Here is the 6th Episode of ‘The Poisoned Chalice” written by Kayode Omoolorun
Read Previous episodes HERE
Hassan drove like a mad man chased by demons hell bent on destroying him. His legs were permanently on the throttle and his hand on the car horn. Swear words and expletives in all conceivable languages flew at him from all directions as he moved like someone whose mind was set on breaking the speed of light. He broke all traffic rules in the rule book, and he didn’t care one bit about them. Matter-of-factedly speaking, he couldn’t care less if he ran someone or multiple people over. All he thought about at the moment was the incredible scene he had seen played out at his home mere minutes earlier.
“Doyin”, he called, his mouth agape and his mind confused. His lips motioned to mouth more words but his voice box failed him.
“Sweetheart, I can explain”, Doyin responded in a quaky voice. “I’m…I’m sorry I’ve not told you before now. I didn’t know how exactly to approach the matter without upsetting you. I have history with Ada. B…B…But it’s all over. I promise. She’s in my past. Sweet, Please.” Her eyes pleaded as her lips spoke.
Hassan’s eyes blazed fire. He looked at the kneeling form of the woman before him and he couldn’t balance the amount of information he had just accessed with his idea of the kind of woman he had got himself for a wife. When he eventually found his voice again, he bellowed coolly, very coolly.
“Just one question Doyin. When last were you with her?”
Doyin’s heart raced. She couldn’t bring herself to answer. She looked longingly at Hassan, hoping he would spare her the shame of confession, but Hassan stared at her, unfeeling, unfazed, expectant.
“Just answer the question!” He cut in. Then he said, barely audibly. “When last?”
Doyin looked at her toes.
“About two weeks ago,” She said under her breath. He heard.
The sobs broke her voice, but she muffled them. She expected a reaction, but Hassan said nothing. He stared at her a few more seconds, made a roundabout turn, like a robot, marched towards the dining and picked up his car keys. Then he stormed out of the house, brushing off Doyin’s feeble attempt to hold on to his retreating legs in the process. The heavy thud of the banged door brought a searing reality to Doyin’s numbed senses, Hassan was walking away. Maybe out of her life, for good. The tears came down in torrents.
*******************************Lawson looked up at the sky. It has been a bright and sunny day. His life at that moment however, was anything but bright and sunny. He got to the office that evening to wrap up business after what turned out to be a long and hectic day, he wasn’t prepared for what he met.
He had walked into his reception and was greeted by those waiting to see him as well as his staff. He answered them as genuinely as he could and made straight for his office. He stopped short at the entrance when he heard short giggles and low inaudible words coming from within. His heart began to beat fast. What was happening? After what seemed like ages, he pushed the door open and stared at the most horrid horror movie that could ever be thought of, playing out right before him.
His wife was giggling and getting all comfy with another lady, who evidently was treating her to round after round of delirious laughter. That was not the problem.
That other lady was Ada.
“Hi honey!” Lawson’s wife called out upon discovering his gazing statue. “I’ve just met and been gisting with your friend and colleague, Ada, who I must say is quite wonderful company! I came in to surprise you, met her outside and she seemed like she was in a hurry to see you. We got to talking and I found out we studied for our higher degrees in the same university abroad! Isn’t that a pleasant coincidence!”
Lawson nodded meekly. A wan smile waned on his lips. All the while he was looking at Ada, who smiled mischievously. What was she doing here? Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead and ran in small rivulets down his temple. The air conditioning unit in his office was functioning at optimum capacity, however the environment was hot. Hot like hell.
“Let me leave you two lovebirds to yourselves. I can always see Dr Lawson later to discuss developments about the science project on women’s health which we are working on. Mrs Lawson, thank you so much for such a wonderful time. I felt so at ease unburdening my mind to you. I feel much lighter. Thank you.”
Lawson became even hotter. His fingers vibrated of their own accord. Unburden? He smelt serious trouble. At the door, Ada turned back and said, almost sarcastically.
