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THE CROSS I CARRY (EPISODE 3)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018



Episode 3


I proposed to Titi when I was wealthy, and I made her a full housewife. She had promised never to leave me under no circumstances – Our love, she has always sworn to me, ‘for better for worse.’ Although she studied hotel management in the university, and also learnt hairdressing. I planned not to let her get attracted to any man outside, but now my plan for her has changed. I opened a small salon for her immediately my business went down the drain.

“With how much I love this girl,” I mumble, pointing towards the doorway,“ So she can deprive me of my right? I will not divorce you… I believe you will turn a new leaf someday. I can’t quit my job because I want to satisfy a woman. That’s impossible!”
I pull over the blanket and hug my pillow.
Blank out.
My ears start buzzing with a continuous cool music. I spring to life from my sleep. it’s still dark. I realize it’s from a phone … It’s an unfamiliar ring tone in the house (‘Thousand miles’ by Vanessa Carlton). Anyway, that must be Titi’s phone. I seize the opportunity to check the time on my own phone. 5: 07 am.
I can still feel a throb under me. Oh, this stubborn thing has not come down yet?
I still need a sleep. I do resume work by 6:15 am. My phone alarm would wake me by 5:45 am. My place of work is few miles away from here. I shift my body to the edge of the bed and grope through the small shelve where the ringtone is coming from. I decide to hit the red button to terminate the call or text message – I don’t care whichever. I can feel my fingers handling the phone, but it feels different. I take a better look with the light from my phone.

“A blackberry curve 3G – the latest one?” I mutter, surprised, “from Nokia C3 to this. Where could she have gotten the money.”
I decide to check the contact – it’s a text message. it goes like this:
“u need to come early 2day, dear. You knw that d one we did yesterday was not it.
I want u to give me dat beautiful style today. I can’t just av a gud sleep.
Just name how much you want, I will always give u any amount.
I just loved that of the day before yesterday.”
“What kind of message is this?” I whisper. I check the sender’s name. No name. Just a number?
So, Titi is now cheating on me. She has started sleeping with rich men for money. I read the message over and over again, my body grows hot, almost melting down.
I switch off the phone and hide it inside my old brief case. She will account for this.
I resume my sleep.

I am stirred from sleep again. It’s broad day light. 7: 05am from the wall clock!
“What!”
What is wrong with my phone? Is the battery dead? I dip my hand beside the pillow for the phone. It’s no longer there. I search the entire bed. All around the tiled floor. I can’t find it.
I grab my towel from the hanger, and rush to the shower. I quickly brush my teeth. I am late for work for the first time. I will have to give an excuse to defend myself today. But who might have taken my phone? I really need to get it before leaving for work. I met an old friend yesterday while I was offloading crates of beers from the truck. He is Rotimi by name. He is one of those I had helped when time was good. He parked beside me the latest Honda accord. I hardly recognized him. He told me he had several oil companies, and many houses all across the state. He gave me his business card with an appointment to call him today. Thank God! I saved the number on my phone before I misplaced the card.
After dressing up, I headed straight to the sitting-room. Titi is lying on the couch. I stand behind the couch, resting my hands on the edge. She adjusts her position at the moment. I guess she has noticed my presence.
“Did you find my phone?” I ask, but no response for almost one minute.
I repeat the question.
“When you give me back my phone, I’ll give you yours!” She says and let out a long hiss.
“Don’t worry!” I say with a pretentious pressure in my voice, “I am going for work. You caused my lateness this morning. isn’t? If you fail to hand me the phone at this moment, just keep it forever. I will also keep yours forever … You know I’m a man of my words. Bye for now.” I turn towards the door with a jerk in my movement.
“Honey!”

On hearing that, my feet glue down. My ears must be deceiving me. It’s been long I heard that from her.
“I am sorry I didn’t tell you about the phone.” She says in a soft, apologetic tone.
I turn back gently and I am surprised to see her on her two knees.
“Firstly!” My voice raises high to the ceiling, “Tell me where you got money for that phone. Secondly, you have to account for the useless text message I saw on it!”
Having said that, I match to the bedroom and return with the phone in my hand. I read out the message to her.

“Oh, that should be one of my customers,” she says confidently, with her left hand scratching her hair, “ She must be talking about a particular hairstyle”
“You are a liar! why didn’t you save the number with a particular name? And besides, how could a customer text you in the midnight, telling you she is unable to sleep – for what? Finally, you need to explain where you get the money for this.”
“I can’t lie to you, Dele … Okay, okay,” she says with outstretched hands, “I can explain … I gave a new customer my number yesterday, and I forgot to have hers. She is a rich woman. You can re-read where she texted that she could give me any amount for the style… I believe she is talking about a beautiful hairstyle she had seen on another customer.”
I re-read the message … Yes, I think she is right. I must have thought otherwise because of her selfish altitude lately. My voice calms a little and I demand how she got the expensive blackberry.
She explains to me that her friend, Pricilla, gave it to her yesterday. I know the lady she is talking about quite well. Her husband is very wealthy. She had become Titi’s friend in one of the uptown clubs we used to attend when there was affluence. Out of all her rich friends I think Pricilla is the only one left with her.
“Okay, I have heard you,” my shoulders drop with my voice, “You know I’ve always trusted you. You are giving me that unnecessary suspicion when you won’t give me what belongs to me. Now Promise me you will stop your naughty behaviours in this house.”
“I promise, dear.”

I ask her for my phone, and she hands it to me from under the throw-pillow. I dip her phone in my trousers pocket. I head towards the door.
“You are not giving me back my phone?”
“Of course, I will … Let me see your character for some days. ”
“I am sorry, baby,” she says, and moves close to me after standing up. She leans her body gently on my back. I can feel the caress of those succulent boobs. As if enchanted by that, my mind changes right away.
I bring out the phone and gave it to her, “Take it and behave yourself.”
“Thanks, dear,” She pecks me on my cheek.
“You’re welcome.” I smile..

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