Our Angels 1

Darling, is Junior my son?

Richard posed the question before his wife’s eyes opened. He saw her rub her eyes and her body move under the duvet in a way that could only signal she was waking.  He reached for the base of the lamp on their bedside table and switched it off quickly; praying that his wife’s mind had not registered the ridiculous question his mouth asked, against his will. He rested his pounding head on the pillow, his rigid back turned to her.

“What did you just say?

“Oh no, she heard me.” Richard cursed himself for choosing to believe the words of a near stranger. He sat up, focusing his eyes on everything in the room but her.

“Look at me Richard Rotimi Iretioluwa”

Richard had never heard his wife speak to him like that before, but he knew he deserved worse after what he found himself asking her: a partial resultant effect of sleep teasing and licking him for three solid hours without claiming him. He starred at her. She was now sat up, her neck twisted to his side of the bed. Sleep had completely left her eyes, which had seemed sleep deprived, a few hours ago when she picked him up from the airport. She had promptly blamed her tiredness on their three children and laughed in that affectionate way of hers- that he loved- when the twins protested, blaming it on each other.

When he kissed her, he remembered cooing “You look beautiful darling, as always”, because she did and all he had needed was simply to see her beautiful face to cast the ridiculous lies the near stranger fed him to the deep void of his unconscious self. As a therapist, he believed in the sanity defensive mechanisms such as repression and transference provides the mind. Until, starring at Junior for ages whilst they all ate their supper, worry had started to gnaw at his insides again.

“Is Junior my son, Eniola? Richard asked again, his eyes now on his wife of sixteen years.

Eniola’s hands appeared from under the duvet cover and wrapped themselves around Richard, as if all he needed was for her to swathe him like a newborn to soothe his fears.

“I am your wife…I am your..wife..Eniola’s voice thinned and waned until it failed her but she continued to speak with her fingers which jabbed him hard on his bare chest and neck, until she seemed to find her voice again as tears found her eyes.

“Richard…I love you. What are you asking me in the name of God! Of course Junior is your son. Where is this coming from” She let go of him, her face still close to his. A faint whiff of her natural perfume caught in his nostrils. Her nightwear had shifted a bit, revealing a generous amount of cleavage. Richard knew she would have longed to have him back. They had never been apart for that long. He wished he had never gone to Nigeria in the first place because he would not have had the misfortune of meeting the near stranger if he hadn’t.

“Do you know a man whose name is Gbenga?  Gbenga Pedro? Your brother introduced him to me in his office” Richard continued after seeing the fleeting fret that passed her eyes before an exaggerated blank expression darkened her newly shaped eyebrows. “Your brother said you guys grew up together in Abeokuta. He was your brother’s best friend. So, you know him, right? ”

“No, no.. I mean yes…. but not that well. I don’t know him that well. He was my brother’s friend, not mine. Besides, I haven’t seen him for decades” Eniola’s voice had suddenly grown louder, her arms waved about as if his words were indeed physical thumps. Richard clasped his head in his sweaty palms, he had eaten barely a couple of mouthfuls of the jacket potato and baked beans that his wife served them for supper but now it sat heavy in his abdomen.

For the first time since he qualified as a psychotherapist in 1999, he wished he did not have an overactive listening skill. He found himself observing not just her verbal responses but her body language as well. Each signal so far, he knew, was telling him what his ears did not want to hear.

“You are the man I have given all my early adult years to. The only love of my life’’ Eniola grabbed her husband’s sweaty palms. “Please my husband, stop this. Your words are killing me”

He despised the impact of his words on her. Ironic, that  the day of their wedding he promised to shield her from sadness and tears. Seeing her in tears thrashed him from the inside. They were enough to make him want to stop. But, he didn’t.

“What is the name of the first man you were with? Richard asked harshly before continuing when she gawked at him. “You were not a virgin on our wedding night Eniola, so I presume you dated someone before me, which is odd because I have heard you tell the women’s group in church how you were a virgin until you married your Mr right. I don’t care about the past. But I have a right to know if it infringes on our present and future babe. So, tell me and I promise I won’t be mad. Was it this Gbenga you were seeing before me?”

Eniola withdrew her hands from her husband’s but not before he had seen her face give him the confirmation he did not want. At the same time he recalled the words that had simply grown wings and followed him around like an affliction since the near stranger uttered them back in Ola’s Lagos office. Eniola’s brother, Ola had left him with the near stranger in his office to go to his colleague’s office. When the diminutive man grinned at him bearing stretched, fading tribal marks and brown stained teeth, Richard expected small talk, definitely not what followed.

