We inched slowly up the ramp leading to the International Airport terminal in Lagos as we made our way to the drop-off area outside the departure lounge. The traffic was gangster and my agitation grew with every passing second. I looked over to my left for the umpteenth time as I asked Abeke, my wife of 7 years, who sat with her small frame neatly curled in the far corner of our 2012 black Range Rover Sport SUV, “Is everything alright?”. ” Jeff, I’m alright!”, she replied with a grunt as her eyeballs rolled slowly in synchronised motion…I feared they would fall out of their sockets at this rate. The recurring spasms of heat-wave I had experienced since my father-in-law gave ‘the ultimatum’ ravaged my body once more as heavy sweat beads broke out on my brows despite the chilled climate in the interior of the SUV. Doomsday draws nigh! Why can’t this old man just mind his own damn business for once, I thought to myself. A suppressed sigh eventually found its way out of me subconsciously.
After much stalling coupled with impatient drivers honking like maniacs behind us, a parking bay along the stretch of the departure terminal eventually emptied and Bala, our driver of 5 years, hurriedly occupied the space. He promptly disembarked having activated the auto open button of the trunk door. Carefully, he loaded 4 Samsonite suitcases on a trolley as Abeke and I vacated our corners in the back seats. This trip to London had left me petrified for days; my father-in-law insisted we both go back to the UK to get a comprehensive medical check-up once more. The only difference this time around was that Chief Johnson took it upon himself to personally schedule the appointment with Dr. Brian; his suspicions were growing and he could smell a foul play a mile off! Now, that was the unnerving part! I am not one to be found lacking in control or strategy seeing that I succeeded in manipulating the results of all the medical tests we had taken in the past but Chief Johnson’s move, I didn’t see coming.
The flight was smooth and our passage through the UKBA immigration control hitch-free though Abeke didn’t say much to me during its course. She was too overwhelmed with the fact that she was yet to conceive despite medical confirmations of her fertility…she was primed for conception. For the first time, I felt the pangs of guilt. Truth be told, I never married Abeke with the intentions of having children, nah!!!…far from it. I chose her because she was the best candidate that fitted the role of my predetermined wifey profile. My life needed no more kids having been blessed with 7 from seven different women of differing classes and pedigrees on 2 continents before I turned 28. Yeah I know, I was a randy incorrigible skunk back then. Don’t blame me, blame it on my insatiable alpha-male needs. Something drastic had to be done about the rate I was procreating. For that reason, I analysed the pros and cons and eventually settled for a vasectomy procedure. Yes, vasectomy, my sole mission on earth isn’t to procreate nau! Ok, settling for a vasectomy is the palatable version of how it really happened but the truth is; the vasectomy was actually Yvette’s way of punishing me for lying to her.
When I met Abeke, I was 31 whilst she just celebrated her 30th birthday. Having 7 children didn’t impede me from living the life of a single, smooth and eligible bachelor; after all, I had never been married so yes I was single! Nduka, my work colleague and friend since secondary school days had invited me to the shindig – her 30th birthday party. She had opted to host her guests in her father’s house, somewhere on Banana Island. The mention of the venue alone was a good enough signal for my antenna to pick on. I did an extensive profiling on her and realised she would be a choice candidate to prey on, rather, consider marrying. Additional observatory works at the party revealed she was very single. I had to be smooth about my approach in order not to come across as a desperado…which I indeed was.
Quite a number of guys flocked around her, of course; she was the peacock at her own party. I played the stealth game instead and that increased her curiosity about me. My heart did the back flips when her eyes caught mine and she beamed her charming smile at me as she steadily made her way towards me amidst the thronging crowd. As she introduced herself, I charmed her with my honed British accent; this I had perfected over the years though I only live in the UK for 14 months when I was there on scholarship to study for my Masters’; that also was when the vasectomy episode happened. Forget my knackson ways, I was a brilliant lad; I mean, brilliant enough to have gotten scholarship for my entire university programme back then. Abeke and I conversed the rest of my time at her party that fateful evening and I knew she wanted more. Without slacking, I leveraged on that and in no time, we started dating. Seeing she was keen on getting married as soon as possible, I strategically played my cards and bingo!, we got married 10 months after we met.
