Enitan proceeded to walk towards the end of the hall. His brother asked him if he needed to be accompanied but he told him not to bother as he was capable of handling the situation himself. Iya Ajoke had told them who the stranger was and he needed to know Ajoke’s decision. He wondered why she had lied to him all these years. He wanted to know the truth now; even if the truth would kill him.
Adisa and his brothers wondered what Ajoke had to say to Adejoro. They stood a few metres away from her as they waited impatiently for her to end her discussion. As Enitan approached them, Adisa tapped him on his shoulders.
“Go and get your wife.” Adisa ordered.
Enitan tilted his head as he looked at him. He had come to respect him over the past years he and Ajoke dated and he knew that Adisa wielded a considerable amount of power in Ajoke’s life. “Are you sure she is ready to be my wife?”
Adisa smiled as he looked at Enitan. “There is nothing left between her and that man over there.” He said nodding towards the end of the hall where Adejoro and Ajoke sat.
Enitan nodded his response as he continued towards Ajoke. Adejoro was still on his knees pleading for forgiveness from Ajoke.
“Ajoke, can I talk to you for a minute?” Enitan asked as he got to where she sat.
“Please Ajoke, hear me out.” Adejoro pleaded.
Enitan held out his hand and Ajoke stood up and took his outstretched hand. He led her to a corner of the hall.
“Why did you lie to me?” Enitan asked.
“I did not. When I said he was dead, I meant every word I said. He is dead to me. His children don’t even know him. To them, their father is dead.”
Enitan’s jaw dropped. “I understand if he is dead to you but you should not have told the kids their father was dead.”
“So what should I have told them? Hmm?? That he abandoned them and remarried probably to become a citizen of another country. I did not want my kids to feel rejected by their own father and I couldn’t answer their questions every time they asked about him. I had to tell them something that would make them forget about him.”
“So now that he is back, what are you going to tell them?”
“He has no right to breeze into their life, Enitan. It is too late.” Ajoke said.
“I understand but they need to know their father.”
“Can we forget about my ex-husband and continue with our wedding? Or have you suddenly developed cold feet now that you know my ex-husband is alive?”
Enitan shrugged. “You stopped the wedding, Ajoke; I did not. And regarding your question about having cold feet? I think that question should actually be directed at you. Now that your ex is back, do you still want to get married to me?” Enitan asked as he searched her face.
“I’m sorry my love. I was just overwhelmed seeing him. He has no right to be here today. It was over between us years ago. I love you Enitan and today I choose to be your wife. Nothing and no one will stop us from getting married.”
“I’m still upset you lied to me, though.”
Ajoke moved closer to her husband-to-be and hugged him. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
“It’s okay.” Enitan said smiling. “You need to touch up your make-up. I don’t want my bride having a smeared face in my wedding pictures.”
“I will. Give me a few minutes and please help me apologize to Broda Olaitan, Uncle T and Aunty. I will explain everything to them later.” Ajoke said as she turned to walk away.
Adejoro looked at Ajoke as she passed by him. “Ajoke, please. Give me another chance. I will make it up to you.”
Ajoke turned to look at him, her eyes blazing in anger. “I have been nice enough to you Adejoro. Don’t get me upset, okay?”
Ajoke came back into the hall twenty minutes later looking refreshed. She stood before her family and Enitan’s family as she took her vows to love him till death did them part.
A court had annulled her marriage to Adejoro a few years before. She had filed for a dissolution of her marriage on grounds of separation for over ten years, desertion and abandonment and also reasons to believe that her spouse was dead. Her plea had been granted by the court.
Ajoke and Enitan smiled as they linked their hands and held the marriage certificate that had just been issued to them. The minister proclaimed them the newest couple in town and their family rallied round them to hug and congratulate them.
Adejoro unable to continue watching bent his head as he broke down in tears. After his programme, he had been advised by a friend he met in school that he could remain in the country and not return to Nigeria. He had been happy at the prospect and he was hooked up for an arranged marriage. However, things had not gone the way he had expected. Five years after, he was yet to become a citizen. Not wanting to risk coming back to Nigeria without becoming a citizen, he decided to build another family. His wife gave birth to a set of twins; a boy and a girl. He was overjoyed and he soon forgot about the family he left in Nigeria.
He had attended a party a few weeks ago and bumped into his friend, Akanbi. Akanbi told him he was in the UK for a two-week vacation. They had chatted as old buddies reminiscing on the times they spent together in the village.
“I wanted to help you fulfill your obligations to Ajoke when you decided to marry an Oyinbo.” Akanbi said as he gulped down the wine in his glass. “I can still see the look on Ajoke’s face and how she shivered under my touch. Oh, she wanted me badly. I could feel it.” Akanbi said as he faked a shiver then laughed hysterically.
Adejoro opened his mouth in shock.
“Anytime I remember that day, I wish I had gone ahead to have my way with her. At least I would have had a taste of the honeypot I had been dreaming of for so long. I’m sure she would have been so sweet.” Akanbi said as he kissed his fingers.
Adejoro became angry as he stood up and held Akanbi by the throat.
“What is your problem, Adejoro? I did not ask you to abandon your wife and kids in Nigeria. Did I?” Akanbi asked as he taunted him.
Adejoro had left the party abruptly. He had been unable to sleep when he got home that night. He had abandoned Ajoke and his kids without as much as a look backwards. He immediately planned a trip to Nigeria and booked a ticket. He flew in on Friday night. He had waited in the UK for too long; now the wait was over.
When he arrived at his parents’ house, he was told that Ajoke had moved out of his house years ago and was getting married the next day. His parents told him to forget about her since he had another family in the UK but he told them he could not. He decided to make an appearance at the wedding; just maybe he could stop it and Ajoke would give him another chance.
He bent his head as he cried tears of pity and sadness while the whole hall jubilated with the new couple. He looked up and saw Ajoke and Enitan share a passionate kiss. His children rallied round them as Enitan hugged them one by one. He stood up and walked out of the hall with his shoulders slumped and his head hung. He had lost his wife, Ajoke and his kids. They no longer belonged to him. They were in the arms of the one who would love and cherish them.
———————————————————– THE END ——————————————-
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