Kokumo was in the faculty building when he was told by the secretary that he had a letter. He wondered who could have written him a letter as he had only previously received letters from Ajoke. As he collected the letter from the secretary, he looked at it and immediately recognized Ajoke’s handwriting. He sighed as he put it into his folder. Why was she writing him a letter? Was it to inform him about how she enjoyed her married life or what? He wasn’t sure he wanted to read the letter. It would only open his heart to another round of hurt and he was trying to get over her. He made up his mind not to read the letter. He got to his room later in the day and flung the letter into his travel bag.
Ajoke wondered why she did not receive a response to her letter. Even though her husband tried to make her happy, she remained an unhappy woman. She did her wifely duties as she should but found no joy in her home or her husband. She thought about Kokumo day and night and sometimes imagined he would pay her a visit. She lived with her husband in a decent self-contained apartment within the averagely expensive part of town. All her friends who had gotten married before her envied her. None of their husbands could afford to live in the part of town where Ajoke lived with her husband. Adejoro continued to work hard and he did his best to take care of his wife. However, Ajoke’s heart still longed for Kokumo even though, she knew his good bye to her behind her house on the day he arrived from school had been final.
Four weeks after her first letter, she wrote another one. She longed to hear from him. She wanted to know if he still thought about her. She wanted to know if he still missed her or if he had moved on and thrown her into the dustbin of history.
Kokumo received the second letter six weeks after the first. He was at the verge of opening it when he shook his head and flung it into his travel bag. No, he wasn’t going to read any letters from Ajoke again. In a few days, he sat for his exams and was through in another three weeks. He packed his few clothing into his travel bag and prepared to go home.
Three months after Ajoke’s wedding to Adejoro, she found out she was pregnant. She knew she was supposed to be happy at the life growing inside of her but it only made her more sorrowful. She endured every night attending to the needs of her husband and the consequences lay inside of her. Adejoro had been elated when he found out his wife was carrying his first child. He immediately registered her in a Primary health care centre and ensured she got enough rest.
Six months later, Ajoke gave birth to a boy after an easy labour. Her mother praised her for her bravery and was thankful to God for giving her a grandson. Adejoro’s mother moved in with them to assist Ajoke with taking care of the child. Adejoro converted his self-contained apartment into a two-bed so as to accommodate his mother. She stayed with Ajoke for a month before leaving and Ajoke’s mother moved in to continue from where she stopped. Iya Ajoke stayed for six weeks. When she was sure her daughter was strong enough to handle the job of taking care of her home and her son, she returned to her husband’s house.
With a baby to take care of, Ajoke’s mind became occupied and thoughts of Kokumo became relegated to the back. She however wrote him another letter to inform him that she now had a son which she would have loved to be his. Six months after she had her son, she found out she was pregnant again and was even three months gone. Adejoro was ecstatic. Everything seemed to be working in his favour. His family was doing well and he was never short of sub-contracted jobs to handle. In a few months, he would be through with the technical college and he knew that while his friends would be roaming around looking for jobs, he already had jobs waiting for him to handle. Life couldn’t be better for himself and Ajoke.
Ajoke had a baby girl six months later. Her mother-in-law and her mother took turns to take care of her baby as they previously did. Iya Ajoke told her daughter how proud of her she was; having two children of different sexes in quick successions. She also never failed to praise her daughter’s husband, Adejoro for taking good care of her daughter.
Ajoke’s children were aged eighteen months and six months when Adejoro came home to inform his wife that one of the companies he sub-contracted for was offering him a scholarship to further his education in the United Kingdom. Ajoke looked at her husband as if he spoke in another language.
“You can’t be serious.” Ajoke shouted when she found her voice.
Her daughter began to cry and Ajoke immediately scooped her up and strapped her to the back as she patted her daughter’s bum to stop her from crying.
“It is just for a few months, Ajoke. Before you know it, I will be back.”
“Ajoke try to understand. I may never get this opportunity. Don’t deny me of this, please.” Adejoro pleaded.
“How long is a few months?” Ajoke asked as she sighed deeply.
Ajoke’s jaw dropped. “And you call two years just a few months?” She asked in anger.
“Ajoke!!!” Adejoro called as he stressed her name.
Ajoke clapped her hands together and opened the palms facing upwards. “Okay oh, I have heard you Adejoro. I don’t want you to say later that I denied you of progressing in life; God forbid. You are free to go.”
“Thank you.” Adejoro said as he moved closer to his wife and gave her a hug.
“When are you leaving?”
“In two weeks’ time. I will make sure I send money to you monthly through one of my friends for your upkeep.”
Ajoke shook her head as she thought about her children. How was she going to cope in the next two years?
Two weeks later, Adejoro travelled out of the country leaving Ajoke in the care of his mother. Even though Ajoke was yet to fall in love with her husband after over two years of marriage, she had grown fond of him and thought maybe she would eventually forget about Kokumo.
Adejoro’s mother moved in with Ajoke immediately after her son’s departure to keep her company. She stayed with her for six months and left after her grand-daughter clocked one.
