I stood there, jaw dropped all the way to the ground. Even with all the racing of my imagination, this scenario had not occurred once. I had imagined rushing into the room and throwing a huge tantrum and even throwing the girl out in her underwear. I had imagined pulling her hair. Scratching her face. Slapping her silly. I had imagined doing many other things to her. But this was not a her. It was a he, the he I had been trying to hook my best friend with just a few hours ago. For about five more minutes, they didn’t notice anyone had come in, lost in their perverted bliss. Then he opened his eyes and saw me. I expected to see fear, to see alarm that he had been discovered, but instead I saw a calm that sent a chill down my spine.
He calmly disentangled himself from Adamu and stood before me. I still couldn’t utter a word. Still naked, he sat in his office chair. Adamu could not be bothered by my presence. He just lay there, a content and satisfied look on his face.
“So you have found out my little secret a little earlier than I intended. You were supposed to discover this after we were through with the wedding, but since you have found out now, I might as well lay all the cards on the table”. He spoke like we were in his office for a business meeting, not like I had two naked men in there. I screamed “Yomi! Little secret? How could you do this to me? How?” I broke down crying loudly as I crumpled to the ground. My legs simply gave way beneath me.
“You need to stop the hysterics and listen to me with the rational part of your mind and then carefully consider what I’m about to say before you make a decision.” My crying pattered down to sobs and I looked to him to hear what he was gonna say. My angel of light had just transformed into the darkest demon from the pit of hell. And he was so calm.
“I’m gay, bisexual or homo, worreva you want to call it, as you have discovered. I discovered my sexuality since secondary school but knowing my family, I’ve kept it hidden from most people. But my family has become suspicious of this fact. And considering this society and the kind of fortune I stand to lose if I have any issues in my relationship with my family, I had to come up with a plan. My plan was to find someone who was eager to marry, and bring her home to my family. My chance overhearing of your conversation with your friend at the airport told me I’d found the right candidate. I have not been wrong so far. Once we are married, all suspicions about my sexual orientation would be ruled out, especially if we have a child quickly. Are you with me?”
I kept quiet, and he took that as a sign that he should continue.
“I still want us to get married, in spite of your discovery. The deal is this – I give you the marriage that you’ve always wanted, so you can leave the spinster’s club, and get a new surname and the respect that you crave at being addressed as a married woman. And of course, to get your mum off your back. You give me legitimacy and face saving with my family, and critically, continued access to the family wealth. The marriage will be very open, you can date whoever you want to, and I’ll carry on my own affairs but we’ll both need to be discreet and project the image of a happy couple to the public and our families. You’ll of course have your own share of the wealth, to use as you please. You’d really not have to work again. And you could live on any continent, in any kind of housing you like, away from prying eyes in Naija. You can date anyone you like. You don’t even have to see me except for important family functions. You’ll have what you always wanted, a husband and a new surname, plus very plenty freebies, and I’ll have what I need. That is the deal.”
I sat on the floor dumbfounded by what he was saying. How could this guy just sit there and spew such arrant nonsense. Adamu got up from the table and went over me like I wasn’t there to get a drink.
Yomi continued “I don’t expect you to make a decision immediately. But you do have to come back to me within three days so I can know if the wedding is happening or not.”
He stood up and left the room with Adamu.
For minutes, I just sobbed quietly on the floor, you know, those quiet kinds of sobs that draw from the deepest depths of the heart. My picture perfect relationship had been shattered with exactly one week to my wedding.
The rational thinking part of me screamed that I should call it all off. Call the relationship off. Call the wedding off. Cut every contact with Yomi and his ilk. I really felt like slitting my wrists and just letting it all out. But a more basal part of me spoke into my mind, telling me it was not such a bad deal, that I’d be getting all I could get and that many girls would pounce on such a deal. I tried to drown these thoughts with my sobs, but they kept tearing back to the surface on my mind.
I am confused and ashamed that I’m confused about this choice. If I was ten years younger, I would walk away without looking back. But I’m approaching 36, with a very public relationship and all. Yomi is evil, I could see that now. He knew this would happen, and that I would feel trapped.
I sped dialed Toke. “Please come and pick me at Yomi’s house”. She tried to ask me what the issue was but I had cut the call.
In the wildest of my imaginations, I never imagined I would be at this kind of crossroads. It’s day 2 of Yomi’s ultimatum for a feedback and I am utterly confused. First I do not talk to either Gloria or Ossy any longer. Ossy was very mean to me. From the day he met me at the airport, he had known all about Yomi. Yomi had been his senior in secondary school. So he knew. That’s why he smiled that smile when I told him Yomi hadn’t touched me. That was why he spoke so sarcastically. Jealousy had blinded him so much that he didn’t bother to rescue his friend from this dilemma. A word from him would have alerted me to the danger I was in and saved me all this trouble.
But in my moments of reflection, I knew even if he had spoken out then, I would not have taken him seriously. I would have interpreted it as the angry ranting of a scorned man.
Now I was torn between calling of my well publicized and much anticipated wedding at my age or going into a life that I knew I couldn’t be happy living. If I took the first option, I would be the ridicule of the town, tagged as a woman who cannot just settle down. People would assume that the man had discovered something that all the other men before him had discovered that made them call the wedding off. People would assume he was being a gentleman by not revealing what he had discovered. In our culture, for such things, it’s the woman that would be blamed, be scorned and be ridiculed. I would be cannon fodder for soft sells and bloggers.
If I took the second option, that would not be the life of bliss with my husband I had always dreamt about. I would be comfortable and free, yes, but at a huge cost. And something in my heart told me that as such things go, at some point in future, it would come to light and then I would be publicly disgraced as a money hungry woman who didn’t mind marrying someone who was gay to help him cover it up for financial gain.
The conversation with my mum went something like this
“En, kini oju o ri ri? (What’s new under the sun?). At least he isn’t a wife beater or ritualist or armed robber. You better do now and marry, and don’t bring shame to this family’s name”.
Toke says I should not be stupid and throw away what I had found on a small issue like that. She was of the opinion that the deal I was being served was what many girls would kill to have. “You have a husband; can date anyone you want and truckloads of money, plus a hold on your husband to request anything and he would not be able to refuse. Don’t be foolish my dear”. But when I told her Adamu might be interested in having the same arrangement with her, she began to stammer. That told me what she really thought of the arrangement. It was good for me but not for her.
Hot Pastor expressly told me in firm terms that I shouldn’t go ahead in spite of the pressure. He sermonized and all, but also made plenty sense. What if someone better was just around the corner and Yomi was the devil’s temptation to shortchange me from getting that?
Everywhere I went, everyone was greeting me and congratulating me on the soon to come wedding. My new name in their mouths was Iyawo, the bride and so on. Each time they called me so, I cringed. I decided to go away from everyone to think. There just seemed to be too much interference from all of them.