A tear spilt out of Nike’s eye as the future seemed bleak, the present messy and the past untidy. The familiar ache in her heart resumed for Segun as she gripped the mug of cold Bournvita tighter in her hand. The sacred scenario of him and his wife, Tola happy together replayed for the hundredth time in her head. He had abandoned her leaving her cold and hungry for him when he heard of her condition. There was no way she would sit back and do nothing if he didn’t reply the text she sent him, she would go to his office. Even if it meant stooping as low as a bereaved mistress.
She sat gingering on the king size bed and marvelled at the love scene that took place on the bed some time ago. In the bid to get to work early when he was already late, he forgot his phone. Tola smiled to herself, it was romantic she could be the source of his lateness to work.
How perfect life was going, Yinka had no problems at school, and she and Segun were working out their differences thanks to Uncle Lai. She took his phone as a message came in; scrolling down to the messages she clicked on the view button. It was from Nike.
Nike? She heard that name from somewhere; yes! Yinka’s previous nanny. Why would she be sending a message to him if not her? She clicked on view. It reads thus;
“It’s been so long since we spoke after I broke the news to you, I know I said some bad things and now I’m not sure of the things you told me. I need you to sort this out, we can talk this through; meet me at home as soon as you get this, I’m on maternity leave. Please, love you. Forever.”
Tola stared and stared at the text message, its intent sank into her. Nike and Segun… something was happening between them something more than a mere relationship, they were having an affair. Nike, Segun…. The names kept ringing loudly in her ears.
A tear spilt from the corner of her eyes as her once happy expression changed to pain and vengeful anger. Screaming in pain Tola threw the offending phone smashing it on the wall. Quick footsteps climbed the stairs towards her room as she wailed in pain at the betrayal. Nike was sleeping with her husband; they had played her for a fool.
Ahmadu entered at the sound of her frightful wail amidst the tears “Madam,” he rushed towards her in surprise.
“Stay away from me!” Tola screamed at the top of her voice in pain sitting on the rugged floor. He tried once more to calm her down and she hit him hard on the cheek “Stay away from me! I don t want anyone here or else you are fired!”
Ahmadu left in a state of confusion as she willed herself to comfort only this time silent tears of a bruised ego burned her cheeks. She would show them, would pay them! She would teach them both the lessons of their lives!
He drove in silence, the radio was off, and it gave him a headache, especially with a thousand worries on his mind. Segun made a turn into the quiet estate where he lived. His heart ached for Nike, it ached so much that he thought his chest was torn apart. Love could play wicked games on its victims when they clumsily fell into his pit. There was a new issue now, she was pregnant, 6 months pregnant and he was very happy only she refused to see that he was willing to leave his wife for her just like they always dreamed.
Good, God! What mess did he put an innocent child in? He horned at the gates of his house and almost instantly the security guard opened the gates and he drove in.
Segun parked and locked his car; he entered the house through the kitchen only to find Ahmadu sitting morosely on the kitchen stool with no food on the fire, he got up immediately when he saw him, “Welcome sir”
Segun nodded derisively “Where is everyone?”
“Yinka is in her room”
“What of my wife?” he asked as the boy collected his briefcase.
“She’s in the room, sir”
“How come there is no food?”
Ahmadu hesitated and looked at the floor “Madam has not told me to cook anything since morning”
“Since morning?” Segun asked, surprised “Why?”
“In the afternoon she screamed from the room. She said nobody should enter the house”
“Tola?” Segun asked himself surprised “Okay, thank you… has Yinka eaten?”
He nodded and collected his briefcase, Segun walked slowly upstairs into the room, hesitating, he knocked the oak door.
“Ahmadu I told you I don’t want any disturbance!” a demanding voice shouted from the inside.
“Segun entered the dark room and turned on the lights to find different pills and an almost empty bottle of dry martini on the bed. Tola’s head was downcast, she didn’t move.
