By Yetunde Arebi

Hi, 

I could not hold back my tears as I listened to Femi as he described the calamity that had befell his lovely sister, a close friend I had not seen or heard from in many years. I found it difficult to believe what had happened to Sola and her darling husband Segun and the beautiful love they shared.

Theirs had been a match made in heaven, at least, most people in our circle of friends back then had thought. They quickly became inseparable, like Siamese twins, no sooner they met in our first year at the University. They had left no one in doubt that they would head for the altar as soon as it could be arranged. 

Segun was a few years older and already working though he was running a full time course too. Since the duo were always together, it was apparent that our friendship with Sola would be strained because she was never readily available for our hangouts and little talks. So, once they got married after school, we kind of all drifted apart, each finding their paths and conquering their worlds.

Often we would run into one another and relive old memories and catch up on what others were doing. It was always good news about the star couple. So, nothing prepared me for the terrible news Femi was reeling out about Sola. He said Sola was now a resident patient at the Psychiatric hospital, Aro, Ogun State. That our once made in heaven match had collapsed in a most disgusting circumstance, leaving Sola totally broken and unable to get a grip of herself, despite the presence and love of her children and family. 

But why far away in Ogun and not Lagos, close to family members? He said she was initially at Yaba, but one day, she managed to break out and appeared at the gate of the house to the embarrassment of Segun and the family who had told neighbours that she had relocated abroad for a while. So, what triggered such a terrible condition? 

Femi said Segun had taken a second wife. Bad enough, right? Actually, it was the manner with which he had done it that caused the problem. According to Femi, Segun had brought home a young lady whom he claimed was the daughter of a distant cousin, to live in their home. 

The lady had been posted to Lagos for the mandatory one year National Youth Service and because her parents didn’t want her to associate with the wrong crowd, entrusted her to his care. Though Sola had always known about this cousin, she’d only met her once in all of the 21 years she had known Segun. 

As a mother, Sola had agreed to shelter the young lady only to be rudely shaken out of her cocoon to discover that her beloved husband had been shagging his so-called niece under her roof. To make matters worse, it was too late as the little slut was already pregnant. Only then did she come to know that Segun and the girl’s mother were never blood relations but their fathers had been close friends who belonged to the same social club back in their hometown. 

Was he sleeping with her before he brought her to their home, or was it the proximity that drove them into each other’s arms, I wondered for a moment. Unfortunately, that was no longer an issue. Segun had insisted that it was a mistake but that he could not leave the young girl to suffer the consequences of an action he was more responsible for, being the older of the two. He must man up and do right by the girl and her family by taking care of her. 

Nothing, he insisted, had changed between him and Sola, his first and true love, as he was still her husband and father of her three children. They must stand firmly together as a family to weather the storm. (I often hear such balderdash from men who believe that they can have their cake and eat the same. What audacity! Can he just imagine himself in Sola’s shoes and her telling him such cock and bull story? 

What would one not see as a woman because of love and marriage?) Segun went ahead to buy an apartment for the girl somewhere in Lekki, insisting that he did it to secure the child’s future and not really for his young lover. Besides, she could not continue to live with them since the relationship had changed. 

Soon after, he began staying out late into the night and sometimes, early hours of the next day, just for a quick nap and change of clothes. By this time, his wife had started losing it, but no one knew, all the children were away at school. Sola only had the Househelps and workers around her and there was little she could tell them. Besides, shame and self pity would not allow her to turn to family and friends. 

The few who knew were sworn to secrecy. Then one night, he did not return until the next evening. He’d sent Sola a text that he’d had to rush his lover to the hospital, after she tried to take her own life. He did not have the heart to leave her alone now as her parents were far away in Kaduna and he was all she had in Lagos. Though no one could verify the story, that was how Segun officially pronounced himself a man with two homes. 

Everything had happened with the speed of a lightening, leaving Sola with no room to think or strategise. Her world had come crashing down so quickly, and she was lashing out with all fours in no particular direction and naturally not getting the results she needed. Perhaps, she came to the conclusion that without Segun, there could be no Shola, so she gradually slipped away until she crossed the line into intangibility, finding no solace in her children, family and friends. Femi and I had parted on the agreement that I would intimate a few other friends to see if we could pay his sister a visit.

I soon realised that bad news does travel fast as a number of our friends already had snippets of what had happened. Some even said Shola already started showing signs of depression long before Segun’s betrayal. We concluded that Shola’s father’s death about seven years ago, has contributed greatly to what happened. She was a daddy’s girl, having been practically raised by him along with her other two siblings. Her mother had died long before our paths crossed at the University. 

It was also no secret that he had also been a great pillar of support for Segun in the early days of their struggle to success. Had he been alive, Segun couldnt have dared dream such a thing in his sleep, not to talk about doing it. So, she had no one but Segun and the children. I wonder how he could sleep at night knowing his dear Shola was in a cold bed, surrounded by strangers, cowered in fear and trepidation, trapped in her own world. Almost everyone had something to say on the matter and in the end, a date during the Sallah holiday has been fixed for our visit.

Hmmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!! 

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