Abeke’s firm tug at my shoulder startled me out of my state of reminisce. We had just arrived at the short-stay apartment we secured somewhere in the Swiss Cottage neighbourhood. Without much ado we made our way into the apartment, dropped our suitcases and straightaway headed for the Underground station to catch the next tube train to London Bridge to meet Dr. Brian for our 11:30am appointment. The closer we drew to the clinic, the more aggressively agitated I became. As the tube arrived Waterloo station, i couldn’t help but ponder on my impending water-loo; What degree of damage control would I have to engage?, I thought. Predicting Abeke’s reaction to the looming revelation would have been easy if she wasn’t as introvertish as her mother. The possible consequences of this revelation would impact hugely on my social status. There’s got to be a way around this!, I muttered quietly.
It was a short walk from the station to Dr. Brian’s private surgery. We were greeted warmly by the receptionist and told to wait a minute. She placed a call through to the Doctor’s office and in no time, she motioned us to go in. By this time, I was perspiring in every place possible. Managing to exude a calm demeanour in the doctor’s consultation room was pure work of genius I must say; I pulled it off excellently until Dr. Brian called in one of his nurses. She turned out to be Yvette, the Dominican older lady and mother of my 7th child whom I dated about 10 years ago while I was in the UK on my Masters’ programme. Could my day get any worse? , I thought. Abeke noticed my sudden unease which made her extra curious. Yvette kept a straight face, you could hardly tell she was standing before her ex-boyfriend and father of her child; the one whom she punished with a vasectomy procedure for lying to and cheating on her. I conveniently forgot to tell her at any point during our relationship that I had 5 children in Nigeria, 1 in the UK while she was pregnant with the 7th! This isn’t looking pretty at all!
Having lived in the UK all her life, Yvette had nicely offered me a free comprehensive medical check-up as a gift for my birthday that year. She even offered to take time off work in order to take me to the appointment at her friend’s private hospital somewhere outside London. Being a ‘Mr. lap-it-all cum awuf dey run belle‘, I couldn’t resist the offer. We drove for a very long time and I began to weary. She was extremely nice to me on this very day despite a major argument we had a few days before. She offered me a lunch pack and I gladly dug into it. I knocked out almost immediately. When I woke up, I checked the time and realised I had been out for a little over 3 hours. I tried adjusting myself in the car seat and felt a bit of discomfort down below. I felt I had been touched down there; it wasn’t so much of pain as it was discomfort. I looked at the overhead highway signpost ahead of us and realised we were headed back to London.
“Why are we going back into London?”, I queried.
“That’s because check-up is over! You know you did not deem it fit to tell me about the 6 children you have from 6 different women whilst you took it upon yourself to lie blatantly to my face about some crappy love you have for me? With the 7th child on the way, I realised what your genitals needed was a restraining order.”, she replied without taking her eyes off the road. Needless to say, the rest of that journey was speechless!
As we left the Dr. Brian’s office that afternoon, Yvette found a way to slip a note into Abeke’s palm without my knowledge. Later that evening, Abeke excused herself from the apartment to take a long walk. I had too much on my mind to bother with keeping her company; she left alone. I remained on the chaise lounge sofa motionless till I felt the dryness in my throat. I hadn’t eaten all day so I headed for the kitchenette to grab a drink. Out of reflex, I reached for the book Abeke left on the counter. Flipping through absent-mindedly, a folded piece of paper stuck in the middle of the pages fell out. I reached for it, unfolded it and read it.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. If you love your life, call me later today on this number – 07941108827”
Fresh spasms of heat-waves rippled through my entire being as I stood transfixed for several minutes. My mind fondled the idea of losing my stake in Chief Johnson’s estate should Abeke divorce me. “Is this the beginning of the end?”, I pondered…