I sat in my car very tensed. What if she doesn’t show up? I was just kidding when I said I would sign the papers. I only followed the advice of Funke and it didn’t seem like it was working.
She adviced me to ignore her for a while. Etomi doesn’t like being ignored by the ones she loves. If it so happens, she would do all she can to be noticed or get attention.
I tried it this morning and she didn’t seem to care. I looked at my wristwatch, it was almost 5pm. She wasn’t coming.
I ignited my car and was about leaving when I saw a keke pull over. Etomi came out.
“It worked. It worked” I screamed in my car.
I parked my car somewhere out of sight do she did not notice I was watching her.
She went in and came out minutes later. She must think I waited, when I did not see her, I left. From the look on her face I can tell she’s not happy.
I came out of the car and walked In her direction. When she saw me, she was relieved. I did not show her I was happy she came. I wore a long face and walked pass her.
“you both came late. we can still do something though. Let’s proceed ” the counselor said after we were seated.
” okay? Next question. Mr Adeniyi, can you tell me the reason or reasons you beat your wife?”
“At first, I wanted her to divorce me and…
” You couldn’t come out with it Niyi? ” Etomi asked me
“I wanted you to initiate it and…
” No reason is enough for hurting me like that Adeniyi ”
” Please Etomi. It’ll get to your turn. Please continue. You used the word ‘at first’. Which mean another reason came up later? ” the counselor asked
“Can we hear it. ”
I swallowed hard. I did not know how to admit I fell in love with her and it was my insecurity that made me continue and that…
” We’re waiting ”
” I.. I.. Hmmmmmmm… 3 years into the marriage, I noticed that I.. I.. (Swallows) I was fall.. Falling in love with her. I became insecure and afraid she might go back to her old life. I wanted to keep her in control”
“What do you mean old life? ”
” She was a prostitute when we met. If…
“Prostitute? Adeniyi is that how you see me? ” Etomi asked with pain ladened eyes.
” I met you in the club. Remember? You were drunk and what you wore was…
“You jumped into conclusion. You never even bothered for once to talk to me about it. Aaaahhhhh! Adeniyi Bankole ”
She was crying now. My heart broke.
” Etomi. I’m sorry ” I said facing her holding her hands. She slapped my hands off
” I was not a prostitute Niyi. I was in terrible pains. I found out the man I was supposed to get married to was already married with children. He had sucked me dry of all my savings with the promise to pay back. He ran away with my money. I went home to meet my parents and get comfort only to be told they died in a ghastly motor accident. I lost everything and everyone I loved in one day. I felt like going mad. I wanted to die. ”
She was already choking on her tears. I pulled her in a tight hug. I couldn’t stop myself from crying.
” Stop crying Etomi. I’m sorry. I’m sorry Etomi. I judged you wrongly. I hurt you without… Oh! Etomi forgive me”
She tried to wriggle herself free from my arms but I wouldn’t let her. I wish I could take away all the pains she felt.
After she stopped crying, I released her.
“I’d like to leave now” she said
She did not wait for the counselor’s answer she just stood up and left. I ran after her.
“let me drive you home” I said to her.
She was too weak to say anything. She only nodded and followed me.
Through the drive, we did not speak to each other. She just sobbed. My heart bled.
          
I was too weak to open the door. Adeniyi noticed and quickly stepped out to open it for me. He carefully carried me in his arms.
We got to the door. He gently dropped me and opened it. He picked me up again and took me inside and to the bedroom. He carefully laid me on the bed.
“where are the kids? “I asked when I didn’t see them rush to welcome us.
” I took them to my mother ” he said
I nodded and closed my eyes to sleep.
” Do you want anything to eat? ”
” No. I just want to sleep ”
” okay let me fix your bath? ”
I was in no mood to argue with him. My strength was gone. Old wounds were reopened and the fact that Niyi thought me to be a prostitute completely sapped my strength.
He came back some minutes later and took me to the bathroom. He took off my clothes and also his. It was the first time he bathed me.
After he was done, he took his bath as well. He wanted to carry me back to the room. But I stopped him.
“I can walk”
“I know but I want to carry you. Let me”
I let him. I was loving the feeling of being taken care of like a baby.
He wore his boxer. He rushed to the children’s room and brought out one of my nightie. He gave it to me then quickly rushed back out.
10 minutes later he came back carrying a tray.
“I know you said you didn’t want to eat anything but just try please. I can’t allow you go to bed without eating. It’s just tea ”
I wanted to say no but he looked like he would cry if I refused. I ate the little I could and laid my head to sleep.
He kept the tray somewhere in the room and climbed the bed.
Without even asking, he pulled me into his arms and cuddled me, stroking my hair lightly.
So Niyi could be like this? He could care so much? Why wasn’t he like this from the beginning. I cried when I realized all he deprived me from enjoying
“I was not a prostitute Niyi. I’ve never cheated on you. Why did you hurt me so? I didn’t deserve it. I was faithful to you. I bore you two lovely boys. I want to hate you but I can’t ” I cried against his chest hitting him with my tiny fist.
