By Bunmi Sofola
Timi’s dad, Kingsley, had always been close to his five children though it was obvious that Timi was his favourite when they were growing up. The closeness became even stronger after Timi left home. “I was the eldest child”, Timi said, “and I did most things with him, including confiding in him instead of our mum. I was just married when dad came calling, telling me he was thinking of taking a second wife. I was shocked. After over 30 years of marriage to mum, what did he need a second wife for? Why didn’t he just have an affair? He’d had some in the past that he’d never admitted to. So, why was this Veronica he said he’s fallen in love with different.
“She was a single mother of a six-year-old girl, dad said, and didn’t want another hole-in-the-corner affair that would result in her having another child out of wedlock. `But you’re still married to mum’. I reminded dad. `What wedlock are you talking about?’ Dad had that determined look on his face as he answered: “I’m almost 60 and I need to feel passion once again before it is too late. Your mother is not exactly a sex symbol and after five kids, she wouldn’t lose sleep if I never went near her. She might have lost it, but I have it! Veronica doesn’t mind a native marriage, as long as her parents see a semblance of commitment from me. The only snag is that she’s sill under 30…”
“In other words, Veronica is not only more than 30 years younger than dad, she wanted more children! What sort of madness possess these young women intent on wasting their youth on men more than old enough to be their fathers? `I love her’, dad said firmly when I pointed out that the age difference could prove to be a problem. So I wished him well. Dad looked younger and happier and if he’s found happiness, I would be the last person to stand in his way. I just didn’t want to see him hurt. As if reading my mind, he told me he’d already assured this Veronica that he would let her go if she met a younger man she fancied. Would I love to meet her? I nodded uncertainly. What on earth would mum say if she knew of this conspiracy?
“She seemed okay when we met and looked genuinely interested in dad. He’d already found her a flat which they furnished together. I had to find out how mum felt about the whole thing but it was obvious she was resigned to this mad urge of dad’s to prove his virility. `He reminded me of the number of his friends who’d had one or more wives and said he only waited for our children to be independent before he got another one’, mum said, looking a bit amused. `I told him he could do whatever he wished. He can afford to keep two homes and if his heart gets broken, he could always come home!’
“So, the pair got hitched and dad spent time with Veronica, putting his new love-next right and cooing over their new son. In fairness to Veronica, she made a great fuss of dad and I was relieved he was happy. They were together for almost eight years, when dad showed up at my house with his bombshell. `I’m sure Veronica is two-timing me’, he said, looking really unhappy. Wasn’t he the one who said he was prepared to let go if she met someone younger? `I’m definitely losing her’, he continued. `I’ve asked her if she was seeing someone else, but she denied it. But she keeps getting calls on her mobile and text messages late into the night …’
“I was a bit worried about the state he was in. Did he ever go through all this with mum? I consoled him the best I could but with time, he became quiet and withdrawn. All of a sudden, he started dressing up and splashing on expensive after-shaves. Poor dad, he’d never bothered about his looks before. One day, he turned up at the house confiding in me he wanted his hair dyed! We couldn’t get him to a salon, so I offered to do it at home. I bought one of these five-minute instant hair dye, and went to work. He looked different after I was through. It would all have been hilarious if I hadn’t been so worried about his sate of mind.
“In spite of his efforts to look younger, it was all wasted on Veronica. They were definitely drifting apart and dad urged me to have a word with her. By this time, dad looked tired and drawn and I would do anything to put the bounce back to his feet. When I called on Veronica, she didn’t want to admit to anything but I assured her she was free to tell me anything. She confessed she was fed up with her relationship[ with dad inspite of the fact that he’d spared no expense making her happy. As a matter of fact, he’d just bought her a new car. Unfortunately, her once strong love for dad had all but died. `I’m aware of the fact that I’m nothing but a part-time and unacknowledged wife and it is humiliating that I will not be properly married in life’, she lamented. What the heck did she want?
“She had a man who was so besotted with her she took on her child from a previous relationship. What man would now legally marry her with two kids from two different fathers? Didn’t she know the score before she went into relationship? She just shrugged. I couldn’t make her love dad and he needed to put an end to his misery. Patiently, I explained everything to dad. He looked really dejected that I felt sorry for him. I told him he needed to get Veronica out of his system, that her son for him would always be a link.
“Only, a few weeks later, my younger brother phoned me at work that dad had been arrested – he was calling me from the Police station. I rushed to the said station, my whole body shaking as I raced down. Dad was behind the counter, looking shame-faced. My brother was arranging to get him released on bail but discreetly passed the photocopy of a photograph the Police had let him have. A man was sitting on a stool looking like an armed robber that had been beaten raw. Some wounds were plastered whilst some were left open. I gasped as I was told dad had assaulted the man when he found him in Veronica’s flat.
“After dad left the station, we made efforts to have the case withdrawn. Dad’s victim confessed he never knew Veronica was married to dad, let alone that the flat was set up by him. In the end, he agreed not to press charges and the Police were duly informed after `formalities’ were completed. We were just glad it was over. Has dad learnt his lesson? I doubt it.
“Some days he looks our cheerful and happy dad. Mum on the other hand, took things in her stride and never gloated. I haven’t asked dad what his relationship with Veronica’s son is at the moment.
When he’d first felt jealous and insecure about Veronica, I wished I had tried to talk him out of trying to win back her love. But emotional problems are the hardest to handle – as we all found out the hard way with dad. I just hope now he’s almost 70, he would have learnt his lesson …”
The Higher bidder? (Humour)
During a wedding rehearsal, the groom takes the vicar to one side .. “I’ll give you N10,000 if you’ll change the vows”, he says. “Just leave out the part where I promise to love, honour and obey,and forsaking all others, be faithful for ever”.
He then slips the vicar the cash and walks away. The wedding comes and the couple are about to exchange vows. The vicar turns to the groom and announces:
“Will you promise to worship the ground she walks on, obey her every command, serve her breakfast in bed every morning and swear eternally you will not even look at another woman, as long as you live? The groom gulps and yelps: “Yes!” He then leans towards the vicar and hisses:
“I thought we had a deal!”, the vicar presses the N10,000 back into his hand and whispers: “She made me a much better offer”.