By Bumi Sofola
I was almost ready for the office when my door-bell went persistently. Annoyed that the driver ‘s been locked out by the maid again, I went to the door with my face half made-up. The man standing on my door-step looked as though he’d been given a thorough beating by a gang of armed robbers.
“Sis, I want the truth from you, please,” he pleaded. “About what?” I asked. “About Kenke,” he said, “did she stay here last night with you, yes or no?” Now that was a tricky question. Kenke, Wasiu’s wife, is a good friend and they’d been married for over 20 years. Wasiu’s bloodied face was as a result of trying to beat a confession out of his wife. And she had fought back.
Yes, Kenke was having an affair. It seemed she was always hopping from one bed to another, using me as an alibi most of the time. The last time she was caught red-handed by Wasiu, he came charging to me, accusing me of encouraging his wife’s affairs and she was probably using my place as a sort of rendezvous. I calmed him the best I could, told him how innocent I was. “And to think I always allowed her to go anywhere alone at the mention of your name, believing you wouldn’t allow her to cheat on me,” he bleated.
As far as I was concerned I’d had enough of the two of them. In spite of his good looks and macho image, Wasiu seemed the ‘woman wrapper’ type, hanging on to the skirt of his wife and wearing his love of her on his sleeve. Warnings that Kenke should stop pushing her luck had always fell on deaf ears, so I gave her a wide berth. I learnt of her latest ‘catch’ from some of our friends and now Wasiu had got wind of it.
When I told him that I hadn’t seen his wife for weeks, Wasiu’s face crumpled. “She’s been out all night,” he wailed.” “I think she’s having an affair…. She forgot her mobile and I found she’d been calling a man named Joseph. I rang him myself but he was very evasive.”
“Joseph?” I asked puzzled, “you’re definitely wrong there. I’m positive your wife is not with any Joseph. “ “Are you sure?” he wanted to know’:That definitely wasn’t the name of Kenke’s new lover. Wasiu turned and left. I felt really sorry for him. As soon as he’d gone, I called his wife and told her Wasiu thought she was having an affair with someone called Joseph. “It is true,” she admitted. She’s always been upfront with me. “He’s my current main man, I’ve dumped the other one.”
With glee, she explained how she met this new man and how she was sure he was her soul mate.
Inevitably, Wasiu kicked her out of their matrimonial home. She moved in with a cousin, and, as soon as she decently could, went to live with her new squeeze. That was some years back. It was a shock when I learnt she’d ditched this Joseph and went back to her husband. This set a pattern for their marriage.
She would go from one man to another, begging for forgiveness whenever Wasiu found out. He always took her back. The last straw was when she moved in a second time with Joseph and their grown-up children kicked against her coming back as their mother—they’d been humiliated enough. Wasiu was a shadow of himself. We all felt sorry for him.
In the end, I fixed him up with Serah, a forty-something year-old widow who was a participant at one of the courses we ran. With time, they clicked, but would Kenke be happy for the two of them? “How could you do this to me,” she shrieked down the phone the day she called to ask me to warn Serah off her husband. I reminded her that her divorce case was pending and Wasiu was no longer interested in their marriage.
“You’re supposed to help me save my marriage, not break it,” she spat with repulsion. “Anyway, I’m stating my own side of the divorce case and naming Serah as one of my grounds.” I was livid. “You ‘ve certainly got a cheek,” I said. “After the way you treated the poor man.
If you must know when people were sure you’d left for good, Wasiu’s been regaled with tales of most of your escapades. The man is disgusted with you.” She slammed the phone. I wasn’t really surprised when Serah visited a few weeks later to tell me how Kenke had been making a fool of herself trying to get Wasiu back.
“She called at odd hours and whenever I picked up the phone, she called me a husband-snatcher. The day she called on the pretext of seeing the youngest child, she brushed past me and gave Wasiu a kiss. He shoved her anyway. She was surprised. Her hold on him was finally gone. Anyway, as soon as the divorce sails through, we’re getting married.”
I was happy for both of them. Wasiu deserved a settled home after the roller coaster of marriage he had with his ex. During the wedding, we’d all anticipated that Kenke would make trouble, but the ceremony was hitch-free.
At the reception, however we all gasped with disbelief, as we saw Kenke at one of the windows, clutching the hand of her youngest child. Did she think Wasiu would leave Serah in the lurch and come away with her? Serah has had enough. She marched up to Kenke and told her to leave the child with her father and leave.
All eyes were on Kenke and she knew she’d lost. She turned on her heels and stormed off. To this day, she still likes to tell people that I helped fix a wife for her husband. It was her choice to have affairs and her choice to leave her husband. She should have the decency to leave Wasiu to get on with his life and lie on the bed she made for herself.