At last, I am here. I’m glad to be back.
So today, I’ll be giving away five free copies of The Fourth Finger. I was thinking of how to do this giveaway, whether to do it on Twitter and Facebook alone, or to throw out questions about my stories to reward faithful readers or to just randomly give the books away. Well, I chose the last option.
To be eligible to win, you have to drop a comment below. Now, do not comment about winning the book. Read this episode, drop your thoughts on it. That simple. After that, add #TheFourthFinger to be eligible. If I pick you, I will send you and email, so make sure you’re using a working email when you drop the comment. Please, do not add your email address to the text. I won’t pick you. Just use your email in the section that requires you to add your email and if I pick you, I will send you an email.
The shots will look like these if you’re using your mobile. You can see that there’s proof of ‘liking’ and ‘following’. I need just one screenshot but if you can send three, awesome!
Once you send me proof, I’ll forward the book to you.
The giveaway ends at 12 midnight.
Now, enjoy the episode!
“Come and pick your father, Lex. He needs someone to take him to the airport.”
“Really?” a groggy Lexus rasps into her phone. Beside her, Trinity stirs, but her eyes remain shut. Both of them have been asleep for the best of two hours, sprawled on Lexus’ bed after playing dress-up and taking selfies.
“I have an event,” Genesis continues, “and in keeping with tradition, I’m not taking him to the airport.”
Lexus makes to roll her eyes but a yawn stops her. “It’s easy, Gen. Drive him to the airport, kiss him silly and watch him leave. You won’t die. That’s what wives do.”
“You know I can’t handle it.”
“You’re such a baby. Geez! Dominic spoils you.”
“How about Prince? Is it his day off?”
“He’s at the repair shop with the Rover. Besides, your father doesn’t want him to drive him to the airport.”
“Erm…how do I put this? Your old man is being quite clingy today. He’s seeking for attention and I’m not in the mood for it. Please, come and carry him.”
Lexus stares at Trinity. “I’ll be there.”
Another yawn comes. She lets it out loudly before she hangs up. Minutes later, she’s on her way to pick Dominic. Trinity is still fitfully asleep in her child seat at the back of Lexus’ brand new Lexus LS 460. Without traffic she arrives at the house in about half an hour. Genesis is out and Dominic is sitting at the front steps with the guard dogs, his travel bag on the ground beside him. He lifts his head as Lexus drives in, peering through blue sunglasses to have a good look at her car.
When she steps out, the dogs charge towards her but Dominic calls them back to stand down.
“These your useless dogs always pretend they don’t know me. I’ll kill one to teach the others a lesson.”
“We’re sorry,” Dominic responds. Lexus stops and observes her father’s appearance. She finds streaks of grey in his hair and beard but it does nothing to reduce the spruce in his looks. As usual, he looked impeccable – even with casual clothes.
“Did you shave your beards?”
“I trimmed it a little. Genesis was complaining.”
“You actually look better.”
“Thanks. Nice wheels,” he comments. Lexus stares at her car.
“Thanks. Thought you’d like it.”
“It cost a lot.”
“You’re a big girl nau.”
“Actually, it’s a gift from Genesis.”
“She must really love you.”
Lexus smiles. “I know you gave her the money to buy it, dad.”
“I don’t like being accused for stuff I didn’t do, young lady.” He stands and picks his bag.
“Let’s get out of here.”
Lexus starts back to her car. He follows. “Where are you off to this time?” she asks.
“How many hours’ flight is that?”
“But I have a few hours before the plane takes off, so I get to spend some time with my favorite girl.”
With her hand on the door handle, Lexus turns. “We’re not going to the airport now?”
“No. We’re going to yours. I’ve missed you.”
She opens her door while he walks around to the passenger side. When he opens the backdoor to toss in his bag, his eyes fall on Trinity.
“Kasi’s baby,” Lexus explains in a whisper. “Don’t make any noise.”
They both slip into the vehicle.
“Chichi disappeared this morning,” Lexus informs Dominic. “But I’m guessing you already know that since you’re behind the whole thing.”
He shuts his door. “I’m behind what?”
“Chichi’s disappearance. You probably paid her a lot of money to go away for good.”
