Mama Ayo sat on the floor of the shower unable to erase the memories of what Gbenga had done to her.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I was drunk and you bashed my ego! You made me do it!” he had said, pulling up his trousers after he was done assaulting her.
She had calmly gotten off the bed and pulled down her skirt, her entire body shook from the shock what had happened to her.
“Biola I’m sorry…” he continued to say until she walked out of the room.
Images of the food and drinks flashed before her eyes. How had things deteriorated so fast? She had only been reacting to his insulting comment about her husband. How had it degenerated to a misunderstanding that led to her being raped?
I should never have gone there! She said to herself as she started to cry tears of anguish and shame. How could she raise her head again? She had been reduced to nothing, she was nothing.
Chief Afonja was in a good mood. He had closed yet another deal, and his stocks were doing well. All he wanted to do was to be with his favourite wife. He was prepared to buy her another car if she wanted. But Biola was nowhere to be found.
“Where is your mother?” he said to Ayo who was busy reading a comic book.
“In her room.” The boy replied without looking up.
“Are you talking to me like that?” the father said to the son more out of amusement than anger.
“Sorry sir.” The boy promptly got on his feet and put his hands behind him. “She’s in her room.”
“And she didn’t come out and greet me?”
“She said no one should disturb her.”
“Is she sick?”
“I don’t know sir…” the boy wondered why his father couldn’t just go and check on his mother himself.
“Alright.” Chief Afonja said, going to his wife’s room.
It was locked. He knocked several times but Biola didn’t open the door or answer his calls. He decided to call her. She picked up on the fourth try.
“Biola! What is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear me knocking and calling you?”
“I heard you Chief…”
The chief was surprised by the croakiness of her voice. “Why are you talking like that? Have you been crying?”
“No…” she lied. “I have a sore throat, I’m not feeling well.”
“Open the door, let me come and see you.”
Biola knew that he was more concerned about his libido than the croakiness of her voice. “Chief I’m not feeling well…”
“I heard you but I want to see you, you might feel better if you see me. Uhn?” he said teasingly.
“Chief I’m too weak to open the door. Please leave me alone.” She hung up and left her husband staring at his phone in shock and anger. “Biola!”
“Why are you shouting and disturbing the whole household?” his mother said. “Everybody including your children know that you’re horny. Is she the only wife you have? Please leave that place and go to the other rooms!”
Sulkily Chef Afonja went to his own room, not willing to bruise his ego anymore.
Niniola had been assigned a new job that she wasn’t happy about. Yimika was being homeschooled by Ene Johnson thrice a week and she was expected to take care of him when the therapist wasn’t with him. Her frustration grew because it meant that her sales would drop and she dreaded being alone with Yimika who was always a mystery to her. What would she say to him? What would she do when he threw a tantrum?
As she pondered these things, she remembered the kind lady and the card she’d given her. She found the card and decided to go to the cyber café while the therapist was showing Yimika how to paint an elephant.
Mama Deji had had enough of her husband’s insolence. She called her son and told him that she’d changed her mind about his invitation. The next morning, he sent a driver to pick her up.
“Where are you going?” Mama said, noting the suitcase that the driver had taken out of the house.
“I’m going to my son’s house.”
“To do what? What will happen to your husband’s house? Don’t you know that he needs you here?”
“To monitor his wives or his children? Mama the man has no use for me, I’m going to spend some time at my son’s house where I’m truly valued.”
“But that is selfish of you. Who will coordinate this house?”
“You. I think you’re doing a better job than me.” she laughed ironically. “Mama you’re in your son’s house. Let me go to mine’s.”
Mama smiled mirthlessly. “I hope it is as pleasant as you hope over there.”
Mama Ayo shook her head in amazement, her mother-in-law was such a gloomy person.
Niniola stared at the computer cluelessly wondering what to do. Pride wouldn’t let her ask for help, yet she knew that she had a limited time at the café. She looked at the slip of paper in her hands and started typing in the log-in letters and numbers. The screen changed and she smiled, she wasn’t sure what had happened but she knew that she had done something right. Next she brought out the complimentary card the lady had given her and started typing in all the letters she could see on it. Nothing happened. She looked at the card again and looked at the screen. What would she do now?
Dele was sitting beside Niniola and he couldn’t help but notice that she didn’t know what to do. Facebook was getting boring, and she looked like she could do with some help.
“Hello.” He said to her.
“Hello.” She responded uncertainly.
“Do you need help?”
Dele looked at the blank white screen and looked back at her. “Are you sure?”
“It’s just that I’m trying to browse, the thing is not working.”
“You don’t mean it!” the boy said sarcastically. “Where are you going?”
“I mean what site are you going to?”
“I don’t understand…”
The boy was amused. “Ah ah! Okay what did you come to do here?”
Niniola was embarrassed but she pointed out the address to him and he typed it in.
“You’re looking for a scholarship?” he said mockingly, wondering how someone who couldn’t use a computer could expect to qualify for a scholarship.
“All the best.”
“Thank you…” Niniola said distracted, already reading the requirements and details of the scholarship.
I could go to a European university! She thought, feeding her eyes on the images of foreign students and the old academic buildings.
Dele was intimidated by this girl who was a computer illiterate. There she was engrossed in the information she was reading and here he was chatting with a female stranger on Facebook. He glanced at her several times, hoping to get her attention but she would not be distracted. Eventually her time was up and she poked him.
“I don’t know what’s happening. This thing just came up.”
“Your time is up!” he snapped at her.
“Oh…” she said disappointedly and looked down at the notes she had been taking.
“So you want to school abroad?” he said.
“Yes.” Niniola said with determination and got up from the chair.
“Can I get your number?” Dele said.
“Okay.” She replied, taking the phone he had placed in her hands.
Chief Afonja was glad that his first wife had left the house for a while. He didn’t understand the woman lately, she had become vocal in a way that he could never have imagined. And there was a hardness in her eyes, she had stopped caring about him. Even though he had stopped caring for her a long time ago, it hurt him to know that she had stopped caring because he knew that he no longer had control over her. Mama Deji would do as she pleased henceforth.
Good riddance to bad rubbish he thought as he walked towards Mama Ayo’s room. Just as he was about to touch the door knob he heard her sobbing and stilled.
What was going on with his favorite wife?
“Biola!” he knocked on the door. “Open the door, it’s me.”
She continued crying, plainly ignoring him.
Chief Afonja was bewildered, he went to Mama Eli’s room.
“Chief?” the woman said in surprise, covering up her son who had insisted on sleeping on her bedroom floor.
“What is it?”
“Why are you and your senior wife fighting?”
“Me and my senior wife? Fighting? Did she tell you that?”
“She didn’t have to, why else would he be crying?”
“Chief, I don’t know why she’s crying. Although I’ve observed that she’s been moody for some days…”
“She’s been moody? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you? So that you can be even more indifferent towards me?” She smiled and lay on her bed. “Chief I don’t know what’s wrong with her. Ask her yourself.”
Chief Afonja walked away depressed as Mama Eli turned off the light. She didn’t know what exactly was wrong with her senior wife cry but she knew that it had something to do with the man who’d given her the expensive bracelet.
Mama Deji was laughing very hard, her favourite actors were in the film she was watching. She reached for her glass of beverage and took a long gulp.
“Mummy are you okay?” her daughter-in-law asked, coming into the sitting room and picking up her daughter’s toys.
“Yes my dear, I’m very fine thank you.”
So this was the kind of enjoyment her mother-in-law was experiencing! No chief, rival wives, cantankerous children or responsibilities. This was home, she was home.