TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMPH [Triple T]
Enitan released herself from Taofeeq’s hold, got up and went to sit at the other side of the bed. He followed her and sat beside her. She was silent with arms akimbo while staring blankly at the wall. He tried to enclose her with a hug but she moved aside.
“I have been begging you since, please forgive me. The slap was a mistake.” He pleaded again but she didn’t reply.
“Enitan why are you doing this to me now! Please forgive me and let’s allow the beautiful relationship to continue.” He pleaded for the umpteenth time and this time she turned to him and gave a sharp reply.
“What beautiful relationship? As far as I know, the last 10 months were the most challenging times in my life. I thought I had it bitter while single, I never knew marriage to you would be more bitter. You only know how to keep up appearances when we are outside but inside the house you treat me like a nobody especially when your mother is involved. This is absolutely not the Taofeeq I fell in love with.” She said amidst tears again.
“I am deeply sorry for all that………okay, what do you want me to do for you to forgive me.” He asked and she smiled brightly.
“Good question………..you’re going to sign an undertaken for me. It’s going to be in two parts. The first is to sign you won’t ever raise your hand on me again and second is to sign that you’ll never compel me to resign my job. That is want I want.” Enitan stated firmly and there was a short silence before Taofeeq spoke again.
“If that’s what will make you happy. I’ll do it.” He said and she smiled.
He signed the undertaken which she kept in a safe place. He behaved well henceforth but it wasn’t long when the monster in him arose again. By this time their marriage had already clocked a year.
One day, Enitan returned late from work. It was quite unusual of her. She always got home around 2:20pm but on that particular day, there was an important impromptu meeting in her school which all staff were compelled to attend. The meeting ran for three hours and immediately after the meeting, she left for home.
She got home at about 5:45 in the evening and her mum in law wasn’t taking it easy with her.
“Where are you coming from since morning that you left home? I have almost starved to death.” Mama shouted upon her entry into the house.
Enitan greeted her but she didn’t answer. She continued shouting and then Enitan sighted Iman, her husband’s eleven year old niece watching a TV program. Enitan called upon Iman but she was too engrossed with the TV to answer her. Then Enitan turned to Mama, she was a bit annoyed, probably because she had a long day and was met with trouble upon return. She spoke her mind to Mama.
“I am sorry ma, there was an impromptu meeting in the school which lasted for three hours. You should have asked Iman to cook for you instead of starving yourself. She’s not doing anything but watching TV.” Enitan said and Mama went ballistic.
“You’re a fool for talking back at me in such manner. I should ask Iman of eleven years to operate the gas cooker when I have a son’s wife who can do that? You should have asked me to cook for myself instead of telling me to ask Iman you mannerless girl!” Mama replied angrily.
“I am sorry ma but there’s no big deal in operating a gas cooker. An eleven year old girl is not too small to operate a gas cooker, neither is she too small to cook. I might not be around all the time you know, just like today.” Enitan said and Mama got angrier.
“This is the peak of disrespect. Enitan how dare you! How dare you talk to me in such manner!! I have been enduring your infertility in this house and now you have grown wings and I can no longer talk to you without you talking back at me. I can’t take this nonsense and I am going to report you to your husband when he gets back.” Mama threatened and Enitan sought her permission to leave.
Enitan left her presence but she didn’t stop nagging. Enitan didn’t go elsewhere but the kitchen. She didn’t even undress. She went straight into the kitchen to quickly make something for Mama who claimed she had almost starved to death. Grandpa was not at home, he would have rescued the situation. Enitan finished the cooking and brought Mama’s food but she didn’t accept the food. She said she wouldn’t eat her food for insulting her.
“I didn’t insult you ma.” Enitan said
“I am a liar right? You insulted me because you told me I have a grandchild and I shouldn’t boss you around.”
“I didn’t say that.” Enitan marveled.
“Then what is the meaning of you telling me Iman is not too little to cook? Where I come from, you don’t have to say the exact message before a wise person decodes your intent. I got your message perfectly and I know exactly what to do.” Mama said angrily.
“I didn’t mean that ma. All I said was that you could have asked Iman to get you something to eat instead of starving.” Enitan explained but Mama decided to believe what she already believed.
