//I WISH I NEVER TOUCHED HER//
“I wish I can take it back.” Idriss muttered. “I wish I never touched her.”
“This is a bad dream. Please God wake me up. Wake me up.” She was dizzy all of a sudden. She grabbed her head with both hands. It didn’t make the dizziness better. Neither did it help with all the several other things that were going wrong with her body all at once.
“Please Aisha, I love you.” He took a step closer. “Let’s not destroy our family over this.”
She reached for the first thing her hand touched on the table – the end of a stainless steel pepper shaker and armed herself with it. “If you come any nearer, I swear I will use this.”
“I will fix this Aisha. In time, we will be back to how we were.”
She shook her head, dropped the pepper shaker and fled the room.
Later on, in their bedroom, she would feel the softness of rug under her feet and wonder how she got there. Why she was now sitting on the floor like a wild animal.
His voice grated. He was at the door asking if he could come in. She wondered why he bothered. It wasn’t as if he asked her permission before wrecking her life.
He came into the room and sat on the bed, facing her. Today, he didn’t look attractive. His face didn’t look like that of the sweet, kind man that held her hand whilst she cried for her father.
“I touched her once, Aisha.”
“You had no business touching her.”
“I regretted it immediately.”
“Shut up Idriss. Shut up!” She would have kept screaming at him if Jadesola hadn’t started crying as if on cue. She tried to get off the floor but couldn’t. Her limbs were many times what they once weighed. She could hear Kanyin’s emotional-laden voice trying to soothe her sister from downstairs. He stood up, walked towards the door and shut it. He went and stood by the window afterwards.
“We were in a bad place,” He said. “Your father had just died and you were not talking to me. You refused to let me in…”
“I was grieving.” Anu held her head. “I didn’t shut you out on purpose.” She shut her eyes now. She felt ill, the way she felt for weeks last year when her father died. She never thought anything could make her feel like that again. Never imagined anything could be that capable.
“I thought you didn’t love me anymore. I thought you wanted out of our marriage.”
“Come on, Anu. You know how bad things were. The only person you spoke to was Bradley. You made me feel like I didn’t matter. You were always at work, lashing out at me for no reason. Going to bed the minute you walked in. Shunning any type of physical contact.”
“So she made you feel special? Is that it? You turned to a girl that is the same age as your daughter because I couldn’t give you sex. Our employee Idriss. Our staff.”
He undid his tie and flung it on the bed. “She did the chasing, okay? And I was too drunk and angry to put up much of a fight.” He took a spot on the bed, directly in front of her. “It was just one stupid evening. One moment of madness. I messed up big time because I had been drinking at the agency. She came back to work to pick something up.”
“Stop talking. I don’t want to hear the details.”
“Don’t throw our marriage away because of this. I love you too much to let you do that.” He tapped his chest. “I have put up with a lot too. Your … relationship with Bradley hasn’t been easy for me to stomach.”
“I have one male friend.” How could he bring her friendship with Bradley into this? She had known Bradley since they were kids. They were lovers for a while but in the end their relationship had fallen back into a normal type of friendship. The type where both parties would not sniff at each other. “You have known about Bradley for years. He was in my life even before we got married so please don’t use that as an excuse.”
“It’s not an excuse.”
“What is it then? Tell me, what is it?” She turned her head away from him. She would be thousands of miles from him if only her legs would let her. Despite her unwillingness to let him see her pain, her tears had started again. “How do I bring a new baby into this?”
“You are pregnant?”
She didn’t answer; neither did she turn to him. Instead she let herself think of how happy she was this morning when she did the test. How she didn’t hope for a girl or a boy but for a healthy baby, one that would complete their family. They were going to be happy, very happy.
“Why didn’t you use protection?” She wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her top. The question sounded absurd to her ears but she persisted. “You would have saved me from this.”
“I told you. I was drunk.”
“You were always careful with me. Even when you didn’t need to be. You wouldn’t touch me without wrapping up.”
“I have to protect you.”
“Why didn’t you protect me against this? Why Idriss? Why?” She screamed, stopping when her ears began to hurt. “You made me go through all those checks …tests and injections because you were worried you would infect me.”
Since his HIV diagnosis –which they found out after she conceived Jadesola – he had refused to let moments where they were together take over. Even when tests showed his viral load was low and she begged him to make her pregnant, he refused. Insisting on protecting her.
She endured months of visits to the fertility centre in Liverpool for the sperm-washing procedure. Smiled through the prodding and poking. Whilst all he had to do was visit the centre a few times to perform his task.
“We can get through this.” He got up and squatted on the floor next to her. “Tell me, how I can make this better?”
She jumped to her feet when he reached for her, shocking herself with her speed.
“Touch me again and I swear I will floor you.” Opening her side of the wardrobe, she pulled a dress off the hanger. “Get me a bag. I need to get out of here.”
“I can’t let you do that.”
“Try and stop me.”
They could hear them shouting. Verbal threats. The sound of a palm clapping against skin and more struggling. Kanyin glanced at Austin to communicate her concerns. Her sister who was still in her arms had only settled after she promised her ice cream and mashed strawberries.
“Austin, we have to do something. She is going to go too far without meaning to. I’m too young to lose my dad.”
“I will call Emeka.” Austin said. He didn’t move from the window where he was standing. “I think he is the best person that can get them to calm down.”
She wondered if one of them, probably her father wouldn’t be dead before Emeka’s arrival. They heard the master bedroom door open, footsteps on the landing and Anu’s voice yelling for him to stop following her.
Kanyin rubbed her sister’s back. The girl’s tears had dried. She was busy on the sofa twirling her dolls.
“I will be back.” She took in a drawn-out breath and walked to the bottom of the stairs. They would stop for her.
“Let me go, Idriss.” Anu was at the top of the stairs, holding a heap of clothes in her hands. She looked like she had been in a fight. Hair messy, laces of her trainers undone.
“I need you to calm down. Let’s talk. I will drive you to Uche’s house myself.”
Her father reached for his wife. She stepped away from him and lurched backwards. Kanyin gasped as her father tried and failed to grab hold of Anu. Kanyin would have screamed if the rest of her senses weren’t frozen.
Anu regained her balance by letting go of the clothes and grabbing the handrail. She sped down the stairs, hurling abuse at him. He followed.
“Please, don’t go…” Kanyin started to say as her step mother walked past her.
“Just look after your sister.”
She noticed the long scratch mark on her father’s cheekbone when he reached the bottom of the stairs.
“Leave her, dad. She needs some time to calm down.”
“I can’t let her leave in this state, Kanyin.”
Anu was out of the house before her father. She left them to it. It was the right decision as Anu had started shouting again. She sat down on the sofa, picking up her sister to put her on her laps.
“I can’t believe Daddy has done this to us. I can’t believe it.”
Austin pocketed his phone. “He hasn’t told you he did anything, Kanyin.”
“Why does he look so guilty then?”
“He did it.”
“I know he did it.”
They heard the tyres of a car screeching and a loud bang. A voice she didn’t recognise screamed from down the street. Austin who had now faced the window did not move. He didn’t speak either. The part of his face that she could see, spoke of horrors that couldn’t be put into words.
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
OUR OFFICIAL TWITTER PAGE
“PLAYING THE LOVE GAME by Olajumoke Omisore“
CONTINUES ON SATURDAY
Connect via pings on 333FA5E1
Image Credits: Gazelle Studios
If you will like to get updates please do take out just 25 seconds of your very important schedule to fill out the form below, CLICK on the follow button to follow the blog and receive instant updates.