Click to read Episode 8
Simi opened the booklet slowly. Her hands were trembling. She flipped through the pages unaware that tears trickled down her face.
I, David Olaitan, take you Gbemisola Falala, to be my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy word, this is my solemn vow.
She closed the booklet. This was supposed to be her wedding. Simi was designed to his wife not Gbemi. The vows were meant to be between David Olaitan and Simisola Gbadamosi. This couldn’t be happening to her. What had she done to deserve this?
When she raised her head, she noticed she was the only one sitting down. All eyes were turned towards the entrance. The laughter, flashes from phone cameras, loud music from the DJ made her stomach churn.
Two ladies sitting across from her stared at her with curious eyes. Simi bowed her head, a sharp cry of hurt and despair leaving her lips. She couldn’t embarrass herself here. She reached for a white handkerchief and wiped her tears before blowing her nose into it.
Simi, compose yourself for goodness sake, she reprimanded.
She roused, pretending to join the others in the excitement that accompanied wedding ceremonies.
David danced with all his strength. Behind him were the groom’s men. Simi scanned their faces. She recognized two of them as members of the media team in her church.
Her gaze shifted to David’s bride. She was fair skinned but it was difficult making out her real face behind the heavy makeup. She danced slowly conscious of her breasts that threatened to pop out of her wedding gown if she dared moved faster. The bride’s maid of honour continued to dab a small towel on her sweaty face. David shook his waist from side to side, beaming with smiles. Simi’s heart broke.
When he grabbed Gbemi’s waist and the couple went down in dance steps that evoked laughter from the audience, Simi couldn’t bear it again. She took her bag and ran out of the building. Standing in front of the entrance, she covered her mouth to prevent the cries pushing their way out.
God, why is this happening to me? Why do you hate me so much? Are you satisfied now that I’m hurt?
She remembered the way David stared at her after every church service. He’d leave the media room just to see her face. He’d always made her heart flutter and when he finally asked her out, she knew she had met the right person.
‘I love you Simi. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.’
Had he been deceiving her?
How many times had she prayed for him more than she prayed for herself. She’d wanted to give him a taste of how wonderful a wife she would be when they finally tied the knot. She visited his house every weekend. She washed his clothes, scrubbed his toilet, cooked meals for him. She had loved him so much and wanted to make life easy for him. Was this how David decided to pay her back? Had he been dating someone else while they were still together?
The thought brought fresh batch of tears. No wonder he had been misbehaving. Now she understood. This was why he had not been picking her calls. He had started withdrawing from her when he met this lady.
Simi cried all the way back to Ibadan.
The moment she entered the house, she went straight to Ada’s room. Ada was watching a movie, her eyes fixed on the screen of her laptop. Simi pulled out the earpiece from her ears Ada turned swiftly, alarmed. She relaxed when she saw who it was.
‘How was your trip?’
Simi was boiling with anger. ‘Did you know David was getting married today?’
When Ada didn’t respond, Simi paced the room and stopped in front of Ada.
‘Ada, why? Why didn’t you tell me? You are very cruel. I thought you were my friend.’
Ada rose to her feet. ‘Please don’t say that. You were just so smitten by this guy and this was the only way I knew best to get you to snap out of that fantasy.’
‘By making me a look like a fool in front of everybody who attended that wedding? Ada what kind of heart do you have?’
Ada’s eyes were full of regret. ‘I’m sorry. I just thought this would help you get him out of your mind.’
Simi shook her head. She wanted to say more but she stopped herself and left the room. Ada followed her out.
‘I’m sorry Simi. God has a better plan-‘
Simi turned sharply to face her friend. ‘Just shut up! Ok! I don’t need your sympathy.’ She stopped at the door. ‘I want to be alone.’
Ada stood at the door as she entered her room and shut the door. Simi sat on the floor. She covered her face with her hands and wept. Ada knocked.
‘Leave me alone!’
Simi lay flat on her back and stared at the ceiling. Why would God treat her like this? All she had done was to serve him faithfully. Why should her life turn out this way? Look at Ada, men fell heads over heels in love with her. She was engaged to a man, a first class graduate working in one of the largest engineering companies in the US. Why was her case different? She had read articles on relationships, attended seminars and consumed books on how to be the best wife for her man. What had she missed?
Simi got up and washed her face before heading out. If only she had someone to share her pain with before it wrecked her soul. Her mother was out of the question. She would insist they visit one of her prophets. Her sister, Eniola was at a prayer retreat with her husband and wouldn’t be back home until the following day. Who else could she talk to?
