Site icon Dan Ochu-Baiye

The Writers Wife

Trust me I understand his absences.

Was it not I, his official muse, that set him upon this path?

He is all over the world now; awards, book signings, book readings, CNN, even Bollywood want deals.

He is in Abu Dhabi this weekend… Al Jazeera interview slash a book signing.
And I’m stuck in Abuja presently… Tormented by our two boisterous kids, kids I’m struggling not to kill.

What manner of person travels on Valentine’s day?
Without recourse to the marginal propensity of forfeiture of life? Only my husband!

In fairness to him, he accepted the dates months ago. He told me, and I accepted. But I didn’t know it would be this fourteenth of February!
It sounded like just another day nine months ago.

So I picked up my Sony video camera, the youngest of our two kids and then headed to the man-made Jabi Lake to make and record some memories of my Prince for posterity.

Our daughter looks like her dad.
Our son looks like me.
Our son is me.
He is without doubt the cutest two year old I know. Trust me, its not just because he is my son. He is beautiful.

I had him on the screen of my video camera wearing a life jacket, rain boots and gleefully waving at me. His vocabulary isn’t quite there yet, so his replies to my questions are dazzling smiles and waves.

We are at the water front. The spot is ours. It’s about five thirty pm. There are a few people scattered along the water front to my right. But about half a kilometre away.

My phone rings.

I look away from the video camera propped on a tripod stand to my phone. It’s his dad. Smiling I pick up and look back into my video screen.
Duration of the action, five seconds or less.

My son is still playing about two metres from the water front. Still speaking on the phone I straighten up to ease my eyes and stretch my arched back.
As I lift up my eyes to see my son in real time, I see my son standing face to face with another child. A baby girl. About his age.

I remember looking back into the screen and back at my son, over and over and over again…
All I could see was my son with another child whose image wasn’t coming up on my screen!
On tape, on my screen he was alone. But from where I was ten meters away he was clearly with another female child.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs.
I believe that evil exists and I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. I crossed the distance in seconds screaming my son’s name.

I knelt down in the sand and protectively cradled his startled body. He tried to squirm free, simultaneously pointing to his new companion.
Heart thunderously beating I followed his finger. Sure enough, she was still there.

She was a beautiful girl. Almost too beautiful in fact. Upon closer inspection she seemed to be about four years old. But her eyes…her eyes were older, like the eyes of a twenty year old. She had on a wet, simple cotton dress. Her natural – looking hair was braided all the way back, down to her waist. Very intrinsic braids.
The pattern and style of her hair I had not seen before.

Her gaze and smiles were for my son only. She ignored me completely. Like I was not there. My son was as though hypnotised, he was smiling back arm stretched out toward her.

He kept squirming and trying to pull free of my grip, fully intent on holding the equally outstretched hand of the girl. Puzzled I held on tighter, their eyes were locked on each other. Arms stretched out, straining to clasp. I innately knew that my sons hand could not be allowed to touch the girls hand.

He suddenly threw his head backward, I reflexively turned my face to avoid the reverse head butt hitting my nose. He caught my bottom lip, I felt it split open like a ripe mango hitting the ground. The pain was searing and debilitating, the only two reactions I could manage was to hold him tighter and to cry out “Jesus!”

Instantly he relaxed and whirled round to embrace me. Face in my neck.
The spell was broken.
I could feel blood from my split lip running down and onto the back of his t-shirt.

For the first time, the little girl locked eyes with me. Her arm was still outstretched, but she was no longer smiling.

The malice and hatred she bestowed with her looks upon me could tenderize elephant meat.

I saw malevolence in her eyes. I saw lust. I saw covetousness.
And I saw love. Yes love… For my boy.
She wanted him.

Mothers worldwide can back me up on this; that instinct, that mummy thing just welled up from within me and burst. My eyes blurred in blind rage, I rose to my feet speaking in a tongue previously unknown to me… She recoiled in terror backing up into the water.

I held her gaze, my son and those strange words…she glared at me and then screamed, her tiny mouth wide open. I could see all the way down her throat… But no sound came out.

She pointed ominously at me and then dove into the murky waters… and until I gathered my stuff and beat a hasty retreat to my car I did not see her again.

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