LAGOS (SATURDAY 28TH APRIL, 2007)
Bayo didn’t take his eyes off Moni’s for a second. His look was so intent, and his meaning clear. “Moni, I love you. I made the greatest mistake of my life when I turned my back on you. I have never again felt as happy as I was when we were together.” He squeezed her hand. “I need you; please come back into my life.”
Moni was speechless. She had planned all week what she was going to say and do, but now she was simply blank. She could literally hear her heart beat fast against her chest. “I don’t know what to say” she managed to voice.
“Please just say something, my love”
“What about your many girlfriends?”
“Since Sunbo, I haven’t had any other girlfriend. I broke up with her immediately after graduation ‘cause she just couldn’t measure up to you in anyway” His lies were smooth and Bayo was proud of himself. “When I got into the university, I proposed to face my studies for a change, but soon after, I thought I needed some fun, but as I looked out for whom to date, I was so disappointed with what I saw. That’s when my longing for you intensified; to get back what I was so stupid to have let go”
Moni was melting so quickly. She wanted to throw herself at him and cling to him for life. “How do I know you won’t go again?”
“Cross my heart and promise to die! I’ll never be so stupid as to do that again. Please give my another chance Moni, my first love”
Moni looked at the young man on his knees before her and knew she couldn’t stop loving him. “I forgive you Bayo, and…”
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you” he said, as he kissed her hands.
Moni giggled. “Stand up” she said. He did and she noticed for the first time that he was now at least a feet taller than she was. “You’ve grown much taller, Bayo”
“Yes, I have, but not too tall as to prevent me from kissing you” he said, bringing his facedown to hers. She responded by moving closer until their lips touched. Bayo put his arms around her, drawing her closer, and Moni relaxed in his grip, feeling safe and wishing she could freeze time. Bayo, her only knight, had just won her heart again.
“It’s time to go to bed, Tumi” Sunbo said to her younger sister. They were the only two at home. Their brother, Adeolu, was in boarding house, a JSS3 student. Adetumi was still is Primary 5, so she was under Sunbo’s custody while their parents were abroad.
“Just one more cartoon sis! Please!”
“Tumi, it’s 10pm. We have church tomorrow.”
Adetumi was relentless. “Please!”
“Okay then. Just one more, okay?”
“You are the best sis.” Adetumi said, winking at her sister. Sunbo had picked her sister from children choir practice after she left Royal College with Bayo. They had eaten out at Sweet Sensation before driving home. Bayo and Adetumi had been watching TV since they arrived home, while Sunbo sorted out domestic issues.
When she was through, Sunbo had joined them in the living room, avoiding any eye contact with Bayo who was seated directly opposite her. When she had felt it was getting late, she had voiced out to Adetumi, but now, she had to wait another thirty minutes for the next cartoon to be over before she could let out what had been eating her up all day.
She feigned interest in what was showing on TV; her mind was on the duo ordeal she had to face – overcoming the temptation of sleeping with Bayo, and telling him what she had been longing to tell him for the past seven months. She absent mindedly looked in his direction and she wished she hadn’t. He was looking at her. He had on the most appealing sensual look she had ever seen. He obviously wanted her and she noticed her body seemed to be responding.
‘Sunbo get a grip on yourself.’ She chided herself. ‘You know this guy doesn’t care one bit about you; why would you even consider allowing him access to your innermost parts again’. She was struggling with her feelings. An unbidden thought crossed her mind. She looked across at Bayo and saw he was smiling; he was thinking the same thing. It had been a Saturday night like this, last year, similar scenario; the duo waiting for Adetumi to go bed, when they made out for the first time on the same settee Bayo was sitting on.
As if on cue, Bayo patted the seat, the same spot she had sat when the whole episode started, and for the first time that night spoke to her. “Come over and sit here” He had a smile on; that same smile that had weakened her a year ago.
“No, thanks. I’m good!”
