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BN Prose: When Sex is a Deal Breaker by Jumoke Omisore {Part II}



* Editor’s note This is a continuation of last week’s BN Prose. {Read the first part of this story here}

“The woman you saw is my wife.” Leke saw her brows crease but his words took longer to register. She reached for the edge of the sofa when they finally did. He closed the gap between them; to help her, to explain – anything that would lessen the blow.
“No,” she yelled, pointing a warring finger at him.
He backed away. Worn.
Light had filtered out of Kanyin’s eyes. She looked as if he had just told her that he’d signed up to work for the devil himself. His phone was ringing again, vibrating softly against his right thigh. The thin fabric of his pocket proved useless to the pulsations. The vibrating edged him closer to an ironic stirring. To the pain evident in his wife’s questions as she quizzed him on the phone, a few minutes before Kanyin arrived.
“Why is she snooping around Oluwaleke? I know I told you to do whatever you want but you shouldn’t have given her our salon’s address.”
His wife’s voice had faltered on the phone. “Have you fallen for the girl?”
He had to get off the phone, promising her he would ring her back.

Kanyin asked him something that brought him to the present. Something about Becky’s mother. Her lips were mouthing the question again when he met her eyes.
“You told me your wife died. You said Becky’s mother died in child birth.”
“It is true Kanyin. I married Bolu twelve years ago. My first wife died two years after our traditional marriage.”
“And is this the sort of flat a married man lives in?” Kanyin’s voice had regained its screeching depth again.
She looked round the flat. Sparse of evidence of a coupling or existence of children. She stared at the lone photo of Leke on the wall beside the bleak 19th century East End painting, the stain-free wooden flooring and white walls. His voice was trying to coax her into taking a seat. The normally soothing voice grating on her. She headed for the bedroom. Although she had declined his offer of a sleepover the only time she had been to his flat, she found it with ease.
Refusing to let his words soothe her, she went straight to the huge wardrobe and yanked the doors open. As expected the ladies’ clothing items were missing but what left her agape was the gaping emptiness of the wardrobe.
“Where are your things?”
Leke sat on the edge of the bed. A sigh escaped his mouth and as if it were more than a sigh, leaving in its wake slanting shoulders.
“Do you want to break up with me because I’m not ready to sleep with you? What kind of a man cooks up a lie like this because he is not getting his way.

“It is the truth.” He rose and dipped his hand in his left pocket, fishing out his ring to show her.
“I’m married Kanyin. I live in Enfield in a semi-detached with a garden. We bought this flat to let it out. Please, I’m really not one of those men who cheats on their wife.”
Kanyin laughed a mirthless chortle she had never thought herself capable of. She knew she would never be able to tell her cousin the full story. How she thought he was the one and whittled plans to work less hours for the production company, so she could spend more time with him in London. All this while, she was making plans in her head with a man that had no business making plans with any woman at all.
Yes, her job was exhausting and time consuming, leaving her with an aching brain and a body begging for a massage after a six day back to back marathon prep and shoots, but she should have spotted the signs.
“You aren’t one of those men?”
“I love my wife…”
“Why did you ask me out then?” Kanyin refused to buckle up. He owed her that much.
It took a while before his lips parted. “I haven’t had sex with my wife for three years.” He sighed and took the same spot on the bed that he did earlier.
He noticed that the confession had softened her angry eyes as he searched for the right words to tell his story, their story without seeming selfish.
“Bolu was diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago.”

Kanyin suddenly felt sorry for his wife. The woman’s smiles were warm. Cordial.
“She cried when we realised that she would need a hysterectomy.” He looked up and met her gaze. “But we had no idea that the radical operations performed would take away from us so much more than we thought. The surgeon wanted to save her at all cost, cutting and chipping away at what makes her a woman.”
He looked away from her. “After waiting for a while, further tests revealed she would need more operations to get rid of the damage and scarring from the previous procedures.” Leke remembered how what drove his wife to pleasure zones brought her pain and tears.
Kanyin moved closer to him. “What about the operation?”

“My wife refused to even consider it.” He rubbed his palms together. “I didn’t have the heart to insist. She nearly died when they performed the radical hysterectomy. The radiotherapy sessions were not easy on her either. I agreed that it will be enough to have her around. And we tried other…ways.”
“I guess that didn’t work.”
“I begged Bolu to have the procedure, promising private expensive care. In the end, she told me to look outside for pleasure.”
He saw her face fall. This forced him to his feet. He gathered her in his arms and explained how he wanted one thing and saw her at the location but wanted much more.
His face was so close to hers. Looking into his eyes, she buckled because she could hold it no more. At 32, she wondered if the half of himself he offered should not be snapped up with frenzied hands. She whispered his name as he bent his head to hers.

The bedroom was pitch black when Leke walked into their bedroom. Although, he could make out the slim half naked figure on the bed, he still foraged for the button of the bedside lamp.
“You’re back.” Bolu said, turning to face him.
“Traffic,” he muttered. He knew he couldn’t tell her after Kanyin walked out, he had needed time to think. He knew which woman he wanted but he needed time on his own before facing her again.

“I have decided to go for the surgery Leke.” Bolu said, crouching towards her husband. He stared at her, transfixed. “I don’t want to share you with anyone.”
“Are you sure?” He arched a brow as he explained he didn’t sleep with Kanyin. “I couldn’t do that to you.”
“You are a good man Leke. But I’m still having the op.” Her smile widened into a mischievous look as she started to play with his belt. “I think we can make do with what we have for now.”
He chuckled and pulled her closer.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Darren Baker

Olajumoke Omisore was born in Hammersmith. She is currently a student at the University of Central Lancashire. As a school girl, she lived in Abeokuta with her family. Her brothers and sisters had the task of explaining to their friends that she existed because she was always holed up in her bedroom, reading or writing. She finds fiction writing a blessing. Her work has appeared on African Writer and scheduled to appear in the Kalahari Review.