It wasn’t like Jide had planned to walk in on his wife embracing a man in his living room, he wasn’t in liase with Adamu or anything like that. That won’t be possible with his firm decision at keeping his employees in arm’s length, only socializing with them when it was extremely required.
Something more important had brought him hurrying home this afternoon. In his recent anger and foul mood he had forgotten an important document on his table and urgently needed it for a transaction that day.
Therefore, in his urgent state, he hadn’t bothered to drive in, but had packed his car outside and sped pass the surprised Adamu, he’d seen a car parked out in his compound, had been surprised but the need for the document ruled.
He was also still angry at Daisy’s coyness and refusal to communicate with him. He didn’t understand her anymore, didn’t know what she was trying to prove and was developing doubts about staying in a turbulent marriage. And then again, he was still nursing the wound of her rejection.
If Jide had thought he could absorb all the shock therapy that had trailed his life the past months, he’d thought wrong and wasn’t prepared for what he was seeing now.
Jide stood transfixed, his hands caught in mid air as he stared at the two forms embracing in his parlour.
Peter was the first to notice him because he was facing the door while Daisy, who was still holding on him, had her back to it.
Slowly, he brought down his hands and steered free from the Daisy’s hold, his eyes fixed on Jide who was now walking slowly towards them.
Daisy: ‘thanks Pete, i…’ Daisy was saying as she wiped her tears. She stopped short and also froze when she realised the presence of Jide.
Jide: ‘hmmm’ Jide simply said, looking from one to the other. The dark complexioned man on suit seemed familiar to him. But he was finding it hard piecing his face.
Peter: ‘hello’ Peter blurted in an unsure voice.
Daisy wanted to say something but couldn’t. She felt her heart picking up pace and tried to calm her nervousness and erase her sense of guilt.
Daisy: ‘wel..wel…come home Jide’ she stammered now and stepped away from Peter.
Jide said nothing, just crossed his hands across his chest, still staring from one to the other. His previous sense of urgency gone with the wind.
Peter looked at Daisy, as if expecting her to rescue the situation.
Daisy: ‘I didn’t…know…uhm…expect you back by…’ she stammered.
Jide: ‘offcourse not, my presence would get in the way’ Jide said rather calmly.
Peter: ‘you’re getting the situation wrong. My name is Peter and I…’ Peter was saying as he walked towards Jide, probably going for a hand shake.
Jide: ‘now i know!’ Jide stressed. Anger and disbelief playing across his face. The man from the picture! How had it skipped his mind?
Just then, he broke into a humourless laugh. Peter stopped in his track, looking from Daisy to the laughing man. Not sure of what to make of it.
Jide: ‘This can’t get any better!’ Jide stopped his laugh and shouted. ‘So you brought home your ex and didn’t just stop there, but went further to cuddle him right in my parlour, in our supposed marital home! And you’ve been accusing me all this while about Grace!’ he directed angrily at the confused Daisy where she stood.
Daisy: ‘ex? Cuddle him, i don’t…know what you’re…talking about’ she stutterred.
Jide: ‘you damn know what am talking about! Is this not Peter? your ex! Or are you going to deny that!’ he screamed louder.
Peter: ‘Jide could you please calm down and let’s sort this out’ Peter pleaded.
Jide: ‘stay the hell out of this! And who the hell told you my name? I see, you’ve been discussing me before the romance session! are you both planning on pulling me down, is that why he came to Nigeria? Fuc.king Answer me Daisy!’
Daisy had already started crying. She had never seen Jide this angry and the accusation he was laying against her was breaking her heart? Because She had done none of it.
Peter: ‘you have got to calm down and let me explain’ Peter tried again.
Jide: ‘what you gonna fuc.king explain to me? I came home to find my wife cuddling a man in…’
Daisy: ‘we weren’t cuddling!’ Daisy shouted in a tearful voice.
Jide: ‘then go ahead and explain to me what i saw!’ Jide shouted at Daisy.