“My man, you know I saw your son, Junior’s photo the other day. Ola showed them to me. The boy does not look like you at all. Haba, you are very tall and big, whereas he is small and frail. You must be very worried my man, considering the fact that Enny went straight from my arms to yours. But, I don’t blame her sha, a London-based man or a Lagos-based man”, just like that, the near stranger got up and left the room, despite his smallness, he walked away like a giant would, each miniature step of his, trampling over Richard’s life, leaving visible paw marks.

******

Richard turned to his snivelling wife; he did not speak as loud as he wanted to, more in fear of waking their children than of the migraine carving his head into a million fragments.

“When you went back to Nigeria after I proposed and you called me to say you were not sure about marrying me anymore, Were you with him?”

Richard leapt from the bed as soon as he saw her guilt ridden face. Strong overpowering emotions were pulling him apart, but rage above all others, was what transported him to the door. It had engulfed him so ruthlessly that he knew he had to put miles between himself and his wife. Without turning, he roared when he heard the soft uttering of the first syllable of his Yoruba name.

“No, Eniola. Don’t. Just let me be”

*******

The kitchen’s rustic oak floorboard oddly enough did not feel cold against his clammy skin. Nearly two hours after he went into the kitchen to find a temporary cure for his migraine, Richard was still there, sat on the floor in his shorts. Stratford was yet to spring to life but he could tell that it would not be long before their milkman started making his first delivery round. He did not need a watch to tell him he had spent the whole night awake and that sleep would not come anytime soon. Soft pattering of the drizzling of rain beat the kitchen windows, failing though, to sip into him and calm his intense despair.

When he heard the door, he wiped his tears with the back of his hands. Richard knew, she had never seen him cry before. He saw that her eyes bore a semblance of his own distress as he looked up to address her. For the first time since he had known her, her pain did not rip him to tiny shreds.

“Sweetheart please, she started, “I know Junior is your son. We can do a DNA test, if that is what you need to prove…..

“Junior is my son as far as I am concerned, Eniola, I don’t need a test to prove he is my son. No test can change the bond I share with him. I love that boy more than I love life itself. It feels like yesterday Eniola, when I held him for the first time in my arms at St James hospital. That was the day I truly became a man… ” He paused to catch his breath, glancing at the small space between his bent legs as if the floorboard possessed an inkling of how to proceed in such circumstances.

“I will take the children to my parents’ house tomorrow after school. I am sure mum wouldn’t mind looking after them for a few days. When I get back from work, I don’t want to see you here”

 



59 thoughts on “Our Angels 1” by olajumoke omisore (@olajumoke)

  1. Welldone… Keep it up

    1. @Fadehan, thanks for reading dear sir. Really appreciate it, thank you. Please do kindly follow the series, if you can.

  2. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    Very patient and thoughtful writing. Well done.

    1. @nicolebassey, my sunshine, thanks for reading and for commenting a ‘louder’ thank you.

  3. The moment all men dread, the bane of happy relationships and…. the beginning of the end just because of the first question

    1. Perhaps it is better to leave some questions unasked @elovepoetry. If only he didn’t find out….

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I am really grateful to have a writer like you comment on my work. Thank you.

  4. I enjoyed reading this.
    You did a good job :)

    1. @Olaedo, that means so much coming from the writer of ‘Secrets’, thank you, thank you.
      I was hoping you would like it because I have noticed you like dramatic series. Glad you enjoyed it.

      1. ℓσℓ @ the writer of ‘Secrets’.
        Yeah, bring the drama on and if it’s as good as this is, I’m definitely following till the end ;)

        1. @Olaedo, thank you. I will try hard not to disappoint.

  5. This was very well written, @olajumoke. You’ve left me asking many questions that I would want to read on to find answers to. What exactly happened between Eniola and the other man? And what was Richard going to do about it?

    The only thing I felt – and I think this may be personal to me – was this one paragraph where the sentences seemed a bit long, and not very “smooth”. For example:

    “Richard had never heard his wife speak to him like that before, but he knew he deserved worse after what he found himself asking her: a partial resultant effect of sleep teasing and licking him for three solid hours without claiming him. He starred at her. She was now sat up, her neck twisted to his side of the bed. Sleep had completely left her eyes, which had seemed sleep deprived, a few hours ago when she picked him up from the airport. She had promptly blamed her tiredness on their three children and laughed in that affectionate way of hers- that he loved- when the twins protested, blaming it on each other.”