Bayo just smiled back at her; that you-know-you-can’t-resist-me smile. Sunbo looked away. She wondered why she never seemed to be able to resist Bayo’s advances while they dated and now, it was repeating itself. As she was still musing over that, she heard a now familiar voice. ‘It’s not by power nor by might, but by My Spirit.’
A soothing feeling came over her with those words. ‘Lord, I’m so sorry for trying to do it by myself. I absolutely forgot about you. Please help me through this night; I depend on you’. And with that Sunbo felt so confident and sure that she would make it safely through her night.
“Thanks sis. I’m going to bed now. Good night!” Adetumi said, rising up from her favorite position on the rug; just in front of the TV. Sunbo had tried over and again without much success to dissuade her from sitting there.
“Good night dear.” Sunbo said and added on a second thought, “Won’t you say good night to our guest?”
“Good night!” she said facing Bayo.
“Good night sugar! Do you know you’re prettier than your sister?” Bayo said, winking at her. Adetumi was clearly flushed.
“Leave my sister alone o!” Facing her sister, she motioned her to run along. “Sleep tight dear, and remember to pray before you sleep.”
“I will. Love you”
“Love you too” and with that Adetumi went into her room, leaving Sunbo and Bayo to do what they had to do.
“I’ve missed you like hell” Bayo said after he heard Adetumi’s door close.
“Don’t lie to me” Sunbo said. “You never missed me. You just had your fill of me and dumped me. I only wonder why you still want Moni after dumping her for me. What’s the catch?”
Bayo made a face. “Don’t try that with me. You know what I’m talking about. You were all over her today. Why?” Bayo was still playing innocent and then it hit Sunbo. “Oh! Silly me; how come I didn’t think of that earlier.”
“I remember you telling me I was the first person you slept with. You’re here to get what you never had then, right?”
Bayo shrugged. “I don’t know about that. Why don’t we talk about us!” He patted the settee for the second time, “Come and join me here.” He smiled. “You remember, don’t you?”
“How could I ever forget” Sunbo said, with a sad smile. Only if she had known better then, she would not have given in to her desire that night. She wished she could take back the hands of the clock but that was impossible. She had been deflowered that night. She couldn’t deny that it was a nice experience but in the aftermath, she discovered it wasn’t worth the impatience. She could have waited till after marriage. Sex was good, but it wasn’t all-that. She discovered too late however.
“The moment is perfect, can’t you feel it. Let me let out what I’ve had pent up for the last nine months.”
“See Bayo! I’m not the Sunbo you knew. I’ve changed!” she said rather seriously.
“Obviously!” he smirked. “That’s why you invited me over, right?” he said, rising from the settee and walking towards her. “Allow me make you happy again”
“I’m happier than you’ll ever know, Bayo”
He sat beside her and put his hand on her shoulder. She flinched and moved away. “Bayo, we need to talk; we really need to talk”
“You see! We’re in the same frequency. I’m all ears. Why don’t you come here so I can hear you clearly”, he said, tapping his laps. “Very comfortable, isn’t it?” he said, winking. Sunbo stood, and walked across to where Bayo had been sitting. “Oh you want us to do it where…” Bayo said walking over to where Sunbo was.
Exasperated, Sunbo stood up and glared at him. “Don’t you know anything else apart from sex? Is this how you view all females; sex machines?” Bayo was shocked at her response. “Get this straight. You are never going to touch me again. Never. I have some things I want to talk with you about; that’s why I invited you over.” For a change, Bayo was speechless.
Sunbo didn’t know where she got the strength from; she only thanked God for it. “Please sit down. I have a couple of things I need to tell you.”
Bayo sat, obviously unsettled, not used to being refused.
“Bayo, seven months ago, two months after you broke up with me, I discovered something that changed my life.” Bayo just stared at her obviously not the least interested. “I discovered I was two months pregnant.” That got his attention, his eyes literally popped out. “Yes, pregnant!”
He was stunned. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“So, you could do what?”
