The big Grand pa clock that was neatly hung on the wall made a loud noise alerting Jideke that it was already 6:00 AM. He was startled by the alarm. He got up immediately he heard the sound and looked for the switch on the wall to turn on the light. He wasn’t surprised when the bulbs didn’t come alive; it had been like a culture in the city – there had been a consistent blackout in the wee hours of the day for two months now.
After generously sponging almost every part of his body, he stood motionless in the bathroom for about six minutes as he allowed the hot water from the shower massage the whole of his body. He savored the rich Aloe-Vera fragrance from the soap that took over the bathroom. So many thoughts ran through his mind, especially the one that bothered on meeting with Martha’s family– his supposedly would be bride.
Two minutes later, he was yet again startled by another sound, this time, it was his phone. He wasn’t in a hurry to rush out from the bathroom to pick the call, because he knew he could always call back.
“Hello! Hello!! Hello!!!” Jideke was screaming from his end of the phone.
“I can hear you clearly,” Martha responded. “I have been calling you for over 7 minutes now, where did you keep your phone?”
“I was in the bathroom and the phone was far from me.”
“Ok. I am coming over so that we would go to my parent’s together.”
While in the bathroom, Jideke was thinking of how to quit the relationship with Martha considering the fact that they have 98 days to go to their wedding and they have put everything they have got in actualizing it. There was a reason behind his sudden change of mind. His thoughts centered on – should he play along or should he drop the bombshell?
The pressure was on Jideke. There was a sudden coldness exhibited by him. Martha had become a sour taste in his mouth. He no longer felt the vibes that brought them together. They had been dating for over four years since their days as freshmen in the university. Martha’s path crossed with that of Jideke’s in the preparation for a presentation in Professor G. Lakeman’s class. Martha was the group prefect.
On that fateful day, Jideke had seen something glowing about Martha. He liked her charisma and the way she conducted their group. He was the last person to join the group owing to the fact that he was the last person in the class to be cleared by the Student Affairs. His addition to the group, made them arrive at an even number which made it possible for him and Martha to always pair up when the need for being in twos arose. Group Uhuru, as Martha’s group was called was to do a presentation on ‘Africa And Globalisation’.
It was a day like no other, the duo found themselves alone in the school library after the other group members had all gone for the day. Jideke had his eyes fixed on her. She was wearing an off white halter neck top that was graced with a grey Spanish styled hand sewn bolero jacket, which perfectly went with the black True Religion pencil jeans that brought out her curves elegantly. She was a beauty to behold; the sound of her voice could make the strongest part of a man melt like an iceberg that has been hit by the sharp rays of the sun. Jideke was afraid to tell her what he felt. His voice was about to betray him. He wanted to say something to her, but didn’t have the courage to tell her what he felt. Martha was trying to coach him on what was expected of him the next day. She didn’t know that he was far gone in thoughts. He was dangerously in love with her. He didn’t know when he let out these words in a shaky voice;
“Can I say something to you?”
“Ok. I am listening. Is anything the matter? Jideke, are you ok?”
Sensing what the atmosphere was turning into, Martha stood up and headed for the door. Just as she was about turning the knob, she felt Jideke’s hand on her shoulder. She turned and collided with a kiss from him. Jideke would later explain to her the type of stars he saw that day after she slapped him aggressively.
After begging ceaselessly for forgiveness with some sending of flowers and text messages, she forgave him and spelt out the terms and conditions that would apply if they would ever be friends.
The journey from Jideke’s apartment would usually take 30 to 35 minutes’ drive. Today’s journey looked like it was going to take more than the normal time, all because of an accident that was so terrible and ghastly. Two hours have passed and they were still in traffic. Just as they were about to regain access to the highway, he turned on the radio and Nina Simeone’s ‘Don’tLet Me Be Misunderstood’ was playing. He liked the song. It reminded him of his days in the university. He related the song with his current predicament. Whenever it got to the part where Nina in the song said, ‘I am only human…’ he turned sideways to look at Martha to know if she could feel what he was feeling. To him, he knew the relationship was already over. He needed to save her the tears in the car but to do it in the presence of her dad.
‘Are you seeing someone else,’ Martha asked him.
He pretended he didn’t hear her as he was loudly singing the song.
‘Why are you doing this to me?’ She asked again with tears almost dropping from her eyes.
‘Hey, listen up! I am not cheating on you. I cheated on you once but the revelation would be made when we get to your house, ok. I just want the whole world to know that I am tired of being accused every now and then wrongly’
The blaring sound of his horn brought the ‘mai guard’ to the gates, which were thrown wide open as they drove in. They were welcomed by their parents and Martha’s siblings
After being treated to a sumptuous meal and a little catch up, Martha stood up to interrupt the mini get together with a statement that shook everyone. She urged Jideke to address her parents by telling them why he didn’t want to continue with the wedding arrangements anymore. Her mom was pacing up and down in the living room; she wasn’t ready for any surprises from her supposed son-in-law.
Jideke was known for addressing any issue head on. To Martha, she knew that he could just spill the beans in a reckless abandon without minding whose ox is gored. The father dropped the white ceramic cup he was holding after taking the last gulp of water from it. Jideke acted as if he was waiting for her father to finish with the cup before he would commence.
“I can’t continue with this relationship any longer,” Jideke said almost immediately he stood up from the brown couch that was exclusively reserved for him in the living room.
Running out from the other room, Martha’s mum cried, “What did we do to deserve this embarrassment, my son?” Turning to her husband, she shouted, “Who bewitched us?”
Jideke pretended not to hear what the mother said.
The only reason responsible for Jideke’s change of mind was a case of infidelity. An offence committed by him and not Martha. He couldn’t imagine himself to have cheated on her with a member of her family. A trust has been truncated. He didn’t want to live with this guilt. It was an incest.
“I don’t deserve to marry your daughter. She doesn’t deserve to live in oblivion for so long like this. I need to end this right now and I pray your heart is large enough to forgive me, “Jideke said as he was looking directly into the eyes of Martha’s mother.
There was pandemonium in the living room. Martha and her mom were confused as to why Jideke said he cheated on her with a member of the family. The question secretly hovering around the house was, ‘who did Jideke commit this act with?’
Martha’s mom asked series of questions; “Who did you sleep with? Who did you commit adultery with? Why are you bringing shame on my family? Who bewitched…?
“Stop! Stop!! Stop!!!” Jideke interrupted her.
There was a dead silence in the room, the type that was synonymous to a graveyard. Everyone wanted to hear the name he wanted to mention. His hands were trembling as drops of sweats trickled down his face. According to Jideke’s little research on color, Martha knew that bright colors on walls from the cream family always agreed with his spirit. He always loved going to her family house because of the charismatic color paint that illuminated the wall, but it looked obvious that there was nothing calm about this color this time around.
He dropped on his knees and yelled out a loud shout, “papa is responsible for the infidelity. He knows what has been happening. Ask papa. He is responsible,”
The remaining four eyes in the room turned towards papa. Martha collapsed and fainted immediately.
“I can’t believe you slept with your son in-law to be. You are pathetic. I don’t want to have anything to do with you again. You are a disgrace…” Martha’s mom cursed.
As the insults were falling on papa in torrents, nobody knew when Jideke left the room.