Aremu stared into the ceiling in a small room, whose wall painting was almost faded off to more than half of the length, with his head resting on a stinking sweat-soaked pillow, whose case had not been washed in more than a couple of months. Funke, his mistress came in with a steaming plate of Amala and ewedu soup with two pieces of kponmo (cow skin). She breathed heavily as she placed the plate of meal on the dirty floor with torn carpet that had not been swept in more than a week.
“O ya come and eat o. I have finished” she said, as she put the plate down. Wiping the sweat on her forehead with her left hand and sniffing her running nose.
Aremu, who was lost in thought managed to look at the meal on the floor. He eyed the food, stood up, reached for his shirt which was hanging on the wall and walked out.
Funke: “agh, where are you going to? Won’t you eat?” She asked looking puzzled as she saw her concubine dress up to leave. “Eat something before you leave now, at least to give you strength since yesterday”. She persuaded, as Aremu forced his long legs through his trousers. However, all her pleas fell on deaf ears as he shuffled his feet on the dirty floor and slammed the door behind him.
Aremu got to his house and met his neighbour outside.
Aremu: “good morning”. He greeted as he walked into the passageway.
Mama Kashi: “good morning!” she replied casually, giving him a scornful look.
Few seconds later Aremu came out to the woman, when he could not have access to his room.
Aremu: “Mama Kashi, abeg you help me see my wife, abi she tell where she is going to?”
Mama Kashi: “check your room nah. She no dey inside?” She asked eyeing him from head to toe and looking away from his direction.
Aremu: “abeg, I no know where she dey. The door is locked, and I need to enter my room. Abi she give you the key?” He asked, as he was already becoming impatient.
Mama Kashi: “see, I am busy as you can see. Have you forgotten the day you wanted to kill her? Since that time if she don die, will you come home now to come and ask for key?” She asked, straining her bulgy eyes at Aremu. She thought:” what is my own sef? Hmmm, let me tell him where his wife is before they will call me name wey my mama no give me.
“See since that day that you fight your wife, she has been going from one hospital to the other. She is currently in UCH. Go and find her there”. She said, getting uninterested in the probe.
Aremu’s arms dropped as he heard UCH, his heart jumped, making a pronounced rhythm as his mouth remained agape. Millions of thoughts flashed through his head as he stood arms akimbo. He did not know where to head from there, because he knew quite sure going to his mother-in-law was not the best idea. He stood for few minutes looking face down and shaking his head. He headed to his mother-in-law’s house thinking: “hmmm, what will be will be. Anything wey she like, make she do me. I have to see my wife”. He concluded.
Aremu: Mama Kashi, I am coming”. He said and left.
Mama Kashi: “okay. Anywhere you like you go. Useless man”. She said and spat on the ground. “But, how can a man be this irresponsible and heartless? I am not a kid anymore, and in my whole life, I have never seen any man like this before”. She hissed as she soliloquised and looked at Aremu disdainfully.
Aremu met Ranti’s sister in their family house. She had come from Lagos to help their mother take care of her sister. She was about to leave for the hospital when Aremu arrived at the house.
Aremu: ‘agh, Aunty! Good morning ma!” He greeted bowing courteously as he pressed his knee with his palm.
Ranti’s Sister: “agh, Aremu, good morning!”. She replied, backing him as she locked the door to her mother’s room.
Aremu: “they told me my wife is in the hospital when I got home, so, I said I should come and check mama first”. He said, rubbing his palms.
Ranti’s Sister: “ehn, ehn, go and see her now, abi this place is hospital?” she asked, tilting her head up.
Aremu: “no ma. I..” He stuttered
Ranti’s Sister: “see, Aremu, if no one will speak to you, I will. What you are doing to your family is not the best at all. You beat a woman that is sick and leave her in the house to die. Haba, ko da nah. ( it is not right now) Is she not the one that born your children for you? Abi you have another family elsewhere?” She asked him, feeling slightly irritated. “See all these things that you are doing, it is because our family is nice ni o. which family will tolerate all this nonsense you are performing?” she asked rhetorically.
Aremu:” e ma binu ma!” He apologised, prostrating.
Ranti’s Sister: “hmm, this is not a matter of e ma binu. Do something about it. Change!” She yelled at him as she left him at the spot. Aremu was startled as she yelled at him. He had never seen her this upset, as she had always been an easy going soft spoken woman amongst her siblings. He looked on as Ranti’s sister left for the hospital.
Aremu: “I have to go. After all, I brought this mess upon myself”. He soliloquised, shrugging off his shoulder walking away.
Ranti’s mother cursed Aremu as she spotted him from afar as he walked towards the ward where his wife was admitted in the hospital.
Ranti’s Mother: “may thunder strike you if you get to this place”. She cursed Aremu, pointing her index finger at him. You must not get to this place if you don’t want to join your forefathers this morning” she threatened him as she adjusted her wrapper. Tell him not to reach here, or else I will strangle him” she said to her daughter, Ranti’s Sister, gesticulating. The nurses in the ward asked her to leave the premises as she was disturbing patients.
Ranti’s Sister: “mama, haba. Keep quiet and let this man be. Will you not allow him to come and see his wife?” She fumed at her mother who was already creating nuisance.
Ranti’s mother: ”hmmm, okay o”. She said as she looked on, and Aremu entered the ward to see his wife.
Abbas was in a bar in the heart of the city, drinking one late afternoon. He was in despair as he stared at a fly perching on the brim of his wine glass. He looked blankly into air, with millions of thoughts flashing through his mind. He picked his mobile device and dialled Ponmile’s number.
Abbas: “hello, Ponle!”
Ponmile: “yes, how far?” He replied casually.
Abbas: “please can you met me at the bar close to your house?” He inquired, looking so depressed.
Ponmile: “okay, no wahala. I will join you soon”. He replied and hung the call.
Few minutes later, Ponmile was at the bar. He was startled to see his ever vibrant and meek friend in a depressing mood, taking solace in alcohol. He opened his mouth agape, seeing bottles of beer on the table. He stopped his friend as he was about to open another bottle, after seeing ten empty bottles of beer on the table.
Ponmile: “aghn, aghn, what happened?” he asked, as he drew a white plastic chair across the table to sit on. “What is the problem with you, Abbas?” He asked once again, looking worried. He dragged the bottle from his friend, who was too weak to drag with him.
Abbas: “I I I , “. He stuttered, waving his fingers haphazardly at his friend. “I sent for you”
Ponmile: “okay, calm down. Stop drinking. You have had enough” He advised.
Abbas: “hmmm, I am finished, Ponmi. I don’t have a child to call my own at this age of mine. My life is finished” He said, spreading his arms apart.
Ponmile: “don’t worry. Your own is not finished. There is still time for you”. He persuaded him.
Abbas: “I love my wife, and I don’t want to hurt her, at the same time, my parents are pestering me for a grandchild. I am totally confused” He said, sipping his empty glass.
Ponmile: “hmm, is that why you want to kill yourself with depression? See, I told you what to do, but you wouldn’t listen to me. You see me as a sinner and adulterer. But, I know why I am telling you this” He said, looking away from his friend.
Question: Why is Ponmile still keeping the secret away from his friend, if truly he wants the best for him?
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