‘If you Love a man, pray for him.’
She was still settling into work that morning. She had arrived early. She had started arriving earlier than all the other staff at work because she was trying to right her wrong…the puking scene. She still had about twenty minutes before start of business so she decided to reply her unread messages. Then she stumbled on the meme that read ‘if you love a man, pray for him’ on the profile picture of one her contacts.
Ite had to admit that she did miss her husband. If she had to be truthful to herself, she would admit that she missed the spark and bliss they had been surrounded in during the earlier months of their marriage. She knew a part of it was because of her commitment to her job. And she did not understand how a man who claimed to be in love with her and to support her all through his life would be against the one thing that gave her some self confidence and fulfillment.
She was a Christian. A good one. Not an adultress and not a whoremonger. But she hadn’t had enough time to really say some good prayers for herself, let alone her man. Guilt ran through her veins for a few seconds. God was merciful and she was sure that He understood how tasking her work was. She barely had time to make a decent dinner, let alone say a full spiral prayer. But she had to. Maybe that weekend.
The Human Resources Manager at the firm had sent a general memo to all the staff; executive and non-executive. There was a meeting with the Founding Partner and the other two lead Partners scheduled for 4.00pm that day. Ite wondered what it was about. She usually always knew the agenda for all the meetings they had. She decided to send a quick chat to the Assistant H.R.M. She knew he did like her even if she was way beyond his league. He read her message but his response wasn’t forthcoming. He said he wasn’t sure of what it was concerning and but that the partners held a meeting with the H.R.M the previous evening after all staff had left. Ite decided to ask a lawyer instead…one of those she had a good rapport with, but there was nothing forthcoming instead.
Her extension rang. It was Mr. Patrick, the founding Partner. Her heart started to beat faster, and possibly louder. She knew it! It was because of the event that had happened at the closing meeting when she had puked. But that wasn’t enough ground to relieve her of her job was it? And even if at all anything was going to happen, she thought it had been handled already because her boss had told her it was okay and that he understood it was a mistake.
She knocked on Mr. Patrick’s door, reeking of anxiety.
“Come in.” The man said, her anxiety deeper than his baritone.
She walked in and took in a breath, trying to wear her cloak of confidence.
“Good afternoon Mr. Patrick.” She said.
He nodded. He wasn’t a man of many words, even in the court room. She still wondered how he was able to attain his title as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
He motioned for her to take a seat.
“How are you, Mrs Damisi.” He said, looking above the rim of his glasses.
“I’m very well thank you Sir. You asked to see me.”
He nodded again.
“Yes. I’d like to inform you that the Mentuzinni Hotel deal fell through and we won the bid. Or do I say, you won the bid with your prowess! The firm couldn’t be prouder of you.” He said, smiling although his beard concealed the lines of the emotion.
She smiled, trying to find her words. Yes she was happy that the deal fell through and she was taking home a little more praise but again, she was delighted that she wasn’t getting fired.
“Thank you so much sir! I’m so happy we got it!” She said, taking his hand shake for a job well done.
“So you would have to be at Abuja next week to start due diligence on same. I hope he is fine with that?” He said.
The smiles left her face for a little while but returned in a jiffy.
“He doesn’t have a choice now, does he?” She said.
“Good man. Say me well to him. You may leave now so I can get back to work.”
She nodded and walked out of his office.
She felt a lot calmer now. And furthermore, she knew the reason for the meeting. As soon as she got to her desk, she saw a chat pop-up from the assistant H.R.M.
‘I know what the meeting is for. They are appointing a new partner. A Junior partner.’
Ite became jittery. Her fingers started to tremble as she replied his message.
So this was the moment! This was what she had been waiting for! She was finally going to be made partner.
“I’m at your door. I’ve been knocking.” He said.
Timi jumped out of her bed and closed her laptop immediately. She had been watching a movie. She couldn’t believe he was here! The last they had spoken was the day before when she had sent him some prayers and scriptures and he had said thanks. He said he needed to see her but she didn’t know he meant the very next day even if she exceedingly longed to see him again. It had been four days since she saw him…or stalked him. She had gotten off work early so she had followed him all the way back home to Ikeja. She didn’t mind that she would have to face some traffic returning. She was doing this for love, and it was worth it.
“I’ll be there soon!” Her pitch was high.
