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Fiction Therapy

Heat in the Raindrops – Episode 7

heat
Written by Fisayo Talabi
EPISODE 7
 
 
 
He looked at his reflection in the mirror of his bathroom at the office. And he could not put a hold of what was happening. He felt sorry. Deeply. Truly. Not necessarily because he had wronged his wife but because he had fallen back into his old addiction like a pack of cards. He had tried to build the strength and discipline to break free from masturbation. For the entirety of his teenage years into his young adulthood, he had been extremely addicted to pornography which came with the consequence of masturbation.

What bothered him a little more was that when he had been doing it, he had been thinking of her. Mental images of her unclothed body flooded his mind. And it gave him pleasure. And she was not his wife. She was Torera Tafa.

He had pleaded with Muna that night but she had told him to stay away from her. She had cried and said he was a bad husband. He really wanted to sort everything out with her. The Muna in the house was not the Muna he wanted to have a home with. Things had changed so drastically within that one year of their marriage and it took a lot on his part not to begin to regret marrying her. He wanted to make things right again. His father had advised him sometime that the first few years were not exactly the best or the easiest in marriage contrary to public opinion. It was the period when a new couple consisting of two different individuals tried to work together as one individual. Clashes were bound to occur. Maybe they needed a therapist…of some sort.

He heard his personal assistant knock on his door. He looked at his wrist watch. He had an appointment for 4 p.m. It was 4.10 already. He splashed some water on his face, dabbed with a towel and headed into his office. She was standing there with her iPad in hand.

“Sir, the M.D of Rose and Casper Plc is here. You gave her an appointment for 4.” His p.a said.
Ayo nodded.

“Yeah. Please let her in.” He said.

He stood up to welcome the M.D of the company in which he wanted to invest. He had put away five million Naira for each of his twins; Keith and Kayla and had invested in a Mutual Funds Scheme, registering them as Unit holders. He had spoken with Torera about it. She was a financial expert and she had advised that the risk was minimal and that the returns on investment would be explosive. He loved his kids more than anything and truthfully, they were the only ones who kept him sane of late.

The meeting lasted for about forty minutes after which he hurried with whatever work was left over for the day. He had to hurry down to the mall on the other side of the road to pick up something. It was Torera’s father’s birthday cocktail at their home in Parkview, Ikoyi and she had invited him. In fact, she had told him specifically that her dad was the one who had invited him.

He turned into Adedoyin Ogunwale street and searched for Number 24a. The gate was exactly as Torera had described it. The big brown gate. Number 24a was inscribed on a gold crest by the pillar of the gate.

“Hey.” He said as she answered her call from him.

“Ayo, what’s up? Where are you?” She answered.

“I’m still stuck in third mainland traffic.” He joked.

“What? Ayo this is almost seven o’ clock. The party started at six.” She raised her voice.

“African time.” He responded.

“I told you six prompt. My dad is a punctuality junkie.”

“Calm down, Madam. I’m at your gate.” He laughed.

Torera burst into laughter and ended the call. In a few minutes, she was outside of the house. She saw his Mercedes and walked up to him, hurrying her steps. Ayo watched her as she approached his car. She was wearing a gold sequin crop top and maxi skirt. It was figure hugging and Torera was a perfect hour glass. He could see her flat and toned mid riff. He smiled as she attempted running in heels.

“Hey! You made it.” She smiled, spreading out her arms for a hug. He had parked his car near the sidewalk of the street.

“Yeah, I did.” He hugged her and then broke away. “You look good. I like your hair. Is that your hair?”

Torera nodded.

“Team natural. I have been growing it out for over a year now. I usually wear it in braids though but decided to flaunt today.” She smiled.

He was a little uneasy. She was pretty. She dragged him by the arm and walked towards the gate.

The compound was really large and lush with beautiful greenery. There were different colors of flowers ranging from roses to hibiscuses to lilies. Guests were chatting away by the pool side. High brow guests. He had come to the party because Torera asked him to, but also because he saw it as a chance to network and get more high profile clients. The food was surplus. As they walked in, there were pretty servers in red dresses holding trays of finger foods and cocktails.

“You have a nice house.” Ayo said.

Torera rolled her eyes.

“You mean my father has a nice house.” She said. “He rings it in my ears all the time that I am a tenant and it isn’t my house.”

Ayo laughed.