When she opened the door, Ada was sitting outside the room, eyes teary. She stood up when Simi stepped out.
‘Simi, I’m sorry. please forgive me.’
Simi folded her hands. ‘It’s okay. I’m not angry with you anymore.’
‘Thank you. Should we hang out this evening?’
Simi shook her head. ‘Another time Ada. Today, I just want to be alone.’
Simi drove round town looking for a quiet place to sit and think. She finally pulled into an eatery. She and David had dined there a few times.
As she got out of the car, she noticed a man struggling with a woman in front of a car beside hers. The woman was trying to plant a kiss on his lips. He pushed her away but she held on tightly, pleading with him.
Simi shook her head. Everyone seemed to have some sort of drama in their lives. Wasn’t she like that woman, trying to force herself on David when he so wanted to get away. She sighed, shame filling her.
As her gaze shifted back to them, she saw that the woman now had her head on his chest, her hands around his waist. Simi felt pity for the lady. She must love the man so much even though he didn’t want anything to do with her.
Why were men like this? Why do they enjoy breaking the hearts of ladies who have devoted themselves to them?
The man turned towards her direction and then she saw the face clearly.
This was Lola’s husband for sure. What was he doing with this woman? Their eyes met.
‘What’s going on?’ Simi mouthed, frowning slightly.
‘Please help me.’ Kola gestured.
The woman held his face in her hands while tears ran down her face. Simi walked towards them.
‘Hello Baby.’ Simi said and placed her hand on Kola’s shoulder.
The lady pulled away from Kola and looked Simi over. Kola quickly held Simi’s waist and kissed her forehead.
‘Who is she? You’ve abandoned me for another chick? How dare you!’ The woman shouted.
‘Hey, madam! Stop shouting! You look too refined to be acting like one local woman. What if I tell you he is my husband.’ Simi was shocked at the words coming out of her mouth.
She laughed. ‘You can’t possibly be his wife. You are not obese. So start telling me what you are doing with my man before I scatter your head.’ She clenched her fist ready to hit Simi.
Simi pointed her finger at the lady . ‘You don’t even know who you are dealing with. I see you want to go to jail like your father. Touch me and see.’
The lady moved backward, shocked. ‘How did you know my father is in jail.’
Simi ignored her question and looked at Kola. ‘Can we go now. I don’t have time for this drama.’
Kola quickly opened the passenger door for Simi. She climbed in. Kola rushed to the driver side. The lady was still standing there as Kola sped out of the restaurant.
Simi chuckled. ‘What just happened?’
Kola smiled. ‘I don’t know too. That was something.’
‘Who’s that by the way?’
‘Bimbo. She’s been breathing down my neck. I agreed to meet her here hoping I’ll talk some sense into her head. I told her in clear terms I was no longer interested in the relationship. She has refused to listen.’
Simi looked puzzled and then understanding hit her. Kola had been cheating on his wife.
‘I’m not proud of myself. I just want to get my life straight abeg.’ When Simi didn’t say anything, he continued. ‘We could wait a little and then go pick your car. By then I’m sure she’d have left.’
Simi looked at him. ‘You want us to talk?’
He glanced at her briefly before returning his attention to the road. ‘Yes.’
Simi pointed to an open space beside a mechanic workshop. ‘We can park there.’
Kola pulled away from the road. He sat back and didn’t say anything for a while. Then he began to open his past to Simi. He told her how he’d loved Lola so much and their first year of marriage had been splendid but by the second year things had changed. He’d began to hang out with a new friend he met at work and it was this friend who had introduced him to Bimbo.
Bimbo aroused in him passions he’d never had with his wife. He hated to return home to Lola who always carried a grim face. She was slowly becoming depressed but he didn’t care. He had Bimbo and that was all that mattered. Bimbo had asked him to divorced his wife and marry her but he had refused. He knew Bimbo well enough to know she was better a mistress than a wife.
Simi sat there and listened. She knew that was he wanted. For one moment, she forgot her own problems and gave Kola her full attention.
‘I was a fool Simi. I still remember the Holy Spirit warning me with these words, ‘Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?’ I didn’t listen. Gradually, I became spiritually dead. I destroyed my home.’ He sighed. ‘Right now, Lola won’t even talk to me. I can’t reach her heart. The more I try, the more she pulls farther away from me.’
‘Love is patient.’ Simi said softly.
Kola nodded. ‘Yeah. God said that to me this morning. He’s forgiven me but receiving Lola’s forgiveness may take some time. Waiting can be hard though.’