“You don’t talk to an elder like that. When I told you I almost starved to death, had it been you’re a good child, you should have told me sorry ma, instead of telling me Iman is not too little to cook.” Mama continued endlessly.
“I am sorry ma, please eat your food before it gets cold.” Enitan urged and excused herself. She was tired of the trouble already. It’s been a long day and coming home to meet trouble was soul draining.
Mama continued nagging and lamenting till her son gets back. He asked what the problem was and she told him to call his wife out before she told him anything.
Taofeeq called upon Enitan who hastened to his call immediately. She got to the living room and her heart raced when she saw Mama tapping her feet on the floor.
Taofeeq beckoned on her to sit and he also sat. Then he told his mother to start.
“This house will no longer contain me and Enitan. She is becoming haughty by the day and I don’t think two drivers can pilot a ship. Can you imagine she came home late and I told her to cook for me, she replied that I shouldn’t boss her around that I should tell Iman to cook for me instead. Can you beat that?” Mama explained to her son who turned to Enitan to ask if it was true but his mother quickly interrupted.
“Why are you asking her if it is true or not? Will I lie on her? That is exactly what happened and I really want her to resign her job so that the care of the home will not suffer. If not that she’s senseless, she hasn’t been able to conceive after one good year of marriage yet she isn’t doing anything about it. She loves to work more than gaining the pleasure of her family. If you insist you won’t resign, I’ll give you a shocker that you’ll never be able to overcome.” Mama threatened and at this juncture, Taofeeq got up and ready to go to his bedroom.
“Mummy I am sorry on her behalf. I have a hectic day, I want to sleep.” Taofeeq said and was walking to the room when his mum called him back.
“Is that all you’ll say?” Mama said but Taofeeq didn’t look back.
Mama burst into tears at his son’s strange attitude and started lamenting again.
“The barren Enitan has turned my son against me o. Enitan you’ll pay dearly for this.” Mama continued with teary eyes.
Enitan heaved a sigh and went into the kitchen to get her husband’s food. By the time she got into the room, he was already lying down. She placed the food on a stool in front of the bed and went to sit beside her husband. She tapped him gently to wake him but he flung her hand away and quickly got up in anger.
“If you touch me again you’re in soup.” He retorted.
“What have I done?” She said with shaky voice.
“What have you not done? Do you think you can treat my mother with insolence, disdain and disrespect and then expect me to be happy with you? Could you see how my own mother was crying because of your stupidity? If you know how bitter I am you won’t touch me at all. Were you not doing chores in your father’s house? Didn’t you do chores in your uncle’s house? So what’s the big deal about cooking for your mother in law? I won’t ask you to resign but what I will do to you will be beyond your imagination. I won’t raise my hands at you either but what I’ll do for you will be more than beating you. I won’t say more than that.” He said and went back to sleep.
She begged him and tried to explain that it wasn’t how Mama said it but he wouldn’t listen. She wept bitterly for her life. She wept for the bondage she’d found herself in, she wept for being entangled in a mess. She cried till her throat was soar and eyes blurred.
The following morning, she tried talking to him but he wasn’t talking to her. She begged him again but he wouldn’t listen. He didn’t eat her food which she packed to go give him in his shop. He smiled at her outside and behaved as if all was well but unleashed terror on her inside the house. He wasn’t talking to her and would always write any information he wishes to give her on papers. However, he didn’t stop giving her money. He would drop the money on the dresser for her and go to work.
He not only kept malice with her, he also sex starved her. She had begged and begged but he wasn’t coming around. It was now two weeks since the ‘no talk and no sex’ relationship started. One night, at the middle of the night, she woke him up and begged him again.
“Please Taofeeq don’t do this to me. You’re really hurting me. My mental well being is at stake please show some mercy. You promised to be the father I don’t have, you promised to be the mother I don’t have, you promised to be the brother I don’t have. Please don’t change towards me. Don’t leave me to myself in this lonely world. Please Taofeeq show some compassion. I want back the Taofeeq I fell in love with.” She begged but he didn’t reply and she continued.
“My utmost joy will be to carry your child in my belle but now that you’re not even touching me, how will I be able to conceive. Please darling, have mercy on me.” She begged in tears but her plea fell on deaf ears as he didn’t reply her.
