AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR - VOLUME ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
As was their weekly custom, Bolu and Lola attended Church together on this first Sunday of April. They sat in their usual seats, and greeted their regular neighbours. Pastor Kunle Ogunbanjo preached about the Cross of the Disciple, following on from last week's Easter theme. It was a powerful sermon that reminded the congregation of how they ought to follow in Jesus's example, by laying down their lives in love and submission to one another.
Bolu was struck with the lesson that Christ would never leave us to bear our crosses alone...that as long as we were willing to carry our cross, He will be right there to hold up the other end. He was encouraged to learn that he was not called to bear an impossible burden, but he was to share in the sufferings of His Lord, and thereby learn the power of love. Pastor Kunle concluded that when we have the right attitude to the Cross, when we do not carry it in our own strength, but trust in God, we will understand why Jesus said that His burden is light and His yoke is easy.
After the service, Bolu and Lola lingered to greet the Pastor, and thank him for his message. They greeted a few friends that they only ever saw briefly after service each week. There were a few annoying members that always enquired about whether or not Lola was pregnant yet, and would leave only after she said "Amen" to their prayer for the fruit of the womb. A couple would even profess by faith that she was already pregnant, never mind the fact that months would pass by and there would be no deliverance of this supposed pregnancy! Lola particularly hated it when people would declare that she would have "twins in Jesus' name", without ever asking her if she wanted twins.
She had learnt to keep silent and smile, and say the occasional "thank you" and "amen". This particular Sunday, she was feeling a little irritable, so when one Sister Chinasa decided to touch her belly and declare that "a fruitful seed has been sown", Lola laughed scornfully. Chinasa had looked at her with unbelief, wondering what had gotten into her. Bolu had smiled apologetically and said thank you on behalf of both of them.
"That was so rude!" Bolu rebuked Lola when they had made it to the parking lot.
"Me? Rude? What about them? Is it okay for them to keep pushing their expectations on our marriage?" Lola replied, feeling very annoyed. It was okay for Bolu, because no one was looking at him as if it was his fault that they hadn't conceived! All accusing eyes were on her. Always. And she was tired of it. And most of all, she was tired of these people of 'faith' making false uninspired promises, when they knew nothing at all about their situation.
"Just say amen! What will it cost? Don't you want a child?"
"I'm tired of living as though I am incomplete without one. If we have one, great! But I'm not living my life in waiting for a child anymore."
Bolu looked at her and sympathized with her situation. "Don't give up on our dream, Lola," he pulled her into his arms and looked into her eyes. "I'm believing God for a child, and I want you to believe it too."
Lola sighed. "I'm just tired of waiting for my life to start. I don't think a baby will make us happy or make me happy. I think you will just end up working more...and I'll resent you for never being around." She tried to loosen his grip and get out of his embrace.
Bolu held her tight. "Do you resent me now?" He asked, concerned.
"I think I do. I don't feel like we have a proper marriage, that we know each other. I'm afraid to bring a baby into this," Lola admitted, surprised at the words as they left her mouth. Maybe that was why they weren't having a baby, because she didn't really want one. Maybe she was the problem, afterall.
"Hey, don't say that... We do have a proper marriage. We're just going through a bit of a slump. Every marriage has one," Bolu said. "We'll get through it together, and we will celebrate the good times when they come too. You'll see."
Lola nodded, teary eyed.
"Oh Lola, I love you so much. I know I don't always say so, and I may not always show it, but everything I do is because I want to make you happy. I need to make you happy," Bolu wiped a tear that escaped her eyes. "Don't give up on our dream...it's just taking a little while, but God will make a way for us soon."
Lola hugged her husband. She really needed to hear him say that, to affirm his love. She needed something to drown out those recurring thoughts that said he didn't love her at all. "Thank you. I love you too," she said at last.
Bolu hugged his wife back, feeling good about their connection. They shared a brief kiss before they got in their car and drove home.
Mama had stayed at home, while Bolu and Lola went to Church. As a devout Catholic, she would be going to Mass in the evening. She used her morning to cook egusi soup and beef stew, so that when Bolu and Lola returned from Church, they came home to a sweet smelling aroma.
They shared a nice meal of poundo yam and egusi soup. Lola thoroughly enjoyed Mama's cooking and said so. Bimbo was glad. She watched her son and his wife over lunch and sensed a more positive energy between them. She thanked God, believing He was already at work in answering her prayers on their marriage.
After lunch, Lola cleared up the table and cleaned up the kitchen. Bolu settled on the sofa to watch the Barclay's Premier League. His favourite team, Chelsea, was playing. Lola joined him after finishing up with the kitchen. As they had only one TV set, she had learnt how to watch football too, though she never got into it emotionally like her husband did. Mama watched with them for a while, before deciding to go to her room for a little nap.
Lola checked her phone for messages, not sure who she was expecting to hear from. She had a couple of Facebook notifications. One of them was to alert her of two of her friends who were celebrating birthdays. She decided to send them short birthday greetings. She checked her timeline for interesting updates, and eventually put away her phone when she got bored with the activity.
When Chelsea's game was done, another match began, and Bolu was still fixated on the TV. Lola decided to go to her bedroom to rest on the bed. Moments later, her phone pinged. Her heart skipped with excitement. She knew who it was before she checked the message.
"Hi Lily," Danny's message read.
"How was Church today?"
"It was good. Did you go to Church?"
"Yup. It was okay."
"So what are you up to?" Danny asked.
"Nothing much. Just in bed, resting."
"Aaah! So you're bored?"