“Come and meet daddy. He’s anxious to meet you.” She said as they walked towards one corner of the field.


Ayo wondered why her dad would be anxious to meet him.

 

Otunba Adenekan Tafa was obviously a man who loved life. He had expected to see a big man with a bulging stomach and white beards dressed in white agbada of a thousand layers. On the contrary, the man he stood before and had just shared a handshake with could pass for thirty. Okay. Perhaps Forty. He was celebrating sixty. Otunba Tafa looked as fit as fitness itself. He was dressed in a white shirt and navy blue pants held firmly with a brown leather belt matching his brown brogues. His belly was everything but protruding and his beard was white but a nicely trimmed white. His head was shaved, giving him that suave look.

“Did your friend not get the memo?” Otunba Tafa said, looking at his daughter.
 
Torera shook her head and smiled.
 
“Ayo, where’s daddy’s gift? I told you he was serious about all guests bringing gifts.” She said, looking at Ayo.
 
“I could not have forgotten that important bit.” Ayo said, holding out the bottle of expensive Champaign. “Happy sixtieth sir.”
 
“Aha…it’s forty not sixty.” Otunba laughed.
 
“My apologies, Happy fortieth sir.” Ayo smiled.
 
“So I hear you run your own transport hire business. I admire that, considering young men nowadays just have an aim to work in a company and be corporate slaves in exchange for a few hundreds of thousands.” Otunba said.
 
“Dad, don’t you have staff who earn a couple of hundreds of thousands too?” Torera snorted.
 
“I absolutely agree with you sir. I told my father right from my time in the University that I never wanted to work for anyone.” Ayo said.
 
“And what did he say?” Otunba asked.
 
“He encouraged me and helped me achieve my dreams. Although he wanted me to work in the family business at first.”
 
Otunba pointed a finger.
 
“Now that is a wise father. Although working in the family business, I don’t know why you children run away from it? Ni tori tiyin na la she da ile -ise sile!” (We established these businesses because of you.)
 
Ayo laughed.
 
“So what kind of vehicles do you rent out?” Otunba asked.
 
“Fast cars, speed boats, power bikes. My target is a younger generation actually. I considered car rentals for people who travel into Nigeria but me and my team decided it was not necessarily a good idea. Most visitors in the country have families here so transport is not a problem and more so, cab fares are not that costly. Maybe until we start having tourist attractions enough to entice more foreigners than citizens in diaspora who are visiting.”
 
Otunba nodded, sipping on his glass.
 
“Objection though. Who says older men like us don’t have an interest in fast cars?”
 
“You said it yourself that you are forty. Forty is not old, is it?” Ayo said.
 
Otunba laughed, shaking his head.
 
“I love this boy, Torera.” He said, laughing. 
 
“But seriously, come have a look in my garage later on. I just got a Lamborghini Huracan for myself as a birthday present. You should also meet some of my club mates and friends who have a knack for cars like me. You just might find an investor, you never know.”   Otunba said.
 
“I’d really appreciate that Sir.” He replied. “And that is one powerful ride you got there!”
 
“I have a feeling I might know your father. I know a lot of wise men.” Otunba said.
 
“Dad, please let him be, okay. He came to have fun. And he’s my guest.” Torera interjected. Ayo laughed.
 
“Oba Aderemi Adeoti.” He said, expecting that Otunba would pass.
 
Otunba looked at him.
 
“Ah ah ah…Eko Epe niyen?” He said.
 
Ayo nodded.
 
“Small world! Your grandfather the late Oba Adeyinka Adeoti gave some acres of land to my older brother many years ago for his manufacturing plant back in the day. I should know your father. He is quite tall isn’t he?”
 
Ayo laughed, surprised. Well, not exactly. A lot of people knew his family.
 
“Yes he is. That’s where I get my height from.” He said.
 
“This is amazing. Hmm….so you and Torera should hurry up ka le mu date o.”
 
“Daddy! Come on,” Torera blushed. She looked at Ayo, expecting him to quickly inform the old man that he was married.
 
“Who wouldn’t want her for a wife? Your daughter is an amazing woman.” He said. He was trying to be diplomatic and to maintain the cordial relationship he was enjoying with the man.
 
Some other guests approached Otunba and so, Ayo and Torera had to excuse themselves. 
 
After a couple of drinks and chit chat, Ayo had to leave. He didn’t want to get home too late.  He searched quickly for Torera but couldn’t find her around. He asked some of the servers and one of them had informed him that she had gone inside the house.
 
