Read Episode 1 SAFE HAVEN: Episode 1
Read Episode 2 SAFE HAVEN: Episode 2
Thunder rolled violently across the skies and the windows rattled weakly in response beside where they sat. She peered through the translucent window of the restaurant half hoping the rain had abated. She hated the rain and the mood that came with it. Instead of leaning back into her seat, she took a bite of the meat pie in her hand, wincing a little at its sharp taste in her mouth. Seyi sat across the table speaking to a colleague over the phone for over what seemed to be hours on end.
“Sorry dear” he apologized courteously after ending the call taking a bit of the sausage roll from his plate.
“I should be apologizing, dragging you out on a Saturday” she leaned back on the cane chair.
He made a gesture “No my dear, not at all. I haven’t seen you in a while so you did well; you know how work is and all.”
“I can imagine”, Priscilla replied, smiling brilliantly. “Is it your boss again?”
“Not this time thank God”, he rolled his eyeballs “It’s the IT guy calling to say there’s an issue with the ATM. Honestly I’m tired of the bank though. The stress is so much and they can’t even appreciate the effort you must put into work”
She smiled soothingly “You’ll live. How are you anyway?”
“I should be asking you that” Seyi bent a little bit with his eyes so full of concern for her.
“Nothing spectacular”, she replied looking down at the table.
He grunted, sometimes she felt him knowing her this much could be annoying, “How are things with him?”
“Not so great at the moment”
“When is it ever?” he asked rhetorically “What’s the matter?”
“I think he’s seeing someone else Seyi” she blurted out bending her head in shame he swore under his breath.
“Are you sure?”
“He brought her to his parent’s anniversary party”
“The bastard!” Seyi retorted loudly “How bad is it?”
“As far as marriage” her eyes were already alert to spill out tears but pride did not let them fall.
“He’s marrying her?”
She shrugged carelessly “There’s a possibility”.
He held her hand delicately as though she was a flower “Why don’t you put yourself out of this misery and end it?” he sounded so wounded and desperate “I mean look at you…you…you look unhappy and I daresay shriveled”.
“Shriveled?!” She scoffed and looked away at the people going out of the restaurant “Unhappy yes but shriveled? That’s hardly the word”
Seyi eyed her with one of his famous disapproving looks and let out a sigh of resignation “I just hate to see you look miserable, you looked ten times better a few years back, Priscilla.”
His tone was sarcastic and he pinned her with his gaze. “You sit all day playing model house wife with your husband, looking at you over his shoulders and your degree lying in the dust somewhere”
That hit a raw nerve but she made no show of it, her mind made a flash of her bachelor’s degree lying amongst boxes of shoes in the bedroom.
“What you need” Seyi continued “Is to get a life. It would do you a lot of good, prep you up”
“Mum wants me to be a model housewife”, Priscilla replied distantly “She says being a career woman isn’t what her daughters were born to be.”
“Well Imabong doesn’t seem to agree with that.”
Priscilla grimaced at the mention of her younger sister’s name, They hadn’t spoken in such a long time and she seemed to have cut her and the rest of what was left of their nuclear family away ever since Priscilla had consented to the marriage.
“Stop living according to your mother’s orders Priscilla. Take a look at Imabong for instance; she seems to be doing well in Port Harcourt away from your mother”
“Ima has always been strong willed,” she stated defensively knowing what he said was true “and independent too.”
He did not reply but merely stuffed what was left of the snack into his mouth as if to stop himself from saying anything.
“If I pull out of this whole thing, we both know what would happen”, a tear slid from the corner of her eye as she stared weakly at his brown eyes “I’ll end up losing everything, my mother will never forgive me and the little part of what’s left of my father’s company, which we are barely in control of will be taken from us.”
“But you told me that the shares will still be yours and can exist independently in the advent of a divorce.”
He had a wonderful memory.
“But I failed to mention if I had a child…and it’s the child‘s own not mine. They threw me to the dogs, Seyi”, she finished scornfully.
He let out a breath with the new revelation
“So you see,” she continued resentfully “I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea. I would rather stay with him than without and risk living a life of penury and having the scorn of an over-ambitious mother to deal with.” Her breath was shaky and he reached out to her hand but she drew away, not seeking any of his pity.
“Sometimes, money isn’t everything”, he said.
“Tell that to my mother!” she sounded defeated in her ears.
“I just wish you could see things from my end”.
“It’s okay” She gave him a reassuring smile and as she got up, he got up too “I’m happy just being out of the house with a friend, I needed it.”
“I’m glad to be of service” Seyi replied, smiling. There was still the pitiful glint in his brown eyes. “Perhaps we should go outside now”. She wanted to get out of the place; it suddenly seemed so cold and unwelcoming.
Priscilla stared the pot of boiling soup on the cooker and finally turned off the gas. With a happy smile of victory, she leaned on the refrigerator for a minute surveying all her work done on the sunny Saturday morning.
Two weeks had passed since that awkward argument. Thankfully, he was mature enough to give her gruff answers at least whenever she had an urgent question, but then they never spoke unless it was urgent. It made no difference to her whether he was angry or not, all she wanted was to be happy. It still did not rule out the fact that she detested Saturday mornings because he was around and when he was around, there was tension.
The television blasted off in the sitting room. Super sports. It was obviously a match with his favorite team, Manchester United or else Tunde would not have bothered with the television. She peeped into the sitting room form the kitchen watching him delve absent-mindedly into the bowl of biscuits on his lap, which he had fetched from the kitchen earlier. Warmth spread in her heart as she watched him eat. It was funny because he never even smiled at her and sometimes, she found herself craving for his approval.
