Body & Soul

Djinn’s Day Out 10

Juliet Bumah

 

Ujay and her sister were at the Muyis who invited them to
dinner. The Muyis were a nice family really. In the course of their conversations over time, Ujay realised that Muyi was a good man who
was going through a very difficult period.

 

She had wondered why they had to live in an apartments it was obvious they couldn’t afford. It was in the course of their conversations that she learnt that Muyi’s business was thriving very well until about three years ago when things became too tough for almost everyone in the country. He wasn’t really a drinker before.

 

It was the economic hardship and the nagging at home that pushed him to the bottles. He got momentary relief whenever he gulped some glasses of alcohol.

 

At first, just one bottle would give him a good night rest. But gradually, he had to increase the quantity and reduce the quality of the brand he took because of the cost. His wife was appalled at his drinking.

 

She started complaining and warring with him. She could not buy a single item of dressing, she complained. She barely could buy new clothes for their children.

 

She had a job before they got married. It was after the birth of their first child that Muyi asked her to resign from her job and take care of their children. His business was thriving and he could give his family the best of life. When his business took a downturn and they had to adjust, his wife failed to understand. He would get home in the night, worried and sad.

 

His wife would be waiting for him with a list of what they needed in the house  and a litany of woes. They would argue ad infinitum and he would go to bed, exasperated.

At times, when he would be in bed, trying to figure out how to make ends meet, his wife would come and ask for a piece of action. Most times, due to his state of mind at the particular moment, his man would refuse to respond to stimuli.

 

His wife would accuse him of infidelity.

 

He told his wife countless times that the state of a man’s pocket most times would affect his libido. He knew it was true because on many occasions, if he was turgid and raring to go and he remembered that there was no noodles for the children’s breakfast, he would go limp. His wife,
frustrated, would begin to nag. That was when the beatings started.

 

Ujay was happy that the couple had reconnected emotionally. “The past three years was hellish. It got so bad that I had to sell our spare car. Then, I
had to sell my wife’s car at a point. It’s an experience I don’t wish my enemy,” Muyi told his guests.

 

“I didn’t understand the war going on in my husband’s mind. I wasn’t happy that my car had to be sold off, though he was gracious enough to give me more than half of the money realised from the sale. Oh no!
I’d been too hard to my husband,” Muyi’s wife said.

 

Then, she turned to her husband and said, “I’m sorry my love. I’m sorry for causing you so much sadness. It takes a lot of maturity and understanding for a woman to adjust in a situation like ours. I’m really sorry it took me so long to do so,” she said.

 

 

Her next action took them all by surprise. She stood up, moved to her husband’s side and knelt down.

 

“Baby, I love you. Forgive my childish behaviour in the past. I promise you, I’ll be the loving woman you got married to years ago,” she said, holding his knees.

A surprised Muyi pulled her up and kissed her. Their three children who were watching on the television looked at their parents and started clapping and laughing.

 

“Mummy is always kneeling down and begging daddy. Is daddy a teacher?” Their three-year-old son said, laughing.Ujay took

 

something away from that dinner with the Muyis.

 

Later that night, when she was gisting with her sister, her sister suddenly asked, “Did you notice anything in Muyi’s house?”

 

Ujay turned to her sister and said slowly, “Muyi is a very honest man. He loves his family truly. His wife is a very good woman who accepts her faults and is quick to apologise”.

“Perfect! Perfect, my dear sister. Love does not struggle. Love forgives. Love apologises.

Love does not bear grudge. Love does not go to bed angry. Go and sleep over these, sister,” her sister said, and went to bed.

That night, Ujay couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned. She was still up at 1am. At a point, she switched on the television. Most of the stations had politics programmes on.

 

It was the last day of the Presidential campaign.

 

She couldn’t concentrate.

Something dropped in her mind: A woman shouldn’t be too rigid. She should be malleable!

She looked around her, startled.

“I shouldn’t be too rigid. I should be malleable,” she muttered to herself and a kind of peace swept over her.

 

She switched off the television and picked her phone. She dialed Dave’s number. It was switched off. She dropped the phone on the pillow, got into bed and slept off almost immediately.

 


 

Dave woke up around 2am to ease himself.

 

He checked his phone and remembered that he didn’t switch it on after his meeting last night. He switched it on and went back to bed. He needed to get all the rest he could.

He had a very busy day ahead of him. It was Valentine’s Day. He couldn’t wait for dawn.

 

It was time to take the bull by the horn. He closed his eyes and dropped off to sleep.

 


 

Ujay’s sister was surprised at the early morning visitor. Who could be visiting that early in the morning on Valentine’s Day?

Adamu the gateman had travelled to his village to perform his civic responsibility during the general elections. He had brought his young friend, Musa, to stand in for him while he was away. It was Musa
who woke her up this early morning.

 

“What is the person’s name?” She asked Musa.

“I don’t know. He is inside his car,” he responded.

 

“Go and ask him his name,” she said, exasperated.

Few minutes later, Musa returned and said, “Oga say him name na Dave.

 

No be madam him wan see. He say na madam sister him wan come see”.

 

Ujay’s sister’s eyes rounded. Dave coming to her house at 6am?
“Open the gate for him,” she told him.

 

She stood by the door and peeped through the peephole. If she was sure it was Dave, she released the latch and threw open the door.

“Good morning Meg,” Dave said.

“Good morning Dave,” she responded, standing aside to let him in.

 

“I’m sorry to barge in on you this early in the morning. If a man is running very early in the morning, it’s either something is after him or he’s after something. I’m here to take my wife home,” he said.

 

He was in no mood for niceties. He wasn’t going to pretend.

Meg contemplated him for a while and asked, “Which wife did you come to take home? Do you just see a woman on the street and appropriate her as your wife? Do you not have custom and tradition where
you come from?”

 

“Look Meg, I understand where you’re going. I understand perfectly. I’m ready to make amend,” Dave said.

 

Inside her, Meg was very happy. This was the first time Dave would come out clear on this issue. But she was worried too. She didn’t understand Ujay’s stance on this. But then, they’re both adults.

 

“Why did she leave your home. She’s been with me for almost five months now,” Meg said.

 

“If she didn’t tell you, how did you expect me to tell you? Couples disagree to agree.

 

We disagreed, I’m here to agree with her.

Please can you call her for me?” He said.

 

“Did she know you’re coming? Did you call her?” She asked.

 

“I didn’t. I don’t want a preamble to what I want to discuss with her,” he told her.

 

Meg thought he made sense. She also wouldn’t want to go wake Ujay up this morning to tell her Dave was around to see her.

 

“You can go see her. She’s in the room to your left…the second door,” she said, pointing in the direction.

“Thanks,” Dave said and marched to the corridor.

Immediately, Meg’s heart almost stopped beating. What if Dave wasn’t responsible for her sister’s pregnancy? What if that was the reason she left home? What if…what if…

 


 

Ujay looked at the phone in her hand and smiled. Everything would be alright. She smiled as she remembered the conversation.

He was coming to take her out. He loved her, he said. He wouldn’t be joking, would he? This would be her best Valentine’s Day so far.

 

“Baby, I love you. Nothing gonna change my love for you,” he said.
She smiled and grabbed him…

 

Oh no! What was that noise about? She listened and it was persistent. She went to peep through the window…

*&***

Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!

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•Send your observations to: julietbumah@gmail.com

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