For Want Of A Child – 19

for want of a child

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“Your phone is ringing Frank,” the man to his left said.

He shook himself awake. Sure enough, the phone was singing its signature tune; not loud enough to disrupt the going-on but loud enough so the people immediately around him could hear; one of whom happened to be Sofia’s father.

“Excuse me,” he said, moving away from the men who were filling the grave and reaching for his phone at the same time. The funeral service was over and people were leaving – not that there were a lot of people, just immediate family and some friends.

As he put the phone to his ear, he could see Sofia’s mum smiling at a weeping couple while wiping tears of her own. Strange; he thought now, how she’d even heard of the news.

According to Sofia’s dad she called the day after the accident, asking to speak to her daughter urgently. Trying to stall, the man asked what the problem was and she said she’d had a terrible dream and wanted to pray for her daughter.

The man started crying and the woman joined in.


“Ah – sorry, Igo. I was…distracted.”

She sighed. “It’s fine, Frank. I was just asking if you can talk now or – “

“Sure I can. The service is over; the grave is being filled as we speak. I’m just waiting to pay my respects and I’ll be home.”

“Okay. I’m making afang – afang and amala. You didn’t have anything when you left the house this morning, and I’m sure they didn’t serve refreshments at the funeral.”

“I’m not hungry, Igo. Thank you.”

“All the same, you must eat. Hurry back, baby.”

He disconnected the call, pocketed his phone and turned – just in time to receive a hug from Sofia’s mother. She held him close and sobs started to shake her all over again, and Frank buried his face in her shoulder, hiding his tears as best as he could.

When she finally let him go, she looked closely into his eyes even though he was trying to avert them. She held his hand and smiled.

“Oh Frank, you must think me your enemy because I opposed your relationship with my daughter.” Frank started to say something but she held up her hand and stopped him. “Please let me finish.”

Frank nodded.

“I imagine you cannot exactly feel how it is; a mother about her daughter. But I know you understand. I know you miss her too, Frank. She loved you and I’m sure you loved her; if for no other reason than the child she was carrying. Your child.”

She wiped his eyes – wiped the tears streaming from them – and then hugged him impulsively. “Don’t be a stranger, okay? Come and see us as often as you want. You matter.”

As she stood back, she noticed he was staring at something – and her face followed his gaze. “He’s been sober since the accident,” she said, referring to Ales who was kneeling beside Sofia’s grave as they filled it. “He’s been sober and feeling some sort of way. He wouldn’t eat; he would sit in his sister’s room and cry. He doesn’t go out any more too.”

“Survivor’s guilt,” Frank supplied, wondering why he wasn’t angrier with the brother than he was.

She swung his hand playfully – and then let it go. “So maybe some good somehow managed to come out this, abi?”

Without waiting for his answer, she turned and walked away.


A week after the funeral, Frank was able to talk with Fola in the hospital.

“Four months and it still feels like last week,” Frank said, hands in his buba pockets as he addressed the man laying on the bed. “You though, are a sight for sore eyes.”

Fola’s laughter was a relieving sound. “I feel better, Frank. Oyinade’s honey and ori solution has been a great help.”

Frank nodded, comparing the Fola he was speaking with now with the one he had come to see all that time ago in the hospital. The bandages were off, the skin was a mass of scabs that peeled off in flakes, his face was almost back to normal but for the eye and a huge black patch. His spirits were higher than usual.

“It is good to see you like this, Folly.”

His friend grinned. “Hey, life goes on right? No be so Afo dey talk am?”

“Na so o,” Both friends chuckled.

“So, how far with Stella now? I hear she came visiting again last week.”

Fola grunted as he tried to sit up – Frank quickly bent over and helped him. “Yes she did o, and I agreed to see her finally. I don’t think she had any idea how bad I was – she just stood by the door there and cried.”

Frank looked at where Fola was pointing, imagining Stella standing there, hands choking the life out of each other, tears streaming down her face. He recalled seeing her again two months before and thinking how much weight she’d lost. She did love her husband in her own crazy way…

“Frank, how about you? How you dey?”

He had given Fola a blow for blow account of Sofia’s funeral but they hadn’t talked about much else. Now, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes.

“I just feel this deep sadness; mostly because she was so young and she didn’t have to die. She died as a result of someone’s carelessness – someone else’s demons killed her. That’s how I feel for the most part. That; and the calm she brought around her.”

“Hmmm,” Fola stated. “You know what I find most interesting?

Frank shook his head.

“I’ haven’t heard you mention the baby once. Isn’t that why you were marrying her?”

Frank nodded. “I also thought about that, you know. And I realize at the end of the day, it wasn’t about that – it isn’t about that anymore.

“Amen bro,” Fola said. “You know you have to move on sha.”

“Move on to what? Everything in due time, guy.”

“You still staying at Igo’s place, right?”

Frank nodded. “Yeah. I’m afraid I’ve cost her a couple of boyfriends too. But the woman won’t allow me leave – and honestly, I don’t want to. Not yet. I cannot go back to that house yet. It depresses me like you cannot believe.”

“Hmmm,” Fola said again. “Hey – how far Idowu sef?”

“Idowu!” Frank ejaculated, hitting himself on the forehead. “You know, I’ve practically forgotten about that woman. She has herself a boyfriend now – they’ve been dating for a while sef.” He chuckled. “They should sha give me wedding invite make I fit arrange jollof rice.”

Fola chuckled. “When is Igo coming to see me again na? That woman though, she’s like twenty if she’s a day! I wonder how she does it.”

