chill joor. This is going to be very interesting. Very tasty. Relax. I’ll be right back.’
Simi turned on her phone. At the close of work, she’d noticed that David uploaded a picture on his WhatsApp status. She had been too distracted at work to properly look at it.
She opened her whatsapp and scrolled down until she got to his contact.
He was online.
Her heart pounded with excitement.
‘I miss him. I miss my man.’
She was going to look for David’s address. She didn’t mind taking some days off work to travel to Kaduna just to talk to him. She wanted to know why he had sent that message. Why had he suddenly withdrawn from her. Was there something about her he didn’t like? Maybe, David would give an answer to why all the guys who had come into her life left without any explanation.
She tapped the status icon. There were lots of unopened posts. She scrolled down to David’s status. Two pictures.
In one, David sat in his office, dressed in a clean black suit. On his table was a laptop and some documents. He crossed his leg and Simi felt he was looking straight at her.
She wiped the tears already building in her eyes. ‘Oh David, I love you.’ In the second picture, his gaze was fixed on the laptop in front of him.
She decided to send him a message.
Hello David. It’s been a while. I’m just checking up on you.
She waited. A blue tick sign showed that the message had delivered.
David went offline.
Then he was back online.
No response still.
Simi’s eyes burned with tears.
David, please talk to me. I’ve missed you. See, I just want to know what I’ve done wrong. I’m ready to change. I love you so much.
Why are you doing this to me? You are breaking my heart.
David appeared online and went offline.
Simi couldn’t stop the tears trickling down her face. She returned to David’s picture and kept her gaze on it.
‘You are crying.’ Ada said, holding a tray of her smoky liver salad. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘I miss David. Can you imagine? He sent me a text message that our relationship was over. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.’
Ada placed the tray on the center table. ‘Simi, it’s time for you to move on. There are lots of men who will kill to be with you.’
Simi wiped the tears from her eyes. ‘It’s so easy for you to say. You think everybody is like you that have men at their beck and call? Sometimes, I wish I had your charming nature. But nobody wants to have that kind of conversation with me. See, I want my man back. I’m not letting him go o. I’ll fight to keep him. Remember the singles seminar we attended two months ago. The woman said her man withdrew and started acting weird but she knew what God told her. She waited. He came back.’
‘So, God specifically told you David is your husband, is that what you are saying?’
Simi raised her hand. ‘Don’t come all spiritual on me this evening. I love David. I’m not giving up on this. No!’
Ada smiled sadly. ‘He will be in osogbo on the 25TH of August.’
Simi’s eyes lit up. ‘Are you sure of what you are saying? Where did you get that info?’
‘From one of the media people in church. I think he has a very important event there. Just make sure you are there between 1p.m and 3pm. I’ll get the exact address for you tomorrow.’
Simi jumped for joy. ‘Ada, thank you so much. Two months seem so far away but I have no choice but to wait. ’
Ada picked the tray from the center table. ‘Have a taste of my delicious meal.’
‘Right now Ada, I can do anything for you.’
Simi thrust the fork into the plate and raised the salad to her mouth. She squeezed her face. ‘Why does it look like I’m eating grass?’
Ada giggled. ‘if you want to enjoy this, you have to eat it together with the smoked liver. Wait, let me show you how this works.’
Ada took the fork and impaled some of the vegetables with the chopped liver on it. ‘Open your mouth.’
Simi obeyed and chewed slowly. ‘Uhmmm…this is nice.’
August 25th. Simi was up before 5a.m. She slept back but thirty minutes later, she was up again. When at 6a.m, she couldn’t sleep, she got up from the bed and began a series of mental calculation.
‘If I leave Ibadan at 10a.m, I should arrive Osogbo by 12 noon. Since I don’t know the venue, it might take some time to find the location.’
Simi looked at her wristwatch. 9.10. It’s better to leave now in case there was traffic on the way to the motor park
‘You look stunning.’ Ada said as she came out of the room. Simi smiled.
She imagined the look on David’s face when she approached him after the event. She had noticed the spark in his eyes every time she wore the dress to see him. She wished she had a fair skin that glowed like Ada. It would have made everything perfect.
‘Are you not going to eat something?’
Simi shook her head. ‘I’m not hungry. I have to go now.’
Simi hurried out of the house.
At the car park, there was only one passenger in the car headed for Osogbo. A fat man in faded Ankara stood in front of the black Toyota shouting. ‘Osogbo! Oshogbo!’
Simi sat alone in the back, restless. She wished she had come earlier. Now she would be late. If this event was very important to David, she wanted to be part of every session of the programme. She looked at her wristwatch. It was past 10a.m already. Where for goodness sake were these passengers?
