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Tears, Blood and Death – Part 2

He closed his eyes as tears streamed down his cheeks. It seemed like it had happened just a day ago as the memories came flooding back.

The face he saw yesterday had been so familiar. He had juggled his memory since he met him. As he stood inside the ruins of the old house, it all came back to him. He recognized the face that had haunted him the past twenty-one years. It wasn’t a dream. It was the face that had been etched in his memory. A face he wished he had forgotten. A face he wished he never met again.

********

He had brought his car to his workshop for repairs. The man had mentioned that he had been referred by other people who had been impressed with his job.

He was unable to sleep last night. He tossed and turned as he kept thinking about the face that had come to his workshop in the morning. He eventually dozed off in the early hours of the morning and had a fitful sleep. He woke up at 5a.m and said his prayers. He had a quick bath and instead of setting out to work, he took a trip to father’s house. His mind raced back to the last time he was there.

********

After the men left, he burst into fresh tears as he banged on the door of the toilet. There was eerie silence. He continued to bang on the door until he heard mother’s whisper. She was calling him. He put his ears close to the door to listen. She called him again and he said a silent thank you to God. She was alive.

Mother dragged herself on the floor to the toilet door.

“Màámi.” (My mother). He called when he noticed movements outside the toilet door.

“Ökö mi.” (My husband). She cried.

“Màámi, open the door.”

“The key is not on the door.” She replied.

“Check daddy’s pocket.”

He heard mother grunting as she dragged herself to where her husband lay still. He heard her burst into fresh tears and his heart broke. He wanted to know what was happening outside the darkened toilet.

Mother opened the door of the toilet and he took a while for his eyes to adjust to the bright light. He had no idea how long he had been locked in. When his eyes became accustomed to the environment, he saw mother on the floor. She was bleeding from her leg. He immediately removed his tee-shirt and tied it around her leg. He had seen it done so many times in movies when people were shot.

He got a pillow from the couch and placed it under mother’s head. He then walked over to grandma. There was a bullet hole in her head. He shivered as his lips trembled. He walked over to father. He was bleeding from the neck.

He ran outside the house and went to the neighbour’s house. He banged on the gate continuously until someone came out shouting. “Who is banging my gate like that at this time of the night?”

“It is me, sir.” He said crying. “Please help me sir.”

The man had been their neighbour in the last two years but kept to himself most of the time. He worked in the bank; leaving home very early and arriving very late at night. He lived alone.

“What is wrong? Why are you crying?” The man asked as he got to the gate.

“Please help my mother. Please help me.”

“Your mother?” The man asked.

He dragged the man by the hand towards his house.

********

Mother was rushed to the hospital. The doctors battled to save her life. Father’s brothers came to the hospital and accused mother of killing their brother and their mother. They asked why she wasn’t also killed. According to them, it meant she planned the attack. Mother became miserable as she cried every day and hoped for death. He became a wretched child as none of father’s family was ready to have anything to do with him. He was labelled the son of a witch and a murderer.

Three weeks later, mother died. She told him she had no reason to live any more. He begged her to stay with him but she said her spirit had left her. She felt betrayed that father’s brothers could think the worst of her. She said life had lost meaning to her. He sat by her side all through the night pleading with her but she died in her sleep.

Mother’s younger sister decided to take him in but she had four kids of her own and was just a petty trader. Her husband was a mechanic and he told him that he could not afford to send him to school. He asked him to join him in his workshop and start learning the trade so that he could make money on time to fend for himself.

“You need to grow up.” His uncle had told him. “There is no time for spoon feeding.”

He took his uncle’s advice and became diligent in his work.

********

He walked out of father’s house and drove back to his workshop. He wanted to know this man. He arrived at his workshop at 10:30am. The man was already waiting for him. Even though, he had aged, the features he saw that night were too evident for him to ignore. The man chatted with him as he got to work.

“Sir, did you ever live around Festac?” He asked him as he got his scanner to diagnose the car.

“Yes, I did but that was in the 90s. My son even attended a primary school there before we moved out of the area.”

“Oh right. What is your son’s name?”

“Adeleke Adegbami….”

That was all he heard as his hand stopped moving. He kept looking at the screen of the scanner but he no longer saw the prints on the screen. He saw his best friend’s face smiling at him as they sat down together.

“My daddy is coming tomorrow.”

Will you bring something for me?”

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

The old man kept talking…. “He is in the states now. He is doing very well with a wife and two kids”….. but he no longer heard him. His mind was faraway locked up in the darkened toilet in father’s house.

He got his slide and rolled under the car. He opened the brake valves and began to flush it.

He rolled out. “Your car is okay now, sir.” He said.

“Thank you, my son.” The man said as he paid for his services and entered into his vehicle.

——-

The End

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Tears, Blood and Death – Part 1

He stood before the ruins of the old house. The house was a complete shadow of itself. It was a white duplex but the paint on the outside had totally peeled off. He pushed back the low gate and walked in. The compound had become overgrown with weeds and a big rat scurried away as he stepped forward. He looked up at the louvres on the right and his mind raced back to when he sat on the railings of the balcony turning it into a swing. This action always got him a scolding from mother.

The door was broken down. He walked into the house. The interior looked like a hurricane had happened in there. The cream leather settee that always sat on the right of the living room was no longer there. A cool breeze blew into the room and he began to hear the sound of the wooden rocking chair. He smiled in spite of the situation. He closed his eyes and saw grandma seated on the chair. As it rocked gently, she knitted and hummed a song. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Come here darling.” She said as she patted her laps.

He walked forward and stood before the rocking chair. She would lift him up as she dropped the knitting accessories on the side stool beside her on the right. He looked there and noticed the stool had been upturned. He bent down to lift it up. He placed his hands on it gingerly as if it was an egg that could break. He closed his eyes and a tear slid down his cheeks. The stool was grandma’s favourite.

He heard the sound of clinking glasses and looked towards the kitchen to the left of the living room. As he walked down, he passed by a blue teddy bear lying on the floor. It had become dirty and the colour was hardly recognizable. It looked more brown than blue. It had been his tenth birthday gift from father. He held the teddy bear by the hand and headed towards the kitchen.

“Food is ready.” Mother sang as she held his two hands and danced to an imaginary tune. It had become her signature. “Get seated.” She would say and he would run to set the table ready. Grandma always said the prayers at dinner.

********

“My daddy is coming back tomorrow.” He told his best friend. They were both ten and sat together in class. They were in Primary five.

“Will you bring something for me?” His friend asked.

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

********

Mother was restless as she jumped every time she heard the sound of a car. She had asked him to go to bed as there was school the next day but he refused. He wanted to see father before going to bed. They heard the honk of a car and mother ran to open the curtains. Light from the headlamps reflected into the living room and mother began to dance. Her husband had arrived home from Spain.

Grandma dropped her knitting pins and lifted her glasses from the rope around her neck. She placed the glasses gingerly on her nose as she awaited her son.

Father paid off the taxi driver that brought him home and trudged in as he rolled his travel luggages. Mother ran to give father a hug and a kiss.

“Káàbò, olówó orí mi.” (Welcome, my crown).

“O sé. Sé àláfíà ni gbogbo yín wà?” (Thank you. Are you all well?)

“Adúpé l’ówó Ölórun.” (We thank God).

Father prostrated to greet grandma as he came in and she began to pray for him. After grandma’s long prayers, father hugged him and asked him why he was still awake.

“Don’t mind him. He refused to go to bed because he was waiting for you.” Mother said as she laughed heartily.

They heard the sound of a car parking outside.

“You should go to bed now.” Father told him.

“I want to see what you bought for me.” He told father.

He had promised to bring something to school for his friend and he wanted to fulfill his promise.

The gates outside opened slowly and father looked towards the door. He looked at mother and grandma. “Are you expecting anyone?” He asked.

They both shook their heads.

All of a sudden, the front door was kicked with so much force that it broke into splinters.

Father’s movement was very swift that he hardly understood what had happened until he saw himself in the toilet and he heard the door lock behind him. He knelt down by the door and peeped through the key hole. What was going on?

“Where is the money?” A male voice asked.

“Which money?” Father responded.

“Give me the money before I blow off your head.”

Father looked at mother and grandma with a hard stare. They were the only people who were aware that he was coming home. He had never seen father look at them that way and he wondered what mother and grandma could have done wrong.

“Please my son, don’t do this. He doesn’t have any money.” Grandma pleaded.

“Shut up mama. Tell your son to bring the money he brought back.”

He strained his eyes through the key hole to see what was going on. Grandma looked at father with tears in her eyes. “Which money is he asking for?”

He noticed there was another man in the room. The man pointed the gun at grandma and pulled the trigger. The shot was silent. Grandma fell back like a sack of potatoes hitting her head on the stool. He heard mother’s scream and saw father struggle with the man who had pulled the trigger. He heard three more muffled shots and then silence.

