In quiet amusement, Tobi watched Tolu’s fearless front as Kamiye readied to tend his wound. The child appeared benumbed, an obvious ploy to avoid his brother’s tease. But not for long as he turned a scattered wit on his mother’s return, his eyes nervously trailing her every movement as she settled with the first aid kit. Like a house of cards, Tobi watched whatever little confidence was left of the child crumble when the cold salve touched his skin. Initially, Tolu responded with an instinctive jerk, but when he could no longer feign indifference, he gave to screams. His cries later subsided to quiet whimpers as his skin acclimatized to the burning sting. But amidst it all, what Tobi found the most amusing was Tayo who had watched the scene sober faced, his face even creasing worry, concern, pity, pain and an heartfelt empathy for his twin’s woes; especially when he’d begun to scream. The boys were an enigma, almost like two converging oceans. One minute they were warring, the next, they were cozy and inseparable. What both parents took solace in was in the deep sated love between the pair, a constant reassurance for them even at tumultuous times.
“Shhh.”Kamiye hushed. “Haven’t I warned you about playing with sharp objects? It’s good you learn from experience.” She chided taking a last swipe at his injury, and then letting go a moment to prepare the plaster. The worst had passed.
Tayo was quick beside the teary boy, craning for his own inspection of the injury his twin tenderly held like some prized possession. Tayo’s face showed relief at the seized bleed. Unlike Tolu, Tayo thought the sight of blood especially repulsive.
Kamiye reached for Tolu again, except this time compassionately wiping his tear-stained cheeks and assuring that the rest would be easy. It was so. All wrapped and bounded, Tolu seemed particularly delighted with making a show of his plastered finger as both boys returned to cordial terms but even that was short-lived as they were soon arguing.
“Enough you two!”A frustrated Kamiye barked them to order.
Both quieted, a silent fume passing between them. Tobi watched pitifully as Kamiye reprimanded both for what must be the umpteenth time that day.
“You’ve got only each other, I need you to learn to live in peace and harmony.” She started a pep talk. Through it, the boys mutely nodded to their mother‘s stern admonishing, each at the end mumbling an apology and bidding their parent’s a good night rest before dashing out as if in competition. Tobi frowned. The boy’s competitiveness was equally an infernal source of worry for him. But he hoped it was only a phase as they were kids,
With the boys gone, Tobi buried into the book he’d been reading before the interruption. And the next time he took a breather was at the sound of Kamiye’s voice.
“Have you heard from Dimeji?”
Kamiye spun to him surprised, her eyes glaring at him in curiosity.
“He finally deemed it fit to reach me after three days of silence.” Tobi continued, pushing his reading glasses up the bridge of his nose.
“Really? So what did he say?”
“We didn’t talk per se. He only mailed to update me on a contract he’d travelled to Abuja for, and that was all.”
“Nothing else, no explanation-nothing?” Kamiye asked disbelieving.
“Nothing. Except the mail that proves that he is alive.” Tobi sarcastically sounded.
Kamiye had turned back to the dressing mirror, occupied with knotting her shoulder-length natural black hair at her nape.
“I am shocked at Dimeji, to think he could just leave without the barest concern for anyone’s worry. That’s mean and irresponsible.” He charged, when mid-way into his discontent, he noticed Kamiye’s silence which didn’t quite strike him as odd considering her soft spot for their buddy in question. Nevertheless, he asked. “Why are you quiet?”
“You want to hear the truth?” Kamiye slowly turned on him, lips pursed and eyes relaying quiet disapproval-reactions he was well averse to.
“You hurt him!”
“You left him no room for trust. No belief, nothing. You were quick to believe Tega’s accusation.”
“I never said I believed it.”
“You didn’t have to. There are thousand and one ways to say it without being literal. It was all over you Oluwatobi.” She finished. Kamiye rarely regarded him by his full name except during intense conversations. Mutely, both glared at the other; Kamiye gauging his expressions to read his thoughts, Tobi perusing her for the slightest hint of sentiment. He’d always accredited Kamiye as one of the most logical females he knew, but for the first time, he questioned it.
“I’m far from sentimental Tobi.” She cleared, reading his mind. “But you are the one with the trust issues.”
“I can’t help it. But that doesn’t mean there are no exceptions. I’ve known this guy since we were kids, and I am confident he is a good person. He has never given me any reasons to think otherwise.”