She continued begging but he wasn’t coming around. She had become so lean and a shadow of herself. Since that incidence, she always went out of her way to please her mother in law yet her efforts wasn’t appreciated.
At the earlier stage of her marriage, she was eager to leave at any maltreatment but now she wasn’t willing to leave him anymore. She held on to pains because she no longer knew what it feels like to live without pains, such that unconsciously, the pains became a part of her.
The bitter relationship continued for a month and a thought crossed Enitan’s mind. She thought of informing his friend Hassan about the issue. She tried to call Hassan but his line wasn’t reachable. She called his wife Jamilah and her line wasn’t reachable as well. She cried again as those were the two people she knew as his friends. She couldn’t visit the couple as they’d relocated to Warri when Hassan secured a job with an oil company.
She decided to continue begging and be at her best with the hope that he would come around one day. So one night, Enitan walked into the bedroom from the kitchen and heard the sound of shower then a thought quickly crossed her mind. She undressed, opened the bathroom and then walked inside. She also went under the shower and clung tightly unto him. He couldn’t resist her. He carried her to the bedroom and unto the bed. He made love to her and got up immediately. She sobbed quietly as what she thought would be reconciliation didn’t work out.
Nonetheless, after that night, he started speaking to her but it wasn’t like before. It seemed he completely lost interest in mating with her because after that night, he wasn’t forthcoming again and she didn’t make any effort either.
Then one day, she came back from work and met a lady that was in probably her late twenties. The manner she met the lady suggested a foul play but she didn’t talk. The lady was in the kitchen preparing lunch when Enitan got into the kitchen and met the lady and mama discussing so intimately. She asked her mum in law what she would like to eat for lunch but she said Desola has made lunch. Enitan replied with ok and left.
In the evening also, Enitan asked her mum in law what she would like to eat for dinner and she replied yet again that Desola has made dinner. Enitan shrugged, went into the kitchen to make dinner for her husband. When she was through, she went back to her room as it was magrib time. She came out of the room after praying and met her husband’s arrival and he was already eating. The lady and her mother sat on the table with him while they watched him eat.
Enitan told Taofeeq that she’d made dinner for him but his reply shocked her.
“As you can see, I am already eating.” Taofeeq replied while Mama gave Enitan a mockery gesture.
She walked into the room, threw herself on the bed and cried. It appeared the lady would be spending the night because she didn’t leave. Later that night, Taofeeq walked into the bedroom to retire for the day. He met Enitan crying and made to turn back but she quickly got up and held him.
“Please don’t leave.” She pleaded.
“You’ll leave me with no choice if you continue disturbing me with tears. I had a hectic day, I need to rest.” He said while standing on his toes.
“Please don’t go. I wanted to tell you something which made me go extra miles to prepare your favorite. I was hurt when I saw you eating another food.” Enitan said in tears.
“Please go straight to the point.” He snapped.
Then Enitan brought out a white envelope and handed it to him. And he stared hard at her before collecting it. He opened the envelope and his face was lit at what he saw then he exclaimed.
“You’re pregnant?” He exclaimed and she nodded her head while tears was dripping from her eyes.
He moved closer to her, scooped her into his embrace and then dried her tears with his finger. She buried her head on his chest as the tears poured effortlessly.
“I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.” He repeated as he held her tightly.
“This is what you’ve always said Taofeeq. When will you stop treating me like this? Why are you ripping my heart into pieces? Why are you torturing me, mentally, physically and emotionally? You promised to always be my shock absorber but you’re doing the opposite. You promised to always wipe my tears but you give me tears as breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t think I can cope any longer especially now that I’m pregnant.” She lamented in tears.
He assisted her to lie down while he also lied beside her. He fondled her hair with one hand but didn’t say anything. He wiped her tears with the second hand simultaneously yet he didn’t say anything. After a while she sat up and turned to him.
“Are you not going to say anything?” She said to him in tears.
“I am too ashamed to talk. I wanted to rock you to sleep so that we’ll talk tomorrow morning.”
“No let’s talk now.” She said.
“Okay, I am so happy about this pregnancy. In fact, if I can open my heart to you, you’ll see how happy I am. I am so sorry for everything. I promised to make it up to you. I don’t know why I’m being cruel to you but believe me, it’s never intended.” He said.