Dominic laughs. “You give me too much credit.”
“Dad, I know what you can do. Chichi going away makes no sense to me. She badly wanted to have this baby for Kas so she can tie him down. Then out of the blue, she vanishes into thin air like that? Come on, dad, this strongly stinks of Dominic Ditorusin.”
“I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your upper lip is twitching. That happens when you lie.”
“But Chichi’s disappearance is a good thing for you and Kas, no?” He throws a glance at the backseat. “I mean, it’s not up to twenty-four hours and you’re already doing mommy duty.”
“I love Trini. It has nothing to do with Kas. In fact, I don’t want to get back with him until he stops being mad at me. If we continue where we left off, he’ll make it all about the payback. I don’t need that shit in my life, especially revenge sex, which Kas knows how to do well.”
“Too much info there, Woyintonbra. Just drive.”
She kicks off the wheels and they leave the Ditorusin compound. Out on the road, Dominic leans back on his seat under shut eyes until they arrive at her apartment.
“Dad, we’re here.” She taps him awake. He takes off his sunglasses. She finds tired eyes on him that hold little wrinkles at the edges.
“You’re getting old, Dominic,” she tells him in a concerned tone.
“Old keh. Me that want to have two more kids?”
“Please, don’t. Zach and Zoe are already too much to handle.”
“But this one behind is not? You’re smack in love with her father, Lex.”
“I am only helping out a friend.”
He smiles. “I understand.”
“But seriously, though, your eyes look tired.”
“I’m fine. Just a little beat these days. And that happens a lot, even when I do little.”
“Is it your heart again?”
“No. I’m good.”
“Maybe you should finally listen to your wife and slow the fuck down.”
“Everything will be done by Christmas, sweetie, and I’ll have time for everybody.”
“Forehead kiss. You used to do that when I was little. You’ll make a promise and give me a forehead kiss.”
He leans over and drops a peck on her forehead.
“You never used to keep the promises, though.”
Trinity wakes up with a whimper. They both turn and look at her. She releases a smile and then gurgles as she stretches a hand when Dominic makes a funny face at her.
“Dominic Ditorusin, killing women since the beginning of time.”
He slips his sunglasses back on and steps down from the car. When they get into Lexus’ two-bedroom apartment, he takes a moment to admire the artsy beauty of the living room. The walls are covered in paintings done by her, matching the basic color theme of black and grey. The entire décor shows little femininity. Clearly, the girlishness she acquired in New York is not enough to do away with the tomboy.
“Order some food.” Dominic stretches out on a couch. “I’ll pay.”
Lexus calls a nearby eatery and makes orders for both of them. When the food arrives they eat on the living room floor, discussing details of Lexus’ art center which is kicking off to a good start so far. Dominic gives advice, and then offers financial help which she refuses.
“You know I’m always here for you, though.”
“Yes, dad,” she replies, clearing the empty packs of food littering the floor. When she stands up, Trinity lets out a cry. She stops.
“Go and do what you want to do. I’m here.”
“I actually want to shower. It’s dark already and Wura’s love concert is in three hours.”
“I can’t believe that after all my planning I’ll miss it,” Dominic says, lifting Trinity off the floor. “Just go and have your bath. Me and this one will be fine here.”
Lexus enters her bedroom and spends less than half an hour there. When she emerges she is showered and wearing a dress.
She walks in on Dominic singing along to The Temptations’ classic My Girl to Trinity which is playing on his phone. He is in a slow dance. Lexus is immediately tossed into nostalgia. The scene brings to mind a younger Dominic and her late sister. She recalls how she used to watch him do the same thing to Nimide as a baby. Every night he sang her to sleep while Lexus sat by observing in mild jealousy, wondering if he ever was that way with her as a baby.
“Is she asleep?” she whispers as she moves towards Dominic when the song comes to an end.
“No,” he replies. Trinity raises her head, peers at Lexus and rests her head back on his chest. Lexus picks a couch. She sets to apply makeup on her face as another song begins to play. Dominic also sings along to this one. It lasts four minutes long. When it ends and the opening notes of the next song starts, he faces Lexus.
“This is your song.”
She looks up, a powder brush on her cheek.
“I have a song?”
