For long moments, Tobi sat at the double sofa, quiet. His glumness showed that his visit was more of an obligation than desire. It’s been seven days since Tobi and I last saw, one would expect that by now, the tension would have eased. From my end, at least it had. Sadly, the same could not be said of Tobi as the strain on his face is yet the same, even more deepened, probably from the ongoing feud with Kamiye which she had revealed to me.
There was the infidelity ground, then the pictures. Frankly, who would blame him. However, I could not help but feel like something was missing. Something Tobi was too mad to notice, especially as he’d now moved out of his home. Nevertheless, whatever the case was, I would not sit and watch my brother’s marriage head for the hills as our parents had. And that was because a part of me believed the truth in Kamiye’s words. But what if I’m wrong? I shudder to think what would become of the family; it would be history on the repeat!
“About last week,” I began “I’m sorry. You were right. I was being unreasonable.”
“It’s fine.” Tobi casually dismissed barely detaching from the small screen TV as he muttered an apology as well.
“I should have listened to you.” I pressed on, now catching Tobi’s attention as he turned to me with some skepticism. “You were right. I was harboring too much hate and I allowed my past experiences to forge my present identity, and actions and literally everything; which is probably why you think of me as stubborn and adamant. That part of me is always on the defensive. In a nutshell, all I’m trying to say is that I am done with anger and hate. I know who I want to be, and all of the baggage from the past would only keep me from that. So I am done being angry at life, myself, or anyone. I would not sabotage my life, happiness, and chances for hate.”
Like the fine-faced doctor. A small voice chirped in my head.
“So just like that, you’ve forgiven everyone?” Tobi’s eyes were narrowed in slits, as he watched me.
“Well maybe not completely, but I am working on it. I guess I have forgiven uncle Fidelis, I’m learning to forgive father and Aunt Yemi.”
“No one said it would be easy,” Tobi muttered glaring into oblivion. If judging by the look on his face, I bet my words were making an impact on him so I delved on to other matters.
“You know, someone once told me that in life everything happens for a reason. For me, all of this is a fresh start to life, a chance to live…to love. It won’t be so bad for you to do the same, give others the benefit of doubt, hear their own parts before drawing any conclusions.”
Tobi’s stare was back, his countenance rigid as he spat. “This is about Kamiye I see. Of course, you spoke with her, and you want me to forgive her and act like nothing happened between her and my supposed best friend.”
“What I’m asking is for you to hear her out, to give her a chance. That’s all.”
“Give her a chance on what?” Tobi spat with a hint of mockery in his tone. “Wait! You think I didn’t give her the chance to explain? I did, but you see there was nothing to explain. And now you expect me to sit and listen to some cooked excuse for her infidelity when proofs show otherwise? She cheated on me Pelumi. Don’t you get it?!”
“What proofs do you have on that Tobi? Pictures? With all that has befallen us lately-you think pictures are the best way to base the truth when it’s clear that someone is probably trying to frame you. You of all people should know this, and what’s worse is that your reaction is giving them the victory they desire.”
Tobi quieted, his lips pressing in keen dissatisfaction as his eyes coldly regarded me. From his hardened expression, I could tell I was not making much sense to him. I’d better cool off if I was to get anywhere with this.
“Please Tobi, don’t let this tear your family apart. Yes, she made the mistake of being too cozy with Dimeji, and that I believe she has learnt from. But regardless, I think we are missing something. Don’t you feel it?”
“I work with facts Pelumi and not haunches! And fact shows that she is having an affair with Dimeji. How else do you explain shots of them together in Ghana.”
“Of course they won’t tell you about that.” Tobi sneered. “They will only fill you with lies because they were caught.”
Now I was confused, and I did not hide it as my eyes grew larger, almost popping out of their socket.
“You know what? Why don’t you ask her why they were in Ghana early this year when she was supposed to be visiting elsewhere? So you see. If you call this blackmail, then I am more than grateful to the blackmailer for opening my eyes to reality.”
