Temitayo and Oladapo had known each other for twelve years before they were married. They were the envy of everyone, it was obvious that the two loved each other deeply. Nothing it seemed, could break their bond. However, there was a nagging problem- they had been married for ten years but had no child. They spent every resource necessary and tried everything they could to no avail. Oladapo and Temitayo just couldn’t have their own child.
Soon, persecution and frustration drove a wedge between the two and they argued and fought incessantly. The love that had seemed unbreakable slowly began to crack. Oladapo spent more time out of the house and Temitayo became a bitter woman.
One day, after twelve years of marriage, Temitayo packed her things and vanished without a trace. Oladapo searched for her everywhere but he couldn’t find her. Her family didn’t give him any useful information and soon he began to accept that she was gone for good. She didn’t want him anymore.
It had been seven years since he last saw or heard from her.
“I saw her Dapo. She needs help.”
Oladapo couldn’t sleep, eat or think straight. He was angry that she had abandoned him, but his heart still went out to her. He looked at Rhoda who was asleep on the bed. Her big body rising and falling as she breathed. She was the only hindrance to his heart’s desire. How could he seek out his wife when he had committed himself to another woman?
“But you’ve not married her!” Gbadebo had said. “And you said it yourself, you’re not happy with her. Why don’t you go back to the woman you truly love?”
“What if she doesn’t want me?”
“Go and see her first.”
“Where is she?”
“I’ll take you there when you’re ready.”
Oladapo stared out of the window. It had just rained and the raindrops on the roof of his car reflected the lights from the wall. Everything looked so clean, renewed from the rain.
“Things happen for a reason. I believe that strongly.”
Oladapo sighed and stared at the picture of her on his phone. He was going to seek her out.
Mrs Gbolahan and her friend Mrs Harrison were eating grilled chicken wings and downing it with cold soft drinks.
“So I told him, “If you want me to trust you, you have to earn it.”” Mrs Harrison said.
“And what did he say?”
“He said he would earn my trust at all costs. And that he was sorry, again.”
“Have you accepted his apology?” Mrs Gbolahan asked, taking the last piece of the wings.
“Aww… It’s finished!” Her friend replied, looking despairingly at the empty plate.
“Don’t worry there’s more. Comfort!”
“Yes madam!” She answered, coming out of the kitchen.
“Bring us another plate of wings.”
“You’ve not answered my question.” Mrs Gbolahan continued.
Comfort came into the sitting room.
“My son stole my jewelry and sold it! He betrayed my trust! That’s hard to forgive, I must tell you.”
“But you must forgive him, especially since he’s remorseful.”
Mrs Harrison rolled her eyes.
“I’m serious! He’s your son for crying out loud! He needs to feel loved, otherwise you’ll push him back to whatever influenced him to steal from you in the first place.”
Comfort arranged the food and left, thinking about her own situation with Niniola.
“Just leave Rhoda alone, we’ll deal with her.” Mama said to her son. “Where’s Mama Ayo? Isn’t she home?”
“She’s at her supermarket.”
“On a weekend? Doesn’t she know she should be home?”
The chief shook his head. His mother had just touched a sore spot. “I don’t know Maami. She’s so busy these days, she doesn’t have time for me.”
“Then spend time with other people!”
The chief laughed. “Mama Deji hardly talks to me these days. My wives don’t want to see me or talk to me!”
Mama shook her head sympathetically, even though she was glad to hear this.
“Go and rest, I’ll take care of things here.”
Mama was happy. The time had come for her to do what needed to be done.
“That shop. The one with the blue door.” Gbadebo said to Oladapo.
“Thanks. So you’ll wait abi?”
“Yes. Take your time, I’ll probably find somewhere to eat. I’m hungry.”
Oladapo climbed up the stairs, wondering what he would say to Temitayo after seven years. He peeked in and saw her typing on an old computer. Her delicate fingers were now slightly hardened, her long hair was plaited into a bun. Her ankara gown was slightly faded, but she looked neat. She had always been so.
“Temi…” He said softly, afraid of his own emotions.