“Tell me about it,” Frank said, thinking about the time he’d seen her naked. It was amazing that her breasts still fought gravity off in spite her age. Maybe the truth that they weren’t all that big to begin with…

“The company HMO is taking care of the hospital costs o,” Fola interjected. “Those guys are something. You know they refunded the initial deposit sha? So all this time, and it’s not costing me a dime.”

“It’s costing you other things.”

Fola nodded soberly. “My guy, you have no idea how much I’d give to be out of this bed for good. I dey try waka up and down small daily sha, so that I don’t get bed sores again.”

“Yeah. That first month was rough – “

There was a knock on the door – and excited yells of “Daddy! Daddy!!” broke out. Frank and Fola, mouths hanging open, watched as Fola’s children rushed into the ward and all but jumped on their father.

“Children, you know I told you no rough business. Daddy’s just getting better.”

And there she was. Stella.

Frank thought she looked more beautiful, but he preferred her with more flesh. He hugged her gently and smiled at her. “It’s good to see you,” he said as she released him. Gently, he wiped the tears that had pooled at the bottom of her eyes and nodded. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “He’s happy to see you.”

Fola was struggling to wrap his left arm around both his children at once while a tear slipped out of his one good eye. Frank cleared his throat. “I’ll be outside,” he said but mostly to himself.

No one else was listening.


“What do you think is going to happen to them?”

Frank popped another piece of meat into his mouth. “Hmmm, I really haven’t thought about it. They still love each other; that much is clear. Fola has forgiven her; that much is also clear – what I don’t know is if they can try again.” He picked his teeth and then sucked air through the holes. “Your afang is the standard by which all afang should be measured. Thank you.”

Igo blushed prettily. “Your words are a meal of their own, sir. You’re welcome.”

He sat back and drank water while Igo cleared the table. And then, carrying his glass he walked to the kitchen where he found her bent over the sink. For a small moment, his glance lingered on the seat of her shorts and how tightly-stretched it was – and then he cleared his throat and looked away.

“You know,” he began. “I haven’t gone out in a while. I feel a sudden urge to see a movie. Will you please come with me?”

She smiled over her shoulder. “You need to ask? Sure I’ll come – on one condition.”

“I know, I know. You get to pick the movie, You know,” he sighed. “I would have thought at least one of your boyfriends would have corrected that behavior by now.”

His steady gaze held no guile. Igo smiled again.

“You couldn’t change it in twelve years of marriage. What makes you think anyone else stands a chance?”

Frank raised his hands in surrender.


As with most everything else, one thing led to another.

It started when, at some point in the movie, Frank leaned over and rested his head on Igo’s shoulder. She put her arm around him and he snuggled closer, liking the soft scent that streamed from her neck. He knew if he looked down he would catch a glimpse of her blue bra; he knew it was blue because he had walked in on her while she was dressing. He kept his eyes on the screen however, trying to ignore her presence – which was as pointless as trying to ignore a fire on the dashboard while driving.

Igo, on her part liked how his warm breath tickled her neck, liked how parts of her felt hot and cold at the same time, liked how her nipples tingled as they hardened. She looked down at him; noticing how his whole attention was on the screen and silently prayed he wouldn’t notice the two pebbles on her chest.

Suddenly, her breath caught as he raised his head and looked at her.

Frank saw moisture gather on her upper lip, saw the tip of her tongue dart out and lick some of it off – he had been married to her long enough to know the signs.

It was the most natural thing in the world for him to kiss her.

He found her ardor most encouraging and he slipped his hands on her waist – well, as much as the awkward cinema seats would allow – and leaned into the kiss, eagerly dancing around in her mouth with his tongue, tangling her lips with his.

She met him all the way, sighing and moaning softly, wrapping her arms around his neck and claiming his stubborn mouth with hers. They kept on, only stopping when they nearly fell out of their seats.

“Kilon shele ni beyen?!” Someone yelled from the back.

“Omo, won kiss ni sha,” was the whispered response.

Frank chuckled softly as he picked his ex-wife off the floor. “Are you okay?” he asked, taking note of her dreamy eyes.

“Let’s go home,” she said.


There was some kind of eager shyness about the way Igo closed the door behind Frank, put her arms around him and kissed him.

Frank kissed her back, tangling his hand in her hair. It wasn’t as though it was new; after all he had been married to this woman for twelve years. But it was different; and even though it wasn’t the kind of difference he could point a finger to, his every sense told him it was different.

It was different.

He kissed her – and then started to cough as something got stuck in his throat. He staggered backwards, coughing violently as Igo followed him, fright making her eyes bigger than usual. Frank stumbled into the living room and Igo followed, flicking on the light switch, wringing her hands, anguish stamped all over her face.

“Are you okay?” she asked the suddenly-silent Frank.

He nodded and opened his hand. There was a half-eaten stub of popcorn resting in it, looking all innocent; unaware it had just almost killed someone. It was obvious where it came from; she was the only one of them both who had any popcorn.

She sighed. “Baby, I’m so – “

He pushed his lips against hers, aggressively rushing her against the settee. She moaned softly as he took nips of her neck – and sighed as he palmed the bra-supported firmness that were her breasts. His mouth stayed in the hollow at the base of her neck, eliciting breathless gasps from her while his hands tried to figure out what to do with themselves.

Igo, somehow sensing his frustration pushed him away, took off her top and danced back into his arms. Together they unraveled the mysterious contraction called bra and stopped in their antics to watch as Igo sent it sailing in the air. Their eyes followed it, watching the perfect arc it described and ended on the arm of the sofa.

“Perfect,” Frank said, looking in her eyes and then letting his gaze fall to linger on her breasts. “Perfect just like you.”

“Why, thank you sir,” a smiling Igo said, and she kissed him slowly.

“Bedroom?” Frank asked.

She shook her head. “Sofa.”

Written by Seun Odukoya

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