THE EXCHANGE (Episode 19)
Baba T was shattered, that was the first time I saw him cry, he cried like a baby. My mother-in-law was devastated too; she kept saying “Ta ló máa bá mi to gbogbo nkan? (Who will help me structure things?)”.
We buried my father-in-law in grand style; in spite of the grief and pain. It was really a tough time for the whole family. My mother-in-law’s health took a big hit because of it. Most of the people that came kept encouraging Baba T to be strong and to step up to the responsibility that fate had thrust upon him.
Baba T went back to work almost immediately, because the company was in the thick of a rebranding process when his dad died. The whole purpose of the rebranding was to woo some foreign investors that were going to make the business international. It was worth a lot of money and there had been talks back and forth. Based on where the talks were heading, the company decided to make some changes and that must have been where my father-in-law got the exhaustion from.
Coming home late, working even in the middle of the night…I could tell that Baba T was really stressed. I did my best to support him but he never liked to be disturbed when working. Unfortunately, when the foreign investors finally showed up, the deal fell through because of some huge discrepancies in the financials of the company.
It was a downward spiral for Baba T from there on, he just couldn’t handle it. At a point, I had to remind him that his family had done this business successfully before the foreign investors showed interest and it wasn’t doing badly and all he had to do was revamp it and hopefully it would catch the attention of some other investors.
That was the first time he insulted my intelligence
“What do you know? Your common hairdresser brain cannot even begin to comprehend what happened here…do you know how much money went down the drain? Do you know how much manpower went into this deal? My father died working this deal and I couldn’t even honor him by sealing it” he said, looking at me with disdain
“But I was just trying to help…” I responded
“Please don’t…this is not your forte. We are talking about acumen, business intelligence and lots of money here” he interjected
I felt so stupid and hurt and I decided to let him be. He started acting very irritable in the house, everything pissed him off. He would go to work, come back in the evening and just go to bed (in the guest room).
I didn’t have a mother-in-law to talk to, as she was out of the country for medical reasons…so I talked to Bola about this.
He said he was aware of Baba T’s emotional state and was already encouraging him to get over the failed deal and move on. He advised that my support was all my husband needed and I should not let his attitude stop me from encouraging him.
So that night, I put on my sexiest lingerie, and went to the guest room to ‘support’ my husband as advised. I sneaked in because I was planning to just crawl into his bed and it was supposed to be a surprise…but guess what I saw? My husband had some kind of bubbling brown substance in a spoon with a lighter under it; he was so engrossed that he didn’t notice that I had come in. He pulled the content of the spoon into a syringe, tied one of his ties around his left arm and injected himself. I didn’t know what to say as I just froze in one spot.
I knew it was hard drugs so I shouted “Tunde what are you doing?”
Boy, did I get the beating of my life…he was so mad that he even slammed my head in the door. He boasted that he would kill me and nothing would happen, I curled up on one side of the room and there was blood dripping from a cut on my head.
He got out of the room and was yelling and cursing…he didn’t even consider the sleeping children or the domestic staff in the Boys’ Quarter. He came back in the room, picked his car keys and said
“if not for my mother that talked me into marrying a peasant like you, you dare question what I do in my own house? I should be your god…unquestionable and sovereign. I made you, I can end you”
You know when you are sobbing and your tears are in one accord with fluids from your nostrils? that was me…I was hurt more by his words than the physical assault. I never knew he could say those things to me. I could hear the gateman opening the gate for him and he left the house that night.
I must have curled up in the same position for over an hour…I finally gathered enough strength to get up. I cleaned my wound, got in the room and cried all night. I couldn’t call his mum so first thing in the morning, I called Laide and she came over with Bola…they were shocked and appalled at the things they saw and heard…I didn’t mention what I saw him doing, I only focused on the physical abuse.
Bola said he never knew Baba T was that kind of person; and if he had heard this from another person, he would have dispelled it and vouched for him. Bola promised to track him down and talk to him…Laide stayed behind and advised me to take things easy
“ìwọ náà máa ní sùúrù ni (You have to exercise patience) You already have 3 children, where do you want to go now?We will pray and God will touch his heart” Laide advised
I told Laide I wanted to discuss this with my mum but she advised against such. She said I might not be able to remediate the damage that it could do.
Laide left in the afternoon and Baba T showed up later in the evening. He looked at me and said if I ever discussed him with anybody again, he would make my life miserable. He was not remorseful at all and the plaster/band aid on my forehead did not mean a thing to him. He said I was a mistake that he was forced to make and he would find a way to rectify it. I didn’t say a word and he kept taunting me, I could tell he wanted me to say something so he could find an excuse to hit me. He asked how I thought I deserved someone with class and level of education…he also talked about how he couldn’t even tell anyone that I was a mere ‘School Cert’ holder.
“What’s the difference between you and the house help? Tell me a fundamental difference apart from the fact that you married me” he asked.
“But you were the one that came after me” I said
“That wasn’t me…that was my mum. She was the one that saw and liked you…she literally begged me to ask you out. She made me give you all those things so you could leave that pathetic boyfriend of yours. Did I even talk to you the first time I saw you? Maybe I should take you through my dating hall of fame. There are girls I dated, that would cringe if they found out I ended up with someone like you” he responded
His words hurt like crazy and I could tell he was doing it intentionally…hot tears flowed down my cheeks but I kept quiet. I never knew a day like this could come; I knew we lacked synergy but that was better than what it had become.
Somehow things skewed and took a plunge, a sharp decline…it happened so fast that I didn’t even know how it happened. After the fierce bout of tongue lashing, Baba T left the house again and didn’t come back to sleep.
I decided to get my mum involved…so the following morning, I travelled to Abeokuta and opened up to her, I tried to gloss over the drug part and just said he had suddenly become very temperamental and abusive.
Looking for Episode 1? CLICK HERE
Looking for Episode 20? CLICK HERE