In The World Of 3 Women – Episode 10
� Kayode Odusanya
It was a Saturday, December 22, three days to Christmas; Dapo was at home, trying to clean up the house. He had been avoiding telling Lola about the whole thing for days now. He was cleaning the inside of the car when she came and sat beside him.
�Dapo, what�s up?�
�You know what I�m talking about.� She said and moved closer to him.
He kept silent for a while not knowing what to say. He guessed he had come to the end of the road, and he couldn�t keep her in the dark any longer. He had to tell her.
�Let�s go inside.� They walked sluggishly into the house. Lola got a yogurt drink out the fridge and Dapo declined her offer for one.
�Mrs. Cole and I�we dated back in the days.� Lola was curled up on the couch right next to him now, and he was sure she could feel the vibration of the couch which was caused by his heart beat.
�I�m not dumb; I already figured that part out. I just want to know if there is going to be any problem in the present�I mean with us right now.�
�Okay. I wouldn�t say��
�Dapo, let me re-phrase; is there anything Mrs. Cole can do now, or her presence around can cause, that would do us any harm?�
�Lola�it is a long story.�
�I have all the time in the world.�
�I really don�t know where to start.�
�Start from the very beginning and please don�t leave out anything. Remember that I�m your wife; for better for worse.�
Dapo told her every detail of the story, but left out the part about Anu being his biological daughter. Lola looked down and played with the bottle in her hand al the while.
�So what happened to the baby?� She asked when he got to the end of the story.
�I don�t know how to tell you��
�Just give it to me straight.�
�She had the child, but she never contacted me. Lola�the child�that child is Anu.�
The truth sank in, and it was like all the color had been drained from Lola�s face. Dapo almost couldn�t recognize his wife again. Without saying a word, she walked out of the room. He didn�t make any attempt to follow her; all the energy in him was gone.
After lying in one spot for about two hours; watching his wife go and come into the room more than a dozen times in silence, he got up and went out to the living room. He saw her standing by the curtain and walked over to meet her. As he embraced her from behind, she burst into tears. All the 3 years he had known her, he had never seen her cry before, and it hurt him that he had to be the cause of it.
He lifted her off the ground, after she had fallen asleep on his shoulder, and carried her to the bedroom. All of a sudden, he realized he was hungry and went off to the kitchen. There was a pot of spaghetti that was still warm and he took a bowl full.
He was half way through it when his phone rang; it was Mr. Cole.
�Good day M.D.� That was the way he usually referred to Mr. Cole.
�Can you come over; I really need to talk to you.�
�You mean right now?�
�If you are not too busy, it is important.�
�I�ll be expecting you.�
He got to the Cole�s mansion about an hour after they had spoken on the phone. The gardener was trimming the flowers, and the other parts of the garden had some Christmas decorations. Kate, the maid appeared and ushered Dapo into the living room. He saw Mr. Cole with a TV remote control in hand flipping through cable channels.
�Am I interrupting?� Dapo asked and Mr. Cole looked up and smiled.
�I knew I could count on you.� He said and the two men shook hands. �So how is Lola?�
�I really wouldn�t want to waste your time, so I would get straight to the point.� The man said and took a deep breath before continuing. �We just made up our minds to spend the Christmas in America; we are living tomorrow.�
�Well�You guys would have fun.�
�I hope so. So�the thing is I haven�t talked about this whole thing with my wife and you, and I wouldn�t have a nice time if it was hanging on my shoulder.�
�Another place, another time, I�d still like to have known you; so it is funny that we had to get to know each other through this predicament.�
�Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.�
�Nicely said; thanks for putting it that way.� Mr. Cole said and looked into space for a while.
There was a little silence, then he continued. �If I can fool everybody, I can�t fool myself. I�m dying; I feel it every day. I feel death coming closer.� There was silence again. �Whatever happens, take care of Anu.�
�I will do that.�
�I can�t ask too much; I really don�t know what to say on Kike�s case, but please keep an eye on her for me.�
�How does Lola feel about the situation?�
�To be straight with you, she is broken hearted.�
�I understand why she would feel that way.� After that being said, he got up from the couch �Yep! I got to go; I don�t want this to get any more emotional than it already is. I have a meeting in about an hour, thanks for coming again.� He said and the two men shook hands.
�Kike and Anu went out shopping, they would have kept you company.�
�Say hi to Lola for me.�
He drove out of the house behind Mr. Cole�s Mercedes Benz S 600, and they took different turns at the end of the street.
Lola was awake when he got back; he met her watching cartoons. He held her from behind. �Are you okay?�
�Yeah, I�m fine. Where have you been?� She said, turning her head to get a better look at him.