Tears streamed down his cheeks as he peeped through the key hole. He touched his lower body. It was wet. It dawned on him that he had peed on himself.

“Why did you kill them?” The first man shouted at his partner.

“Can’t you see that he wasn’t co-operating and he was even trying to collect my gun?” The man replied as he pulled off the black mask on his face.

“Just carry the boxes and let’s get out of here fast. This was not the plan.”

As the men walked out of the house with the same travel luggages that father had brought in some minutes ago, a black car reversed from the beginning of the street to the front of the house. As the car got to the men, the boot had already been opened. They dumped the luggages into the boot and and the car sped away with lightning speed leaving sorrow, tears and blood behind.

….To be continued

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Love, Lies and Murder – Part 2

Baba Ibeji knew that the exams ended two weeks ago because his twin sons also wrote the same exams. He had waited patiently for Shina to bring Mojirayo to him. Six weeks ago, he started buying trendy clothes, make-up and other fashion items. He had an idea of how he wanted his trophy wife to look. He moved his youngest wife from the room closest to his and gave her another room down the hall. Every day he went out, he came back with a new item which he put in the room and locked up. That was going to be Mojirayo’s room. She needed to be close to him. The other wives had lost steam and he needed someone fresh to make his blood boil and awake all his senses. His youngest wife did not understand what was going on but her seniors did. Was that not how they were also bounced to rooms down the hall when she took over?

 

Baba Ibeji had been reminiscing on his first night with Mojirayo. He had played the night over and over in his mind. He imagined Mojirayo was a virgin because he had never seen her with those riff-raffs who lived in his face to face apartments. It was like a dream come through when Shina approached him to seek for funds for her exams. This was his opportunity and he would be foolish to make it slip off his hands.

He went back home with Shina’s promise. He dared not refuse to fulfill it. They would be thrown out of his house before they even spelt Baba. He went to bed joyful. Tomorrow night would be the night. The night he had dreamt of the past six weeks.

 

Shina fulfilled his promise and took Mojirayo to Baba Ibeji’s house. Omowunmi prepared her daughter for the life of a married woman telling her never to reject her husband’s advances. She told her never to consider family planning as having many children would stamp her authority in her husband’s house and make her a woman to be reckoned with. She reminded her that she was the youngest wife and therefore, the favourite. She told her to make the best use of her status and better the life of her family as soon as she could. Mojirayo listened to her mother with a blank stare. She had been trained to be an obedient and responsible child and so she would remain for the sake of her family.

 

Mojirayo’s first night with Baba Ibeji was painful. Her mother told her not to reject his advances; she forgot to tell her that the result of those advances would hurt her. Baba Ibeji thought he was being careful with his new wife, he had forgotten that his calloused hands from years of working on the farm would graze her skin. He was too much in a hurry to take his wife whole as his excitement had built up immediately he touched Mojirayo’s full bosom and squeezed them as if he was milking a cow. He wondered why she insisted that he turned off the lights but it didn’t matter to him. She was standing right before him and she was all his for the taking. Mojirayo bit her lips till they bled as Baba Ibeji drove into her grunting and panting like a man on a race track and in two minutes, it was all over. Baba Ibeji was well endowed and he took pride in it. He lay on Mojirayo and she had to struggle to push him over. His mouth odour slapped her face when he asked her if she enjoyed it. Since the room was dark, he failed to notice that his new wife had tears on her cheeks. Mojirayo wiped her tears as she coughed a yes. The next three nights were visiting nights for Mojirayo. It was the same routine. Baba Ibeji’s grunting, his loud snores after and Mojirayo’s crying as she hurt all over her body. She however, endured the pains anytime she remembered her family’s living conditions. She was bent on not conceiving for Baba Ibeji and she used pills everyday which she kept at the bottom of her box.

 

In nine months, the fortune of her family changed. Her father got the Toyota Camry he wanted, her siblings changed schools and her mother changed her line of business. Even the room they lived in received an upgrade and her father rented another room; making their abode a room and a parlour. Things changed for the better for her family but Mojirayo lived in misery. Her senior wives also made life a living hell for her. She however received sympathy from Baba Ibeji’s twin sons. They had taken note of her immediately they arrived from a vacation at their cousins. Their father had sent them there two days before Mojirayo’s arrival and he had asked that they stayed there for about six months. They were just two years older than Mojirayo and they found it strange that their father had taken a young girl as a new wife. Their first three months at home, they had watched Mojirayo like an eagle would watch over her young chick. Taiwo noticed every move she made and soon began to take a liking to her and tried to make small talk with her while Kehinde, even though also liked Mojirayo was indifferent towards her.

Baba Ibeji’s elder kids lived on their own while the younger kids were in school, leaving the twins and Mojirayo alone at home during the day. The three wives all had businesses they ran while Mojirayo was confined to stay at home and be beautiful.

Over the next six months, Taiwo gradually became attached to Mojirayo. He knew Baba Ibeji must never find out about his dalliance with his wife, he therefore stayed in his room once his father returned from his farm.

************

One sunny afternoon, a friend of the twins decided to pay them a visit. Mojirayo was watching a movie in the living room. She stood up to open the door for him. Adeniyi was struck by Mojirayo’s beauty and for a few seconds, he was tongue-tied.

“Hello. How may I help you?” Mojirayo asked when she noticed the guy just stood before her like someone lost in a trance.

“Erm….I want to see Taiwo and Kehinde.” Adeniyi replied almost in a stammer.

“Okay, come in.” She said as she turned her back to lead him in while Adeniyi looked at her as if she was a newly acquired statue. Mojirayo called the twins out of their room and retreated into hers. Adeniyi continued to look at Mojirayo as she walked away. Taiwo sensing what was going and uncomfortable with the way his friend gawked at Mojirayo, slapped him on his hand.

“She’s taken.” Taiwo said angrily.

“By who?” Adeniyi asked as he rubbed his hand.

“Baba Ibeji.” Kehinde responded.

Adeniyi looked at them with shock. “How can your father take such a beauty away from young boys like me?”

“What did you come here for?” Taiwo asked getting irritated.

“Haha! I came to visit you nau. Am I not welcome in your house again?” Adeniyi asked.

Kehinde shrugged while Taiwo refused to give his friend an answer.

 

Forty-five minutes later, Adeniyi stood up to take his leave and Kehinde offered to walk him out. Kehinde also mentioned to Taiwo that he needed to get to the barbing salon down the road and would be back soon. As Adeniyi and Kehinde walked out, Taiwo stormed towards the rooms upstairs and banged on Mojirayo’s door.

“Why are you banging on my door?” Mojirayo asked as she opened the door.

“Next time, please don’t open the door for Adeniyi.”

Mojirayo looked at Taiwo confused. “I don’t understand.” She said as she walked into her room.

Taiwo followed after her and closed the door behind him. “I don’t like the way he was staring at you.”

Mojirayo raised her hands and shrugged. “So, how does that affect me? He is your friend.”

“He is not my friend. He is Kehinde’s friend.”

“Well, he asked after both of you. Was I supposed to tell him you weren’t home?”

“Just don’t let him in next time.” Taiwo said angrily.

“I don’t understand why you are getting angry. If you have a problem with him, why don’t you sort it out with him or your brother? Abeg, leave my room. I want to sleep.” Mojirayo said as she walked towards the door.

Taiwo was however faster than her. He held her back and grabbed her waist as he kissed her lips roughly. Mojirayo put her hands on his chest as she resisted him by pushing him back. She slapped him on the face but Taiwo was undeterred. He pulled Mojirayo into his arms and hugged her tightly. She initially tried to struggle out of his grip but relaxed when his arms became too strong for her.

“I’m your father’s wife.” Mojirayo said as she breathed heavily.

“I know but I am in love with you.” Taiwo said as he whispered into her ears. “And I know you have the same feelings for me but would deny it.”

He was right. Mojirayo had fallen in love with her husband’s son but it was unheard of. He was totally different from his father. With him, there was always something to talk about. They shared gists about school, watched the news together and sometimes discussed his plans to go to the university in a few months. She knew her education ended in his father’s house and that there was nothing she could do about it. She had been confined to Baba Ibeji’s house. Taiwo also showed her love and care every day. In Baba Ibeji’s books, those words took a different meaning.

Taiwo kissed the nape of her neck and Mojirayo melted in his arms. They kissed passionately and in an instant, Taiwo lifted her as he placed her on her bed gently and teased her sensitive spots with kisses. Mojirayo hugged him tightly as her body throbbed with passion. She had never felt this way and Taiwo had just given her a different definition of pleasure. She gave herself wholly to him and Taiwo proved he was a man.

