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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nuptial Vows (1)



It started so beautifully, like all fairy tales. But it was for just three years. And then his soft touches began to hurt and his tender smiles became devilishly smug.

 The nights cuddled together in bed, bearing dreams full of stars, turned to Gothic red-mooned nightmares. 

 The moments she felt butterflies in her tummy transformed to bugs in her gut. Their love slowly faded away like the lipstick stain on a rain beaten wall, until for better became worse.

Ifedayo sniffed what remained of the fragrance of the shrinking red rose flowers in the ceramic pot by the sitting room window. She wondered how something so divine, could lose its beauty- if not watered.

She had been so busy she hadn’t noticed; when the flowers begged for water and laid down their crowns to plead for sunshine. She guiltily placed the pot on the table beside the window, hoping it could be revived.

 They had been so busy they hadn’t noticed; the words left unsaid, kept in the closet of negligence and tagged with 'We’ll talk about it when I get back from work' had turned into a mess- a mass of decayed elements that snuffed out the air out of their marriage. 

 No wonder the flowers were dying; no wonder everything around them were dying. He lost his job but she never had one for he made her a sit-at-home full house wife. 

 She sometimes delighted in her husband’s loss of his job, a thing she should have been guilty about. Her hope was that, it will create the time to talk about the shelved issues. 

 She had been wrong, rather things became worse. You can swear by God she felt more guilty…Oh! Yes! She did. The many tearful nights that resulted were in hope she could wash away her guilt. Her incessant sobs irritated her husband, Adetunji, the more, making him to turn the sitting room to his bed room.

 Then he started breaking plates and cups to prove his points. He started hitting the wall at any burst of anger during many of their heated conversations, and she wondered if he had wished it was her body he pounded on. 

 Like always, she felt guilty again.

I shouldn’t have made him mad. I shouldn’t have said this, I shouldn’t have said that. If he wasn’t ready to talk, I shouldn’t have forced him. He’s my husband; I’m his wife. I should listen if he wants to talk, and shut up, if he wasn’t!

So, she often thought like a guilty and wretched bastard!

To her surprise and of course the whole world, Adetunji frequented church more often, even than she did. Yes, the whole world noticed, for the name of the church he attended was ‘The Global Church of God’- the globe can be interchanged with the world, or earth, you know.
But he never behaved like a church man. 

 He would wake up as early as 4 a.m to pray but wouldn’t wake his wife to join him. He never did pray for his wife.

One early Saturday morning, around 4.a.m., she was still sleeping and didn’t hear him knock at the door. He was coming from a vigil in church. 

When she eventually woke up and went to open the door for him, he responded to her greetings with a slap. Then she realized it had begun. She wasn’t wrong this time, he had tested the waters and it boosted his ego.

  Ifedayo became a punching bag; he needed not go to any gym. His home became a boxing ring, only that the opponent was a weaker vessel.

  ***

One morning, he woke up his wife. Ifedayo was surprised at his soft touch.

“It’s time for morning devotion, honey.”

 Morning devotion? Wonders shall never end in this house, Ifedayo thought. She was hoping it was going to be a new beginning for them. 

 She had thought an angel appeared to him in a dream and whispered or even hollered into his ears, “Tunji! Tunji!! Stop beating your wife or I will smite you with the sword!”

The man of the house began his exultation, and it was on the issue of marriage.

“The Bible says the only authentic and genuine and legal ground for a Christian woman to get divorced and get sent back to her father’s house is when she’d committed adultery,” Adetunji preached, looking straight into her brown eyes.

What’s he getting at? Did he catch me cheating on him? Me?

Those thoughts ransacked her mind, as if unsure of herself.

He continued, “but you are a woman that doesn’t have the gut. Of all your faults, infidelity is not one.”

So, pastor, what are you driving at?

“So, don’t let it ever cross your mind…you can’t ask for a divorce. It’s in my hands.”

Ifedayo took in a very deep breath.

“Let’s share the grace," he said.

Since that day, anytime thoughts of divorce crossed her mind, she dismissed it as the work of the devil and tried evading such thoughts by overworking herself- washing her husband’s clothes, used and unused; and plates used and unused. 

 After all an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.

One unfortunate morning, Ifedayo served her husband breakfast on the dining room table, and only God knew the devil that steered her to go carry the water meant for her husband to the sitting room and wet the flowers in the pot- the flowers she hoped to revive.

 She had never been to space, but she had a glimpse of it when Adetunji’s slap landed hard on her face. What was meant to bring her back from her daydream rather boycotted the realm of consciousness into an interstellar space.

She could only hear faintly the sound of the crashing flower pot, and all she just wished for was that some alien should appear and elope with her, he does not need to be handsome, he just needed to be an alien, not from this world- for she was tired of life.

Later that day, Ifedayo made a call to one of her friends, Emeka; he used to be her only boyfriend. 

 He never scored with her as Emeka usually said, and the pressure for sex made her to dump him then, in school. So, Ifedayo married Adetunji, a virgin- what else did he want from her?
Emeka had been calling Ifedayo for quite sometime now but she had refused to see him.

“Emeka, do you want to score some goals?”

 There was silence at the other end of the line.

 “Come quick to my house right now, before the final whistle.”

“Your…hus-band..is he-” he stammered.

“Don’t worry, he traveled, and won’t be back till next week. Come now before I change my mind.”

She lied. She knew by the time Emeka will be at her place, it will be the same time Adetunji will get back from his job search...

By Oluwaseun Ojegoke - Contributor (courtesy- Naijastories.com)

To Be Continued...

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