Dupe felt a hand on her shoulder,gently shaking her.
‘Wake up, honey. Please.Modupe’’. From her sleep she could recognise the voice. It was Tomi. Her husband of twelve years. She stirred a bit and the shaking got a bit stronger.
‘Tomi, you should be sleeping now. Whats the time?’’ she managed to mutter and yawned.
‘Its 2:30am. Please get up Mo’, I need to talk to you’’ he replied
She turned fully to face him. She saw his face and it looked like he had not slept for a minute. She dragged herself up to sitting position.
‘Baby! Why haven’t you slept? Tomorrow is Tuesday, it’s almost time to get up’’
‘’ I have to talk to you. Modupe, wake up its important.’’
‘’Okay , okay I am up.. What is it?’’ she asked now fully awake.
Tomi looked at her and began to shake his head , tears running down his cheeks. Dupe was baffled. She had only seen her husband like this before once, when his sister died.
‘Baby, Baby look at me. What is it?’’
He looked at her and started to say something, but choked back on tears.
‘Tomi you are scaring me, please baby say something. What happened?’’ She began to panic. Tomi never acted this way. He seemed … scared. She had to re-assure him. ‘ We are a team remember? We tell each other stuff. We walk through it together. Talk to me.’
‘ I lost my job yesterday’’ he said. He was a bit calm now.
‘’Oh my God! Baby I am so sorry. How could they?’’ She moved closer to him and hugged him. ‘’ We would be fine. I promise. It’s okay love. We can make it through this’’ She said.
Loving this man had never been a problem. She knew he loved his job and he was good at it. She knew his heart was breaking. She held him tighter. They were going to weather this storm together. They were a team, it’s what they did.
‘What was their reason? ’ she asked after a while
She felt him stiffen in her arms. She let him go and searched his face. There it was again, the fear. What was he afraid of? The children finding out? Not being able to cope financially? He got out of bed and knelt at her feet.
‘ Mo, I am so sorry’’ he said
‘ Tomi, it is not your fault. We would be fine’’ She said, a little bit confused.
‘It is. Listen to me honey, please promise me you aren’t going to leave me’’ he said almost desperately
‘ Tomi. Stop this madness now! Where am I going to?’’ she said beginning to get agitated by his actions. ‘Now tell me what is really going on’
He looked at her, unsure. He didn’t know how to get this out. He looked at her and his heart ached in his chest. She looked at him as if the whole world hung in his eyes, with so much love and trust and he hated to lose this moment. He never wanted to imagine a day without her in his life.
‘ They let me go yesterday…’’
‘’ Okay…’ Dupe probed ‘Why did they let you go?’’
‘Sexual harrasment’’ he whispered. Modupe’s heart skipped a beat.
‘’What did you say?’’ She whispered
‘ Sexual harrasment’’ he said a little bit louder. Dupe’s heart began to beat really hard now.
‘’ Who ?’’ she managed to ask although she already kind of knew the answer.
‘ Amaka. ‘
Dupe felt herself disconnect from her environment. It was what her brain did when she did not want to deal with certain issues. She felt very far away from her mind and body. She got back into bed. Tomi sprang up from his knees and rushed to her side
‘Honey please don’t shut me out. Please listen to me. Modupe please’’ he was crying now. Modupe was dragged back to reality. She looked at him and spoke
‘I want details.’
‘Okay. Okay. I slept with her. And she wanted an affair, when I refused she complained to the authorities.’
‘When did you sleep with her?’ Dupe felt herself disconnect again, but she stayed still.
‘When you and Nimi … travelled’
A moan escaped from her throat as she tried to suppress the heart wrenching cry that was threatening to escape from her lips, a tear rolled down her cheeks.
‘How many times?’ she muttered
‘ What?!’’ Tomi couldn’t believe his ears
‘’ I said how many times did you sleep with her?’’
That was when Dupe broke down. Her whole body began to shudder. Here was her husband in front of her, telling her that he had sex with the same girl he told her not to worry about while she was out of the country with their sick child who had a surgery. He was telling her that he frolicked with a strange woman while their daughter’s life was on the line and he had gotten laid off for it. She had never felt this kind of pain before. It felt as if her heart was being jabbed with a knife. She wanted to be far away from here. She felt Tomi wrap his arms around her as she wept in agony. She was betrayed by the one person she was very sure about. He was calling her name , bringing her back to the reality in front of her.
‘Honey I am sorry. Please stop crying , you are breaking my heart’
‘How could you Tomi? How could you do that to us?’ she wept
‘Do you love her?’
‘ What?! No!’ he replied vehemently
‘Then why twice? Answer me !’’