As Taiwo stood up to get dressed, he kissed Mojirayo’s lips. “No one must find out about us including Kehinde.”

Mojirayo smiled as she nodded. Taiwo left Mojirayo’s room and entered into his just as Kehinde walked into the house.

——
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 20

Enitan proceeded to walk towards the end of the hall. His brother asked him if he needed to be accompanied but he told him not to bother as he was capable of handling the situation himself. Iya Ajoke had told them who the stranger was and he needed to know Ajoke’s decision. He wondered why she had lied to him all these years. He wanted to know the truth now; even if the truth would kill him.

Adisa and his brothers wondered what Ajoke had to say to Adejoro. They stood a few metres away from her as they waited impatiently for her to end her discussion. As Enitan approached them, Adisa tapped him on his shoulders.

“Go and get your wife.” Adisa ordered.

Enitan tilted his head as he looked at him. He had come to respect him over the past years he and Ajoke dated and he knew that Adisa wielded a considerable amount of power in Ajoke’s life. “Are you sure she is ready to be my wife?”

Adisa smiled as he looked at Enitan. “There is nothing left between her and that man over there.” He said nodding towards the end of the hall where Adejoro and Ajoke sat.

Enitan nodded his response as he continued towards Ajoke. Adejoro was still on his knees pleading for forgiveness from Ajoke.

The Wait 20

“Ajoke, can I talk to you for a minute?” Enitan asked as he got to where she sat.

“Please Ajoke, hear me out.” Adejoro pleaded.

Enitan held out his hand and Ajoke stood up and took his outstretched hand. He led her to a corner of the hall.

“Why did you lie to me?” Enitan asked.

“I did not. When I said he was dead, I meant every word I said. He is dead to me. His children don’t even know him. To them, their father is dead.”

Enitan’s jaw dropped. “I understand if he is dead to you but you should not have told the kids their father was dead.”

“So what should I have told them? Hmm?? That he abandoned them and remarried probably to become a citizen of another country. I did not want my kids to feel rejected by their own father and I couldn’t answer their questions every time they asked about him. I had to tell them something that would make them forget about him.”

“So now that he is back, what are you going to tell them?”

“He has no right to breeze into their life, Enitan. It is too late.” Ajoke said.

“I understand but they need to know their father.”

“Can we forget about my ex-husband and continue with our wedding? Or have you suddenly developed cold feet now that you know my ex-husband is alive?”

Enitan shrugged. “You stopped the wedding, Ajoke; I did not. And regarding your question about having cold feet? I think that question should actually be directed at you. Now that your ex is back, do you still want to get married to me?” Enitan asked as he searched her face.

“I’m sorry my love. I was just overwhelmed seeing him. He has no right to be here today. It was over between us years ago. I love you Enitan and today I choose to be your wife. Nothing and no one will stop us from getting married.”

“I’m still upset you lied to me, though.”

Ajoke moved closer to her husband-to-be and hugged him. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

“It’s okay.” Enitan said smiling. “You need to touch up your make-up. I don’t want my bride having a smeared face in my wedding pictures.”

“I will. Give me a few minutes and please help me apologize to Broda Olaitan, Uncle T and Aunty. I will explain everything to them later.” Ajoke said as she turned to walk away.

Adejoro looked at Ajoke as she passed by him. “Ajoke, please. Give me another chance. I will make it up to you.”

Ajoke turned to look at him, her eyes blazing in anger. “I have been nice enough to you Adejoro. Don’t get me upset, okay?”

Ajoke came back into the hall twenty minutes later looking refreshed. She stood before her family and Enitan’s family as she took her vows to love him till death did them part.

A court had annulled her marriage to Adejoro a few years before. She had filed for a dissolution of her marriage on grounds of separation for over ten years, desertion and abandonment and also reasons to believe that her spouse was dead. Her plea had been granted by the court.

Ajoke and Enitan smiled as they linked their hands and held the marriage certificate that had just been issued to them. The minister proclaimed them the newest couple in town and their family rallied round them to hug and congratulate them.

Adejoro unable to continue watching bent his head as he broke down in tears. After his programme, he had been advised by a friend he met in school that he could remain in the country and not return to Nigeria. He had been happy at the prospect and he was hooked up for an arranged marriage. However, things had not gone the way he had expected. Five years after, he was yet to become a citizen. Not wanting to risk coming back to Nigeria without becoming a citizen, he decided to build another family. His wife gave birth to a set of twins; a boy and a girl. He was overjoyed and he soon forgot about the family he left in Nigeria.

He had attended a party a few weeks ago and bumped into his friend, Akanbi. Akanbi told him he was in the UK for a two-week vacation. They had chatted as old buddies reminiscing on the times they spent together in the village.

“I wanted to help you fulfill your obligations to Ajoke when you decided to marry an Oyinbo.” Akanbi said as he gulped down the wine in his glass. “I can still see the look on Ajoke’s face and how she shivered under my touch. Oh, she wanted me badly. I could feel it.” Akanbi said as he faked a shiver then laughed hysterically.

Adejoro opened his mouth in shock.

“Anytime I remember that day, I wish I had gone ahead to have my way with her. At least I would have had a taste of the honeypot I had been dreaming of for so long. I’m sure she would have been so sweet.” Akanbi said as he kissed his fingers.

Adejoro became angry as he stood up and held Akanbi by the throat.

“What is your problem, Adejoro? I did not ask you to abandon your wife and kids in Nigeria. Did I?” Akanbi asked as he taunted him.

Adejoro had left the party abruptly. He had been unable to sleep when he got home that night. He had abandoned Ajoke and his kids without as much as a look backwards. He immediately planned a trip to Nigeria and booked a ticket. He flew in on Friday night. He had waited in the UK for too long; now the wait was over.

When he arrived at his parents’ house, he was told that Ajoke had moved out of his house years ago and was getting married the next day. His parents told him to forget about her since he had another family in the UK but he told them he could not. He decided to make an appearance at the wedding; just maybe he could stop it and Ajoke would give him another chance.

He bent his head as he cried tears of pity and sadness while the whole hall jubilated with the new couple. He looked up and saw Ajoke and Enitan share a passionate kiss. His children rallied round them as Enitan hugged them one by one. He stood up and walked out of the hall with his shoulders slumped and his head hung. He had lost his wife, Ajoke and his kids. They no longer belonged to him. They were in the arms of the one who would love and cherish them.

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—————————————————- THE END —————————————————–

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The Wait – Chapter 19

The next session started a few weeks later. It was their final year and Enitan was bent on having Ajoke for keeps before she fell out of his reach. He started picking her up from home on days they had lectures and they drove to school together. They talked about various issues on their ride to and from school. He asked about her children’s father and she told him he was dead. As far as she was concerned, that is what he was to her. Dead! She told him about her salon and how she managed it together with her studies. Enitan got more impressed daily by her doggedness to succeed.

Gradually, he started getting involved in her children’s lives; having man-to-man talks with Adegbenro and seeking Adebola’s approval of his relationship with her mother. He should have had no reason to worry; they already liked him. He met Iya Ajoke when she came to stay with the kids so that Ajoke could prepare for her first semester exams. She had been happy that her daughter was finally going to pick up the pieces of her life. She and Baba Ajoke had regretted their actions in the past and this time, they were going to take a back seat and allow their daughter to chart the course of her life.

 

The first semester exams inched nearer as Enitan and Ajoke got closer by the day. They soon became inseparable and their classmates began to call them a couple. Most of them were not surprised at their relationship and even told them they deserved each other. They were given a short vacation after their exams and Enitan used it as his opportunity to get acquainted with Ajoke’s business. He gave her ideas on how to improve on her services and his idea brought a huge turn-out of clients to her salon.

The second semester began a few weeks later and a feverish feeling fell over most of the students. It was their final semester in school and a number of students had mixed feelings. The semester moved faster than expected and their final exams were soon at the corner. Enitan and Ajoke studied most evenings in Enitan’s house sharing and comparing notes and ideas. After long hours of studying, Enitan would order a quick take-out for dinner before dropping Ajoke at home.

Their results came out a few weeks after their exams and Ajoke and Enitan graduated with a first class. It had been a joyous day for both of them as they hugged each other; grateful that their hard work had paid off. Ajoke was happy that finally; she was a graduate and she was grateful to Kokumo for it. She sent him a text message informing him about her result and asked if he would not mind attending her graduation in school. He called her when he received her text message. He congratulated her and told her he was proud of her but declined attending her graduation. Ajoke had been at a loss for what to say. She had wanted him to be a part of her big day but he told her he was unable to make out time. Enitan was a few metres away from her; talking to his uncle and his wife as he gave them the good news and invited them to his graduation. She turned away as her eyes filled with tears.

