How are you? How was your week? Happy Easter to y’all.
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Have a lovely Easter.
This was not the fairytale ending she had hoped for.
Atinuke blinked back tears as she maneuvered through the Monday morning traffic. She was exasperated with the way TJ was handling the situation. She had tried to explain to him a few times but he would have none of it. He moved into the guest room and barely spoke to her. They lived like strangers, only making polite conversations when necessary.
She had been looking forward to going back to work, she kept herself occupied with unwrapping some of their wedding presents and making thank you calls, spring cleaning the already spotless house; just anything to keep her busy. Tokunbo had resumed at work the week before, which left her all alone in the house.
She pulled into the company car park and saw her colleague’s car drive in about the same time. They parked beside each other, and both stepped out of their cars as soon as they turned off their engines. The two jolly friends embraced each other fondly.
‘Mrs Williams!!!’ Jumoke said a little too loudly.
‘Jummy!!!’ Atinuke replied in a high pitched tone.
‘Good to have you back Tinu, I sure missed you, even though I’m sure you don’t want to be here.’
‘Yes oh, I’d rather be at home with my husband.’
She hoped Jumoke didn’t hear the insincerity in her voice. ‘But it’s good to be back cos I missed you, my dearest chief bridesmaid’ Atinuke replied and gave her another hug.
‘You are glowing o’ Jumoke said as she did a double take on her outfit. Atinuke was wearing a new navy blue peplum dress to celebrate her first day of being Mrs Williams at work.
‘Thanks oh, and you are not looking bad as well. You seem to have lost weight’
‘Yes oh! Thank God somebody noticed!’ she replied and did a happy twirl. ‘See why I missed you? I started Insanity about a week ago oh, in addition to the Cambridge diet I’ve been on. It’s not easy but wetin we go do as I have to fit into a size 8 dress before my 25th birthday. You know some of us are still searching…’
Atinuke smiled and nodded as her chatty friend rambled on about counting calories, not having dinner, fitting into a UK size 8… Ever since she had known Jumoke, she had been battling with her weight. She just hoped she hadn’t given her false hopes, but she actually looked slimmer to her.
‘So how is married life?’ Jumoke asked after her weight loss preamble with a wishful expression on her face.
‘Marriage is sweet, my dear.’ Tinuke managed to reply with a forced smile. The smile that accompanied the same reply she gave anybody asked her about ‘married life.’ She often wondered what they really expected her to say.
‘So gist me, what have I missed?’ she asked as her eyes questioned Jumoke for office gossip.
‘My dear, there’s plenty gist o’ Jumoke whispered and took a quick glance sideways to see if anyone was close by as she divulged the latest gossip. ‘Kelechi finally asked Mope out, you know he has been on her case’-
‘It’s a lie!!!’ Atinuke replied with an exaggerated surprised look.
Jumoke filled her in with office gossip as they made their way into the office building.
Throughout the day, she contemplated talking to Jumoke about what was going on in her marriage but decided against it. She remembered the advice they were given during pre-marital classes about not discussing their marriage with outsiders. As they made their way to the canteen for lunch, she resisted the urge to talk to Jumoke. While they waited in line to be served, she heard someone clear his throat behind her and recognized the voice that interrupted their conversation.
‘Hi Tinu, sorry MRS WILLIAMS’ The rich baritone voice belonged to a well groomed young man who was well over 6 feet tall.
‘Hi Dimeji’ Atinuke replied as she turned to face him.
‘Good to have you back. Sorry I couldn’t come for the wedding, how is the Mr?’
She didn’t miss the tone of his voice.
‘It’s okay and MY HUSBAND is very well thank you. She turned around signifying the end of their conversation while he chatted on with Jumoke.
‘Dimeji, how was your weekend? I was at your estate last weekend and I tried to reach you-
Dimeji had been on her case from the day she joined the firm. She was single when she joined the company as a youth corper and he was an associate. She was one of the few corpers who were retained after service, to Dimeji’s relief.
He did everything to win her affection. From buying her lunch, expensive gifts, flowers, and even buying gifts for her friends as well. One day she finally told him the reason why she couldn’t date him because he wasn’t born again. He promised to start going to church and true to his words he started coming to her church. She commended him and encouraged him to keep coming but it was really obvious he did it because of her. She started dating Tokunbo not too long after and told Dimeji who stopped coming to church.
Although, he was a great guy, she couldn’t lower her standards because of him. She wondered why he was still persistent even though many ladies were throwing themselves at him. In Jumoke’s words, he was ‘every woman’s dream’. Jumoke was very much interested in him; and she did no job of hiding it.
They were been married for 3 weeks. Enough time for Tokunbo to sulk and get over it. Her futile attempts at talking to her husband was beginning to make her depressed .The only time he made any bodily contact with her her was whenever they went to church or attended events.
She called her sister to tell her she was coming over later in the evening after work; she had to talk to someone before she went crazy.