She hurried into her bathroom and gaggled some mouth wash then she brushed her weave and hurriedly put some powder and strawberry lipgloss. Then she wore a dress and hurried to the door.
He stood akimbo, in all his handsome glory, standing inches tall. She reached out to hug him but she didn’t feel the mutual usual reception.
“How are you? What do I get you?” Timi said as he walked in.
Damola shook his head, waving his hand.
“Nothing. We need to talk.”
She frowned. He didn’t seem happy.
“Is there a problem?” She asked.
“Yes, Timilehin! What is going on with you? I mean, look at yourself! What is going on? You’re becoming a shadow of yourself and you’re starting to scare me!” He said.
She looked around her, searching for clues on his claims.
“What’s wrong? Did I do something?...I…I don’t understand.” She stuttered.
He moved closer to her.
“Timi, what is this!” He grabbed her left hand. Ify had been saying the truth after all. She was wearing a ring on her finger.
She started to tremble. She tried to free herself from his grip but he was stronger in this tussle.
“It’s…it’s my ring.” She said, breathing heavily.
“From who? You’re claiming that I proposed to you to people?”
She shut her eyes and yelled out loud. So loud that Damola let go of her hand and took some steps backward.
“Are you okay?” He said.
She started to cry and the guilt started to swallow him up again.
“Timi, please. Just try to understand. I know you want me to be with you but it can’t happen. I can’t do…”
“You can! Damola yes you can! This is your entire fault!” She screamed, crying.
He tried to hold her but she pushed him away.
“How is this my fault? Timi I don’t have a similar vision from God. I think this is probably just your imagination or something…”
She reached for his face and hit him with her hand. He stared in surprise, not turning the other cheek.
“Don’t you dare! Don’t you even dare say that to me! I know what I heard!” She shrieked in rage.
Damola was speechless. He still couldn’t believe she had just hit him in the face.
“It’s your entire fault! I have waited so long for you. I have waited and I can’t keep waiting. I know you want me too but you just don’t want to leave Ite. I can’t keep waiting and one of us has to do something about it!” She cried, reaching for a figurine on the shelf and smashing it on the floor.
“Timi, please take it easy. Try to be calm about this. This is not right.”
She laughed sarcastically.
“Do you even have an idea of what I have been through because of you? How many men I have turned away because of you! But you had to go ahead and marry her!”
“I never…I never asked you to marry me…I never asked you for a love relationship…I have always been your friend.” He said, looking all shades of confused.
“Wh..what?! Damola you led me on. You liked me!”
“What are you saying for God’s sake?”
She threw her hands in the air hysterically.
“Damola you did! Please don’t even try to deny this…we are both adults here.”
He started to run his hand over his head and tug at his goatee.
“I don’t understand any of this. I swear…”
“You got jealous the first time I told you someone wanted to ask me out. But you just were too shy or had not yet heard from God about me.”
“What?” He asked, puzzled.
“Yes…yes, please don’t make me look foolish. You led me on. You were always…always there. You told me everything. You said you wanted to marry a woman…like me. The very description of me. We prayed about things together…and God answered those prayers!” She wiped her face with the back of her hand.
“Timi, you’ve got all of this twisted and I’m sorry you…”
She pointed a finger at him, shutting her eyes. Then she started to smile as she reminisced on things.
“You said you care about me…so much. You even said if you weren’t with Ite that we would freaking be together!”
“You got me wrong. My God!”
“She needs to know.” Timi said.
“Know? Timi, don’t, please.” He pleaded.
“Oh, so you’re begging now. You don’t want her to know because your conscience knows this is true.”
“Ite doesn’t deserve this, please. It would break her.” He said.
“Are you crazy?!” Timi screamed, raising her voice above her lungs.
Damola shook his head and grabbed his car key. He had placed it on her coffee table. He headed for the door but she threw another figurine at that direction then she raced him to the door, blocking him.
“Let me leave, please. I need to go. And you need a doctor or something.” He said.
Timi shook her head this time, in violent anger. She pushed him and pushed some more.
“What is wrong with you?!” He yelled, holding her shoulders and shaking her vigorously.
Timi finally started to calm her rage. She started to gasp for breath and then the tears streamed down her face. She looked into Damola’s eyes. The eyes of the man her heart beat for.
