The Pregnant wife
Captain Efetobo thrust the photo face-down on the shelf and then walked into the bathroom. Those were the good old days, he scolded himself as crossed the slippery room and hung his towel. He has to always remember that.
For your own good, fool.
Turning on the water, the fragrance of his wife’s soap filled his nostrils. He frowned. It reminded him of the night, he had returned home one evening to find her bathing. From where he had stood watching her through the glass door, he could make out every feature of her body: her smooth long thighs, her buxom backside, the curve of her hips, submerged in front by thick dark pubic hairs. She had her lips parted as the water drained down her soft and tender skin. Her hair now short precisely the way he liked it with her eyes shut to the thrill of the water.
He joined her in the bathtub feeling the warmth and soft texture of the water as he began to soap her back. His man shot up in desperation.
“Honey?” she had begun to say as he wrapped his arms around her. It’d been so long he held her in his arms, so long since he felt her moist and wet against him. Not since Ejaife. Not since… he shook the thoughts away and concentrated on resting his lips on her shoulder. I’ve forgiven you Jite, I have.
“Yeah?” he answered forgetting his thoughts, voice husky with desire.
“I’m pregnant” she announced quietly.
Efetobo froze. He didn’t want to believe what he had just heard.
“I’m sorry, you said?” he asked trembling.
“Efe, I’m pregnant” she answered almost in a whisper.
Efetobo took a step from her dripping from the water, naked and distraught. No! No! This cannot be happening. Not now!
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean for this to happen” she pleaded breaking down in tears as if she had just read his thought…
Of course you did…how could you? He wanted to say but he couldn’t let the words slip out.
Be calm Efetobo, be calm. He admonished himself
“I swear I didn’t mean for this to happen” She continued trying to hold back her tears.
“You can’t keep it” he said finally after finding his voice. His temperature had suddenly run cold and his man was now very down.
“I know, I know but I’ve tried to get rid of it but the doctors, every single one of them insisted that it would be a bad idea if I do” she lamented resting on the glass door.
“Even Doctor Isaiah?” He asked trying to keep the terror from his voice.
“Especially him. He was the first person I went to, before the others and they all said that i have a high risk of losing my womb if I try to remove it” She continued in tears. “I’m really sorry Efe, I truly am. I know how much you want more kids so I couldn’t bring myself to do it”
Captain Efetobo stood mute staring blankly at her. You should have.
“So you are keeping it?” he asked ignoring his restless thoughts. How could you be so stupid Jite? How could you? But he knew it was too late to point fingers. The deed was done; they would just have to figure out a way to get rid of it.
“I have to” Onajite answered getting up to follow him out of the bathroom struggling to tie her towel round her chest.
No you do not! He heard his demons scream and his fingers folded into a fist.
“You cannot keep it. Not here” Captain Efetobo replied instead, freeing his fisted fingers.
“What? You are sending me away?” Onajite asked alarmed.
“You are going to London to take part in a jewelry exhibition that would last for ten months” Captain answered ignoring the look of confusion on her face. “Enough time for us to decide what to do with that….thing” he concluded sarcastically.
“No Efe, No! Please don’t send me away. I promise you no one will know. I promise” Onajite pleaded comprehending his meaning. “I cannot do this alone”
“You will stay with Bridget” He concluded ignoring her pleas as he threw on his singlet and boxers and stomped out of the room.
Captain Efetobo laughed. He’d been a fool then to think he had it all figured out; Dishing out orders, making out silly arrangements, lying, scheming, plotting…. Killing….Who makes a deal with the devil and goes unpunished?
He decided not to bathe anymore as he pushed the memories back into their chests and threw a lock over them. Probably it was best to get rid of his wife’s things now, he decided; especially that irritating soap. Quickly, he called out to the house helps and instructed them to gather up all of his wife’s things. He would also need a new air fresher. One or two, he instructed the cleaners as he rested on his bed and watched them begin with the closet. Omotore would be delighted to have them he was sure but if she didn’t, he could always put them up for charity. He didn’t care who had them, all he knew was that the sooner he was done with them, the sooner he could easily get a bath….in peace.