Even though Adejoro was on a scholarship, the company paid him a monthly stipend to keep body and soul together. He therefore kept his promise by sending Ajoke a portion of his monthly stipend through his friend, Akanbi. He also wrote letters to her to keep her informed of the on-goings with his education, while Ajoke replied with pictures of his children.
Twenty-four months came quickly and Ajoke looked forward to her husband coming back home. She wrote him a letter in the twenty-third month to let him know that she and the kids were eager to have him back and expected a response from him. Four weeks passed by and she did not receive a response from her husband. She kept on going to the post office every day to check her box wondering why she was yet to get a response. By the twenty-fifth month, she became worried when she did not hear from her husband. She wondered what could have gone wrong and decided to go to his friend’s house.
Akanbi was about stepping out when Ajoke arrived there with her kids in tow. She strapped her daughter on her back while she held her son’s hand. Akanbi welcomed her in and told her to make herself comfortable. Ajoke unstrapped her daughter and put her on the floor so she could play with her elder brother. She sat in the cane chair in Akanbi’s house favouring it for the couch in the living room. Akanbi brought some biscuits for the kids and a cup of cold water for Ajoke. He then asked her if he could be of any help.
Ajoke told him she was wondering why she had not heard from her husband. He was meant to return to the country after two years and it was a full month after the agreed time. She asked him if there had been any change in the terms of his scholarship and why Adejoro had not responded to her letter. Akanbi stood up from the couch he was seated on and walked towards Ajoke. He sighed deeply as he took her hand and kissed it. Ajoke stood up abruptly, yanking her hand from him.
“What do you think you are doing?” She asked him.
Akanbi stepped towards her as Ajoke backed away. “You know Ajoke, you are still very beautiful even after all these years of not having a man to warm your bed.” He said smiling.
“Akanbi, I respect you a lot as my husband’s friend. I only came here to find out what is wrong with my husband.”
“Give me a chance to take care of you, Ajoke.” Akanbi said.
Ajoke looked at him as if she had just been punched in the face.
“Are you surprised?” Akanbi asked her as he moved towards her. Ajoke continued to back away from him till her back touched the wall.
Akanbi smiled knowing that he had her cornered. He moved closer to her pinning her to the wall with his body. He traced his fingers over her bare arms sending Ajoke into a shiver. “I have always liked you but Adejoro was faster than I was. Beautiful Ajoke, the darling of many Ipaja young men.” He said as he moved his fingers up and down her collar bone, his breath on her face.
Ajoke held her breath as her heartbeat increased. She closed her eyes and bit her lips. She had not been touched in two years and her body was sore with desire. She did not push Akanbi back and he took this as his cue. He was already aroused and excited as his nether region stood out in the Ankara sokoto he was wearing. He slipped his hand under Ajoke’s dress lifting it up as he glided and pressed his excited lower torso to hers and hugged her tightly at the waist. A shiver ran through Ajoke’s spine causing a gasp to escape her lips as her body warmed and craved a man’s touch.
Akanbi’s excitement increased as he realized he had broken her will and she longed to have him. He struggled to take off Ajoke’s underskirt with one hand while he tried to untie the rope on his sokoto with the other hand. All of a sudden, Ajoke’s daughter started to cry. Ajoke shook as she came out of her reverie. Her underskirt was on the floor and Akani groped her as he also struggled to step out of his sokoto. She looked at her daughter who was crying and crawling towards where she stood and took a look at Akanbi. He had taken off his underpants and was about to lift her off the floor when she pushed him back. He staggered backward a bit surprised at the sudden change.
“What is wrong with you?” He said moving towards her.
“Don’t come near me.” Ajoke shouted.
Akanbi laughed. “What will you do?”
Ajoke started sobbing. “Why would you do this to your friend’s wife? He trusted you.” She said as she picked up her underskirt from the floor and put it back on.
Ajoke’s tears shocked Akanbi and he stammered. “But…but…Ajoke, you also want this. I know you do. Your body longs for a man. Just once won’t hurt. No one will know, I promise you.” He said as he stepped forward and tried to touch her.
Ajoke knew she had failed her husband and she felt sorry. She shouldn’t have come here in the first place. She hit Akanbi’s hand away as she picked up her crying daughter, put her on her back while Akanbi watched confused.
“Ajoke, please don’t go. I will take care of you.” He said.
“I don’t need you to take care of me. I just want to know when my husband is coming back.” Ajoke cried.
“Your husband is never coming back.” Akanbi spat.
Ajoke looked at Akanbi with shock. “What did you say?” She asked as she held on to her son’s hand.
“You heard me. Adejoro is never coming back. He is dating someone else who he intends to get married to.”
Ajoke shook her head vigorously. “No, no, stop lying against my husband.”
“So why hasn’t he responded to your letter? Why hasn’t he told you anything about his return?”
Ajoke burst into tears as she carried her son, opened the door in a hurry and ran out of Akanbi’s house.
The story continues…..
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