“I used to sing it to you as a baby.”
Lexus lowers her hand. “You were never there.”
“I was. A few times. And you were the coolest little girl. You hardly cried but I just enjoyed singing and dancing you to sleep.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Trinity protests with a whine and Dominic goes back to his dance. Lexus leaves her eyes on them until the song draws to an end.
Dominic stops dancing and fixes a stare on Lexus. “Are you crying?”
“Crying?” She wipes her eyes furiously. “No, it’s the fucking eye pencil.”
He chuckles. “Come and change this kid. She just pooped. We should be on our way to the airport.”
Lexus takes Trinity from him but receives a second peck on her forehead. This time Dominic puts his arm around her in a hug.
“I’m proud of you, daddy’s big head. I may not say it often but I am. I can’t believe how you’ve grown up from the little girl you were. Eva would be smiling down from…wherever she is. You turned out good, weed and all.”
He releases her.
“That being said, hurry and get married to Kasiobi so this little angel can grow up in a home. I don’t want her raised out of wedlock.”
“Really, dad? That’s your reason for pressuring me to marry?”
“I’m pressuring you?”
“Just say you don’t want me to end up like Eva and I’ll understand.”
“Okay, you got me there. The thing is…I’m old school, and I’m not feeling this independent woman thing you girls are doing these days. Every woman needs a man. You need the father of this child.”
“He needs me.”
“I know but please don’t front for too long. Girls are all over him like flies to shit.”
Lexus rolls her eyes as she heads to her bedroom. “I don’t give a fuck, dad,” she replies, wondering if Kasiobi would love the dress she has on or if she should try something else with a little color to it.
∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞
The first time I heard Wura sing was at my wedding. She gave me goosebumps through her entire performance. It was hard to comprehend how someone could sing like that. And it wasn’t just the dexterity or texture of her voice. The woman had soul. She was deep, and could sing you into or out of any emotion. I just knew I had to hear her sing again, and luckily for me, my wish was granted with the love concert.
I had what they call a good ass night, even though I spent it alone. The concert was out of this world. I have never heard music in Nigeria done so tastefully and beautifully. It was tear-jerking. People literally cried because of the emotions the songs brought. If any couple experiencing problems in their relationship attended that concert and left the same, then they needed some higher power to help them. For me, it was all about being open and honest with Jide, bringing out the little foxes I have been battling with. The first of which is trust. I still can’t trust him. I forgave him a long time ago over his indiscretions in Zanzibar but I never forgot them. I still randomly snoop through his phone without him knowing. He has no idea I have hacked him again. Well, what he doesn’t know won’t kill him. But it is killing me.
Some new girl at the hospital has the hots for him. It’s not supposed to be a new thing to him, as girls always literally throw themselves at him. Every now and then one new one pops out from nowhere.
But this girl is different. Not only does she work under him as a midwife, she lives down our street as well. This means they sometimes go to and come back from work together. I had not liked her from the day he introduced her to me but I have never shown it. The one time I made a passing comment about how clingy she was to him, he told me she was like that with everyone. Hence, I chose to ignore what my insecure mind was telling me.
But hanging out with Tola a few days ago, she brings the girl’s issue up.
“Hauwa is seriously crushing on Dede o! You better put an eye on that one.”
Pushing a piece of meat I had gotten from Tola into my mouth, I break and look at her.
“Rumor has it.”
I put my hand down. “Tola, Jide is in a nursing conference in Canada right now and Hauwa is with him but you are here in Lagos. So, please tell me where this rumor is coming from and how you’re aware of it.”
“Nothing specific jor. Just that everybody is noticing how she won’t leave him alone.”
“She works under him.”
“Exactly. She’s using that to express her crush, which is now so glaring that people are beginning to gossip. And our darling Dede is oblivious. Or rather acting oblivious.”
“Typical Jideofor,” Mary, who is with us, says. “But have no fears, Honey. He’ll never cheat on you.”
“But isn’t that what I said when he traveled to Zanzibar? I didn’t listen to my intuition and look what happened.”
“He will not cheat on you,” Mary restates.
“And you know that, how?” Tola asks.
“Because I know him, and I have tested him before and he didn’t even budge.”
