by Fisayo Talabi
The phone rang for the fourth time, and she summoned all the strength within her to pick the call. There was silence for a while. She could hear him breathing so she was very certain he was still on the call.
“Toyin,” he started.
Had it gotten that bad that he was so quick in discarding his pet name for her; Baby. She felt a lump in her throat as she attempted to speak.
“Hello Sweetheart.” She said.
Dotun looked at the phone to be sure he had dialled the right number. Perhaps his message had not delivered. The problem with these network service providers though.
“How are you doing? Um…are you okay?” He himself was lost for words.
“I’m great dear. You did not reply my last message. I was telling you about the Caterer. She is really messing up big time. And can you believe my gown is still not ready, Dotun? Don’t they know the wedding is closer than ever?”
He ran his fingers over his head. She had obviously not seen the text message. Now this would make it worse than he had thought.
“I have to go now. I will talk to you later. Something came up.” He said, and cut the call before she could give a reply.
He poured himself another glass of Heineken and gulped down the content. He already felt a pounding headache. He had been thinking a lot. He knew his family would be disappointed too, but he was just trying to do what was best for everyone. One more time, he looked at the picture Francisca had emailed him and his heart skipped some beats out of fear, disappointment, confusion, or maybe a mixture of all three.
Ladi came around as soon as Dotun had called him, and together they drank some more, at the balcony, trying to find a way out of the situation.
“Guy, I thought that chapter was closed! This na real mess up big time!” Ladi said, rolling his index finger around his car key, as if the solution lay in that activity.
“You think I don’t know? I don’t know how to tell Toyin. I don’t even know how to explain this to her. She is just gonna church me out men. Besides that, I just want to save her the stress and scandal this will cause her in church, you know.” Dotun said. He looked again at the email and gave Ladi the phone. Ladi laughed and Dotun threw an object at him, in annoyance.
“You cannot even deny this one. This is so against you. To be candid I think we should speak to Toyin and get it over with once and for all.” As he spoke, Ladi stretched his neck to see whose car was by the gate.
“Guy Toyin is by the gate!” He said. Dotun hurriedly got up and gathered the bottles of alcohol, hiding them in the brown carton where he kept old items. It was the empty carton that had contained the keyboard which he bought last year for the church choir.
He dashed into the house and went to freshen up while Ladi engaged Toyin in mostly meaningless conversation to buy time.
Ladi decided to give them space to talk, so he left, giving Dotun a signal to be confident and tell her everything.
She looked at him, from head to toe, before taking a seat.
“So, I am listening. What was the break up joke about?”
She had been staring at the email for about twenty minutes and everything Dotun was saying, she was hearing, but not listening. By then, he was on his knees, pleading and begging and trying to justify himself.
“When did this happen? I thought you had stopped seeing Francisca.” Toyin managed to finally speak.
“I did. I stopped. But she was pregnant and I had no idea. She put to bed three days ago, and she wanted me to know about our child, Toyin. I'm as confused and as surprised as you are. I don’t want to hurt you more. I know we had plans but I have messed up again and…”
She stood up, adjusted her blouse that was now hanging loose from her carelessness, and threw the phone at her man.
“We are getting married and that still stands. I have deleted the mail. Old things have passed away. She is in the past.”
She grabbed her handbag and walked out.