I See You Through the Peephole Part 12
This is the last post of the week. This series will be available for sale next week (not on Monday), I hope that you are anticipating it!
I also hope you have a good weekend, I will be busy at a conference. What are you going to be doing? ☺
Oby and I have decided to meet at a national conference for researchers, after several hours of boring speeches in which I dozed off more than a few times, we go to a cafeteria. Oby is sponsoring lunch.
“So how’s everything?”
By everything, I know she means what’s going on between Sola and I but I act as if I don’t know it.
“Everything is fine.”
“So you’ve decided to give Sola a chance?”
“Na wa for you o Oby. Are you his solicitor?” I ask wearily.
“He really likes you.”
“And how do you know this?” I ask, picking fillets of my grilled fish with my fork.
“He won’t stop talking about you and pleading with me to talk to you on his behalf.”
“I thought you said your phone was bad, and that’s why you had to ask for my number again? How have you been keeping in touch with him?” I ask suspiciously.
“He gave me his card!” She replies with a grin.
I look at her doubtfully. “Are you sure you don’t want him? You can have him o!”
“Please! It’s not even like that. Besides, I already have someone who makes me happy.”
“Is that so? I assume you’re talking about Isaac.”
“No, it’s not Isaac. Look let’s get back to the subject, allow yourself to be loved by another man. Sola will take care of you.”
“And his wife? Who will take care of her?”
“That’s where you’re getting it wrong. You keep thinking about other people when you should be thinking of yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy life. You deserve your own happiness!”
I look away from the intensity of her stare and smile. “This food is really nice.”
It’s the weekend and we’re at Uju’s house. Kevin looks very good, not a hint whatsoever of his condition.
“You look good,” I say hugging him.
“Your friend is taking very good care of me,” he replies, looking at Uju with so much love that she blushes.
“Kevin, see how you’re making her blush!” Dayo says laughingly.
“Man, she deserves it. She’s been so wonderful!”
We walk into the living room and I look at the room in admiration.
“You redecorated!” I exclaim.
“Yes o, I thought I’d give the house a facelift,” Uju says, flopping onto one of the chairs.
Wow, it’s good to have money. I say to myself. The boys have run upstairs with Uju’s children. They’ll come downstairs when they’re hungry, which will be soon. Uju and I leave the men to their discussion and go out into the garden where she’s grilling chicken and potatoes. The cook, Ruth, is securing the foil wrap. She greets me warmly. We walk towards the center of the garden where there are cane chairs and a table.
“How’s everything?” she immediately asks.
“Fine.” I answer chirpily.
She looks strangely at me. “You look excited… no, excited is not the word, you look peaceful…?”
I laugh. “I don’t know what you’re seeing o!”
“Wait, are you pregnant?”
I stare at her in shock. “For what now? Where is the money to take care of more children?”
She laughs. “You look different though, I can’t explain it but you look different.”
I dismiss her observation and we settle down to catch up on all that has happened with Kevin. After a while she decides to go and check on the children and confirm that the cook is doing as she has instructed. When she leaves, I unlock my phone and check my notifications. There’s a message from Sola.
You guys are not home today?
Did you travel?
I’m pleased to see that he’s noticed my absence. We’re at Ikoyi.
He’s online, he’s almost always online. I got you something, was hoping that I’d give it to you.
I’m surprised. You did?
He sends me a photo of a pair of sparkly green earrings. They look expensive and I’m flattered but I wonder how much this cost and what Bimbo would think of this. I shove aside my hesitation and smile widely.
He reponds. ☺
“Remi!” Uju calls, she’s standing and staring at me in wonder.
“Oh my God!” I jump in my seat, startled. “Why are you sneaking up on me?”
“I didn’t sneak up on you, I’ve been standing here for a while. Who are you chatting with that’s making you smile?”
“One of my friends,” I reply dismissively, hoping that she’ll let it go. She doesn’t.
“Which friend?” she asks.
“You don’t know the person.”
“Is this friend a man or a woman?”
“Ah ah Uju, what’s with the interrogation? Do you think you’re my only friend?”
“You’ve not answered my question.”
“You want me to tell you about all my friends?
She takes her seat beside me with her mouth agape. “Oh Remi, you’re having an affair!” she says softly.
“No wonder you look different, happy! How long has this been going on?”
Uju knows me too well, I cannot lie to her or even dismiss her suspicion. “I haven’t done anything Uju, I’m not having an affair.”
“So what are you doing?”
“I’m just talking to him, that’s all! He gives me a listening ear and God knows I need that!”’ I take a sip from the drink she’s brought.
“What are you doing Remi?” she asks again, shaking her head.
“You don’t know what I’m going though Uju!”
“And is this the solution? Is having an affair going to make you more comfortable? Is it going to change your husband?”
“But what about me? Don’t I deserve to be happy?”
“You want to be happy by ruining another woman’s home?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But you know that’s what’s going to happen.” She shakes her head in confusion. “I can’t even believe that we’re having this conversation. Remi you know the right thing, we are not supposed to be women like this…!”
“Women like what Uju? Women who are tired of redundant husbands? Women who can no longer stand being unhappy? Well I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m one of those women. It’s easy for you to tell me what to do when you’re not in my shoes.”
