“WHY ARE YOU MAD?”
I like weddings. They’re fun. Besides, that’s the only place you can witness so many people smile at once. Apart from here, that is.
Anyways like I was saying, I really like weddings. I like the cake. I like the wine and food. I like all the pretty young things that show up in their Christmas dresses, boobs wobbling and jiggling; freedom fighting kegs indeed; looking desperate and pissed, like they should be the ones getting married and not the bride. Speaking of brides, there’s this viral video of a bride who was on display at her wedding reception. She was dancing so passionately and with abandon that her fresh husband had to stop and watch; probably having never seen that part of her. Bet she was congratulating herself on the fact that despite all her loose living, she had found a ‘maga’ to tie herself to.
That’s what I thought and still think. Maybe I’m being judgmental. But hey…whoever said life is fair?
Anyways, I also like the fact that that particular day marks the beginning of a lifetime journey for two people who have decided to walk the rest of their trip in life with someone else. Sadly though, weddings and marriages are not for everyone. Like me, for instance.
What did you think? A madman has no business getting married?
First of all, fuck you. Really. Who told you I am mad?
Secondly, even if I am mad (not that I’m saying I am, mind you), there must have been a BM…which in madman terms means ‘Before Madness’…which means at a time in my life I was sane….or at least what passed for sanity according to society.
Third, even then and now I still function as a normal healthy man in his early thirties would. So what does the state of my mind have to do with anything?
I did not have the luxury of children…because everything happened so fast, and before I could collect myself I was here, behind bars…and not just any bars. Behind bars in a padded room.
I didn’t understand. I still don’t. But I had talked with some people who gave a coherent explanation of my reason for being there. Not one I agreed with, mind you, because once I began to remember things I could remember clearly what happened. I just couldn’t make sense of why I was in here.
My wedding was a grand affair, like yours would be if you were marrying a girl like Ibidun who was the daughter of a powerful business magnate and a senator. Yes, a lot of people called me a gold-digger, so it’s not really that much of a surprise that things ended the way they did; all of the people who were congratulating me with smiles on their lips while their eyes said I did not deserve her; that it should be them or their spawn who was more of royal birth than I was, smiling with painted lips as I was sentenced. But like Ibidun herself, it does not matter anymore.
But what was I talk…ah yes; my wedding! It had been the toast of a special edition of the Ovation magazine, with Dele Momodu himself playing director of photography. There was like too much to eat and drink, and people went home buzzed and buzzing, heads ringing and ears shrieking. Me, I was just on cloud nine. I had just married the loveliest girl on the planet who I happened to love and who loved me.
You know the best part? I was Ibidun’s first.
No. Of course I was the first man she would be marrying, but that’s what I mean. I was her first; meaning I was the first to cross that divide. She lost her virginity to me…not before the wedding night or even on the wedding night, but the afternoon of the following day after we had arrived our honeymoon destination; Honolulu. Paid for by me, of course. I’d insisted.
We were pretty worn out by the time we made it to the hotel so it was no surprise we slept for ten hours straight, waking up briefly to answer the room-service clown who brought flowers with compliments of the management and stood at the door trying to see past me. It wasn’t till hours later when hot lips and gently probing hands woke me properly I realized what had kept him there; my wife’s barely negligee-covered body. But of course, I did not care.
Now, I’d like to go into details, but as I had been made to clarify; this is a memoir, not erotica or some other funny shit like that, so let’s just stick to the script. Suffice to say; the kind of stuff we got to that afternoon, night and the day after would have made Mercy green with envy.
Speaking of Mercy, she has not brought my meds this morning, and it’s ten-fifteen already. That’s unusual, so I get up and ask Edgar. His reply is vague, as vague as it could be if you were in a Laudanum-induced trance. I walk back to my seat and continue down memory lane.
Anyways…me and Ibidun spent three weeks of what would go down in my history as the happiest moments in this life doing not much else apart from having sex, eating, sleeping, swimming, walking up and down, holding hands and giggling like those two annoying midgets; Akin and Pawpaw. It was as close to heaven as one could get on this planet, but we were still on this planet so eventually we had to leave to get back to life as we knew it on Nigerian soil. Take it from me, the very air we breathe here is different from the air breathed by other citizens of this same world, but I would not trade home anywhere else. I loved and still love Nigeria. I was glad to be home. Maybe if I could see what was going to happen to me, less than a year from that moment; maybe if I knew that was the last time I would set foot on Nigerian soil a free man for a long time, maybe I would have scrambled back onto that plane and asked it to turn right round and head for anywhere but here. But then, the not knowing is what makes life so worth living…for good or for evil. So I stepped into the airport, grinning into my wife’s face and imagining what I wanted to do again to her already sore behind on Nigerian soil. Freaky me, right?