 

The graduation ceremony took place a week later. Enitan and Ajoke were both given awards for the best graduating students in their department. Their score had been a tie and the Dean of their faculty had decided they both deserved it.

It was a joyous day for all the graduating students and they could all be seen taking pictures with friends and family. Ajoke had invited only her brother, Adisa for the ceremony. She smiled as Enitan took pictures of her and Adisa with her mobile phone. She was about to collect the phone from Enitan when someone tapped her lightly on her shoulder.

“Would you mind taking a picture with me on my phone?”

She turned around and gasped. She hugged Kokumo tightly as a child who had missed her mother would.

“You said you were not coming.” She said.

“I know but I thought long and hard about it and decided to make it.”

“This means so much to me.” Ajoke said smiling.

“I know.” Kokumo said as he brushed her cheeks lightly with his thumb.

Enitan stood uncomfortably as he watched the show of affection between the two.

“Enitan, meet Kokumo; my best friend from way back in secondary school.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan. “Kokumo, meet Enitan.” She said as she introduced them.

Enitan stretched out his hand to shake Kokumo. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Kokumo said as he took the extended hand. “Could you take a picture of us together?”

“Sure, why not?” Enitan replied. He took the phone from Kokumo and took a picture of him and Ajoke who was beaming with smiles as she put her hand around Kokumo.

Kokumo did not miss the look in Enitan’s eyes every time he looked at Ajoke and he thought it wise to make his visit a very short one. He congratulated both graduates and wished them success in their journey to Law school. Ajoke wanted to see him off to his car but he told her not to bother as he did not want her leaving her friend alone.

“Oh, his uncle is here. Let me see you off quickly.” She said. She turned to talk to Enitan but noticed he was already walking towards his uncle. Adisa was also seated with Enitan’s uncle and both of them seemed engrossed in a conversation.

“I told you.” Ajoke said as she turned back to Kokumo. They started walking towards Kokumo’s car which was parked a few metres away from the hall.

“He loves you. Please give him a chance.”

Ajoke turned to look at Enitan. He was talking to his uncle’s wife but she noticed for the first time that he wasn’t smiling. “You think so?”

“Yes Ajoke. It is very obvious.”

Ajoke exhaled. “I like him but I haven’t been able to forget about you and…..”

Kokumo stopped walking and looked at Ajoke. “You have to. You can’t bring your life to a standstill. You know I almost did not come here today simply because of this. I did not want to bring back memories which should stay buried.”

“I know and I’m trying. He is really sweet but I don’t want to hurt him.”

They got to Kokumo’s car and Ajoke rested on it.

“I have a family now. You should build yours with that young man. Open your heart to him. Live your life again and live it to the fullest. You deserve it.”

Tears filled Ajoke’s eyes as she thought about Kokumo’s words.

“Thank you.” She said as she hugged Kokumo.

“You are welcome.” Kokumo said hugging her back.

Kokumo eased into his car and started the engine. He smiled as he looked at her.

“I will never forget you, Kokumo and I will always love you.” Ajoke said as she placed her hand on her heart.

“You will always remain here.” Kokumo said as he tapped the left hand side of his chest.

Kokumo drove away and Ajoke stood there till his car disappeared in sight.

Ajoke sighed as she used her fingers to dab her eyes to stop the tears that were threatening to spill. When she gathered her emotions together, she walked back to the graduation venue looking out for Enitan.

His uncle, his aunt and Adisa were about leaving when she got there and she apologized for her time away.

“Oh, it’s fine. Enitan told us you were seeing off a friend that came for your graduation.” Enitan’s aunt said.

“Yes ma.”

“Should we expect to see you soon for a visit?”

“That depends on Enitan, ma.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan.

“Okay then. I hope to see her soon.” Enitan’s aunt said smiling as she turned to Enitan.

They all walked to the car park where Kokumo’s car had been parked a few minutes ago and Enitan’s uncle offered to drop Adisa where he could get a bus back home.

The trio eased into the car after congratulating Enitan and Ajoke again with hugs. Enitan’s uncle started the engine while Enitan and Ajoke stood and waved as the car drove away.

********

Ajoke noticed that Enitan was unusually quiet as he drove home. They had earlier agreed to have dinner on their graduation day.

“Are you okay, Enitan?” Ajoke asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Enitan said as he looked at her but his trademark smile was missing.

Enitan parked in front of his residence and eased out of the car without a word. Ajoke was confused as she eased out of the car and walked behind him.

He opened the door and slumped into the couch in the living room as he closed his eyes.

Ajoke stood before him wondering what the problem was. “Enitan, is something wrong? You have been unusually quiet.”

Enitan sat up and looked straight at Ajoke. “Maybe because you decided to disregard my feelings and flaunt your ex-boyfriend before me? Huh? Don’t you think that is enough to make me “unusually” quiet?” He said as he raised his hand to signify his quote.

Ajoke exhaled as she sat down beside him. “Kokumo and I were best friends in secondary school. We had plans for a future together but my parents gave me out in marriage while Kokumo was still in the university. My father wanted me to get married on time because he could not afford a university education. He felt my husband would send me to school. Kokumo and I were heart-broken but there was nothing we could do. I got married, had my kids and met Kokumo again ten years later. He asked why I hadn’t gone back to school and I told him I had a salon already. He reminded me of my dream to become a lawyer and encouraged me to go back to school.”

Ajoke paused as she held Enitan’s hands.

“He bought me the GCE form that same year with all the reading materials that I needed and also bought me the Jamb form the next year. He made sure I did not lack as he provided for me throughout the school sessions.”

“So why didn’t he get married to you?” Enitan asked, a confused look on his face.

“He had a fiancée he was committed to already. Letting him go still remains the most difficult decision I have ever taken. Not long after that, you asked to be my friend. At that point in my life, I was not interested in any man and I felt love was no longer worth it.”

“Do you still love him?”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“I assume that means a yes. So what are you doing with me? Are you playing games with my heart?” Enitan asked as he stood up.

Ajoke could hear and feel his hurt and pain deeply etched in every word he spoke.

“No, Enitan.” She said as she stood up and walked towards him. “I would never do anything to hurt you. Kokumo told me it was obvious that you love me. He asked me to open my heart to you and receive the love you have for me.”

“How else am I meant to show my love for you, Ajoke?” Enitan asked in frustration.

Ajoke held Enitan’s hands as she embraced him. “I’m sorry. I did not want to hurt you.”

“I love you Ajoke. I always have since the day I set my eyes on you.” Enitan whispered into her ears. He kissed the nape of her neck and Ajoke shivered. He pulled her away from his body and cradled her face; tracing his finger on her lips. Ajoke looked at him and the only thing she saw in his eyes was love. He loved her and she was willing to give him a chance. She closed her eyes; it was time to let Kokumo go.

Enitan closed the space between them as he kissed her gently at first. She let out a sigh of surrender as Enitan took her lips and ravaged them in a passionate kiss.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 18

Ajoke walked to her room; her kids following right behind her. They sat down on her bed and looked at her expectantly. Ajoke dropped her bag on her bed and noticed the look on her children’s faces.

“Why do you both have that look on your faces?” Ajoke asked.

“We want to know how your date went.” Adegbenro said.

Ajoke looked at her son. “What did you discuss with Enitan?”

“He didn’t tell you?” Adegbenro asked.

Ajoke eyed her son. “If he did, I won’t be asking you. He said men stuff. What does that even mean?”

Adegbenro shrugged. “Well, it was men stuff. I was trying to protect my family.”

Ajoke let out her breath as she tried to sit on the bed. Adegbenro and Adebola created a space in between them and she sat down. She pulled her arms around them and looked at each of them.

“I love you both. You know that, don’t you?” She asked them.

They nodded.

“And I want you to be happy.”

“We are happy, mum. But you are not.” Adebola said.

Ajoke smiled sadly as thoughts of Kokumo filtered into her mind. Her kids had been so fond of him and his sudden disappearance had taken them by surprise. They had asked day after day about him but she had refused to provide an answer. She guessed they must have figured out what the issue was.

Adegbenro turned to look at her. “Mum, we want you to be happy. We want you to find love again.”

Ajoke looked at her kids and was surprised. Where was all these coming from? How had her kids grown so fast before her eyes? She smiled as she kissed each one on the cheek.

“We love you too mum.” Adebola said; voicing out their mother’s unspoken thoughts.

They hugged her and laid their heads on her shoulders.

 

Hours later, Ajoke lay on her bed unable to sleep. She tossed and turned as she thought about Kokumo’s last statement to her.

“It would be unfair to you and to those we love if we keep our lives at a standstill. Please don’t do this to us.” Was it time to move on?

