Somebody Help: Baba Isheri Has Gone Deaf

He seemed so happy when he walked past Derenle's Akamu stand. He was in a world of his own. He was whistling the song "Otito Koro"- meaning the truth is bitter. The only odd thing about him was the new look he now had. Baba was always looking very debonair in his custom white Babariga. He now wore a scruffy looking beard and adorned a casual dansiki and sokoto with a leather slippers to match.

Derenle and her fellow evening market women could not help but comment on Baba's current state. Rumor had it that Bimpe, his bride of 8 years,  made reports to his people in Ilesa that Baba Isheri  had turned into another man. He no longer "listened" to her. "All that brings him joy is his cocoa farm", she claimed. She claimed he dotes over his farm produce like one who was betrothed to the village belle.  When she was asked if Baba kept late nights with friends, she said no. Does he follow other women? She said no. Does he come to bed at night? She smiled and said yes oh! Does he support your taking evening classes so you become an auxiliary  nurse, she said yes. Does he give you enough money to run the house? She said yes. "Then what else do you want?" asked Uncle Larry? He scolded her saying "Some women I know, do not have husbands, others who have, don't have children. Some others have habitual philanderers as matesHere you are complaining about what I can not comprehend. Please go home and take care of your family."

She shook her head and sobbed, knowing they did not understand neither could they relate with the emptiness she was currently experiencing.

She poured out heart to her grand-aunty Yemi hoping she would be able to counsel her right. 

She lamented: "Baba no longer helps me with little things at home. He would usually cook me my favorite plantain porridge every Sunday. He was always interested in the children's homework and  get them tucked in at night. He always professed his love for me on a daily basis. He would get me presents on every trip he took to Ibadan. Fridays were always suya nights. He would listen to me patiently run my mouth about all that happened every day. Aunty, Baba has changed and I do not know why. He cared about my feelings and oscillating emotions. We always engaged in deep and real conversations. Today, my love is a shadow of himself. He is indifferent to all that goes on in our home.  I think the phone that Bolaji bought for him from overseas is a curse. He is always on his phone, playing games like a little boy".

Aunty Yemi listened with rapt attention and made no attempt to interrupt. 

Bimpe continued: "Aunty, this loneliness is eating me dry. It's a disease that is literally choking the life out of me. I am resolved not to allow this kill me before my time. I am thinking of taking the job offer to be a receptionist at Gbogbo supermarket. I too need to detach myself from our home and family, reinvesting my emotional energy in an outside job. Or may be I should start drinking burukutu like Iyabo and her women friends. Like they say, drink and forget your sorrows. I'm also thinking of leaving the children for him to take care of. As it is apparent that being a mother, is tantamount to being a slave. Yes, I will denounce the responsibilities of mothering. Worst case Aunty, I will run away with Bolatito, that Jehovah witness brother who always invites me for evening bible study. I can see from his eyes that he wants to teach me other things than bible. I have to find a way to cope with this marital frustration.
I will not remain at home in this atmosphere of great depression and despair.  Like my mum used to say before she passed on: depression is anger turned in-ward and will turn any willing woman into
a classic nagger; low self esteem is not far when it sets in. Aunty, please give me words to get me out of this solitude". 

She looked at Aunty hoping to get a response from her. She had fallen asleep. 

Bimpe shook her head and played an old record on their gramophone. Her favorite track was In My Solitude by Billie Holiday. As she made dinner ready, words of the music playing filtered to her ears.

In my solitude
You haunt me
With dreadful ease
Of days gone by
In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories
That never die

I sit in my chair
And filled with despair
There's no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I'll soon go mad

In my solitude
I'm afraid
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

Aunty woke up just when dinner was ready. She claimed she was not sleeping. Bimpe did not contradict her. She got up and said she needed to get home. Bimpe insisted she ate before leaving. They haggled over that like women from Ketu Tomato market until Bimpe won. 

She told Bimpe as she prepared to leave: "I have a lot to say. For now never forget a deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple - because they can overlook each other's faults"

To Be Continued

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