THE EXCHANGE (Episode 17)
I was really scared and thought something had happened to him. His mum kept assuring me that everything was fine. She said she already reported to the Police and there was a search party looking for him. She kept telling me to remain calm because of the baby and that Baba T would be fine. He finally showed up, he looked really unkempt…he gave some cock-and-bull story about where he was for 3 days. I noticed that he came with another guy, his mum knew the guy and thanked him profusely. I also noticed that his mum did not talk to him; she did not even look at him, hmmm…something seemed iffy but nobody was saying anything.
Baba T reached for the baby, his mum almost didn’t hand him over. She later did but it was reluctantly, she kept while ‘eyeballing’ Baba T. We left the hospital later that evening. Some days after that, my mother-in-law said we would be leaving for Nigeria and she had gotten someone to change the tickets for us. We were supposed to stay in the United Kingdom for a couple more weeks. I was still recuperating and was not happy with the decision. She promised that the two of us would come back, with the baby, to spend some time but we needed to leave. I thought maybe Baba T would say something but he didn’t, he had been very quiet since we got back from the hospital. We had not even had any real talk or conversation…he would only come in the room, play with the baby, hold my hands and smile
at us. When we got to Nigeria, my father-in-law was at the airport, he was happy to see us and he quickly took the baby. He looked at Baba T, shook his head and said “ Ǫmọ ęni ò bá j’ọni à bá yọ (How I wish upbringing was all it took to mold a child’s character)”. I couldn’t wait to be with Baba T alone so he could help shed more light on what was happening. My father-in-law made Baba T ride with him while we got in another car as we drove to their house. I had thought we would be going to our house but we ended up at my parents-in-law’s house. Baba T’s dad literally dragged him upstairs and was yelling at him, my mother-in-law must have sensed that I was very confused “Irú ìrìnkurìn wo nìyęn? (Who leaves his family like that?) Let his Dad deal with him. Who leaves a wife that just delivered and goes away for 3 days? He is married now, he should show that he is a responsible man ” my mother-in-law said “ Don’t worry about him, we will deal with him, just take care of my grandson for me. We will make sure that it never happens again. Let’s just keep this within the family. “ Wèrè l’ará ìta máa pèé ” (Outsiders will not understand, they will blow it out of proportion)” she continued as she motioned me to follow her into her room. One of the maids had a look that suggested she knew what was going on; she stood around and wouldn’t leave. “ Gbéborùn játijàti (worthless busybody) get out of here ” my mother-in-law yelled at her and sent her away.
We stayed at my parents-in-law’s place for almost a month, we even had the christening party there and it was huge. My folks came over for the party and my mum asked if everything was okay, she said I looked confused. I told her all was well and that I was just tired. Laide also asked why we returned to the country sooner than we had planned. I really wanted to tell her what happened in London but I remembered my mother-in-law’s instruction and I didn’t want to be in her bad books, so I made up a story.
While we were at my in-law’s house, Baba T and his dad would leave the house and return together every single day. Baba T would only play with the baby for a while then he would go into his dad’s room…if he was staying too long, his dad would send for him. Everything seemed strange but my mother-in-law kept telling me not to worry, that her husband was simply teaching my husband how to be a responsible man. We went back to our house and somehow, everything went back to normal. Baba T was back to his loving, caring self but never wanted to talk about the London incident. He would say “ It’s water under the bridge…I’m here now, that’s what. matters”. I chose to go with that phrase ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ so I let it go.
Baba T actually took care of my family, my elder brothers got good jobs, after youth service, because of him…the only person that got nothing was Brother Dipo and it was because he didn’t want it. Even my mum got a monthly stipend…my business was doing well and growing almost more than what my husband had projected. It wasn’t long before I got pregnant again, my mother-in-law was the one that told me to go confirm it, because according to her, I looked like I was. True to her words, I was like 8 weeks gone, she was super excited. I broke the news to Baba T and he was happy too. In the fourth month of my second pregnancy, I woke up in the middle of the night to drink water; Baba T was not on the bed. As I was about to enter the kitchen, I noticed that the sitting room was slightly lit and I could sense that there was someone there, I tip-toed and saw my husband snorting some white substance from our center table. I wasn’t very exposed at that time so I didn’t know what to make of it. However, I could tell it wasn’t right because of the look on my husband’s face. It was obvious he didn’t want anyone to see him. I gently backed away from the kitchen but inadvertently knocked down a mug cup that was on the dining table. The sound jolted Baba T to reality and he ran into the kitchen, the white substance trace still on his left nostril…he could tell I had seen him “ What are you doing here? Why are you sneaking around? ” He yelled at me. “ Can’t a man have peace in his own house? ” He
continued I didn’t know how to respond because I wasn’t expecting that reaction…he continued to yell and scream; I had never seen him like that since I met him. I thought he was going to hit me. It was the shrieking cry of our son (Junior) that made him stop, but he was obviously very mad and went to sleep in the guest room.