Hotel room 015 was faintly lit with the small table lantern burning out power volts from the left side of a king-size bed. A moaning sound of a woman could be heard increasing gradually as her voice grew louder and louder while her partner groaned silently to the pleasure of her body merged with his. Slowly, they climbed, in matching rhythm until finally, they peaked.
“God! Jite, you are going to kill me one of these days!” Chima responded grinning sheepishly as he stretched himself on the bed.
Onajite laughed, rolling off him to the other side of the bed and then, wiped the beads of sweat off her face.
“I don’t understand why you don’t want to leave him and come be with me, Jite. Can’t you see that we are meant for each other?” Chima asked drawing her into his arms.
“Chima, you know that I can’t” she answered caressing the hairs on his chest.
“Because of Dafe?” Come on, Jite I told you…I love that boy as much I love you and I don’t mind having him as my son” Chima pleaded rubbing his hands down her arms reassuringly. “Just be mine Jite. Please”
“Chima, please, don’t ruin the night, ok? I said I can’t” Onajite retorted suddenly upset.
“You can’t or you don’t want to? I mean come on Jite, we’ve been at this for two years now. Haven’t you hurt me bad enough by getting married to him? Chima asked annoyed.
She made no move to answer.
“So you are not going to answer right? Because you know you did and now I have to spend the rest of my life sharing you with him” he asked blinking profusely.
Onajite hesitated. She pulled herself closer to him and then stared into his eyes.
“Chima, no one is sharing me with you. It’s just that now isn’t the right time to leave” Onajite answered sweeping her fingers down his perfectly structured face. Chima wore a goatee on his chin with thick black moustache that ran between the lower part of his nose and big red lips. His eyes were small and dark brown but were now reddened by the emotions she could see penetrating his vision. He was lying with his face up while his legs were stretched beyond the length of the bed. If he was standing, he would probably be a few inches taller than her. His skin was as light as hers and sometimes Onajite couldn’t help but wonder if having an albino child for him wasn’t inevitable. Snap out of it, girl! She scolded herself.
“What do you mean by now isn’t the right time, how long do I have to wait? Isn’t two years enough? Chima asked pulling her hands away from his face.
Onajite took a deep breath and then exhaled. Quietly, she stared at him, at his heavily grimaced face and wished she could do what he wanted. Chima was the love of her life, but how could she explain to him that her husband wasn’t someone to fool around with. It was bad enough that he was getting suspicious. Efe would kill her if he ever found out. She definitely didn’t want to end up like his dead brother.
Efetobo in a drunken stupor on one cozy evening after a guy’s night-out had boasted of pushing his little brother off a flight of stairs when they were little. They had been fighting over a toy, he’d told her. A toy that had been passed down to him because Brume, his brother who was just a year older than him didn’t want the toy anymore but that evening, he narrated:
“Brume had strolled in with his bicycle after riding with some kids in the neighborhood and saw me playing with the plastic airplane. The airplane was already broken from behind”, he laughed “but the idiot wanted it back and I refused and so, we fought. I was so angry eh, most especially because he kept laughing into my face telling me that because he was the first son, I owned nothing and he owned everything. I couldn’t blame him though; it wasn’t exactly his fault, now that I think of it. It was our mad father who brainwashed him into thinking he owned the world because he was the first son. Mumu!” Efetobo laughed, “now, please tell me Jite, who is laughing now? Who owns the world?”
Onajite had felt a sudden chill run down her spine as she tried to comprehend the bitterness in his voice. Even though he had insisted the next morning that he’d been joking or talking gibberish because his brother had accidentally fallen from the stairs and broken his neck-he died on the spot- she couldn’t help but believe that he’d been telling the truth then and was lying about it now. There was something cold and dark about her husband, she could feel it. What baffled her most was why she didn’t feel it while they were dating or even before they got married. She must have been carried away by his charm and rubbish wealth and now, it was too late. She could still leave him if she wanted, but wouldn’t that just make him mad, hunt her for the rest of her life and then, kill her? And what about their son, Odafe? What would happen to him? She couldn’t just leave him with Efe, not without a fight…a fight she was sure she would lose. And even if she did win and left with Chima, how would he care for them? He didn’t have money. The love of my life doesn’t have a kobo.
