It’s the beginning of another week, yaay! The series continues again today. I thank you for leaving your feedback from last week’s episode. A special shoutout to Ms Yinka Wadak who was so kind to point something out to me.
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I’m going home tomorrow, I’m going to see my boys and I have hopes of a better employment. Things are going to change, I won’t have to be helpless anymore. My bank account has been credited with the money we need for the rent, I don’t have to worry about the landlord sending us reminders.
I’ve just come out of the shower, my head is clear, I’m feeling giddy with excitement at the thought of going home. I think I should call Dayo, he’ll probably cool down, knowing that I’m returning home soon. I sit on the bed and dial his number.
“Hello.” He says.
“Hello Dayo, it’s me.”
There’s silence on the other end.
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
“What can I do for you?” he asks.
I sigh, the situation is the same. “Dayo… are you still angry? Haven’t you missed me?”
“You’ve not answered my question, what can I do for you?”
“I’m coming home tomorrow.”
“Dayo, don’t do this.”
“What do you want me to say Remi?” He sounds angry but I can tell that he’s missed me.
“I’ve missed you.”
“Okay, thank you.”
There is no hope for any sort of reconciliation over the phone.
“Okay, where will you keep the key for me?” I ask.
“I will drop it with Mrs Martins.”
“Okay, I can’t wait to…”
The line goes dead, I was going to say that I can’t wait to see him. Sighing heavily and falling back gently on the bed I wonder what awaits me when I get back home. The hotel phone rings shrilly, jarring me out of my reverie.
“Remi where you dey na?” Oby says excitedly, I can hear some kind of salsa music playing in the background.
“I’m in my room.”
“This woman, na wa for you o! Don’t you know we’re having a party?”
“The going away party now!”
“Oh!” I have completely forgotten, Mr Weju had told us earlier on that there would be a party on the last night to celebrate all our hard work.
“Yes! Oya come downstairs to the poolside, I’m waiting for you.”
“’Oby I’m not…”
The line goes dead, it seems everyone is hanging up on me tonight. I place the phone back in its cradle and curl up in bed, I might as well sleep for as long as I want while I can. I smile as I think of the many excuses my boys come up with just to get me to stay awake. I really can’t wait to see them, Tomiwa told me earlier today that he was making me a special gift.
“Mummy, you’re going to love it!” he’d said with enthusiasm.
“I will?” I replied, hoping that my enthusiasm matched his.
“Yes, my teacher taught us to appreciate people and I want to appreciate you because you’re very special to me.”
I smiled then, so widely that my cheeks hurt and blinked back the tears that had pooled in my eyes. “I can’t wait to see it!” I told him.
No matter what Dayo does, I know I’m welcomed and loved by my boys. A knock on the door makes me sit up and wipe my eyes. I had begun to doze off. Putting on my clothes, I go to the door and pray that it isn’t Mr Martins standing out there. I look through the peephole, it’s Oby.
“Oby…” I say opening the door.
“I decided to bring you to the party myself.”
I sigh. “Oby, I’m not interested. I just want to rest before we go back home tomorrow.”
She looks at me oddly for a while. “Is it because of Sola?”
“Who…? Oh God!” I have to rub my eyes, this is exactly what I didn’t want to happen. She thinks I’m having an affair with him. How do I even begin to explain to her what is really going on?
“You don’t have to be ashamed of it,” she teases, pushing past me into the room. I think she’s slightly drunk.
“Ashamed of what? I haven’t done anything to be ashamed of…”
“Yet. You haven’t done anything yet.” She says, sitting on the bed and crossing her legs.
“I don’t want to have this conversation with you Oby, I love my husband, and there can be no other man.”
“You love him uhn? Is that why you’ve never said anything about him? You’ve only talked about your kids. Women who love their husbands talk about them.”
I shake my head, partly in surprise at how much she has noticed and partly in disbelief of her theory.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Whatever. All I’m saying is if this man makes you happy, there’s nothing that should stop you from experiencing love.”
“Love?” I laugh and sit by her. “You don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
“So explain it to me.”
I wave my hands dismissively. “I don’t even know why we’re talking about this. There’s nothing to talk about…”
“You’re doing this because of your husband isn’t it? Do you think he would think twice if it was him in your shoes?”
“Oby…” I really don’t want to have this conversation, I’m surprised at her audacity to even bring it up, we’ve only known each other for a month. Isn’t this the kind of conversation that friends have? Uju doesn’t even know about Mr Martins. But then, Oby has an intrusiveness about her, she’s warm and friendly and when she gets to know a person, she does so completely and with so much confidence.
“What? Don’t Oby me! Do you think he would give his a second thought?”
I shake my head.
