Toyin walked back into her office at 8pm feeling not very happy. She had earlier left her office and was almost home when she got a call from her very close friend Bose. Bose told her that she had arranged for Toyin to see a very important client or patient as she preferred to call clients.
Toyin was a highly reputed mental health therapist with various degrees from prestigious universities in the United Kingdom. So she prided herself with the knowledge that she was one of the best of her kind in the country. She charged very high fees per hour. She never mixed her personal time with work time and had initially declined seeing the client Bose had arranged, but Bose had been able to convince her that this was no ordinary client. A high profile individual from out of town, intending to remain strictly anonymous and willing to pay thrice the normal rate per hour. This got Toyin’s attention and she just out of curiosity wanted to know who the mystery client was.
Bose had told her the client should be with her at 8.30pm. At exactly 8.30pm there was a slight knock at the door. Toyin calmly opened the door to see her mystery client. She was not one easily swayed by a man with good looks. She even believed that ladies easily moved by just good looks were dumber than door knobs. But the man standing before her had it, that she gave to him. He was looking like a black Bruce Wayne. A quick scan from head to toe picked a wedding ring.
‘Married!’ She thought. She quickly got herself together, and was able to stutter a
“Good evening sir, please come in”
“Good evening” he responded as he walked in and went straight to a chair meant for patients.
“Okay” Toyin stated, “I believe we can get right to work” as she picked up a note pad and a pen from her table and sat opposite her visitor.
“I am Dr. Toyin Ayeni, I believe you were referred here by Mrs. Bose Akintoye. Is that correct Mister…..?”
“I believe I relayed to Mrs Akintoye that names would be totally unnecessary and no record of my being here would be kept. But for the ease of communication between us, you can call me Mr Brown” he replied with a slight smile.
“Okay Mr. Brown, what can I do for you?” She asked.
“I am here in the place of a friend. My friend has a problem” he started.
“Please hold on” she interrupted “I believe your friend that has a problem should be the one here, it tends to work easier that way”.
“I think if my friend was able to be here, he would be. My being here is because I am fully detailed with his present situation and I am able to pass on any type of advice or words of reasoning that you might have for my friend, on to him”
Toyin looking confused asked “Sorry, Mr. Brown is this part of the anonymity clause, that I was not carried along with at the initial arrangement of this meeting? Are you really talking about yourself here, instead of mentioning a friend of yours?
He only looked at her with a straight expressionless face without replying her.
“Okay” she stated, she really did not see it fit to play along with this game. It was against all her professional conducts, but just to see the direction in which this was going, and also the triple rate that was being charged for this session, she was certain, it would worth playing along.
“Okay Mr. Brown, what problem can I help your friend with?” She asked
“My friend feels strongly the need to have someone dead”
“Hmmm, okay” Toyin stated, trying to look and act calm and be professional about what she had just heard.
“The thing is, my friend has never had the need to have this done to anyone before, and just as strongly he feels the need to have this done, he also feels that just maybe, he doesn’t need to do this. He needs someone to convince him totally that he doesn’t have to do this, which is where you come in”
Toyin only looked at him, her mouth slightly ajar. She had dealt with a lot of issues on the job before, but this was a first.
“Okay Mr. Brown, can you please tell me why your friend needs to have this done?” She asked.
“The man that my friend wants dead wants to take something from my friend. Technically it belongs to this man, but he lost it. My friend found it, and kind of got sentimentally attached to it, and now has a problem with letting it go.”
“Well, if your friend is sentimentally attached to this thing, and has a problem with letting go, he should probably just try to talk to the man and make some kind of offer for this thing, instead of doing anything horrid. I am quite certain, your friend and this man would come to some kind of conclusion that would please both parties.” She said.
“I think this could be considered as a non-negotiable circumstance. We are talking about this man’s family here. His wife and three children.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand” Toyin blurted out.
“The man’s family. He left and abandoned them for years, he comes back now and wants to play daddy again”
“If it’s his family, the man has every legal right to his family, and I believe it’s a good thing that he would want to go back to his family. Don’t you think your friend is being unfair in not wanting that to happen?”
“My friend strongly believes that this man doesn’t deserve the right to come back to them”
“I’m sorry, I still don’t understand, why does your friend want to do this, to have someone dead. Does your friend believe he is better for the man’s family? Does he plan to marry this man’s wife? Does the man’s wife feel the same way as your friend, in not wanting her husband back I mean?” Toyin asked.
“Too many questions, but I’ll try. This man, and the woman he abandoned his family for, have issues and are no longer together. Which is why he wants to come back to his family, but it’s already too late for him, because his wife has moved on and is presently with my friend. Yes the man’s wife feels the same way, she doesn’t want her husband back, she wants a divorce, but this man is not having that. He is fighting ruthlessly and has made death threats and drastic moves that my friend does not and cannot tolerate. Reasons why my friend wants him out of the picture. No, my friend cannot marry this woman, because…..”
“Oh! Is that convenient for you friend? He doesn’t want her husband back and he can’t marry her” Toyin interrupted.
“My friend is married”
“Interesting, so your friend is also abandoning his own family, yet he accuses someone else of doing the same thing he is doing”
“My friend isn’t abandoning his family. He never would.”
