LOCATION – Lagos State; Centre of Excellence. House 3, Adams Street, Lekki phase 1, Lagos.
“More like Centre of emotional Torture”. They lived quite well; above average. Femi had a good paying job as a mechanical engineer in a multinational company. He made six figures annually. He had two beautiful cars, and employment allowances. Life was good. They spent summer and Christmas vacations from Dubai, to Germany, France, England and Canada.
Tega was a beautiful woman. The perfect wife for a man of Femi’s corporate standing. She used to be a caterer until her husband requested that she became a housewife, so as to take adequate care of their two children. She depended totally on her husband for as little as subscriptions for her Blackberry Internet Service.
It was becoming a ritual, how she ran home to her mother almost everyday, to report Femi’s intolerable adultery. She knew so well, even if she was a university drop out, that he was cheating seriously. He spent late nights out and traveled for business weekends with his ‘secretary’. Femi had a new secretary every business trip. She had complained over and over again, but he shut her up with expensive gifts and cash. He’d recently bought her a pair of Jimmy Choo’s and a bag to match.
“Tega, if only you knew how lucky you are, you would appreciate the man you have!” Her mother ranted, pointing her serving spoon at Tega. She hissed, arms folded across her chest, shaking her head.
“Just because my husband is rich doesn’t make him a god! Roli’s husband is rich too, but he adores her! I have a right to a faithful man!” She cried.
“Then divorce him and marry Roli’s husband.” Her mother said sarcastically. Again, she narrated the story of how Tega’s father had cheated on her, constantly. To make matters worse, he came home drunk almost every night, and beat her mercilessly. He stole her money, and impregnated every house help they’d had.
“Men will keep being men, my child.” She said. Tega could not accept this. She did not understand why it was okay for a man to cheat and get away with it, but for a woman to cheat, and be labeled evil, a slut, a harlot.
As the driver drove her home, returning from the children’s elementary school, she fought back the tears welling in her eyes, those eyes which Femi had once adored. Those days when they courted, he said her eyes were the most beautiful he’d seen. He could not stop looking into them. She remembered the night he proposed to her. He held her gaze and kissed her like his life depended on it. Now Femi could hardly look in her eyes no matter how beautiful she painted them. She did not know if he avoided her because of guilt, or displeasure.
She was thirty three years old. She was slim and had a perfect body. Her skin still glowed, and she had the right curves in the right places, despite childbearing.
The final straw that broke the camel’s back was when she caught him red handed with secretary number 8, right on their matrimonial bed.
Tega was short of words! This was the height of it. Femi had done his worst. She reached for her Louis Vuitton travel bag, and stuffed her clothes into it. She was leaving him for good. She would make it on her own. Thank God she had taken Roli’s advice. Since Femi would not allow her keep an account, she decided she would sell some of those atonement gifts he gave her. She had gathered enough money to re-establish her catering business and to take care of her self and her children.
Of course, he tried to stop her. He begged and pleaded with her, not to go. In her presence, he made a call; for flowers and chocolates to be delivered to her.
“Teggy! Please don’t leave me! I am so sorry!” He held her waist.
Since he would not let her go, she decided to wait and forgive him, as usual.
Femi returned from work and met the welcome of an empty house. He could not find either his wife or children. She was gone! He called her mother, his parents, Roli, her friends, everyone he could think of, but Tega was no where around. He slumped into the sofa, and burst into tears. Tega was a good woman. She had taken his nonsense all these years, and still tried her best to be the good wife.
It was two months and four days since he last saw his wife and children. Just then, his mobile phone rang and he could hear Roli’s wail! He couldn’t make sense out of her words so he drove down to her place. She was rolling on the floor, crying, with her husband comforting her.
“Jos ooooooo!” She kept crying.
“What is happening in Jos!” Femi shook her. He was getting tense.
As he drove back home, he could not stop the tears welling in his eyes. He did not have the strength Tega had, to take bad news.
His wife and children were dead.
She had run to Jos with them, and started a new life, supporting them with the catering business. They had been caught up in the crisis, and had been killed.
January 29, 2010.
Tega had just left church. The morning mass just made her feel worse about leaving her husband. The Reverend Father had preached about marriage being a God sealed union, and for couples to cleave to each other, irrespective. She felt perhaps it was high time she went back to Femi. The children definitely missed their father, and were used to a better life than she was giving them. She made up her mind that by the next week, she would return to Lagos. She would return to her husband. She called Roli to tell her she would be leaving Jos and coming home, the following week. Besides, the crisis was becoming unbearable. Femi’s torture was way better than physical torture.
As the cab they had boarded approached Farin Gada, her heart leaped in fear. The children started crying. Cars were being burnt and people were stabbed. She immediately dialed Roli’s number. She could hardly think straight.
“Roli oo! They will kill us oo!” She screamed.
The Malos got to their cab, pulled her out, as she begged for the life of her little children.
They killed the driver, and Tega knew there was trouble. One of them grabbed her three year old son and before she could say a word, he was stabbed. Her little girl clung to her bosom as the men reached out to either burn or stab her. All Tega could picture was the look in her husband’s eyes when she had caught him cheating in their bed. It was that look of repentance and shame.