Juliet Bumah Jay tossed and turned on his bed. Try as he could, sleep eluded him. He remembered that one could count himself to sleep but there was no star to be counted and the ceiling was one white slab that covered the huge room. He picked his phone and went to his Whatsapp home page. That proved to be his undoing. He hadn’t checked his wife’s Display Picture in days.
The picture he saw there sent warm blood down to his mojo. He hadn’t seen it before. Adele was dressed in a snow white chiffon top over a short, fitted yellow skirt. The smile on her nude face was alluring. He swallowed spittle a number of times.
He frowned. That picture was obviously taken by another person. Whoever took that picture was would be the person being bestowed with that angelic smile. Jay swallowed spittle again. How he wished the smile was for him! He zoomed the picture and felt that thingy thing he used to feel at the early stage of their marriage, before the children started coming. His heart became heavy. For he knew that part of his life was lost forever. But not the feeling! He needed a supple body right now.
He knew he shouldn’t even be thinking of such a thing right now but then, a provoked mojo has no conscience. His phone rang. He turned and picked it. It was Blossom, Tyrone’s wife and Adele’s bestie. His heart missed a beat. Had Adele confided in her? He left the phone to ring out.
It started ringing almost immediately again and he picked the phone to switch it off but mistakingly touched the answer button. That left him with no choice. “Hello,” he croaked into the phone. “Good evening Jay,” Blossom cried into his ears. He sat up immediately.
“What’s the matter? Why are you calling at this time of the night?” He asked, glancing at the wall clock. It was almost 1am. “Tyrone has not been home in five days. His phone has not gone through in the last six hours,” she cried. “Did you people quarrel?” He asked. “No…not really…it wasn’t really a quarrel. It was a minor misunderstanding and he left home and wouldn’t answer my calls,” she said.
“Go to sleep. I’ll call him and talk with him,” he told her. “I said his phone is not going through. It was ringing and he wasn’t answering but now, it’s switched off. Even the text message sent over two hours ago has not delivered,” she wailed. “The text message will obviously not deliver if the phone is switched off. Go to bed. We’ll talk in the morning,” he told her. “Thanks dear. How’s Adele? I’ve called her twice and she didn’t answer,” she said. “She’s fine. She’s asleep,” he said.
They spoke some more and ended the call. Phew! It was obvious Adele had not told her about their quarrel. Knowing her very well, she would keep everything under wraps for a very long time. That suited him very much though. He had enough time to settle with her. Getting Adele to forgive him now would be more difficult. But he would have to bring down Debola’s temper first. Hmmmmmmmm!
More problems each day. He remembered one novel he read as a kid: ‘One Week, One Trouble’ by Anezi Okoro! He smiled. He could still remember that book he read more than thirty years ago! His mind went back to his immediate problem and he frowned.
His phone rang again. Debola!Think of the devil and she calls! “What did you think you would achieve by lying to my mother? You think you’re smart? Look, I’ll deal with you. I treated you like a human being but you’re proving not to be one. If you think I’m going to get rid of what you deposited inside me, then you’re the greatest fool around. Expect me in your house at dawn. Your wife will hear about our little secret,” she said immediately he answered the call. She didn’t shout.
She spoke quietly. She didn’t want to be overheard. Jay knew why; she didn’t want her mother to hear what she was saying. “Look Debola, your mother doesn’t like me. She didn’t pretend about it. Why are you forcing yourself on me? It’s obvious your mother doesn’t want me around you,” he said. “You deceived her. You told her you didn’t have a job. What mother would encourage her daughter to get married to a jobless man?” She said, her voice a pitch higher. “So it’s an offence to be out of job?
If your people are looking for a money bag, then forget it. I’m not one,” he told her. “You definitely ain’t one,” she responded. “So what do you want from me?” he asked. “The only thing I want is that you come and see my mother again and tell her the truth. She’s angry with me,” she said. “Which truth are you expecting from me? How could you tell her I’m your husband? Did I propose marriage to you?” He asked.