“Look, I’m not saying you should leave your husband for him. All I’m saying is if this is what you really want, do it. It’s just one night, be happy, think of yourself for once. You’re important too.”
“I don’t like him…”
“Shut up!” She yells with so much irritation and looks at me with disdain “You don’t even know how to lie.”
“Look, you can do whatever you want, it is your life. Let’s forget about this before you accuse me of trying to break your home. Let’s go downstairs.”
“He’s not downstairs.” She takes me by the shoulders. “Remi, have fun for once! Let’s go downstairs! This is our last night here.”
We’re by the pool, eating barbecued pork. It is sinfully delicious.
“Tell me you’re not having fun.” Oby says, daring me to agree with her.
I smile and reach for another slice of meat.
“I’m really going to miss this life o!”
She laughs. “I know, me too. Tomorrow I’ll be making eba for my kids.”
“I’ll be cooking beans.”
We laugh. I take a sip of my drink and bob my head to the music the band is playing. A tall, skinny man walks up to us, he’s smiling at Oby. He introduces himself as Isaac, Oby is lightly tipsy, and she giggles as he speaks. Soon, they go off to the dance floor and begin to gyrate quite energetically to the music. Oby can really dance, I smile at the dancing couple and try to remember the last time Dayo and I danced. Probably two years ago at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I run my finger around the rim of the glass I’ve been drinking from and reflect on my marriage to Dayo. I cannot deny how unexciting things have become between us, responsibility has choked our passion for each other. I think of the last time we were intimate and shake my head sadly at the memory. It had been unwelcome and predictable, we had turned away from each other and promptly dozed off. No words were spoken, we’d done our duty to each other.
Have I stopped loving Dayo? Has he stopped loving me? I don’t want to answer this question, it is much better to go on with our present routine, it is much better to ignore the truth of our reality. The idea of our contentment works for everyone. Yet, I cannot deny that I’ve slowly but surely reached a point of dissatisfaction.
I glance at Oby and Isaac again and wonder if her experience with her husband is the same as mine. She’s so comfortable flirting with Isaac that it makes me wonder how long she has carried on like this. How long has her conscience been numb? I grab another slice of the meat, telling myself that this is the last one. I’ll wipe my hands and go up to my room afterwards.
I know who it is even before I look up.
“Good evening.” I say with a sigh, dear God help me. How much more of this man do I have to tolerate?
“Can I sit down?”
“Would you really go if I said no?” I say tiredly, taking another slice of meat.
He smiles and sits down. “You look sad, are you okay?”
“I‘m fine.” I reply not looking at him.
“You don’t look it.”
“What do you want Mr Martins?”
“What do you want?” I ask again.
He stares at me for a while, as if weighing his words. Then he moves closer to me and says with a seriousness that is stunning.
“I want to make you happy.”
I force a laugh. “And what makes you think that I’m unhappy?”
“Your eyes don’t light up. You wear your discontentment on your face, and your body…” he takes my left hand gently. “Your body is tense” he starts to rub his thumb on the back of my hands. “And when I touch you, I feel an excitement that’s subdued but anxious to soar. And there’s regret, I see it in your smile. You’re unhappy Remi.”
I gasp sharply and snatch my hand out of his. “So you go around looking for unhappy women?”
“I’m not going to lie, I like women but there’s something fragile about you, that makes me want to protect and care for you.”
“You’re a married man.” I say breathily.
“True, but I’m also a concerned man.”
“I don’t need your concern.”
“Yes, you do, and that’s why I came back here. Bimbo told me when you were due to return.”
I laugh dryly, he came back here because of me? “Really?”
“Yes, she also told me that she thinks your husband is not very happy with this trip.”
I’m angry. “She had no right to tell you something like that!”
“I think what you are angry about is the fact that I know how insensitive and unappreciative your husband is. What good man wouldn’t appreciate a women who’s willing to contribute financially?”
I’m embarrassed and angry about the things he’s saying even though I know he’s right. “And did you tell your wife that you were coming here to seduce me?”
He doesn’t respond, he merely looks at me mesmerizingly.
“I should go, I’m not going to sit here and listen to you disrespect my husband…” I say.
“Fine, I didn’t come here to talk about him…”
“So you want to take away my sorrows by seducing me? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“I won’t do anything you don’t want. Just let me be here for you.” He takes my arm and begins to gently stroke it.
For a few seconds, I’m lost in his eyes and the feelings he’s eliciting in me. I can’t remember the last time when Dayo did something so simple as stroke my arm. With him, it’s always straight to the intercourse, predictable. The image of my boys flashes in my mind, it is enough to return me to my senses.
“I don’t need you.” I grab the serviette close to me and stand up. “I’m going to pretend that we didn’t have this conversation.”
As I walk away from him trembling like a leaf in the rain, I know he’s watching me.