Have you ever woken up, seen something or someone, and then had to pretend to still be sleeping? Waking up to see Bode and Tiwa standing like body guards at the foot of my bed was enough to make me wish for another shot of diazepam. Before I was wheeled into theatre,these two were fighting for two babies. Now, there was just one baby and no king Solomon to solve the riddle.
While pretending to still be asleep, I strained to hear what they were saying. Bode’s voice was obviously louder while Tiwa’s voice had this I’m-in-control, I’ve-got-nothing-to-lose calmness to it.
“Tiwa or whatever it is you are called, just so you know, you ruined our marriage. I’m not allowing you wreak any more havoc. Just leave.”
“I am going nowhere. Unlike you, I have been around for the mother of my son and for her.”
“Funny. This woman is mine and whatever she brings forth from within her is also mine. Just because you had few times with her does not give you any ownership rights and as for the baby, wait for the paternity test.”
“Mr. Kuforiji, you repeated the seminal fluid analysis, right? You see the paper it was printed on, it became infertile just because your test results were printed on it.”
I had had enough. These two were not going to shut up and I could not keep up the ‘sleeping game’ anymore. There was only one way to get rid of them, starting with my husband.
“Bode…”Both of them snapped to attention, looking eagerly at me, “please get me the nurse.”
He gave Tiwa a stern look before hurrying away. Tiwa attempted to move closer to me but I stopped him with my words.
“The baby is not yours neither is it for Bode, which is no news to you. But I’d be telling him he’s the father and I would like you to respect that.”
Tiwa had a confused and shocked look on his face, “You have done the paternity test?”
I give him no reply.
“Nike, you aren’t going to ignore me. You disappeared for two months, no one knew where you were. You changed all your numbers. Even Tinuke had no clue. I was worried sick.”
“So how are you here now? And Bode too. Who called you?”
“She said her name is Siju.”
What kind of people am I surrounded with who don’t know when to keep quiet?
“So she called both of you?”
“I don’t know about your husband.”
Bode came back to report that a nurse was on her way. “Also, Tinuke just called, she is also on her way. Dr. Kunmbi, I would like some private time with my wife.”
Tiwa left, his shoulders a bit slumped. A pang of guilt swept through me . I hadn’t done the test but I knew that was the only way to get him to back off… For a while. There’s the likelihood that he would challenge the results but not for another while.
“Bode, why are you here?”
“Babe, you are my wife. That day, I was angry and hurt… and ashamed at how I treated you but I did not expect you to up and disappear without a trace. Yes, you cheated on me and lied to me but hiding the truth from you all those years was not right either.”
“Okay. Are you done? I need to rest. Take Tiwa… both of you should leave.”
“I have no business with him. I wonder what kind of doctor he is, seducing his patient and almost wrecking her marriage.”
“No, Bode. He did not seduce me. He listened. He cared. He loved. He desired me. He did all the things you forgot to do in your blind search for a miracle.”
“Then it means he took advantage of you. You were needy and vulnerable and he stepped in like a whirlwind.”
“Yes, seeing as your wind could not even put off a candle.”
Bode walked to the door opening it to reveal Tinuke. They exchanged brief pleasantries before Bode stelped out and Tinuke took his place on the bed beside me.
“Sister Nike, you could have at least dropped a note or called me once you were settled.”
My plan was to give her the silent treatment till she mentioned that our parents, specifically our father, had called.
“Daddy called you because of me?”
“Yes. And you know who called him.”
After the first two years of our marriage, I had gradually cut off communication with my parents. Their constant nagging about grandchildren had started earlier and was more intense than even Bode’s parents. There was also the part where my mother was quick to blame my lifestyle in university for our situation. I had told Bode to stop calling them or picking their calls. In fact, I had ensured it because I remember changing our phone numbers specifically for that.
“And what did our dear daddy have to say?”
“Summarily, they, that is, he and mum, are disappointed in you. However, they believe you can work it out with Bode and if they ever lay their eyes on Tiwa, he is dead.”
“They have no say in my life anymore and at this point, I’m not sure you do either. I was gone for almost two months, you of all people could have found me if you really wanted to.”
“I knew where you were. I just could not come. You looked happy and content with Siju and Toni. Coming there would only have reminded you of why you left.”
“I never forget why I left, part of it being your fault…”
“Please, let’s not go back to that. Besides, I brought someone to see you.”
Tinuke went to door and beckoned for someone to come in.
“Sister Nike, meet Ayotunde, my boyfriend.”
I looked up and knew that the drama had just begun. From the look in his eyes, I knew he also knew. We both stared, eyes locked, minds traveling back to a particular night.
“Ayotunde, meet my sister Morenikeji, my only sibling. I know you have been seeing her pictures but I’m sure she’s finer in real life, right?”
Tinuke excitedly pulled him towards my bed. It took a lot of will power to suppress the urge to jump off the bed and run out screaming, “rapist!!!”
“Nice to meet you Ayotunde.”
He shook my hand and said nothing. Tinuke was talking, supposedly gisting me about how she met him and how amazing it all had been. All I was thinking of was the audacity he had to have not broken up with Tinuke the very first time he saw my picture and she mentioned that we were sisters.
How could he have stayed?
“Ayotunde, what do you do?”
“He works with T&K construction company, although he just started working with them recently.”
“Tinuke, allow the young man speak for himself. T&K, hmm? What were you doing before, where were you working?”
“I was mainly hustling from one job to another… nothing serious.”
“Your parents must be quite reach.”
Tinuke laughed and made a joke about how I had the nose that could smell money miles away.
“Tinuke, please tell the nurse I want to express milk for the baby now.”
“Oh yes, Ayotunde, like I mentioned, I’m now an aunt. Sister Nike gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.”
I quickly cut in, “Did you also tell him they were twins but the female died?” I asked this while looking at Ayotunde, my eyes not leaving his face for a second.
Tinuke launched into how there were many twins in Ayotunde’s extended family. She finally remembered to go call the nurse, leaving me with her boyfriend… My rapist.
“Morenikeji, I am so so sorry…”, he had gone down on his knees the moment Tinuke left the room, “I just had to see you. I’m deeply sorry for what I did to you. I was foolish, I did not know better. I just…”
“Save it! All I want from you is that you break up with Tinuke right now and disappear from our lives. Forever.”
“Excuse me? You can’t what? How could you even continue dating her? How wicked is that? I am certain you knew right from the first picture, yet you stayed. To tease me? Mock me? Or what? Look, leave. I’m sure Tinuke knows nothing about your thieving other side.”
Tinuke came in, meeting Ayotunde on his knees. “Babe, why are you kneeling down?”
“Did you know your boyfriend was… Is a thief? Did you know he is a rapist? Do you even know him???”
Tinuke helped Ayotunde stand up before answering, “I knew.”