“You don’t know you’re being cruel to me? Like seriously?” She marveled.
“I am sorry.” He kept repeating and then reached out for his phone and started pressing it, minutes later, Enitan’s phone rang and when she checked, it was an alert of hundred thousand naira from Taofeeq.
She stared strangely at him before speaking.
“What should I do with the money?”
“I promised to make it up to you and this is the just beginning.” He replied softly but she shook her head.
“I don’t need your money but your love, care and affection. Money won’t buy me happiness but your assurance of love would. I need you Taofeeq, I need your loving heart. I need you to be good to me. I need you to always treat me right. I need your commitment, devotion and above all understanding. I need you to understand that I’m human who can make mistake. I need your compassion, sympathy and empathy. I am not a slave in this house and I need you to understand that…………………….” She said but he interrupted her.
“Talking about being slave or not, I think that chapter is closed now because mom already got herself a maid.” Taofeeq said.
“Who’s the maid?”
“Desola.” He replied and she smiled wryly before responding.
“Why are you so naïve? Can’t you read in between the lines? Desola is no maid but a wife in disguise.” Enitan put it up to him.
“Actually…………..mom said something about taking a second wife that’ll always attend to her needs. She suggested Desola, the daughter of her friend but I said I wasn’t interested. She then proposed for her to come around and be helping with cooking which I don’t think it’s a bad idea.”
“And you agreed?”
“I don’t have a choice. She’ll be useful especially now that you’re pregnant. Let’s just allow mummy have her way. You know she can be handful sometimes. I am not a baby. She can’t force a woman on me.” Taofeeq said trying to discard her fears.
“But still, a grown up woman is not a good idea. This is obviously a trap and you’re falling for it already.”
“I said you shouldn’t worry your beautiful head. I am on top of the game.” He assured and pulled her to him.
“Come here, I have missed you.”
“Are you tired of starving?” She teased.
“In fact, I starved myself baselessly.”
“So you know.” She said rolling her eyes at him.
They made up that night with several rounds and the feeling was great. It was a beautiful reunion which radiates Enitan’s face.
The following morning which was a Saturday, Enitan was late in bed. Taofeeq got up and deliberately left her to sleep well. She later got up to observe subh and then went back to sleep. She was still sleeping when she was woken by Taofeeq’s ringing phone. She ignored at first but when the caller persisted, she reached for the phone, got out of bed and tried to locate Taofeeq in the house.
She proceeded to the living room but paused half way upon hearing her husband’s voice discussing with his mom. She overheard them talking about Desola and her anxiety grew. She decided to eavesdrop.
“When are you going to see Desola’s parents?” Mama asked Taofeeq.
“I thought we already concluded that she’ll only be helping you with cooking.” Taofeeq replied.
“Look, she isn’t a maid. I want you to marry her especially when your wife can’t conceive and give you a child.” Mama said.
“You don’t need to worry about that again. My wife is now pregnant.” Taofeeq said and mama exclaimed.
“Yes ma. Help us thank Allah. He’s such a merciful God.” Taofeeq said with smiles.
“Are you sure you’re responsible for her pregnancy?” Mama asked in surprise.
“Of course I am. My wife is faithful. She wasn’t wayward before marriage so she can’t be after marriage.”
“Shut up! Didn’t you tell me you haven’t touched her for the past few months? Or has she suddenly conceived holily?” Mama said and Taofeeq smiled before responding.
“Trying to get between husband and wife is like trying to know how water got into the coconut which is not possible.” He replied his mum with a smile and got up to leave.
“Really Taofeeq?” His mother replied with mouth agape.
“Yes mummy cool your temper. Enitan is irreplaceable in my heart.” He said with smiles.
Enitan stealthily walked back into the bedroom before Taofeeq caught up with her.
There are good and bad days in marriage indeed!!!
“Your wives are tilth for you [to cultivate] so go into your tilth whenever you like…………………..Al-Baqarah verse 223.
[Yes, trying to get between husband and wife is like trying to know how water got into the coconut. Either as a mother, sister, brother, cousin or friend to a couple, you have no right to do that!……….And then as couple too, don’t be a basket mouth. Don’t share your secret with anyone, be discreet about your marital affair. A crack in the wall enables the entry of a lizard]