Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Tolu stood in front of the mirror, examining her stomach at various angles. It was as flat as a board, even with all her effort to stick it out.
“Do you think I might be pregnant already?” she asked, running her hand up and down her tummy.
“It’s possible… But I wouldn’t mind more time, just the two of us…” Danny replied.
“Really?” Tolu turned around. “But it’s been three months already… Aren’t you concerned?”
Danny rose up to meet his wife and pulled her in his arms. “Why should I be when I’m in God’s will…? I’m loving every minute of this… Of us. I don’t want to miss a thing worrying about what God’s doing.”
“Hmmm… I’m not worried… Not yet, sha. Just been waiting so long for this. And I am getting old, you know…?”
“Jeez… You do sound old,” Danny laughed. “Just like my mother!”
“Stop it! I’m serious.”
“Tolu, have you had enough of me already?” Danny asked, looking into her eyes. “I’m still on our honeymoon… Lost in you.”
Tolu’s heart melted. “Go on…”
“You know, in biblical times, it was the law for the Israelites to let newlyweds alone for one whole year, to enjoy themselves, free from obligation but to make love and get pregnant.”
“Hmmm… How come I didn’t know that?”
“It’s not your usual sermon topic,” Danny giggled. “So, why don’t we give ourselves that long to not care…nor worry, but enjoy each other and just trust God?”
“And if after a year, no baby…? And I’m a year older…?”
“How old was Sarah when she had Isaac?”
“Danny, it’s not the same!”
“Just answer the question…”
“When you get to 90, you can start worrying… But I know that God has blessed us, and I just want to keep trusting in His provision…step by step. If you are pregnant already, I will be so happy, Tolu. But if not, I’m not missing you or anything now.”
“I love you, Danny…”
“I love you more, Tolu.”
Tolu leaned into her husband as he claimed her lips sweetly. She returned his kiss with fervour. This, their intimacy and passion, is what she had longed for all her life, and now, she was about to spoil it by worrying about when the babies would come. She decided to lay that dream down, to savour her blessings in Danny. God will provide, she thought, as they made out in their cabin.
Bolu held on to Lola’s hand as they strolled through the resort, admiring the architectural designs and nature’s beauty. Bolu was happy Danny had invited them to enjoy this all-expense-paid retreat with him and Tolu. He really wished he could take Lola on a romantic trip more often. When she’d mentioned that a stay at an ocean-view holiday resort was her dream, he was reminded of how much they still didn’t enjoy, which he longed to give her.
Trips abroad, flying in luxury, buying expensive jewels, clothes and cosmetics, enjoying lazy days at the spa and eating every mouth-watering treat they desired. He wanted to be able to do that for Lola. Not just once, but regularly. It bothered him that they still weren’t in a good place financially.
“What are you thinking about?” Lola broke into his thoughts.
“Your secret desire… Well, it’s not so secret anymore,” Bolu teased.
“Yeah, I know…” Lola giggled. “Actually, I’ve thought more about it, and that’s not what I’d choose.”
“Hmmm… What is your fantasy, baby?” Bolu stopped to look into his wife’s eyes.
“I’ve been racking my brain and heart, looking for a secret desire, but I don’t think my desire is secret at all. I just want to live happily ever after, crazy in love with someone who is crazy in love with me…”
“And you don’t think we have that?”
Lola couldn’t look into her husband’s eyes, anymore. “Sometimes, I do. But most times, I think we lack passion for each other, or we put other things above being together and making each other feel good.” She swallowed.
Bolu continued to study his wife’s face. He lifted her chin, so she was forced to look at him. A tear ran from her left eye, then her right, and more followed, as her lips trembled. “Please don’t cry, Lola. Please… I wish you knew how madly in love I am with you.”
Lola shook her head. “If you are, how can someone else be in your heart?” she asked, her eyes locked to his.
Bolu shut his eyes. “God, if I only knew. But I know it’s not what I want… I don’t understand it. I think maybe it’s just temptation or a spiritual attack or something. I’ve never wanted anyone but you. Never really been tempted. So, I guess this is my temptation… And maybe I needed it, so that I could be purified or something. So that I could prove my love and devotion to you…”
Lola swallowed. “I guess…” She remembered how Danny had been her temptation, and she hadn’t done nearly as good as Bolu was doing now. She’d justified everything and compromised their relationship for her job and a promotion. But Bolu was ready to sacrifice his job to be faithful to her. It suddenly seemed so romantic. She leaned into him again. “I think I understand now.”
Bolu breathed out a sigh and hugged his wife. “Thank you, baby. I love you, Lola.”
And they stood there, on the road, just hugging in a new realisation of the deep love they shared.
Oyinda checked out of the room he’d rented and then went to the restaurant for a late breakfast. At 11:30 am, he was the only one there. He’d had a lot of time to think alone, and now he was hungry and in need of a companion. He wondered what Temi was up to.
Was she thinking of him? Missing him or wanting the other man… What was his name? Michael? What was it about this Michael that made him different? She had said she wanted to be with him… So, was it because of Michael or because of his own infidelity that she wanted a divorce?
