Segilola! Yelled Derin as he stepped into his apartment ‘Can I see you in our room’ he said as his wife came out of their tiny guest room. That room had been painstakingly converted from an all duty store into a tiny guest room. Derin wondered if anyone could actually live in that small space, especially one as tall as Keppy.
Segilola came out of the room with a smile playing around her lips. If Derin did not know any better, he would have thought she and the Keppy boy had been sharing jokes. Segi stood in front of him and smiled again. This time, it was her smile of victory. He knew that Segi felt she had won something. What it was though, he could not ascertain, but he intended to find out.
‘I’d like us to talk in the room, Segi’ he said, pointing in the direction of the Master Bedroom
‘We can talk here’ she responded stubbornly
‘No we cannot. You have decided to trade our privacy off to the first person who came calling; I will not let you do more. Inside now!’ said Derin more forcefully than he ought to.
‘I will meet you there’ responded his stubborn wife whom he felt was trying to prove another point. Derin looked at her for a long moment and then conceded as he walked into their room to wait for her. He decided that he would be patient until she arrived in the room, which she did after several moments of delay.
‘Oh, the great madam finally makes an appearance’ said Derin sarcastically while Segi kept quiet and looked at him. ‘Anyway can you please tell me what right you had to allow that young man into our home without first consulting me?’ he asked angrily
‘What right?” asked Segi cheekily as though she had not heard him
‘Yes. You heard me. How dare you say he could move in even before I had an opportunity to take the decision?’ asked Derin
‘First and foremost, I am your wife, a stakeholder in the affairs of this home, so I should have a right to speak on an issue regarding who comes in or not. Secondly, I have done nothing wrong. This is part of our Christianly duties after all, you are a ‘Pastor” she said as she raised her arms up make a sign of the inverted commas around the word Pastor. ‘So, it goes without saying that your first duty is to be charitable. Feed the poor, help the needy and of course, shelter the homeless!’ she said.
‘So, Oga Pastor, tell me what I have done wrong?” she asked him as she finished off.
Derin looked her in silent acknowledgement, knowing that all she had said was true, but he knew that his wife had been wrong in unilaterally taking the decision to allow Keppy into their home. There was just something about that boy that he suddenly did not like!
The boy had aced the interview and seemed really intelligent, but the way the boy behaved around his wife was very irritating. If he allowed himself to dwell on it, he would begin to think the boy had the hots for his wife and he suspected that the reason she’d allowed him in is because she wanted to spite him with this knowledge. The irritating thins was that she was succeeding.
‘Is a wife not to submit to her husband? Have you done this? If you were better behaved, would you not have allowed me to take the lead? More so, the boy asked me the question. He crossed over to my side of the vehicle not yours! I have a good mind to ask him to leave my house right now!’ threatened Derin
‘Go ahead. Mr. Pastor. Then see how you will face God and tell him that you could not help one human being – just one person o. See how you will face God if something bad happens to the boy’ responded Segilola in mocking tones
Oh now, you say I’m a Pastor right? You say this only because you want to use this talk on human charity as an excuse to have your away. Is it only Pastors that were called to be charitable? Were you charitable at the Roberts home earlier today or do you think I did not see how you were looking at Oyinda with disgust? He asked, pointing at her.
Derin knew he had lost the argument with his wife over Keppy, so he sought to strike back. Perhaps if he pointed out her errors to her, she wouldn’t sound so sanctimonious.
Aha! You had to somehow bring your ‘friend’ into this right?’ she asked, now heated up. ‘For your information, every woman born with common sense knows that it is wrong, rude and insulting to ask another woman’s husband to follow you into a private area in front of the woman herself. And the mannerless twat did just that’ Segi finished off
‘And you are the one that is charitable uh?
Just listen to your thoughts concerning another human being, they are totally horrible.’ he said as he walked away from her. ‘And’ he said as he turned to face her again ‘Don’t ever talk about Oyinda like that in your life again! Ever! Otherwise, you will not find it funny’ he said
‘Derin! Are you serious? You dare issue a threat to me over this Oyinda girl?’ asked Segi. She was very surprised. It had not crossed her mind that the Oyinda issue could degenerate so fast.
She had felt her husband was close to the girl but had not imagined the closeness to be to such a serious extent. ‘My instincts were right. I definitely have something to be bothered about. We shall see’ she said as she walked out of the room, leaving Derin inside.
Segi was surprised to bump into Keppy, who was standing very close to their bedroom door.
‘Is everything alright?’ she asked him coldly, surprised that he had been so close to their bedroom door.
‘Yes, yes’ he responded.
‘Were you by any chance eavesdropping on my husband and I?’ she asked him up front.