I swallowed nervously, trying to make sense of Tobi’s recent revelation. “Do you have the second pictures?”
He passed me a look and snorted.
“Okay. So there is another set of photograph, but for all you know, it might have been photo-shopped. You know anything is possible nowadays.”
“Really? I have always known you to be smart Pelumi.” Those words and the absurd look in Tobi’s eyes sent me cringing, especially as he rose to his feet, shaking his head in a clear tone of finality.
“Call me when you are less sentimental and are ready to hear the truth.” With that, he turned on his heel but stopped unexpectedly and turned. “Did she ever tell you that Dimeji once loved her and wanted her? She was well aware of Dimeji’s feelings for her and yet she remained close friends with him. Kamiye has you fooled.”
That hurt like I’d been slapped, and I flinched for Kamiye’s sake.
“No Tobi! The fact that Dimeji had a thing for her doesn’t mean she must cut ties with him, especially when the same man is close friends with her husband. And from what I hear they were friends longer than she met you and in fact this same Dimeji put you both together. Right?”
Tobi’s eyes were wild and raging and I immediately felt sorry for him.
“I’m sorry bro. I need you to know I am not taking sides. All I just want is for you and your wife to sit and talk things through.”
My plea must have gone on deaf ears, for Tobi turned again and started to leave, the click of his stick clouding the rest of my words.
“You need to sort things with your wife and stop letting your emotions get in the way.”
When Tobi abruptly spun on me, I knew I had said too much.
“I’m sorry Tobi, I mean all of this is not just coming out right.” I pushed to my feet too, understanding the gravity of the situation. “What I am trying to say is that your family needs you Tobi! I need you! Especially now that a lot is coming at us all at the same time, this is when we need to stay the strongest. All I ask is that you hear Kamiye out. She needs you…not even with her present condition.”
“What condition?!” Tobi growled, the sound of it striking yet another mistake. Gosh! I had revealed too much.
“What condition are you referring to Pelumi?”
“Kamiye is pregnant.” I revealed, hopeful that this might cause a change of heart.
Tobi eyes were bland, expressionless and unblinking, causing my heart to constrict as I prayed for some emotion, anything other than his bland stare.
He didn’t respond, but when a frown set on his face, I knew I had made the worst mistake, especially as he spat. “It’s not mine!”
“Please Tobi, don’t be ridiculous.”
“It’s not mine!” He adamantly reiterated. “Kamiye knows my take on a third child, I have stressed my displeasure on this and we were on a family plan. She knows my stand on that, and so she should take her pregnancy to its father.”
The chill in Tobi’s voice was unmistakable, sending shivers down my spine. And even as his words hit home, I could not help an enraged burst. “What are you insinuating?” This time I walked up to him, meeting him eye-to-eye. “Did you hear yourself? Family plan or not, you make love to a woman regularly, and you expect that she would never get pregnant, maybe just once. Really? That must be the joke of the century.”
“Well thank you for the insight baby sis, but our family plan has worked just fine for years. Why fail now, except if she stopped, which I didn’t ask her to!”
“Maybe she stopped with the family plan. Because if she were truly having an affair with Dimeji, she would perfectly cover her tracks and a love child would have been the last on her list?”
Tobi’s eyes were unyielding as he stepped forward, meeting me nose to nose, with only an inch of breath separating us and his towering height. “Well, that is none of my business. I do not care what she would have done. But you can tell her to hell with her and her bastard baby!”
I gasped prepared for my own retort when the door opened with a quiet rap revealing Aunt Yemi. She started to turn back, apologizing for her intrusion, but I summoned her in while Tobi muttered a greeting to her and walked out, leaving a confused aunt Yemi glaring after him.
“I hope all is well?” She asked.
“Yes.” I provided, not especially proud that she had caught Tobi and me, on each other’s throats.
“Please come.” I guided her to a seat, happy that she had honored my visit.
“Thank you.” She muttered. And even before I even had a chance to speak, she jumped from her seat and pulled me in a warm embrace.