 

Enitan opened the door of his apartment and let himself in. The décor in the living room was simple but tasteful in appearance. He picked up a remote from the glass table in the centre of the room and switched on the TV with a button. A newscaster was reading the evening news. He sat down on the sofa directly in front of the TV and watched. His mind was however far away as he only watched the moving images. How long will he have to wait before voicing out his feelings to Ajoke? He had noticed her in their second year. It had not been love at first sight but he had been fascinated by her dogged attitude to her studies. While most ladies in their class were bothered about taking selfies, social media and hanging out with the wanna-bes, she had caught the attention of most of the lecturers with her excellent grades.

Gradually, he began to like her and said “hello” to her anytime she passed by him. He noticed she only came to school when she had lectures and was out immediately after she was through for the day. She did not mix freely like the others and he had wondered why.

He exhaled as he rested his head on the couch. Seeing her family with two grown kids had caught him unawares but it had only strengthened the love he had for her. He had to tell her how he felt, even if it meant she would never talk to him again. He could not hide it forever. Right there in his living room, Enitan made up his mind about Ajoke.

 

A week later, Ajoke was at her shop attending to her customers when she received a phone call from Adebola that she was needed at home.

“What’s the problem?” Ajoke asked.

“Erm….mummy, you need to come home now.”

“Why? Can’t it wait?”

“No mum.” Adebola said.

Ajoke gave instructions to her girls and walked the short distance from her shop to her house. As she approached her house, she wondered what the problem could be. Her kids hardly pulled her away from work. She just hoped it was not something serious.

As she opened the door to her house, she was startled by shouts of “Happy birthday”.  She looked at her kids, surprise clearly written on her face. Adebola and Adegbenro were grinning from ear to ear and they encroached on her space smothering her with hugs and kisses. Ajoke was overwhelmed by the love and a tear slid down her cheek. She looked at the wooden table in the middle of her living room and saw a massive birthday cake and a wrapped box. Her jaw dropped as she looked at her kids.

“How did you do this?” She asked.

Adegbenro smiled. “We got a little help.”

Ajoke’s brows shot up. “From who?”

All of a sudden, Enitan walked in from a corner of the living room. “From me.” He said giving her that smile that always made her heart melt.

Ajoke was at a loss of what to say. “How did you know about my birthday?” She asked him.

“We are in the same class. Have you forgotten?” He said as he closed the space between them stretching out his hands to her. Ajoke took a deep breath as she went into his embrace. She closed her eyes as tears streamed down her cheeks. Was she falling in love with him?

Adegbenro quietly carried the cake from the living room and nodded to his sister as they both left the lovers to discover themselves.

Enitan raised Ajoke’s head up and looked straight into her soul. “I love you Ajoke. I can’t hide it anymore.” He said as he wiped a tear from her cheek.

Ajoke lowered her head.

“Please give me a chance to love you.”

“I’ve got a lot of baggage.” Ajoke sniffed.

“I know.” Enitan said smiling. “It has only strengthened my resolve to take care of you.”

Ajoke looked up and saw love in his eyes. Could he handle her heart which had been splintered into various pieces by Adejoro and Kokumo? What was left of it that she had to give to him?

Enitan held Ajoke’s hand as he walked towards the door.

“Where are we going?”

“We are going for lunch.”

“I haven’t told them.…..” She was saying before Enitan interrupted her.

He beamed a smile at her. “Your son gave me a go ahead.”

Ajoke gave Enitan a puzzled look as she shook her head wondering how much information had passed between Adegbenro and Enitan.

 

Enitan had parked his car a few metres after Ajoke’s house so she hadn’t noticed it when she arrived home earlier. When she saw the spot it was parked, she smiled. He opened the door and she eased into the car quietly. Enitan drove to one of the newly established restaurants on the outskirts of the village.

As they took their seats and waited to be served, Enitan held Ajoke’s hands on the table. “Let me tell you a little story.” He said.

Ajoke nodded and listened.

“There was a young woman who lived in the town of Ilesa. She was given out in marriage to her husband at the age of eighteen. Nine months after her marriage, she had a son who was named Olaitan. The family of three lived happily. She was a petty trader while her husband was a bricklayer. He built houses for the rich and famous. This made him very popular in Ilesa. Two years after; when Olaitan was weaned off his mother’s breasts, she attempted to have another child. One year led to two years, then three years but Mama Olaitan was unable to conceive again. She tried all she could. She visited the herbal doctors and churches but pregnancy eluded her.”

Ajoke shook her head in pity.

“She gave up after some years and decided to face her business and her small family. However, when Olaitan was nineteen, his mother fell ill. Her husband made some herbs for her to drink and some were applied on her body. Her sickness however refused to abate. She fell in and out of sickness for about six months. One day, Olaitan’s friend who was an auxiliary nurse in one of the health centres visited him at home. They had finished from the secondary school together and she had secured a job in the health centre while Olaitan intended to go to the University. She had looked at Mama Olaitan with concern and asked her if she had been to the health centre. The answer was negative. She asked Olaitan to bring his mother to the health centre the next morning.”

The waiter brought their food and Enitan began to eat. He signaled to Ajoke to eat when he noticed she was waiting for him to continue.

“The next morning….” Enitan said as he continued his story. “Olaitan and his mother arrived the health centre early so as to avoid the long queue. Olaitan’s mother was checked by the doctor and it was confirmed that she was six months pregnant. She found it hard to believe what she had heard. Even Olaitan was lost for words. He was going to have a baby brother. Baba Olaitan was overjoyed when he heard the news. However, the joy of the family was cut short when Mama Olaitan died a few minutes after giving birth. Her labour had been prolonged and it was a miracle that the baby survived as both mother and child were in distress.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said as she shook her head.

“That’s not the end of the story.” Enitan said smiling.

“Okay?” Ajoke said. She had finished her food and she pushed the plate away from her.

“Eight days after, the child was named Eni-itan, because his father said he had a story to his birth.”

Ajoke smiled. “This is your story?”

“Yes, that is my story.”

“So your brother took care of you from birth, I assume.”

Enitan took a deep breath. “He gained admission into the University and I had to be left alone with my father. My father got a wet nurse who took care of me till I was a year old. I was seven when we lost our father. He fell from one of the high-rise buildings he was working on. He broke his neck and died on the spot.

Ajoke gasped as her hands flew to her mouth. She stretched out her hands to hold Enitan’s. “I’m so sorry.”

Enitan smiled. “Olaitan had to take me out of the village. He brought me to Lagos to stay with my maternal uncle and his wife. They took care of me till Olaitan graduated and could stand on his feet. The house I live in belonged to Olaitan. He relocated to the United States with his family some years ago. He left his business in my care and we have an agreement on profit-sharing.”

So, Law is your second degree, I presume.”

“Yes, it is.” Enitan smiled. “I have a degree in Business Administration. When I took over my brother’s business, I decided to come back to school and get educated on business law.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said. “This is a whole lot of information in one night.”

“I’m glad I shared it with you. No one in class knows about me.”

“So why did you decide to let me into your life?”

“Because I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Enitan replied.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t do this to you, Enitan. You deserve someone better.”

“Shhh……” Enitan said as he put his forefinger on her lips. “I want you and not someone better.”

Ajoke exhaled. If Enitan found out about her past, would he sing a different tune? She had not totally let Kokumo out of her heart. She still loved him even though he was beyond her reach. Sometimes, her nights were so lonely that she reminisced on the time they spent together exploring each other’s bodies with Kokumo making her scream in ecstasy. On such nights, she cried herself to sleep as she longed for the man who had been her first love and had set her body on fire with his touch. 

Memories of Adejoro had become a distant past and she had no feelings left in her heart for him. As far as she was concerned, he was only the father of her children. Would she be able to push thoughts of Kokumo behind and look forward to Enitan’s love? So many questions begged for answers in her life and she knew the ball was in her court to play it as she wished.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 17

Ajoke was about retiring to bed when her phone rang. She wondered who could be calling her at 9.00p.m. She had gotten home tired but her kids were not ready to let her be. They had missed her and they wanted to chat with her before going to bed. Even though, Iya Ajoke had tried to shoo them away, they had persisted. Eventually, Ajoke had to listen to their gists about school and all that had happened in the last one month while she was away.

She picked up the call after the third ring. “Hello.” She said.

“Hi Ajoke, is it a bad time to call?”

“Hi Enitan.” She said recognizing his voice. “It’s okay. I was just wondering who could be calling me at this time of the day.”

“If it is too late, I can call back tomorrow.” Enitan replied.

“No, it is fine.”

“I just wanted to check up on you.”

“Aww…thanks. I appreciate the gesture.” Ajoke said smiling.

“And erm…I wanted to ask if you would still go out to dinner with me?” Enitan asked unsure of what her answer would be.

Ajoke laughed. “Enitan, do you give up?”

“No, I don’t.” He said breathing a sigh of relief when he heard her laugh. “Is 6p.m tomorrow a good time?”