‘I don’t know!. Modupe…’’
‘’Stop calling my name! Don’t… Just leave me alone Tomi. I need to sleep.’’
‘’ Let’s talk about this Honey. Don’t go back to bed.’’
‘’ I said leave me alone. Get me some water.’
Tomi slowly got up and headed to the fridge in the corner. Picked out a bottle of water and handed it to her. She picked out some valium from her side table and took two tablets.
‘ Take the kids to school Tomi. I need to sleep. We would talk about this in the morning’’
‘’ Baby, don’t leave me like this, please…’ Tomi sobbed
Dupe turned to the other side, put off the lights and cried herself to sleep.
When Dupe opened her eyes the next day, it was 1pm. Tomi was by the window staring out. He had gone to drop the kids in school earlier in the morning. Nimi had asked if her mother was sick and he had said yes. Simi and Kanyin had argued all through the way. He just focused on not breaking down in front of them. After he dropped them off, he had come back and stared at his wife for a while. She was sleeping and sometimes she stirred and whimpered and went back to sleep. He just kept staring at her. This was his wife, the woman he had chosen to spend his life with. She had been nothing but good to him. He remembered when he met her. She was fresh out of school and had been posted to his Father’s office as a youth Corp member.
He remembered he had come to drop his Father off when he sighted her. She was full of energy and she stood out in that organisation. They had offered to retain her as a member of staff but she declined. She said she was going to start her own clothing line. Some people had called her stupid but she didn’t mind.
They had become friends and soon enough her name began to be known. He remembered when he had made up his mind to attend the Lagos Businness School and it was going to cost him a lot of money and he couldn’t afford it. Dupe had given him half of it from her savings. He had refused but she promised him it was a loan and he could repay later. She never collected it from him again. They got married after he finished his course at the Business school. Hardaks Oil had contacted him and he had gone to work for them as their Human Resource Manager. Life was good. They had three children: Oluwalonimi, Similoluwa and Kanyinsola. When Nimi was diagnosed with a hole in the heart, it shattered them. But Modupe was strong for them. They had gotten a transplant done in India and she had been perfect since. It was a stressful period for their family. Seeing their daughter suffer was hard on them. Somehow, it seemed like he had failed as a father. And when they had to wait to get a donor, it seemed like they were going to lose her. He felt like he was losing his wife too. She was withdrawn most times, looking at their daughter drift away before their eyes made her sad. He felt helpless not being able to ease the pain in her eyes and he blamed himself.
So when they got the call that afternoon that it was their turn, he was ecstatic. For the first time in a long while, he saw Mo’ breathe. The vacant look in her eyes was gone. It was the look he had seen slowly creep in early this morning and it was why he didn’t let her settle into it. It was a sign that she was shutting the world out, shutting him out and nothing hurt him more than when she did that. He had hurt then. It was her defence mechanism against pain but it was what had caused him to err. He wanted her to talk about it, to be angry, to be scared, to cry, not to shut him out.
His first time with Amaka happened a night before the surgery. Mo had insisted he stayed back and work. His mother had come around to help with Simi and Kanyin. The doctors said it was a fifty-fifty gamble and there were no guarantees. That night he stayed back at the office. He needed some time alone to think. He had called Mo’ and she said that they had wheeled their baby in. Amaka had come in then and they had spoken. He told her about Nimi and he had cried out his frustration. Amaka had tried to comfort him and somehow they had ended up having sex in his office. It had happened again and he knew it had to stop. Amaka had thrown a tantrum when he broke things off and had tried to blackmail him with pictures, when he called her bluff she forwarded the pictures to the board.
Modupe’s sobs brought his mind back to the room. She was clutching at her chest and crying. Tomi felt his heart break and he rushed to her side . He held her close and kept speaking into her hair and muttering. He told her he was sorry, that Amaka didn’t mean anything to him and that it was over. That it would never happen again and that she was breaking his heart.
After about an hour, she was calm.
‘’ I need sometime away Tomi’’
‘’Away from me?’
‘ Away from everything. Tomi, my husband just lost his job because he had an affair with a lady he told me not to worry about while my daughter’s life was hanging. Please, I deserve time to think about things and where to go from here.’
‘Where do you want to go? How long would you be gone?’ he sounded like he was going to cry
‘I’m not sure, maybe Kemi’s place in the States. I would leave tomorrow, I would be gone for as long as I need.’
‘Ok. What do you need me to do?’
‘I need you to protect the children from this. I don’t know what I want to do now except that I don’t want my children to have to deal with this and I need some time away.’
Tomi sighed. ‘Okay, I’ll book your flight. Do you need me to get you some aspirin? She nodded.
…..to be continued
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