His tears made me feel bad. It was as if I had whipped him. I touched his shoulder, "Jude, I —"
"Please Ayo," he drawled, cutting in, "Just let me be."
I withdrew my hand, "You can go and sleep in the bedroom."
"Thank you!" he said.
He stood up and left.
At that point, I felt totally fed up. Enough of me chasing shadows.
Feyi had to come again after I told her over the phone that I was divorcing Jude. She had to leave work early and arrive at our place at noon time.
She listened over a glass of milk as I narrated all that happened.
"That is serious!"
"I'm so fed up and you know I don't have enough strength to withstand all this kind of emotional trauma."
"He's inside, crying."
"Crying? Are you sure that he's still crying? That's funny."
"I couldn't believe that I insulted him that much."
"Even at that, he remains a man. I trust Fola. He knows how to punish me without even saying anything. That one, cry? Maybe in the coming centuries."
I smiled, "You can't say, he's never been faced with this kind of circumstance before."
"You're right, but—" she trailed off, digressing, "You just have to think of what to do."
"If I go up there again, he'll be so mad at me."
"Forget that one o. His anger can even push him to speak up."
"Alright, you're going to stay here, right?"
"If you want me to," she answered.
"Just wait o, so you can save me if this turns into war."
She chortled, "I don’t know why you are so scared like this. Thank goodness you aren't the one with Fola."
I took the stairs towards our bedroom and turned to look at her; she urged me on and I walked to the door. It was locked. I knocked but there was no response.
"Jude, I want to speak with you."
"Jude, I've got the divorce papers."
In a second, the door opened, and there he stood, looking scared.
I searched his eyes, "What's the pretence for? You don't want me to leave you yet you're asking me to leave," I said.
He bowed his head, "Ayo, you didn't get the papers?"
He tried to shut the door to my face but I put my hand in; I felt a throbbing pain as the door closed a bit with my hands in between. He immediately opened the door, really scared.
A tear escaped from my eye, "Remember this cliché? A problem shared is half solved."
He got my hand and pulled me in. He made me sit on the bed, looking my hand over.
"I- I'm sorry!"
"No problem Jude, just —" I trailed off as he turned his back on me, "Jude?"
"I've always carried the guilt of causing Ife's death. A thing that makes me feel really bad whenever I set my eyes on our daughter," he voiced out.
Fine! He was finally opening up, "What really happened, Jude? I promise to keep this a secret."
He turned to me and held my hands, "I love you so much Ayo and I want to be with you, but I don't want you to end up like Ife. I'm scared."
I had no understanding of what he was trying to say; it all seemed like a puzzle, "I really need to get what you are saying, Jude. What do you mean by me ending up like Ife?"
His lips trembled, I knew he was scared, seriously scared.
I had to brazen him up, "Say it, we're all going to die anyways." Behind those words, I was scared.
He would not speak up still. I got my hands around his neck and without hesitating, gave him a kiss which he prolonged.
As we disengaged from our first kiss after the wedding day, he sighed, "My past is crumbling my present, no hope of any future."
I put my head on his shoulder and locked my left hand fingers in his.
"I had a problem with cultists while I was in school," he started.
Jude continued, "It was already a year left for me in the campus when those cultists began to go after me. I had to pretend that I love Addy, one of them. She was the one who saved me from the dilemma. I only used her, I didn't love her. I graduated before her, and immediately I did, I ended our relationship. I can't marry a cultist. She walked out on me," he sniffed, "She resurfaced last year. After the inferno issue and Ife's death, I got a call and it was Addy. She told me she was the one who sent men to burn my wife up... It had nothing to do with a leaking cylinder."
I sat up, "Oh my God!"
"She'd wanted to kill her immediately we married but when she discovered that she was already pregnant, she decided to let her deliver the baby." He said, "She told me she'd continue to kill any woman I marry till I become tired of life, and eventually commit suicide."
"This is serious. She's simply using you to torture yourself," I said.