    To make it smoother, I would have written:

    “Richard had never heard his wife speak to him like that before, but he knew he deserved worse after what he found himself asking her. Perhaps it had been because of the sleep that had been teasing and licking him for three solid hours without claiming him. He stared at her; she was now sitting up, her neck twisted to his side of the bed. Sleep had now completely left her eyes. This was in contrast to a few hours ago, when she picked him up from the airport, looking sleep deprived. She had promptly blamed her tiredness on their three children and laughed in that affectionate way of hers- that he loved- when the twins protested, blaming it on each other.”

    Also, I’d replace the continuous references to “near stranger” with “the man” or something else – the references feel oddly repetitive.

    Well done.

    1. @TolaO, I am just gobsmacked I got ‘very well written’ from you senior scribe sir, thank you…thank you.. Your words pleases me.

      I did rewrite that paragraph a couple of times but now that I read it back, it appears weak in comparison to your own flawless sentences. Thank you again for reading and commenting. As usual, absolute pleasure to read your comment.

  6. waiting 4 d nxt episode

    1. @koollove, already submitted, it should be posted on the 25th. Thanks for reading.

  7. Nice piece n well done,i must admit i dint see dat ending coming.A real nice touch 2 it.

    1. @jade69 fabulous comment to wake up to. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment too. Thanks, have a blessed week.

  8. Wow_ Nice work!

    1. @onyi, lovely name. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it. Thanks.

  9. Surely their shared love would help them cross the barriers that have sprung up.
    25th you say? I am patiently waiting.
    Good job. Well done. $ß.

    1. @sibbylwhyte, I was just going to get some chocolate before I read your comment- I was feeling tired.

      Then I read your comment. I feel priviledged to have had my work read and positively critiqued by a legend of NS like you. Thank you…thank you. Hope I don’t disappoint with the next one. And I can safely say, I don’t need the chocolate anymore.

  10. I was a great read, It was time well spent. Succinct, detailed, somewhat direct too. Impressive stuff. Thank you.

    1. @LEROY, thank you so much, really appreciate your comment. I will look out for your posts.

  11. Very lovely piece. This is the point where one begins to question if one is being used or not. There has to be a reason right if it leads to where I think it’s leading?

  12. @francis….I suppose there is always a reason why we make the choices we make in life.
    Thank you for commenting, thank you. So kind of you to.

  13. @mimiadebayo (madam of chick lit series), @zikora, and all my ladies who love chick lit, would love to hear from you

    @Seun-Odukoya (master of words), @jaywriter, @howyoudey, and everyone else, I hope you don’t mind me summoning you all like these, but I would love your feedback, good or bad.

  14. Interesting and very vivid story. I like how you painted the emotions and the seemingly insignificant character actions that, indeed, helped to make the narration very realistic. Nice one.

    Check this:
    ‘He saw her rub her eyes and her body move under the duvet in a way that could only signal she was waking.’ Now, this first reads like she rubbed her eyes as well as her body. See the addition of a comma here:
    ‘He saw her rub her eyes, and her body move under the duvet in a way that could only signal she was waking.’ Even better as:
    ‘He saw her rub her eyes, and move her body under the duvet in a way that could only signal she was waking.’

    And I think that first scene break wasn’t really necessary since the scene didn’t really change.

    Well done. Keep improving your art. We sure will enjoy this ride.

    1. @chemokopi, thank you for commenting, thank you. Glad you find it interesting. I agree that a coma would make the highlighted sentence flow better.

  15. Oh my goodness. Strong ending. Next part please. This really sucked me in. Noticed a few typos:

    He ‘starred’ at her. Starred should be stared.

    also

    “Richard was still there, sat on the floor in his shorts.” I think there should be a ‘he’ before the sat, or you could use ‘sitting’.

    Well done.

    1. @Olan, thanks for reading.
      Sorry about the typo, I will be more vigilant next time.
      The last paragraph was put like that because he was already sat on the floor, but ofcourse sitting would probably work better. I will take note.
      Thank you so much. Have a fantastic week.

  16. Sweetie,thanks for the summons. I’m glad you did.Didn’t know there was a great story here.
    I’ll definitely follow this through.
    P.s : I think Richard was too harsh and hasty(but that’s just me)
    Keep writing…

    1. @Mimiadebayo, thank you for commenting. I am glad you will be following. Thank you.

