Titilayo finished watching her evening shows and quickly went through her night time ritual. First, she cleaned off her make-up and washed her face. She brushed her teeth.
As she ran her bath, her mind strayed to Gbenga. Her friend, Busayo had told her that she saw him looking like a ghost. Busayo never approved of Gbenga anyway so she was happy to gloat.
Titilayo had got to the point where she did not break down in tears whenever Gbenga’s name or face flashed in her face. He had taken her very existence away when he sent her packing and brought Ireti in as his wife.
She had given her all to make the marriage work. She did all that she was taught to do as the good wife. She could have killed for Gbenga. Scratch that! She had killed for Gbenga…
When she “fell pregnant” a few months to their wedding, Gbenga had told her point blank that he was not ready to father a child. She had pleaded and cried. He refused to budge. She contemplated accusing him of raping her but she quickly discarded the thought when she considered the kind of reputational damage he would suffer.
She gave in to him and killed her first fruit. That abortion had haunted her since then. The guilt was threatening to consume her.
Then, there was Betty, the side chick he “mistakenly” told that he was a widower when he first met her. Betty had stalked them for 3 years. Titilayo had reached out to her friends of the underworld to treat Betty’s matter. Let’s just say Betty’s legs no longer support her.
She tried to suppress the memory of Bilkis, their first maid that was loyal to her for 5 years. She practically raised Segun and Semilore, their first two sons. All was well until when Titilayo came back home unexpectedly to pick up the keys to her office that she forgot and met Gbenga humping Bilkis. She had tried to scratch Bilkis’ eyes out but Gbenga stood like a rock between her and Bilkis. She had tried to send Bilkis away but Gbenga stood strongly against that course of action.
Titilayo had confided in her mum on the Bilkis dilemma. Her mum’s responses sent chills down Titilayo’s spine. When she first shared, her mum’s response was “Ogbon ki n tan l’aye ka wa lo s’orun” (Literal translation: We can’t run out of sense on earth and go to heaven to search. Contextually, it means that they would figure something out). Her mum asked Titilayo to give her a few days to think about it. That useless boy, Gbenga, would not turn her daughter to an object of ridicule. She also took some time to remind Titilayo how she and Titilayo’s dad had opposed the marriage. What the elders saw sitting down, Titilayo in all her 6 feet, 1 inch glory could not see even with 16 inches stiletto heels added to her height.
Titilayo wished she did not have to seek help from her mum. She had practically disowned her family just to marry Gbenga. Her dad was an engineer with the Ministry of Works and Housing. He was not a Dangote or Otedola but he sure did well for himself. He also partnered with a few of his colleagues to start a building materials supply company. They were silent partners and ensured that the company got good patronage from the Ministry. He was definitely not living on the wages he received from the Ministry.
Titilayo’s mum was an educationist. She had started out as a teacher with the Lagos State government. After a few years, she resigned and partnered with a few silent investors (including her husband) to start a nursery and primary school. Soon, they started a secondary school section too. She was also a silent investor in her husband’s company.
They had high hopes and expectations for their first daughter, Titilayo. They had ensured that she went to the schools where the rich and powerful people’s kids went. The plan was for her to land herself a rich and sensible husband. When she came back from NYSC and told them about Gbenga, the poor son of poor parents, who was of tremendous help to her during the service year, they had hoped that the relationship would die a natural death when they both returned to their real lives. They fought tooth and nail when Titilayo insisted that it was either she married Gbenga or died as a spinster. They were coerced to give their consent.
Titilayo’s mum had a brilliant idea for her the next time they spoke about the Bilkis dilemma. The plan was to send Bilkis to buy items from one of her mother’s customers. While she was distracted with sorting things out, someone would slip in an item that was not paid for and Bilkis would be accused of theft. Jungle justice would be allowed to take its course.
The plan worked wonders. Bilkis was burnt by an angry mob that was not interested in investigating how the high value item got into her bag. She was burnt beyond recognition. Titilayo was one of the loudest wailers when the news of what happened in the market got back to them at home. No one ever traced Bilkis’ death to her.
It was time to go to bed to face the nightmares that she would have to live with for the rest of her life. Marrying Gbenga had taken away her peace.
Read the first part of the story here.