He found her in the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of water.
 
 
“Hey,” He said.
 
She turned to look at him.
 
“Hey, I hope you are having fun.” She said.
 
He nodded.
 
“Why did you leave? You okay?”
 
She shrugged.
 
“Just got a little tired.” She said.
 
“Okay. You should get some rest then. I wanted to let you know that I have to leave now.”
 
She looked at him.
 
“Okay.”
 
 
She reached out to hug him.
 
“Dad really likes you.” She said.
 
“That’s a compliment.” He replied. “He’s nothing like what I imagined.”
 
She smiled.
 
“He is very fit. Jogs more than I do. He is hardly ever sick.”
 
“I’ll borrow a leaf from him. One thing though, why did he never re-marry? No homo but your dad is hot.” He laughed.
 
She burst into laughter.
 
“Seriously.” Ayo said.
 
“Well, I guess he just never found the one after my mom. He says my mom was the one. But they never settled their differences and he let her go and she got re-married. He is still not over her, even in her death.” She said.
 
“I’m sorry about that.” He said.
 
She sighed.
 
“Ayo do you think we should…err…never mind.”
 
 
Ayo looked at her. She looked away.
“What?” He asked.
 
“Nothing.” She replied.
 
“Out with it. What’s the problem?”
 
She raised her shoulders. She always did that when she was confused.
 
“I just…I don’t know. We never had the closure talk. About why things never worked out for us. I don’t want to regret anything and I’ve been thinking….maybe this is a chance…to talk.”
 
He sighed this time. He had thought about it too. In fact, he thought about her a lot. But he was married and he loved his wife and it was a closed chapter.
 
“It doesn’t have any impact…I’m married.” He said.
 
“For me it does. I haven’t really moved on from you. I know this is wrong and you’re married but all these feelings are coming back and confusing me and I don’t know if I can help it.” She came a step closer to him and held his hand.
 
“I waited for you. I wanted things to work. I was crazy when you called me on the phone and ended the relationship. I was devastated. Hurt and sick.” She said. 
 
She seemed so vulnerable in that moment. She looked into his eyes and traced the outlines of his face with her fingers.
 
His body shivered a little. She was going to kiss him and if he let her, he knew he would not be in total control of himself. He put his hands on her waist. He reminisced for a little while about her body and how he had found his way around every contour and curve of her frame all those days at London. Or the few times they went on trips together to Paris and Scotland. He started to ache for her like one craved for a holiday in Bahamas, exploring the beaches with reckless abandon.
 
His phone vibrated in the breast pocket of his blazer. He was grateful for the timely notification. It was from Muna.
Hi. I tried to call earlier but I could not get through. I had to leave for Enugu today to see my mom. It’s urgent. The kids are with Ugochi. I did not want to take them along. The nanny will come as usual and Ugochi will babysit for the four days I’m gone. I might not be reachable because I need to sort some things out and clear my head. P.s The key of our bedroom is under the rug in the living room.
“I have to go.” Ayo said immediately and left.
 
 
***
The last time she had come home was at her wine carrying ceremony which was a week before the white wedding in Lagos. She had shuddered and tiptoed around literally during the ceremony. She couldn’t bear to be in the same house where she had been raped violently. Now she was back. She needed answers and she needed comfort from her parents, away from all the craziness in her home.
Laying on the bed in her bedroom, Muna couldn’t find any sleep. She hadn’t found sleep in the past couple of days since her world had gone upside down a second time, hearing that Papa was not her father and all that had happened to her mother. Then she had walked in on her husband masturbating like the craziness wasn’t enough already.
 
As she lay with her eyes opened, she heard some of the conversation between Papa and Mama. They were talking in the hall way, about to retire upstairs. A flashback moment happened. It was in their old house and it had been at night too. She had heard her parents arguing over something. Mama had started to cry and Papa had walked out of their bedroom and gone to their sitting room. He had turned on the tape player and started to listen to his Don Moen cassettes and sat still. He no longer listened to his Oliver de coque music especially Ana Enwe Obodo Enwe which everyone in the house had been forced to memorize from constant playing on the radio by Papa. Muna had gone to meet him in the sitting room and sat on his lap like she always did and asked what the problem was. He had told her that somebody wanted to harm her and he would never let that happen. She had been around six or seven at the time. She wondered who would have wanted to harm her then? Perhaps her father had come looking for her….or maybe not.
 