Peter: ‘now you’re taking this too far Mister! i wasn’t cuddling your wife, and you have no right to accuse me falsely or use such tone at her! It can be interpreted as abuse and could earn you…’ Peter was also losing his temper.
Jide: ‘and what you gonna do? Big guy! Sue me to court? Lock me up! render me bankrupt! is that what you lot have been planning? Twas Brenda and now you!…’
With every word Jide spoke, he advanced towards Peter, probably wanting to physical, while Peter who had guessed an incoming assault was also retreating backwards.
Jide: ‘…now look here tough boy, this isn’t America, this is Nigeria and you don’t come to a man’s home to cuddle or ’embrace’ his wife, if you don’t want stitches all over your handsome face!’ Jide completed, then furiously brushed aside Daisy that had come in between them trying to prevent a fight.
Peter: ‘Its obvious you’re very angry now and can’t make sense of anything i would say, i should just simply take my leave’ Peter said and swerved pass the angry Jide, putting distance between him he addressed Daisy.
Peter: ‘please keep your phone on, i will call to check on you later’ after that he hurried towards the door.
Jide: ‘don’t you even dare call her because we don’t need your faces in our business!’ Jide shouted after him.
Daisy was seated down now and crying uncontrollably.
Jide glanced down at her then back at the door. His veins were still constricted in anger, his hands clenched by his sides. He wasn’t satisfied with how he’d handled Peter and soon he was rushing out again, ignoring his phone that had started ringing or his wife that was besides herself in tears.
Jide got out just in time to see Peter climbing into his car. Adamu was already at the gate and pulling it apart.
Jide: ‘I’ve got a final word for you lover boy!’ Jide barked soon as he reached Peter. ‘I don’t ever want to see or even smell you near my wife, in spirit or in body! your consoling ’embrace’ isn’t needed again!
Jide: She’s married to me, and am the only one with the rights to her body and as you can see, very man enough to embrace her! whatever stint you both had in Boston, is what it is, the past! Am the present and also the future for her! I hear you’re a lawyer, well congrats! But don’t practice it an inch near my house or with my family! The next time our path meet, i won’t be such a gentleman! I’ll make sure you understand how we love our women in Nigeria! So you had better get a good life for yourself and enjoy your stay! Don’t go looking for homes to wreck! Tell that to Brenda also! Good day Mr. Man, and have a splendid life!’ he concluded and jammed the car door without giving Peter the chance to breath a word.
Peter exhaled sharply, kicked start his car and pulled out, not even bothered about replying. A good thing he would be heading to Abuja soon, he thought as he rode out.
Jide: ‘don’t ever open my gate to strangers again. slowpoke!’ Jide shouted at Adamu after he had locked the gate. Then started for the house.
In the parlour, Daisy was prancing close to the door, waiting for a fight to ensue outside so that she could probably go settle. Soon the door opened and Jide walked pass her.
Jide: ‘really Daisy, you never cease to amaze me’ he said.
Daisy: ‘i see no reason why you treated Peter that way’ Daisy complained, her eyes blood shot from crying.
Jide stopped, then turned to her.
Jide: ‘and Peter is who?’ he asked.
Daisy: ‘he’s a concerned friend, yet you…’
Jide: ‘why don’t you ever pick sensible friends?’
Daisy: ‘Peter did nothing, you’re just…’
Jide: ‘over reacting? And you where what? Making him comfortable?’
Daisy: ‘I don’t like your tone and insinuation! Peter embraced me, nothing more’
Jide: ‘don’t you even feel ashamed saying that?’ he said irritated.
Daisy: ‘he’s my friend for crying out loud!’
Jide: ‘right! Tell me where a wife has a man as her ‘close’ friend?’
Daisy: ‘he’s not any man!’
Jide: ‘that i see. He’s not any man, but a man whose touch you prefer to mine!’ Jide shouted now.
Daisy: ‘are you accusing me of sleeping with him?’
