Weeks had passed into months, and Dotun had not placed one call through to her. What made it worse was that she didn’t know where she stood exactly. She had tried fighting and waiting, but now, she was just tired, and couldn’t care less if he was going to divorce her or not. Lesson learnt; never react even if the love of your life cheats…it’s just not worth it. She recounted how the whole story had played out. She had just found out that Dotun had been lying to her, and had an intimate affair with Kelu. She had found suggestive text messages between them on his phone and confronted him. He denied it, and as God would have it, before she left his place, Kelu had come around, and had insulted Toyin for staying where she was no longer wanted. Toyin had cried and grabbed her bag, then taken a bike to the house of the only person she could think of; Brother Gideon. And with that one visit, her life had changed for the worse.
Mrs Faniyi brought the plate of Fried plantain and fried eggs with a glass of cold orange juice before her daughter, and stroked her hair, like she always did when Toyin was much younger.
“Please have some breakfast, Love.” She said, and sat on the other chair on the dining table, beside her girl.
“Thank you, mom.” Toyin smiled weakly.
The woman broke down in tears, walking away. She was scared and devastated at what Toyin had turned out to be since she left Dotun’s home. For weeks, she had been trying to make phone calls to her daughter but had not been able to get through to either her or Dotun. She had called Dotun’s mom and had received the coldest and most embarrassing reaction. When she couldn’t bear the fear and suspense anymore, she threatened to throw Dotun in jail if he did not tell her where her daughter was, and it was then he told her that Toyin and him were separated and he did not know where she was. It was the hospital that finally called her to inform her that Toyin had attempted suicide.
For days, after her stomach had been pumped from the drug overdose, she was too weak to do anything, and when the doctor finally certified her fit to go home, Mrs Faniyi decided Toyin was coming home with her.
Mrs Sumbo Faniyi had cried as Toyin told her every single detail of what happened, even if it had taken much persuasion, as Toyin was entirely secretive. She told her how she had been raped, gotten pregnant, and had an abortion. She told her how Dotun constantly cheated, but how God wanted her to bring him to repentance. She talked about Dotun’s affair with Francisca and then, his baby. She described the humiliation she felt when she thought sharing her problems with Sister Ibukun was sort of a refreshing, but then, she had gone to church the next Tuesday evening, for Bible study, and the ladies behind her had started murmuring. She had waited behind for the Tuesday weekly Virtuous women meeting, where she was the Assistant Secretary, but she had received a cold welcome and had been asked to drop her post, pending Pastor Ilori’s decision, and how Pastor Ilori had adviced her to take some time off and attend a one month cleansing prayer and fasting, but hadn’t failed to state that he was disappointed in her “of all people.”
What hit Sumbo Faniyi the most was that her child had been raped, pregnant, and operated upon, and she did not have the slightest idea. She felt like a failed mother, and the guilt would not go away. Her husband, Toyin’s father, had walked away from their marriage about twenty one years ago, because Sumbo had not given him a son, and because his mistress had just had twin boys for him. She had cried and beaten herself up, but then, all that did not bring him back. The time he finally came back to the house, he had come with body guards and thrown her and her daughters out, then brought in his new family. She had gone from in-law to in-law, but no one was supportive of them. His half-sister, the nicest of them all, had promised to speak with her 'boda' but always came up with the excuse that she was dealing with her own matrimonial problems. And so, Sumbo had gone back to her mother at Ebute-meta, dropped her daughters, and travelled out of the country to pursue a degree at the University of Leeds on scholarship. She was determined to give her children a better life than their father would have. She got a job with an Advertising company in Ibadan when she returned, and was only able to visit her mom and her girls on weekends. She got transferred from one region to the other, and the visits reduced. By the time Sumbo's mother passed on, Toyin was already fourteen. Sumbo had no choice but to put the girls in boarding school and have them stay with her in Port Harcourt during the holidays.
Soon, Toyin got into the Obafemi Awolowo University, and Sumbo got posted to the head office in Lagos. She later resigned, and started her own PR Company which took her on multiple trips around the country.
And time passed…
Probably the rape had happened one of those times she had been busy trying to make enough money so that her girls would never have to suffer lack.
Francisca tied her hair in a bun, as Dotun kissed the nape of her neck. She smiled, shaking her head.
