Abbas drove out of the office before the closing hour, leaving his co-workers in a state of confusion. He raced down from his office straight down to a hotel in the heart of Ibadan where he drank until nightfall. His wife was worried when he did not return home at the due time he was supposed to be home. She dialled his number several times and he refused to reply her calls. This got her more worried, as she called his secretary who explained to her that he left the office hours before closing time not telling anyone his whereabouts. She was scared and began to tremble as the secretary explained to her in a phone conversation.
Khadijah: “hello! Good evening. This is Khadijah online. Mr Akanbi’s wife”.
Voice: “oh, good evening ma!”
Khadijah: “good evening. Please, I am sorry to disturb you. I am wondering if my husband is still at work. Maybe you people are busy today. I have tried his line several times without response. So, I thought maybe you are busy at work today. She said, looking at the wall clock on the wall as the clocked ticked.
Voice: “is he not at home?”
Khadijah: “I will not call you if he is at home”. She replied feeling irritated at the question.
Voice: “I am sorry ma! But he left office even before the closing hour today. And he did not tell anyone where he was headed to” he replied feeling confused.
Khadijah: “agh! He left office since morning? And it is past eleven at night already?” She exclaimed, panicking. The line went off afterwards. “agh, this man has killed me. Where will I search?” she soliloquised as she skimmed through the call log on her mobile device. The thoughts of dialling Ponmile’s number occurred to her, but she objected as she did not want to have any conversation with him or whatsoever. Moreover, she does not have his number yet. She thought of calling her friend, Abeni for help, but she objected again as she had quarrelled with her and vowed never to return to her for any assistance again. She sat in the settee in the room, hoping for her husband’s return. Few minutes afterwards, she dozed off until past twelve in the midnight, when the honk of a vehicle woke her up from her sleep. She peeped through the window in the sitting room and saw her husband staggered out of the vehicle coming to the room.
Khadijah: “where are you coming from at this hour? I have been worried since. I have dialled your office line, your mobile line, I even called your secretary, no one knew your whereabouts. Are you okay?” She asked, looking at her husband who tuned deaf ears to all the million questions she bombarded him with. He headed straight to his bedroom, saying nothing. His wife began to wonder if this was the man that left home cheerful the previous day. She wondered if this was the ever vibrant husband she had married to years back. She kept repeating the questions until she got weary and went to bed. She felt like a total stranger with the man who had cherished her in almost a decade of their marriage that night, with millions of thoughts running across her mind.
Ranti’s mother was called on by Ranti’s neighbour to go receive the referral letter to convey her daughter to the university college hospital. Ranti was placed in the intensive care unit of the hospital for close monitoring before being transferred to the main ward.
Mama Ranti: “see what your sister has put herself into? I told her not to follow that never-do-well wretched thing, but my daughter would never heed my advice. I complain too much. I am a witch. See now, see where she has ended up” she lamented to her relations, cursing her son-in-law.
Ranti’s sister: “maami, it is enough. These two have been together now for how long now, and you are yet to stop chewing the matter like food. Let them be. Ranti is not a kid anymore, she knows what is best for her”.
Mama Ranti: “yes. Of course, she know what is best for her and she is getting it. Every day beating like bembe drum, until she die that is when her eyes will open. But, me, I will not open my eyes and allow that unfortunate beast kill my daughter for me”. She replied her daughter. “And see, where is he today? Nowhere. Agh, Ranti, see what you have done to yourself?” she cried bitterly. “Since the beast beat her to point of death, he never come hospital. Did he even bother to carry her there? shebi his neighbours said; he ran away from home after beating her?” she soliloquised, weeping uncontrollably.
Ranti’s Sister: “Maami, it is okay. Let us keep praying that she gets well soon, then we will know what next to do. All this that you are doing will not solve the matter at all, you will only add to it, by causing yourself sickness. So, this is the time to be strong and pray, not complain”. She consoled her mother, squatting to wipe away her tears.
“Hmmm, thank you”. The mother said, sobbing.
Khadijah was yet to get over her unfathomable husband’s behaviour the night he came home late. She brooded over the incidence, remembering every second and opening her mouth widely. She wondered what could be responsible for her husband’s sudden mood swing. She thought of getting across to her only friend, Abeni, but she did not have the courage to approach her again as she had vowed never to have anything to do with her till she died.
“hmmmm, abi, Ponmile has told my husband what happened between us? No, I don’t think so, maybe. I can’t even think of anything right now. I can’t think straight at all. This whole thing is muddled up” she thought as she paced her sitting room. “Or I should call that monster, Abeni? She has always been helpful right from the beginning now?”
She stared at the phone on the table, stretching her hand back and forth, stuck in between the thought of picking her phone to call her friend or not. Eventually, she made up her mind to pick her phone to dial Abeni’s number. She accidentally pushed the flower vase on the table and part of the shattered pot fell on her foot and cut her. She grimaced in pain as she sat down on the floor. She dialled her friend’s number, but the latter did not pick. After several attempts, she picked.
Khadijah: “Hello Abeni!”
Abeni: “Yes, ki la rigbo? Is anything the matter?” She asked showing non interest in the call.
Khadijah: “see, I am sorry for what happened the other day. I need your help”. She said apologetically.
Abeni: “I knew it. If you don’t need my help, I am sure you would never call”. She complained.
Khadijah: “haba, let us bury the hatchet now. After all I have apologised to you, that is enough now. What are friends for?”
Abeni: “hmmm, o ya, what is the problem again?” she asked, showing lack of interest.
Khadijah: “see wahala dey o”.
Abeni: “which wahala again?” she asked showing keen interest this time around.
Khadijah: “my husband ni o. He came home very late last night and he has refused to talk to me, so, I am thinking maybe his friend has told him anything. I am so confused right now. I don’t even know what to do. That is why I called you?” she explained.
Abeni: “see, calm down. Just act along with him, don’t panic to make him suspect anything. If he doesn’t ask you anything, just keep mute about it. Do what you are supposed to do in the house and don’t make him sense anything at all. Just keep playing the game till we see to map out plans”. She advised her friend on what to do to calm her nerves.
Khadijah: “hmmm”. She heaved a sigh of relief. “That is why I always rely on you for anything. You always give me solution to any puzzle. I didn’t make the mistake of choosing you as my best friend.
Abeni: ‘hmmm, see flatter, now you know my worth as friend abi? Have..” she started but her friend interrupted.
“haba, forget the matter now. You know I said all I said out of anger and besides, you also offended me too nah. We were both at fault” Khadijah said, feeling relieved and happy.
Abeni: “okay, we will talk later. Let me know when you want to come to my place” She said and hung the phone.
Question: For how long will Khadijah keep her secret from her innocent and depressed husband?
SEE Episode 11 Below…(You Don’t Wanna Miss This!)… Adelove Stories… Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!