Eru returned home from work in the evening, tired and hungry. He had given his sweet heart a spare key to his two-bedroom apartment. He wanted her to feel free to visit at any time she wanted, whether he was in or out. He really liked her. He had planned to propose to her by the end of the month. He didn’t want to waste any time, he was ready to settle down and begin a new marital life with her. The moment he walked into the sitting room, the sight that beheld him weakened his knees. He found Bina sleeping on the settee, surrounded by piles of dirty plates, cups, glasses, mugs, cutleries, wrappers of chocolates, biscuits and candies. The room was in a complete mess. What if he had come home with a friend or worse his siblings? How would they have perceived her? He pulled off his jacket and marched into the master bedroom. He found the room in disarray. Her clothes, shoes and bag were scattered on the unmade bed, and the pillows were thrown in every direction.
What is the meaning of this?
He dropped his car keys and phones in the wardrobe and hung his jacket. He returned to the sitting room and met her still sleeping. He hissed and strode into the kitchen. The sink was unbelievably full! There were dirty pots, plates, glasses and pans in it. The cupboards were open. The floor was smeared with all sorts of paste and liquid he couldn’t discern. He felt blood drain from his face.
“What the hell is this?!” he hurried out and returned to the sitting room, “Bina! Bina! Ibinabo!”
She opened her eyes. She heard her name. She pulled herself up in a sitting position. Was Eru back from work? Maybe she was dreaming.
She blinked and sighted him ten feet away. She wasn’t dreaming. He was home, clad in a pair of black shiny trousers, a white long sleeve shirt and a long black tie. He looked angry. What was wrong? She pulled her weight up and approached him.
“Welcome home,” she stretched out her hands and yawned.
“What is the meaning of this?” he glared at her.
She squinted her sleepy eyes. What was he talking about?
“Did I commit a crime by giving you the key to my house?” he placed both hands on his hips.
She shook her head.
“Why have you decided to turn my apartment into a dumpsite?”
She opened her mouth, and then closed it.
“The sitting room is a mess, my bedroom looks like a train ran over it and my kitchen is no different from a pigsty.”
She blinked and stared back at him. Was he upset because the house was a little untidy? She looked around her.
“Is that why you came home screaming my name as if…” she glanced back at him, “As if the house is on fire.”
He narrowed his gaze. Her response fueled his anger. Her lack of remorse baffled him.
“We can get someone to clean it up,” she said lackadaisically.
“What happened to your hands?” he looked her up and down.
“Fine! I will clean it up,” she returned to the settee and lay on her tummy. When she wakes up, she would clean his house and go home. At least, no one stresses her there with house-work.
He glanced sideways. His annoyance was at a boiling point, “Will you get into that kitchen this minute and clean all that mess…” he moved towards the chair and pulled her by the leg.
She fell on the rugged floor and scrambled to her feet, “You know you have gone mad!” she pointed a finger at him.
His astonished gaze remained on her enraged face.
“Something is wrong with your brain,” she tapped the side of her face with a finger.
He placed a hand on his chest, “Are you talking to me?”
“Are you daft or something? Do you see anyone else around here?” her coffee coloured eyes darted left and right, “Of course I am talking to you.”
He took several steps backward, turned around and hurried into the master bedroom. He picked up her shoes, bag and clothes which were scattered all over the bed and returned to the sitting room. He threw them at her and pointed at the front door. She followed his gaze and started to laugh.
“Leave my house,” her laughter infuriated him.
She clapped her hands, “You are funny.”
“Bina leave my house! Or else…”
“Or else what?” she approached him, closed the gap between them and eyed him.
He pushed her away, “Leave this minute or else, I will beat you into a pulp,” he warned her.
She staggered and looked back at him. She felt as if a screw had loosened in her brain.
Like a flash of light, she leapt at him and held him by the collar, “Beat who? Your Mama abi? Who do you think you are? The Undertaker or Hulk Hogan?”
He pushed her and tried to loosen his collar from her choking grip, but, she held unto him. Her strength astounded him.
“I am warning you,” he tapped a finger on her forehead.
“Try it now. You think I am one of those spineless girls out there.”
“Let go,” he pushed her again. The buttons of his shirt started coming off one after the other.
“You must beat me today. Thank God we have only dated for three months. It is not too late to call it off.”
His throat went dry and he started to choke. He coughed and hit her across the face. She released him, dazed that he had just hit her.
“Get…” he coughed, “Get… get out of my flat!”
She held her hurting cheek, still in shock.
“Out!” he pointed at the door and pulled off his torn shirt.
She took a few steps towards him and slapped him twice on both sides of the face. Caught unawares, he staggered and almost fell. She lurched herself at him and held his trousers. The next thing he knew, her teeth had gone deep into the skin of his stomach. He cried out in pain and kicked her with one of his legs. She released him and fell on the tiled floor. He held his tummy and noticed that he was bleeding. Horrified, he dashed into his bedroom and hurried into the bathroom. He found the first aid box on the wooden shelf nailed to the wall and flung it open.
Ibinabo picked up her clothes, shoes and bag on the floor and headed out. She had a satisfied look on her face. Next time, he would think twice before laying a finger on her. She wore her blouse over the spaghetti top and slipped into her jeans. She got into her shoes and approached the gate. She smoothened her jet black back-length hair. The security guard allowed her out of the building. She stood by the closed gate and looked around her. The street was dark and empty. How was she going to get home? She thought of calling her grandmother’s driver, and then decided against it. Tjay crossed her mind. She wondered if he would come and pick her up if she called him. They had not spoken to each other for a long time. It was all her fault. Why did she always drive her friends away?
They lay on the bed and watched a movie on the twenty-inch flat screen television. He turned his head and glanced at her. They had been dating for the past two months and he had no regrets. She was homely, kind and industrious. Despite the fact that she was attractive, she didn’t allow her physical beauty to get into her head. She could relate with anyone, regardless of their social status. She was definitely a wife material and he wished he had asked her out earlier. Nevertheless, it was better late than never. He heard the ringing of his phone. He reached out for it on the stool beside the bed and checked the caller’s identity. He blinked and sat up immediately. He had not heard from her since she started dating the Prado jeep guy. What was his name?
“Tjay hi… please, I need your help.”
The sound of her voice made his heart jump, “Are you okay?”
“Yes, no… please, can you come and pick me up?”
He glanced at the wall clock. It was fifteen minutes past nine, “Where are you?”
“I am in Ilupeju, on the street close to Sweet Sensation.”
“Okay, go to the eatery and wait for me.”
“Oh goody! Thanks.”
Her excited voice warmed his heart. He hung up and got down from the bed. She sat up and looked up at him.
“Are you going out?”
“Yes,” he took out a shirt from the wardrobe, “I need to pick up a friend. She is stranded.”
“Bina,” he zipped the jeans and straightened the collar of the red tee-shirt.
He nodded. He had told her about his childhood friend, but, he left out the part that he had always loved her.
“Can I come?” Adiza got down from the bed.
He shrugged and picked up his car keys on the stool. He switched off the television and the ceiling fan. She slipped on her slippers and followed him out of the apartment. She had not been introduced to his childhood friend since they had started dating because of the rift between them. She had seen Ibinabo at a distance a couple of times, but, they had never crossed paths. Finally, they were going to meet.