�I had to go to the Cole�s� Her disposition changed as he completed the sentence. It was now like a nightmare anytime Lola heard the Cole�s name mentioned around her.
�How are they?� She said, after about a minutes of silence.
�They are fine. I actually went to see Mr. Cole. The whole family made a late decision to travel to America for the remaining part of the holidays.�
�Yeah, and he thought we should know.�
�Hmm! Good for them.�
Dapo sat beside her on the edge of the couch. �Lola, I need you to walk with me through the whole nine yard on this one.�
�Okay.� She said, but there was no sound of emotions in her voice. It was more like she said it because she knew that was what he wanted to hear, but never really meaning it.
�Okay. Okay.� She said with a forced smile on her face
�So how is junior doing?� He asked as he rubbed her belly.
�Why are you concluding that it is going to be a boy?�
�Am I concluding? I don�t know�I�m just so excited.�
They stayed indoors throughout the day, and talked very little of the cloud that come over their house-hold in the last couple of days.
January eleven, 2012 would be a day that Dapo wouldn�t forget in a hurry. He was just recovering from all the festivities of the yuletide season. Lola had been cold since he broke the news to her, even though she tried her best to act otherwise. He knew the whole thing still disturbed her, and he was trying to deal with it, but he didn�t expect what happened next.
That morning he was awoken by Kike�s phone call, only to be told that Mr. Cole had passed on. As Kike said, the man had died in his sleep the night before, and she was already making arrangements on how to get his body back into the country. She cried all through the phone conversation, and he had to say re-assuring words to make her feel better.
Dapo sat on the couch, feeling really restless. Lola had gone over to her parents� house to spend the weekend, saying she had to make up for not spending Christmas with them. He felt alone and troubled, not knowing what to do with the day. And then his phone vibrated on the dining table; he ran over to stop it from sliding off. The caller ID showed that it was Dupe. It took a while before his brain could re-collect who Dupe was.
�Hello?� Dapo said into the receiver.
�Hey! How�s the day going? I just realized I hadn�t called you since I got your number.�
�Happy New Year!�
�Why do you sound so�is something the matter?�
�Are you sure?�
�How�s your wife? I was thinking you would introduce me to her soon. I�d really love to meet her.� She said and when Dapo didn�t say anything back, and she continued. �And I�d really love to meet your little girl too�your friend�s daughter, I mean.�
�Okay. Can I see you?� Dapo didn�t know when the words came out of his mouth.
�Great�I�m bored to death. And I can do with a little home cooked meal; some Amala and Ewedu soup, that I am hopping your wife would cook.� They both laughed at that.
�I�m just kidding.�
�Anyway, my wife is not home right now and I just want to get your opinion on a matter that�s bothering me. So where are you?�
�Umm! I�m at Sweet Sensation; the one on Opebi road. I�ve actually been here for about an hour now, waiting on my publisher.�
�Okay, I�ll be there in like 30 minutes.�
�Alright. I�ll be expecting you.�
Dapo threw the phone on the couch and went off to shower. He was all dressed up in less than 15 minutes, and ready to go. He had three missed calls on his phone when he picked it up from where he had left it. All the calls were from Lola. He dialed her number.
�What�s up honey?�
�I�m doing well.�
�Where were you?�
�I was in the bath.�
�Mum and Dad begged me to go with them to Abeokuta for the weekend; they have a friend that is celebrating her 60th birthday. I just wanted you to know.�
�Okay, make sure you have fun.�
�Dapo�I love you.� She said in a very low tone.
�I love you too.� He said and he couldn�t hold back the tears that flowed down his face. The line got disconnected after that but he still held it to his ear for a while longer.
On his way out of the house, he ran into Florence, the kid he had taken to the hospital the other day. A very shy kid she was; so shy she kept her face down as she said �Thank You� to Dapo. He replied her and asked about her health. She said she was feeling really better now.
Traffic was light, probably because a lot of people usually travelled to their villages for the Christmas holiday. Dapo got to his destination within 10 minutes. He saw her as he walked into the building. She was talking to a man that was dressed in black suit that looked too cheap for someone she should be doing business with. She smiled as she looked up and saw him and then whispered something to the man before walking up to meet Dapo.
�Hey! That was quick.� She said, as she gave him a hug. �I didn�t know the guy would still make it, I�ll be done in�� She said and looked at her wristwatch. ��like half an hour.�
�Okay. I�ll just be right there.� Dapo said, pointing at one end of the eatery. Dupe walked back to her table and he went off to get something to eat.
