By Tunde Oni
The last three years have been the most fulfilling of my life.
When you marry the man of your dreams, it just makes everything okay doesn’t it?
At times, I still try to pinch myself just to be sure I am not living a dream.
I am now Mrs Oluwateniola Oke, wife to the amazing Mr David Oke and mother to the breathtakingly beautiful Princess Oke. I still wonder why her father insisted on naming her Princess.
I dated David for a year and we got married and had Princess immediately after which is why I have been married for two years and my daughter is a little over a year.
I turned over in bed that morning stretching my arms to the right so I can snuggle my hubby only to find his side empty. I was first confused, then startled.
I expected David to have come in already while I slept but as I checked my phone for the time, I already knew what to find but seeing it eventually did not make it any easier.
It was 5am already and my husband never came home.
I got up hastily just to check around and be sure. I checked our ensuite bathroom, the sitting room, kitchen and finally Princess’s room but I came up empty. I sat back in bed and dialed his number but like previous times, he did not pick up my call.
I had just about an hour before Princess woke up so I just went back to the bedroom and laid down. I was not scared he was hurt because this was not the first time this was happening. This is in fact the 11th time in the last 2 months. It has always been the same excuse, he went to hang out with his friends, it got too late and he decided to lodge in a hotel alone to clear his head. Which responsible married man leaves his family at home to lodge in a hotel?
We had some serious screaming matches the first five times but afterwards, I have met him with plain silence. Apparently, I am so bad that my beloved husband needs time away from me. I think what surprised me more was this was so out of character for David who has been a model husband and father till now.
Tola who got married not long after me, thinks I should just keep trying to talk to him about it till I get through to him and Chinonso who just got married six months ago suggested we go for counselling. The girls and I are still as close as ever.
“Mama”, the sound of my baby at the foot of my bed brought me out of my thoughts. I did not even hear her coming into my room. I quickly picked her up and showered her with hugs, kisses and tickles. The sound of her laughter was enough to bring me out of my down mood. I knew that her nanny was awake and will soon get her ready since I could hear sounds coming from inside the house already.
An hour later, I was just strapping Princess into her car seat so I could drop her off in preschool before heading off to work when I saw David drive into the compound. I quickly rushed into the driver seat, dropped my bag on the passenger seat and drove off. I faintly heard David calling my name but I did not even bother to spare him a glance.
I saw about ten missed calls from David all through that day and I did not dignify any of his calls with a response. I got a text from him in the afternoon saying he was already picking Princess from school and I just rolled my eyes because I knew that was him trying to apologize with kindness. I got two more messages towards the end of my closing time about how much he loves me and all which I conveniently ignored.
The sight that I met when I walked into our home at about 6pm that evening definitely softened my heart. Princess was in her high chair covered in biscuit crumbs watching Max and Ruby on Disney Junior while my husband was dressed in shorts and a t shirt with an apron over it and setting the table. He had obviously made dinner to appease me. His face lit up as I came in and I could see even in his eyes he was trying to say sorry. I walked over to Princess and gave her a big kiss on the lips. She immediately started grumbling because so I was blocking her view of the television. I laughed at that and just simply walked past David into the bedroom.
I looked up from the floor where I had been busy taking off my high heeled sandals when I heard him walk into the room.
”Babe, I am sorry for staying out overnight”.
”Please stop apologizing for what you are going to do again next time. There is nothing to be sorry about. I am getting used to it”.
“Haba Teni, what do you mean you are getting used to it like it’s a good thing?”
“Oh! Oh! so you know it is not a good thing yet it is okay to do it? How exactly will you feel if I decide to stay out all night?”
“Why will you do something like that? It is not the same thing besides who will take care of Princess?”
” Can you just listen to yourself David, listen to you giving advise you cannot take.”
”See, I don’t want us to fight about this. I am sorry I got too drunk last night that I had to stay out overnight. I am sorry I wasn’t here to cuddle you during the night, I know you missed that.”
”Seriously? I did not even notice you were away.” I rolled my eyes and sighed. I knew I had lost my battle on this one. I didn’t even have the strength to argue.
”I will make sure it does not happen again babe and to show you how sorry I am, I made you dinner. I made Amala and okro soup and trust me I made it all myself right from the scratch”.
”What time did you leave work to be able to do all these?”
“I left around 2pm. I will do anything to make my wife happy.”
He pulled me in for a hug and we just stayed there nestled in each other’s arms.
”I love you so much darling,” he said. I was just about to respond when we heard Princess crying. We jumped apart and rushed to the sitting room but her nanny was already picking her up. We sat down to eat dinner.
That Saturday, Tola, Chinonso and I met up at the Salon to get out hair done and also hang out which is our usual hang out spot. That particular salon also had a lounge and spa. We had been busy sharing tales of all our respective husbands. We seemed to have totally separate battles we were dealing with but it was fine because we had relatively happy homes. I just finished fixing my nails and was going to use the bathroom when I saw him walk in.
Immediately his eyes met mine, he paused in recollection and walked up to me. I just shook my head and smiled. Even after over fifteen years, he had not really changed, I would recognize him anywhere.
“Teniola Williams in real life”
“Muyiwa Akindele!!! Oh my God! We hugged each other and immediately pulled apart to assess each other.
“Wow! Teni, I never thought I will see you again. You still look as perfect as you did back then”
“It is too early to start the flattery, haven’t you dropped all that over the years?”
”Appreciating one of the rarest beauties I have been privileged to know? I don’t intend to drop that anytime soon”.
”What are you doing here anyway?”
”I always cut my hair here. It is a unisex salon, they have the male section right at the back”
”I can’t believe we haven’t met before now. I have been using this salon for about five years now”.
”I actually just moved into town about 6 months ago. That might be why we haven’t crossed paths”.
”Okay give me your card so we can catch up sometime. It is so great to see you again Teni”. I brought out my card from my bag and gave to him while he gave me his. I could not wipe the smile off my face when he walked off and I turned back to face Tola and Chinonso.
”Please don’t tell me that is the same Muyiwa. Your childhood love Muyiwa that moved away?” Tola said.
”Yup, that is indeed him in flesh and blood.”
”Why didn’t you immediately mention that you were married?”
”Haba Tola, that question never came up”
”And it so happens to be on a day you forgot to wear your wedding rings?”
Chinonso saved me from further harassment from Tola, ”I am sure it is not a big deal and Teni knows better than to play with fire.”
”Thanks for the vote of confidence Chi.”
Deep down in my mind, I knew that the sparks I felt flying when I hugged Muyiwa even if it was brief was beyond real. He still invoked the same feelings in me that he did all those years ago. Muyiwa and I never dated but he was my one childhood love that I always had dreams of marrying some day. I knew being around him was fire but then I do not intend to play with such. I suddenly remembered I wanted to use the bathroom.
…to be continued