“You are not his type, so maybe he wasn’t turned on at all.”
“What does that mean?”
“Sorry, I’m not fat-shaming you.”
Mary frowns. Tola has not changed and we don’t expect her too. She is like Noka in some ways but with a darling heart beneath. Besides, she means no harm to Mary. They have gotten quite close over the past months, and sometimes even hang out without me.
“My point is,” Tola states, “and I’m speaking from my own experience… Jide loves you Honey but it won’t stop him from cheating, especially with someone he has known before. Be vigilant…”
I stop her with a raised hand. “Can you rewind to the part where you said he had known her before?”
“W-wait… You didn’t know?”
I feel tears of anger coming to my eyes. Jide lied to me? I can’t believe this! He lied to me about Hauwa? How could he have missed telling me that they used to know each other?
“Well, me I didn’t know until one day when I was stylishly trying to tell her to stop misbehaving around him. She now laughed in my face and said that her conscience is clean and she and Jide have been friends for almost seven years; that, in fact, he had bunked in her place when he first started working in the hospital they both trained in before he was given his own place.”
I almost block my ears. I don’t want to hear more.
“Me I thought you knew. But if he’s hidden it from you, then maybe it’s for your own good. We all know how you can get when you are angry. Just sha go easy on him. All that matters is that he loves you…”
I raise my hand again to stop her. I don’t subscribe to bullshit. I’m either married to a faithful man or I’m out of that marriage. Jide knows this. If he has made the mistake of straying, I’m leaving his sorry ass and I’m taking my child with me.
“Tola that your mindset is just somehow, abeg,” Mary expresses. “I know you’re talking based on your present situation but men can be faithful. Please, don’t let us get into this age old, cliché argument.”
Tola snorts and sticks out her tongue. She is having amala with some soup that hardly has any leaves in it but is filled with an assortment of meat and fish. Trust a Yoruba girl to keep it real. We’re at a swanky beauty salon and she goes about her thing like no man’s business. There’s a fat, posturing woman that has been staring at her all morning and always shows surprise each time Tola’s American accent slips through her Yoruba tongue.
“This my baby will sha like pepper,” Tola comments and sucks her pinkie. “The amount of pepper I have had this week alone…sigh. Only Jesus can save me.”
Mary gives me her attention. “Ignore everything this victim of polygamy just told you. Trust your man. I know it’s hard after what he did but I know you can, babe. Just try.”
I nod at her but my mind is all the way with Jide in Canada. Hauwa is beautiful and has my body type. The difference between both of us is that she is lighter, almost Caucasian-looking. She turns heads anywhere she goes but she’d rather have my man. Lord knows I will kill her. But it will not be worth it. I can never fight over a man.
“So, as I was asking you,” Mary tries to bring my mind back to the salon, “you think the purple pantsuit works for church on Sunday?”
We had been speaking about church outfits before Tola brought up the issue of Hauwa.
“You wear pantsuits to church?” Tola questions. “Na wa o. How will the brothers concentrate on God nau?”
“Is it not better than wearing a uniform that everyone else is wearing?” Mary throws back.
“The white garment is a sign of holiness, purity and reverence to God…”
And so they go on while my thoughts meander back to Jide and Hauwa. I imagine them in all sorts of compromising situations, ruining my mood and my day. The madness continues the day after and the one following that and even yesterday. But at the concert, God drops in and speaks peace to my heart. I am reminded of why I had fallen in love with and married Jide. I go home banishing Hauwa away. I sleep fitfully without Jiney making my whole night miserable as she has done over the past week.
Since Jide traveled, I have been struggling with exhaustion. Jiney caught this cold from nowhere that has worn me down and makes me feel inadequate as a mother. It is my first time being separated from Jide since we got married and I had thought I could handle the absence until Jiney fell ill and tossed my world upside-down.
Common cold, the pediatrician told me, but to me it was much more. It was me caving under the weight of being too bushed to care for her and too proud to ask for help. Apart from Saratu, Dele’s wife and Yazmin who worked with me at the office every day, no one else knew she was ill. I particularly kept it away from family and Jide. This is because they were all not happy that I resumed work so hastily after Jiney’s birth. According to them, I needed more rest. Jide was the most upset at me. We had a fight over it but I stuck to my decision. What nobody knew was that following Jiney’s birth, I had begun to struggle with pangs of depression. If you ask me what the trigger was, I can’t tell you. Sometimes, it needs no trigger. It just switches on like a light bulb and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself falling, unable to grapple anything to help you out until you hit rock bottom.