“Tola what’s wrong?” he walked hurriedly to the side of the bed “oh my goodness look at all the pills”
“Welcome Segun” she replied in almost a murmur, she didn’t look at him.
“Tola, tell me what’s wrong”
“How is Nike?” she asked and looked directly into his eyes, she didn’t fail to see the shock in his eyes.
Segun stared at her. The game was up. Didn’t matter how she found out at this point.
Tola laughed full of evil zeal. “Don’t you want to see your phone?” she asked again “Don’t you want to see it? Look at the floor”. Segun’s eyes were drawn to the floor and he stared at it shocked. She must have seen his messages.
“What has gotten into you woman?” he asked in anger, trying to cover up his guilt. “Do you know how many contacts I’ve lost?”
“Oh, like Nike’s number?” Tola completed finally standing up to meet him in all her rage “When were you going to tell me?”
“Tell you what? You must be drunk!”He moved away.
“Stop lying to me! Her voice shook with tears “Do you think I don’t know about your secret affair? Oh, I don’t know who you are anymore, you have no clue ‘dear’ what you’ve put me through!” she shouted with heavy sarcasm “Look at the time,” she pointed at the wall clock “It’s past 10, don’t you think you should call her?”
Segun sighed, inside him, he was reeling and on the outside, he maintained a defiant face staring into horizontal space. He felt sick, sick of himself and everything “Calm down Tola, Yinka is asleep”
“Ah Yinka” Tola dragged with a gesture “You are a poor excuse for a father and a husband. I know about your baby on the way. Congratulations!”Tola said, clapping,” I hope it’s a boy!”
He stomached it in silence and he put a hand on her shoulder. Tola gave him a stinging slap that made him move back a little “Don’t you” she shimmered, fresh tears spilling out of her bulging eyes” don’t you use your filthy hands on me, ever again. In fact…” She walked to their cupboard flinging his clothes out jerkily. Segun realised her intention, she was throwing him out!
“Please Tola, we can talk in a civilised manner,” she paid him no need” Throwing his clothes out “Please Tola,” Segun went on his knees” You don’t understand”.
Tola stopped and turned around to face him “I don’t understand “a bitter laugh escaped from her lips “What is it I don’t understand? You are sleeping with a nurse, a nurse who is carrying your child?” Tola shouted the question all the cords standing out of her neck, her face washed with tears.
“We were…” he hesitated; he knew it was time, to tell the truth.”Come on, tell me what happened. Tola continued to mock “Did you love her or not…”
Segun couldn’t bear it anymore. She is my ex-wife” there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute.
“Why didn’t you tell me this?” pain echoed her emotions, making him look up at her, sober.
“Because I didn’t know it would come to this,” he nearly wailed in frustration and he gathered himself with pride” it’s a long story Tola”
“Oh my God!” Tola said to herself, at last, putting a hand over her mouth” Over feminine curiosity, tell me the story and leave my house tomorrow” She paused” before I wake up”…
“So what are we going to do?”Nike asked quietly as they lay on her bed, a bed sheet clumsily covering them.
“I don’t know” Segun answered back equally quiet and sighed.
“Well, you have to decide soon for all our benefit”
He shifted and put a hand on her bulging stomach.”This child needs a father”
“And Yinka needs you” Nike replied with watery eyes,” I’m scared Segun. He sat up, turning her face to his “Don’t be,” “You shouldn’t be here Segun. We should never have started this”
He managed a choked laugh despite the raw truth of situation” If you love me, Nike, you’d support me”
She got up pulling on a long robe jerkily” I need to think Segun; this is a sin against God and man. I love you, but I never dreamt of reuniting with you this way.”
His voice was so harsh, “what are you saying?”
“You should go back to your wife,” she looked away, feeling jealousy and loss tear her apart “I’ll have this baby alone,” she closed her eyes temporarily and opened them to see Segun still on the bed.
“I have nowhere else to go, Nike, I love you more than anyone else and I can sacrifice every fibre of my being for you. I love you so please don’t tell me to leave again”
Nike sighed sadly and remembered a play she once watched “We are acting so much like fools among the angels”
“I’ve never known a love or lust to last this long” Funke said loudly to herself “This is madness”.
