“You should have told me!”
“Would you have listened? I tried to tell you…”
“I asked you what kind of investment he was involved in and what did you say? It didn’t matter as long as he did right by you.”
Titi was silent, Kayinsola was right, she had seen all the signs. His sudden wealth, absent-mindedness, irritability and unwillingness to spend money lately.
“I still don’t know why he did it? Why did he sacrifice his career, our marriage, and our lives for this? Was it so important for him to be someone he wasn’t? Is all this embarrassment worth it?”
Kayinsola was quiet, her friend unaware of the impact of her words. “You know sometimes, people do stupid things because they are blinded by the present. They can’t see or refuse to see that the future is always a consequence of the past. But they honestly don’t mean to cause harm, they are just overwhelmed by their weaknesses. And we shouldn’t judge them, when the truth is we could have done exactly the same thing or worse.”
Titi observed her friend and saw a sorrow she hadn’t noticed before. “How are you holding up?”
“I’m…” Kayinsola sighed. “I’m holding on to God.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Kayinsola smiled at Titi, she didn’t want to burden her with her own problems. She had enough troubles of her own. “No, I’ll be fine.” Besides, she wasn’t sure Titi would want to have anything to do with her if she knew the truth about what happened.
“How are Rotimi and Damola doing?”
“They’re as fine as can be expected. Damola’s proprietress suggested yesterday that I take him to see a psychiatrist.”
“That could be what you need?”
Kayinsola smiled. “Rotimi will never allow it.”
“Talk to him about it.” Titi urged.
Kayinsola smiled again. “Okay.” She needed to change the subject before she lost control of her emotions. “So what are you going to do about your husband’s situation?”
“What husband?” Titi asked incredulously.
“Please let’s not even talk about that. I’m just thinking of how to divorce him as soon as possible.”
“So you’re just going to leave him in prison?”
“You said for better or for worse…”
“You spent the money together. Where do you think he got the money for the lavish wedding and honeymoon you went for from?”
“That’s not my concern!”
“Really? Do you truly feel that way? Are you going to sleep well at night knowing he’s in prison?”
Titi smirked. “I will even snore!”
Kayinsola laughed dryly. “The decision is yours to make o but this is marriage. Not the expensive wedding or the wedding ring you’re wearing. It’s not the thrill of being called Mrs somebody. Marriage is a series of tests of the commitment you’ve made to another person.”
Titi shook her head. “Marriage is a partnership, you should go into it with all the cards on the table. I laid out all of mine but he didn’t and I won’t be blamed for backing out from such dishonesty. How can I work with someone I don’t even know?”
Titi was still fuming about what Kayinsola had said as she pulled up in front of the house. Two policemen and three men stood outside the gate.
“Good afternoon.” Titi greeted cautiously.
“Good afternoon madam.”
“Yes, how can I help you?”
“We’re from Leke’s office. The company is repossessing this house.” One of them said.
Titi’s mouth was wide open, this was a nightmare.
“Can I… can I get my things please?”
“No I’m sorry you can’t do that.”
Titi’s eyes filled with tears. “We just got married… I just moved into this house! Please let me just get my clothes.”
“That’s not our business, you people were spending the money together now. Is it not people like you that talk to guys anyhow because they don’t have money?” another man said.
“Abi o, all these runs girls.” One of the policemen said.
Titi wanted to explain that she had a lucrative job but she realized that it wouldn’t make any difference. These men had a score to settle and they were enjoying executing it.
“Please, my certificates, everything is inside there!”
“That’s not our…”
“Let her just take her things. Madam we give you ten minutes, if you don’t come out we will drag you out and you won’t take anything.”
“Yes sir! Thank you sir!” she ran inside the house.
As Titi tossed her clothes, certificates, jewelries, shoes, and bags into her travelling boxes she cried bitterly and cursed Leke for her predicament.
“Today I want us to give thanks to God on behalf of the Holders. Some of you know how God delivered them from the hands of a kidnapper some weeks ago. But for those of you who didn’t know, their son was kidnapped and the parents were also held hostage but God gave Brother Rotimi and Sister Kayinsola the wisdom to overcome the kidnapper.”
The congregation listened with rapt attention and looked from the pastor to the Holders. Who would kidnap Damola and why? Was a ransom paid? Where was the boy kidnapped? Where were the parents?
“I can’t give you all the details but believe me it was a miracle. So choir, choir? Please lead us in some praise songs.”
Rotimi was angry. He hadn’t asked for a thanksgiving, Kayinsola had put the whole family in jeopardy and he wasn’t willing to dance forward and thank God that they were saved from a maniac. It shouldn’t even have happened in the first place. But he was a leader in church and he had a reputation to uphold. So, he swayed to the music and pasted a fake smile on his face.
Kayinsola was also dancing and smiling even though she also wished the pastor hadn’t called them forward to give thanks for what was entirely her fault.
But it was a miracle that you both overpowered T.J
They got to the front and the pastor prayed.
Olasunbo had also danced forward along with the entire members of the church. She dropped her thanksgiving offering and bowed her head to pray. But as she did, her eyes caught something on the back of Rotimi’s left ear. It was a lighter patch of skin that ran from the side of his ear to the base hairline of his head. She had seen that mark before. But where?
She closed her eyes in concentration forcing herself to remember and suddenly she did. She had seen the mark just before he turned to face her and on his way out that fateful night.
“Make sure you don’t give anybody anything on credit o!” Augusta said to Jeffrey
“Don’t ahn ahn me.”
Jeffrey shook his head and walked away, Augusta had no faith in him. Hadn’t he learnt his lessons the hard way? He saw the three men he was looking for and walked towards them.
“Ah Jeffrey you’ve brought them?” one of them asked.
“Yes sir.” He answered bringing out the shoes he had packed in a leather bag. The men studied them and nodded in approval.
“So how much is this?” another one asked.
“Thirty five thousand.”
“Jeffrey! That’s a little on the high side.”
“His shoes are too expensive!” Elder Mba said bitterly.
Augusta was sitting afar off when she saw Jeffery. Immediately she excused herself from the conversation she was in and walked up to them.
“Good afternoon sirs.”
“Ah Madam, good afternoon. Your husband is about to rip us off.”
Augusta laughed. “It’s not like that sir. Things are very expensive now.”
“Hmmn you people always say that.” Elder Mba said gruffly.
“That’s why we only go to those who can afford it.” Augusta said with her best smile and collected the shoes in the Elder’s hands. “Sorry sir, that one has been fully paid for.”
“I know you.” Olasunbo said to Rotimi as she walked up to him.
“Don’t ‘ma’ me. I know you.”
“I recognize you by the mark behind your ear. You killed my father and I’ve been looking for you.”
Rotimi stilled. Yes, she did know him.