“What a wonderful man your husband is. I must say you are so blessed to have him. Such a person of integrity and unblemished character. Men like him are so hard to find. I don’t envy you anyway.”
Mrs Lawson giggled. “Thanks Ada. Saying that to him will make his head swell you know! But he deserves it anyway. He is a darling. Thank you once again.”
Ada darted a glance at Lawson. He looked away. She smiled a devilish smile. The door opened and she made her way out of the office.
“So what were you two discussing that brought so much laughter and giggling?” Lawson quipped when he was able to compose himself.
“I was wondering what stole your voice! Why are you so interested in what we were discussing?” Mrs Lawson asked suspiciously.
“I mean…you know, I just was curious. It’s not like you have ever met her or something,” Lawson replied, trying to make his inquiry seem sensible. “So…what was it?”
“Something that you will not know about until the right time,” Mrs Lawson responded. Lawson’s heart skipped a beat. Something? The right time? What is this woman saying?His phone buzzed. It was a message.500k to my account before 9 a.m. tomorrow, and send a message to Doyin’s husband that she aborted his perfectly healthy baby. Don’t trifle with me. You know what I can do. We wouldn’t want your lovely wife showing her nasty American side now would we?Lawson sank into his revolving chair. His heart sank even further in his chest.
Hassan sat, facing his uncle, his mother’s sole surviving relative and the only person he consulted when about to make remarkable decisions. Uncle Ladi was resplendently set up and furnished by Hassan. He lived luxuriously. After all, he was father, mother, brother, sister, and every relative alive all rolled into one as far as Hassan was concerned. If not for a stroke of luck, Hassan would never have found him. One look at Hassan’s face and it was evident he had had a rough time recently. His eyes were bloodshot, his face was streaked with the aftermath of caked tears, forming paths and labyrinths all over his otherwise handsome countenance. He was far from handsome at this moment. He had bags under his eyes, he had hardly closed his eyelids in the last twenty four hours. His hair was dishevelled, and his shirt had buttons wrongly done. He was a wreck. A mess. He was going through hell. Any other girl, any other person for that matter, he would not even think twice. But he loved Doyin too much. She was his life. He practically lived for her. And that’s why it was difficult for him to come to terms with the fact that she had been cheating on him! His head banged. His heart ached. He had a perpetual frown on his face.
Uncle Ladi spoke after an eternity of silence. “Hassan, you have to be calm. First off, you are not helping yourself. Second off, this cannot become loud, hope you know that. Just recently you had the issue of Uche on your hands. Another scandal, particularly a family scandal will only spell doom for you on many fronts. Get a grip son, you are losing it.”
“But uncle how can I live with the lie? How can I just pretend like nothing happened and move on? I don’t even know how many sexual partners she has! I don’t even know how safe I am! What if it was during one of her sexual escapades that the complications which led to the miscarriage happened?”
“Calm down Hassan. Marriage is not an affair of sunny days alone. There will be those dark nights that threaten to never end. You are going through one of such nights now. Remember, every night will eventually pass. Besides, no one of us is a saint. We all make mistakes. Again, your fears are nothing that a test in a reputable hospital won’t put in the right perspective.”
Hassan’s mind went back to the previous night. The random bar he wound up in when he left home in a daze…the many shots of tequila…scotch whiskey…then the local beers…the mumbled rants dotted with occasional sighs of Doyin…the random sex worker at the bar’s close of work…she said her name was Doyin, and she has been bad, deserving of punishment…the many rounds of butt smacking, violent, sadist, unprotected sex in her cove…the slight itching on his member when he was about to pee just before sitting with his uncle…indeed he has reason to fear.
Uncle Ladi’s voice broke him out of his reverie. He had apparently been talking for a while. The last thing Hassan heard was “…call Doyin here today and talk some sense into her. Thereafter I will take her to my personal doctor for a check-up tomorrow. I want this whole thing resolved as soon as possible.”