“Are you trying to make baby number two?” she laughed.
“I don’t mind, you know. Dotun Junior is a big boy now.” He said.
“That reminds me,” Francisca turned to face him. “His first birthday is coming up next week and I need some money to pay for his cake and the bouncy house thing.”
“That’s no problem. Give me what I want and I give you what you want.” He laughed, dragging her to the bed, and taking off his t-shirt.
“Honey,” Francisca started, pulling the strands of hair on his chest.
“What is it this time?” He said, feeling interrupted.
“When are we getting married?”
The Big question again. He was tired of everyone bothering him with when he was going to marry Francisca. He had moved her into his home on his mother’s instructions, and she had ensured he got rid of anything that signified Toyin. She had changed the sheets and curtains, even the kitchen utensils.
“I can’t get married while I am not divorced yet.” He said, rolling on to the other side of the bed.
“When are you ever going to get divorced? It’s been what…”
“It’s been almost a year I got married to Toyin. Isn't that too early for a divorce? My wedding suit is still intact!” He yelled.
“Oh I see. If you don’t make a decision before the end of this month, I will take my son and leave you for other men who are man enough to have me.” She hissed and turned off the lights.
Chichi stepped out of the SUV as her husband opened the door.
“Thanks Babe.” She smiled, holding her Hermes purse.
Niran smiled back. “This pregnancy is making you glow more than ever.” He joked.
They walked into the shop at Anike road in the Shopping complex, and Niran asked the attendant to get his wife a seat.
“Is your madam around? I don’t think this one can attend to us.” Chichi said, looking round the store.
“She is around, Ma. But she just went to the bank down the road. I can attend to you. Just tell me what you need. Any design, any desire, I can handle it.” She said. Chichi laughed. You could tell the girl had grown on the job.
“I found your ad in the magazine, and I want you to re-decorate my home. My husband used to live alone so the house is all glass and sharp objects. I’m expecting as you can see,” Chichi said as she rubbed her belly. “So I need a new design that’s baby-friendly.”
“Aunty you should have just called our phone or sent an email. I would have come down with our boys and set up your house.” The girl said, as if trying to hide the fact that the shop was sparsely stocked.
“Yeah, but we were in the area, and I also want to see any samples or pictures of homes you have previously decorated to suit what we want. Do you have an album or something?”
Niran was making a call and had gone to the other end of the room.
“Sure ma. Please hold on a second.” The girl went in to bring an album.
Chichi looked round. The store was practically empty. She wondered if the rent was commensurate with the profits they made.
“Welcome Ma,” The girl said, going over to the entrance to collect her madam’s handbag.
“Oh thank you. We have a customer?” Toyin said, almost surprised at the possibility.
She stood for a moment, as Chichi turned to face her. Her gaze shifted from her face, to her protruding belly.
“To—Toyin.” Chichi said, standing up, and walking towards her.
“We meet again.” Toyin smiled, and took a seat. “What can I help you with?”
Chichi dropped the album and buried her head in her hands.
“Toyin I am so sorry for everything that happened. Please I want you to find a place in your heart…” Chichi started.
“To forgive you? After ruining my life?” Toyin laughed.
“I am sorry. I promise I did not say a word to Dotun.”
“Oh well. Congrats on your pregnancy. Who is the lucky man?” Toyin said sarcastically.
“Hello Toyin.” Niran said, walking towards them.
Toyin smiled. “Oh you two got back together, despite everything. Aren't you lucky, Chichi. After all those abortions and runs, you got a good man, and I ended up thrown out. Life is sure one funny theater.” She laughed, trying hard to hold back her tears.
Niran held his wife’s hand and beckoned on her that it was time to leave.
“I know all about her past, Toyin. She has my forgiveness, and above all, she has God’s forgiveness.” Niran said.
“Oh so I am the one who doesn’t have God’s forgiveness?” Toyin snapped.
“God is merciful to us all. But have you forgiven yourself ?”
She ran after them.
“How dare you?! Who are you to judge me? Do you have an idea what I have been through? I nearly lost my life in all of this! Do you know what Dotun did to me? He caused this! I would never have been in this situation if he had not cheated on me.” She yelled.
“Self-pity got no man anywhere. I am sorry for everything that happened to you, but you have to pick your life back up.” He said.
“Get lost!” She screamed, as they drove off.