With perfect poise and a soothing voice, Teleola..
It’s June again. The rain never stops. It just keeps pouring and pouring relentlessly out of the sky, cloaking daylight with sombre greyness. Money had been missing in the bank today and no one had left till it was found, resulting in my arrival at 10:30pm. Wole wouldn’t be angry, he wasn’t that kind of man, but he wouldn’t be happy either. I had made him promise to be home early today and look where I was. I parked my car infront of the gate and sprinted into the house. The brightly glowing electric bulbs were a miracle, the TV was on in the living room but Wole wasn’t there.
“Wole” I called, dumping my handbag on the floor and kicking off my shoes. The tiles were cold and goosepimples covered my skin instantly.
“Wole” I called again, climbing the stairs and unfastening my shirt buttons. God, please, let him not be sulking, I prayed silently. He couldn’t be angry. He knew I was looking forward to our being together this evening as much as he was. I got to the head of the stairs and launched into a full apology as I walked towards our bedroom and opened the door.
“Wole, i’m sorry. Money got missing and I…”
He wasn’t on the bed. Where could he have gone and left the TV on? I decided to change into dry clothes and as I entered the room, the lights began to flicker. Of course, they had to interrupt power when I was looking for my husband. But instead of complete darkness, the lights dimmed. Sounds from the TV stopped as it went off because the voltage was too low.
“Wole baby, please, do not scare me right now. You know you’ll regret it”
The last time Wole pulled a scary prank on me in the dark, I had slept with a long knife for a whole week, not trusting him, and he had been truly sorry because his testosterone levels had soared during the time. I walked to my panty drawer for fresh underwear as I dumped my shirt in the laundry basket beside the bed but what I saw on the floor made me freeze.
My husband was sprawled on the floor on his back, a dark stain spread on the front of his shirt and already seeping into the rug. A naked baby with the same dark stain smeared across its mouth was sitting on the floor beside him. We did not have a baby. The light was too dim and I couldn’t see clearly. If Wole’s chest was rising and falling, I couldn’t see it. The baby took in my appearance and as if it knew who I was, it smiled a toothy smile. More dark coloured stains in its mouth.
“Wole” I whispered, “Baby”
Slowly, I took a step back in an endeavour to leave the room and the baby stood. I paused and tried again and it took two tiny steps towards me. I turned and ran out of the room, jamming the door behind me. As I fled down the stairs, I heard the tiny patter of small hands beating on the door followed by whimpering and then crying. I ran through the living room to the kitchen and felt around till I found my trusted knife, then decided to call my friend, Bisi, and tell her something was wrong.
Dashing back to the living room to get my mobile phone, the voltage rose and the bulbs brightened for a few seconds but my heart fell. There were tiny bright red footprints on the brown tiles, leading to the kitchen I was coming from. The lights dimmed again and thunder roared and that was when I was sure that Wole was dead and that this baby would kill me. Our baby. The baby I had aborted when Wole didn’t have money to marry me.
A sniffle near me caught my ears and I looked down at the same time that lightening streaked across the sky. The baby was looking up at me, raising its hands up for me to carry it, tears streaming down its face. It had a nice head of hair, large eyes, brown skin; couldn’t be more than eighteen months. I wouldn’t kill my baby a second time and if it would kill me, it should be beside my husband.
I dropped my knife, swerved swiftly towards the stairs and in my haste, I slammed my upper abdomen into the sharp edge of the bannister. The one whose wood had broken off the top and left a keen edge. The one Wole was always fixing tomorrow. The pain was immediate and intense, blood began pouring from the hole and my mouth. I had punctured my lung. Gasping for air with red spittle flying from my mouth, I crawled up the stairs to the bedroom wearing a bloody bra and a bloody skirt. How I didn’t die on the stairs, I don’t know.
Wole promised to die before me. Promise fulfilled, baby. I dragged myself to his side and my head began to spin. I wanted to sleep. This was the end. I would die on Thursday. A cold wet Thursday when money had gone miss… Wait a minute!
Thursday. Bisi had asked to drop her nephew off so she could run some errands and we were to pretend he was ours. The lights flickered and the voltage became full. I saw fries scattered all over the floor and under the bed. No. No. Wait. Is that ketchup?
Then I remembered:
Wole, the man I love, is a terribly deep sleeper.
But Tele scares the shit out of me. Long knife?!
My sincere apologies for putting this up late. We continue on Saturday with the absolutely ridiculous @OluwaWanaBaba
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