“I’m coming with you.” Uncle Ladi looked on in surprise. “I mean,” Hassan stuttered, “I’ve not had a check-up in ages. This is just a good opportunity to have one. That’s all.”
“Fine.” Uncle Ladi eventually said.
Doyin was a mockery of her usual, chubby, lively self. The last 24 hours seemed like eternity to her. She stole a glance at Hassan where he was seated, patiently waiting for the outcome of the test they went for. She was shocked at the Hassan she was seeing. He was cold. Too cold. Stone cold. It was as though she wasn’t there, wasn’t in his life anymore. He was indifferent to her presence. It was evident he had suffered. His outlook told the torrid tale of the past 24 hours for him. It had been no less traumatic for her, even more so, because she caused all these for him. She silently started weeping again.
Since Uncle Ladi had called her the previous day to talk to her, she had been trying to get him to speak a word to her. She had failed woefully. She sat beside him during the drive in to the hospital, and he didn’t utter a word, didn’t treat her to a glance, no matter how brief. The doctor had called her first for a series of further tests. Then Hassan was also called, though the time he spent was remarkably shorter than hers. She hoped he was ok. She truly did. With her teary eye closed, she quickly offered a prayer to God. “Father, please let this nightmare come to an end. I can’t take it anymore.” She muffled the sobs threatening to burst the dam of her voice. She barely succeeded.
Hassan kept a straight face. Outside he was a stranger, but inside he wanted to grab Doyin in his arms and tell her it was going to be alright. He wanted to hold her and wipe her incessant tears and tell her he’d forgiven her. He wanted to plant kisses on her face and with a wave of his hands undo the past 24 hours. Yet he couldn’t forget. She cheated on him. Why was love so complicated? He mused. He shook his head involuntarily and then checked to see if anyone saw him. Doyin at that time was wiping her eyes so she didn’t see. He hoped, frantically, that this would end well. However, at the moment, he just couldn’t see how.
The doctor came out and motioned for Doyin. Shortly after that Doyin came out of his office and he called for Hassan. They were both given a clean bill of health. Then he called Uncle Ladi to join Hassan in his office for his final round of counsel.
“I called you in here sir, because you are an elder, and I believe you will be in a better position to constantly impress this upon Mr Hassan.” Turning to Hassan, the doctor said, “Sir, during the course of our tests, we observed that your wife has been going through a lot of stress lately. Especially seeing that she just recently went through a foetal removal, she shouldn’t be going through that much stress. It’s not healthy for her.”
“Wait doctor, what are you talking about? A foetal what?” Hassan asked, hardly believing.
“I mean an abortion. Your wife recently underwent an abortion. Most probably because you are both carriers of the sickle cell gene and the baby was at risk. A lot of couples do the D &C to avoid the inescapable lifetime of pain. You are not aware?”
Hassan was no longer on his seat. He had started rushing outside with fury written all over his body language. Uncle Ladi scampered after him, afraid he would make a terribly huge scene, or worse, do something to Doyin that he would regret for the rest of his life, and Hassan was willing to do just that.
“You lying, cheating, murdering bastard!” Hassan started to speak then he stopped dead in his tracks.
Sprawled across the sofa in the private lounge where they had waited was Doyin, lifeless, arms flung.
Hassan screamed and rushed to her. Just beyond her outstretched arm was her phone, screen blinking. He handed the near lifeless body of Doyin over to the nurses who had scampered to the scene and focused on the phone. It had a message displayed.
I’m so sorry Doyin. I have wronged you in ways more than one. I don’t know if you can forgive me, but I have fully paid for my sins. Your baby is perfectly healthy. I hope you keep it. I gave you the wrong genotype, I was pushed…The message was half delivered.
OMOOLORUN KAYODE is a leadership and communications person who loves to sculpt words into engaging pieces. He is on a never-ending quest to push the limits.
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