Was it possible that he could have been doing this? From the look of things, it seemed very possible
‘Me? No! How could I ever do that? I was only looking at these paintings’ he said, pointing to the frames that graced either side of the bedroom door.
It had been painted by an old friend Segi had gone to school with, Tee. Derin did not like Tee because he felt the both of them were too close.
Segi smiled and said ’Oh those, they were painted by my best friend, Tayo. He’s doing very well in America now where he lectures and paints on the side’ she said. As she spoke about Tayo, her face lightened up. He really made her happy. In the early days of her marriage to Derin, she often wondered if she had not made a mistake by not marrying Tayo, especially when Derin reacted in a way she did not understand. She would quickly call Tayo and the both of them would gossip about Derin while he devised ways of calming her down.
‘Your best friend is a man?’ asked Keppy in surprise. he continued.
‘Well, it is platonic…and he minds, which is why Tee and I do not communicate as frequently as we normally would’. She said as she walked into the kitchen with their new housemate trailing behind her.
‘Is Mr. Tee married? What does his wife think?’ asked Keppy who seemed very interested in the dynamics of the friendship
‘Funny enough, she used to be worried about our friendship too, until she overheard a conversation I had with her husband one day in which I chastised him for something he had said about her. She later confessed to me and we became great friends.’ She said as she poured some raw rice into a bowl which she thrust under the tap. She had decided to cook rice, it was easy.
’I hope you eat rice, that’s what I’m cooking’ she said in a voice that brooked no complaints.
‘Thank you. That is perfect. I’m famished’ he said ‘Is there any way I can help you?’ he asked, rolling back the sleeves of his shirt.
‘That’s nice. Can you bring out carrots from the fridge and chop them for steaming?’ she asked. Keppy complied and she teased him about his speed.
‘Oh, I’m very useful around the house. At my brother’s house, I used to help his wife with virtually everything even though they had a houseboy. Sometimes, my-sister-in-law would ask me to cook her Keppy Special’ he said
‘Keppy Special’? What is that?’ asked Segi.
It was nice to have someone to chat with in the kitchen. Her bad mood had lifted considerably.
This young man had a way around him.
‘I cannot tell you the secret ingredients, but it is finger licking, yummy, oh-so- delicious’ he said, smiling as she burst out in laughter.
‘You sound like a cheap advert!’ she said, laughing. He responded with a huge smile of his own too. ‘So seriously, is it that good? She asked
‘Better than good.’ he responded smiling ‘Remind me, I must cook for you one of these days’ said Keppy as he smiled widely.
‘Hmm. I hope you aren’t one of those ‘all talk and no action guys oh, Keppy’ she teased ‘because you are tooting your own horn too much sef’ she said, as she burst out laughing again
‘Ahh, I wish we could call my sister-in-law right now, she will give you the low down’ he responded with a smile of his own. The mood in the kitchen was very genial as the two worked in silence.
‘So what happened, Keppy?’ asked Segi, out of the blues
‘With my brother?’ he asked ‘It’s an unfortunate mix up really…’ began Keppy slowly, suddenly hesitant. It seemed he was not really ready to discuss the issue.
‘If you would rather not say…’ began Segilola
‘No..no.. said Keppy, I can talk about it. My brother is just upset with me because of a dangerous allegation his trusted houseboy la!d against his wife and I. The silly idiot said he had seen Madam and I together’ said Keppy as his eyes filled with unshed tears. ‘Even if I was that desperate for a woman, which I’m not, would it be my brother’s wife?’ he asked her.
‘Your brother should know better!’ said Segi, affronted on her new friend’s behalf. ‘After all, blood is thicker than water! No, no, don’t cry, Keppy’ she said as she moved in to give him a hug. It was an awkward hug she received back.
Thank you for believing in me, my own brother could not give me the benefit of doubt, he pushed me out’ said Keppy
Segi was sure that this young man could never be guilty of those atrocities. He looked so innocent, intent only on working at his new job.
She wondered whether she should call his brother on his behalf, but before she could ask, he spoke up
‘Please, can I ask for a favour? I know it’s not good for couples to keep secrets from each other, but can you please keep this information I have shared with you between the both of us? I don’t want Pastor to hear. You know how men can be. If he hears, I might lose my job and right now, I need something to keep me going.’ he said, sounding desperate.
‘Of course, I understand. Don’t worry, I will ensure that you do not lose your job.’ she said, totally won over by the desperate young man with his intent eyes and compelling story.
He hugged her again, thanking her for her understanding. Damn, she felt so right in his arms. He hoped he could control himself around this woman. She felt so soft.