The thought jerked her back to reality.
Confused, she walked noiselessly into the sunlit sitting room to the corridor entering their bedroom. She leaned behind the shut door until her heart adjusted to its normal rhythm; it was lovely to be alone! Priscilla walked across the moderate sized room and parted the drapes, allowing the light flood into the room; the room seemed to come alive at once. Stripping off her clothes, she went into the bathroom and got into the bathtub. She gloried in the feel of the water upon her soft skin as it trickled deliciously from the shower. The bath was a blessing, making her feel relaxed. She would happily be locked up in here now, savoring her few minutes of freedom and solitude; but hearing the sound of the bedroom door creaking open, automatically, Priscilla stood still for a moment with only the sound of water running along her body. Her husband’s voice was audible as he came into the room and she heard him laugh…she had never heard him laugh, never thought he could laugh. He sounded so free and happy.
“Karen.” he said. Her heart sunk at the mention of that woman’s name. The content feeling was now replaced by an uneasy one “Is that so?” he said again.
Standing still, the bathroom, once her place of sanctuary, suddenly became cold and uninviting.
“Alright then” Tunde said “Not the usual place? Okay. See you in a bit”.
He was definitely having an affair. The answer seemed clearer than she cared to admit. Suddenly, a tear slid down the corner of her eye but she did not know why. She found herself sobbing quietly, her fortress of freedom and solitude crumbled around her.
There was a rapid knock on the door.
“Yes” her voice sounded croaked “Yes” Priscilla repeated clearly this time.
“I’m going out”, Tunde called from outside
“Yes. What is it?”
“I’m off now”
Silence, a pause “Okay”
“I’ll be back late; don’t wait up for me though”
She heard his footsteps around the room until the door slammed but she didn’t move until this strange feeling washed over her. Then, she realized the tap was still on and the water splashing over her felt like tiny pricks of needles. Priscilla turned off the tap, hands shaking. Her marriage was nearly at its breaking point, she thought, as she wrapped her towel around her petite figure. It was time to pay mother a visit.
Sola stared at her with her arms folded across her breasts and Priscilla stared back into thin air. As beautiful as they said she was, it was clear she had not taken after her mother in any way, Priscilla was as foolhardy and softhearted as like her father, she said. Left to her, she would have married Tunde if not for her age. She heard her swear under her breath and the way she looked at Priscilla who could tell what she was thinking and it was clearly best she did not say it loudly.
“Are you a fool or what Priscilla?”
That was a rhetorical question but she raised head up, half expecting she would say that.
“This girl! What have you been learning? If your husband cheats, so what? Is it the first case you’ve heard?”
Rejection slammed at her “Mum!” she retorted hotly staring at her mother’s bleach burnt face and then, she controlled her voice. “Mum, are you in support of it?”
“Ah! What can I do? It’s not my fault you can’t keep your husband or am I to sleep with him for you?!” she asked as she bored into her daughter’s misty eyes “Don’t you know what to do with a man?”
“He shouldn’t” Priscilla insisted, “He shouldn’t! I’m faithful even with the way the marriage has been falling apart, I didn’t ask for the marriage, mind you!”
“You did it for your father, girl,” her mother snapped, “Why are you so ungrateful? Your father did all he could to keep you happy. With a marriage to a man like your husband, what else are you ungrateful for?”
“You convinced him to marry me off, mother”
“Watch your tongue” she sneered nastily at Priscilla and let out an exasperated sigh “So, what do you want to do?”
“I want a divorce”
Sola’s lips thinned, “Well my dear you cannot have it.”
“We can work something out” she continued desperately, “I can get a job, let’s start afresh. Let’s call Ima…”
“Ehen, Ehen, Ehen…”
Sola looked at her full of conceit and her eyes darkened in anger. “Are you paying attention to me or has that Seyi boy been filling your head with all this nonsense? Do you want to be left with nothing?” her mother clapped her hands. “Look my dear I cannot go back to before. Be wise! You won’t have me around forever, all this is for you so you won’t regret in future.”
Priscilla wanted to scream at her, tell her she wouldn’t care if she regretted this in future. She just wanted to live her own life with a man that she loved and who loved her back but in the end, however selfish she was, the woman before her was still her mother and she was all Priscilla had. As though reading her thoughts, Sola said, “You have to come to the fact that I’m all you have left in this world. Your sister does not care if we are dead or alive anymore. She made that pretty clear when she left years ago or has she called you since then?”
“No”, Priscilla replied in a small tight voice.
“Even that boy, what’s his name? Seyi” she sat up in her chair “I’m the only one with you till the end”, her smile was so crooked it was almost fake. “I suggest you get pregnant as fast as possible. At least if you make that silly decision to get a divorce, we can fall back on the child’s inheritance.”
Priscilla cringed at her mother’s cold harsh words.
“Yes my dear” Sola looked her daughter straight in the eyes “Tunde isn’t the type to abandon his child”
“So you are suggesting I trap him with a child?”
“Not exactly trapping, after all you are married to the man,” she replied impatiently
“That’s a horrid thing to do.”
“Do you have any better suggestions in mind?”
She shook her head sideways slowly. Her mother rapped on and on for what seemed to be hours, while Priscilla’s head reeled inside and she felt unwell. There was so much to do that she could not tell which was better or worse; a divorce or the sham of a marriage. All that was certain was that she felt trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Continue to Episode 4 of Safe Haven CLICK HERE
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