Simi smiled sadly. ‘I agree. Waiting is tough. I’m here desperate to get married and I find myself trying so badly to hold on to a man who doesn’t care one bit about me. I go searching for him and find out that he got married today. You can imagine how shocked I was, seeing him dance into the reception hall with another woman.’
Kola leaned forward. ‘This happened today?’
Simi nodded. ‘David moved away from Ibadan to Kaduna and I was already making plans to go see him there when I heard he was going to be in osogbo today. I got there only to discover that he had married someone else’
Simi’s eyes welled up in tears. ‘I keep wondering why men treat me this way. After my second relationship ended, one of mum’s pastors said there was a mask covering my face. He requested we fast for seven days. Kola, I was on the mountain for seven days, no food, no water. We prayed until I lost my voice. I have asked myself this several times. Why don’t men want me? What am I doing wrong?’
Kola touched her hand. ‘If God should open your eyes to the things he is protecting you from, you’ll be grateful for those break-ups. God knows what’s best for us. There is nothing wrong with you. You have to trust God absolutely. There is a verse that has become part of my everyday life. It was the scripture God gave me when I cried to him to save my marriage.’
Simi looked at Kola. ‘What scripture is that?’
Kola hesitated. ‘When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.’
Simi closed her eyes and allow the words sink in.
‘Simi, unless we draw our satisfaction from Christ, we will continue to search in vain for peace and happiness. I awake every morning to behold the face of Jesus and I am satisfied. I find that because I am now consumed with his love, the fruit of the Spirit bears expression in my life. Sometimes when we don’t quickly see our desires met, it is God’s way of teaching us to keep him at the center of our hearts.’
Simi closed her eyes again. How many times had she skipped her devotion just to talk to David. She had missed prayer meetings and even bible studies to spend time with the men in her life. Hadn’t they all left in the end? Here she was, her spiritual life dry and withered. How she missed the days when she just enjoyed spending time with God.
God, every time I wake up, I want to see your face. I want to behold you. This is where my satisfaction lies. Strengthen me Lord.
Kola squeezed her hand. ‘Everything will be alright.’
‘Thank you so much Kola.’
Kola started the engine. ‘Let’s go back to the restaurant for your car.’
Simi felt a heavy burden lifted from her shoulder. Kola turned on the car stereo and played Lauren Diagle’s ‘I will trust in you.’
‘Wait o, how did you know Bimbo’s father was in jail?’
Simi fell back on the head rest, pondering at the question. Had she really said that? ‘Sincerely, I don’t know how that statement came out of my lips. Is her father really in jail?’
‘Yes. Life imprisonment.’
Simi gasped. ‘Oh no. She must really be hurting.’
Kola exhaled. ‘I wish I could turn back the hands of time.’
‘Same here .’ Lola sighed.
Two weeks before Christmas, Kola entered his office closely followed by Kelvin. He wished the man would just leave him alone.
‘This is what I’m saying.’ Kelvin said, hitting his fist on Kola’s table. ‘When you treat your staff well, you’ll see great result.’
Kola looked at him, puzzled. ‘What are you talking about?’
Kelvin sat on the edge of Kola’s table. ‘You’ve not seen the alert?’
Two of Kola’s colleagues entered the office, laughing.
‘Omo! Money has arrived.’ One of them said.
The second bounced towards his table. ‘We go enter club this night. Correct fish pepper soup and beer. If you don’t see me tomorrow, Na hangover cause am. ’
Kola looked from his colleagues to Kelvin. ‘What money are you talking about?’
‘Bonus from the headquarters. Check your phone.’
Kola reached into his knapsack for his phone. He tapped on his message inbox.
600,000 Naira. ‘What!’
His eyes widened. Kelvin slapped him on his back.
‘Let’s meet at our regular spot tonight. Fresh women everywhere.’ Kelvin laughed.
‘I’m not coming.’
Kelvin stopped. ‘What’s wrong with you? You are not the only one who lost a child. My child was also stillborn. This is not the end of the world. Life goes on. Just look how tensed up you are. You need to meet Cynthia. She’ll show you how to relax.’
Kola sat down and turned on his laptop. ‘I’m serious about my relationship with God now.’
Kelvin laughed. ‘So we are now the sinners? I’m an usher in my church so don’t get all spiritual on me. We know God too.’
‘Kelvin, I just want to be the husband God desires of me. I’m different now.’
Kelvin chuckled. ‘I’ve met guys like you. Within three months, they ran back to me begging me to hook them with a babe.’ Kelvin stood up. ‘Take your time. But when your body begins to long for fresh meat, call me.’