” I am really sorry my love. I will make it up to you I promise. Just give me another chance I beg you”
The second month is almost over yet Etomi has not mentioned anything about withdrawing the divorce. Although she opened up a bit after our first meeting with the counselor.
She talks to me, responds to my texts, with a ‘thank you’ though. She accepts the flowers and gifts I send her with a smile but I wasn’t satisfied.
None of it was genuine. I could see she still harbors some sort of anger towards me. There are days she would withdraw to herself. Nothing I do could make her talk to me.
I want her to forgive me completely and be truly happy. I’m willing to do anything to get that but is one month enough to do that?
I tried getting up from the bed again but I couldn’t. I still felt dizzy. I didn’t feel so well. I’ve been feeling like this since morning.
It’s almost 2pm. Etomi was at work and I have to go get the boys.
I struggled to sit up and was about standing when the door opened. Etomi walked in carrying a tray.
“You’re home? ”
” as you can see”
“why didn’t you go to work. Won’t you be queried? ” I asked.
” I called and told them I won’t be at work today ”
” why? Are you sick? ”
” no but my husband is. Can I atleast drop the tray and sit before you continue with the interrogation sir”..
I did not want her knowing I was I’ll. How did she even know?
“I’m not sick. I’m fine” I said standing up.
“where are you going? ”
” I need to pick seth and Shawn from school ”
” you can barely stand. You’re sick! ”
” I’m fine” I said picking up the car keys
“I’m your wife Niyi. I know when you’re fine and when you’re not. For starters, your eyes are red and you have fever rash near your nose. I bet you’re feeling dizzy too”
“nothing you said is true” I lied.
“your hands are in your pocket”
” you do that when you’re lying. Look, I don’t want to argue with you. Give Me the keys, I’ll go get them myself. You need to eat and rest. ”
“i said I’m fine. I can get them”
“And I say you’re not. Stop being stubborn and hand the keys over to me” she said
“I’m fine and….
“Adeniyi Bankole, keys! Now! ” she yelled stretching her hand.
Pause! Did she just yell at me? I never knew she had a harsh side. The tone with which she spoke had so much pull I couldn’t even talk back.
” yes ma’am ” I said handing the keys to her.
” sit! ”
I quickly obeyed and sat down.
She placed the tray on a stool in front of me.
” Make sure you’re done with the food and take your bath before I return. ”
” I’m not hungr
I did not ask if you were hungry or not. You’ve not had anything since morning. Please eat something, please”
“but I don’t have appetite ”
” I’ll buy you cake. I know you love cake”
“not fair” I said like a baby.
She laughed at me.
“Big baby! I’ll be back ” she said and left.
On my way home, I went to the pharmacy and got drugs for Niyi.
” Mommy, who are those for? Shawn asked pointing To the drugs.
“they are for your father. He’s not feeling too well”
“I hope he gets well soon. He promised to take us out this weekend” seth added.
” Oops! ” they exclaimed covering their mouths with their palm.
” it was supposed to be a surprise ” seth said
I laughed hard.
” I’ll just act surprised ” I said.
We got home few minutes later. The boys ran straight to their dad’s room. I followed behind them. We found him sleeping.
” hey guys, your dad is asleep. Go change up and bath while I fix lunch. When he’s awake I’ll call you. Okay? I said.
“okay mom” they chorused.
They took their bath and had lunch then retired to their room for siesta.
I went to Niyi. He was still sleeping. I took a good look at him.
He still is handsome. I removed the blanket from his body. He had reduced a lot. I must have given him a tough time. But you can’t blame me. Can you?
I envied my boys. I wish I had a heart like theirs. That could forgive and forget so easily.
He hadn’t even shaved in a long time. All he had been focused on doing was getting me to forgive him and he neglected himself in the process.
I leaned in and pecked him on the forehead.
” Ifemi” I heard her call
I open ed my eyes slowly and saw her sitting besides me.
“How are you feeling now? She asked.
” Slightly better”
“I bought you some meds but you have to eat something first ”
” but I’ve eaten what you gave me earlier. ”
” That was for you to gain strength. Now you need the food for the drugs to work efficiently ”
” I don’t want to eat”
” Please my darling ” she said touching me softly on my arm.
Not the touch. See why I don’t like her touching me. My brain stops working and I just have to do whatever she wants.
She left and came back with a tray of food. I sat up.
She climbed the bed and sat beside me. She placed the tray on her laps and fed me. She made sure I finished the food and swallowed the drugs..
We sat down in silence
“can I ask you something? ” she broke the silence
” sure! ”
” why did you think beating me was the best way to put me under your control? ”
I wasn’t expecting that.
” I… Ummm. .. Well… I grew up watching my dad beat my mom. He said it was the right way to keep a woman under control and sometimes, he would transfer the beating to me and tell me that I was suffering this because of my mom. No one was there to tell me it was wrong and…
“are you alright? ” she asked
” yes. Why? ”
” You’re crying ”
” Am I? I..
I wanted to deny but I couldn’t. Instead the tears came pouring out as I imagined all my mom had to go through in the hands of my father.
I narrated the story my mom told me to Etomi. At the end of it I was drenched in tears.
