The day after my anniversary surprise gone wrong, I woke up quite late. I knew Esther would have gone to work so I took my time getting up from the bed. I eventually dragged myself out after checking the time and seeing it was already 11am. Surprising enough, she had left breakfast on the table. She had made sandwich toast and wrapped in foil on the dining table. It was not new meeting breakfast on the table but after the previous night saga, I felt quite guilty that she still decided to make my food. I ate my breakfast after heating it up in the microwave and found a cheque for fifty thousand naira on the table. I used to feel comfortable about all that she did until today. Seeing the hurt in her eyes yesterday was a real eye opener for me. I had been counting the days for the past one year, waiting for her to just file divorce papers but she never did. Now I’m beginning to think she never will.
I rushed to the room to pick up my phone that was ringing. I could hear the sound from the living room. I saw it was my buddy, Kenny calling,
“Whats up? How did the whole surprise go?”
Not missing the hinge of sarcasm in his voice, I replied him in the same stride, ”How does it concern you?”
”Haba, oya sorry naaaa. Please give me the full gist. Did she finally forgive all your woes?”
”Kenny, seriously following your advice to set it all up was just a big mistake, she practically threw it all in my face”.
”She reminded me of all the pains, deceit and lies I have told her and how it can never be wiped by roses, candles and food. She basically told me she was only my wife on paper and for public display”.
”Kingsley, I don’t blame her. I think its a step though. Lets just say its the first of many steps. You are going to need to really get your act together before you can even get to a point of reconciliation”.
”I understand that.. I just don’t get how I let you talk me into doing all that for her. Anyway, it didn’t work and we’re still on the same page if not worse”.
”You have to keep trying, that is the price to pay for loving a woman after you have messed up her life, I still cannot fathom what got into you”.
”Kenny, please don’t start crying over spilled milk. What is done is done”.
We ended the call after then and I just sat down and my mind drifted back to the times in my life when I took several wrong turns that messed me up. I used to be very brainy back in my 100 level in the university. Getting into the university was quite easy and I didn’t even face the hassles of re-writing exams to gain admission. My name came out on the merit list for Business administration. I always wanted to be a business mogul. Despite finding it easy with my academics, my life was really boring. It was all book and no play. I was still a virgin in the university when all the other guys I knew already had tons of girlfriends even from our secondary school days. My parents were neither rich nor poor, they were both level 12 civil servants with the Lagos State civil service so they had just enough to take care of my sister and I.
It was at the beginning of my 200 level that I got that call from my aunt to come home because my parents had been in an accident. I was right in the middle of a lecture but I took a cab from the campus in Lagos to our home in Surulere. I had questioned my aunt on which hospital they had taken them to but she asked me to come home so we could go to the hospital together. When I eventually got the news that both my parents and sister had died instantly in a car accident coming from Ibadan that morning, it took a long time for it to even sink in. I didn’t even know they had traveled. I didn’t know what made them to take that trip. It’s a mystery I have never been able to solve. What made my whole family go to Ibadan when our whole life was in Lagos? I did not go to school for that whole semester. I was in and out of the hospital. It was the worst period of my life. My aunt assisted me in collecting my parents’ benefits that the government paid as due to them. She gave it all to me. She said I was matured enough to know what I wanted with my life. I was 19 years old.
I got back to school at the beginning of the second semester, I moved out of campus and bought myself a small car. I started drinking, smoking and the girls certainly flocked around me. I was definitely living the life. I drank and smoked weed to drown away my sorrows and I went clubbing every weekend with my new found friends. I started settling lecturers to get my grades up and I just lost all focus. As soon as money gotten from my parents finished, I started making some huge cash through cyber deals. It was in full swing and I was one of those students that made a lot of millions online. My studious calm self became a distant memory. There was money, there was luxury and I was scaling through school with ease. Nemesis seemed to catch up in my final year when the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) somehow got entangled with me. One of their officials set his eyes on me and the guy could not be shaken off by bribery. Before I knew what was happening, I was booted out of school before our final exams. It was like a dream. It was painful but I was already making millions so I could not be bothered.
Fast forward two years out of school, business went down and the money stopped coming in. I did some other business here and there that did not yield results. The only things I refused to do was to go into robbery and drug trafficking. I needed to pay my bills somehow so I chose my girlfriends wisely. They started paying my bills one way or the other. Eventually I met Esther, it was supposed to be another casual relationship but before I knew it, I had told her so many lies and I had already proposed. I started feeling guilty some days to the wedding and I decided to tell her about my past but she just did not want to hear of it so I just decided to enjoy the ride. I knew I liked her but they day I knew I had fallen in love was when she discovered the text I mistakenly sent to her during our honeymoon. I remember that conversation like yesterday.
We were both lying down on the bed when the text came into her phone and she read. I didn’t even check to see if I sent the text to the right person. She just sat up suddenly and said,
”I got the text you wanted to send to your friend”.
My eyes went wide when I realized what I had done, I turned to face her already forming a thousand explanations in my head but she just shook her head and said, ”You don’t need to explain, pack your bags, we’re going home”.
I expected tears, screams and even a slap or two but I got none. The silence was more deafening that I could imagine. It was my undoing. By the time we got home that evening, I was already running out of my mind. She had not said a word to me all day. I turned to her and went straight on my knees begging and telling her how much I loved her. She just looked at me, shook her head and even with the tears streaming down her face she was so strong and resilient. She set the ground rules for our marriage one by one and afterward walked into her bedroom leaving me kneeling there staring after her in shock.
…to be continued on page 5