There was a rickety bus standing at a far end of the park. A man also stood in front of the bus shouting ‘Osogbo.’ It was almost filled. Simi wanted to jump down and rush there before it gets filled up but one look at the bus and she wondered if it would make it to the outskirts of Ibadan before breaking down.
A slender young man with an attractive face walked towards the car. Simi prayed he was going to Osogbo.
‘E lo ni. How much?’ the man asked.
He pulled out his wallet from his pocket before entering the car.
‘Oshogbo, eni kan! One more person. Osogbo!’The driver shouted.
The man who had just entered looked at Simi and smiled. ‘The way you sighed, my arrival must have been a great relief.’
Simi chuckled. ‘You don’t understand. I’ve been here for over an hour.’
‘It happens sometimes.’
A woman carrying a baby showed up. She entered the car.
‘Thank God o.’ Simi let out a quick breath. The man smiled again.
After the driver collected his fare, he left the motor park.
Simi checked to see if David had left her a message. Nothing. The sadness in her heart deepened.
Was she making a right decision by going to see David? Would he embarrass her when she approached him? Will he love her again for fighting to keep him?
She rehearsed what she would tell him. She had to be diplomatic. Pretend she wasn’t interested in the relationship while trying to plead with him to give her another chance.
‘David, I love you so much. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. But it’s fine if you don’t want me anymore. I just want to know what I did wrong. Why did you really break up with me?’
David would look at her and feel sorry for taking that decision. He’d tell her he hadn’t been able to sleep. That she was all he thought of. He’d hug her and say he was sorry for sending that kind of message. In a silent whisper, he’d tell her how much he loved her.
Simi smiled and looked at the man beside her. He was typing very fast on a notepad on his phone. She noticed he’d swipe to a bible app, open it, read a verse and continue writing. His words caught her attention.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Ps 62:5
This verse struck my heart just now. I can choose to bring my mind to be quiet while waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promise. I can also jump up and down, making my wait a drudgery task. The choice is mine. The wait that comes with my emotions under control brings a constant reassurance of God’s faithfulness. But you see the wait full of raging emotions, it comes with a lot of mistakes and pain.
Lord, help me that my body, soul and spirit will wait quietly before You. I am eager to meet my wife. My body cries out for pleasure. My mind dreams of such beautiful experiences with my partner.
Last night when I poured out my heart before him, God said Wait. This morning, he said the same thing. I want to wait well. God, I bring my emotions to you. Teach me to wait quietly before you. I trust you have great plans for me and-
The man raised his head. Simi quickly turned her face away. But it was too late, he had caught her reading his notes.
‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean to do that. That scripture and your notes just caught my attention. I am so sorry.’
He smiled and said it was okay. Throughout the rest of the journey, he shared scriptures with Simi. She wondered how a person would know deep things of the word like this. Simi soaked in every word he said. Those words pierced her heart. She was stirred in her spirit. A longing for intimacy with Jesus filled her heart.
‘I am Muyiwa.’ He said as the car finally came to a stop. ‘What’s your name?’
He stretched out his hand. She took it. ‘Nice meeting you. Where are you going to?’
They were now standing at the express road. ‘I don’t even know. This is my first time here.’
‘You have the address?’
She gave him the piece of paper. He looked at it.
‘Oh. I know the event Centre. You’ll have to take a bus going to Dada Estate. Or would you prefer taking a bike?’
Muyiwa led her to where the motorbikes were parked and waited until she mounted one of the motorbikes. Simi waved at him as the bike zoomed off.
At the event Centre, Simi stood in front of the building, confused. Had the man brought her to the wrong place? She looked at the name on the building. It was the same name Ada had given to her. Why were people dressed as if they were going for a party?
Cars lined the opened space. Young girls in aso-ebi stood to take selfie. A woman struggled with a wrapped gift with one hand while she held her aso-oke with the other hand.
Three elderly men stood around a posh car, talking drums hanging on their shoulders. A tall woman in a purple lace and matching gele came out of the car and walked past them without giving them attention. They followed her to a distance before rushing to a jeep that had just pulled in.
Simi called Ada. This had to be a mistake. Ada’s number didn’t go through.
Simi entered the hall and found a place to sit. Was it a wedding David had come to attend? Young girls in white walked around the hall placing trays of small chops on the tables. The M.C had the microphone but he obviously was talking to himself. Nobody was listening. The hall was getting parked full. How would she find David in a place like this?
She took her phone out of her bag and was about to dial Ada’s number again when her eyes caught a name on a wedding program booklet someone had left on the table.
Welcome to the Wedding ceremony uniting David Olaitan and Gbemisola Falala.
Click here to read Episode 9