“Damola, please.” She held on to his shirt. “Please don’t treat me this way. I’m not sick. I love you. Please Damola.”
Then she went on her knees, holding on to his thigh. He didn’t feel comfortable and he tried to move away.
“Timi, please let me help you.” He said, finally.
She looked up at him eagerly, then rose.
“You will leave her?” She asked immediately.
“No, Timi! No! I cannot and will not leave my wife.” He yelled. He was starting to get irritated.
She got angry. She ran to the shelf beside her and grabbed something. Damola saw what it was when she held it up. It was a razor.
“I will harm myself! I will, Damola if you don’t leave her.” Timi said, pointing the razor at her exposed left arm.
“Stop being dramatic, okay.” He said.
“Ite doesn’t deserve you. I deserve you! Do you even know she doesn’t love you as much as you claim to love her?” Timi blurted out. “I’m sure she forced you to have premarital sex with her! She ruined everything!”
“What…what are you talking about? Look, Timi, please drop that razor on the table and let’s get this over with, please.”
“Do you know she aborted the pregnancy?” Timi said.
Damola dropped his car keys on the coffee table, this time, not deliberately, but as a reflex action.
“What pregnancy? I’m lost here…you’re confusing me. What exactly are you getting at? And what pregnancy are you talking about?” His voice jolted with different pitches; of fear, of anxiety and of anticipation.
She laughed sarcastically again.
“She didn’t tell you she was pregnant. She wanted to terminate it because of her damn job. she wants to make partner and she said the pregnancy will stop her from achieving that.”
Damola blinked. He couldn’t believe tears had formed in his eyes.
“She…she aborted it?” He asked.
“Yes! And she came to rest here and recover before she went back home. She doesn’t love you like I love you.”
Damola shook his head in disbelief.
“Ite would never do that. Timi you are sick and you need to get yourself together. I don’t believe a single word you said, okay. So leave me alone and just sort your life out!”
He started to head for the door again. Then she screamed…in pain.
Damola couldn’t believe this. She had pierced her flesh with the sharp razor and dragged it all the way down to her elbow. Blood had started to trickle out gradually…then suddenly, her dress started to get soaked as the blood gushed out with reckless abandon. She yelled in pain…a unison of physical and emotional.
Damola was lost for words or action. Then he did the next logical thing. He rushed over to her and tried to get the razor from her.
“Please…please stop. Please…” He tried to plead with her to give him the razor.
She looked into his face.
“Will you marry me?” She asked.
He nodded, slowly, then swiftly, without hesitating.
Ite couldn’t help the rush of tears in her face. She got out of her car and ran into her house. Her home. Her matrimonial palace. She needed some sanity and peace. She needed to lay everything out before her husband and reach for his comfort and love. That was all she needed at that moment.
He wasn’t home. She searched for him but the house was empty. She dialed his number but he did not pick up the phone.
She was still crying, clutching the throw pillow on the couch and rocking herself to comfort when he walked in. She ran over to him immediately.
“Baby I have been looking for you. I…” She started.
He didn’t look happy to see her. He almost pushed her away from him.
“What’s the matter?” She asked, looking around and wiping her face.
“You tell me, Ite. My wife!” He yelled, though his voice was low.
“Baby, what’s going on?”
“The pregnancy? The abortion?” He said, yelling this time.
Her heart was racing, more than any character in this fiction. She stepped backwards, looking for the right words to say. She was engulfed with episodes of emotions. She was horrified at how he found out. It was no doubt no one but Timilehin.
“Timilehin told you?” She mumbled.
“Answer my question, Iteoluwa.” He yelled.
A lot of trembling had happened to her that day. She had trembled when she first thought she was going to get fired. Then she had trembled when she thought she was going to be made junior partner. She trembled some more when the meeting started and Mr. Patrick’s niece, Njideka, the laziest lawyer in the firm, was announced as partner. And she had trembled when she typed and handed in her resignation without notice and with the choice to forfeit her salary, because as she drove home, she didn’t know if she had taken a wise decision or a stupid one.
Now she trembled again, as her husband blared the horn of his baritone in anger, but more because of the disappointment she saw in his eyes. The eyes that had only looked on her with nothing but love!
Please read, enjoy, drop a comment and kindly share!
*Rollercoaster Episode 7