Iya Dotun dialled Dotun’s number again for the umpteenth time, and the number was switched off. The first four times, it connected, but then, subsequently, it was switched off. Francisca’s phone had also been switched off. She tried not to worry. Probably they had gone somewhere else to have a nice time and did not want to be disturbed, but she could not beat out the intuition that something had gone wrong.
Her phone rang and she jumped at it. It was Toyin. She hissed and cut the call. The call came through a second time, and she threw the phone on the chair. It occurred to her that Toyin had not called her in a very long time. Maybe she knew something about Dotun’s whereabouts. She called back.
“Toyin, what is it?” She asked, trying to hide her panic.
“Ekaale Ma,” Toyin started, her voice still shaken.
“What is it? What is the problem?”
“It’s Dotun ma. We are at the hospital…”
“Yeeeeeee! My God! What’s wrong? Is Dotun alright, and is the baby alright?”
“No ma.” Toyin burst into tears.
“Te mi ba mi o (I am doomed)” She sank into the sofa, throwing off her head tie.
Chief Da Silva rushed in, and grabbed the phone from her.
“Hello, hello…who is this please?” He said.
“Good evening sir. This is Toyin. Dotun and …his…family have been involved in an accident.”
“Please where is the hospital? Are they alive?”
“I’m sorry sir, only Dotun survived and he is in the ICU. We are at Knight hospital in Ikoyi.”
“Thank you my dear. I will join you shortly.”
Iya Dotun had started calling names. She said her co-wives had planned it and were responsible because they were jealous of her.
They got to the hospital, and Iya Dotun ran towards Toyin.
“You have killed me. You have killed me o. You and your mother!” She wept.
Sumbo Faniyi shook her head and dragged Toyin from Iya Dotun’s grip.
“Please let us leave. You have identified them, and you have filled the forms. You can check up on him from time to time.” She hissed.
Niran ran into the hospital almost immediately, and Toyin explained everything, weeping. He decided to stay in the hospital with her, while Sumbo left in anger, at Iya Dotun’s angry accusations of witch craft.
Chichi burst out in tears, as Niran broke the news to her the following morning. He had gone home to change his clothes, and to see Jide.
“Francisca and the baby! Oh no! Oh this is so sad!” She cried.
Jide decided he would join Niran and Chichi to the hospital. He felt really bad for Niran’s cousin. They had spoken a few times over the phone when he and Niran were roomates in UCL.
The doctor's had taken Dotun into the theater to operate on him. Toyin scrolled through her phone. She wanted to dial their Pastor’s number, but then she remembered how he had ‘suspended’ her from the church, and then she switched it off. She had wanted to call the prayer chain in church, but she remembered how they had gossiped about her and relieved her of her position. Then, it occurred to her. Why did she have to depend on them to pray for her or Dotun? Why couldn’t she speak to God herself? She opened her mobile bible app and began to read Psalm 59.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God
Protect me from those who rise against me…
For a moment, she paused. What was she doing here? Why did she rush to Dotun’s side? He had hurt her so much, and had not even been by her side when she attempted suicide. Did she want to get back with him? The answer was No. The doctor had finally allowed her see him, although he was unconscious. She remembered all she had felt for him was pity. Where was the love? All the years of wanting to bring him to Christ, she suddenly realised she could not force a man to want to live right and have a relationship with God. About eleven years of her life, wasted on Dotun. He had made his choice. He chose Francisca and broke their marital vows. He did not stand with her when she needed him the most…for better for worse.
What about her own self? Did she have a true relationship with God? She had broken down and almost took her own life, because her support system…the church and the Pastor’s favouritism, and the hype of being a leader, and having people look up to her as very spiritual, had failed her. when the real rocks hit her hard, and she had fallen rock bottom, they weren’t there to catch her. Pastor Ilori had turned his back on her.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.
That was her mom’s ring tone. Her Presbyterian mother that she had always condemned for being too old school. The reality of the hymn hit her. Did she know Christ for herself before trying to save someone else?
“Oh God please help me.” She closed her eyes.
“Toyin,” She heard Niran’s voice. With him were Chichi, and a tall young man. She looked again and she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Jide!” She exclaimed.
“Oh my God? Toyin? Niran is she your cousin’s wife?”
“You two know each other?” Niran said, looking at them both.
Jide hugged her tight and Chichi looked at them both. Was she the reason Jide came back? Was she the one he had been talking about? Oh it sure was complicated.
“I’m so sorry about your husband. Just trust God to sort everything out. I know it all seems muddled up now, but you will be alright.” He stroked Toyin’s hair.
Francsisca’s elder brother came into the hospital and Chichi hugged him. Their mother had been weeping profusely at home, and blaming herself for pushing Francisca into getting married by force. He went to see the doctor to make arrangements on how he would claim the bodies from the morgue.
Two weeks later.
Toyin parked her Nissan vehicle, walked into the hotel and knocked on Room 419. Jide smiled as he opened the door, and looked her up to toe. She was wearing a blue polo ralph lauren T-shirt, and a pair of light blue denims. Her braids were packed up in a doughnut.
“How was your night Love?” He poured her a glass of orange juice.
“Good. I did a lot of thinking.” She said.
Toyin had decided she didn’t need to be with Dotun. She decided this was the time to move on and find her own life. She was still confused, but she knew she wanted a new life, and a clean slate. She wanted newness. She wanted Jide. They had been seeing each other over the past weeks and all the feelings had come regurgitating. Her mother liked him, and Deola advised her to give it a shot, at least before he went back to the U.K.
She had indeed done a lot of thinking overnight and had decided she would want to be with Jide.
“There’s something I need to tell you.” He said slowly, looking very uneasy. She smiled. That was the way Dotun had been very uneasy the night he proposed to her. But it was too early for a proposal. And Jide knew she had to be divorced first. Not everybody can be Kim K. Perhaps he wanted her to be his girlfriend. She blushed like a teenager, as he held her hands.
“Okay, what’s it?” she smiled.
Jide closed his eyes, and then, mustered up enough courage to speak.
“Before things get pretty serious between us, and more complicated, I want you to know that…”
“That you love me?” She blurted out.
“Cute. Yes I love you very much,” He started.
“But I need you to know that…the reason we left Nigeria many years ago, was because…I accidentally killed my father.”
Toyin yanked her hands off and jumped.