Oghenekome Ejire failed abysmally in her O’ level examination; not a single credit anywhere in sight or in the distance horizon. She was forced to register in one those wonder evening tutorial classes which promised straight ‘As’ in less than three weeks upon payment of the astronomical tuition fees. So she met Ayobami, popularly called AY one Tuesday evening on her way back from a wonder class, less than two weeks after her father physically went to pay the tuition fee.
Ayobami Adedeji was thirty four years and the proud owner of a thriving mechanic workshop with five teenage apprentices. Ayobami’s toasting of Kome was scientific, even in its crudest form. Women are like cars, cranky tokunbo cars. You need a lot of patience; a lot of coaxing, lots of revving and of course, a lot of lubricating. Kome’s ‘fall’ for Ayobami’s advances was detached and clinical. Ayobami was beneath her, far beneath her station, but you never look a gifted donkey in the ass. She was going to teach him a lesson.
She collected all his gifts and money. She laughed at his oily mechanical jokes, but her thighs refused to be lubricated. Ayobami was befuddled. Six weeks. And he is yet to see the color of her thongs. He consulted his manual; his friends.
Segun, the oldest in the gang was mad. “Eh! You mean say dat girl wan show us say she be warri babe abi” “She don chop, she no wan shit, na constipation go kill am, her father!” Omoboriowo, the crudest of the lot vituperated. “enyin boiz, enyin boiz, e senpe. Cool temper, cool temper” Kunle, the brain and master strategist gathered the group together. “Oun ti a ma se leyin, this is what we are going to do”. And the plan to take Kome to the slaughter house was hatched.
Ayobami pandered to Kome’s greed and big girl status. He convinced her to take driving lessons, using one of the luxury cars in his workshop. Kome acquiesced readily, envisaging how green with envy her brother and her friends would be, when they eventually learnt that she could drive. Kome proved to be a fast learner. Ayobami was really pleased; the plan would come to a head faster than expected. Two weeks into the driving lesson, Ayobami prevailed on Kome to take him to Kunle’s house for some business chit chat. Kome refused outright. She did not want to meet with any of his ‘raze’ friends. She was actually keeping her relationship with Ayobami under wraps, on the down low. She has her reputation to protect. But when Ayo showed her the address, she realized that, Odinakachi, her bitter rival in wonder class happens to reside on that same street.
Odinakachi’s mother operated a ‘daily need’ shop in front of their family house, and Odinakachi managed the store for her mother on Sundays, while her mother attends Ohia progressive town’s meeting.
Oghenekome brought the car to a stop in front of a store that was over flowing with all sorts of house hold items; from bathroom slippers, to bread, kerosene, soft drinks, pampers, plastic balls, you name it and MAMA LONDONA PICK AND PAY STORE has it. Kome wound down the car window and called out “hello! Do you have mtn credit?” “Yes. How much own you want?” a voice answered from inside the store. Kome
smiled. She couldn’t wait to see Kachi’s face. “₦1,500” Kome replied. “Ok ma, I dey come” the voice said. Kome laughed. Ayo was puzzled. Women! You can never understand them. “Here it is ma” the voice morphed into a stunning yellow paw paw young lady with hazel eyes and an angelic smile, even Ayo had to swallow noisily. But Kachi’s smile vanished, the instant she stooped to collect the money from Kome. “Oh, Kachi, is this where you stay?” Kome feigned surprise, collecting the recharge card. A strangled ‘yes’ was all she got for her trouble. But that was alright by Kome. She had scored a solid point against her arch rival. She wound up the car window, made an elaborate, articulated vehicle-like reverse to Kunle’s house while Odinakachi stood, jaws on the floor, turning from primary colors to secondary colors then to primary colors again.
Basking in the euphoria of having one up against Odinakachi, Kome floats into Kunle’s ‘tushed’ abode. She heard Ayo as if from a distance, saying something about Kunle not being in and for her to feel at home. Still levitating, she admires the opulence of the room. Propping herself on the sofa, she crossed and uncrossed her shapely legs totally missing the sly way Ayo turned the key in the lock and the surreptitious thumb up he made towards the sliver ceiling with many eyes. One of those eyes holds a camera with three pairs of human eyes at the other end. Ayo moved towards Kome. And he went to work on her.
Kome was soundly raped by Ayobami. He even had the nerve to drop her off at her parents’ house, believing that Kome would behave like the classic rape victim and be too ashamed to report the matter to her parents. But he soon discovered how wrong he could be when at about 11pm that same evening he was bundled out of his apartment by stern looking policemen to the bewilderment of his fiancée who was visiting for the weekend. Ayobami was left to rot in detention for three months until he pleaded guilty to the rape charge brought against him and also agreed to marry Kome when she was discovered to be pregnant.
The world had never witnessed a marriage between two highly unwilling persons. Kome’s consent was never sought. All she ever wanted was to abort the pregnancy and get on with her life. But her parents would have none of that. Kome was forced to marry Ayobami. Ayobami on the other hand, had plans of marrying Funto, his fiancée of five years. He had invested heavily on Funto. He actually sponsored her University education; and Funto was supposed to be graduating the following year. It was therefore a very unhappy Ayobami and a manic depressive Oghenekome who promised to love and cherish each other till deaths do them part who attended their own wedding ceremony.