At the door, a lady called out to Kola. ‘There is a lady downstairs who wants to see you.’
Kelvin laughed. ‘Oshey! My friend, my friend.’
Kola frowned. ‘What does she want?’
The lady shrugged. ‘I don’t know. She refused to come into the reception.’
When Kola got down the stairs, Bimbo was standing outside. Her hair was a mess and there were bags under her eyes. Without any make up, her lips looked fatter and her face wasn’t as pretty as Kola had always thought.
Kola stopped in front of her. ‘What do you want from me? Bimbo, leave me alone.’
‘I carried your seed in my womb Kola. You made me abort twice. Now you think you can just dump me? Is it fair?’
Kola was frustrated. ‘Bimbo, I’ve apologized several times. I said I’m sorry. What do you want?’
‘Sorry is not enough. I love you. I haven’t been able to sleep well for weeks.’
Kola was full of pity for her. She looked so broken. ‘But you knew I was married before we started this. Were you really expecting me to leave my wife?’
Bimbo stared at the floor. When she raised her head, her eyes were teary. ‘I miss you.’ she held his hand. ‘My heart aches for you Kola. You are the only man who has treated me more than an object of sex. I know you have other women in your life and I don’t have a right to make any demand, but please can we have sex one more time. Just once and I promise I’ll never disturb you again. I miss those nights with you. Kola, please.’
He pulled his hand away. ‘No. I can’t. Bimbo, move on. Get a good life for yourself. I’m picking up the pieces of my life and I hope you would too.’
He walked back to the office, climbing the stairs two steps at a time. Kelvin was waiting for Kola at the reception.
‘I warned you about women. I told you they get emotionally attached. Bimbo is just trying to manipulate you.’
Kola walked down the corridor that led to his office. ‘I just want her off my back.’
Kelvin moved closer to his friend. ‘Let’s meet this evening and I’ll show you how we can handle her.’
Kola shook his head. ‘I have a date with my wife tonight. Even if I didn’t, I still won’t come.’
Kelvin glared at him. Kola wasn’t moved. If Kelvin decides to end the friendship, he’d been more than glad. He didn’t care about Kelvin’s connections anymore. He just wanted to know God and get intimate with Him.
When Kola got home that evening, His daughter, Hannah, met him at the door. He picked her up and swirl her around. She giggled. He put her down, pretending to gasp for breath.
‘Daddy, do it again.’
He went on all fours. ‘Let’s do this instead. Pim-pim. Who wants a ride to shoprite?’
Hannah’s eyes brightened at the mention of shoprite. ‘I want a ride!’
She jumped on his back and he crawled round the living room, making sounds of an engine revving up. Hannah squealed in excitement, her hand wrapped around her father’s neck.
‘When we get to shoprite, what will you buy for me?’ she asked.
Kola didn’t answer her. He moved faster and Hannah held him tightly, giggling.
‘The food is ready sir.’ Nene, Lola’s housemaid announced.
Kola put Hannah down gently from his back. She started to cry. Kola turned to Nene. ‘I’m going out with mummy. Feed Hannah and eat too. ’
When Hannah wouldn’t stop crying, Kola picked her up and kissed her cheeks
‘Should I buy biscuit for you?’
She nodded and in her babyish voice said, ‘And i-cream.’
‘I’ll buy ice-cream for you. Go and eat your food.’
Reluctantly, she followed Nene to the kitchen while Kola went into the room.
Lola was sitting on the bed already dressed. She wore a purple gown made of soft cotton fabric. Her braids were parked to a bun. When she looked at him, his heart skipped a beat.
Kola raised his head to heaven. ‘God, you are amazing. I didn’t even expect her to agree to my offer for an evening date and here she is, ready for this evening.’
He stared lovingly at her. ‘You are so beautiful.’
He wanted to cuddle her and kiss her until he was breathless. He wanted to reach into her heart and pull out the pain he had caused her. But he stood there, taking in the sight of his beautiful wife. His eyes caught the veil wrapped around her shoulders.
‘You don’t need this.’ he said pulling the veil away. Her arms were bare. She quickly grab the veil from him and covered her arms again.
Kola got dressed in a dark suit and lilac coloured shirt. He pulled her to her feet.
‘How was work today?’ Lola asked.
Kola’s eyes widened. Jesus thank you! That was the first question she’d ask him in months.
‘Work was great! I got a bonus from the headquarters. 600,000 naira.’
Lola didn’t smile. She just let her eyes rest on his glowing face. Why was he acting excitedly like a little child? Kola pulled out three ATM cards from his pocket and held them out in front of her.