“Well it seems that way to me, as he wants to be with another man’s family so bad, so bad, he is willing to take a life for it”
“It’s not how it seems. My friend loves his wife and children so much, he would never leave them”
“Yet, he shows so much love for another”
“My friend is dedicated to those that he loves, it might look complicated that he is able to have this feeling for another family other than his, but he has been able to manage his time accordingly. Since he came into the life of this family, he still maintains spending quality time with his own family. Never misses a day without them”
“How does your friend’s wife feel about all of this?” Toyin asked sarcastically, “Am I to assume that she is comfortable with sharing her man with another woman and her family? Basically, what your friend is doing is just wrong. Weighing a man’s life on what practically belongs to him is also as wrong. I think your friend is as guilty as this man”
He looked at her steadily for a while, then said “Miss Ayeni, don’t you think you are to quick to judge my friend. Making it sound like he is a bad person, when you don’t even know him?”
“Mister…… Brown, your friend is a cheating husband, and I think should also be subjected to the same predicament with which he places the other man”
“So your opinion is that all cheating husbands are terribly wrong and should deserve harsh judgements regardless of if they are abandoning their family or not?”
“Errm.. , not my words exactly”
“Tell me Miss Ayeni, years ago, when a man abandoned his family here in Nigeria and relocated to England so that he could be with you. What part of the guilt did you bear in the horrible way that incident came to a conclusion?”
Toyin was clearly taken aback by this question that she could only look at him in shock with her mouth ajar and nothing to say.
“Please don’t look too surprised” he continued. “It was only necessary that we did a thorough background check on all the profiled therapists presented to us. Yours came out as perfect, being that you had once found yourself in a somewhat similar situation”
Toyin could only look at him, trying to comport herself and not run out of the room with the grief of the memory that this man had just refreshed. He had open an old wound that had taken her years to heal and to lock away at the back of her mind. She tried to take deep breaths as a way to comport herself and at the same time not make it too obvious that he had touched a nerve. She got up and went to the window. The memory of that awful night came to her in a rush like it had only been yesterday.
She had been involved with a man she met while on holidays in Nigeria. They had both been smitten with each other that she had not bothered that he was married with a family. This man Tunde, turned his back on his family and followed her back to England. She could not be bothered with that and considered it Tunde’s family issues. Tunde’s wife refused a divorce and constantly haunted them, insisting on wanting her husband back. After a couple of years with Tunde, Toyin got somewhat tired with the relationship and decided to end it. Tunde did not take this well and was completely heartbroken. His plea on how he had sacrificed everything for her and that he had nothing to return to, did not budge her decision. She insisted on ending the relationship and had Tunde move out of her apartment. After some weeks, she came home one evening to see Tunde standing in her living looking dishevelled. An empty bottle of brandy on the table suggested that he was drunk as well. She was about to go straight to the telephone to call the police, when he started to cry and began begging that she should please take him back, she ignored this and continued to dial the police, when Tunde brought out a very long knife and told her he would kill himself if she did not take him back. She dared and taunted him that he was too weak to carry out such an act. The words were barely out of her mouth when Tunde performed a Hara-kiri, partially disembowelling himself in front of Toyin. She screamed and ran to him, not sure she knew what she was going to do. She held him, crying as Tunde bled over the floor. Tunde coughed, his eyes slowly rolling upwards. He smiled as he saw her crying for him and apologised for the mess he was making on her floor, he managed to say he did not think of the blood part when he was considering doing this. He put his hand over the gash on his abdomen in a feeble attempt to stop the bleeding, while still apologising for the mess he was making. Toyin collected herself and ran to the phone almost slipping on the blood. She called for an ambulance, before going back to him. Tunde passed away before the ambulance arrived. She gave her statement to the police and was taken to her sister’s place to stay. She cried the entire night, her heart filled with grief, trying to place what had just happened and if it could have been preventable. She felt she should not have broken up with him, Tunde would not have done this. She could not bear to live with herself. Then Tunde’s wife added to the grief, confronting her, that her husband would still be alive if she had not stolen him from his family. She became an outcast to close friends and family because of the attention she was getting. The story was all over the paper, and she had to be institutionalized temporarily in a mental facility before she became herself again. After months of reflection on what happened, she blamed herself for the whole thing. She should not have eloped with a man who already belonged to someone else, and she should not have allowed him abandon his family. She blamed herself completely and took a long time to heal from the shock of what had happened to Tunde.
Could she continue with this session? She should! She thought to herself. She scolded herself for letting this get to her. She reminded herself that she had healed from that incident, and that she was the therapist in the room and should be in control. She heaved a big sigh and turned around to face him. Trying to sound as calm as possible, her voice a bit shaky, she said to him
“I do not appreciate your tendency to dig into my past and not only exhume a horrible memory, but also throwing it at my face. Sir, you have no right to such a question as I am under no obligation to reply to your enquiry”
He looked at her steadily for a while, then said “I am sorry that I upset you, it wasn’t my intention.”
Toyin nodded, and with a heavy sigh sat down in front of him “What happened those years ago, was something that I truly regretted having done. I was in a dark place for a very long time after what happened and blamed myself for it. I felt that if I hadn’t fallen for a married man in the first place, I wouldn’t have brought such grief to so many people. I shouldn’t have let him leave his family. Tunde wouldn’t have killed himself”. By now she had broken down and had tears in her eyes as she held her bent face. “Nobody should have to die for such, no one deserves grief in their lives, because of the weaknesses of others. Please don’t have this done. Please have your friend reconsider. If he truly loves this man’s family, he should please talk to the man and the man’s wife. You all should please sit and talk about the situation, it will not be easy, but no one would have to die. I carried the grief and the guilt of what happened for a long time and wouldn’t want anyone to bear any as similar”.
Toyin heard him get up and looked up at him and cleaned her eyes.
“You just saved a man’s life” he told her. With that, he walked out the door.