“Etomi forgive me. I know what is right now. Let’s start over. I’ll do better. I’ll never hurt you again. Just don’t leave me please. ”
She drew me in for a hug.
I pulled away and looked deep into her eyes.
” I promise I’ll never hurt you again. I love you”
“I don’t love you anymore ” she said
” you’re lying ” I said. She can’t be serious. Does she want to kill me.
” how do you know I’m lying?
“You’re blinking too much. You do that when you lie”
“Really now? So you know me that well?
“Of course! You’re my wife ”
” so what else do you know about me?
“I know your favorite colour is yellow? ”
” Easy, most of my clothes are in yellow color. What else? ”
” You hate noodles. You don’t even know how to cook it. You chew on your buttom lip when nervous or scared. Your favorite food is spaghetti and moi moi. You have a bad habit of belching loudly after eating. You looove food, makes me wonder how you’re still this slim and sent when you eat so much….
As I continued talking, I saw tears falling from her eyes.
“I love you too ” she said interrupting me.
I kissed her and she responded equally. For almost 10 minutes we remained there.
We broke the kiss and for the first time in a long while, she smiled. A genuine smile.
I am so very happy. My mommy and daddy are now best friends . I see them laughing and playing a lot. Mommy no longer rejects daddy’s flowers. She now calls him ‘ifemi’ and not by his name.
We all sat in the parlour watching a movie together. Mommy was sitting on daddy’s leg. I have never seen them like that before.
I am happy that mommy no longer cries at night In our room. She does not even sleep in our room again. She now sleeps with daddy in his room.
I kept stealing glances at mommy and daddy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them like this before. So close, playing and laughing together. They did not even care that they were disturbing our movie.
It’s been a while I saw daddy hit mommy. I think he has really changed like he said and I am very happy about it. It hurts me to see mommy cry all the time.
“Boys, remember to put off the television when you’re done. Your dad and I are going to bed. Okay? ” mommy said
” Yes mommy ” seth and I choruses.
Thank God they’re gone. We can now watch our movie in peace.
I Couldn’t stop laughing. Niyi is really funny.
” So you saw me eating the food that day? ”
” Yea. I was in the kitchen. ”
” Why didn’t you say something or show yourself ”
” Because, I know you wouldn’t eat it anymore.
“wait! Wait! Did you also see me….
“OH yes I did. Bad manners ”
I laughed louder. I quickly covered my mouth and looked at the boys.
” do you think we’re disturbing them? ” I asked.
” I think so. Shawn has been stealing glances at us”
“Let’s go to the room then.”
“Boys, remember to put off the television when you’re done. Your dad and I are going to bed. Okay? ” I said.
We half ran to the room, took our baths and went to bed
I was uncomfortable on the bed. No not uncomfortable. I was bothered.
Tomorrow is the last day of the three months waiting period and Etomi was yet to say anything about it. I don’t know if she had changed her mind or not.
I tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I turned left, right and center.
“My love, are you okay? What’s bothering you. ” she asked.
” Nothing. I’m fine ”
” You’ve been turning on the bed. Something is bothering you. What is it? ”
” I’m fine”
“Adeniyi! “she half yelled.
” Okay, okay. Tomorrow is the last day of the waiting period ”
” so? ”
” You’ve not said anything about the divorce ”
” I’m still pushing through with it. I tried Niyi but I just cannot forgive you” she said.
I’m very sure I peed on myself.
“Aahhhhh! Etomi No! ” I screamed sitting up.
” Don’t do this to me. Tell me what you want and I’ll do it and….
She’s laughing. She’s laughing at me. Why would she be laughing? Unless…
“How I wish I snapped you. You need to see the look on your face” she said still laughing.
“That wasn’t funny ”
” Yes it was. You looked like you would die”
“Of course I’d have died” I said folding my arms like a baby.
“Awwwnnn. I’m not leaving Niyi. I’ve forgiven you”
I know I have a terrible voice but I can’t help but sing.
“Oluwa etobi, etobi ooh, etobi….
She covered her ears.
“Your voice is horrible ”
” I know ” I said laughing
I drew her close to me and place a kiss on her forehead.
” I’m sorry for everything my heart. I promise to make up for the years I hurt you. I love you. ”
“Enough of the apologies. Make love to me” she said climbing on me.
“and it’s a.. It’s a.. It’s a goal! ” I exclaimed as Shawn scored another goal against Niyi.
“Come on mahn, go easy on your dad” Niyi said.
“Like you would go easy on us. You lost dad. Pay up! ” seth said
” Mine! Do you see what your sons are doing to me? ” he asked
“you made the bet, pay up” I said laughing.
” you’re talking like it’s easy. Let me see you play ball with that big belly of yours ” he said.
” I’m sure I can win you with my big tummy ”
” Cough it up dad”
He grudging gave them the #5000 and came to sit beside me.
“my beautiful wife ” he said kissing me on the cheek.
” my handsome husband ”
Adeniyi has been the best husband in the last three years.
I’m happy I forgave him. I don’t regret it.
I had given birth to a girl two years ago and another is on the way.
Who would have thought a marriage that started out badly would turn out to be so amazing.