Itanola mounted the podium amidst loud ovations. He was invited for a single’s forum organised by a Christian group in Ikorodu.
“It’s great being in your midst,” Itanola’s voice boomed from the public address system. The hall was packed full with young adults. “I’ve had a great time listening to all previous discussions and I’ve learnt from it even as a married man. Briefly, we’ll touch on the topic of premarital sex and why you should stay away.”
Itanola led them in a period of prayer before launching into his topic. He paced from one end of the hall to the other end dishing out prayer points. Itanola ended the prayers. He brought out a white face towel from his pocket and wiped off the sweat on his face and neck before dropping it on the glass pulpit.
“Sex before marriage is sex too soon, and anything done too soon is dangerous. Imagine you’re preparing a sumptuous meal of Fried Rice, and Grilled Chicken. Midway, you take a spoon, dig it into the pot of rice and straight into your mouth. What do you think will happen? Two things. Your tongue will be scalded because it’s hot and you were not patient enough to make it cool down. Secondly, you’ll eat undone rice which will not be palatable, and it’s not fit for consumption…” the atmosphere was tense. “…the same thing goes with sex. When you’re involved in premarital sex, you will scald yourself.
The Bible makes us understand that a man cannot keep fire in his bosom and expect not to get burnt. Sex too soon is also not palatable because you get to miss out and you shortchange yourself on God’s design for sex in a monogamous marriage. You have unnecessary soul ties. You are filled with guilt and shame.” Itanola spoke at length before leading them in another round of prayers. The congregation was charged as voices filled the air with prayers.
Wuraola couldn’t place her finger on why she felt the way she did, but she knew something was not right. She felt the urge in her spirit to pray which she did. The burden was stronger to pray against infidelity. Why should I pray against infidelity? She thought to herself. Itanola has never shown signs of infidelity in our 5 years of marriage, and by God’s grace I can’t cheat on him too.
She prayed half-heartedly, and continued washing the dishes. The nudge lingered while she arranged the plates in the cupboard and cleaned the kitchen but she waived it off. She was very certain that infidelity was an impossibility in her marriage. She concluded her task in the kitchen and went to take a rest in the sitting room. She turned on the TV and changed the channel to Dove TV. She grabbed a throw pillow and sank into the cream coloured sofa opposite the TV. Their daughter was fast asleep in a pink bassinette next to the sofa.
The time clocked 7 and Itanola pushed the door gently and crept into the house. He dropped his briefcase on the floor beside the door and tiptoed into the living room. Wuraola had dozed off. He bent over her and placed a peck on her cheek. She stirred and opened her eyes.
“Welcome, honey,” she turned to face him and pulled his face closer to hers. “How was the ministration? How was your journey? Hope it wasn’t too stressful?” She sat up straight and created room for him on the chair to sit.
“The ministration was awesome. I felt the power of God and I’m so grateful for the souls that were turned over to Christ. As usual, I shared my experience with Iyunade, and that was another powerful one that I know convicted many. I did not forget to tell them that though others may see premarital sex as nothing, they are a different breed, and while others may they cannot. I’m just so grateful to God for His great move. All the glory be to him.”
Wuraola locked arms with her husband and looked him in the eye. “I’m so glad to hear this. Thank you for always giving unto the Lord. May you not lose your reward.” The nudge came back to Wura again, but stronger this time. She gave Itanola a long look and shook away the uneasy feeling. She pulled unknotted his tie and placed it on the chair. “Let me set the table…” she placed a peck on his cheek before heading to the kitchen.
Itanola pulled the bassinet towards him and Aanuoluwa let out a soft cry. He peered into the bassinet, “hey my little baby, did you miss daddy?” He tickled her gently on both sides and she made her cry louder. “My baby has missed me and this is her way of welcoming me.” He carried her and pecked her on both cheek. He sat on the brown leather rocking chair. He placed her on his chest and rocked back and forth before Aanu fell silent.
Wuraola stepped out of the kitchen, saw the scene before her and a happy smile formed on her lip. “Dinner is set, babe. Come over.
“Thank you, sweetheart.” He cradled Aanu and placed her in Wura’s hand, placing a peck on her small hand that was curled in a fist. “This smells nice…” he shoved a spoon in his mouth, “…and tastes nice.” He poured the water in the jug into his glass cup. “This was what I used for my analogy. Such a perfect dinner. Thank you.”
Itanola heard a knock on the door and he looked up from his laptop. A smirk shown on his face immediately.
“Good afternoon, sir.” She opened her mouth in surprise when she saw the person behind the door. She tried to regain her composure. “I was asked to meet with the head of the HR department to pick up my appointment letter, sir.” She said with emphasis on the sir.
