Ahmadu drove at breakneck speed to his mistress’s house. He needed to unwind at her place as his wife was nagging him about his twin daughters’ school fees.
Let them drop out, he thought, they are of no use anyway. He had always longed for a son but his wife, Aishat had failed to give him any after having the girls. After 17 years of marriage, all he had to show for were two miserable girls who will end up in another man’s kitchen. He had started taking his anger out on Aishat. I only hit her mildly this evening, he thought.
His present hope for a son was Leila his mistress. Leila is a 21-year-old undergraduate at the university. She is tall, slim with smooth ebony skin and a dimple when she smiled.
He had forgotten that Aishat too used to be like that until she had his children and was a victim of his beatings. He had reduced spending money on his household because Leila needed the best clothes and money.
He smiled when he was about to turn into the street where he had rented an apartment for her. He needed to share his good news with her. He had just been paid the money for his last contract. It was the biggest contract he had ever won. He had not told her he was coming to see her; it was supposed to be a surprise visit.
Seidu his childhood friend who is now his lawyer had advised him to write a will when he shared the news with him. I do not need to write any will now, he thought, I am still a healthy man and at 58 years old, I look at least 10 years younger.
When he got to Leila’s apartment, he knocked but there was no response. He was surprised because he had glimpsed the car he bought for her last birthday in the compound.
Therefore, he used his spare key to open the door.
Leila was truly in the apartment but she was with a female friend and one man. They were all naked and having a threesome. She saw him and stood up from her doggy style position on the floor.
Ahmed opened his mouth but no words came out. Then he felt his eyes closing and then it was all darkness for him.
Aishat was using some ice as cold compress on her chest. She was wearing a wrapper round her waist and nothing else. Her eyes were red and her face was puffy. She wondered about how long she was going to continue to suffer beatings like this. She needed to plan, she thought. She pressed her lips in a thin line and took out her mobile phone from her purse. She went to the calculator menu. She calculated her savings from her clothes store and the money she had pilfered from Ahmadu for some months. She knew of all her husband’s business activities and about Leila. She kept her ears to the ground but kept her mouth shut.
“I don’t want to die before my time. My beastly husband will marry Leila anyway. I haven’t asked him for the children’s school fees in the past five years but when I decide to ask him because my business has not been doing well lately, see what he does to me,” she said to herself.
She and her husband used to love each other until he started getting obsessed with the idea of a male child. She had wanted to continue to love him in spite of all the beatings but last year, her husband had beat her so hard that she had lost her 3-month-old pregnancy.
Her late friend, Binta had always urged her to find a way to leave before he killed her. Binta was the wife of her husband’s friend, Seidu. The couple had always intervened in her matter until Binta’s death during an accident some months after Aishat’s miscarriage. Now, Seidu seemed to be too occupied with mourning for his wife to bother about who was beating who.
A knock at the door jolted her out of her reverie. She quickly wore a blouse and cleaned her face with the end of her wrapper. Her 15-year-old daughters, Simbi and Sidi opened the door and came in.
“Mom, uncle Seidu is here. He said he needs to see you right away. Isn’t it strange that he is asking for you when daddy isn’t home?” Simbi said.
“Tell him I am coming,” Aishat replied.
Simbi left but Sidi waited.
“What are you waiting for?” her mother asked.
“You have been crying, haven’t you? He beat you again, didn’t he?” Sidi said. She had always been more perceptive than her sister.
“Go downstairs. I will meet all of you there soon. Go now,” her mother said while evading her questions.
She shrugged her shoulders and left.
Aishatu went to the bathroom to wash her face and wear something more presentable to welcome their guest. Then she went downstairs to greet him.
Immediately she saw his face, she knew something was wrong.
“What happened? How are your children?” she asked without her usual greetings to him.
“They are fine.”
“So why are your eyes so red? Tell me what’s wrong.”
“It is Ahmadu. He had a heart attack and…”
“And what?” she asked with alarm in her voice.
“He is dead,” Seidu said.