"I watched a little bit... Don't you watch Football?"
"I do. But I find you so much more interesting 🙂"
If only Bolu found me more interesting than Football, Lola thought. "Yeah right! I'm boring."
"No you're not. You're just a little caged up, that's all! You need a break from the usual... A nice night out, some fresh air."
"Yeah... I've always liked the great outdoors."
"Don't worry, when you leave Lagos, you're feel so much better. The air is fresher in Abuja."
"Yeah... Trust me, you'll have a good time."
"Well, I'm only going for business..."
"Yeah, we'll see about that!" Danny said cheekily.
Lola looked up from her phone as Bolu walked in the room. "Is the game over?"
"No," Bolu replied. "But I remembered I promised you an evening out tonight."
Lola smiled. He remembered. "Cool, where are we going?"
"What's your fancy? Dinner or movie or both?"
"Movie! Still full from lunch. We can get popcorn and hotdogs."
"Great! I'll check online for what's showing at GDC. You should start getting ready," Bolu said.
"Hey, gotta go!" Lola responded to Danny's last message.
"Kk. Til' tomorrow. G'night Lily".
Bolu and Lola made it to Genesis Deluxe Cinemas at the Palms, Lekki in time to catch the 6:30pm movie. They'd read the reviews at home, and both had great expectations for the action comedy. Bolu got the tickets, while Lola went to pay for the hot dogs, popcorn and drinks to save time on queuing.
Bolu hadn't yet broached the topic of the mysterious man in the Benz, and wondered about when would be a good time to bring it up. It seemed everything was fine and normal between them. They were having a good time out together, and he hadn't noticed Lola glance at her phone once, which may have suggested that she was expectant of messages from another man. He felt assured that there was a reasonable explanation for her behaviour earlier in the week, and decided to relax and enjoy the movie.
Lola enjoyed the movie, but noticed that Bolu seemed lost in thought at times. She wondered if he was thinking about his case. She realised she didn't know anything about it, and would have to ask him about it later. Bolu caught her looking at him, and they smiled at each other. He pulled her to himself and gave her a kiss on her head. They were fine, he thought. Mama was worried for nothing.
All in all, they had a fun, relaxing time out at the movies. They had shared giggles over the funny parts, and had both been drawn into the excitement of the action sequences, like everyone else at the theatre. Bolu had his arm around Lola, and from any onlooker's perspective, they looked like they were dating.
After the movie, Bolu suggested a quick drink before going home. He thought it would be a good opportunity to find out what was going on with her. After placing their orders for cocktails at the Double Four Restaurant by the parking lot, Bolu opened up their discussion.
"I've been meaning to ask you about the other night... When you came home late and hadn't returned my calls," he said, watching her reaction closely.
Lola looked up at him, surprised that he was bringing up that incident again. "Yeah, what about it?"
"I have to say, something didn't feel right about your explanation... in fact, you didn't give any explanation for not calling. That's unlike you."
Lola sighed. She knew she had to come clean now. She hoped she could make it sound as innocent as she believed it was. "Actually, I didn't want to mention that the agent whose properties I'm decorating had dropped me at home. I didn't want you to read anything into it."
"Ummm... Is that the guy that drives the silver Mercedes?"
Again Lola was shocked. "Yes, he's the one."
"So why was that a secret? Did you think there was something to read into it?" Bolu's investigation continued.
"I don't know. It was a perfectly innocent gesture from him. I just didn't..."
"Sorry, wait a minute. How do you know that it was 'perfectly innocent'? You are a beautiful woman. It wouldn't surprise me if he thought he could come between us."
"You see??? You're already thinking something else. It's really a question of whether or not you trust me. I know that whether or not he tries anything funny, that I'm committed to you. I'm committed to God. It doesn't matter what he wants or does," Lola said.
"Ummm, so you had dinner with him?" Bolu was not appeased.
"Yes. It was his hotel. It was free, and we were avoiding traffic," Lola replied in her defence. "Please, don't make an issue of this. This is why I didn't want to say anything. I don't want you to be worried needlessly."
"You, I trust. Him, not so much. You're supposed to travel next week to see his properties in Abuja and Port Harcourt right? Is this the same guy?"
Lola nodded, feeling a slight panic that Bolu was going to change his mind about her making the trip.
Bolu laughed nervously. "And he asked for you specifically?"
Lola bit her lip and nodded. It looked bad.
"No, I don't like this," Bolu shook his head. "Someone else has to go."
"Bolu, why? Please don't ruin this for me! You know we need the commission. Nothing's going to happen!"
Bolu still shook his head. "Mama said she saw you when he dropped you off on Friday. You had this look on your face. I think he is getting to you."
"Oh my God! Bolu, no. I don't believe this! What look? You're just making something out of nothing," Lola said, getting very emotional. "It's actually insulting that you think that I'll cheat on you. I can't believe this."
"Let me pray on it. I'll let you know my final answer in the morning."
"Bolu, you can't do this to me. I put up with so much with your job. And I've never doubted you. If you ruin this for me, because of your jealousy... I don't even know how we're going to deal with that!"
Bolu was silent as he observed Lola. Was she being genuine? Was she thinking only about the commission? Was she so naive not to know what was going on? Could she be trusted? He didn't know what to do. He would have to pray about it.
They finished their drinks in silence. The drive home was not as pleasant as the one to the cinema. Lola looked out the window the whole way home. When they got home, she went straight to bed, and turned her back on him.
It was very important that he used wisdom to make his decision tomorrow... This opportunity clearly meant a lot to her.
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.eharmony.com