Ujay fidgeted in her car. She didnt know what to do. Should she drive home or drive to her sister’s house? She sat in her car and cried, tears dripping on her blouse. All of a sudden, it hit her: she must act fast or she might not have the opportunity to take any of her belongings out of the house. She engaged the gear immediately and drove out of the parking lot. She was lucky. The journey home was smooth. She drove fast and furious and was soon home.
The security man knew something was amiss as she screeched to a halt in front of the porch and made a U-Turn, facing the gate again.
She rummaged in her bag and fished out six thousand naira. She gave it to the security man and sent him to buy three things he would get in three different shops, far apart. She knew he’d be gone for more than an hour.
As he made to leave, she called him.
“Give me the gate keys. My husband may return while you’re away,” she told him.
He handed the keys to her and left. She quickly locked the gate and raced inside the house. Luckily, she had no house help, so, no one would watch her run around her room, throwing shoes, clothes and bags into boxes and bags. She rolled three boxes out and stacked them in the boot of her car. She ran back inside and picked her jewerly box, emptied the content of her bedside locker into another bag and dashed into her husband’s room to pick some documents from the wardrobe. In less than fifty minutes, she was done. She looked round her room and tears ran down her cheeks.
“This is no time for tears,” she told herself and left the room. She locked the door and threw the key into her handbag.
The bell was ringing when she got to the front door. She dried her tears and arrange her things properly in the car boot. She kept the three small bags on the floor inside the car and went to the gate.
She let the security man in through the small gate and asked him to open the big gate.
“Where do I put the things I bought, ma?” He asked.
Oh, she had forgotten! She also couldn’t remember what she sent him to buy. She took the small parcel from him and went to her car. As she was about to drive out of the gate, an obviously worried security man waved at her. She wound down the window and looked inquiringly at him.
“I’m sorry ma. Oga will soon be back…er…er…I don’t know if he knows you’re going out,” he stammered.
“Oh, he knows,” she told him.
Surprisingly, her voice was steady. She drove out, with no idea where she was going. After a while, she found herself in the parking lot of the mall she left about two hours earlier. She knew she wouldn’t spend the night there. It was past 8pm. She needed to make quick decision. She could lodge in a hotel for the night, go to her best friend’s or her sister’s house. She didn’t want to answer any question right now. Her friend would ask questions. Her sister would ask more! Her best choice would be a hotel. She didn’t know which hotel to go to. She remembered that there were many hotels on the International Airport Road. Yeah, she would go there and drive into the first hotel that caught her fancy. She drove out of the parking lot and joined the evening traffic. A brightly coloured hotel beckoned and she drove into it. She needed something bright to brighten her mood. Inside was sophisticated and friendly. She picked only a small bag and left her things in the car, which she parked close to the security post
The hotel wasn’t cheap though, but money wasn’t her problem right now. She smiled back at the smiling front desk staff as she filled the form.
She didn’t sleep that night. She cried her heart out. In the morning, she could hardly see through her swollen eyelids. She spent two nights in the hotel. On the third morning, she checked out and moved to her sister’s house.
She had called her sister and told her she was no longer living with her husband.
“What? You are no longer what? Are you out of your senses? What happened? Did you have a fight? Did he beat you? What did you do? You must have offended my in-law. You should learn to obey your husband. A man commits no offence,” her sister reeled out.
She kept mute and allowed her exhaust her questions.
“Ujay, Ujay are you there?” She asked.
“Of course, I’m here. You have too many questions to ask and I have to allow you,” she said, holding back tears.
“Why won’t I ask questions? How can you leave your husband’s house without telling us? You think you can do anything you like in your husband’s house? Look, let me remind you that your husband is your crown. Without him, you’re nothing. Nobody will respect you. You better go back to him, kneel down and beg him to accept you. You want to rub mud on our faces,” her sister shouted.
“Is there a space where new mud could be plastered on your face? Are you not rolling in shame already? Which husband are you talking about? Tell me, which husband? When did he come to anybody in our family with drinks and my bride price? Or did you collect it without my knowledge? Look, right now, I’m in a hotel. I want to ask if I could come to your house and stay until I sort out myself. If you can’t accommodate me, I’ll look for an alternative,” Ujay fumed.
“Haba Ujay! We’re not quarelling. Of course, you can come and stay, it’s just that I want to know what the problem is,” her sister said.
“You want to know what the problem is? Oh, that’s what is of interest to you? If I mean anything to you, why didn’t you try to talk him into getting married to me properly? Anyway, I don’t want to talk about why I left his house. If you want to know, you ask him,” Ujay said.
She would allow no one to break her resolved not to talk to anybody. What she did was very, very shameful, she knew and wouldn’t want to be reminded. A woman was expected to please her husband in every way possible, even if doing so would inconvenience her. She didn’t matter. Society didn’t recognise her own joy. As long as the husband was happy, the earth would continue to rotate!
She sighed and told her sister, “It’s okay. Don’t worry. I’ll look for a place to put up. I’m sorry I made my inconveniencing demand…”
“Haaaaaaaaa no o. You’re not inconveniencing me. Haba! You can come stay with me,” she said.
Ujay relaxed. First battle won. She wondered what Dave was doing and what he had told his people. He would have told them what happened and more…
Meanwhile, Dave didn’t leave the hotel that night. It was the longest night he had experienced in his adult life. The first time was when the sheath disappeared inside his partner’s cave of wonder after a stolen session. That was the day he had a hint of what high blood pressure could do to a virile man. He poked blindly for hours, scratching the poor lady all over, all to no avail. The lady jumped up and down several times and it didn’t fall out. She cried throughout the night. It was while she was urinating in the morning that she peed it out. For a long time after that experience, his man would only respond after hours of concentrated nursing.
Back to the present! Each time he wanted to drift off to sleep, his encounter with his wife would flash through his mind. If he could cry, he would have. What would life be without her? Would he get married to the fourth wife? He resolved that night not to say a word of what happened to anybody. Let her be the one to announce it.
The following morning, he left the hotel. When he got home, he braced himself. He didn’t want any scene. He would just go in and change into fresh clothes and leave for office.
Due to the state of his mind, he didn’t notice that his wife’s car wasn’t in the garage. He tiptoed past her room to his. As he was about to drive out, he noticed the worried looks on the security man’s face. It appeared he wanted to say something but he wasn’t in the mood for that. He got into his car and the security man ran to open the gate for him.
That was three months ago. Since then, a lot had happened. Nine days to Christmas, they were still living apart. Though they hadn’t seen each other and had not communicated on the phone, they both had lost weight.
For Ujay, it wasn’t just that they weren’t living together again. She had another issue to contend with. She was pregnant!
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
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