The door opened so quietly that I did not wake up to see who had come in; it was when her hands touched me that I knew I was not alone in the room.
She threw the blanket off me and her deft hands made straight for my boxers. I was thoroughly alarmed. Was this the help my brother wanted to ask of me?
Let me explain.
I arrived at my brother’s home on a short visit two days ago from Lagos to attend a one month training conference at Ibadan where he stayed. He had been married for six years without a child and although that was of much concern to us all-family and friends- we were all too modern to make a big issue of it. We prayed for them privately and pretended not to notice, otherwise.
A day after I arrived, my brother had called me aside quietly to tell me that he might need my assistance on an urgent matter, but as he was not yet sure how or even if the help would be necessary, he would just wait till later to tell me exactly what he needed.
My brother’s wife has never shown more than filial interest in me, nor me in her; we were just cordial family. Now, she was here in my room, trying to have her way with me: the only logical explanation was that they needed my help to make her conceive.
As I tried to stir awake fully and get her off me, I again thought of what the consequences of refusing her would be: the wife would be disgraced, my brother and I would very likely be estranged for me trying to destroy his home; and seeing how desperate they were now, they could probably make another arrangement with a total stranger if this didn’t work out.
So I repressed my first instincts, and let her do what she wanted with me.
When she was – no, when we were through, she left. No words had passed between us, we just finished and parted.
In the morning, she was back to her warm and charming self; my brother also was looking all good and proper, who was I to dampen the ‘pleasant morning’ mood with sordid revelations? I could imagine how that would go:
“How was it, sister-in-law, the sex…yeah, good? Glad to be of service then and anytime!”
No way in hell!
Instead, we all went on our ways to our different lives on this seemingly good morning.
That night, she came again to my room, we repeated what we did the previous night and in the morning, we all woke up again, bright and sprightly, as if nothing was happening!
But then, as I made to leave for the training program I was there for, my brother asked to privately speak with me.
“Aburo, you know that help I told you I might need you to render?”
“Yes.” I said cautiously
“Well, seems I will really need you after all. Can you lend me N200,000? I need it kind of urgently on this deal I’m working on.”
I was shell-shocked! He apparently did not know of his wife’s escapades.
“Erm…ha…” I was lost for words.
“You don’t have that much money?”
“No, not that…w-we can go to the ATM right now to get it.” I blurted out
He smiled and patted me on the back.
“I know I can always rely on you. Oya man, make we go now…I can drop you off at your training centre after we get the money.”
And he walked off.
I stood there for a few minutes, trying to process how badly I had literally screwed up.
When I got back in the evening, I made a resolution to tell my brother what had happened; I knew that would destroy our relationship but I loved him so much I could not let such a wicked woman as his wife be with him. Who knows how many times she had stepped out on him or that she would…and without protection!
As I got to his house, his wife met me at the door and was her sweet, blissful self; it took all of my self-control not to scream at her and reveal her for who she was right there. She made, conveniently, for the kitchen immediately after ushering me in to the living room where my brother sat, watching a football match.
We exchanged pleasantries, and he thanked me for my help in the morning. After some minutes, I asked to see him.
“Egbon, I don’t know how to say this…” Pause “But last night, your wife was awake and…” The words were stuck to my tongue, I looked away.
“Ha, so you too have seen it.”
My eyes flew back to his face.
What was going on? I wondered; Did he know?
“Seen what?” I wanted to be sure we meant the same thing
“I mean her somnambulism.”
“Like sleep walking?”
“Yes! It started about three or so years ago. The doctor says she is stressed over this child-bearing thing. You know women now…always worried. She does not realize that God does everything beautiful in its time, even if it has to be like that of Abraham and Sarah. She cooks, eats, and does house chores while sleep-walking. Once, she even tried to drive out at night, but she did not open the gate so the car hit it; and she still slept on obliviously in the car after the crash, Can you imagine!” he narrated excitedly
“Ha” I whispered with a nervous smile
“For the past few months, it looked like it’s stopped; I didn’t know she was back at it. So what was she doing when you saw her?”
“Oh…she was just…you know, clearing the house, I think.” I lied, uneasily.
He laughed. “Ha, that woman is one of God’s special creatures and I love her for it.”
We both laughed and went back to watching the TV.
The story of her sleep-walk served as our dinnertime conversation.
As we made to go to sleep I knew that my revealing of what was going on would wreck her life but still, I wondered if I had the heart to go on with the whole sordid business, even if she was doing it unintentionally. Thankfully, she did not come again to me that night or other nights immediately after.
About two weeks later, we were at the Church on a Sunday morning when I saw my brother’s wife mount the pulpit.
She had come to testify.
“Praaaaaaiseeeee the Lord!” She screamed from the loudspeaker.
“Haaleluyahhhh” The congregation shouted back
She began to sing: “What the Lord has done for me…I cannot tell it all…what the Lord has done for me…I cannot tell it all…..”
She sang two other songs, with the joyful participation of the church, before getting into the testimony proper.
“I want to bless the Lord, because he is good…Ha, all his promises are yea and amen…you see, I have been married for six years without a child…my husband and I have prayed and prayed that God should give us the gift of a child…sometimes it would seem as if our prayers were in vain…but we always had the conviction that God will do what he said he will do…his word said there shall be no barren in the land…and now, God has fulfilled it. For one week now, I have been feeling cramps and tired with blood flow that was happening long before my period was due. So yesterday, I went to the doctor and explained to him what was wrong, he examined me asked me to go for a pregnancy test and Brethren…my test came out positive.” She finished with a flourish
The uproar in the church was electric. No one was left sitting: God had again done His wonder!
“Praaaaise the Lord with me!!”
On our way home that day, her joyous husband playfully asked her why she did not tell him first that she was pregnant before telling the Church.
“I made a vow to God that if He blesses me with a Child, I will first share the testimony at church before telling anybody.”
“Praise be to God” he replied.
We drove home joyfully; at least, they did. As for me, I sat there, in the backseat, wondering how important my role may have been in this execution of God’s wondrous power.