“Ijoba Orun, lere oni…”
Lara’s phone rang waking her up rudely from her nap. She squinted at her phone’s screen- ‘Mummy’ was all she could see.
“Hello?” she said in a sleepy voice.
“Iwon omo buru yen, what on earth is your problem?” Funke -her mother screamed into her ears.
“Mummy, is anything the problem?” she rubbed her eyes.
“Nonsense!” came her mother’s reply.
“People use what they have to get what they want in life, is anything wrong if I give my only daughter out to a rich family?” Her sounded aggressive.
Lara glanced at her phone screen again in terror, before placing back to her ear.
“Mummy, If I did something wrong, just tell me…” she began to say softly.
“Do I need to remind you of your deeds? You’ve become disrespectful, you no longer cook for your husband, you’re even threatening to leave your matrimonial home!” her mother queried.
“No buts, sho gbo? Rubbish! And let me remind you, don’t just come to my house if your husband divorces you due to your stubborness.” he mother shouted again.
Lara bit her lower lip.
the line went dead.
She stared at her phone in silence, what kind of life is this? Tony had told her mother fake stories about her. How can her mother be this selfish? She pondered.
“Hello…” Tony intoned behind her.
She turned sharply, her eyes widened, how did he get there?
“So are you ready to turn a new leaf?” he wore a mischievous smile.
She pursed her lips, fidgeting at her dress.
“Go make me a mug of choco.” he ordered walking out of her room.
She swallowed hard, she felt her heart split. She ran her fingers gently on her chest.
“It’s well, I’ll survive, somehow, anyhow, one day, it’ll be over.” she whispered to herself as she fought to keep back tears.
Lara wiped her hands on her apron, she pushed the flask of food away from her, before proceeding to peel some plantains.
Tony had called her earlier, to make a meal for two, as he was bringing a guest home.
Whoever the guest was? She shrugged.
She began setting the table when the door bell rang, she rushed to open it.
“Welcome” she said as Tony brushed past her.
She turned to look at the guest, she almost mistook the guest to be a male.
“Good day.” Lara said softly.
The guest was wearing a trouser suit, she was masculine, her hair cut very low. If not for the earrings, she could be called a male.
“Hy,” the guest said coldly.
“Errm, Sophy, have a seat, make yourself comfortable..” Tony began to say.
“Not so fast, won’t you introduce me to her?” the guest said with a low laugh.
“Welll…okay…, sophy, meet my Illiterate wife- Lara, errrm, Lara meet my cutie pie-sophia.” he chuckled.
Sophia laughed out loud.
“Well Lara, I’ve heard alot about you…” she extended her hand for a shake.
Lara shook her head in pain, she didn’t take sophia’s hand. She began counting her toes.
“Errm, sophy darling, lets proceed to the dining area, I believe she should have set the table by now .” Tony led Sophia towards the dinning room..
Lara watched them from the corner of her eyes, her eyes stung her as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Hmm, she cooks well…” sophia said eating in mouth fulls.
“Oh yes! And that’s the main reason I’m still keeping her, else, she should be in her parents house by now” Tony said loudly.
“Oh sweerie, that was too rude…” Sophia laughed.
Lara walked lightly into her room, she went on her knees. Is this real? She thought.
She felt she needed to talk to somebody. Her mum was out of question, Deji isn’t in town for now. She decide to pray, though she doesn’t belive in prayers.
“God…” she looked towards heaven.
“I know you can see all that’s happening, do I deserve such treatments?” she sniffed.
“I have no one to talk to, nowhere to go…you are all I have now…my father is no more…” she sobbed.
“I heard you are a father to the fatherless, don’t forsake me O’Lord….help me dear father….” her body shook with sobs.
She laid on the hard floor, she liked its coldness, it gave her some sort of comfort.
Tony isn’t a human being…she thought. He is either a beast or the devil himself. He dared bring his mistress into their home…he knew there’s nothing she could do.
“5 am!” Lara said as she rolled on her bed. She had been sleepless all night. She pulled her Bible, read some Psalms before saying some prayers of appreciation to her creator.
She washed her face, and walked slowly out of her room. She decided to make breakfast early, so that by the time ‘the devil’ will wake-up, she would be safe away in her room.
She walked past the guest room, Soft moans escaped the door. She stoped momentarily and listened some more.
Where’s Tony? She tip-toed into his room. It was empty, no sign like someone slept there last night.
She felt like mad as she rushed back to the guest room..