Bayo’s gaze fell to her stomach and she could imagine what he was trying to analyze. “You didn’t have the baby, did you?” He asked, clearly confused.
Sunbo wanted to lie, to scare him to death but decided against it. “No, I didn’t. I aborted it” She noticed the relief that came over him as she said that. ‘How selfish and inhumane of you, Bayo’ she thought. “You can’t imagine the pain and horrors I went through at that time. I had nobody to confide in; nobody to talk to. I was alone!”
“I’m so sorry.” He said.
“That’s not the worst yet. After I aborted, I got over it and thought everything would be normal again, and even started dating another guy. I was already thinking of throwing caution to the wind, knowing I had done the most despicable things; was about giving in to his demands too, until something happened one night.” She straightened up and looked straight at Bayo.
“I started feeling sharp and terrible pains I couldn’t explain, and I wondered why. I drove myself to the clinic, where I had aborted, at about 9pm, and was almost unconscious when I got there. I slumped right at the reception. After a few minutes, I was out. By the time I woke up, two hours later, I noticed I was in the same theatre I had been a few weeks back. The pain had subsided much but I needed to know what had been wrong.”
She looked down at her hands, and the memories came back. Her eyes filled. “The doctor told me my womb had ruptured beyond repair and the only way they could have saved my life was to remove it.” Now the tears spilled over and ran down her chicks. “Bayo! I can’t have a child again, ever!”
Nobody said anything for a few minutes; there was nothing to be said. The ever-smooth-talking Bayo was out of words. “I relapsed that day and had to be kept in the clinic. Thankfully, Adetumi was at her friends for the weekend. It was in this my darkest night that I found the light.”
Sunbo wiped her face, looked up at Bayo and smiled. He was bemused, wondering what could be causing the smile. I woke up the second day in the clinic from one of my long spells of sleep to a song that I’ll never forget. I opened my eyes and saw a girl, about my age, holding my hand and singing. The song washed over my soul. It was so so lovely.”
Bayo was getting bored. He obviously wasn’t interested in any metaphysical experience Sunbo wanted to share. Sunbo continued all the same. Let me sing it for you. And as she did, the tears came flowing again.
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for morning
Peace for despair.
Sunbo sang the lines thrice. “Those were the fourteen words that changed my life. I desperately needed something to hold on to, to keep me from drowning. That day, Lydia led me to the Jesus and my life hasn’t been the same. I still have regrets, have low periods where all I do is cry, but in all, it’s getting better. Jesus has given me a reason to live”
“I’m happy for you” Bayo said, relieved the tragic story was over.
“I’m sure you wish you didn’t come over to my house. But I’m glad you did; you needed to know what our relationship cost me. I have forgiven you; Christ made that easier for me to do, but I only plead with you to change, stop playing around with innocent hearts, and most importantly, settle your life and be at peace with God. He loves you and can make your life much better than this.”
Bayo nodded. “Thanks. I’m sorry again for all the pain I caused you. I’m glad you have found all you need in Jesus; but He’s not my type. Thanks for caring anyway.” He paused. “Can I go to bed now; I’m emotionally exhausted.”
“Thanks. I would be leaving tomorrow; won’t spend two nights like I initially planned”, he said as he stood up.
Sunbo knew why and she couldn’t blame him. She smiled. “I understand.”
“Good night” she replied. As he left the living room, Sunbo thanked God for the strength He gave her through the ordeal and prayed that God would touch Bayo’s heart.
Bayo was on the bed, about to sleep. ‘I didn’t come all the way from Ile-Ife to hear a sermon. I feel for Sunbo but that’s her business. She isn’t the first and won’t be the last to have an abortion or to lose her womb. I wish her all the best with her religion. I can’t go empty handed back to school.’ He turned over on the bed. ‘Overheard tomorrow is Royal College’s Visiting Day. I should visit Moni again before traveling, and at least have some fun’. He smiled to himself. ‘At least the weekend will end well with that.’