Presently, they were arguing again and she knew it was about her. Mama was upset that Papa had spilled the beans to Muna. Muna had suddenly appeared in Enugu that afternoon and demanded to know who her father was. She wanted to meet him, to see him, to hear him, and maybe to question him. She knew it hurt Papa that she wanted to meet her real father, but she had no choice. If she didn’t the curiosity would linger on her mind forever. She didn’t hate Mama for keeping the news from her all those years. What she felt was more of pity. She had hugged her mother and they had wept together. They shared a bond, even beyond blood. They were both victims of evil men and had had to live with their individual demons.
 
Mama had promised that the following day, she would take her to see the Reverend Father Aloysius at Onitsha; Father Ifeanyi’s uncle.
 
 
Nothing much had changed. It was still the same two storey grey colored building that stood high behind the St. Nicholas Catholic church. Memories flooded Mama’s mind of when she had been that little Onyeka, young and naïve. Muna felt her mother go rigid a little. She held her mother’s hand and rubbed her palm over it. She could tell her mother was extremely nervous and had not gotten over her past many years after. Muna understood this. And she wanted liberation, freedom and peace. She wanted to be happy again. She didn’t want to shiver at the mention of the word ‘rape’. She didn’t want to have this look of fear that was plastered all over her mother’s face.
 
A young boy opened the door. That all too familiar door. Mama looked at the lad. He was about fourteen, probably nurturing a dream of becoming a priest too.
 
They introduced themselves and asked for Father Aloysius. The boy seemed a little confused and went in to call another priest. It was the other priest that had informed them that Father Aloysius had been transferred to Ebonyi.
 
“Are we going to Ebonyi?” Muna asked, looking at her mother.
 
Both women whispered back and forth a little and the priest had to interrupt.
 
“Is there something you need help with?” He asked.
 
Mama looked at him.
 
“We are looking for a Father Ifeanyi. I don’t even know his surname.” Mama sighed.
 
“Do you have a photo?” He asked.
 
Mama shook her head.
 
“We used to have a priest here many years ago. But I don’t think that’s the one you’re looking for.” He said.
“Which one?” Muna said.
 
“Well, one of our priests had a problem a long time ago but I don’t have to go into the details of that.”
 
“You mean the one that raped school girls?” Muna replied.
 
Her mother looked at her sternly and apologized to the priest.
 
“Well, it seems we are talking about the same person, although what happened was only an allegation against him.” The priest said.
 
“Can you help us locate where he is? Is he still with the archdiocese?” Mama asked.
 
 
The priest sighed.
 
“If I may ask, who was he to you?”
 
Mama opened her mouth but she couldn’t really say anything that was coherent.
 
“He was a family friend.” Muna said.
 
He nodded.
 
“We lost him about nine years ago. He died from kidney failure.”
 
There was silence.
 
Muna did not understand why she felt no remorse. But how could she feel remorse for someone who had birthed her with no love but violence in his loins? Mama exhaled.
 
“Do you have a photo?” Muna asked. She should at least have an idea what her father looked like.
 
 
“I think we should have a copy of the obituary programme somewhere. Let me get this boy to search for it.” He replied.
 
 
Muna stared at the booklet which had started to succumb to wear and tear. She looked at the full page picture of the deceased with the name REVEREND FATHER IFEANYICHUKWU ERNEST ANTHONY OKOYE  1960- 2005 AGED FORTY FIVE YEARS.
He was dressed in his full priestly regalia and Muna only wondered if he would make it to heaven with the robe, metaphorically. She looked at her mother and showed her the picture and Mama nodded. That was the man who had molested her and raped her. That was her father. But that was not her Papa. The man in the obituary, light skinned and chubby, was not in the least like the man she called father. Her Papa.
 
 
 
 
 
 
***
She was back in the house by Friday. She longed for her babies and those four days had seemed like an entire year. Sometimes she wondered if these were the same babies she had considered terminating from the onset.
 
Rita, the nanny was in the house. It was night already, about 8.30 p.m. Muna was surprised. The nanny was supposed to leave at 5 p.m. Rita had welcomed her and informed her that Ugochi had asked her to stay some extra hours till she got back from her emergency meeting in Surulere. She dismissed Rita and locked the doors after she left the house. Ayo, as expected, was not back from work (if he had actually been at work.) She had switched off her phone the entire time she was in Enugu but she had turned it on a few times to check on the babies. She deliberately never asked about Ayo. Because he hadn’t even called her. Yes, she had told him not to call, but she didn’t expect that he would not! She was his wife!
 