Before long, we settled into the normalcy and routine life of a couple who were suddenly too busy for trips to Barcelós and Silverbird…or even to shop for clothes together. Suddenly the stakes were not so high anymore; suddenly all I could see was I had married a pampered child who was used to the finer things in life. I had better keep the money coming in. conveniently forgetting it was not the money that had gotten me her in the first place. That was my excuse.
Hers? As I stood in the dock at the court, on trial for a criminal offense for the first time in my life, listening to Ibidun paint the judge a picture of an aggressive man who was prone to knocking her around every now and then, I began to believe what I had been told when I was arrested, that I was mad. Yes, I admit I was aggressive; I had anger issues growing up, but ‘knock her around’? Me who had never raised a hand in violence against another human being since the day I graduated? Yes, when I was angry or upset I broke things, but ‘knock her around’? Ibidun?
Maybe I could have dealt with her betrayal; I would have been forced to deal with it eventually, but what finished me was the testimony of the home staff. They all corroborated her story about my violent nature; the housemaid said I smacked her around a couple of times; the gateman/security guard said I’d slapped him more than once for being too slow to open the gates.
Ridunculous. I found it hard to believe what was happening, but the last time I had doubted what was happening before my eyes I’d nearly committed murder, and was in court and then on my way this place before you could say ‘kolomental’.
It was the eight month in our marriage, and for some reason all the signs that would scream ‘cheating partner’ like they do in those movies; Hollywood/Nollywood just weren’t there. If anything, Ibidun had become more understanding, more caring, more supportive and more than anything, more demanding sexually. This last one fooled me most, because…well, I happen to like that part of things. I just do.
I should have been alert, because her usual complaints about my late nights and fatigue suddenly ceased. That I took for understanding, not realizing that as of then, my wife was indifferent. How was I to know, when no matter how late or how tired I would come home she would always be waiting, drawing me a hot bath and then feeding me some incredible dish…to round it off with the greatest dessert God ever invented; sex. I should have realized when my normally blasé-about-sex wife became a vixen, suggesting positions and talking all sorts of dirty stuff that would have made a porn star blush, but that I took for her upping her game. I assumed she had read Seun Odukoya’s Eleven Commandments for the Ladies and had taken the suggestions to heart. I was just a simpleton; the world’s easiest ‘maga’.
The ‘denouement’ happened suddenly, on a day I decided on a whim that I was going to go home early and take Ibidun out. I had not done that in a while, and I felt I needed to show her that I appreciated what she was doing. I left the office a few minutes after twelve that afternoon and got home after a few minutes. Because I was determined to surprise my wife I had left the car at work, tipped my official driver to drop it later in the day and took a cab home. I got down a few houses away and walked home. Almost immediately I noticed a grey Toyota Carina parked, almost blocking my gate. I called for Ali my gateman but got no response, so I went in.
I entered my sitting room and was about to call the maid to come explain why every door was left open when I heard really loud music coming from upstairs. Wondering what was going on, I dropped my stuff and took the stairs, two at a time, thinking about all the movies I had seen about infidelity…wondering what was about to greet my eyes once I got to the top of the stairs. The music was so loud I did not see Toyin, the maid coming from the kitchen upstairs with a bottle of Stout and glasses till I was almost on top of her. Scared out of her wits she dropped the tray, smashing the Stout bottle and the other two glasses. She covered her mouth as I rushed past her, trying to imagine who my wife could be entertaining in our bedroom. This was ridunculous.
I opened the oak door I had had made in Ijebu and brought to Lagos at considerable cost and looked in on an incredible tableau, a picture that still haunts my daydreams till this day; Ibidun, half on our matrimonial bed dressed in nothing but black underwear laughing, moaning and groaning as a dark, totally naked figure bent over her, grunting in time with his back and forth movement in what I assumed was my wife’s ….. I couldn’t help but remember the second James Hardly Chase novel I had read; Believed Violent. I remember how the protagonist; Dr. Paul Forrester, had found himself in an exact same predicament having come home unannounced from a trip to meet his slut of a wife banging someone else…and I remember what had happened the moment he saw them; a circuit closed in his brain.
I turned around like I was on remote control, went downstairs, opened the cupboard and got the largest knife I could find. And as I turned to climb the staircase back to the room I had just left, back to the room where a strange woman was rutting unashamedly with her lover, with my ears filled the roars of the speakers as they blared Banky W’s ‘Strong Tin’ (couldn’t have found a better theme song myself)…
I blacked out.