“So I guess you are not going to answer those questions either, right?” Chima asked interrupting her thoughts as he sat up straight and glared at her with those sad eyes.
“You wouldn’t understand” Onajite muttered beneath her breath as she got up from the bed stark naked and headed for the closet but just as she was about to turn the knot of the closet, the room door flung open and at it, stood her husband Efetobo, glaring at them.
The St. Thomas Anglician Church was strewn beyond its capacity as people waddled in from various places to grace the funeral of late Mrs. Onajite Ogheneruno. The sun was already at its peak by the time the door of the church was shut and the ceremony had begun. At the church altar, beside the pulpit, stood a golden casket containing her ashes and embroidered on it were flowers of different sorts. On a blank white curtain spread down from the top floor of the church, were displays of her pictures which included her times as a youth, as a mother and then as a political figure. The host Priest was the first to speak, welcoming everyone to the event especially the dignitaries that had humbly honored the funeral with their presence. He went further to give his summarized speech of the deceased’s life as a devoted Christian and duty as a deaconess in the church.
“She was the gentlest of souls. Never indulging in things she knew were evil. She was an icon….”
At the first pew, Efetobo could be seen wearing his most stolid face, with his lips pressed together to form a fine thin line. He wore a black suit which complimented his black pants and shoes. Beside him, Odafe was dressed the same, with a black tie that rested perfectly on his chest. Beside him also, sat Rhoda, sniffing into a white handkerchief that was already soaked with tears. She was dressed in a black gown that stopped few inches above her knees with black shoes to go with it and on her thighs sat Delilah, dressed also in black, playing with a doll that she had brought along with her and behind them, sat Ejiafe and his friends. Even though, his eyes looked sad, there was a smirk dancing on his lips as he watched the priest read through a bible passage and then, he nodded in consent to the Priest next remark.
“Odafe” Captain Efetobo called whispering into his son’s ears.
“Where the hell is your sister?” he asked further with an askance glance, refusing to take his eyes off the priest who had now welcomed the Deputy Governor to the pulpit.
“She’s on her way” Odafe whispered back as he glanced round the heavily crowded auditorium. He could see the speaker of the State House Assembly and other state house members seated at the front pew at the left side of the church. The Minister of Education even had on a hat that covered almost half of her face. On her hand was a hand fan that held the same lemon green color as her hat but there was no sign of Omotore anywhere.
“Hmmm…What about Ojako? Isn’t he supposed to be here before us?” Captain Efetobo asked angrily.
“Dad, I don’t know, maybe he wants to stay behind to take care of the arrangements for the Wake” Odafe answered uncertainly.
“I see, because we don’t have people in charge of that” Captain Efetobo answered sarcastically. But just then, he heard his name at the pulpit and stood up quickly. The room became sudden still. No sound could be heard as Captain Efetobo made his way to the altar and then took over from the Deputy Governor after exchanging a hug and a handshake with the man. Facing the audience, Captain Efetobo began his eulogy…
“First, I want to say thank you to every one of you present here today” his voice echoing loud through the speakers at the four corners of the auditorium. “My wife, Onajite was….” He paused and then harrumphed… “She was the most….”
The door of the church suddenly flung opened, interrupting his harangue. From where he stood, Captain Efetobo watched as all attention flew from him to the woman dressed in a black silky blouse and trousers as she strode down the hallway with amped difficulty. Her head was down as she made her way down to the left pew. Stopping few yards away, she raised her head to scan the auditorium for an empty seat. Captain Efetobo froze suddenly recognizing her.
He could feel the sudden heat of perspiration hanging on his neck and chest as he began to swelter. He swallowed hard and then stared at the blurry pages in front of him, fighting to keep his calm.
What the hell is she doing here? he wondered. Trying to focus again on his speech, he hit his microphone severally on its face to see if he was still audible and continued…
“She was the most trusting, faithful and dedicated person I have ever known. I cannot express how lost I feel knowing that she is gone…forever” he read speedily, his head bowed much lower than before.
Across the pulpit, at the left side of the pew, Ejaife could be seen now grinning widely. He had seen the woman also and from the expression on his father’s face, he could tell without any doubt that the mystery person was the Bridget he had called few days ago.
She made it… Soon the truth will be out!