The babies were asleep. But the minute she walked into their nursery, Keith opened his eyes. Her melted as her little man smiled at her, opening his mouth and revealing his pink gums.
 
She heard a car pull over downstairs. She hurried to the window and opened the multicolor blinds to see who it was. A part of her hoped it was Ayotunde.
 
It was a black Range rover. She wondered who it was. She wasn’t expecting any guests that she was aware of. Shortly after, she saw Ugochi climb out of the car, kiss the driver good night and walk towards the door. She had the keys so Muna was not expecting a knock. She hurried to the kitchen door to wait for her.
 
Ugochi walked into the house. She had taken off her Louboutins. Muna’s Louboutins which she had borrowed without Muna’s consent. The red soles were staring an already angry Muna in the face.
 
“Where are you coming from?” Muna said. Her tone was low.
 
Ugochi jumped.
 
“Awww…you’re back! You scared me.” Ugochi laughed.
 
Muna noticed her slight stumbling and staggering.
 
“Where are you coming from Ugochi! Are you drunk?” Muna said.
 
Muna smelled the strong stench of alcohol in her sister’s breath.
 
“I’m not…maybe a little tipsy.” Ugochi laughed again.
 
“Why are you so irresponsible? And who is the person who dropped you off in that Range rover?” Muna started to yell.
 
Ugochi hissed and walked into the kitchen. She opened the fridge to get some water. Muna followed after her.
 
“I am talking to you!” Muna pulled her arm.
 
“Munachi leave me alone please!”
 
“When will you become responsible?! I try to teach you so much but Ugochi….”
 
“Teach me what? I have a life too and you can’t dump all your problems on me! Shebi you are madam righteous na, abi! Why don’t you start with confessing to your husband that you were raped and the babies are not his own?” Ugochi yelled back. She burped a little.
 
Muna couldn’t control the intensity of the anger rush. She raised her hand and struck Ugochi in the face.
 
 
“What the hell did you say?!”
 
 
The question came from the other end by the kitchen door. It was a male voice. It was Ayo’s voice.
 
 
He had come in shortly after Ugochi had. In fact, he had rushed in. He had ordered a huge black forest cake with the inscription “I’m sorry baby” and had gone to the mall to pick up Muna’s favourite perfume; Jimmy Choo. He knew she had run out of the last bottle he had gotten her as one of the many items in her push present after she had the twins. Their twins!
 
He had decided to make everything right and damn his pride. He wanted his woman back. He would do everything in his power to make things right no matter what it would take.
He knew she would be home. He hadn’t called her once during her four days at Enugu because he wanted to respect her space and he needed her to clear her head. But every second, he had called her parents to check up on her welfare.
 
 
He could not believe his ears. He had been standing long enough by the kitchen door. He had actually heard their voices and a part of him had been delighted that Muna was back home. He wondered what they were arguing about. It had to be Ugochi’s behavior. She had gone out every night since Muna left. He wasn’t really bothered. She was an adult, and he felt it was Muna’s place to talk with her.
It was as though a million rubbles had been thrown in his face. No. That was mild torture. It was as though he had been thrown into a burning furnace! His entire world crashed down like a building with a faulty foundation. That was it. His foundation was faulty. Their foundation was faulty.
He grabbed his car key and headed back downstairs, ignoring the cries of a frightened Munachi, the gasps of guilt of a drunk sister-in-law, and the cumulative cries of twins he thought he fathered. He did not know where he was heading but he needed to leave. To go far away.
He hurried into his car and reversed hurriedly, driving into the street and then the main road. He was clouded by his confusion and the betrayal he had been slammed with. He needed explanations. He needed answers. He needed to clear his head. How could the kids who were the motivation for him wanting to work out his marriage suddenly turn out to not be his kids! Who was their father?
 
He had been too clouded that he hadn’t seen the truck that had swerved into his lane without trafficating or cautioning. He had run into it and smashed the entire windscreen. The air bag popped up in his face, and was starting to seep in a different coloration. 
 
Red. The color of Ayotunde’s blood.
*fisayotalabi
*HeatintheRaindrops
*Episode 7
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