The Wait – Chapter 9

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 is she writing me a letter? Is it to inform me about how she enjoyed her married life or what? His demeanour changed and he got angry – and just like the anger came suddenly, it was replaced by rejuvenated tender feelings for Ajoke. 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 longed for his hugs, his kisses and his caresses and cried herself to sleep most nights after intimacy with her husband.

Adejoro’s pride had gone a notch up when he realized he made Ajoke a woman on the night of their traditional wedding. He had showered her with kisses and whispered into her ears endlessly that he loved her; always had and always will. Ajoke’s heart had been broken that night – the gift she had kept for Kokumo had been taken away from her and she mourned the loss of her priced possession to a man she had no feelings for.

Ajoke lived with her husband in a decent self-contained apartment within the averagely expensive part of town. All her friends who had gotten married earlier envied her. None of their husbands could afford to raise a family in that area of the town. Adejoro continued to work hard and he did his best to take care of his wife. However, Ajoke’s heart still longed for Kokumo, despite the fact that she knew his goodbye 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 needed to know if the love he had for her had grown cold. 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 on 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. He did not want to know how her husband made her a woman. He did not want to know how she melted under his touch. He was not interested in the pride she felt being married to one of the most sought out bachelors in her town. He did not need her to tell him to move on. 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 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 delivered a baby 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 he could 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 were quickly replaced. 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 him and Ajoke.

Ajoke had a baby girl six months later. Her mother-in-law and her mother took turns to take care of her daughter 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 Ajoke. Life was good to them all and she was a fulfilled grandmother of two children. Ajoke’s father was also happy with the decision they had taken to give out their daughter in marriage to a good man. He imagined how envious his friends would be of him. Adejoro was making them proud with a good name, a good job and a great family.

Ajoke’s children were aged eighteen months and six months when Adejoro came home one evening excited. He sauntered into their apartment singing and dancing. He swung his legs to the left and to the right in a manner that thrilled his children. Ajoke wondered what the jubilation was about as she looked at him with confusion. Adejoro informed 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.

Adejoro continued to sing and dance, praising God and oblivious to Ajoke’s demeanour.

“You can’t be serious.” Ajoke shouted when she found her voice. Adejoro stopped dancing and looked at his wife.

Ajoke’s daughter, Adebola began to cry; startled by her mother’s sudden outburst. Ajoke scooped her daughter up immediately and strapped her to the back as she patted her bum to stop her from crying.

“It is just for a few months, Ajoke. Before you know it, I will be back.” Adejoro said after his daughter’s cries subsided.

Ajoke harrumphed.

“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.

“Twenty-four months.”

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 palms sideways and opened them 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.” She said as she snapped her fingers backwards over her head.  “You are free to go.” She continued.

“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 am I 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 spend time with her. Since Ajoke wasn’t working as advised by her husband, she woke up each day with a single mission – to take care of her children and her home. Adejoro’s mother did her best to keep her daughter-in-law company. She acknowledged that things were a little different without her son but she looked forward with hope that in twenty-four months, her son would be back and his family would be together again. She stayed with Ajoke 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 progress of his education and life as a married bachelor, 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 receive a letter. 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 on the other side of town.

*****

Akanbi was about stepping out of his house when Ajoke arrived there with her kids in tow. She decided to visit early before the morning sun was out. Her daughter was strapped to her back while she held her son’s hand. Akanbi was surprised to see her; it was Ajoke’s first time in his house. Her monthly upkeep from her husband had always been delivered to her at her house and he wondered what had brought her to his house this early. He 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 if he had an idea why Adejoro had not responded to her letter. Akanbi smiled as he 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. She was shocked at Akanbi’s attitude and she wondered what had come over him.

“What do you think you are doing?” She asked.

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 close 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 longed to be kissed and caressed and a shiver ran up the length and breadth of her body as Akanbi kissed her shoulder and the nape of her neck. She did not push him back and Akanbi took this as his cue. The thought of Ajoke gracing his bed excited him and he was quickly aroused. Blood seeped into every part of his body stimulating his senses and heating up his body. The Ankara sokoto he was wearing became uncomfortable as he sought a release of the sexual tension built up. 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. His action made Ajoke tremble 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 ached to have him. Ajoke’s eyes were still closed and he noticed how she took in a deep breath when he caressed her bust. He wished he had invited her towards the couch but that could wait. He reckoned he could lift her easily. Next time, he would make sure their intimacy was on the couch which would be more comfortable for him. He struggled to take off her underskirt with one hand while he tried to untie the rope on his sokoto with the other hand.

Suddenly, Ajoke’s daughter started to cry. Ajoke heard Adebola’s cry but it seemed like it was coming from a faraway distance. Akanbi looked at Adebola briefly before successfully sliding down Ajoke’s underskirt from her body. He wasn’t going to let the cry of the little child abort his mission. He untied his sokoto in a hurry with one hand as the other hand went under Ajoke’s dress to caress her thighs. Adebola’s cries grew louder while Akanbi’s hand moved faster between Ajoke’s thighs. He struggled to step out of his sokoto as the urge to accomplish his mission grew. Ajoke wondered why her daughter was crying as beams of passion shot through her body.

Ajoke began to hear her daughter’s cries come closer and she shook and came out of her reverie. She saw her daughter crawling towards where she stood and looked at Akanbi. Her underskirt was on the floor and Akanbi groped her. He had taken off his underpants and was about to lift her off the floor when she pushed him back. He staggered backward, surprised at the sudden change of behaviour.

“What is wrong with you?” He asked in a low voice as he moved 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 plans 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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