Ajoke resumed in school weeks later to study law. She got a maid who helped her with the cleaning of the house, picked up her kids from school and made lunch for them, while they awaited Ajoke’s return in the evening. She visited her parents two days before she was to resume school and informed them that she had gotten admission into the university to read law. Her mother was excited while her father bowed his head in shame. He prayed for her and asked God to distinguish her in her studies.
Her first year in school went by smoothly. Kokumo was always to hand to assist her financially. Even though Ajoke began to kick against it, Kokumo did not relent. He told her the proceeds from her salon were not enough to sustain her family and education. He therefore transferred money into her account with his bank at the end of every month.
After Ajoke’s second semester exams in her third year, Kokumo called her and asked that she stopped by his house on her way home. She packed up her travel bag and flagged down a taxi to take her to Kokumo’s house. She had taken up a short term accommodation so she could concentrate on her exams. She had also gotten her mother to stay with the kids and the maid once she was writing exams. Kokumo met her at the door and planted a kiss on her lips. “I have missed you.” He said.
“You don’t know how much I have.” Ajoke replied.
Kokumo collected her travel bag from her and dropped it on the floor. He smiled as he held her hand. “Have you eaten?”
“Yes, I had lunch just before leaving school. So what’s up?” Ajoke asked as she sat down and made herself comfortable.
“Erm….I……I’m…..”Kokumo stammered as he avoided Ajoke’s eyes.
Ajoke looked at Kokumo. She was surprised he was at a loss of what to say. She scooted closer to him and held his hands. “Kokumo, what are you about to do?”
Kokumo took a deep breath.
“Is this something I need to be scared about?” Ajoke asked as she searched his face.
“I’m getting married.” Kokumo blurted out.
“You are what?” Ajoke screamed as she dropped his hands and stood up.
Kokumo looked at her. He knew it was going to be difficult but he had to tell her. The pressure from his mother had increased and Adunni was also beginning to feel that he wasn’t committed to her. She had visited him unannounced two weeks ago and asked him what his plans were. She had said she needed to know so she could move on. He asked her for time to think about it but Adunni had said she wanted an answer right away. She told him she knew he was seeing an old flame but she had decided to be quiet about it. She told him she wanted to know if he was going to get married to his old flame so she could move on instead of wasting her time with him.
Kokumo had been lost for words. He hadn’t imagined that Adunni would find out about Ajoke. He was more shocked that even though she had found out about his dalliance with her, she chose to remain silent. Adunni had a beautiful soul and he couldn’t afford to lose her. He was also in love with Ajoke but life had taken them through different paths. He could not have his cake and eat it at the same time. He needed to make a decision.
He closed his eyes as he thought about all the good times he had spent with Ajoke. He knew all that would make no meaning if her husband decided to come back home someday. Right there, he apologized to Adunni for his past attitude towards her and told her he was ready to take their relationship serious. The next weekend, he took her to see his mother. Iya Kokumo was overjoyed and treated Adunni like a queen. She asked her if she and Kokumo had picked a date for their wedding and Adunni had laughed.
Ajoke’s sobs brought Kokumo out of his reverie. Ajoke wasn’t the only one heartbroken; he was as well. But he had decided to take what life had given him and make the best use of it. He needed to convince Ajoke to do the same. He stood up and walked towards her. Her back was turned to him and he prayed in his heart that she would listen to him.
“Ajoke, please don’t do this.” He said turning her by the shoulders to face him.
Ajoke’s body shook as she cried uncontrollably.
Kokumo took her in his arms and hugged her tight. “Ajoke, please stop crying.” He said.
“What….what….did….I….I ever do….do to deserve this?”
“Nothing my love. Absolutely nothing. Life has been unfair but we can’t continue to live in the mistakes of the past. Let go Ajoke and make the best use of what life has given you.” Kokumo said as he cupped her face in his hands.
“I love you Kokumo.”
“I know Ajoke. I have never stopped loving you too but we have to move on.”
“I don’t want to; can’t you understand?” Ajoke cried.
“It would be unfair to you and to those we love if we keep our lives at a standstill. Please don’t do this to us.”
Ajoke looked up at Kokumo as she broke down again into sobs. Kokumo held her and rocked her till her sobs subsided. Ajoke wiped her tears as she looked at him. “So this is it? Another goodbye from you just like you did years ago?”
Kokumo nodded sadly.
Ajoke sighed as she shook her head. She felt sorry for herself and wondered why she had to suffer so much for love. She raised her head and held Kokumo’s hands. “Thank you.” She said. She walked towards her handbag and was about picking it up when Kokumo reached her in two steps and held her up to face him. He kissed her passionately and Ajoke returned his kiss with the same passion. They ravaged each other’s lips desperately as they steadily built up and fanned the embers of passion in their bodies. Right there in Kokumo’s living room, he once again took Ajoke into the throes of passion as they both cried out and moaned in satisfaction and fulfillment.
Kokumo dropped Ajoke at home hours later. As she eased out of his car, she refused to look back to say goodbye to him as she did not want to break down again. Her mother and her kids welcomed her home and she faked a smile as she told her mother she needed to be alone. She lied that she was tired and stressed from her exams. Her mother urged her to take a bath and go to bed.
As Ajoke stepped under the shower and opened the tap, she burst into tears again as she hugged herself and cried. She walked out of the bathroom thirty minutes later and flopped on the bed. She hugged her pillow as the day took its toll on her. She slept off thinking about Kokumo, regretting the life she lived and thinking about the life she could have had but lost as a result of her parent’s choices.
By Bukola Adekusibe
THE WAIT continues
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