His mind wondered off to Mr Cole as he nibbled on his snack. He knew he owed it to the man, but he didn�t want to take up any responsibilities that would affect his marriage. He kept imagining different scenarios; playing them out in his head, as to how he thought the whole situation would turn out. Minutes went by and it felt like seconds, till dupe walked up to his table and brought him back to earth.
�Sorry for taking so long.�
�So what�s up?�
�Helllooo! You said you wanted to get my opinion on something.� Dupe�s eyes looked comical as they bulged out and it made Dapo laugh.
�Did I say that? If I did, I can�t remember.� Dapo said.
�You�re trying to be funny, right?� She said and smiled; Dapo smiled back but didn�t say anything. She didn�t say anything either, and there was a long silence at the table. Dupe started playing with the crown rooster that was on the table. After a couple of minutes had gone by, Dapo broke the silence.
�I�I don�t know where to start.�
�Start form anywhere�anywhere you feel comfortable starting from.� Dupe said and tried to look as serious as possible; because she was sure it must really be a serious case for him to find it hard to explain.
�I had a girlfriend a couple of years ago; about 8 or 9 years ago�can�t really place it.�
�And she popped back into my life recently.�
�So, what exactly is the problem? Are you still in love with her?�
�That�s not the problem. The problem we had back then was a pregnancy.�
�Wow! Let me guess, she�s back with the kid.� Dupe said, with the look of a little girl who was being told a bedtime story. Dapo just smiled at her guess. And when it seemed Dapo�s silence was killing the pace in which she wanted the story to flow, she decided to keep filling in the blanks. �So she�s back with the kid? Did you know she had the kid all those years you lost contact?�
�No. I never heard anything from her until like three weeks ago.�
�Hmm! Is she married?�
�So what exactly does she want?� Dupe enquired.
�That is exactly where it gets complicated.� Dapo said
�Complicated? Wait, was she the one I saw you with at the mall the other day?�
Dapo took a deep breath before answering. �Yes.�
�Hmm! It really is complicated.�
�Why would you say that?� He said and sat up from his former slouching position.
�I�m a girl, I can tell you things from a female angle, and the way I see it, she still wants you.�
�That�s not the complicated part.�
�You�re not following me; I haven�t heard all your story, but I can tell you the only problem you would have would be with the lady.�
Dapo smiled, amused by her assumptions. �The kid�the kid you saw me with at the cinema the other day��
�The kid? Oh! The kid�your friend�s kid�what�s up with her?�
�That�s our kid. That is the child she had for me.�
�Hmm! Now I get it. So why did you lie to me?�
�I never lied to you.�
�You lied. You told me she was a friend�s kid, remember?�
�That was what I thought back then.�
�Back-up a little; now your story is getting complicated.� Dapo laughed, more to ease the stress than at what she said.
�She wasn�t around when I met the husband, and I didn�t know she was the kid�s mother.�
�What sort of a coincidence is that?�
�Maybe it wasn�t a coincidence.�
�Hmm!� Dupe looked puzzled, and was rubbing her chin, and then her face lit up. �About the kid�I knew I couldn�t be wrong when I saw you with her. From the first look, I knew she was yours.�
�Well�even if I had thought she looked a little like me, how in the world would I have thought she belonged to me.�
�Well, that�s a point.�
�So, that�s my story. I really don�t know what to do right now.� He said and went back to his slouching posture on the chair.
�How does your wife feel about the whole situation?�
�Down; she said she would stick by me, but she has been acting funny lately.�
�Well, you can�t blame her. Maybe she needs time.�
�I guess so.�
�So what exactly does the other lady want?� Dapo was quiet for a while, like He was thinking of what Kike really wanted.
�I think I should add that her husband just died.�
�And now, she is heartbroken.�
�Hmm! I wouldn�t count on that. But lets� leave that for now, what do you want?�
�Well�what she wants is for the kid to know the father.�
�And probably spend her holidays with us.�
�I don�t think that should be a problem. But I think you need to draw the line.�
�How do you mean?�
�As I said earlier, the chic still digs you. And a girl in love can do anything to get who she wants.�
�She wouldn�t be around much; must of her businesses are in the states.�
�Well, it better be like that if you don�t want more trouble.�
�It won�t get to that.�
�My advice is that you take the kid; take care of Her. Give her all your love, she�s a sweet kid, and your wife would understand, but don�t for one second think of having anything to do with the mother again.�
�Thanks.� Dapo said and smiled at her last sentence. �I�m glad you could see me. I�m feeling better already.�
To be continued