I didn’t want that. Hence, I threw myself back into career mode, a weight loss program and an active lifestyle. It was exhausting but I couldn’t slow down and let my mind get taken by the old demons. I fought them hard and fought them alone. And although I felt Jide would always be understanding when it comes to my mental illness, I was still embarrassed over it and loved him too much to bother him.
This week alone has been insane. I am done in every day, working late hours, nursing a sick baby and battling depression. My weight has dropped and it has become difficult to breastfeed Jiney. I’m just not producing enough milk for her, and thus three nights ago, after a crying fit from her that pushed me to my breaking point, I got into the car and went to buy baby formula at the nearest supermarket. She fed well and slept off. The following day and the day after, I looked to the formula for help and it did its magic. It isn’t something I’m planning to do for long or even when Jide comes back today. Hopefully, his return will help normalize things. I need a break from my life for a bit and he’ll be just the distraction my body requires.
I am ditching church today just to catch my breath. I have shopping and laundry to do. Didi just got back from Mass and she’s already occupied with cleaning the house but I ask her to help out with Jiney while I visit the shopping complex on the next street.
Before I drive out, I go on Facebook to reply a message from a client who claims she hasn’t been able to reach my line all weekend. The moment I go on my timeline, I see a series of photos Jide is tagged in. They come in an album titled ‘Canada, midwifery and lasting friendships’. Anger crawls up my spine like an icky spider as I scroll through the pictures. They are about Jide’s nursing conference in Canada and contain mostly shots of the activities and tours he has been involved with for one week. However, the ones that get the rise out of me are of him and Hauwa. In one, he is napping in a tour bus and she is seated next to him, pinching his nose. In another, she has her arm around his shoulder and is smiling to the camera while he looks elsewhere. In a third (and this is the one that gets me mad) he is in his hotel room, wearing nothing but his shorts and holding a mug.
What the hell was she doing in there with him? Why did he let her in? What really was going on with them? And to splash it all over Facebook?!
I drop my phone for a moment to catch my breath but Tola rings me. I answer.
“You’ve seen the pics of Dede on Facebook?”
“Tols, I’m weak. I don’t even know what to think.”
“That girl is the devil. You better deal with her before people start believing that something is actually going on between them.”
“But why did Jide allow her go that far?” I ask in despair.
“Don’t blame him. Blame her. She’s the one after him. And please deal with her fast before she becomes another Yazmin. These Onuora men and their love for women sha!”
I don’t want to hear anymore. I tell Tola I’m hurrying out and I end the call. I go back to Facebook and type in this long, nasty comment on the last photo but faces of Nne, Mary, Ekene and Dele’s wife pop into view and they are all not in support.
“Talk to your husband first,” I hear Nne say in my head.
“Don’t air your laundry on Facebook,” Dele’s wife adds.
“The pictures mean nothing, Hon. Trust Jide,” Mary insists.
“I didn’t disvirgin a market woman. Behave yourself and handle it like the Honey I know,” Ekene instructs.
I log out of Facebook by literally hitting the ‘sign out’ button just for my peace of mind.
As I drive out to the store, I try Jide’s number to find out if he’s already on his way back but the call doesn’t connect. I toss my phone aside just as I arrive at the complex. After parking, I rush in and do the fastest supermarket run I’ve ever done. Nothing asides what I’m here for, catches my fancy. Not even the cute, dark guy in a kaftan who has been standing by the cashier, keeps staring at me.
Stepping out, I see a familiar car drive into the parking lot but I don’t give it much thought. I hold my long skirt in one hand as the other hand pushes the shopping cart to the car. I begin to offload the stuff I have bought and dump them at the backseat when I see a form that doesn’t fall fully in my view. I make a sharp turn and there is Hauwa. Tall, shapely, fair, skin shining like a mix of melted butter and caramel, makeup on point – she is basically me before I got pregnant and had Jiney.