Joshua, her 4 year old nephew shouted when he saw her and threw himself at her.
‘How’s my favourite Nephew?’ she hugged him back and gave him the new DVD she bought for him.
Sola gave her a hug which lasted longer than usual.
‘Mrs Williams you are shinning oh’ she quipped, admiring her from head to toe.
‘I thank God oh! Where is Rachel?’ she asked about her 2 year old niece when she didn’t see her anywhere.
‘She’s sleeping upstairs with her daddy.’
They talked about the kids over the next few minutes, Sola talked about her small chops business and how it was booming but complained about how difficult it was to get reliable staff. ‘How is Tokunbo?’ Sola finally asked. Atinuke bit her lower lips in an attempt to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill.
‘Tinu ki lo de*? What’s wrong? Is Tokunbo okay?’ At this, she burst into tears.
Sola, shocked at her sister’s outburst quickly gathered her into her arms and held her till her crying subsided.
Joshua who had been admiring his new DVD came to hug his aunt when he saw her crying ‘Sorry auntie Tinu’ he offered and gave her his newest toy. Tinu smiled at his innocence, if only such a simple act of kindness could solve the problem that was threatening to rip her apart.
Sola went into the kitchen to get her a glass of water as she pondered what could have caused such an outburst. After a few gulps, Atinuke opened up to Sola about what was happening in her marriage and she could see Sola’s eyes staring at her accusingly.
‘Mo de so fun e* ehn! I told you not to tell him. You don’t know men and the way they think. Anyways the deed has been done. We have to find a solution to this oh. You people cannot continue like this. Haba!’
Tinuke looked at her sister hopefully for a solution. Sola always knew what to do, she had always been the one who got them out of trouble. She was not only her big sister but truly acted as her mother sometimes.
‘Tinu, so what you are saying is that Tokunbo has not touched you since you guys got married? Sola questioned and clapped her hands three times as Atinuke confirmed her question.
‘You have to use the power of seduction oh. You see this assets God gave us’ she shook her body and put her arms under her generous bosom to demonstrate ‘they are our weapons’. She whispered.
‘I know but he doesn’t even seem interested-
‘Wait now, just listen, tomorrow make sure you cook his favorite food, go all out oh, I hope he eats your food?
‘Okay, the way to a man’s heart is truly his stomach and sex. Then change into something seductive. You know the Victoria’s Secret lingerie I gave you for your bridal shower, wear that one and I don’t see how any man in his right senses would refuse you. Most especially Tokunbo that has been sex starved.
Atinuke left her sister’s house with a glimmer of hope.
Tokunbo walked into the inviting aroma in his house. He recognized the soup she had made, Afang soup, his favourite. He couldn’t believe he had become the type of man that chose to work on Saturdays just to avoid his wife. This was not the type of marriage he had dreamt of or the type of husband he was going to be. He wanted to forgive his wife and forget whatever had happened in the past but he couldn’t. He just couldn’t trust her; what else had she been hiding from him. He wasn’t even sure he knew who she was. He wanted to hold Tinuke in his arms each time he saw her, tell her everything would be okay, kiss away her tears and be the man he promised to be on their wedding day but something held him back.
‘Hi TJ, how was work?’ Tinuke walked towards him and collected his briefcase and suit. He noticed there was something different about her today.
She was wearing a green dress he bought for her for her 24th birthday and she wore make up. He wanted to gather her into his arms.
He mumbled ‘fine’ and watched as she returned to table, which she had prepared for two. They never ate together; she ate at the dinning, while he ate in the guest room, which had become his room or in the sitting room. Why she wanted to eat together today, he wondered. It wasn’t like today was his birthday or hers. He humored her and sat at the table. He stole glances at her as she dished the food while pretending to be reading a message on his phone. Memories of when they were courting came back to him; Tinu would make a big bowl of Afang soup filled with all sort of assorted meat for him which he froze up and ate for the week.
They ate in silence except for the occasional sounds he made chewing stock fish or gobbling down water. He caught her staring at him a few times and gave her an awkward smile in return. He finished his meal, thanked her and began clearing the table when he felt her hand on his shoulder. He recoiled from her touch.
‘TJ, please can we talk?’ he saw the pleading look in her eyes. Those eyes he used to gaze into and feel lost.
‘Tinu, please I’m tired, I had a long day at work’ his reply came out a bit too harsh, harsher than he intended. He did the dishes and went into his room to settle for a nap. What sort of man was he? Their vows were for better or worse. This wasn’t fair at all. He had kept himself for marriage and expected Tinu to do the same too. A knock on the door interrupted his musings. What did she want again? He hauled himself up from the bed and walked towards the door.
‘Tinu, I’m tired, I made that clear. What do you-
He opened the door and was stunned at what he saw.
Tinu ki lo de*?- Tinu, what’s wrong?
Mo de so fun e*- I warned you