He left for work very early as well and didn’t eat breakfast, I really couldn’t tell why he was so angry. I checked the sitting room after he left, to see if I could find any trace of what I caught him doing, but he had cleaned the place up. I checked our room and ransacked his closet but found nothing. For the first time since we got married, Baba T did not come home, I didn’t know what to do. So at 11PM I called his parents and talked to. his mum. I told her what I saw and how my husband reacted “ Ó se kíni? (He did what?)” My mother-in-law asked, I repeated what I said, she was quiet for a while
and I could hear her calling her husband and talking. I could only pick some words in their conversation. I heard my father-in-law say something like “ I’m done, Babatunde ò lè wá pamí (I’m not going to let Babatunde kill me)” My mother-in-law got back on the phone and advised me to come over to their place the
following morning. She told me not to talk to anyone about it, she said she would take care of everything and we would find him. I didn’t sleep all night and I left for my parents-in-law’s house as soon as our driver got in.
When I got there, I saw that maid again; she was looking at me like she wanted to tell me something but was being held back, she had always given me that look.
I could hear Baba T’s parents talking but as soon as I entered, they kept quiet. His dad said they had tracked him down and he was at a hotel, the man was clearly angry, although not at me. He said he had to leave because he had a very important meeting that he could not afford to miss. He turned to Baba T’s mum and said “ Mo ti sè wọn tí mo lèse (I have done my best)”. “ These ones are my more important to me now ” he said, pointing at me (my tummy) and my son. “ He’s your son, these ones are my grandchildren and I will not allow anything or anyone mess them up ” my father-in-law added, as he turned to his wife and got up to take his leave.
As soon as he left, my mother-in-law started to beg me…she said I needed to be patient, and that Baba T had some issues that they were trying to fix. She said she needed my cooperation to do this; because his father was at the verge of abandoning him and had already threatened to cut him off. “ He is very smart and he is a good kid but this is what bad company does to a kid…even one that’s supposedly from a good home” she said She begged me not to share any of this with Laide or Bola, because Bola had a positive influence on Baba T’s life and she didn’t want Bola to stop being his friend. I told her I was a little confused because I didn’t really know what was happening or why my husband was angry. When she saw my naivety, she took advantage of it and twisted everything, funny enough, I believed her. They resolved the issue and Baba T came back home, he blamed the stress for his erratic behavior; I even apologized for getting him angry. He started to see a doctor to help him with the ‘stress’ (that’s what I was told)…and it looked like the ‘doctor visits’ helped. When it was time to have the baby, we went to the. United Kingdom again but this time, Baba T did not come with us. It was just me, Junior and my mother-in-law. My father-in-law put his foot down that Baba T would not come with us. I even asked if my husband could come after I had given birth but he said they would wait for us in Nigeria. I had another baby boy, there was a little complication and I would have loved my husband
to be present. I needed someone to comfort me and someone I could yell at. From that day, I started to hate the weird control that Baba T’s
parents had over his life and affairs. I wanted my own family; I wanted my husband to be the head of my home and not his dad. I decided I would talk to Baba T about it, once we got back to Nigeria. We got back to Nigeria, we still stayed at my in-law’s for a while, we had the christening there again and I couldn’t wait to get to our house so I could bare my heart to my husband. I could have told him at his parents’ house but there was no privacy at all…his mum was always around, always trying to know what was happening between us.
The day we were moving back to our place, my mother-in-law called me and said “ I’m sure you believe we are meddling in your affairs; and we are too controlling, but we are doing it for the right reasons. Kó lè dáa náà ni (We are doing it for your good)” She went on and on about how they know their son and thus, can “handle” him better than anyone. She told me to tell her what was on my mind since we were on the same team and wanted the best for Baba T. So I said “ There must be something I’m not seeing ma, Baba T told me he’s made some wrong choices in the past but nobody is perfect and I don’t think he needs to be treated like a kid to make him a man ” I regretted making that statement, as I could see how it changed my mother-in-law’s demeanor. “ Ǫmọdé ò moògùn ó ńpè l’ęfọ (a little kid cannot differentiate between vegetables and herbs) I’ve
heard you, I’ll let you handle your husband” she responded. I could tell she was angry, I tried to explain what I meant but she said it was okay and that she got my message.
Getting interesting with the turn of this. How long can she take this. She probably got married to a man she knew nothing about.
To be continued in Episode 18. 😋
Looking for Episode 1? CLICK HERE
Looking for Episode 18? CLICK HERE