She heard Sophia giggling.. David’s grunts were audible now..
Yikes! He was making love to her, right inside their matrimonial home?
She tapped the door sharply, the whole place fell silent. She knocked some more before Tony opened the door.
Their eyes met, she held his gaze for a while before looking him all over. He was unclad except for the towel tied loosedly round his waist.
“Tony?” she gasped.
He didn’t look at her.
He looked like he was making up his mind to do something.
“Tony you!” her voice shook.
“What do you want?” he cleared his throat.
“Honey, I’m waiting…” Sophia called from the room.
“What do I want? Tony are you supposed to be doing this?” Lara asked in fierce whisper.
“It’s none of your business!” he snapped.
“True! ” she swallowed hard.
“Mind you, don’t ever come knocking this door again!” he warned sternly.
“Okay…” she shook her head turning to leave.
“But Tony? Have it in mind that my God will judge you…if not today…it’ll be tomorrow!” she told him before running back to her room.
Lara sat on the tiled floor, she pulled a bowl of hot water towards her, added some dettol, before dipping a face towel into the bowl.
“Easy girlie…” she soothed herself as she massaged her body. It had ached her all night.
“Ouch! Eeish!” she exclaimed as she pressed her swollen eye a little.
Her door squeaked open, she didn’t bother to look up, she knew it was Tony.
Tony stood for while watching her massage and press her body in pains. He felt his heart melt! So he was now a ‘wife beater’ ?
“Good morning Lara.” He said gently.
“ouch!” Lara exclaimed pressing a swollen part of her arm.
“Errm….sorry…” Tony said squatting beside her.
She didn’t reply, she continued her work.
“Errm..Lara, I’m very sorry for what happened yesterday…” he began
“Hmph! Did you brush your teeth this morning?” Lara covered her nose with her free hand.
He felt offended, he exhaled sharply
“I shouldn’t have done what I did yesterday…my anger took better part of me…” he was trying his best to sound gentle.
Lara laughed quitely.
He peered at her face, he wondered if she heard him.
She applied some balm to her wounds before looking up at him.
“So what now? You came to kill me?” she asked.
“No…Lara I’m truly sorry for…”
“Abegi! Spare those thrash talk! Go and meet your Igbo sister and leave me alone! Who are you trying to decieve?” she interrupted him.
“Lara..” he tried to hold her but she pushed him away. Her hands moved to the bowl of water and Swoosh! She threw it at him- towel and all.
Tony looked suprised, he surveyed his drenched office clothes with his eyes.
“how dare you!” he shot at her.
“Oh yea! I just dared you! Rubbish! Because I’m not an Igbo that’s why you are treating me this way shebi?” Lara rose to her feet.
“Don’t you ever try that on me again!” Tony’s anger let loose.
“So what if I do? You’ll flog me? Ehn? Answer me! Oshi buruku!” she clapped her hands.
“You’ll pay for this!” he told her walking towards the door.
“Mr Tony?” she called after him.
He stoped holding the door knob.
Lara walked slowly towards him, a smile playing on her lips.
“Tony, I just felt I should remind you, that, the law of karma still reigns!” she chuckled before walking into her bathroom.
“Hello? Mummy?” Lara placed her phone on her ears. She knew what to expect. Tony has taken her report to her mother again.
“Hello Lara? What’s this I’m hearing about you?” her mother began.
“So what did you hear?”
“Lara! I want you to come over to my place now!” her mother ordered cutting the call.
“Sure…just a few minutes, and you’l see your beautiful daughter with a swollen face and wounds all over her body!” Lara said to the phone, though she knew her mother won’t hear.
She walked into her mother’s sitting room without bothering to knock. She looked around, the room was re-furnished. Even her mother looked furnished.
“Good day mum!” Lara threw her bag at an armchair.
“Lara? What happened to your eyes-your face?” her funke asked with concern.
“Need to see some more?” Lara chuckled showing her wounds to her mother.
“Who did this to you?” Funke asked again.
“of course my loving, sweet, adorable husband!” Lara said sarcastically.
“What?!” Funke was shocked.
“Which one is ‘what’ again? Shebi this is what you want? Ehn? Are you suprised?, better save your suprised look till when they bring …” Lara said carefreely.
“How could he do such to you? I’m sure something went wrong! Was it after you poured hot water on him?” funke said ignoring her daughter’s sarcasm.
“my daughter, its well, you should just go back home, I’ll call Tony…” Funke began to say.
