Rotimi’s demons were time bound. They only tormented him at night so he took to sleeping during the day; in the car before he resumed work, in the toilet during working hours and at lunchtime. Rotimi resented the fact that Leke had brought about the reoccurrence of his nightmares and yet had the audacity to desire a free conscience. He wanted them to be both tormented, they were in the same shoes. It seemed so unfair for him to move on with his life when his was haunted.
Rotimi knew the theory of forgiveness, but he couldn’t apply it to his life. He had made a mistake several years ago and he had never forgiven himself. He had successfully buried his guilt until Leke’s confession exhumed it. Now that the nightmares were back he began to think of a way to bury his guilt once again.
As he sat in the conference room for the weekly strategy session he saw his way out.
“I volunteer.” He said suddenly.
“Rotimi?” the senior manager said. “This is going to take some months in Cotonou. Do you realize that?”
“Yes. The way I see it, it’s what needs to be done and I’m ready to do it.”
The senior manager smiled. “I’ve always liked your proactive approach…”
Rotimi continued to smile but his mind had drifted off to his plan. Kayinsola would not be pleased but he needed to do this before he went insane with guilt.
“Err… Rotimi can I talk to you for a minute?” Stephen the senior manager called out to Rotimi on his way out of the conference room with the other mangers.
“Are you sure you want to do this? As a married man, your wife might…”
Rotimi laughed. “She’ll understand.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
Augusta watched her children feasting on beef suya and ice cream and shook her head disapprovingly.
“Mummy come and eat.” Her eldest child called.
“I don’t want. When you people finish, clean up the table and go and sleep.”
In her bedroom, she stripped off her clothes and got ready to take her bath.
“You’re not eating?” Jeffery said coming out of the bathroom.
“No I don’t want.”
“Ah ah! Why? I thought you liked suya?”
Augusta didn’t respond. She wrapped the towel around herself and began walking to the bathroom.
“Augusta? Are you not the one I’m talking to?”
“Jeffrey!” She turned sharply towards him. “How much did you spend buying all that junk food?”
“Five thousand. Why?”
“What?” He put his hands on his waist in utter confusion.
“How much was your profit today?”
“That’s not your business!”
Augusta laughed. “Jeffrey you will ruin this business!”
“Because I spent five thousand buying ice cream and suya for my wife and children?”
“You haven’t even made any profit from this business and you’re already spending all the money! You don’t know how to do business!” she stormed off.
Jeffrey shook his head, had he really done a bad thing buying treats for his family after so long? Could he do anything to please his wife?
“I don’t believe this! So no one else can go for the training?”
“Kayinsola stop being dramatic.” Rotimi replied calmly, putting another spoonful of rice into his mouth.
“Rotimi, three months!”
“Kayin this is a huge career advancement for me. I’m not just going to let it pass me by. Besides, I don’t have a choice. Do you want me to tell my boss that I can’t go because my wife won’t let me?”
Kayinsola sighed and left the table.
Rotimi had chosen a wrong time to go on an official assignment. She needed him now when T.J was lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on her. But then again, maybe it was a good thing he was leaving. By the time he got back she would have sorted out her problems with T.J and put him in his place. Or was it just wishful thinking? Her phone beeped. It was T.J and she reminded herself to change her sim.
Damola is looking well but now it’s time for him to meet his Dad.
Goosebumps went up Kayinsola’s arms. How would she explain to Rotimi? He would never understand. Rotimi came into the room and she deleted the text quickly. He came into the bed and put his arms around her.
“Baby, I know you’ll miss me and I will too but I really need this training. I promise when I get back we’ll go somewhere for the weekend. Just you and me, what do you say?”
Kayinsola shrugged disinterestedly. Did he really think a weekend getaway would make up for three months of loneliness?
“Not good enough uhn? We can go anywhere you want. Anywhere…”
“Including out of the country?” Kayinsola asked hopefully.
“I said anywhere.”
“I’ll consider your proposition.”
“I should help you speed it up.” He said kissing her cheeks.
“I refuse to be bribed! I am a morally upright citizen!”
“Yeah right…” he laughed.
“I can’t afford it Titi!” Leke said for the umpteenth time about her request for a detour to France.
“What do you mean you can’t afford it?”
“Titi we are going to have a life after the wedding, I can’t spend all I have now and be broke after the wedding.”
“Does this have something to do with your investment?”
“Your investment! The one you told me about.”
“I didn’t tell you about any investment.” Leke was confused.
“Ah…yeah, you did! Isn’t that where all your money came from?”
“Oh! That investment…”
“Is there another one?” Titi was surprised. “You have another investment and you’re there saying you can’t afford to take us to Paris.”
Leke was horrified. “Titi, please calm down. I thought you meant that I told you about another investment.”
“That doesn’t even make any sense…”
“Titi. I’ll see what I can do.”
Leke hung up immediately and took a deep breath. The sooner they got married, the better.