Amos reached for the torchlight on the stool and turned it on. I smiled, staring at him in the light. “Are we going to stop?” I asked, not wanting to stop.
“No, honey.” He leant in a third, and cupped my boobs. “We—” he stopped, turning to face the door. “What’s that?”
I asked, trying to understand. “What’s what?” my ears captured the sound, and I said, “Oh, it’s just mama praying.”
He asked, “Praying?” the light illuminated his face, showing the expression he wore.
“Yes. Praying,” I wanted to ask if there was a problem but stopped. The anger on his face vanished, and a vague expression—one I couldn’t understand—surfaced. “Why are you…?”
He interrupted as always. “By this time of the night?”
I looked confused, watching him get out of bed. “Wh-where are you going?” I called and got out alongside.
“Why will she be praying at this hour? Doesn’t she know the time?”
“I-I don’t understand,” my brows furrowed. My forehead wrinkled, and my eyes rolled in their sockets. Showing how I felt, irritated by his unnecessary rage, I asked him to calm down, not wanting an outburst—I walked behind him and let him open the door.
“What time is it?”
I had no idea.
“I2:47,” he looked at the wall clock, reminding me it was there.
“12:47!” I said out loud and followed him. “But she’s just doing her usual vigil. You don’t have to take it as anything.” I said to him as we got her room. “You don’t have to make a fuss about everything. It’s just prayers.”
He turned. “Prayers?”
I accidentally brushed my lips against my teeth. “Prayers!” I felt a slight pain.
Amos knocked on the door of ‘Mama’s’, and called her name—’twice’
Mama opened the door and, with a scarf around her head, asked us to come in.
Amos said, “Mama, there is no need…” in a tone I didn’t like, going on to say, “Please lower your voice.”
He ignored me, and continued. “Your voice is so loud. The kids are sleeping.”
“Amos, what is wrong with you?”
Mama signaled to me to be quiet, and gave a faint smile and said, “Okay, my son.”
Then it dawned on me that my instinct was right. I’M MARRIED TO AN ATHEIST!
“I don’t like the way you talked to mama,” I said the minute the door came close.
“How did I talk to her?”
Unbelievable! “How did you talk to her?” I gaped at him, raising one brow. My mind went to the time it was Christmas, and how he had behaved—
“Kowe, go and call your dad. His phone is ringing.” I called from the kitchen and wiped my hands on the downside of my cloth.
“I’m here! Hello?”
I made to turn the stew, while Amos talked with the person on the phone.
“Who was that?” I came out when he was done. The call was brief.
I remembered hearing him tell the caller that he was going to call him back. Or her—
I pushed the dining chair out and sat down, settled my gaze on him, and asked interestingly, “Is it the man you talked about when we were in the room? Mr Hassan?”
He answered shortly. “No one.”
“Mommy, are we going to kill chicken?” Kowe’s voice made us realize we weren’t alone.
“Chicken for what?” Amos’s voice grew hoarse.
“For Christmas!” Kowe replied in a jolly tone, which was cut short.
“No one’s killing any chicken.” Amos thundered and left the living room.
“Mommy,” Kowe ran to me. “Why doesn’t daddy like Christmas?”
My brows pulled down, and sadness overrode my face.
We didn’t celebrate Christmas the way we wanted because of Amos. My kids loved the holiday tradition but weren’t given a chance to celebrate—
“You’re a hater for Christmas… a hater for prayers,” I said with arms folded. I had not like the way he talked to mama. “You made her notice you didn’t like she was praying…”
“Her voice was loud!”
“You’re the one who wanted your Mom to stay here—” I thought I heard him mumble.
I gasped. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He ignored me. It was clear he didn’t want mama staying with us. The man I married has completely changed.
Amos and I had had another argument—the street of Abiodun heard our voice.
“What do you mean she can’t stay here?”
“Habibat, your mother has stayed longer than I expected. This isn’t what we planned.”
“Well, this is my house and I can bring in my mother whenever I want. My husband’s house. What has come over you?”…the house was on fire.
Mama heard us arguing from her room and landed in ours. She could tell Amos didn’t want her.
“My daughter, it’s okay. I don’t like how you are talking back at your husband,” she said.
“Mama, I must talk!” I retorted. “He’s the one who started it,” I said in Yoruba. “Ah-ah. What is it?”
“My decision is final, Habibat. It’s either your Mom leaves or…”
“Or what?!” I asked deeply. I was drenched with sweat, panting wildly. What has come over him? I asked out loud, “Babe, what has come over you?” I rolled my eyes and said, “This isn’t you, I must say,” I added, “Ever since you came back from London you’ve been acting weird.”
“Habibat, it’s okay!” Mom’s voice calmed me down. “It’s okay.” I could see she was almost crying.
“It’s okay, my daughter. I don’t want to cause problems between you and your husband.” She said in pains.
I glared at Amos as she left, then followed her. I found her belongings already packed on reaching her room. “H-how…?”
“I was planning on telling you,”
“Telling me wh-when?”
“I noticed your husband wasn’t comfortable having me here…”
“It’s okay, my dear. I know it’s the devil’s work.” She sniffed.