“But on this issue, you don’t trust him.” She rounded off.
“I didn’t say that. I am only leaving rooms for possibilities.” He corrected.
Kamiye’s light frame sagged against the wall, her lips parting for words, but closing immediately as if in reconsideration. Her face held a crushed expression.
“Trust me Kamiye, no one wants this whole saga with Dimeji and Tega to be untrue as me. But peradventure, if it turns otherwise-“
“It won’t!” Kamiye cried in certainty. “I understand the no-trust. After all you’ve been through, that’s only logical. But Tobi there are a few people you should cut some slacks, people who deserve it and trust me Dimeji tops that list. Think. If the roles were reversed, you think he will be considering this, talk-less of believing it?”
“It doesn’t matter what Dimeji would have done, and the roles are not reversed.” Tobi growled.
Following a prolonged silence, Kamiye finally pushed off the wall and strode towards her husband. “You shouldn’t live like this Tobi, no one should!”
And then slowly, she crawled into bed beside him unfrightened by his severeness even as she stretched beside him. With her elbow digging into the sheets and her chin propped on her palm, she stared a soulful gaze up at him. “Babe, I’m not saying you should trust anyone, all I’m asking is that you don’t castigate Dimeji yet, why not allow the investigations to be the judge of that?”
Tobi’s temple etched a deep frown, giving the illusion of some tough wall she couldn’t get through. Her lips pursed despaired until the give-away strain on his face, a testifier to some internal battle she hoped would somehow lead him to the light. He was close, she knew and when at last Tobi huffed a sigh of resignation, she knew he was broken.
“Okay, let’s say I was wrong, how do I rectify things?” he breathed to her deepest surprise.
A small smile briefly flashed on her lips, immediately concealed.“I think you both need to discuss when he returns.”
Tobi nodded in silent agreement.
“And what about Tega, have you spoken to him since Sunday?”
“Yes. But he is not saying much. It’s his case, he is investigating and he says he’ll keep us posted on all necessary information. But he insists he isn’t pointing fingers yet.”
“Yet? That sounds like he knows something.”
“Exactly!” Tobi seconded, allowing her a quick consideration of Dimeji’s possible guilt.
Just then, a shiver coursed down her spine as her heart began a restless thump. Too lost in thought was she, she was barely aware of Tobi’s keen study. He’d seen her fear, the wavery inflection in her voice he’d also heard. Kamiye and Dimeji were close, in fact both’s friendship was solidly grounded like both males. Like him, both went way back, and in fact,Dimeji had played a major role in their first meet; he’d been the sole instigator of their being man and wife. That alone was enough grounds clouding her senses, Tobi thought.
Loyalty had always meant much to Kamiye, and so Tobi knew she would go any length in preserving Dimeji’s image. But how far will she go in its preservation, he wondered.
“Like I said,” her hand had begun a lazy circular draw on his chest. “There is nothing to worry about. Let’s leave Tega to his job and ask that he broadens his search and not limit it to just Dimeji.”
“He knows that.”
“But for me, I’ll bet on Dimeji’s innocence anytime.” She vouched with a tight-lipped smile. He smiled back too, a quiet one he wasn’t really feeling.
In one swift purposeful gait Kamiye drew to her knees. With that unwavering smile, she relieved Tobi of his book on to the nearest nightstand, but not until first lining it with a binder. His reading glasses followed and both slid under the sheets, with Kamiye finding solace in his arms and the steady beat of his heart in the silence.
Both wrapped in silence, were given to his own thoughts; Kamiye reminiscing the good old days and reviewing all three friends from a bull’s eye, mostly for signs of greed, jealousy, hate which was devoid in all three, Tobi pondering Kamiye’s words and finally starting to reason with her. Dimeji did deserve an apology, not especially after the cold reception towards him Sunday afternoon. For all they knew, the occurrences could be random. But deep down in Tobi’s gut, he knew otherwise. There was someone and it was only a while till the truth surfaced. But till then, he didn’t intend to lose his friend and partner. Besides if there was ever a truth to Tega’s insinuations and it turned to be Dimeji, it was only smarter to pull your friends close and your enemies even closer. Over the years if there was anything he’d ever learnt about Tega, it was there was never smoke without a fire. With that decided, Dimeji snuggled closer into Kamiye, a sinister smile pressed on his lips as he fell into a deep sleep.