“You think my life is perfect? Remi, I have problems too! Do you know what it means to be married to a man who is suicidal? Do you know what it means to have your children go away for a while because their father is in the depths of depression? Do you know what it means to keep tabs of his medication and administer them when he’s in one of his moods? Do you know what it means for me to have to explain his behaviour sometimes? Do you know what it means not to be able to sleep well because you’re afraid that your husband might kill himself while you’re asleep…?”
She breaks down into tears and I feel so sorry for her. I really cannot imagine such a life and I’m amazed at all she’s endured. How did I not know this?
“I’m so sorry Uju!” I hold her and let her cry for a while. Then, she sits up abruptly and wipes her face.
“That’s my reality Remi, but I would not leave him, not except I’m in danger of him harming me. I made an oath to be with him for better or worse, it doesn’t matter if he wouldn’t do the same for me, what matters is that I made a commitment to him. So I chose to love him even when I just want to scream and run away with the children. He wants to get better and together we can work to make sure that his life is as normal as can be. It’s hard and it’s not what I bargained for but I wouldn’t run into the arms of another man because my husband is flawed.”
I sit back in my seat and fold my arms.
“Leave him Remi, stay with Dayo, and support his dream even if he wants to sell moi-moi. Take his small dream and make it bigger, you have the power to do that! He’s flawed, aren’t we all? Cheating on him is not the way, think of the woman whose heart is breaking because of what you’re doing. And don’t think that because you’re not sleeping with him, you’re fine. If you don’t break it off now, it’s only a matter of time before you do. And I assure you, it will be the greatest regret of your life!”
Thinking of Uju’s words has made me pensive, and as I go about preparing dinner I’m unaware that Dayo has been staring at me.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yeah, yeah I’m fine.”
“You look like you have something on your mind.”
I shrug. “I’ll be fine. Just thinking of something Uju and I talked about.”
He’s leaning against the door frame, his hands in his pocket. Then he bring them out and puts them back in, all the time shifting from one foot to the other. He repeats this process several times as I realize that he has something on his mind.
“What is it?” I ask him, covering the pot of food I’ve just checked on.
“I want to tell you something and I’m not sure how you‘ll take it.”
I stare at him for a while. What does he want to say? Does he suspect that I have feeling for another man?
“What is it?” I ask him uncertainly.
“Can we go and sit down?”
The boys are playing in their room so we have the sitting room to ourselves.
“What is it?” I ask him again as I sit.
He clasps his hands together before he says: “I resigned yesterday.”
I gasp, put my fingers on my lips, open my mouth to say something and then shake my head. “Are you serious?”
“Yes, I’m very serious. I’ve also applied to become of one of their wholesale agents.”
“How are you going to get the money to do this?”
“They’re paying me some money as part of my benefit…but I need some more money…”
“About two point five million.”
“Where are you going to get that?”
“Kevin has offered to loan me.”
Now I clasp my head in my hands and exhale slowly, is there no end to this provocation?
Without looking up I ask. “So while we went to check on his health, you were asking him for money?”
“I didn’t ask him for money, he offered it. Do you think I went there to beg?”
I put my hands together, my forehead resting on the tip of my fingers. “Dayo, how could you think of doing this without talking to me about it first?”
“I didn’t tell you because I knew what you would say. You’ve never supported this idea, and I want to do what makes me happy…”
“And what happens to your responsibilities?”
“I intend to put aside some money to take care of the next school fees and the basic household needs. I hope that before we have to pay for another term, the business would be able to pay me.”
“You’re placing everything on your hope that things will go well? This is my problem with you Dayo, you never think things through, and you’ve never been able to look beyond the present. How can you do something like this?”
He laughs humorlessly. “Remi, do you think that all I’ve come to do in this life is to provide for my family?”
It’s my turn to laugh humorlessly. “Then you shouldn’t have gotten married Dayo!” I’m so furious now that I’m yelling. “You always think of yourself alone! You are so selfish!”
“And you’re such a nag! Ah ah! Nothing ever pleases you, I have to walk on eggshells in my own house! I have to wonder will Remi approve or not! I can’t live like this!”
“Neither can I!” I retort, standing up, my body trembling with anger. “If I had known that you were such an irresponsible, selfish man I would never have married you! How can you quit your job because you want to explore a ridiculous idea! And you did it behind my back, knowing I would tell you no. You couldn’t even wait to save some money or actually plan this idea of yours! What’s going to happen to the other things we spend money on? I should go and work and give you the money right?”
“This is your problem!” he retorts, standing up too. “You think that because you have some money, you’re better than me! You’re so full of yourself!”
“I’d rather be full of myself than be full of nothing! You’re such a disappointment! Look at what you’ve become, you had big dreams but then that’s what you’ve always been, a dreamer! Wake up Dayo! Wake up and be a man!”
He looks at me defeated and it is then that I realize that my boys are standing, watching us, and crying. I’m crying too.
I hold my head in my hands overwhelmed by shame, pain and anger. “I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t!”
I walk out of the house and close the door. Bimbo is waiting outside her door, she opens it wider, and I go in.