I hugged her and buried my head in her neck. “Everything will be fine.” I said.
Mama left our house and I watched with a broken heart. I knew Amos and I weren’t going to be the same again. We had countless arguments and mostly quarreled, none of us talking to each other.
There was a time I was in the kitchen, preparing the kids’ lunch bags—for school. Amos had come in. And, with an angry look on his face had requested that I dropped them and attended to him. I wasn’t expecting what came next. He took the bags from me and threw them away when I pretended not to hear. His anger got the best of him and he gripped my arm. “A-Amos…” …all I could remember, before he flung me and I hit my head on the kitchen stand.
“Ah!” I woke up to the stinging pain.
“You’re awake,” a voice said.
“A-Amos,” I shifted in fear.
“I’m sorry, baby,” he drew closer.
“You’re sorry?” I felt my head, groaning in pain. “You’re sorry?!”
“Please forgive me.”
Tears fell from my eyes. I’d never have believed if one told me—Amos laying his fingers on me—totally out of this world. I was in our room, a wrapper covering my legs. The kids were no where in sight, getting me scared. “My kids. M .Where are they?” I asked panic-stricken, dreading Amos had done something to them.
“They’re in the living room,”
“Do they know…?”
“No.” his Adam’s apple moved, as his head turned.
“How could you do such a thing? Pushing me like that?”
“It was never what I intended,”
“Amos, haven’t I been nice to you? What changed?”
“You have been nice to me.” He got his eyes on me. “I’m so sorry, honey. I really don’t know what came over me.”
“You don’t know?” I tried not to get angry but it was hard. “Amos, you know I can deal with the fact that you’re not religious and you get angry at some point… but touching me?” I paused. “That’s just far.” I looked away, jaw clenching. Several times I had told myself that it wouldn’t reach to the level of him touching me; my heart was filled with heaviness, pain—and even more. I wanted him out of my sight, but dreaded saying it, then I found courage: “Please leave. Go!”
“If I had known you’d turn out like this, I wouldn’t have married you.” We both looked at each other, and then he left.
I sat, crying on the bed, wishing I’d be healed from the pain and never have to think of what had happened.
…then came regret
“I want a divorce. We’re not compatible.”
Amos took the paper and signed, and I was finally free.
“Hon—” someone shook me. “Hon, wake up. You haven’t eaten.”
“I’m not hungry.” I muttered and opened my eyes. “Amos!”
“Are you still angry with me?”
I gave no response. If he’s trying to make up for what he’s done, he should know it’d never work.
I turned my head to the side. “Please go. I don’t want to talk to you right now.” I turned down his gesture. I fancied having breakfast in bed but wasn’t feeling it. I could hear my stomach rumbling, but I didn’t want to get up and let him win.
“Your food is here,” …I heard.
The door came close and I sighed where I laid. “He thinks he can buy me back with his pretentious ways.” I locked my eyelids back.
I got up later and went to where the food was placed. “Rice and turkey. Hm.” I closed it back and shrugged my shoulders. I won’t let you win, Amos, I remembered the dream. I loved my husband so much, so what would make me think of getting a divorce?
Maybe you should forgive him, my mind rose. “Forgive him?” I thought aloud. I didn’t think forgiving him would be a better option. I was going to hold onto the grudge and make him feel miserable just how he made me when we quarreled and I went begging. I won’t forgive him until three weeks have passed, I thought.
The fourth day came…
“Babe, I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have ignored you for days. Can you please forgive me?” I was the one asking for forgiveness. It was funny, cause I really wanted to torture him.
“It’s okay, hon,” He said and rose to his feet. We hugged and kissed, and then he caressed my cheeks. “We’re cool.” He said, as a knock came on the door.
“Who’s there?” We asked at the same time.
“Oga, na me,” We pulled away, hearing Usman, our gateman.
“Usman?” Amos went to open the door.
“Oga, na one woman carry me come,” Usman said, as Amos opened the door.
“Hello, handsome—” a woman with a fine accent greeted.
“Baby, who is that?” I marched forward and slid my arm under his.
“His wife, b***h!”
Amos has another woman? My heart sank in my boots. “W-wife?”
“Henry? Jenna?” The woman called. Two lovely kids appeared as she did; one about the size of my kids, and the other—can’t say.
I looked at Amos and he looked at me. “Babe, what is this?”
His lips were frozen.
The weird lady pushed me out of the way and marched in like she owned the house. “Wench, help me with my bags!”
Amos had lots of explanations to do.
The woman walked to one of the sofas and sat down. “Get me a bottle of water, will you?” she said to me.
“Huh?” I stood speechless.
“Mom, we have a bottle in one of the bags, remember?” Her son reminded. His sister handed him one and he passed a bottle to their mother.
“Thank you, son.” The woman said.
It was as if I was watching a Zee World series.
“What are you doing here, Gabrielle?”
So that was her name? Gabrielle—
“I missed my hubby, that’s what,” The fair woman replied.
