Kiss Me One More Night – Episode 3
© Rosemary Okafor
What was it that made her walk away that night? Guilt? shame? Or pity, not for herself but for him. She was at the verge of getting promoted for the second time that year while she was preparing for her wedding to Ken, she remember what her MD told her the day she gave him her invitation card.
“You have to work extra hard for promotions and increase, now that you are getting married, you know marriage has a way of slowing women down” her MD had said to her
She had hated how Mary remained as an executive Marketer, three years after her Marriage to her husband, how she kept fronting her kids and marital status as an excuse for her incompetence, how she took more day offs, and would report to work late with the excuses of sick children. She had also hated the fact that Mary’s husband seemed to control her life, Mary would be the first to leave the office after work, bringing in her husband in every conversation, including official ones. She had watched Mary lose her passion and career mindedness as she settled to family life and motherhood, Grace had vowed not to end up like Mary, nor her mother, who had the chance of becoming the Local government Chairman in 1998. Grace was ten years then, she did not understand quite well what was going on, but she saw her parents argued a lot, saw her father screamed at her mother each time she came home late from those party meetings.
“How could you abandon these kids for some useless politics? Have you forgotten you are a woman? Your primary assignment lies with these children” her father would said to her Mum
“I told Nwamaka to come look after them” her mother would try to defend herself
Nwamaka was her father’s sister who came once in a while to stay with them, she was like a second mother to her and her brother.
“What would Nwamaka do, would Nwamaka breastfeed Ekenedilichukwu your eight month old son?”
Her parents kept having those arguments until her mother learnt to speak back to her father, with the same anger and tone. Her father could not take it anymore so he summoned her mother’s kinsmen, Grace later learnt that her mother was giving the option of abandoning her political career to put her home in other, or forget the marriage entirely.
Her mother choose to stay with them, but was never happy, she ceased every moment alone with them to lament about how unfair she was judged, how she would have been better off as a single woman, how threatened her father was with her political success, and how she hope Grace her daughter would grow into a formidable woman, and achieve the feats she was denied of.
When she finally said yes to Ken, Her mother was skeptical about her getting married to a business Igbo Man, who would not understand anything about a woman building a career, but she assured her mother that Ken was not just educated but also the Son of a woman who was once Vice Chancellor of a University.
“Wasn’t your Father a PHD holder, yet he killed my political dreams?” her mother argued
But she felt Ken understood her love for her job. A month to their wedding she raised the issue of waiting for few years before having babies and Ken vehemently objected to it.
“Children are one of the spices of Marriage, why should we delay having them” he say.
She knew she was in trouble, she couldn’t start having Children immediately, she wanted to secure her seat as the Head of Advertising and Promotions first and prove she was worthy of the seat before she would settle down into motherhood, Ken did not want to listen to her reasons nor did he want to compromise his stand, so she turned elsewhere for advice.
The Driver tooted the horn as he navigated his way out of the gridlock that has become part of motorists who uses Ipebi Road, into Toyin Street.
The house came into view, what used to be her home, she could remember the pride in Ken’s eyes, the day he brought her to that house for the first time, he wanted to surprise her on her birthday and it was surely one of the best days of their Married lives, he had smiled when she asked how he managed to hide the building from her, and for why there are many rooms in the house since it was only the two of them, he said:
“ our daughter will have that room closed to ours, that is why I painted it pink, and the remaining four rooms will be for our three sons and of course the Masters is for us!” he was grinning all over
As the cab pulled over in front of the gate, she looked at the house again, the memory of what happened between Ken and herself the last time she came to the house came so fresh to her, the strong sexual attraction and her longing for him, she doubted her comportment and self control with Ken.
“I am here already, it’s just a harmless date” she said under her breath
“Where you talking to me Ma’am?” the cab driver called back
“Oh no… here is your money, I will call you when am ready to go” she dismissed the cab Driver
Ken felt like beating himself after he dropped the phone, he couldn’t wait for Edu to leave before he picked the phone and made a total fool of himself, to think that he lost words to say immediately he heard her voice from the other end of the Phone.
“I should have known she was not coming” he said to himself
Like always, she have proven to him that she has a Mind of her own and cannot be talked into making compromises that do not bring profits to her
“mtcheeewww” he hissed and walked towards the Kitchen
Edu would not forgive him for denying him the pleasure of eating the ‘Ofe-Akwu’ before he left, he was able to convince Edu to eat the remaining Egusi soup in the freezer, telling him that the ‘Ofe-Akwu’ was for him kinsmen who would be coming later for a meeting, whether he believed the lie, Ken could not tell.
