I put my head down with a shy smile as I took a gulp of Jack Daniels diluted with coca cola, almost emptying my glass; then inhaled loudly. Jack always did it to me: made mea whole lot happy and free. Jack is the best party starter and a party mood was the perfect mood for me.
He handed me the cable remote, but I asked that he played a nice slow music. Minutes later, the room was filled with J-cole’s voice and that was the first time I paid attention to what he said in his song ‘Balance’. Oh Lord, was it the alcohol or was Paul trying to play with my mind, I thought to myself as I listened.
I placed the glass on the side table in front of me, reclined a bit on the couch as I shut my eyes and gave my ears completely to J-cole:
“You make up like a mess, trying to hide yourself; There is a soul inside that you don’t even know exists; You are so out of touch that the world mistreats you; Rich niggas fuck you; broke niggas beat you; I hope you understand, that your value isn’t determined by another man; Because right now you let them brothers get the upper hand; Losing your balance… Girl you are losing your balance…”
What is happening? This cannot be a ploy by Paul, because J-cole was describing me so effortlessly. What is happening? Where am I? How did my life turn out like this? I thought to myself, then I felt something warm on my cheek.
It was Paul wiping tears off my cheeks. I was lost, I was far gone, I remained in that position for the longest time after which I got up, put on my shoes, shook my jacket free and headed for my car. I had to go home. I had to give Tunji one final chance, if he messed this one up, I would damn all consequences and walk out of the marriage. Yes, that was what I was going to do, I thought to myself as I started my car and Paul sorted the gate out.
When I got home, I headed for the kitchen and prepared pancakes and custard for us. I ate a little and freshened up, put on the same lingerie I had on the day Tunji broke the unholy news and laid in bed, waiting patiently for my husband to come back.
Then the thought of Shola and her child crept into my mind. I picked my phone and sent her an SMS:
I heard about your condition. I am happy for you; I also need you to know that my doors will forever be open to your child any day, any time; but please make sure he or she comes alone. Have a nice life.
She replied, but I deleted it without taking a peep at the content of the message. I didn’t care about her or what she had to say. I only care about my home and making it stand. But she sent another message and another and another. She was obviously bent on annoying me, but I wasn’t ready for it, so I turned off my phone as I waited for my husband to return.
I felt something warm and wet on my fore head. It was Tunji kissing me. I opened my eyes to see him smiling down at me, as he chewed on the pancakes.
“I am sincerely sorry Juju, I promise you, I have not touched her since we became one.”
“I am sure you haven’t my darling husband, however, I hope you have also not touched any other lady since we got married?” I asked.
“No baby, I have not. I only get turned on by you; the way your mouth curls up whenever you want a kiss badly; the way you run your fingers through my body. Oh Juju, I have missed you. I really have.” Tunji said.
If you have missed me like you say, why are you still standing there with that plate in your hand. Come here and show me just how much you have missed me.” I said, giving my best flirtatious smile.
Oh, how I would love that right now. It’s just that, pastor declared a twenty-one day fast for us and I wouldn’t want to spoil it.”
“Wait, Tunji, I do not understand what you are saying. Are you trying to tell me that you will not have sex with me because of some silly fast that the pastor declared?” I asked in the most stunned way.
“Juju my dear”, he said as he sat beside me, “you are fully aware that I have a problem. It’s no joke anymore, I am tired of my randy lifestyle. I have stayed faithful to you for this long and I have really enjoyed it. In fact, these past six months has been the best time of my life. The way I felt these few days, made me promise myself that I would do everything possible to make sure we never experience a fight in our marriage again baby.”
“Hmmm, well, there is some sense in what you are saying. I should also join you in the fast; let God completely wipe out every negative thread in our home. What bible verse did pastor give us to read as we fast?”
“Erm, well… he didn’t really give bible verses. He just said that each day, we should come clean to God, confess our sins, acknowledge our weakness and ask Him for help.”
That should have been my cue, if I had not been a foolish and blind lady in love. How would Pastor Toyin declare a twenty-one day fast without bible passages and prayer pamphlet to go with it. It had never happened before. But I chose to believe my husband; I loved him.
“In that case, we need to resume our morning devotions.” I said.
“Oh yes we need to. In fact, I was thinking we do morning and night.” Tunji said.
“Okay, that would be just fine. You would lead night and I, morning.” I suggested.
“Oh no Juju, I would rather you lead the both of them. You know I have really wronged God; I would not want our prayers hindered because of me.”
“Ahn ahn, Tunji, it is not that bad and that is the essence of the whole prayer; that God cleanses us all now.” I said.
“Yes honey I know that, but I insist.”
“Okay my love, I will do anything that makes you happy.” I said.
Later that day, I thought about telling Tunji about the message I sent to Shola, but I didn’t want to dampen our mood. After all, it was no coincidence that God wanted us to fast for twenty-one days, four days before Shola’s child birth. Does God plan to kill Shola? Hmmm, the thought of Shola dying made my soul leap for joy.
As I stepped into the office the next day, Becky strangely walked into my office with me, I looked at her for an explanation, then she said.
“Someone is in a good mood today o. I have not seen this glow on your face in a long while. Are you pregnant?”
I knew she wanted friendship with me badly, but she always hit me with the wrong stroke each time she tried. I smiled and said,
“Tell me Becky, do you have a boyfriend?”
“Oh yes I do, but he is nowhere near your husband financially. I admire you and your husband; your bags; outfits; weaves. I just wish I could be like you. I wish I could get a man like yours.” She responded.
“Does your man treat you well?” I asked.
“Yes, he does, he is really nice to me. But you know what they say: I would rather cry in a Porsche car than laugh on a bicycle.” She replied.
“You know what Becky; I have a lot of work to do today. Let us continue this conversation later in the day.” I said, with the fakest smiled I had ever worn.
When she left, I hissed and walked to my seat. How sad the lives of some humans can be? Wishing for the worst for themselves when they have the best in their hands. What I would trade to have a man who doesn’t have all the money, but has a good heart, respects me and never cheats on me. Or even if he cheats, he would not rub it to my face like Tunji did.
It took until mid-day before I realized that my phone was still turned off from yesterday. I picked it up from my bag and turned it on. Then I saw Shola’s message,
“Go through his chat with Mark if you would not listen to me.”
Oh damn iPhone. Why did messages come on the home screen like that? Why did the makers of iPhone make me read this message? Why have they succeeded in ruining my day? I thought to myself.
After our devotion that night, we went to bed. Tunji would not cuddle me; he really wanted this cleansing from God. I picked up his phone the moment I heard his snore, pressed the home button and it unlocked. I placed the phone back on the bed. Shola has had her way one too many times for me to give in to her cheaply this time. She wanted my home, but I will fight tooth and nail to keep it.
If I had known, I would have just read the damn message that night.