When Peter was strong enough to move around, I decided it was time to stop the regular visits. That evening, as we sat in the living room watching a movie, I saw Mama and her children in the living room insulting and making sneering remarks about me. My husband stood aloof, watching them without saying anything. I tried to push back the thought but it kept resurfacing.
Peter whispered something to me. It was supposed to be funny. He laughed but I didn’t. He paused the movie and stared at me.
‘Kike, what’s wrong?’
I kept a straight face. ‘Why did you marry me?’
‘Kike, I love you. I didn’t mean any of things I said, I was just reechoing my mother’s voice. I’ll choose you every time.’
I stood up. Peter took my shoulder in his hands. I recoiled.
‘I want to go. Will you take me home or should I board a taxi.’
If only my brake hadn’t messed up this morning. I wanted so badly to be alone.
‘I’ll take you home.’
It was a silent ride until Peter began to play, Steve Crowns’ You are great.
Peter moved his body along with the beats. I couldn’t resist and began to sing undertones. Then our voices rose. By the time, we got to the verse that began with ‘Angels tremble at your presence’, we were singing at the top of our voices.
In front of the bungalow, Peter replayed the song and this time, he turned up the volume of the stereo to the max. We danced. Sang.Clapped. Laughed.
When the song ended, I sat there, reluctant to leave the car.
‘It’s getting late Kike. You need to rest.’
I nodded my head and opened the door, but I didn’t move. I could feel Peter’s gaze on my back. I glanced at him, wishing we could spend some more time together.
‘Goodnight.’ I said and stepped out but I didn’t close the door. I stood there, searching his eyes in the darkness. Peter laughed softly and got down from the car. We walked to my apartment swinging our hands back and forth singing, ‘row, row row your boat’.
I couldn’t contain my excitement. I brought a tray of cupcakes I had made that morning and a can of malt and placed it in front of him. Then I settled beside him and fished out my phone from my bag.
Five missed calls.
‘Why did Dad call me?’
Peter played with my fingers. ‘Let it go Kike. They are still your parents. ‘
‘I know and I have forgiven them but Dad calls me every day now and I’m uncomfortable with it. Abeg he should face his business joor.’
‘Have you gone to see them since you moved in here?’
I shook my head. ‘Last week, they came here. I wasn’t myself at all. I could as well have been sitting before a panel of interviewers. We didn’t have much to say, anyway.’
‘What about Temi?’
‘That one. She’s an impossible task. I cannot forget how my father eulogised that girl…’Temi is an obedient extraordinary bla bla bla..’ ‘She is the best this…the best that…’and the way she treated me with disdain after dad discovered my affair with Kay. The fact that she came to my wedding to spite me makes me mad sometimes.
‘You can’t be sure that she had the intention of spiting you. I think she missed you.’
I gave a dry laugh. ‘I know my sister and what she is capable of doing.’
My phone rang. Wale. I pushed it away. I wasn’t ready to hear another version of how the lady he had screwed with seduced him on the day I had taken my luggage from his house.
‘What does Wale want?’
‘He wants me back’
Peter hesitated. ‘Are you-‘
‘No. I’m in control of my life now. I’m never going to allow anymore dictate my emotions. I am in control.’
Was that really true?
Peter held out a piece of cake. I opened my mouth ready to receive it. Instead he threw it into his mouth. I held his throat.
‘Vomit it now.’
We struggled. Peter began to tickle me and I started screaming and laughing, pleading with him to stop. I was laughing so hard that I didn’t hear the knock the first time. It was when it came again that we stopped laughing.
Segun and Kemi were at the door grinning widely when I let them in.
‘Sorry to disturb your private moment.’ Segun started.
‘We are indeed sorry.’ Kemi added.
I stood beside Peter watching the pair.
‘We just wanted to inform you that your parents came this evening. They waited a while and left.’
‘That’s all.’ Kemi gestured with her hands.
The couple apologised for the intrusion and wished us a goodnight rest and like robots sent on a mission, they left. My dark moods returned.
Why were they grinning? Did they think they had succeeded in bringing us together?
Suddenly, the atmosphere became tense. The silence was torturing. Peter stood behind me and touched my shoulders. I stiffened.
‘I should leave now. Good night.’
Tears stung my eyes as I watched him head for the door.
‘Peter.’ My voice was barely audible
He turned. I ran to hug him. ‘Please don’t go.’
‘Ok, I won’t.’ He whispered and kissed my forehead. He led me to the sofa. My hands were still wrapped around his waist when we settled for the rug. He played with my hair while I buried my head in his chest.
I felt the electric charge course through my body. I could hear his pounding heart. I swallowed hard. My body was on fire. He pulled me away enough to take a gaze that created a longing in my soul
‘I love you.’
And then we kissed…He carried me to my room and we made love and afterwards, he held my hands.
‘Sweetheart, please give me another chance. I promise nothing will ever come between us again.’
When I woke up the next morning, he was gone. I couldn’t get last night’s event out of my mind.
Was I making the right decision by allowing him back into my life? Should I just allow everything to end like that after the way I had been treated? isn’t it foolishness to just return to a man who almost killed me? What if I had died after gulping down that concoction, the one that landed me in the Emergency Ward.
I turned my thoughts over, my body moving from one part of the bed to another. There was an intense battle raging in my mind. I dialed Grandma’s number. She answered on the first ring.
‘My daughter called me today o. Hallelujah. ‘
‘Grandma, I’m confused. I don’t understand myself anymore. I’m troubled in my spirit.’
She paused. ‘Go to the one who understands you. Tell Him how you feel. Let Him fill you with the peace that passes all understanding.’
‘You are welcome to my house anytime.’
‘ Grandma, I’m not coming to your house. I need an unfamiliar environment. But I’m not sure my boss will grant me another leave now. She is on a leave herself and there is so much work to do in the office this weekend.’
‘That shouldn’t be a problem. Your Madam is right here with me. We are having a beautiful study time together.’
I gasped. I remembered Grandma was my boss’ spiritual mentor but I didn’t know she had travelled to see my grandmother.
‘Talk to her.’ Grandma said.
‘Kike. What do you want? ‘
I sat up. My boss was a blunt and straight to the point kind of person.
‘I need three days off.’
‘OK. Tidy up your work today and let Georgina handle the interview for Wednesday.’
‘You can’t miss the training on Friday, you know that right?’
‘Yes, I know. I’ll be back by Friday.’
‘Good. See you then.’
Peter’s call came in the moment I ended the call with my grandmother. I watched it ring. When it stopped, I reclined against the wall and typed.
Peter, can we stop seeing each other. I need some time to think.