He opened the Pot of Rice, he had lost his appetite, picked a plate to serve himself, the door bell rang, he ignored it at first, picked the serving spoon, but the persisting Door bell made him drop the plate and made for the door.
He was shocked to see her standing like an Angel at the door, both of them said nothing to each other for some minutes, he blinked severally to make sure she was actually standing there and not his imagination:
“Are you going to keep me standing here?” she asked bemused
Mrs Onwuka has been searching channels of her television without much interest until she settled for Discovery station, her daughter’s favorite cable station, yet her thoughts kept wondering like a Man on a quest for discovery from the past.
She kept having the feeling of guilt, the silent accusation, the invincible but steady eyes watching her with scorn.
“She would have been better off without your counsel” the words whispered loudly to her
She switched off the Television and walked towards the Dinning. Thirteen years after her husband perished with the Sosoliso Plan crash, on his way back from Abuja, his company’s annual meeting, leaving her and the children devastated. Contrary to what his family thought, she was broken, she did not realize how much he had meant to her and the children until the news of the crash, they had their arguments and had said awful things to each other, she thought she hated him for preventing her go fully into politics, and she ended up as a school principal, she had called him ‘Anti-feminist’ and an ‘Enemy of her progress’ severally, yet when she heard about the crash, hot tears blinded her, she tried his numbers all with no answer. What were the last words he said before he left to Abuja?
“Martha, you have been angry with me for five years, am tired, I know you are too, please tell me what to do to make you love me again” he had looked into her eyes, they were sitting at the dinning, she held his gaze for a while, she knew she was tired of hating him, yet she wanted him feel miserable a little more,
“The deed has been done Nchekwube, there is nothing you can do to change it” she didn’t mean that, she was only playing the game, in fact she had planned to surprise him on his birthday that year, but she wanted to enjoy the glory of breaking him and his useless ego.
“Am travelling tomorrow” he said later
“will stay only for two day and will be back on Saturday, I wish we could plan on how to spend this Christmas as a family this time, but it’s up to you” he moved his chair backward and left for the room.
But he didn’t come back to her, they didn’t plan the Christmas like he had wanted, rather he mocked her with his death, punishing her without words, laughed at her in his grave. She cried like her life was ended also
“How can one reconcile with the dead? How can one plead for mercy from him whom has decided to take a forever journey? Why did he not reject death? Why did he leave her to the scorning teeth of his kinsmen?”
The grandpas’ clock on the wall struck three-thirty, she had to start getting ready for the Catholic Women Organization meeting, and she also needed to stop at the market to buy meat against Sunday. She invited her daughter Grace over for launch tomorrow, she would speak to her about her Marriage, or what is left of it.
“Why did you do it?”
Ken finally asked the question that has been in his heart like a stone, the confusion that hung on his mind like a heavy laden on the neck of a bull.
They finished eating few minutes ago and Grace had offered to do the dishes.
“Dinner was great” she had told him with excitement.
“I am glad you finally made it, I thought you wouldn’t come” he had replied
It had been long they eat together like this, and it seems like ages since he saw her cute face lights up with excitement after a meal. But he had another thing he would want to settle with her.
He stood by the door watching her, her shoulder suddenly went stiff, she did not turn to look at him, neither did she say a word, she was tensed, he knew this because she was scrubbing the plates harder than usual.
“Why did you prevent us from having at least a child?” he asked again, this time louder
Grace heard him before, she never wanted to answer this question, not the first night he asked her, the night he discovered she had been on IUCD in other to prevent herself from getting pregnant. Her monthly flow had gone from regular to very heavy after the process, she tried calling her doctor but he wasn’t answering, she decided to send him a message:
‘My flow has become very heavy after this implant, I seem to be using two always sanitary pads every month instead of one, is it normal?’ The text read
She had forgotten to delete the message like she deleted her conversations with Madam Kemi, who gave her the suggestion in the first place, and her other conversations with the doctor on appointments for the deed.
She heard her phone beeped, a message alert from her Doctor it was, a responds to her previous text message to him, she was in the Bathroom when it came, but before she made her way to the table to get her phone, Ken, her husband was already with the phone, looking at it like someone who saw a ghost, his face was drained of blood, and was as gray as ashes, perspirations was on his forehead and was dripping down like that of a man sentenced to prison with heard labor.