Oghenekome Adedeji got the first of several beatings that was to come on their wedding night when she refused Ayo his conjugal right. She was thoroughly beaten and raped by her husband. And that set the tune for her marital life. She had completely cut herself off from her family. She couldn’t bring herself to forgive them for sentencing her to a life of misery. She was just eighteen for goodness sake! Couldn’t they have forgiven her and help her to start her life all over again? But no, their pride and reputation will not allow them to have a pregnant daughter give birth to a bastard in their house.
Ayobami Adedeji couldn’t keep his mind on his business. The loss of Funtola Omosiebe, his fiancée was so great that it ate at his mind like a cancer. His business suffered terribly and then he got involved in an accident which claimed the life of a five year old girl, when he took a vehicle he had repaired for a test drive. His workshop was shut down indefinitely when the police was brought into the matter. Things only went downhill from there onward when he was finally released. Oghenekome’s sloppy housekeeping didn’t help matters either. The house was always untidy, the food badly prepared and as if that was not enough, Kome was having the worst pregnancy related illness possible; feet swollen twice their normal size, horrendous back ache, spiting and retching all over the place. The stench in the house was unbelievable.
She was six months gone when Ayo came in drunk, late one night and demanded for his food. Kome obediently went to the kitchenette to heat the egusi soup that was to accompany the eba in the warmer she had made earlier on. She normally sits on a low stool in the kitchenette while trying to get her husband’s food ready, but on that particular night, because of the excruciating back pain, she decided to go lay on the bedroom while the soup was heating up. But, by the time she dragged her swollen body back to the kitchenette the soup was burnt out of shape.
Kome was closed to tears as she planned for alternative meal for her husband. She was able to rustle up watery pap and leftover beans. She took it timidly to the sitting room and placed it before a drowsy Ayo. “hmmh, I tink say Jesus go don come before the food go ready” Ayo slurred. He tried to sit up as he removed the lids from the plates. He was stunned at what he saw. Some two-bit beans and a murky substance. He thought maybe he had had more drinks than was necessary, so he took the table spoon beside the dishes, dipped it into the murky substance, raised the spoon containing the murky substance and the substance just dripped back into the bowl. He looked at his wife who was also watching him closely. “Wetin be this?” he asked in a surprisingly clear voice. “Your food” Kome mumbled. “You call this food?” he sneered “Give me eba now!” he roared. “The soup is finished” Kome replied. Ayo’s eyes narrowed to slits, his pugnacious nostrils went up “Wetin dey smell?” he queried. “What smell?” Kome asked evasively. Ayo’s eyes lit up. “You stupid idiot, you burn ma soup and give me this miserable piss make i drink and you con stand there, dey ask me stupid question…. You lazy good for nothing pig!” Ayo screamed hurling the hot bowl of pap at Kome.
“Mammy!!!!” Kome screamed. She turned just in time to save her face but the cheap breakable bowl exploded at the back of her head. Kome hit the floor face down screaming horribly as her protruding tummy took the full impact of the fall. When Kome came to, three days later, she was in the hospital with a concussion and a flat tummy. She really didn’t mind the loss of the pregnancy; she had never wanted it anyway. But when her parents came to visit her in the hospital and her mother broke the news to her that the evacuation of the pregnancy was not professionally done. She will never conceive ever again, Kome knew what she had to do.
Kome had been home from the hospital for six weeks now and Ayo had not deemed it fit to apologize to her for destroying her womb and her life, if anything he had become more cantankerous. Kome went into the kitchenette; she took her time preparing the chicken stew and white rice garnished with ripe fried plantain. Ayo came out of the bathroom whistling, the smell coming from the kitchenette was aromatic. He shook his head, surprised that his house was wearing a different smell, a pleasant smell for once. Kome came out of the kitchenette bearing the food on a tray. She set it down carefully on the dining table. She waited for Ayo to come to the table before dishing out his food, and then she poured him orange juice. When she started dishing for herself Ayo looked at her quizzically, not once since they got married have they had a meal together on the dining table and since they don’t have anything to say to each other that was fine with Ayo. So what’s with the change and what is she up to? Ayo wondered as he dug into his meal. He was pleasantly surprised for the second time in one night at the tasty delicacy. He wished she would just go away, get out of his life since there was no baby keeping them together. He knows he could still get Funto back, if only this idiot will just disappear.
He contemplated just walking away from this ‘Lagos’ marriage. Yes. He is going to walk away into the sun set, maybe tomorrow or the day after, he concluded as he took a sip of his juice watching his wife chew her food thoughtfully. He replaced the tumbler on the table as he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen, he spooned more rice into his mouth thinking that his appendicitis must be acting up again. But he dropped the spoon with a clatter when the pain became intense. He looked at his wife looking at him dispassionately. “Kome… Kome… abeg…” he gasped foaming at the mouth. Kome dropped her spoon, takes her poisoned juice, there was no triumph in her eyes, only resignation at the sheer waste of lives. She raised her glass in a toast to her husband “Cheers, till death do us part” she said as she gulped down the juice.