She glanced up sharply and stared widely at him. Oladapo could see that she had lost so much weight and her eyes were sad.
“Temi…” He said again, coming into the shop.
She had been holding her breath, but as soon as he came into the shop she gasped.
He went to her and pulled her into his arms, forgetting all the rebuke he had prepared. She held on to him, her body shaking with tears of regret.
“I’m sorry…” She finally said.
“Why did you leave?”
“They said you could never have children. Even if we tried for fifty years!”
“I can’t tell you.” She shook her head, but she saw from the look in his eyes that he knew it too.
“I was angry!” She said. “I wanted children of my own!”
“And did you…?” He looked around the shop for the sign of a child.
“No,” she laughed cynically. “No. It didn’t happen.” She pulled away from him and sat down.
“You didn’t even think of me!” He accused.
“You’re the one who couldn’t think of me. You knew!”
Oladapo’s head was bowed. “I was afraid of losing you…”
“But you did eventually, didn’t you…” She wiped the tears from her face. Oladapo looked around her small shop where it seemed she made photocopies and typeset manuscripts.
“I don’t think we were destined to have children!” She said softly. “How did you find me?”
“The important thing is that I’ve found you.” He said kneeling in front of her and holding her hands.
“He’s lonely. This is the time we’ve been waiting for. Put on something nice tonight. You’re going to sleep with him tonight.”
Gbemi’s face clouded over.
“What is it? Did you think that I was joking when I told you of our plans? Don’t be an ingrate, do what I’ve asked you to do. He’ll flirt with you and you must encourage him. Think of all the money I’ve spent on your family!”
“Yes ma.” Gbemi replied solemnly.
They sat outside the house and Niniola gave an account of the day’s business.
“Very good.” Comfort said, looking through the accounts again. “Has Mama Toro paid the money for the drinks she bought?”
Niniola hesitated. “I think we need a new place to sell ma. The kiosk can’t contain all our goods.”
“I agree with you but we can’t afford to rent a shop now.”
“Aunty Joke wants to sell her portacabin.”
“How do you know that?”
“I overheard her telling someone.”
“Do you know how much she wants to sell it?”
“No. But I know she likes you… You can talk to her.”
Comfort was touched at how much her daughter was thinking of her.
“Thank you… I appreciate everything you’re doing… and I want you to know that I’m proud of you.”
Niniola bowed her head in acknowledgement, she knew that the wall between them had come down.
Chief and Biola had fought again.
“You’re denying me of my right and you know it!”
“Chief please! I’m tired and weak. How many times must I tell you that?”
“You’re lying! You’re just making things up so that we won’t have sex. Look Biola, you’re trying my patience! I’m your husband and I have needs! Don’t think that because you’re my favorite wife you can treat me anyhow!”
“Chief! Stop being a baby! See you complaining like a little boy! I said you should hold on till tomorrow…”
“Don’t tell me that! Don’t tell me that! I want it now! Ah ah! Have I not tried?”
“So you want to rape me?” She asked with a sneer.
Chief Afonja was overwhelmed with desire and frustration. “Look Biola don’t test me! I’ve been patient enough!”
Biola hissed and got up from the bed.
“Where are you going?”
Biola didn’t respond, she walked out of the room before the chief could put on his clothes. Frustrated he went down the stairs and sat on the couch in the sitting room. Gbemi came out of the kitchen shortly after, wearing a short skirt and a tight blouse, she had loosened the wrapper around her breasts.
She went to the dining and started to wipe the table, slowly. Chief Afonja got up and walked towards her. He was trembling slightly, his eyes drawn close together.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m cleaning the table sir.”
“Ehn ehn…” He pulled out one of the chairs and began to stare at her, tormenting himself even more.
“Are you sure you’re fifteen?” He asked.
“I can be any age you want me to be…” She said coyly, moving closer to him subtly.
“Is that so?” He asked reaching for her hand. “What if I want you to be twenty-five?”
“Any age you want Chief…”
Overpowered by raw desire and lust, the chief led the maid to her bedroom.