"Yes. She's self torturing me. She sees everything I do. I don't know if there are secret cameras here; she knows everywhere I go and everything I do." He said, "That's why I did not want to marry you. I love you so much Ayo, but I don't want to lose you too. I don't know her plans."
I was so scared; scared of dying...
"Whenever I set my eyes on our daughter, I feel guilty. I killed Ife! I killed her!" He cried, hitting the edge of the bed.
At that point the tears from my tear duct trickled down my face.
The door opened and Feyi walked in, "Pardon me for interrupting."
"Feyi, this is death gazing at me!"
"Just calm down Ayo, I heard everything," she said and folded her arms to her breast, "Jude, are you sure there's nothing we can use to get to her?"
"Absolutely nothing. She calls with different lines and I have no idea where she is. I'm sure she's seeing us right now."
"God save me‼"
Feyi snickered, "Girl, your being scared can't solve this issue."
She came to me and whispered something into my ears, "I'll advise you to find somewhere to hide for now; I don't care if she's seeing us or not."
"Don't you think that can anger her and push her to act now?" I whispered back.
"She can't hear us."
"What are you girls saying? Don't put me in darkness," Ayo said.
"You see, even Ayo can't hear us."
I stood up and paced the room, praying silently. I was going to die. "Ayo, how can I identify Addy?" I asked, wanting to know who's going to kill me as if was going to retaliate in the grave.
Feyi supported with a nod.
"I still have few pictures we took together," he said, "I'll have to go to my study."
He walked out.
I rested my back on the wall, "Where do you think—"
"Shh..." Feyi hushed, "It's a secret, she shouldn't know, what if she's listening?"
She walked up to me and I whispered into her ears, "Where do you think I can go?"
"Anywhere far away from here," she whispered back.
I had to think. I could stay with my grandparents at Owode.
Ayo entered few minutes later with some pictures. Feyi took a look and sighed, "She looks quite harmless."
I took one from her. It was a big surprise, "A- A- Adunola?"
Ayo froze, "You know her?"
"We were both in the choir. She relocated last year," I said, "Too bad no one knows where she now lives."
"But I have her phone number," I quickly added, bringing out my phone.
"And you think she'll still be using that number?" Ayo asked.
Yes. He was right, but I checked and dialed her phone number anyway.
There was tension in the room.
"Hello Adunola" I said in uneasiness.
"Dear Ayomi, why don't you just say Addy? I'm watching you guys as we speak," she said.
"Adunola, is that really you?" I asked.
The Adunola I knew wouldn’t hurt a fly, "No, no, that can't be the friend I had!"
"It's me Ayo," she said, "I don't know why you have chosen to marry this bastard. I want to ruin him so badly but you are a hindrance. I'm —"
"Sweet Jesus!" I butt in, "Are my ears deceiving me?! Adun, you?!"
She sighed, "Ayo, my hands are tied now. You can't let me go further. Do you remember your sacrifices over the years? You remembered when I said I was dumped? It was Jude! You had to leave Steve to attend to me. Even though I'm okay with Steve now, I had to teach Jude a lesson he'd never forget, and —"
"Adun, what rubbish are you saying?"
"Ayo, there's no forgiveness in our cult acts. We never forgive but you have done yours in the past; it is time to repay you for your selfless act. I'll spare you."
"Adun, I —"
"Don't try to call me again Ayo, you can't reach me."
She dropped the call.
I sank into the bed, astounded. It was much of a disbelief. Adun?
"Congratulations, Ayo!" Feyi said, all smiles.
I smiled but I was not happy.
"You aren't dancing? Testimony things for church," Feyi said.
Ayo came to me, he looked sober, "I know how you feel but don't be depressed. You can still help her with prayer."
I nodded and smiled again, then stood up to enter his open arms.
Feyi cleared her throat, "Am I free to go, or should I wait and see what you guys would do?"
"The choice is yours," Jude replied.
"Heavens forbid, ojú àsá ì í ríbi," she said.
We laughed as she walked out.
"Thank you for —"
"Thank God instead, and Adun, because I know she's still watching us."
"Yeah, Thank you Ma‼"
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