Even her fashion sense seems on a mission to make me feel like an old, tired wife. She is dressed in the manner of those girls who spend all day on Instagram, showing off flat abs and a toned butt. This was me not long ago.
She slams the door of her car, laughing at someone I can’t see. But soon I see him – my dear husband – as his face pops into view. I am not surprised that he is in town and he is with her. On the day they flew out, they had used her car to the airport and she had it parked there. It was only normal that they returned together. He had already phoned ahead of time to tell me not to pick him up.
I hear Hauwa say something to him before walking to the complex. When she disappears, he makes a turn and spots me.
I hold my breath. I want to see his reaction, if it will be of guilt or not.
I get nothing. Just a simple, yet affectionate smile that makes me realize I have missed him so much.
I don’t return the smile but I keep my eyes on him. Soon he is walking towards me and I’m feeling my heart begin to pace. I am upset but the sight of him breaks me.
When he gets to the car, he takes my waist with one hand, tugs me close and kisses me.
“I’ve missed you.”
He squeezes me into his scent which I have missed incredibly. I can feel his open palm resting on my butt.
“I hope you’re done with shopping because I can’t wait to go home and do bad things to you.”
I feel heat on my cheek. He now has my head held in his hand as he whispers in my ear. The familiarity of his breath causes me temporary amnesia and Hauwa and the photos are forgotten. After one more kiss, he gets his bag from Hauwa’s car, dumps it in mine and we drive home. We are hardly inside our bedroom when we start kissing again. This will be our first time making love since the birth of Jiney. I have hankered for too long; I almost feel like a virgin again.
On soft cotton sheets and in a cold room we make love. We don’t need foreplay. He is crouched over me, nude and wholly mine, lips on my mouth. I am spread open for him. He strokes me with his tongue, seeking love on my neck, my throat, my not-so-heavy breasts that are now too full for his hands. I am overpowered with endless kisses as he does the ‘bad things’ to me. It’s fast and slow all at once, gentle and rough, soft and hard, Jide and Honey. Just us and all the months we have not done this. Neither of us wants to be stopped by that pesky thing called an orgasm. We want to go on all day and night like they do in romance stories. But our bodies want that release, and so he turns me over, places a finger on my panic button which is now swollen and deliciously sensitive. A couple of strokes and I’m off like a firework, exploding in strong squirts. I tighten him so strongly, he lets go and releases his weight on me. My pleasure takes longer and he holds me while it lasts. I notice he is not quite done, but Jiney decides he is as her piercing cry ends our amorous bliss.
Soon we hear a knock on the door and Jide goes for it, a towel around his waist. Didi passes Jiney to him. He smothers her with kisses but they don’t abate her screams. Only my breast suffices. As she nurses, Jide goes for a shower. I log into Facebook, cringing as I browse through Hauwa’s pictures a second time. The anger resumes, rising in my throat like bile. Some of her Facebook friends are not happy as I am, and they are quite expressive with it in the comment section. Someone goes as far as telling her to stop parading another person’s husband as hers. But Hauwa has a reply for everyone. It’s either an ‘LOL’, a dancing emoji or one of those laughing ones with tears on the sides of their eyes.
It is clear she doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. And this can only happen if she feels she has a claim over Jide. I shiver. I shouldn’t be thinking this way. I should let him explain first.
He walks in from the bathroom, soaking wet.
“Is your phone off?” I ask him.
“Yea…thanks for reminding me sef.” He goes for his discarded jeans on the floor and takes out his phone. I hold my calm as he turns it on and notifications start pouring in. I watch his face go from normal to a frown and then to laughter.
The laughter irks me. Does he find Hauwa’s antics hilarious? There’s nothing funny about what she’s doing.
I mentally clear my throat, readying myself for a talk. Again the faces of Nne, Mary, Dele’s wife and Ekene come to view but I deport them to the back and throw in a question.
“Hotstuff, is there anything going on between you and Hauwa?”
And there, I win the Wife of the Year award. For foolishness.
“What sort of question is that, Honey?”
I should tread carefully. I know, I know, but for heaven’s sakes! She was in his hotel room! Did she spend the night with him?