Jide: ‘not exactly’
Daisy: ‘good! Don’t you dare compare me with yourself! You’re the guilty one! you’re the one who has been sleeping with Grace…’
Jide: ‘atleast i didn’t bring her home!’
Daisy: ‘oh finally! You admit that you’ve been sleeping with her!’
Jide: ‘yes! I slept with Grace, i fuc.king slept with her! Touched, kissed and caressed her receptive skin! the truth you could kill for is finally out in the open! Hope i made you happy! Now can we move on!’
Daisy stood shocked. Her heart was shattering in thousand pieces, she had known the truth, but hearing him say it so boldly now was painfully peeling the layers of her fresh wound again.
Her breathing increased in painful rhythm as tears rode freely from her eyes. None uttered a word. None moved. Tear stained face stared at an equally angry and hurt face. Tensed cloud hung thick above them. Even the ticking off the clock was sharp as it rode towards 3pm.
And so they stood until the shriek ringing of Jide’s phone broke the silence, but he made no move to pick the annoying thing.
Daisy: ‘I so hate you now!’ Daisy said with all the vehement strength she could utter and dashed for her room.
Jide: ‘yes run! That’s what you always do! Keep up with the flight’ Jide screamed after her.
He drew out the phone from his pocket and picked the call.
Jide: ‘what!’ he screamed at the innocent caller.
Daisy slumped unto her bed as soon as she hit her room. She couldn’t rein in her tear, neither did she want to. Today was the climax of the teaming tension and anger that had hung over them since Sunday or maybe ever since they got married. It was obvious their love had been a mistake and could never survive, she should have never come back to Nigeria, never taken this chance. She was darned fed up and wanted out. It had to be the best for both of them.
Suddenly she sprang up, and started a frantic search on her bed, soon her hand touched her phone and she picked it up, switched it on and waited for it to boot.
Daisy: ‘i can’t stay here, i can’t!’ she cried.
Soon the phone was ready and Daisy, with tear glazed eyes, scrolled through her contact. She needed somewhere to go, definitely not to Brenda’s or Peter’s or her father’s. But who else did she know in Nigeria. If only she was in Boston, she cried.
Daisy: ‘Uncle Tobechi’ she whispered, quite relieved as his number showed up on her phone.
He was her father’s elder brother that had given her away in place of her father during their wedding.
Daisy: ‘hello uncle’ she said, fighting for composure.
Uncle Tobechi: ‘yes, who is this?’ came the reply.
Daisy: ‘uncle its Daisy…Chinwe’ she said wiping her tears.
A pause, then:
Uncle Tobechi: ‘hi! long time, how are you?’
Daisy: ‘can i come over? I really need a place to go’ she blurted.
Uncle Tobe: ‘is everything fine? Are you alright?’
Daisy: ‘I…I…I…am not’ she broke into tears again. Enough of the pretence.
Uncle Tobe: ‘what happened?’
Daisy: ‘i just need a place to stay, i want to clear my head, i really need somewhere to go, i promise not to be in your way, just…’
Uncle Tobe: ‘its okay, i understand. You can stay as long as you want’
Daisy: ‘thank you’ Daisy said and wiped her the tears that wouldn’t stop.
Uncle Tobe: ‘Ada is around with her kids, am sure you remember her?’
She didn’t remember her, didn’t care, what was his problem!
Daisy: ‘I don’t. Please text the address to me now’ she said.
Uncle Tobe: ‘okay’ he said. And the line went dead.
Daisy dropped the phone, stood up to get her duffel bag. She would be far from this house before Jide even returned, that was certain. She might even take off to Boston, if it came to that.
Enough was enough.
And so Daisy packed a stock of cloths that would carry here whenever it could.
That night Jide returned early, with the resolve to apologise for his earlier actions. However, he met an empty house. No note, no word, her phone was switched off and Adamu couldn’t give a clear account of when last he’d seen his madam.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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