“Did you seek my consent before taking advantage of me? What you did was reprehensible,” she said. “You weren’t in control of your senses when it happened. You said so yourself. How do know you weren’t the one that forced me to do it? It wasn’t the first. You always called me each time you needed me. So why would I refuse you when you wanted it? Remember at that period, I was expected to do everything possible to aid your healing. In fact, you forced me to do it. I didn’t want to touch you, bearing in mind what you went through. Who knows what they did to you where you claimed to have been?” Jay said. He was surprised at himself. He never thought of what he just said. How the deuce did that get into his thoughts?
Well, he didn’t think of that. But if it would get him out of his present predicament, he’d stick to it. Debola was shocked to her marrow. Her voice betrayed her. “Jay!
How could you conceive such? You know it’s a lie. I didn’t force you and I didn’t ask for it and you know it!” She shouted. “You were not exactly with your senses then Debola. The records are there in your file in the hospital. Remember, the police is aware of your state of mind at that period. You can’t force anything on me,” he said. “Jay, you’ll regret any lie you hang on me. I’ll make sure you do,” she snarled. Jay could hear a voice in the background. He was sure it would be her mother. Her raised voice could have drawn her attention. The phone went dead. He dropped it. Phew! If he would get out of this problem, he had to stick to this story.
The only two people he had to worry about were the pastor and his DPO friend. They would give him hell if they got to know what transpired when he was supposed to be nursing Debola back to good health.
Although Debola was said not to be in full control of her mind when he took advantage of her, it would be his word against hers. But then, if they got to know that Debola drugged him in his own house and locked his wife out of his house in her bid to install herself in his life and house, they would see him as a victim in this case. His new claim that she forced him to lay her would be believable. He would claim she threatened to do him bodily harm if he didn’t do her bidding. She had attempted to do him harm before, she could do it again.
They told him to nurse her back to sanity; he did everything he could to achieve that. He shuddered. How could Debola expect him to start thinking about marriage at this age? It was time to defect, he told himself. After all the major news in Nigeria right now is defection. Notable Nigerian politicians are defecting from left to right and right to left. Beginning another round of recycling. He remembered that one of the military rulers-turned-politician once advocated ‘a little to the right, a little to the left’.
He laughed. All the politicians were making clean turns to either the left or the right… not exactly though. The ‘Reformers’ hadn’t made a clean break to either left or right! He laughed.
Politics in Nigeria had always been magic -the more you look, the less you see. He smiled and turned on his television. It was past 3am. He switched it off. If he would sleep, he needed to do away with every distraction, if possible. His phone beeped; a message. It was from Adele. He was excited. He shouldn’t have checked it though. “If my arrival doesn’t make you happy, your departure won’t make me sad. You can’t be CEO of your own life and be MD of mine.
If you can’t stand me, then stop standing next to me. If you can’t see anything good in me, then stop looking at me!” That was Adele’s message to him. Jay sat up in bed.
Suddenly, his head throbbed…
******* Bolan cuddled Adele. He was seated on the hospital bed. The migraine he felt the past few hours had subsided but his heart ached. If he laid his hands on Jay that very moment, he’d strangle him. Gawd!
Could a man be so heartless! At dawn, he would take her to see his doctor, then take her to his house. Henceforth, he would not allow her out of his sight again. As he stepped into the hospital few hours ago, Adele’s phone, which was in his pocket rang. He wondered who would be calling her at that ungodly hour. He decided to answer the call. It turned out it was Adele using somebody’s phone.
He almost screamed for joy. She confirmed she was in the annex of the hospital… He kissed her forehead again and again and murmured sweet nothing into her ears. His eyes met the young man’s own and they both smiled The story told by the Patrick, for that was the young man’s name, made him happy. If Adele could do that for a complete stranger, she must be an angel…
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
Send your observations to: julietbumah@ gmail.com
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