“Why the fuck would I want to do that?”
Oops! Did I think out loud again?
“No, I didn’t mean to ask you that…”
“But you did, Honey.”
“I just need to know what went on in Canada. She was all over you and you didn’t stop her – obviously. How can you let her put her hand around you like that and take a picture of you half-dressed in your hotel room? And it’s on social media, Jide! Do you have any idea what people are saying right now?”
“Hauwa and I are friends.”
“For how long?”
“How long, Jideofor?”
“For almost seven years now. I squatted with her when I first started my midwifery training.”
“So why did you lie to me about her?”
“I didn’t lie to you.”
“You just forgot to add that you lived in the same house and had sex—”
“We never had sex, Honey! My God! Who told you these lies?!”
“It doesn’t matter! I should have heard it from your mouth first but you lied to me…”
“I never lied to you.”
“Can you just SHUT THE FUCK UP?!”
I recoil at his tone. Jiney starts crying.
“Great! See what you’re making me do. You’re turning me into a monster.”
“I’m not. I’m just…”
My phone interrupts with a ring. I gawp at it. Yazmin is on the line. I ignore the call. This is not a good time to have any work-related talk.
Jide’s phone starts to ring as well. Unlike me, he picks the call.
“Mex, how far?” he answers, leaving the bedroom. Yazmin calls back. This time, I pick her call, trying to placate Jiney at the same time. A quick switch to my other breast does the magic.
“Yaz, this is not a good time,” I say to her in a tense tone before she utters a word.
“I’m sorry for bugging you, Honey.”
Her voice is shaky. She sounds like she’s crying.
“Emeka has asked me to leave. He says he’s divorcing me.”
The news hits me with a headache.
“Ha-ahn. Why? What happened?”
“He’s accusing me of cheating on him with that Omoh guy.”
I get lost for a few seconds wondering who Omoh is, and then his face and details rush into my head.
Omoh is a mega rich guy in his late thirties who owns a luxury brand business that caters to a select clientele of wealthy business men and families who have the means to indulge in deluxe transportation and concierge services. They deal in a whole lot from luxury cars and yacht rentals, concierge and protection services, aircraft sales and private jet travels. Saratu had mentioned him to me because we had the type of clientele he was looking for. She felt we could get into some sort of deal with his company. Therefore, I sent Yazmin to him. She is the face of the company and has reeled in quite a huge catch of international business our way. She and Omoh had a good start at the first meeting but because he was so busy on that day, he set another appointment to finalize the business plan. It was a lunch date that went well and promised good things. Why would Emeka want to end their marriage because of it?
“Can you imagine?” Yazmin cries. “I know Tola did this. She saw me the day I had lunch with Omoh. She told on me.”
“Now, calm down. We’re not sure…”
“She did it! She just wants me gone so she can have Mex all to herself.” Her Spanish accent comes out heavy. “This is not fair. I love him. I could never cheat on him.”
I plead with her to take things easy.
“Can you please come and explain to him that I’m not cheating on him?” she requests.
I stare at Jiney tiredly. I don’t feel like leaving this bed.
“Yaz, I can’t…”
She breaks down again. I feel sad for her.
“Give me an hour.”
She sniffles a few times. I abort the call and I immediately regret my decision to go to theirs. I am yet to deal with my own drama. Why add more?
“Is Yazmin seeing some Omoh guy?” he probes.
I shake my head. He walks to the closet and comes back with fresh clothes.
“Emeka and Yaz are having a fight. I want to go there and calm things before Mex throws her out.”
“I’ll like to go with you. Yaz invited me.”
Jide shrugs. But he waits for me to feed Jiney and change clothes. We take her along for the journey. I am behind the wheel; Jide is seated beside me. We don’t speak to each other. I have never seen him this silent before.
We arrive at Yazmin’s house. From the gate we can hear her and Emeka at each other’s throats. The maid lets us in and we walk into a warzone. The instant we make our presence known, Yazmin rushes to me sobbing. I pass Jiney to the maid and instruct her to give us some privacy. The girl seems displeased. It is obvious she is enjoying the show. I wonder how many fights she has witnessed.
We wait for her to leave before we face the warring couple. The details roll in.