“Hmm….that’s fine.”

“I’ll pick you at home.” Enitan replied.

“But you don’t even know where I live.” Ajoke said laughing.

“Should we bet on it?”

Ajoke stopped laughing. “You know where I live? Have you been stalking me?”

“Hey relax.” Enitan said when he noticed the tone of her voice had changed. “I know where you live, I mean the street but I don’t know your house. And to your second question; no, I have not been stalking you.”

“So how do you know the street I live on?”

“I visited a friend who lives around your area some months back. We were walking out of his house when I saw you. I asked him if he knew you and he said not really but he pointed your street out to me.”

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Ajoke asked.

“I cross my heart, I have not lied to you.”

“Okay, 6p.m. Call me when you are close by.”

“Thanks Ajoke. I really appreciate this.”

Ajoke grunted. “I hope I don’t regret this.”

“Why would you? I would never hurt you.” Enitan said almost in a whisper.

“See you at 6 tomorrow. I need to catch some sleep.”

“Thanks. Sweet dreams.”

Ajoke refused to respond and ended the call.

 

The next day, Enitan was on Ajoke’s street at about five minutes to six. He parked his car and whipped out his phone from his pocket. “Hi Ajoke, I am on your street. I am by the Majestic shopping complex.” He said when she picked up his call on the first ring.

“Okay, that’s a long walk from my house.”

“I can come closer. Where exactly is your house?”

“It is way down the road; two blocks from the health centre.” She said.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Okay.”

Ajoke looked at herself in the mirror. She was wearing one of the dresses Kokumo had bought for her. She hugged herself as she thought of him. It had been a while she heard from him. The last time, he had sent her a text message that he had a daughter. She had responded with congratulations. A week later, he sent her another text informing her about his daughter’s names. She had refused to respond this time. The thought of another woman having a child for him was enough to dampen her spirit. He still credited her account at the end of every month and she wondered when he would stop.

A knock on her door brought her back to reality. “Mummy, you have a visitor.” She heard her daughter say.

That was fast; she thought. She took one last look at the mirror. She had applied light make-up and she looked simply dressed. She sighed as she opened the door and walked out of her room. Her daughter was standing outside the door. “Do you have a date, mummy?” She asked.

Ajoke smiled. At thirteen, Adebola was becoming self-aware. She always looked out for her mum and her brother, Adegbenro. “Yes dear. Something of the sort.”

“You look beautiful.” Adebola said.

“Thank you darling.” Ajoke replied as she hugged her daughter.

She held her daughter’s hand as they walked into the living room together.

 

“Hi, you look stunning.” Enitan said standing up. Ajoke noticed he had been talking to her son and she wondered what they could be talking about. She also wondered how he knew the exact house she lived in. She however, decided to keep her thoughts to herself.

She gave her son a puzzled look as she greeted Enitan. “Hi Enitan.”

“I was chatting with Adegbenro.” Enitan said smiling when he noticed the look that passed between mother and son. “Are you ready?” He asked.

“Yes, I am.” She said hesitantly.

Adegbenro stood up and hugged his mum. “Have fun.”

“Thank you.” She said.

“Bye mummy. We would wait up, okay?” Adebola said.

“Okay dear.” Ajoke responded as she waved to her kids and walked out of the house with Enitan behind her.

 

As soon as they stepped out of the house, she turned to look at him. “What were you two talking about?”

“Men stuff.” Enitan smiled.

“Like what?” She said rolling her eyes.

Enitan suddenly burst out into laughter.

Ajoke stopped walking and looked at him in confusion. “What is funny?”

“I love the way you just rolled your eyes. It makes you look sexy.”

“Ahh…” Ajoke said with shock.

“C’mon, let’s go have dinner.” Enitan said holding her hand so she could continue walking.

They got to a white Toyota Corolla and Enitan pressed the unlock button on the remote in his hands. He opened the door for Ajoke when he noticed that she stood before the car and kept looking at it. She was speechless and she looked at him when he signaled for her to go into the car. She eased into the car and Enitan closed the door before jogging to the driver’s side.

“You don’t need to say it. I know what’s on your mind.” Enitan smiled as he started the car.

Ajoke looked at him quietly.

“It’s intentional not to drive to school. So I jump buses like every other student.”

Ajoke nodded.

“Hey, loosen up. This is me; I ain’t hiding any other thing.”

“Really?” Ajoke asked with sarcasm.

“Cross my heart.” Enitan said as he did a sign of the cross on his chest.

In a few minutes, they arrived at a classy restaurant and sat at a table for two. The waiters brought a menu for them and they both ordered a light dinner. They made small talk about school while they awaited their dinner. They were through with their dinner and were sipping their drinks as Ajoke spoke about her expectations of their last year in school.

Enitan smiled as Ajoke spoke.

Ajoke looked behind her. “Why are you smiling?” She said as she turned back to look at him.

“I really do like you a lot.”

“Hellooo, we were talking about school?” Ajoke said with sarcasm.

“Yeah, I know. Ajoke, I have watched you this past years and I can’t deny the way I feel about you. Coming to your house today has opened my eyes to see you in a different light.”

“Where is all this coming from?”

“From my heart.” Enitan said as he held her hands on the table.

“I don’t understand. What did you see in my house and what is all this about?”

“Let me take care of you, Ajoke.”

Ajoke pulled her hands from his grip. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“You are the only one who thinks so.”

“What are you saying? Does this have anything to do with your discussion with Adegbenro? What men stuff did you two talk about?”

“Hey, take it easy.” Enitan said laughing.

“This is not funny, Enitan. Can we leave now?” Ajoke said getting angry.

“Ajoke….” Enitan said stressing her name. “Do I upset you that much?”

Ajoke closed her eyes and exhaled. She was beginning to like him and she actually did not know why she was upset with him.

Enitan stood up and stretched his hand towards her. “Let me take you home.”

Ajoke took his extended hand and they walked out of the restaurant.

 

 

Ajoke was quiet all through the journey home. She looked out of the passenger window and refused to make eye contact with Enitan. Enitan also decided to leave her to her thoughts. He loved her but he could not tell her just yet.

He reminisced on his discussion with her son. Adegbenro had asked him who he was and he had told him he was her course mate and a friend.

Adegbenro had asked him if he was taking her out on a date and he had responded in the affirmative.

“What are your intentions with my mother?”

Enitan had been shocked to hear the word “mother” but he had smiled to conceal his shock.

“I like her a lot and I just want to be friends with her.”

“Don’t mess with my mum. She’s all we’ve got.” Adegbenro had warned him.

He had looked at the young man before him. He loved his confidence and the way he looked out for his mother. There had to be a story behind her having two kids and no husband. He looked round the living room to see if he would see the picture of their father assuming she was a widow but there was none.

 

 

Enitan parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. She was about to open the door when Enitan stopped her and took her hand. She looked at him and was scared of what she saw in his eyes. No, this is not happening again. Enitan kissed her hand and dropped it carefully. “Thanks for the company.” He said.

Ajoke was at a loss for what to say. “Thanks for the dinner.” She said and stepped out of the car.

Her kids were already at the door by the time she got to her door step. They hugged her and welcomed her back. While Ajoke and Adebola walked in, Adegbenro stood at the door and looked at Enitan. Enitan smiled and nodded at him while Adegbenro nodded back; an unspoken agreement between the two. Enitan put the gear in reverse and drove out of Ajoke’s residence.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 16

Three weeks later, Ajoke returned to school for her fourth year. She buried herself in her studies with the intention to forget about Kokumo. This proved difficult as Kokumo continued to credit her bank account monthly. Everything around her brought back a memory of him; her phone, her dresses, her shoes and every tangible item that she owned. Many nights, she hugged her pillow and cried herself to sleep as she mourned the loss of the only true love that she ever had. Her children noticed that she no longer smiled and asked her what the problem was. How would they understand? She thought as she looked at them. When she refused to say anything to them, they asked her why her best friend, Uncle Kokumo, no longer visited. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she stood up abruptly lying that she had a headache and needed to rest. Her kids left her alone and she went into her room and lay down on her bed in tears.

In her second semester, one of her lecturers gave the class a project to work on and paired the students in twos.  She was paired with Enitan and given a tight schedule to deliver on their projects. Ajoke stayed up late many nights reading and researching on their project work. For once, her mind was totally off Kokumo. Enitan also brought his own repertoire of knowledge and they both put their energy into the project. They were asked to do a class presentation and Enitan urged Ajoke to present their findings. Even though she was jittery at first, she put in her best. The lecturer was impressed with Ajoke and Enitan’s project and they were rewarded with the highest score. Ajoke was excited that her sleepless nights had not been in vain. As she put her books into her bag prepared to go home, Enitan walked up to her smiling. “Ajoke, your delivery was fantastic.”