“Grace!” he whispered in horror and disbelief
“All these years, we had prayed together,
asking God for a Baby!” he continued
She stood there, with her blue towel wrapped loosely around her, her legs became so heavy, her slippers felt like an army boot filled with sand, she open her mouth with no words, she saw tears streamed down his face, she blinked several times wishing it was all a dream, that she didn’t take that one decision that was bringing this pain to her Man.
He stood up, grabbed his shirt, struggled to put on his shoes, took one look at her again and said:
“I need to get away from you right now”
He came back to an empty house, she packed few things and left him a simple Note
‘Am sorry for being so foolish, I don’t deserve you’
That was months ago, the guilt of what she did still hang around her, and he had chosen to bring up the issue after a perfect dinner.
“I…I don’t know” she finally answered, still backing him
“I don’t know Ken” she said louder, facing him now.
How can she tell him that she was desperate to be double promoted that she sacrificed those years to secure the promotion? That she was afraid that getting pregnant would slow her down, and that She had to seek advice from Madam Kemi, her group leader in church, who told her to go for family planning without her husband knowing?
“What he doesn’t know will not hurt him”
Madam Kemi had replied when she was scared of Ken knowing.
“You can’t have it all Grace, It’s not bad to delay child bearing for few years” Madam Kemi had encouraged her when she wanted to say no to the suggestion.
She had watched her husband pray for a set a twin every morning during their Devotions;
“Give us double for our waiting oh Lord” he always prayed
Ken moved towards her, held her by her arms, shook her angrily
“I deserve an explanation Grace, you couldn’t give me any answer then, you are not giving any answer now, I need to know why Grace!” he shouted
“I don’t know Ken! I was being foolish and selfish, I couldn’t face myself nor you”
“I called you,Grace but you did not pick my calls, I sent messages you did not reply, you sent your lawyer to me a month later with a flimsy message, what was that supposed to explain?” ken continued
“I did what was best for us at the moment Ken” Grace said
“You did what was best for you Grace!” Ken interrupted
“You need a woman that will be there for you, give you all the children and will be ready to compromise, I am not that woman” Grace said amidst tears
Ken was silent for a while, he battled within himself not to raise his voice on her again
“I did not pick your calls because I did not know what to say to you, I was ashamed of myself, I was due for another promotion and the position was too tasking that getting pregnant at the moment would have placed me at the loosing ends, I realize how stupid I was later, I don’t deserve to be married, not to a Man like you” Grace continued.
“ Did you get the promotion?” he finally asked
Grace looked at him sharply, why he would ask her this now baffled her
“Did you?” he asked again
“yes” she answered
“at least you got what you wanted, congratulations” he sighted and walked out of the kitchen, leaving her gazing at his shoulders.
“Ashawooooo!!! Oloriburuku Radarada, Oloshi!!!
Imelda was amused “typical quarrel between women” she said
“Yes o Auntie, this place na one day one drama” the Malam selling suya to her replied
“She dey pretend like she no dey hear me!” the voice continued, this time closer to her now
“Auntie, e bi like say na you this woman they talk to o” the Mallam said to Imelda
“Agba iya! Na you I dey talk to” the woman who owned the voice roughly pushed Imelda
A glance at this woman told Imelda that this woman, who ever she is, was ready to fight her
“Madam what did I do to you now?” Imelda asked in confusion and fear
“Ah! You dey ask me kwesior (question) see this husband snatcher! O” the woman was flinging her stretched hands in the air, beckoning on everyone who cares to gather round
“Ewo! You don’t know me o! you just dey Bleep my husband, they chop im money dey shine!, I go kill you o, Wo` emi yoo pa o” she was clapping with every word
“Jesus! I don’t know this woman o, Madam you are embarrassing …” Imelda was about completing her words
“Thunder fire that your mouth Idiot, Oponu, Ole! Thieffffuuuu! You no go know me again abi, the time way you dey open you Toto (v*****) for my husband your Oga you no know say him get wife?” the woman continued amidst cheers and boos of the crowd that gathered to view the drama.
She held Imelda by her top, tore her top and held firmly at her bra to tear it off too, but was stopped by some spectators.
“Iwo’ (you) I will deal with you for this Lagos” the woman said as people struggled her hands off Imelda’s bra.
The excitement was so tensed, Imelda held her half torn bra, covering her breasts with her left hand and was desperately looking for an escape route, some hoodlums took advantage of the situation to get free fleshly satisfaction as they were taking turns to touc h the breasts that were also fighting to be free from covering, and her buttocks as well, it was when she settled in a car belonging to a passer-by that she noticed her bag has been stolen.
To be continued
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