Ajoke eased into Kokumo’s car after his insistence to drop her at home. It was already 9p.m and he did not want to risk letting her go home alone at that time of the night. He held her hand as he drove with the other. “I don’t know if we should have done what we did in there.” He said looking at her. “I’m sorry.”
Ajoke shook her head as she sighed. “There is nothing to be sorry about, Kokumo. We both longed for it and I do not regret my action.”
Kokumo took a deep breath. “Ajoke, I want you to go back to school.”
“Why?” Ajoke asked as she looked at him.
“It was your dream to be educated even though your parents could not afford it. What is stopping you now?”
“I don’t know.”
“I will get you a GCE form so that you can write the next exams in October. I will also get you the syllabus compilations for all the subjects you will need.”
“But you don’t have to do this. You don’t owe me anything.” Ajoke said.
“I don’t owe you anything, Ajoke. You seem to forget that we shared our dreams years ago. I have achieved mine and I want you to achieve yours as well. You can still become that lawyer you always wanted to be. And as long as I have breath in me, I would do anything within my power to help you fulfill your dreams.”
“Thank you but I don’t want to be a burden to you.”
Kokumo looked at her. “Ajoke, you can’t and will never be a burden to me. You underestimate the love I have for you.”
Ajoke looked away as she sighed.
In a few minutes, Kokumo parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. He smiled as he looked at her and traced her lips with his fingers. Ajoke closed her eyes expecting Kokumo to kiss her but he did not. He was in front of her house and her kids could be watching. He did not want to give anyone a reason to question her. He took her hand and squeezed it. “I will get the forms and the books tomorrow as discussed. Let me have your phone so I can save my number on it.”
Ajoke opened her handbag and brought out her phone. The phone had been held together by cello tapes in various areas. Kokumo collected the phone from her without saying a word. He typed his number on it and saved it before handing the phone back to her.
“Thank you for everything.” Ajoke said.
“Thank you for making my evening pleasant.” Kokumo responded.
Ajoke opened the door and eased out of the car. She walked to the front of her door and turned back. Kokumo had started the car but was still waiting. Ajoke waved as she opened the door to her house and Kokumo drove away after ensuring her door was closed.
Kokumo got home and sat on the sofa in the living room where he and Ajoke had been intimate some hours ago. He closed his eyes as he reminisced on their time together. Ajoke’s responses to his touch had been electrifying and he wondered if she had been touched by any man since her husband left. Knowing who Ajoke was, he reckoned she would have kept herself all these years. What exactly was he doing with her; he thought. He had no intentions of getting married to her while she was still married to another. But he could not deny the fact that he loved her and wished to make her happy. He looked at the table clock on the credenza. It read 10.30pm. He needed to sleep to be refreshed for work tomorrow. He stretched out on the sofa and closed his eyes. Soon, he was fast asleep with all his thoughts on Ajoke.
The next day during his lunch break, Kokumo purchased the GCE forms, the textbooks and a mobile phone. He also went to a boutique and shopped for a few clothes and shoes. He went back to his office, happy with his purchases. When he closed at 6.00pm, he stopped at an eatery to buy food and drove towards Ajoke’s house. He parked some metres away from her house and placed a call to her.
Ajoke was in her shop when Kokumo’s call came through. She stepped out of her shop to receive the call as she did not want either her girls or her customers eavesdropping on her conversation.
“Hello.” Ajoke said.
“Hi Ajoke. How are you doing?”
“I am very close to your house. Are you at home or at your salon?”
“I’m at the salon.” Ajoke said. “What are you doing around here?”
Kokumo smiled. “I came to pick you up.”
“I don’t know. We can go anywhere around or just sit in my car and talk. Can we do that?” Kokumo asked hoping her response would be positive.
Ajoke sighed. “Okay. Where exactly are you?”
Kokumo gave his location and Ajoke went inside her shop instructing her girls on what to do for the rest of the day. She had gone home earlier to prepare lunch for her kids and she thought about calling Kokumo back to let him know she had to go and prepare dinner. She would let him know he may have to wait a while; she thought as she walked towards his location.
Kokumo watched Ajoke as she approached his car. She was wearing an Ankara blouse and wrapper. She was still beautiful; he thought. Ajoke got to the car and Kokumo eased out and gave her a half-hug. “How is your day going?” He asked.
“Good.” Ajoke said. “I may have to take some of your time. I need to go prepare dinner for my children first.” She continued.
“Don’t worry about that.” Kokumo said as he stretched his hand towards the back seat and picked out the plastic bags containing food. He handed it to her. “I knew you wouldn’t be able to leave without dinner prepared so I decided to bring dinner for them.”
Ajoke looked at Kokumo with surprise.
“Hey, I’m sure the children will be getting hungry. It is almost 7.00pm.” He said when he noticed she just stood looking at him.
Ajoke nodded as she walked home.
Kokumo rested his back on the car as he watched her walking away. “Hmm Ajoke.” He said as he shook his head. He hadn’t called Adunni since he met Ajoke yesterday and he wasn’t sure if what he was doing made any sense. Ajoke was all that mattered to him now.
Ajoke was out of her house in ten minutes. She had changed into a long flowing dress and she looked even more beautiful. Kokumo did a quick mental check of where they could hang out without any disturbance. The village did not have any eateries around. He concluded he may have to drive back to town.
They hit the road and Kokumo asked after Ajoke’s children. She seemed happier talking about her children and he reveled in her joy as she gesticulated and made funny faces. They drove to an eatery on the outskirts of the village and he walked in holding her hand. He asked her if she wanted to eat but she took a rain check. He told her he had gotten the forms and the textbooks and that they were in the car. Ajoke smiled her thanks and he discussed her next plan which should be passing the exams, sitting for the next Jamb examinations and getting into school to study Law. He asked how she intended to take care of her kids once she was in school and she replied that she would employ a maid to assist her. He told her he was available and willing during the weekends to help her if she had any issues with any of the subjects.
Ajoke was grateful for everything and she told him. Kokumo also handed over the plastic bag containing the mobile phone, clothes and shoes to her. Ajoke was shocked beyond words. She looked at Kokumo as they both sat in the car after leaving the eatery. “What do you stand to gain in all this?” She asked.
“Nothing Ajoke. Absolutely nothing.”
Ajoke exhaled. “I really don’t know how to say thank you.”
Kokumo smiled. “You don’t have to. Can I take you home now?” He asked. “The children would be waiting.”
“Yes please.” Ajoke said.
They drove back to the village in silence. Kokumo parked at the same spot he had parked earlier on in the day. He switched off the ignition and looked at Ajoke. “If you can, please fill the forms this evening or tomorrow morning at the latest.” He said.
“Take care of you.”
Ajoke suddenly felt unhappy that she was leaving. She wished she could stay back. His presence in her life was like a soothing balm calming her soul. She removed her seat belt and stretched across her seat. She kissed Kokumo slowly and he returned her kiss. When she eased away, she smiled, bid him good night and stepped out of his car. Kokumo watched her till she had closed the door of her house before starting the engine and driving away.
By Bukola Adekusibe
THE WAIT continues
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