It had suddenly become a habit for him to return home drunk every night. At first, she had thought it was going to pass and he would snap back to his normal self but nothing had changed. Instead, he had started going from bad to worse. It was a Sunday afternoon and Morenike and her two children; Abiodun and Kemi were in the sitting room eating fried rice which was their normal Sunday menu when he staggered in, reeking of alcohol.
Morenike: “Welcome back” she stood up to hug him like she normally did but he shoved her off.
Joseph: “What is wrong with you? Are you trying to fall me down or what?” he said incoherently, belching loudly.
Morenike: “I am sorry husband. Was only trying to greet you” she replied looking down sadly.
Joseph: “Is that how to greet someone?”
Morenike: “I am sorry. Will you like to eat now? Should I serve you food?” she asked knowing what his reply would be. It had been long he ate at home. she was worried and wanted to ask questions but had been holding herself back knowing all that would only make her look like she was nagging.
Abiodun: “Daddy the food is sweet o” he needed to say. He had noticed the animosity between his parents and not knowing what to do, he had resorted to praying for them as his Sunday school teacher always asked them to.
Joseph: “Then you should eat your food. I am not hungry” his voice had become soft. He loved his children no matter how he felt about his wife.
Joseph was once a very responsible man. He was a Managing Director at Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Co. Limited (KRPC) and so had everything he had ever dreamt of having in life until he got married. His wife Morenike, a very amicable woman whom he had dated for close to five years before they got married was a full housewife despite the fact that she was a graduate too. He had made her quit her job after the birth of their first child so she could take proper care of him since money was not really an issue for them.
Morenike: “I don’t seem to understand why you are turning out like this Joe. What exactly is happening to you? Why are you beginning to turn out this way?” she had followed him to the master bedroom which had an adjoining bathroom. It was designed with a sliding glass door which led to a patio.
Joseph: “Please leave me alone, I want to sleep” he slumped on the huge mahogany bed and closed his eyes immediately. She could see he wasn’t really sleeping and so she went on.
Morenike: “I want us to tackle this problem once and for all dear. Is there something I am doing that you don’t like? I know the way we were just few months ago. One can’t just change so drastically for no reason. Please talk to me” she laid a hand on his shoulder but he shrugged her off like she was some blood sucking vermin.
Joseph: “What part of I want to sleep do you not understand? Besides when did you start questioning me in this house?” he shot her an angry look.
Morenike: “I am sorry. Do not be angry” she replied resignedly and stood up from the bed. As she headed back to the sitting room, she could hear a female voice from the sitting room. One she had become so accustomed to. “Hey Mary! How are you?”
Mary: “I am very fine ma” she knelt down in the Yoruba manner of greeting and greeted her warmly. “I can see the two youngies have eaten their Sunday rice already. Abiodun hope you remained for me?” she asked touching his chubby cheek fondly.
Abiodun: “It is still remaining plenty in the kitchen. Mummy cooked plenty” he emphasized with his hands.
Mary: “I trust your mum” she scooped Mary into her arms as the girl giggled up at her. she had grown up
with the Ogedengbe family before she gained admission. It had taken Morenike Ten years to have her own child and so she had taken Mary in as her own child when she was just seven years. She was the child of one of her friends who had suddenly died of an undiagnosed sickness.
Morenike: “Hope you are doing well my dear? We have missed you a lot. I wonder why you decided to start living on your own when we have close to five bedrooms in this house”
Mary: “I just want to be independent ma. How is daddy Abbey? I think I heard his voice when I stepped in”
Morenike: “He is fine. He should be sleeping by now”
Joseph: “Leave my house okay? I am done with this marriage” he staggered under the influence of the alcohol as he brought out her bags. The children had gone to school that morning while he was on leave from work.
Morenike: “Where do you want me to go from here? After 17years of marriage?” she wept as she tried to talk sense into him. she hadn’t seen that coming.
Joseph: “I don’t have time to exchange words with you” his jaws were set and his gaze resolute as he brought out her stuffs outside. The estate was quiet and those who were at home minded their own business. That was how things had always been.
Morenike: “What about my children? What will become of them?”
Joseph: “That is none of your business. They are mine and you have no say in their lives anymore. If you dare go for my children, I will have you arrested for kidnap”
Morenike: “Ah! Aiye mi ti baje(I am doomed)” she began to wail with her hands on her head not knowing that was still the tip of the iceberg. “Wait! What are you trying to do?” she raced towards him as he brought out kerosene and matches and stood aloof her piled up stuffs, holding her file in one hand.
Joseph: “What does it look like i am doing?” he asked as he held the file away from her and pushed her backward roughly, she struggled to regain her footing. He sprinkled the kerosene over her bags and before she could blink her eyes, they were already up in flames.
Morenike: “Jeeesus Joseph!” she exclaimed, looking dreamily at her inflamed bags.
Joseph: “i got all those things for you anyway so you should go and get yours”
Morenike: “Okay can I have my certificates please? I laboured to get those degrees myself. Please give it to me” she made to take steps towards him but his bellowing voice stopped her.
Joseph: “If you dare take another step toward me I will definitely toss you and the file into the fire together. You are such a terrible liar. I paid your final year school fees and fed you almost all through. Now you have the guts to tell me you acquired it all yourself? Now I know how ungrateful you are. I shall do as I have planned earlier” he ranted and threw the file into the fire.
He stood back and watched the look on her face as she staggered back, probably still feeling like she was in a dream. A tiny voice jerked him out of his stance-like gratification as he watched her reaction.
Abiodun: “Daddy why did you do that?” he asked weakly. His young mind could not comprehend the state of things but he knew his dad had just set ablaze something very important to his mum.
Joseph: “What are you doing here by this time?” he walked furiously towards him, held him by the collar and started drawing him towards the fire. “You will tell me what you are doing at home by this time when your mates are all in school”
Abiodun: “Daddy please! He pleaded as it seemed to him like he was going to die that day. He looked at his mum who was still rooted to one spot and looking like she was in another world.
Question: What is going to happen now? Can anyone guess what is happening to Joseph for him to be behaving the way he is?
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