“I should have known that he was having an affair,” Timi thought bitterly, setting her book aside.
Deji had suddenly developed a love affair with his phone and made sure it was always close to wherever he was. In the past, he used to tease her for chatting with her friends a lot on her blackberry phone. Suddenly, he had started doing the same thing. When she had teased him about that, he had become defensive about it and they had fought yet again.
Reaching for his phone one morning to shut his alarm off, she had noticed that the phone had been locked with a password. That was a new development but as she had never been one to snoop, she had merely shrugged and let it go.
A few days later, Timi had misplaced her phone somewhere in the house and had needed to call it with his so as to locate it. She had taken his phone from the stool beside him and asked him for the password. Without a word, Deji had retrieved his phone from her, unlocked it and called her phone, himself.
“That’s strange,” Timi had thought, with some irritation. However, because they hadn’t fought about anything for over a week, she had kept silent as she hadn’t wanted to rock the boat.
She berated herself now for being very naive. When her husband had casually told her, on Monday, about his best friend’s fortieth birthday party in Port Harcourt, she had thought nothing of it. On Friday morning, he told her that he had taken the day off work so that he could attend the party. She had been shocked because nothing he had said earlier suggested that he had planned to travel to Port Harcourt for the party.
“How can you spring such news to me just now?” Timi had asked Deji, who had been busy packing. “Your flight is scheduled to leave in a few hours and you just thought to tell me now that you are going to be away for the entire weekend.”
Without looking up, he had replied, “Sweetie, I decided only yesterday to go for the party. You know Wari is one of my closest friends; so, it wouldn’t be right for me to be absent.”
“You could have told me of this decision when you made it. It’s wrong for you to tell me about it while packing your bags to leave, Deji.”
“I had to be sure that I would be given time off work today. I also had to search for available flights to Port Harcourt as well as make hotel reservations. I couldn’t tell you till I had made all the arrangements. I’m sorry about that.”
“You came home early, last night and we had dinner together,” Timi had insisted. “You could have told me then.”
“Listen, Timi. I’ve said that I’m sorry and that should suffice,” Deji had snapped. “Don’t be such a nag.”
Timi had stared at him angrily for some seconds and had left him to finish up his packing while she got ready for work.
She had been having breakfast with the kids when Deji came out of the room with a small suitcase. She hadn’t say a word to him as he played with their kids till he turned to her and said, “I’m leaving now. I’ll take my car with me and park it at the airport. That way, I won’t bother you when I get in.”
“Bother me? I’ve never told you that taking you to the airport and bringing you back home any time you go on a trip was a bother to me. I already called the office, telling them that I would be a little late this morning,” Timi had protested.
“If you take me, you’ll be more than a little late, my dear and we can’t have that. Don’t worry about me, I’ll sort myself out,” he had disagreed. “How I get to the airport is not a big deal, anyway.”
She had been hurt by that. They hardly spent time together these days so it was a big deal to her anytime she could have him to herself.
“He obviously doesn’t feel the same way,” she had told herself.
She had always been more affectionate than he was but that morning she had been too hurt to hug him. She also hadn’t told him to have a safe trip. He had given the kids quick rubs on their heads and had let himself out. A few minutes later, still fuming, she had sent the kids off to school in their school bus and had driven to work in her own car.
When he hadn’t called her to say that he had arrived Port Harcourt safely, she had assumed that he was mad at her too. By late afternoon, she had been filled with regrets at how they had parted. At this point, even though Timi still hadn’t heard from Deji, she had decided to call him.
His phone had been switched off; so, she had become worried. She didn’t have Wari’s number and hadn’t known who else to call. She hadn’t also had a clue about the hotel he was supposed to stay in. She was almost frantic with worry by the time two of his colleagues had shown up in their house in the evening.
“Ah, Deji’s not home o! He travelled to Port Harcourt this morning,” Timi had said with a laugh, as soon as she opened the door for Adam and Jinadu. “Good evening, jare.”
“Good evening, Timi,” both men had responded, simultaneously. When Adam turned to look at Jinadu, the latter had added, “We know about the trip; he wasn’t at work today.”
“Oh, okay. So…” Timi had said, puzzled. She hadn’t understood why both men had come to visit, since they had known that their friend wasn’t in town.
“Can we come in, please?” Adam had asked.
With a sudden feeling of dread, Timi had opened the door wider and had stood aside for the men to enter the living room.
Timi and her husband had hung out with Adam and Jinadu on several occasions. But, the men that had quietly declined her offer of refreshments were nothing like she remembered. Adam had always been warm and talkative but that evening, he had been strangely quiet.
“Is anything the matter?” Timi had asked, almost certain she didn’t want to hear the answer.