“Thank you.” She replied.

“Can I take you to dinner?”

Ajoke stopped and looked up at him. “Why? For what?”

Enitan shrugged. “Just to say thank you.”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Besides, I did not do this alone. If I remember, we were teamed for the project.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“Enjoy the rest of your evening.” Ajoke said as she slung her bag over her shoulders and walked away.

 

The next day, Ajoke was reading in class when Enitan slid into the seat beside her. Ajoke looked up and frowned. “What do you want?”

Enitan smiled. “Good morning.”

Ajoke nodded. “Morning. How may I help you?”

“C’mon Ajoke, why are you so uptight? I just want to be friends. I’m not going to bite.”

“You know what? I think I should leave now.” Ajoke said packing up her books.

Enitan held her hand trying to stop her from leaving.

“Will you leave me alone? What do you think you are doing?” Ajoke said raising her voice.

Enitan dropped her hand and stood up. “I’m sorry, I will leave.”

As he started walking away, Ajoke felt sorry and called him back. “Enitan.”

He looked back at her.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. Please sit down.”

Enitan smiled. “No, it’s okay. I assumed working together could make us friends. I apologize; my assumptions were wrong.”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“Please go ahead with your reading. I don’t want to be a nuisance.” He said as he walked out of the classroom. For the rest of the semester, Enitan avoided Ajoke.

 

A week to their exams, campus became agog with activities as students began to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while some teamed up to read and burn the midnight candle. Ajoke asked her mother to come over again to stay with the kids, so she could have some time off to read. She stayed up many nights reading but she kept on having difficulty understanding a particular course. The more she read, the more confused she became. She decided to talk to one of her course mates in school the next day.

“Hi Tolani.” Ajoke greeted as she saw her course mate walking towards her.

“Hi Ajoke. How far with your reading? I won’t be surprised if you dust us again this semester.” Tolani sneered.

“Abeg, leave that matter jare.” Ajoke replied smiling. “I need help with Taxation. Anyone handling tutorials on it?”

“Ahn.…ahn, I’m surprised you are asking me.” Tolani looked at her in astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it not your team mate organizing the tutorials?”

“My team mate?” Ajoke asked.

“Yes nau, Enitan. He is the pro in taxation and he has been doing tutorials for the past three days.”

“Oh right!” Ajoke said surprised.

Tolani eyed her. “Everyone knows both of you are first class materials. I’m sure that is why Mr. Subomi teamed you guys together.” She harrumphed.

“Let me go find him.” Ajoke said ignoring Tolani’s comment.

 

Enitan was seated in class in a corner reading. He was so engrossed in his book that he did not notice that Ajoke was standing before him. Ajoke had to announce her presence by clearing her throat.

“Hi Ajoke.” Enitan said looking up with a smile.

He always has a smile on his face; Ajoke thought. “Hi. I guessed I would find you here.” Ajoke said a bit uneasy. She knew after the last encounter with him, he clearly avoided her.

“Please sit down.” He said tapping the seat beside him.

Ajoke sat down with her palms in her laps. “I am sorry about the last incident. It looks like you have been avoiding me.” She said.

“Avoiding you? No, I haven’t.” Enitan shrugged. “You came to school for a reason and it looked like your intention was to stick to that reason and avoid any fraternities.”

Ajoke wondered how she was going to ask for help considering that she hadn’t been particularly nice to him.

“So how may I help you? I’m sure you did not come here to talk about our last encounter.” Enitan said turning to face her.

“I need help with Taxation.” Ajoke said avoiding his eyes and glad that he had gone straight to the point.

“Okay. When do you want us to start? Right now?”

“Huh….erm….yeah, if you don’t mind.”

Enitan smiled in his trademark way. “I don’t.”

“Thank you.” Ajoke said.

“You are always welcome.”

After two hours, Ajoke was satisfied that the course which had given her sleepless nights will be a walkover for her during the exams. She thanked Enitan again before leaving him alone to continue his reading.

 

Taxation was the last paper on the exam schedule. Ajoke decided to make Enitan her reading partner and they both sat together in class reading, sharing and comparing notes and handouts. Enitan made sure he continued to refresh Ajoke’s memory on all he had taught her anytime they read together. In three weeks, exams were over and students heaved a sigh of relief.

As Ajoke walked out of the hall after her last paper, she met Enitan sitting on a bench opposite the class. He stood up as she approached him. A smile played broadly on his lips. “How was it?” He asked as she fell in line with him.

“Easier than I imagined.” Ajoke said smiling. “I should say thank you again.”

“Oh come on. How many times will you do that?” He asked as they started walking towards the main gate of the campus.

“Well, I don’t know how I would have written that exam without your help; so better get ready to hear another thank you when the results are out.”

Both of them burst out into laughter.

They got to the gate and stood at the bus-stop waiting for buses that will take them to their different destinations.

“Would you mind giving me your number?”

“Not at all.” Ajoke reeled out her mobile number to Enitan who saved it immediately on his phone.

They stood chatting and laughing at the bus-stop until the buses going towards their destinations arrived.

—–
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 14

Ajoke filled the forms and handed them back to Kokumo two days after. He submitted them and she began to study in preparation for the forthcoming exams. Kokumo made it a duty to call her every morning and night. He also shopped for her children buying them clothes, shoes and toys befitting for their ages.

A week after Ajoke’s visit to the bank, Adunni called Kokumo. She wondered why she hadn’t heard from him and he told her he had been busy with work. “But you have always been busy, Lekan.” She said; calling him by his second name. He had dropped his first name after university and picked up his second name.

“Yeah, I know. I have had a lot on my plate in the last one week but I would make it up to you.”

“Hmm…..” Adunni said. “Are you coming over to my place this weekend or do you want me to come over?” She asked.

“No, no. Don’t come. I will come over.” He said quickly. He did not want to risk Ajoke meeting with Adunni just in case she decided to visit. Even though, she had not mentioned that she would see him that weekend, he preferred to play safe.

**********

Ajoke buried her head in her books for the next few months. She did not want to disappoint Kokumo so she put in extra hours of study staying up very late sometimes to read. Her exam date drew near and she became apprehensive. She hadn’t written an exam in ten years and she feared she may be incapable.

Two days before her exams were to start, Kokumo gave Ajoke a surprise visit at home during the weekend. She had been elated to see him and she introduced him to her children as her best friend. Her kids had laughed saying they did not realize adults also had best friends. During his visit, Ajoke voiced out her concerns about the exams to Kokumo. Kokumo laughed and told her he believed in her and that it did not matter that she hadn’t written an exam in years. He urged her on and Ajoke felt relieved talking to him.

While Ajoke wrote her exams, Kokumo frequented Ajoke’s home with dinner for the kids and Ajoke. On other occasions, he went to Ajoke’s house and prepared their meals. He made it a duty to keep the children engaged, sometimes taking them out while their mother studied. By the time Ajoke was through with her GCE exams, Kokumo had started discussing about the forthcoming Jamb registration. Kokumo purchased the Jamb form in the first quarter of the next year when it was released and Ajoke burnt the midnight candle again taking only a short breather.

 

By August of that year, Ajoke received her admission letter to study Law at the Lagos State University. She was overjoyed. She called Kokumo on her way out of the campus premises informing him about her letter. Kokumo told her it called for a celebration. He told her not to bother with dinner. After work, he drove to Ajoke’s house with dinner for the kids and a gift for Ajoke. The kids were excited seeing him and they thanked him for the dinner. He told the kids he was taking their mother out and that they would be back before their bedtime. The kids gave him the go-ahead. Ajoke smiled as she got dressed in the simple red gown which Kokumo had bought for her as a celebration gift. Even though she did not apply any make-up, she still looked beautiful.

 

Kokumo drove into town and took her to a bar where they were served finger food and mocktails. They made small talk over their meal after which Kokumo raised his glass and gave a toast to her future.

“I really can’t thank you enough, Kokumo. You have been more than a friend.”

Kokumo laughed. “Have you told your parents?”

Ajoke’s smile faded. “No, I haven’t. I will tell them at the right time.”

Kokumo held her hand on the table and looked at her straight in the face. “You are yet to forgive them.”

Ajoke removed her hand from Kokumo’s. “Let’s not spoil the night, please. I came to have fun with you, not to discuss about my relationship with them.”

Kokumo shrugged. “Okay. We would revisit this discussion some other time.”

Ajoke nodded and her demeanor changed as she started talking about her kids and their antics.

 

After dinner, Kokumo took Ajoke home. The kids were still awake and they asked their mum if she enjoyed her dinner. She responded in the affirmative as she looked at Kokumo lovingly. She asked Kokumo to wait so she could take her kids to bed. Kokumo nodded and sat in the living room. After Ajoke had put her kids to bed, she came back to the living room and sat beside Kokumo.