He swallowed. He was supposed to put himself in her shoes today. It was hard to, to imagine or to bear in mind for long how she must be feeling right now. He remembered how in love she had been with him. He had felt it so strongly in the early days of their marriage. He decided to start there, to wear her shoes…
“Will you take this man, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, till death do you part?” the minister had asked.
With a joyful heart and a glowing face, she had said, “I do!”
Their honeymoon night had been incredible. He had been very romantic and attentive to detail. They had made mad love on their bed that night, and she’d come three times in his arms. Hot, sweaty, shaky, she clung to him. “I love you, Oyinda,” she’d cried.
They’d moved into their permanent home a few short months later, and she was glowing. They didn’t know she was pregnant yet. She had so much energy then, and was always eager to please him. He used to rush home from work, just to make love to her. They were so happy.
The first time she’d looked at him with pain, was the time she’d found a single condom in his trouser pocket. He remembered how she’d brought it to him to ask him about it. She had doubt in her eyes, when he’d told he didn’t know how it got there. “I swear, it’s not mine!” Not the most believable lie, but they didn’t use condoms. Especially now that she was already pregnant.
Actually, it had been one of his friends who had thrown it at him on a night out, while drinking, teasing him for being committed to one woman now. He’d decided to hang on to it for luck. He was still a man after all.
She’d left the condom on the coffee table and walked away. She was hurt. He wished he could tell her that he’d never cheated, but that same week, he used that very condom on his secretary. It was quick, meaningless and empty. But the discovery of the condom alone already made him guilty in his wife’s eyes.
In Temi’s shoes, he cried at the betrayal. Things were never the same for them after that. She never brought another evidence to him, but he knew she struggled with doubt and suspicion. He tried to keep her satisfied, with attention, gifts and good sex. He was able to do all, keep a contented wife, a mistress and have a random shag, without having to come under trial. Until Valentine’s Day, when Kemi unbalanced him.
Temi looked up when the door to her cabin opened, and Oyinda walked in. She hadn’t seen him since he left after the morning session. She wondered how they were going to work on their marriage, being in separate rooms, and had thought lazily of finding him ‘later’.
“I checked out,” he said.
Temi nodded, and watched as he put his things down and came to sit on the bed with her. She was surprised at the words that came out of his mouth next.
“Do you want a divorce?”
She was more surprised at the words she uttered. “No…”
Oyinda turned to her, also surprised.
“I mean… I don’t know. In an ideal world, in a good marriage, I would never dream of a divorce. I would fight… But, I’m not perfect, Oyinda,” Temi said. “I don’t know if I can take any more unhappiness.”
“It was my fault. I should never have taken that condom. I shouldn’t have given in to the pressure,” Oyinda said.
“I don’t understand.”
“Remember that time you brought a condom you found in my jeans to me?”
Temi swallowed and nodded.
“Chris had been teasing me with it. I wasn’t lying when I said it wasn’t mine. But I kept it to prove a point. And it was such a stupid thing to do…”
“So, you weren’t cheating then?”
“No, I hadn’t,” Oyinda said, looking in her eyes. “But I knew you didn’t believe me. I’m not trying to blame you, and I wouldn’t have believed me. But after that, it felt like it made no difference…”
Temi shut her eyes. “You are a fool!”
“How can it make no difference if you’re guilty or not? An accusation is not a condemnation! That’s why people go to court! To prove their innocence. You cheated because you wanted to! The condom was just an excuse, so you can feel like you had no choice! You are a coward, Oyinda!”
Oyinda swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
Temi shook her head. “The same way your infidelity doesn’t justify mine. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Ultimately, it is God I failed. Whatever you do, I have my own duty of righteousness. And I am ashamed to have compromised.”
There was silence between them for a while.
“Do you feel any shame?”
“You know I do…”
“Actually, Oyinda, I don’t. How many were there? I mean…it was only Michael for me, but I have felt terrible from the onset… But I don’t see your guilt.”
“I feel ashamed that I hurt you… That you see me as a fool and a coward. I feel stupid for thinking it was harmless as long as you never found out. I feel ashamed for sneaking around and lying to you and even to the women I slept with. I feel ashamed that I can’t tell you how many, either,” Oyinda swallowed.
“What about the actual act? No shame?”
“During, shame isn’t on my mind. My desire and pleasure. The excitement and fun are like a drug…and when I’m doing it, it’s like something I need.” He swallowed. He couldn’t believe he was sharing this with his wife. “The shame comes after. I feel weak and used and unworthy. And the circle continues. Each conquest is an attempt to make me feel better about myself,” Oyinda admitted. “But I never do… It’s always a let-down.”
And suddenly, rather than repulsed, Temi felt compassion for her husband. She could now do what seemed impossible for her to do; put herself in his shoes.
He’d made a mistake, which led to another and another, before he found himself dealing with an addiction he couldn’t identify, as he sought pleasure and validation in the arms of others. He was a lost soul in need of redemption, in need of grace.
She slid her hand on the bed and met his. She held his hand, and they sat there in silence, and in understanding.
To be continued...
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