Amos had me sleep in the visitor room while Gabrielle warmed his bed. My joy had turned to sadness overnight, and my husband had changed because of a woman. Things were taking a drastic turn and I wished it didn’t have to be. I was living a life of pain. A life where sorrow and hurt dwelt within and kept me their prisoner. I no longer ate or went about my ‘usual’ life the same. I’d stare at the empty air sometimes, with bitter tears dropping down my face onto my once dry shirt.
Once, I fell sick. “You’re stressing yourself and the baby, ma’am. Is your husband aware?” the doctor asked as though he knew what was going on at home.
“No, doctor,” I replied, “he doesn’t know.” I held back the tears that wanted to flow, avoiding his gaze. I was given some treatment. My baby was okay, that was what mattered.
With time, I started to overlook Amos’s behaviour. For my baby’s sake. And my sake. Including my kids. Kowe and Ayo also noticed Amos and me weren’t in good terms. They’d always ask, “Mom, why does Daddy don’t talk to you like before?” This would send a throbbing pain through my heart, making it heavy. I’d have no better words than to say, “Just be praying for him. You’re still young to understand.” I didn’t want them understanding a thing. Amos no longer kissed my belly or listened for the baby to kick. He’d get himself holed up upstairs, in a bid to avoid me. And sometimes, would not go to work, which made me worry.
“Pastor, I am not understanding my husband again,” I said to Pastor Vincent, who had come to our house one morning.
“Hm. What is it, my daughter? And how are you doing? It’s been long we saw you in church.”
My lips made no movement for a while, then: “I am fine, Daddy. Gbogbo rẹ dara.”…all is well. I added in Yoruba.
“Hmm. But, my daughter, what is it that is making you not understand your husband? Something must definitely be wrong.”
I lifted myself up partly from the chair, then retracted on seeing Gabrielle.
“Who is this man?” Gabrielle asked with eyes focused on Pastor Vincent. “One of your clowns?”
I wanted to talk, but Pastor Vincent stopped me. “My daughter, you are welcome. Daughter of Zion, you are welcome.”
Gabrielle burst into laughter. “Have you any idea who you’re talking to?”
Pastor Vincent made to stand, and Gabrielle pushed him back on the chair.
“Gabrielle!” I stood up angrily.
Gabrielle looked at me, smirking lightly. She turned to Pastor Vincent and arched in his direction, took his collars in her hands, and said: “Now, you run, or I’ll feed you to my dogs.”
Pastor Vincent looked at me.
Amos came out and Pastor Vincent asked him to sit. Gabrielle signaled to him to not move an inch, and he didn’t, making me conclude he was ‘spelled’.
“This is truly not ordinary,” Pastor Vincent said where he was.
There was something about Gabrielle that looked odd. Pastor Vincent saw directly through her and began speaking in tongues that the whole house trembled. “This is not your wife!” he yelled to my amazement. “I said this is not your wife!” Pastor Vincent made to move, as he stood in one place, uttering no word.
“Gabrielle, what have you done?” I asked, bewildered.
“It’s not ‘what have you done?’” She said, “It’s ‘what did you do?’” she transformed into the very least.
“Baba Iyati?” My eyes widened. He was exactly how he was when Mama had blown up in flames and was left on the cold tiles—clad in a red wrapper, with his upper form completely bare. He grunted, as his eyes rolled repeatedly. His expression told something ‘unlikely’ was about to happen. “I am back.” he said.
I couldn’t utter or call God’s name, terrified. I shifted back in fear, heart racing. How is this possible? I gaped.
“I have fooled all of you!” Baba Iyati roared. Thunder clapped and the whole place trembled. Torrents of rain came down and everywhere grew dark in seconds.
“No!” I yelled. “No, y-you cannot win.” my voice cracked. “What did you do to my husband?” I asked, terrified. “What did you do to him?!” I roared like thunder, lacking the courage to go on, but stood firm.
“Oh, it was your mother’s dying wish to see your husband laid to waste. For years I kept watch. Though you rendered me powerless, I was able to recover my powers and seek refuge in the hands of the ‘Unseen’. With that, I could take the form of whoever I wished… that silly one who thought herself smart… May she live on.”
I bowed my head in tears. So it wasn’t Gabrielle who we were with? “Where is Gabrielle?” I meant to ask where her body was kept.
“Dead and buried!” Baba grinned with satisfaction.
I couldn’t understand any of this. How did Baba know Gabrielle was coming back in the first place? Baba’s voice drowned my thoughts out. It pulled me out of the dozens of unsettling thoughts and made me gape, while its owner grinned, drilling me from the very top. “I knew taking this form would help me penetrate into your family,” Baba continued. “Your co-wife had gotten here when I heard of her return. I used the ungodly hour to perform the task, binding her body to a place she can never be reached, and embracing her form in the very way I knew no one would suspect.”
I looked with eyes widened. We have been harboring the devil all this time—
“She was the best way to reach your family,” Baba went on.
I listened raptly, as he disclosed everything. “The woman you call your co-wife… is alive.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. Gabrielle’s not dead. I made to ask where she was, but Baba had already disappeared.
Pastor Vincent was left on the floor while my husband just stood, staring into space. He was drenched from the head, with his clothes all soaked from the drops—Pastor Vincent could utter no word but stare at the both of us. “Pastor Vincent?” I called, but he gave no response.
Everything happened like a dream. Baba was nowhere to be found and Pastor Vincent had gone dumb. I rushed and called some of the ministers in the church to come witness what I was; Minister Ubaka was among them, and Brother Jerome and Sister Bisi were not left out. He said some prayers and revealed our house was under serious attack. And I couldn’t help but give a sigh—all this from marrying one man.