Nifemi put to bed a second child, a beautiful baby boy. However, perhaps due to postpartum depression, she struggled to keep her emotions and attitude in check. Olusegun’s mother named the child after Olusegun’s late father – Abdul-Taofeek Ishola Babatunde. Bunmi looked confident and at home at the baby’s naming ceremony. Nifemi noticed the small bump she carried in her lower abdomen. She wondered who the ‘not-so-lucky’ man is to have fallen prey to her charm.
As life continued to unfold around Nifemi, she realized she needs with the children and domestic chores. But she couldn’t have brought in an extra hand while in her husband’s family compound. Besides, Olusegun’s self-contain chalet was now too small for his wife and two children. Meanwhile, Olusegun just needed Nifemi to be in support of moving out of the compound before Bunmi put to bed. He had planned with her to take her as a second wife as soon as he vacated from the probing eyes of family and neighbours. So, with his mother’s approval and blessing, Olusegun left his late father’s compound. He moved to a serene area where no one knew him. Gbadun, Nifemi’s sister, moved in to lend a helping hand. Although Nifemi liked the space in the new flat, she missed the old Gbadebo compound.
All her life, she has lived in a clustered environment, surrounded with noise and crowd. Now, it was just her husband, the children and her. It would have been a time to begin to enjoy some privacy if only her husband was the same loving, sensitive and helpful man she fell in love with but for reasons she couldn’t understand, he had changed. His attention seemed farther and farther away from her. He seemed worried more by the day. He wanted to get an extra job, something Nifemi didn’t understand why he needed it. When she asked him, he merely said ‘a man needs more than one source of income for security reasons’. She couldn’t complain but she hated that it wasn’t beginning to worry him that much. Most times, he just locked up his emotions and thoughts which burdened Nifemi even more. She put up with his late-nights, his sudden and frequent drunken attitude, but being distant was something she struggled to cope well with.
On returning from the market one Saturday afternoon, Bunmi was sitting in her living room. She was even relaxed enough to engage Nifemi’s daughter while holding a baby in her arms. It definitely wasn’t Abdul-Taofeek because she trusted her sister not to leave her baby with a stranger.
“Can I help you?”, Nifemi inquired rather waspishly. She looked around for either her sister or her husband. “Didn’t you hear me? What are you doing in my house?”, she yelled hysterically.
Bunmi frowned at her for making such disturbing noise. Then she eyed her a good deal before hissing so loudly. She rocked the baby in her arms instead.
Nifemi could not believe her eyes. Her jaws dropped in utter disbelief. “Gbadun! Gbadun!”, she called out in furry when she found her voice.
“Sista mi”, she answered from the bedroom.
“Who is this person you let into my house?”, she raised her voice.
“Welcome”, Gbadun greeted as she approached her sister to help take the bags of groceries from her.
“Please leave these and answer my question”, Nifemi snapped. “What is the meaning of this? I left you home alone with my children and you let a total stranger in? You even have the confidence to leave my child with her; what rubbish!”. Before Gbadun could respond, Olusegun emerged from the inner room. “Hello love, I didn’t know you were home,” Nifemi said in a lower tone, trying to contain her anger. She let Gbadun have the bags in her hands and asked her to take Fareedah along with her. She watched her sister leave the premise before speaking again. “What is happening here?”
“Can I have a word with you privately?”, Olusegun requested.
Nifemi was angry but she followed him quietly. Full of rage yet afraid of the worst, she braced herself for what he was going to say to her. Bunmi just sat there unconcerned about what was about to happen. She hissed loudly again as she watched them leave her in the sitting room.
Olusegun held out the bedroom door for Nifemi. She looked at him with a mixed feeling of rage and disgust. He had never held the door open for her before. He shut the door behind them. When he spoke, baring it all, Nifemi wanted to go mad. She wanted to cry or beg him perhaps. There were a thousand questions that ran through her mind, but she didn’t know which to ask first or how exactly to react to what she heard. She shook her head constantly hoping he was joking.
“On my birthday?”, she asked. “You have the effrontery to give me this news as a birthday present? Tell me it isn’t true”, she begged.
Her pain echoed through Olusegun’s being. He had not remembered it was her birthday. He was devastated beyond what he could bring himself to show. He struggled to be tough for the sake of the other woman that sat in his living room. However, within him, he was scared of losing the woman who truly meant the world to him.
“Why are you telling me this now?”, she spoke again after a long silence. “Why didn’t you have your mother or a family member tell me you have a baby by her?” Nifemi could not call her name. She felt disgust for her and now it was also robbing off on him. She didn’t know what to believe or think or what her next line of action should be. “I just had your second child.” She didn’t have to remind him.
Olusegun just sat there quietly. Nifemi took his silence for arrogance and remorselessness.
“Why won’t you say something?”, Nifemi yelled angrily. Then in the twinkle of an eye, she could almost see moments from her life flashing before her eyes. How her parents had almost disowned her when she disobeyed them for Olusegun’s sake. She did it for the sake of the love that she believed in, without any inkling that it would someday wane. Nifemi fell to the ground and broke down in uncontrollable tears. She was so furious that she didn’t know when she picked herself off the floor and hit him across the face. He was shocked then angered. No matter what, that shouldn’t have been an option in a situation like this, but he knew he had vexed her with his silence.
“Forgive me”, was all he said before he left the room, leaving her crying on the bare terrazzo floor.
Nifemi stayed on and cried her eyes out. Was it all over so soon? They had not even got around to tying the knot and he already messed it all up. Her mother would have a fit but Nifemi quickly discarded her mother’s disappointment from her frantic mind. Nifemi stayed there, crying then thinking, then crying again before she finally knew what she wanted to do. She quickly packed her bags full of clothing.
“Gbadun!”, she called out from the entrance of her room. Her voice echoed all over the house.
“Sista mi”, she answered at once. “Is everything alright?”, she inquired on seeing her sister’s eyes swollen and red.
“Yes. Please bring the children and get them dressed. Get your things too, we’re leaving for Lagos now”, she emphasized.
As much as Gbadun wanted to ask questions, she knew better than to hesitate and delay in executing that command. By the time they were packed and ready to leave, Nifemi was surprised to see Bunmi still seated in the living room, breastfeeding her baby. Their eyes met and they said nothing, instead they eyed each other aversively. Nifemi saw no sign of Olusegun anywhere. She was glad, for she didn’t want to see or hear him talk when she walks out the door. She wanted to leave and never return; so she did.