Mirror mirror on the wall, can you tell me what goes on in this room?
The Adedoja’s were a lovely couple. They had lived in the United States for almost ten years before moving back to Nigeria. With ten years and two kids between them, they had a pretty comfortable life.
Many times, I wished I could be married because of their several display of pure love right in my presence. Well, I had no choice but to remain just where I was positioned soaking in all the beautiful memories created.
One major display I can’t forget in a jiffy was on the day of their 11th wedding anniversary where what they practically did was renewing their vows, sealing it with a kiss. Well, this was not the first time seeing them share kisses, but this was different. I was the honourable witness of that occasion, and it was a privilege for me to experience that moment in my life time.
Things took a downward spiral when the natural warm ambience in the room became icy and chilly. I cringed anytime they both came in the room, walking on eggshells around each other and crowned it all by turning their backs on each other when they lay on the bed. I experienced one of their minor arguments one night, and I would have wept if I could. Where was the love they once shared? Even a blind man could feel the heat of their love. He would have no reason to doubt their love.
“Honey,” Mrs. Adedoja called, touching her husband slightly on the shoulders after about 30 minutes of tossing on the bed restlessly. “Please, can we talk?”
“About what?” He mumbled beneath his breadth. What does this woman have to say. I don’t think she knows how much I’m merely tolerating her presence. He thought within himself. “Say what you have to say as briefly as possible. I have to get some good sleep before I go searching tomorrow.”
“Erm, reality stares me in the face how far we’ve grown apart. The love we once shared has gradually grown cold. I… I-”
“Really! Was this why you stole sleep from my eyes? Even if you wanted to bring this irrelevant issue up, couldn’t you at least wait till tomorrow morning. If you like don’t sleep, keep thinking about love when there are other important matters on ground. Nonsense!
I was shocked at the soul piercing words of Mr. Adedoja. How could a sweet and loving man become this passionless. Well, the worst was yet to come.
One fateful day, Mrs. Adedoja walked up to me. She was wearing a drab face, with a red patch below her left eye. Being a fair-complexioned woman, any touch could make her red. In her hand was a strange box which she placed on the table before me. She went to bed. Mr. Adedoja was no where in sight. It was a long dreary night as Mrs. Adedoja kept fidgeting in her sleep.
The following morning while preparing for work, Mrs. Adedoja opened her strange small box and began applying the content on her face, layer on layer, until the red patch was concealed. She gave a fake faint smile as she stood up.
Things worsened in the Adedoja’s home as the sweet words of the past were replaced with snide remarks and constant bickering.
The day I prayed I never witnessed eventually came and right in my presence I saw a mortal man change to a brute beast.
Mr. Adedoja stormed into the room in a fit of rage. I’d never seen him that mad.
“Woman!” He barked at Mrs. Adedoja who turned her back against the door when she heard his footsteps. “I believe you’re not deaf.” He charged at her, and before she could respond in defence, heavy slaps and thunderous punches glued her to the bed. She was between an aiding bed and a furious devil. “I go out each day in search of a job, yet you’re here waisting money like an idiot. You haven’t done anything to improve the financial lot of the family. All the money you earn, you spend on useless things.” He threw out the words just as he threw the punches.
“Is this all because I managed to put some things together to prepare your favourite meal as a reward for all your sacrifices for this family? You’re a foolish ingrate and an idiot.” Mrs. Adedoja had mustered enough courage to face her husband while nursing the spots the slaps and blows landed.
“You’ll pay for this rubbish you’ve just said.” He said , storming out of the room the way he came in.
I could have wept, but I lacked the capacity to. Now, I knew the reason for Mr. Adedoja’s rash decisions. It’s been almost 6 months since Mr. Adedoja lost his Job. He was transferred to the Nigerian branch of the company he worked while he was in the US. Things were going well until the company’s economy started dwindling. They had no option but to downsize staff, and Mr. Adedoja was a victim.
Bitterness and frustration engulfed his heart because the company refused to take into consideration his years of active service in the US. All they considered was that he was newly transferred, and all old workers took priority over him.
The best way he could handle his loss was changing towards his family. He had started making plans of how to change the school of his children to a government school which did not sit well with them. His wife was the main recipient of the anger he always unleashed.
Mrs. Adedoja came before me, tears welling up in her eyes. “I can’t do this anymore.” The tears poured forth like a fountain. “For how long will Sam continue like this. I’ve tried all I can, yet he keeps getting worse.”
“Talk to a trusted friend. Pray without ceasing. God hears.” I admonished. She had made a graphic design of theses words and pasted it on me some months back, so, I had no choice but to send her words back to her.