“not yet! I’m staying here for atleast two weeks! I need to rest, before going back to that dungeon!” Lara protested, before taking her bag inside.
Funke watched her daughter walk inside. She picked her phone and dailled Tony.
“Hello? My in law?”
she listened for a while
“yes! Please do me a favour, let Lara stay with me for like a week, please..” she lowered voice.
“Okay thanks, God bless you!” she ended the call.
“Thank you” Lara said givng some naira notes to a cab driver.
She took a deep breathe, and glanced around her.
The magnificent church was standing before her. She had brought her case to God.
She wondered if God would listen to her again. The last time she came to church was when her father was alive, she was ten yrs then…
“Good morning sir” she greeted a man in security uniform.
“Please is the Resident Pastor around?”
“Yes, let me tell him you want to see him.” the security man replied before speaking into a telecom.
“he said you should come in.”
“Thank you sir!” Lara said before walking towards the church basement.
She muttered a silent prayer before knocking.
“Come in.” pastor Wilson said from within
“Good morning Pastor Wilson.” she flexed her knee.
“Morning sister…please sit!”
Lara sat on a chair facing him, clutching at her hand bag.
“You came to see me?” Pastor wilson asked.
“Yes pastor, My name is Omolara Popoola..” Lara began.
“Omolara Popoola? You mean Lara the daughter of late Deacon Popoola?” Pastor Wilson asked in suprise.
“Yes sir.” Lara smiled.
“Wow…how are you? How have you been?” he looked pleased.
“God is great! You’re married now?” he gestured at her wedding band.
“Yes sir,…that’s why I came…”
“Is anything the matter?” Pastor wilson sensed all is not well.
Lara told him about her troubles, shedding tears in the process. He looked touched by her story.
“Its well, God is with you.” he told her.
After praying with her, he gave her some Bible verses to read, before asking her to fast for just a day.
“Sister Lara, If you must fast; your faith in God would determine how your answer will be.” he told her.
“I have faith Pastor.” Lara assured him.
“Not just in the mouth but from the heart…and mind you, you must go back to your matrimonial home!” he told her.
“No…But…” she frowned.
“You must go back there!” he said firmly.
“Okay, thank you…” she didn’t look happy.
“Take care Lara, God is with you.” he waved her off.
Lara walked into her home, she felt nervous when she walked into the sitting room.
“I thought you aint gonna come back.” sophia sneered.
“I’m back!” Lara said, before walking into her room.
She’s got no time to start quarelling with Sophia now, its almost time for her to break her fast.
She was in a kneeling position, rounding up her prayers when she heard a commotion in the sitting room. She paused absent mindedly to listen…Sophia was quarelling with somebody…perhaps Tony.
She ended her prayer in a hurry and tiptoed out of her room.
What she saw made her jaw drop.
“You have no right to ask me who i’m looking for!” Amara- Tony’s mother shot at Sophia.
“You can’t walk in like that! This isn’t your home!” sophia fired back.
Just then Amara noticed Lara’s presence.
“Welcome ma.” Lara greeted her.
“Who’s this uncultured woman? Your maid?” she gestured towards Sophia.
“Sophia, meet …ermm..Tony’s mother, and errmmm, ma please meet, Sophia- Tony’s errmm…” Lara stuttered.
“So it is true?!” Amara exclaimed.
Just then Tony came back from wherever he went.
“Mum? What are you doing here?” he asked suprised letting his breifcase drop.
“What am I doing here? So what I heard is true? So its true that you’ve been maltreating Lara? That you even brought your mistress into your matrimonial home?” Amara shrieked.
Tony bent his head, he knew he was in trouble.
“So this is what you’ve turned into? A Dog?” Amara yelled.
“I know what to do…I’m calling your father right away!” She threatened picking her phone.
“No no no..please mum, don’t do that…I’d be in trouble if you call dad…Sophia is leaving right away..I’l turn a new leaf…” Tony held her hand pleadingly.
He walked into the guest room, appeared carrying Sophia’s bag.
“Sophia, leave now!” he shoved the dumbfounded Sophia towards the exit.
“You too, go and bring your bag, you’re coming with me!” Amara told Lara who was silent.
“But…ma…” Lara’s eyes widened.
“I say go and bring your bag, I can’t leave you here with this beast! What if he murders you!” Amara shrieked.
“Mum..please don’t take her away.” Tony pleaded.
“Try to stop me!” she glared at him, dragging Lara out of the house; with her bag and all.