‘Sweetheart, my money is yours. If you need anything, you can always use any of these.’
Lola looked from the cards to her husband. Could this be real? Why was she afraid of letting him in? Why was she scared he would hurt her again? A voice taunted her.
Men are the same. They are devils. Once you let them into your life, they’ll crush you.
No way. She was never going to allow her husband hurt her again. Never. Affliction shall not rise the second time.
Kola had chosen a place with great ambience. The restaurant even though small was cozy and made you feel instantly at home. From where they sat, they had a good view of a fountain behind the restaurant. The air was thick with the scents of many delicacies.
Their table was laden with Chicken pepper soup, peppered snails, jollof rice, salad grilled chicken breast. A bottle of wine stood on the center of the table. No date would have been more perfect than this.
Kola watched as his wife enjoyed the peppered snail. He smiled and dug into a piece of the spicy chicken breast.
God, you are wonderful. I don’t know how to thank you. I wasn’t expecting this to be so fast. I thought-
‘Why did you sleep with her?’
Kola’s thought suddenly came to a halt. He wiped his grease off his hands on a napkin. How do one answer this kind of question.
‘What did she have that I don’t have?’
Kola let out a deep breath. ‘Sweetheart, I was drawn away by my own lust. You are perfect. I was just an idiot not to notice how beautiful you are. I have told Bimbo that I don’t ever want to have anything to do with her. She came to my office and I walked out on her. I want to be your husband and lover again. Believe me please.’
Lola blinked twice. ‘Who is Bimbo? I’m talking of the corper lady who lived downstairs. The one I caught you with on our matrimonial bed.
Kola covered his face. Jesus, please help me. ‘Oh..’
‘So there are others.’
Kola leaned forward and took her hand. She snatched it away. ‘Just Bimbo.’
‘How am I supposed to believe that? How do you expect me to trust you Kola? All those times you returned late from work, was she the one you were with?’
Kola sighed. Jesus why are you quiet. Help me out. ‘Yes.’
‘You’ve been sleeping with her?’
Kola couldn’t look at her face. ‘I stopped after Benjamin’s death.’
‘While I was almost driving myself insane, crying because you wouldn’t touch me, you were with another woman. I was depressed Kola. I thought I would die. I wanted you to hold me, to tell me you love me. I wanted you!’
‘I knew you were sleeping around. I told Tosin but she said I shouldn’t conclude. I was right. My instincts never fail me. I figured that if you weren’t getting sex from me, you had to be getting it from someone else. She is slim right? I’m sure, she is not an ugly bitch like I am. Let me guess, her waist is thin, her hips are in exact proportion to her size. She is stunning with a very attractive face.’
Kola reached out to her again. She pulled away. ‘You are more beautiful Lola. She is nothing compared to you.’
‘Lies! I will not be deceived by your lies!’ Lola shouted.
‘I loved you with every breath of my being. Yet you turned around to despise me.’
‘I love you.’
Lola took the plate of rice and salad and threw it at Kola’s face. She scattered everything on the table. The bottle of wine crashed and shattered to the floor. The glass cups followed. The waitresses were now standing afar, watching. All eyes were drawn to Kola’s table. Lola picked up her bag and stormed out.
‘Excuse me sir.’ A young man approached the table. The waitresses quickly got back to work at the sight of the man. Kola stood up, wiping his face with a serviette.
‘Please can I see the manager of this place.’ Kola asked the man who now stood in front of him.
‘I am the manager.’
‘I’m so sorry about this. Please, I’ll pay whatever it cost for a the replacement.’ Kola’s hands trembled as he brought out his ATM card from his wallet.’
‘Come over to the counter.’ The manager said. Kola stepped aside for the cleaners who were already clearing the mess. He followed the man to the counter.
Bills settled, Kola left the restaurant. He leaned on his car, exhausted and downcast. He dialed Taiwo’s number. Lola’s appointment with the psychiatrist wasn’t due until the following week.
Taiwo listened patiently as Kola narrated the incident that had happened that evening.
‘Kola, this is a good sign. At least she is gradually getting all the bottled feelings out. Remember for months, she didn’t say anything. At least she is now talking. I see progress here.’
‘I have caused her so much pain.’
‘It’s going to be okay. Is she there with you?’
Panic jarred Kola’s heart. What if she had disappeared like the other time. ‘I have to go find her.’
He ended the call and as he turned, Lola was standing right behind him, shivering. He gasped. She’d been crying. He pulled off his suit and wrapped it around her shoulders before opening the door.
‘Let’s go home.’
Episode 10 comes up next.