Linking his hands together, Adam had stared hard at Jinadu, who quickly looked away. Sighing deeply, Adam had looked down at the linked hands on his laps. He had sighed again as he looked up and then said, “I’m afraid we have some bad news.”
With her heart thudding in her chest, Timi had gripped the arms of the sofa she had sat on.
Adam had informed her that Deji had been driving with another colleague of theirs when another driver had run into his car, while running a red light, at an intersection very close to the airport. According to eye witness accounts, Deji’s car had spun uncontrollably, hitting other cars. The driver and some of the passengers of the bus that had hit him had died on the spot. Deji and his colleague, Nana, had been hurt very badly and were barely hanging on to life. The occupants of the other cars which had been involved in the accident had been lucky to have escaped with few injuries.
Deji and Nana had been rushed to the hospital but no one had known who they were till Nana’s handbag had been recovered in the afternoon from the wreckage that had been Deji’s car. Her ATM cards and her business card had led policemen to their office. Some of their colleagues had rushed to the hospital to confirm if she was the one. By the time they had arrived at the hospital, Nana had been in surgery for a ruptured spleen. They had been taken to Intensive Care Unit to see if they could identify the man she had been with at the time of the accident. They had been shocked to see that it was Deji.
Timi had been almost hysterical at this point. Jinadu had held her firmly as she started crying hard.
“He’s alive,” he had reassured her over and over again. Adam had stood there awkwardly, not sure what to say to Timi.
Soon, she had left with them for the hospital, leaving the children with their nanny. When they got to the hospital, Timi had barely recognized her husband. His left leg and his right arm had been broken during the accident and were already in casts. His head was bandaged and his face was swollen. She had been told that her husband had sustained an injury on his head, which had bled profusely. As a result, Deji had needed a blood transfusion. When she approached his bedside, she struggled not to cry.
“Sweetie,” she had said softly, touching his uninjured hand.
Deji had struggled then to open his swollen eyes. “Nana,” he had said, weakly.
“She’s fine, sweetie. Don’t worry about her,” Timi had said, trying to smile.
“Thank God,” Deji had said. “The baby?”
Timi had been confused at that. As she had stared at her husband, he had slipped into unconsciousness.
Timi remembered Nana from the last Christmas party she had attended in Deji’s office. She had seemed warm and friendly and they had chatted briefly. On Deji’s birthday, Nana had given him a bottle of his favourite perfume.
“I must have mentioned that was my favourite perfume during a conversation with her,” Deji had said, in response to his wife’s curiosity about Nana’s gift choice.
Timi had known then that her husband and Nana were closer than she had first thought but she hadn’t been suspicious about that friendship.
She had been surprised when she heard that Nana’s luggage had been recovered from her husband’s car. She realized then that they must have planned to travel together. “Deji didn’t earlier tell me of his plans to be in Port Harcourt today,” she had thought. “But, he had obviously made plans with Nana. That explains why she had been with him at the time if the accident.”
“Why did he ask me about a baby? Is Nana pregnant?” she had wondered.
“Yes, madam. Your friend had been pregnant but as a result of the accident, she had suffered a miscarriage,” one of the nurses had confirmed later.
“Is she out from surgery now?” Timi had asked.
“Yes, she is. But, she’s not yet in a stable condition and can receive no visitors, yet.”
Nana’s parents had been contacted by her colleagues. They also lived in Lagos and had arrived shortly after Timi did. Mrs. Salako had desperately clasped Timi’s hand, as soon as they had been introduced.
“Do you have any news?” the older woman had asked. “No one wants to tell us anything. They only say that my daughter has had surgery and is under observation. They said that she’s in no condition to receive visitors and won’t even let me see her. I’m her mother o! Yet, they don’t want me to see my baby.” With that she had started crying. Timi had held Nana’s mother, without saying a word, till Nana’s father had gently led his wife to one of the chairs in the waiting room, just outside the Intensive Care Unit.
Timi had gone back to her husband’s bedside then. Soon, the sound of Mrs. Salako’s wailing had drawn Timi from the room where her husband was barely hanging on to life. Going inside the waiting room, she had seen Nana’s mother grab the white coat of the doctor that had been speaking to she and her husband.
Mrs. Salako had cried out then, “I spoke with Nana this morning o! How can you tell me now that she’s dead?”
As Timi approached the grieving woman, Nana’s mother turned on her and cried, “Your husband has killed my daughter! She had not told me that she planned to travel this weekend. Where had he been taking her to? Why had my Nana been pregnant? Your husband had better give me answers o!”
As Nana’s father quickly stepped in and took his crying wife away, Timi had come to the same conclusion as Nana’s mother.
“Deji had been having an affair with Nana,” she had thought, miserably.