  17. This is such an emotional sojourn…it’s a frightening thing to contemplate. Look how easy it is to wreck a life.

    Words. Mere words.

    I did think you were a bit over-flowery; no offense meant. Look at this part:

    “He despised the impact of his words on her”

    I just thought basic lines pack more impact – and then it is a technique you were constantly using, the effect weakened.

    I’m just saying.

    Well done.

    1. @Seun-Odukoya, I know I need to be less flowery and write more concisely. Thank you for the feedback, I have no idea when I stopped writing exactly what I mean.
      Just read ‘The need for a new feeling station’ and I was thinking, this is how it is done- you are a good writer. I will be using your feedback to work on my craft.
      Thanks.

      1. @olajumoke

        Wow. Thank you so much for the compliment.

        Bless God.

        So you read that huh? How did you find it?

        1. @Seun-Odukoya, I thought it was very engaging. The title itself made me want to know more after seeing it on twitter. I follow your blog and every second I spend on it is not wasted. keep writing, I’l keep reading Wordsmith. Thanks again for commenting on mine.

  18. this is really nice….the near stranger wasnt trying for subtle, he was being malicious. noticed a few errors, some have been pointed out ”she was now sat up” should be ”she was now fully seated on the bed, facing him”

    i love the story…..welldone

    1. @topazo, thank you for loving ‘Our Angels’. I am glad you noticed that Gbenga wasn’t trying for subtle.
      I will use your feedback. Your comment means so much to me, thanks.

  19. Ha! So he wants to leave her afta saying there is no need for DNA!

    Nice work. I love it

    1. @aadetoyin, thank you so much for reading. You can only feel for him hey? Hope things work out for him. Please come back to check out the 2nd part on the 25th. Thanks.

  20. Gen, gen!! Stage don set…ticket’s bought, popcorn’s ready….let this show begin! This was a real good introduction to the series. Emotions were raw and real here, scene was vivid and its all looking very good from where i stand.

    @olajumoke, well done and this is hoping the inviting pace continues…

    1. Welcome sir. We are delighted to have you with us today. Would you like some ice cream too?

      Seriously @ayomitans, thank you for reading and commenting. I can’t thank you enough.

  21. Well written. I am keen to know what happens next.

    Keep it up.

    1. @jaywriter, happy that someone like you takes the time to comment on my post. Thank you. I hope to improve on my work using the feedback that all you kind writers at NS have offered. Thanks again.

  22. @olajumoke…..this piece got my heart racing! The tension- very crisp. Will this be a sequel?? I’d love a continuity to this.

    Noticed something that looked liked missing words or haphazard sentences but I was engrossed in the story to remember where or what I saw.

    Sorry for my late reply….I have not been around.

    Well done x

    1. @Zikora, yeah Our Angels is a series. Welcome back dear x

  23. Cant wait for the next part

    1. Hi, you can catch the second part using this link http://www.naijastories.com/2013/06/our-angels-2/
      The link to the rest of the series should be under the second part. Thank you so much @uzywhyte for reading and commenting.

  24. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

    heyahhhh, what a pity!!

    1. Thanks @ihenyengladysusile for commenting. Thank you.

      1. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

        you welcome….

    1. @mycreationn, I really appreciate your comment . Many thanks. Hope you enjoy the other episodes.

  25. Way to go. Superb writing, strong twists.

    1. Thank you @louis. I hope you try to catch some of the subsequent episodes.

  26. Hmmm.
    Trouble!

    Welldone.

    1. @Estee, it is an honour to have you on board. Thank you, Da Queen.

  27. Its funny. The time is 9.52 am,Monday morning, I have a Hajj Airlift meeting at 11am. I am reading @olajumoke on NS. Let me tell you what happened, somehow, I saw a post of a pic on my Facebook timeline. Olajumoke Omisore. We are not friends, so I was wondering. Turns out Facebook with all its algorithms tries to match people together, I wont be surprised if other NS siters get the same issues. Anyway I like this. Strong re writing of an old cliched situation. I could feel his pain, it was almost alive. But I cannot understand his composure. That ruined the pain for me. I would have hit out at something, not the wife, but something, break crockery, go down to the gym, something, anything to let off that pressure cooking. I will be reading the rest of the series later. Good job.

    1. @Lulu, that’s facebook for you – trying to make the world smaller.
      About this, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment too.
      I am grateful.

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