“Thank you for the dinner and the dress.” She said as she looked at him. “Thank you for everything. For believing in me.”

Kokumo rubbed his thumb on her cheeks. “Thank you for allowing me.”

Ajoke hugged Kokumo as she spoke; “You don’t know the extent of what you have done for me, Kokumo.” She said sighing.

“I may not know the extent but I have an idea.”

Ajoke eased away from Kokumo as she planted a kiss on his lips. Desire rose in Kokumo and he held Ajoke as she was about pulling away from him. He kissed her passionately and she responded. “You don’t know the extent of my love for you.” Kokumo whispered as he breathed into her neck. He eased back and cradled her face in his hands. Ajoke closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Kokumo closed the space between them again intent on making her forget her sorrows. He took her lips in his and both of them kissed with wild desire.

Kokumo stood up and lifted Ajoke from her feet as he nodded towards the rooms. Ajoke pointed towards the direction of her room. Kokumo walked towards the room, opened the door and locked it behind with Ajoke still in his arms. He dropped her gently on the bed as he teased her sensitive spots with kisses and undressed her. Ajoke shivered as a cold chill ran down her spine. She hurriedly undressed Kokumo and like a ravaging storm, they danced to the rhythm of their bodies delighting in the pleasure of the moment.

 

Ajoke woke up at about midnight and looked at Kokumo sleeping peacefully. There was a smile on his face. She sat at the edge of her bed and wondered. “What exactly am I doing with Kokumo? I have betrayed Adejoro again and I can’t seem to tear myself away from this temptation.” She sighed as she thought about how her life had panned out. She wouldn’t be in this mess if her parents hadn’t turned her life into a pawn on a chess board. She knew she should stay away from Kokumo but the more she thought about it, the more her heart broke. He was yet to mention having a girlfriend but she knew he had one. He had once ignored a call in her presence. A lady’s image had appeared on his phone while it rang. Even though, she had urged him to pick up the call, he had refused, saying he would call her later. For how long could they continue with this? She thought.

Kokumo opened his eyes and saw Ajoke staring at him. She almost felt as if he knew she watched him as he slept. He smiled as he pulled her down to lie beside him. He hugged her close as he kissed her cheeks. Ajoke tilted her head to look at him. “What exactly are we doing? Where are we going with this?”

Kokumo raised himself up and sighed. “I wish I knew Ajoke. I just want to be with you but sincerely I know it is not possible.”

“Why is it impossible?”

“You are still married, Ajoke. Don’t forget that.”

“You know I really hate it when you rub that in my face.” Ajoke said getting upset. “Married to who, please? A man who has abandoned me and my children?”

Kokumo pulled her closer to himself and held her. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I am just stating a fact. I know I am selfish for wanting you so badly but I can’t help it.”

“Do you realize how much I also want you?”

“I won’t deceive you Ajoke. We both long for each other but the circumstances in which we find ourselves is beyond our control. Let’s enjoy the moments and leave things as they are.” He said as he kissed her head.

“Okay.” Ajoke said resigning.

“School starts in a few weeks, right?”

“Yes. I should have started my search for a maid.”

“A live-in?”

Ajoke shook her head. “No, I don’t want a live-in.”

Kokumo and Ajoke talked about so many issues till the early hours of the morning when Kokumo got dressed and left at about 4.30a.m.

——
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 11

Ajoke walked to the bus-stop and was about to flag down a bus when a car parked in front of her. She took a few steps backward so she could get on the bus which was about to park to pick her up when she heard her name. She looked in the direction of the car and saw the customer service manager stepping out of the car. She stood still as she looked at him.

“Ajoke, please come into the car.”

“What do you want from me?” Ajoke asked.

“Can we talk about this somewhere else please?” He pleaded. “Come into the car.”

Ajoke walked towards the car like someone in a trance. He opened the door for her and jogged over to the driver’s side. He put the car in drive and eased into the main road. None of them spoke to each other during the drive. Ajoke hid her hands in her laps and refused to look up throughout the journey. In five minutes, he was parked in front of an apartment within town. He got out of the car and opened Ajoke’s door as he held her hand and led her towards his apartment. He brought out a bunch of keys from his pocket and opened the door leading Ajoke in.

“Please sit down.” He said.

“Are you not supposed to be at work?” Ajoke said suddenly finding her voice.

“I have a one-hour lunch break. Since I stay close, I usually come home for lunch.”

Ajoke nodded but remained standing.

“Ajoke, I need you to sit down. I can’t talk to you this way. I wanted us to talk in a relaxed environment; that’s why I brought you here.”

Ajoke sighed as she sat on the edge of the couch in the living room. She looked round at her environment for the first time since coming in. The furnishings were simple but screamed class.

“Ajoke, I know I have hurt you but I want you to hear me out. I’m sorry I stopped responding to your letters. So many things were happening at the same time and I felt like you were putting me under pressure.”

Ajoke looked at him intently without uttering a word.

“How have you been doing?”

“Did you think I was going to suddenly forget about our love?”

Kokumo breathed deeply. “No. But you belonged to another man and the hurt I went through was unbearable.”

“And you thought I would cope better by refusing to have anything to do with me, right?”

“No Ajoke, but there wasn’t much I could do.”

“You could have at least responded to my letters.” Ajoke spat.

“I am sorry, Ajoke. I don’t know how many times I would have to say it. Sincerely, I am. I couldn’t even read the letters. I did not have the courage to. When you stopped writing, I thought it was all over. I picked out all the letters when I was about graduating and read all of them one by one. I’m sorry I never wrote back. I felt you still wanted me to remain a part of your life. You wrote about how unhappy you were and also wrote when you had your son and your daughter. They were six letters in all and I cried the day I read them all. I was still heartbroken even after three years.”

“I did not stop writing Kokumo. I knew you would be graduating and there was no way my letters would get delivered to you anymore. Since you never bothered to reply any of the letters and I did not have any forwarding address for you, there was no point writing a letter that would go undelivered. There was no one to ask and no one to talk to.”

Kokumo sat down beside Ajoke and held her hands. “Please forgive me.”

Ajoke looked away as she spoke. “Adejoro travelled abroad on a scholarship seven years ago. His course was supposed to be for twenty-four months. He left me and the kids to start another life in the UK.”

Kokumo shook his head as he realized Ajoke must have had it rough; having to cater for herself and two young kids alone. “I’m so sorry, Ajoke. I did not know that. I would have reached out to you.” He said as he covered her hands in his. “How have you been coping?”

Ajoke shrugged. “I started weaving hair for little girls in the vicinity, and then their mothers patronized me after a while before I was able to set up a salon.”

Kokumo smiled despite the situation.

“Broda Adisa advised that I open an account to save for the rainy day. There’s no bank in the village yet so I had to come to town.”

“How are your parents and your brothers?”

“My parents are fine. All my brothers are now happily married.”

Kokumo thought about what Ajoke had just said and her emphasis on the word “happily married”. It was a pity that she remained the only unmarried one for no fault of hers. He wished he could turn back the hands of time. He sighed as he looked at his wrist watch. His lunch break was almost over and he had to get back to work. He wished he did not have to. He wanted to know everything that had taken place in Ajoke’s life since the last time they saw; when he had walked her home from the stream and parted ways with her. Even though it was ten years ago, it almost felt like yesterday to him.

“I need to get back to work.” He said standing up.

Ajoke stood up as well. “No problem. I should also take my leave now. I need to get back to my shop and my kids.”

Kokumo moved closer to Ajoke as he held her hand. “I wish I did not have to go back to work but…” He stopped and sighed. “When can I see you again?”

Ajoke shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Okay, when do you intend to go back to school?”

Ajoke gave him a surprised look.

“You always wanted to go to the university. It is not too late, Ajoke.”

Ajoke removed her hands from Kokumo’s. “You know what. I think you should get back to work.” She said as she started walking towards the door.

Kokumo got to her in two steps and held her hand. “Did I say something wrong?” He asked looking confused. “I thought that was your dream.”

Ajoke looked away. “Let me go Kokumo.”

Kokumo refused to let her go. “Okay, I’m sorry. I don’t want you to leave in anger and I really want to see you again. I close from work at 6pm and I am usually home by 7.”

Ajoke looked at him without uttering a word.

“Please, can I see you later today?”

Even though Ajoke would rather not, a part of her heart longed to come back. She breathed deeply. “I’ll be here at 7.30.”

“Thank you.” Kokumo smiled. He opened the door and they both walked out of the house.

Kokumo dropped Ajoke at the bus-stop, flagged down a taxi and paid for it before driving back to the office.

He was unable to concentrate on his job the rest of the day. He wished close of business would come early.

——–
The story continues….

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