Emeka had been informed by a reliable source that Yazmin went on a date with Omoh. When Emeka confronted her about it, she held that it was a business lunch date and nothing more. But Emeka snatched her phone from her, forced the password out of her and swept through her different social media platforms for incriminating messages. It didn’t take long to fish out a chat thread with Omoh from her Whatsapp. Omoh had been inappropriate, expressing feelings, detailing how he was planning to steal her away from her husband.
Jide and I are shown the messages.
-A second wife is no wife. I’ll make you’re my first and only
-Your husband can’t give you the luxury you deserve. I’ll spoil you senseless
-And sex? I have dick for days. You won’t even know where I hit you from
That is where I stop. I ask Yazmin why she kept this secret from me. Her reply is that she was doing everything to secure the deal, hence she didn’t even reply his messages.
“But you should have told her, Yazmin!” Emeka shouted. “Or me! And you didn’t!”
The fight resumes. Words are thrown in every direction and all Jide and I can do is watch until it mellows down. When they both lose steam, I speak.
“Mex, Yaz is faithful to you. Don’t ever doubt that. Please, trust her.”
“This person gave me claudia. It’s funny how no one is mentioning that.”
I smile at the name he calls chlamydia. “That’s all in her past. Please, let it all go, Mex.”
I proceed to give this emotive speech about love and marriage and plead with them to reconcile. Jide doesn’t add to what I have said. The maid brings Jiney who is now asleep, back to us, and we make our exit.
The tension in the car now hangs heavier than before.
“Take me to the hospital,” Jide requests. I steer the car in a different direction from the route we come through. Once the road is free, I glance at Jide.
“Please, don’t say anything. Please.”
“Please, shut up.”
I obey. The journey continues in the silence he has built. When we get to the hospital, he asks me to park the car. I do.
“Erhinyuse,” he calls, facing me.
“I love you. You are my wife, the woman I chose to be with forever. The one I vowed to be faithful to. I would never cheat on you, Honey. Never. I love you that much.”
Tears sting my eyes.
“Hauwa is a good friend. I didn’t mention that I had known her because I didn’t want you to feel insecure about the relationship I had with her in the past. She means no harm. The things she was doing in the pictures were just to piss the other nurses off. They have never liked her for reasons known to them, and have treated her unkindly. I’m the only friend she has at work. So, those pictures were not for you but for them, but I’ve already ordered her to take them down. Just for you, Honey. Just to make you happy.”
“It’s funny how you have the right words for Emeka but you can’t advise yourself. Why is it so hard to trust me?”
Zanzibar comes to mind. “Jide, you cheated on me with three different women. How am I supposed to trust you?”
His head hangs down. “I’m not asking you to. In fact, don’t. Every text, every chat, every phone call, keep on monitoring as you are already doing.”
I gasp silently, surprised that he knows I hacked into his phone.
“Please, don’t stop if that makes you feel good. Go on being insecure and untrusting since it makes you happy.”
“Jide, you’re trying to make this about me but it’s clearly about you not giving yourself boundaries with women. Imagine if I went on a business trip and pictures of me being inappropriate with another man shows up on social media…”
“So I was inappropriate?”
“Yes! And it doesn’t matter what you guys used to have, you gave her the room to feel you still have something. Why do you flirt like that?”
He looks at me. His eyes are cold. He opens his door.
He gets down from the car, opens the backdoor and retrieves the bag he had used on his trip. We both had forgotten to take it into the house earlier.
“Jide, where are you going?”
“I need to clear my head to think and also to concentrate on work.”
“Jide…” My voice breaks. The door slams. I watch him walk into the hospital building with his bag. The pain I begin to feel comes on me forcefully. I sit in the car for a long time, until Jiney wakes up and reminds me that I need to go home.
I ease the car out and leave the premises. I feel the old demons return. They don’t even give me a moment to absorb what has just happened. They go in for the kill as a dark cloak falls on me. This is going to hurt like hell and I don’t think I can handle it on my own.
I think it’s time I called my doctor in South Africa to recommence treatment. I am terrified of falling. No one has ever witnessed me on a low before. It is one side of me I don’t even wish for my enemy.
Lord, help me.