Nike looked away at her mother’s words.
“This man is married Nike, what you were thinking?” she asked, “ I thought you are mature enough to know that besides I didn’t bring you up to be having affairs all over Lagos and now you are pregnant!” her mother said distantly.
“Mama, she needs you now more than ever m please forgive her” Carol pleading on her behalf. “I’m just recovering from Nike’s misconduct myself but as her friend, I can’t push her away. It would be very wrong”
“Mum, I’m so sorry” Nike spoke pleadingly. “I really need you now; I can’t do things without your advice, I…”
“Well, you didn’t pay my advice any attention before getting into bed with a man that cheated on you when you were married and now he has used you to cheat on his wife. What sort of an irresponsible man is that?” Funke shook her head sideways in disappointment “I’m still angry with you, but you are my daughter, I have no choice do I?” Carol nodded and Funke continued “After all, it’s an innocent child in your belly “It’s not right for you to have this child alone “the all grim face broke into a smile “All is well” her mother concluded warmly.
Finally, they got up and said goodbye to her mother leaving. They both walked down to the car park and got into Carol’s car, but she didn’t start the ignition, after a while of silence Carol asked: “Are you still with him?”
“Yes,” that was all she could say. She was emotional, mentally and physically drained.
“What of his wife Tola?”
Nike shrugged, looking out of the window “She’s alive”
“I hope you both understand what it means to have that child under this circumstance” she paused “and I hope you know you can’t be his mistress forever, things don’t work that way in this world, you’ll never be happy knowing you broke another person’s happiness for your own… if you have a conscience”
Nike said nothing, preferring a little silence on her sighed “Can you drop me off at the church”
“What for?” Carol looked at her surprised.
“Please I need some time alone before Segun gets back from his office,” she smiled a little at her best friend “I’ll go to the Catholic Church along the road to my estate”
“Okay,” she started the ignition and drove out to the road. Silence reigned in the car, each woman in their own thoughts. In less than an hour, they got in front of the church and Carol parked, then turned to look at her. “Okay, ” she watched her get down from the car, “should I wait?”
“No thanks” Nike replied, trying not to sound too tired as she peered at Carol through the window
“You sure?” Carol asked, unsure of the idea and Nike nodded “alright, I guess I’ll see you later”
Nike smiled “Thanks”
Carol said nothing “Think of what I told you,” she smiled a little “I love you a lot Nike and I’m worried that something might happen to you and you know I’ll be travelling in a week’s time, I need you to be strong for me okay?” the engine of her car roared as it came back on “Take care” she drove off.
Nike waked inside the chapel compound, it was time to come clean before God, all she wanted now was peace and only the worthy, omnipotent God could give her that.
She drove into the lonely street in the estate with the familiar unknown force; she had been doing this since she could remember. Knowing she had to confront Nike no matter what, her uncle was right, no one stepped on her family’s toes like that, and that was an insult to her and her family.
Tola parked in front of an old abandoned building and got down walking down the road towards the house. Now, where was the number of that wretched house? Tola asked herself, Ah; number 12. She walked into the compound and looked around it was neatly kept, good enough for a nurse. She knew the woman’s house was on the 1st floor. Tola walked around the compound and passed the stairway by the side of the building to the first floor. It had only one flat.
Tola knocked on the iron door as her heart beat madly in her chest; there was someone in the house as the aroma of chicken sauce filled the air from the inside. The door opened and she stood face to face with her enemy, she loved the expression of shock on Nike’s face.
“Good afternoon Nike” Tola eyes lingered on her bulging stomach “I see you’ve wasted no time in getting pregnant,” she remarked drily to hide her anger “Can I come in?”
Nike moved and Tola entered Shutting the door behind her. They stared at each other for a few minutes; the air of tension was electrifying until Nike broke the silence.
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Written by: Oyinda Dosunmu
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