– the funloving, but hardworking single parent
By Treena Kwenta
Hi readers! Sometimes I canâ€™t understand myself. Ade, Tayoâ€™s ex toy-boy has never been one of my favourite persons. Heâ€™s always known this, just like everyone in my circle, including Tayo herself. My resentful feelings towards him has always been open.
Yet, after he took his leave of Liz and me that Sunday, I felt so saddened by his wretched and dejected look and misery, that for a mad minute I toyed with the idea of reconciling him with Tayo. Silly romantic me! I always long for a loving ending for those who are in love.
â€œCareful there!â€ cautioned Liz, when I sounded her out on the idea, as we were being driven back to the guest house. â€œI feel sorry for Ade because heâ€™s fallen on hard times, but letâ€™s not get carried away by that and decide to bring him and Tayo together again.â€
â€œI see your point, but they loved each other, yes?â€
â€œIn the past, yes, they did love each other very much. I suspect that love has not totally died down on either part, but if theyâ€™ve lived without each other for several years now. it means they can stay parted forever.â€
â€œSure, but will it be the right thing, Liz dear? Look at how Ade has aged prematurely! His clothes were threadbare too. He can easily be counted among the poor, and the down and out.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think so. Heâ€™s still riding a car.â€
â€œA battered one! Can you imagine him going near such an ugly jalopy when he and Tayo were an item? God forbid. She ensured that he not only wore the best outfits available, he rode the best cars in town. She kept him in luxury. I’m sure Tayo would weep if she were to see the Ade that we saw today.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think she would weep. The guy, his wife and ex-wife milked poor Tayo dry!Â Â You know all the malpractice they were engaged in, on both farms. Being in love with him then, she was extremely patient and allowed them to get away with all that rubbish, which almost ruined her financially.â€
â€œShe said Ade wasnâ€™t cheating her, but his people were.â€
â€œSame thing. He was the one who provided those his dependants with the opportunity to defraud Tayo, the lady he claimed was the love of his life, for so long.Â Â His people would pocket the money from the sale of farm and poultry products, and he would travel down to Lagos to get money from Tayo to pay the workers; many of whom were his own people too. Talk of double cheating.â€
â€œI know. Luckily, mama came along with Tayo to sort things out and Peter was available to take over and turn the business around.â€
â€œAlso, have you forgotten the row Ade kicked when Tayo wanted to sell the Offa farm? He was bent on buying it, for free!Â Â Iâ€™ve never heard of such a transaction. He told Tayo that he was entitled to it since he had been managing it for so long. He didnâ€™t talk of the non-profitability. He said it was a question of honour as the community where the farm was sited had come to know him as the owner. How can you claim another personâ€™s property and business simply because you were sleeping with her? Was she buying his wretched body or what? He kept insisting that he the business was rightly his.â€
â€œReally? What nonsense! I wasnâ€™t aware of all that.â€
â€œHe said that and more. Peter had to get a lawyer to write to him to keep his distance from the business, otherwise he would be disgraced with prosecution. That was what stopped the fellow. Donâ€™t waste your emotions on him. He isnâ€™t worth it.â€
â€œI believe youâ€™re right, Liz dear. For all we know, he probably trailed us today so that he could tell us of his plight, and we would be moved to pleading with Tayo to take him back.â€
â€œWould any woman want him in the state he is in at present?â€
â€œWell, some might. His looks arenâ€™t too bad and if a woman is desperate for a man, to marry as a second wife and have his children, she could …â€
â€œBut his pocket is empty. Treena dear. No lady these days wants a liability of a man, especially a married man who hasnâ€™t a kobo.Â Â I think we should leave Ade to take his punishment calmly. He probably deserves it. If he had managed his finances well while the going between him and Tayo was great, he would be a rich man today. She helped him build his house here in Ilorin, and buy the middle-income one in Isolo.â€
â€œAh, hasnâ€™t he sold all those to meet his financial obligations? He must have by now.â€
â€œMaybe. However, if heâ€™s still able to keep his nine children, a wife, and an ex-wife, then lifeâ€™s not so bad for him. If he didnâ€™t allow himself to carry such a weight, he would be living a passably comfortable life. Heâ€™s an experienced accountant, for goodnessâ€™ sake. Heâ€™s a foolish man. His three graduate children can go all out to get themselves temporary jobs, even if it isnâ€™t in their line. There are all sorts of things that young graduates can do to earn legitimate money until they hit the big times! Two of my kids did that for a while.â€
â€œAnd why should Ade be keeping his ex-wife?â€
â€œExactly! Theyâ€™re divorced, according to him.So, why is she still one of his dependants?â€
â€œMaybe itâ€™s to compensate her for not re-marrying.â€ I suggested.