“Amos, how could you?” I finally got myself. “How could you lie to me? Tell me, how could you?” I remembered when he had gone to London. So it was his family he visited there? “You completely made a fool out of me, Amos. I trusted you!” I burst into tears. My mind was messed up and I was starting to see double.
“Oh, dear girl,” Gabrielle said. “You see, hubby here told me about a girl he had a thing for. . .Sort of a one night stand…that he got pregnant.”
“A one night stand?” I looked at Amos.
Gabrielle had her four fingers over her lips, leaving her thumb. “Hubby wasn’t lying, was he?” she stood up and walked to me, looking at my stomach. “You nasty liar,” she turned with shoulders raised. “I thought you told me she was preggy?”
Her kids said with a British accent. “Daddy’s a liar.” they laughed.
So they’ve been in touch, too?
Their mother’s voice drowned my thoughts out. “Oh, no matter, my dear ones,” she chuckled and walked back to the sofa. “So,” she said, “Nigeria’s changed!” she looked at us both and got her legs crossed. “Which one of you would like to fill me in? It’s been ages, my darlings!” she took up the transparent bottle and drank from it. “I’m sorry, did you not hear me?”
I was lost and short for words. I couldn’t believe any of this was happening. What…? How?!
“Perhaps you’ve gotten an ear blocked—”
I looked at Amos, snapping out of ‘shock land’. “I can’t believe you did this to me,” I said, and made for the stairs. I hurried to our room and shut the door—slam! Amos came in. “Habiba-at, I can explain,” he said shakily.
“You’ve been lying to me all this time, Amos! What’s there to explain?” I gritted. I told no one in particular: “He’s been lying to me. He’s been lying to me—” it seemed I was running mad. I made for my box. A large purple box which stood at the far end. I’d planned on getting something inside, but instead saw myself packing.
“Habibat, you have to listen to me…”
“Listen to you?!” I thought about my kids—and felt an even greater pain. All I could think of was getting them out of there and going back to my father’s house. My eyes were greatly blinded: By hurt—and by pain; the love I was one felt, now vanishing into thin air.
“Babe! Babe!” Jerked back and forth, I was made to stare the devil in the eye.
“A-Amos?” It was all happening so fast. The man I loved and cherished above all men. . .Nothing but a liar! “Touch me one more time and I’ll push this in the very place you least expect!” I took up the scissors after hurriedly pulling away. It was in the net of my box.
“Babe, just listen to me,”
“You have five minutes to explain. Go.”
He began: “I wanted to tell you…”
“I didn’t want you to find out like this…”
“That you had a wife and kids abroad? Wow!”
“Sorry for yourself!”
“Really, I am.”
“I swear, I’ll drive this into you if you don’t stop!” I showed him the end of the scissors. I was dead serious.
There were no photos or signs to tell he was married to some woman abroad. I’d gone from bad to worse! “It’s like I said,” I told him, “I wouldn’t have married you.” I remembered what I said days ago, and my tears flowed once more.
It was true Amos was the one seeing me through school… but I had cut all ties and gone my way. He kept coming back, for reasons I do not know. Seeing him only made me angry.
“Please, my love. Please come back. I miss you.” Amos had visited some days after.
“Seriously? You’re still here?” I asked with furious brows.
“I’m here, honey,” he said. “And I’m not leaving until…”
“Do you not get it?” I laughed. “Honey?” I laughed again. “You know, you really have some nerves coming here, Amos. I could hit you with this broom… but I won’t! Please leave now or I’ll call the neighbours. . .And even release our dogs on you!” I meant every word. “You really have no shame, Mr Adeoyi. No shame at all.”
He made to kneel—
Then I shouted. “Ah-ah! Wetin?”
“Habibat, please come back. I’ll explain everything,”
I said in Yoruba. “Mr Man, stand up and stop disgracing yourself. Just look at you.” I’m sure he felt embarrassed. “Ah-ah. This one you come here… be like say your wife don japa…” I joked in pidgin.
“You still dey talk? Whisky!” I started calling my dog. There were three. One was Bruno, the other Whisky. And the last… Fine Girl. She was named because of the way her skin glittered. She was white and beautiful.
Amos still stayed, pleading on the ground. His black trouser was dusty, I could see. He was sweating all over despite the slight breeze that was blowing. I could tell he was scared, though determined to get me back.
“I won’t leave until you come with me, Habibat. You’re my life… my gold…”
“Mm. You go soon say silver,” I laughed and threw my head backwards, and back again.
“I miss you and the twins.”
I was getting bored with the whole ‘miss miss’. Will someone get those dogs? I thought angrily.
“Oya, get out!” I said to Amos, not caring if he was hurt. I pushed the door, and he stood up abruptly, holding it.
“I said ‘Get out!’ ” I shouted to the hearing of everyone, finally getting it closed.
“Habibat!” Memories came crawling back. “I’ll be leaving for London, honey. Uncle and coz need me.” I’d believed everything. Even believed he was really taking a course over there… as stated. I landed on the floor as hot tears escaped their glands. The twins came forward and held me. They were the ones who strengthened me 😊.
Oya oo, I don land 😁 Thanks for the comments so far you guys. Words can’t express how grateful I am 😘😘😍