Each thrust, a memory unrepressed, each grunt, one regretted. With everyone of her screams, Baba aired out his frustrations. The more she groaned,the more he pushed in with just the same force as a woman in labour. Releasing himself of his anger,his resentment;ridding himself of his pent up frustration and misery. With all the bottled up emotions inside, he needed a channel to let them out : he needed Baby.
As he tightened his belt and zipped his fly, he listened to her cry and felt his usual grim satisfaction from her tears: She was weeping for him. She felt his pain, his sorrow.Each time he entered her, he dragged her into the past. It was like she was in sync with his memories ,as if she understood his shame. Every moan, grunt, whimper and scream she made was for him. She empathized with him. He shook his head as he could not get himself to look up at her. At least he had done something right, he thought, she was his one good contribution to humanity.This at least,he could feel good about. Or could he?
He needed space, air to clear his head. He took his jacket and stepped out of his house for a stroll, one footstep at a time, a footstep back in time, to the things that could have been, away from the things that were.
“Here I am, 64 years I have spent in this world with nothing to show for it. My colleagues would say to me after work each day, “Baba, you are in a hurry to go back home to the madam, Abi? God will give us this your ‘strength’ to perform when we are your age as well o!” I would laugh and agree with them with a wide smile pasted on my face. I might even throw in a witty comment or two for a good laugh! But they don’t know that just like the adage goes, “the mad man who seems to be running after you, may just be running away from the things chasing him”. It was more of what I was running away from. The happy family was only a figment of all our imaginations! I crack jokes, especially the ribald ones about libido and women! But I always itch to leave the office. With everyday the pretense is eating me up; I’m choking on the facade! Its eating me up but I’m the one choking on it. The whitewash, that I’m happy with who I am or what I am, is killing me! But hold on a second…who am I?
I am an old man who missed an opportunity to make something of himself because I was too scared to take the risk; the fear of the unknown was my biggest obstacle. Still is. Now, I am a ‘sales boy’ at my ‘best friend’s’ company! ( Sales Manager, he likes to say but we all know better) My friend who took the risk. He left the lucrative dependable job we both had and started his own company. He made me an offer to be a partner with him but I declined. I was so pompous then, expecting him to fail and come crawling back on his belly to me. He didn’t! His business flourished and the bank that I worked for merged with another. Retrenchment reared it’s ugly head and cut mine off!
I thank God for my boss, he saved me when I was at an all-time low. Thanks to my wife, he offered me a job which I pelted at like David’s stones went at Goliath!
I worship him most of the time but in truth I loathe him. At work, I prostrate to the floor for my friend who I am 4 years younger in age . I hate myself a million times more for this. Every time I go down low for him or look up to him at work, I console myself with the fact that Baby would do his going down for him at home. He greets me like I am a servant but he knows I know. He knows.
He is sleeping with my wife and I can’t do anything about it!
The only thing I know I did right is my daughter, she’s 15years old and looks nothing like me and very much like Yele, my boss! But I still call her mine because even though she may not be mine in the sense that counts, Baby is very much mine in another…many other ways than one!”
In the hospital, a few months after
Two adjacent rooms,
With opposing stories
An old man, Baba, giving up life
A young girl, Baby, bringing in life!
About Tokunbo: Passionate, is what I am in one word! I love the arts and I am most particularly interested in music and writing. I love Nigeria, and I’m an avid believer in the Nigerian culture.