Why Lord? Why is she working here and worse of in my department? Itanola thought. “Kindly meet with my secretary. She has it with her. Welcome.” He managed to say.
He lost concentration for the rest of the day. She was looking more beautiful and her skin was lighter and fresher. Her image of when they were alone in his house flashed in his mind and he kicked it out immediately. She had his past, but Wuraola had his present and forever, and there was no place for her in the picture.
He watched the time as it crawled like a snail till it got to 5. He shut down his laptop and put it in his black backpack together with some books and files. He waived his secretary goodbye before heading to the elevator.
Itanola placed his head on his steering wheel consumed in his thoughts. Well, she’s in my past, Lord and you will help me. This is tempting, Lord and she’s just too close. He drove with determination to tell Wuraola about Iyunade’s reappearance into his life and even at a close range.
“Welcome baby. How was work today?” She pulled him to a hug and placed a kiss on his forehead and lip. Itanola managed to acknowledge her warm greetings. Wuraola looked around and back at her husband. “Babe, what happened? This is not my husband I know. My Itanola is always eager to see me. What’s going on?”
“I’m sorry babe. I had a long day at work and I have something bothering me.” Itanola pulled his wife to himself. “I’m sorry I responded coldly.” He tickled her in a playful manner and placed a kiss on her lip.
She rolled her eyes at him, “apology accepted. So, what is the thing bothering this man?”
Itanola held her by the waist and led her to the living room. He stole a look at their daughter before settling on a chair. “It’s a long story, but first I’m starving.”
Itanola let it all out after dinner. He told her his fears and how he wasn’t comfortable having her around. Wura pulled him into an embrace. She placed her chin on his head while she rubbed his back. “It is well, babe. I believe there is no big deal about it since you’ll be meeting in an official setting. She might even be a changed person now, you never can tell. Besides, I’ll be praying for you, oko mi.”
They held hands together and prayed for about thirty minutes before retiring to the bedroom.
“Good morning, boss.” Iyunade cat walked into the office. She pulled her skintight, black, suede skirt to cover her laps.
Itanola didn’t see it coming. It was barely a month Iyunade started work at the company, and in his department and she was already pulling her stunts. Indeed, a tiger cannot change its stripes. “Hello. How can I be of help to you, ma’am?”
Iyunade placed her hand on the table and leaned forward baring her cleavage. “I came to say hello to you, sir.” She winked at him.
He blinked and averted his gaze from her, focusing on his laptop. “Iyunade, this is an official setting and I’ll want you to remember that you’re in the office.” He cautioned.
“All right, sir. I’m sorry, sir.” She sat on the chair opposite him and crossed her legs. “Itan. You and I know what we had to-”
“Iyunade, I thought you’ve moved on. This is not the best setting for this. I’m not going to tolerate such discussion here. If you don’t mind, can you take your leave, please?” He jammed on his keypad typing nothing in particular so he would have no reason to look at her.
Iyunade stormed out of the office. Itanola shook his head vehemently. Get thee behind me, Satan.
Two months passed since Itanola walked Iyunade out of the office. “Good afternoon, sir. These are the documents you asked me to submit before the end of today.
Itanola smiled in amusement at the sudden change of behaviour. Thank God I put her in her place immediately. “Thank you, ma’am. Kindly drop it on my table. He said and returned his concentration to his laptop. When she turned towards the door, his gaze darted between her legs and his laptop.
He pinched himself in the thigh to call himself to order. Iyunade gave a wry smile and walked out of the office. She was conscious of Itanola’s eyes on her. To catch a monkey you behave like a monkey. She thought to herself.
Iyunade and Itanola built a working superior/employee relationship and things were smooth between them. They had become comfortable in each other’s presence, with occasional lunch dates. Things went faster than Itanola expected.
“Babe, I have something to tell you.” Emotional affairs thrive in secrecy and Itanola wasn’t ready to trade his home for an emotional affair with Iyunade. “You remember I mentioned Iyunade working in my department, right?” Itanola was jittery as he spoke. He rubbed his palms on his trousers twice.
Wuraola placed her hands on his to calm him down. “Babe, what’s going on? You’re visibly shaken as you speak. This is not the-”
Their baby’s ear-splitting cry interrupted their discussion. “Excuse me, please.” Itanola tucked his hands between his laps. After a while, he cupped his face in his palms and thought on the best way he was going to make his confessions and ask for help. Seeing, Wuraola and the baby cuddled in her arm, he managed to gain composure. Wuraola sat beside him and there was a segue from what Itanola had to say to the health of the baby who was running temperature and had been fussy all day.
To be continued.