â€œOf what use is her single status to him?â€
â€œYou donâ€™t know these men. They may still be sleeping together. Thatâ€™s the bond. Otherwise, once he takes care of his kids by her, he shouldnâ€™t feel obliged to do more. Also, it seems this sort of attitude is acceptable to some men. Didnâ€™t Shola tell us that he still takes financial care of his children who are married?â€
â€œYes. Not only that, he takes care of their mothers too, who he never married. They think that if you live and work in Lagos, youâ€™re wallowing in money and wealth. See how they came to beat Shola up just because his first sonâ€™s wedding is more lavish than the ones they had! An abomination! Iâ€™m sure they knew that he didnâ€™t fund everything. Hey, do you think Shola is really held in the bondage of endless womanizing?â€
â€œHe definitely is, if after his terrible ordeal, and while still in bandages and pain, heâ€™s expressing interest in the nurse at the guest house. He needs serious deliverance. No kidding. I shall speak to Ify and Joe about it. Heâ€™s a nice person. I feel concerned about his reckless love life.â€
Liz snorted, but said nothing.
As we alighted from the bus at the guest house, we heard the sound of praise and worship coming from the garden. We headed for the garden. Chairs had been arranged in a semi-circle and a table with two chairs were placed in front. There was a large Bible on the table and Becky had her head bent in prayer while Boma was leading the praise worship. That meant Becky was shortly going to give a sermon.
â€œThis is something!â€ whispered Liz. â€œShall we join? All the seats are taken, though.â€
â€œI canâ€™t join in the state Iâ€™m in! Iâ€™m starving!Â Â Of what use is praise worship when oneâ€™s stomach is rumbling? God will understand.Â Â Iâ€™ll just nip over to the restaurant and get fed.Â Â If theyâ€™re still here when Iâ€™m done, then Iâ€™ll happily join the throng.â€
â€œIâ€™m hungry too. Pity to miss this, but then, weâ€™ve attended Mass already, so one shouldnâ€™t feel guilty.â€
â€œExactly!â€ I said as I began to head for the restaurant.
We werenâ€™t the only ones having a late breakfast. Tayo and Shola were at a table, ending their meal. Tayo looked relaxed, her eyes lit up when she saw us. Shola looked sober and pensive. We went over to greet them, then sat at an adjacent table. Tayo left us alone until we were through with our food.
â€œHey, my dears!â€ she called out, as we sipped our coffee. â€œHope you prayed for me at Mass.â€
â€œOf course,â€ I told her. â€œWe prayed for everyone, especially Shola.â€
â€œOh thanks. I do feel better today, but a big problem has cropped up.â€
â€œOh no!â€ said Liz. â€œNot so soon! You havenâ€™t got Risi pregnant, have you?â€
â€œNo,â€ answered Tayo. â€œIâ€™ve just told him that Risi is Adeâ€™s first daughter, by his ex-wife.â€
I was so startled that I dropped my coffee cup. A waiter rushed forward with a brush and pan.
â€œI got the information early this morning from one of the workers, so, I rang Shola up and told him to get the girl off my premises at once. I donâ€™t want anything that will link Ade with a property of mine.â€
â€œTayo, you spoilsport!â€ I accused her jokingly. â€œSo, you interrupted their sleep; leaving Shola alone in a cold bed. How did she take it?â€ I asked Shola. He mumbled something.
â€œWell, at least he hasnâ€™t got her pregnant,â€ said Liz. â€œThat reduces the problem. So. sheâ€™s Adeâ€™s daughter? Wao! Shola, didnâ€™t you know?â€
â€œAt all. One doesnâ€™t go asking a girl who the parents are just like that. Iâ€™ve only just met her. I was hanging around a hostel, and I saw her. She appealed to me and we took off from there.â€
â€œHow old is the relationship?â€ Liz asked.
â€˜Two months or so. Since I began coming down here for the wedding preparations. Thereâ€™s been no time to find out about her background.â€
See Shola? And the girlâ€™s been warming his bed and dancing after him. Also, he had told us he might marry her. It didnâ€™t occur to him to research a girl he may marry. Apparently, he was interested in only one thing, isnâ€™t it?