Sadly, she would have none of that. She couldn’t bring herself to talk to anybody. Does she even have anybody? Her husband was her world and now that world is crumbling. She couldn’t pray, neither did she believe God will hear. Is there even God? He has abandoned her to her misery and there was no point calling on Him.
With fury, she tore the sticker, crumpled it and trashed it in the can that stood by the door. She took a piece of paper from the bedside table alongside a pen and wrote down some things that were beyond the reach of my prying eyes. She placed it by the side where her husband lay, took a pill and covered herself up with her duvet.
Mr. Adedoja walked into the room with a smile. An envelope in his hands. He called out to his wife in excitement. “Baby! I’ve landed a juicy contract.” There was no response. Moving closer to his wife, trepidation gripped him, beads of sweat forming on his face. “I hope it’s not what I’m thinking.” He voiced out.
He saw the piece of paper by her side and hurried to read it’s content. He could not bring himself to come to terms that his wife could kill herself. He knew he had treated them badly in the past few months, but he still loved her. It was the frustration that got the better part of him, and he was ready to turn a new leaf.
“Lord, please, don’t let it be,” he said as he picked up the piece of paper.
“Sam, over the years we’ve loved each other, but you’ve allowed the circumstances around you sink the ship of our marriage. Together we would have overcome this, but you chose to ‘overcome’ this by trampling on me. This past six months have been the worst years of my life. It had made me regret marrying you though I still hold on to the memories we once shared. They were the things that kept me in this house since you suddenly turned to a beast.
You have nothing to fear. I’ve never had courage. Never had the courage to face you. Never had the courage to talk to a friend, not even the kids. I’ve even lost the courage to face God. So, I don’t have the courage to take my own life. If you meet me sleeping when you come, don’t bother waking me up. If you don’t meet me at home, just know I’ve walked out of your life. I’ve lost sleep in the past few weeks so I’ve chosen to induce sleep by taking a tablet. I hope I find the courage to leave this house once I wake up.
I wish you a good life. I just hope you find help and you change. I don’t want to leave the kids with you, but they need a place of shelter till I find a comfortable place to lay my head. I know you’ll move on. Please do.”
The letter brought him to his knees. His foolishness stared him in the face and made mockery of him. He realized the gravity of his actions. Determined to win her heart back, he left the room and came back to the room after 4 hours.
Mrs. Adedoja was awake, packing some clothes into her small box. Entering the room, Mr. Adedoja lay flat on his face, holding on to her legs.
“Banke, please you can’t leave. I accept that I have been foolish. I’ve been an ingrate. I’ve thrown our love to the swines. But please, find a place in your heart to forgive me.”
“Sam, I wish. But it is too late. My mind is made up. I love you, but I have to leave you. I pray you find a good job that will bring back your happiness, that will add colour to your world.
“Banke, please. You’re my happiness. You’re my world. You’re the light that brightens up my darkness. I know I’ve ignored your light in the past, but please, give me a second chance. I promise to change. Banke, please.” Tears and mucus glided down his face.
“Sam, I wish. But it’s too late.”
“Banke, you said you waited this far because of the memories we created. I’m ready to recreate the memories. I can give my life to take away the bad ones I brought into the picture. A second chance is all I’m asking for.”
Broken. Defences shattered. “You’ve read the letter?”
“Yes, I have. I came in earlier to share the news about the contract I got, but I saw your still body and the letter. I picked up the letter first so as to gradually come to terms with the reality of your death. I thought the letter contained your suicide note, but when I opened it, I saw a second chance. Another opportunity to right my wrongs. I love you, Banke. Please, by your actions grant me this opportunity. I don’t know what my life will be without you.”
“You’ve gotten a job, so you can put on your best acts. God forbid anything happens, the cycle will repeat itself, right? Her anger was rising.
“No. It’s not like that Banke. The job is not that important. You are. I’ve realized my mistake and I’m ready to change. Come what may, Banke, we will stay together.
With tears. “Sam, you hurt me. You hit me. You hated me. Now, you come back begging.”
“I’m sorry, Banke. I truly am. Please forgive me.”
“I love you, Sam.” She said, tears taking a stroll on her face. “Please, don’t let this repeat itself. We’ll have to go for counselling as well.”
“Anything for you, sweetheart. I love you. Let’s recreate those memories. The table is set, with the ambience you love best and your favourite food. Shall we,” he said, leading the way.
“Wait. Were you that confident I was going to change my mind? What if I didn’t?”
“No, I wasn’t. I prayed in my heart all through that God will intervene. I’m glad He did. I glad you’re back. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Hand in hand, they walked out of the room.
I was overjoyed. The love I enjoyed watching was back. If I could leap, I would have. The love was sizzling again. On their 15th wedding anniversary, the Adedoja’s welcomed a baby girl.