I remember the day. I was in the process of making dinner when Femi called and said that his Step father was town and wanted desperately to meet the lady in his life.
I was nervous and excited and petrified to cook for ‘the family’.
Femi had told me about this man. He wasn’t Femi’s birth father, but then again, according to Femi, his birth father wasn’t worth the mention.
This man had paid for Femi’s education and mentored him, it was clear that Femi adored him.
I wanted to meet the man, who had made this man up just for me.
We showed up at the hotel’s restaurant and when the man walked up to us; I passed out.
For years Femi told me that the man’s name was Mr Folarin but when I walked into the restaurant, Mr Segun stood in front of me with his palm outstretched.
“Bimpe, are you okay?” Femi dabbed my forehead with the damp cloth.
I stared at him hoping that I’d been mistaken and it was some bizarre resemblance to the man I once knew.
“My uncle was about to shake your hand when you fainted.”
“Are you alright?”
“Femi, what is your uncle’s name?”
“Mr Adefolarin, I thought I told you this before?”
“I mean, what is his full name?”
Femi frowned, “Adefolarin Olusegun Ola.”
I sighed deeply when he said the last names.
“Bimpe, whats wrong?”
“I must have had him confused with someone else.” I lied.
How was I to explain to him that the man he most respected violated and took from ‘me’ away from me?
“Where is he?”
“He had to leave for an urgent meeting, but he’ll be back later tonight. Do you think you’ll be up to it, then?”
“I don’t think so Hun. I think it’s that time of the month”
Femi frowned again, “Bimpe, your cycle just ended a week ago.”
“I know, but sometimes it comes twice, in one month. It’s weird I know.” I forced a smile.
I definitely need to make an appointment with my therapist.
If Mr Segun was Femi’s father, he’ll constantly be in our lives.
“It’s such a shame; I really wanted you to meet him.”
The fake smiles were beginning to make my cheeks hurt.
“Some other time, I promise.”
“Let’s order something and watch a movie at home then.” He smiled.
I was waiting at my therapist office as early as 8am.
“Bimpe, you must really be distressed, my office isn’t open until 9am!” she laughed when she drove in at 8:30.
“It’s the worst that could happen, doctor.”
She took out her pen and notepad and urged me to begin to share.
I explained how I had bumped into my nightmare and how much I wanted to tell Femi, but I didn’t know how he’d react.
Sharing made me feel a lot better but didn’t absolutely remove my concerns.
My therapist advised me not to tell him, perhaps after we have been married for a while and when Mr Ola has passed away.
According to her, telling him something like that would not only ruin him, emotionally but whatever affections he has for me will suffer as well.
I had some doubts and thought it best to just tell him anyways but after her advice, it seemed wiser to just sweep all under the carpet.
We talked about the awkwardness of being with Mr Ola and all the upcoming encounters.
I was very convinced that he couldn’t remember me, or maybe he did in the sense that he knew he raped a ten year old girl, but he didn’t realize that I was that ten year old girl.
A lot of people said I looked more like my late father than my mother. I was much taller than she was and maintained a slim physique where my mother was a little chubby; I wore my hair short, just beneath my ears.
My therapist agreed and advised that mum-was-the-word; if he didn’t say anything, neither should I.
To be quite honest I though her advice was quite desperate, but then again, Femi and I had been together for six years and I felt what we had was worth preserving.
As fate and Cupid would have it, Femi proposed a month later in the most romantic manner ever.
Warning bells went off in my head but I said yes anyways.
During one of our marriage counselling classes the Pastor had asked us to share our deepest darkest secrets; so that our relationship would grow stronger.
In retrospect that day would have been mighty awesome to tell him the truth but I clamped my lips shut and just smiled endearingly as Femi shared that he had slept with over ten females, including a mother and daughter and twins.
We prayed about it and our relationship did grow stronger, but I never breathed a word of what transpired between his father and I.
We met with Mr Ola on several occasions and I was more than convinced that the man had no clue who I was.
It burnt me, to see him smile and laugh and enjoy life like he had not stolen in his past, like he had not killed in his past, like he had not raped me.
During our dinner dates, I found myself often holding on to the carving knife a little too much and daydreaming a little too long.
I admit, I really shouldn’t have gone along with the bells and whistles of marriage or the wedding, fully knowing that I had skeletons in my closet.
My wedding day was wonderful.
It was more than a princess could wish for and right before my husband and I were whisked away into the honeymoon of our dreams, my mother grabbed my arm and pulled me aside.
“Bimpe, I think I just saw Mr Ola.” I could see a mix of fear and anger in her eyes.
“I know, he’s Femi’s mentor” I said, lacking a better word.
My mother’s face fell,” you knew this and still married the man! He’s a monster Bimpe, just like his mentor” she made air quotes.
“Mum, I know Femi and he is nothing like Mr Ola.” I replied a little too sharply.
“Listen to me Bimpe, when I was dating Segun, it wasn’t written on his forehead what kind of horrible monster he was, in fact if anything he was sweet and kind and..” she stopped mid sentence, suddenly getting upset.
“Bimpe, I think you need to call this entire thing off! Get this marriage annulled and walk away!”
“Femi isn’t like that, trust me, I know what a beast is and Femi is not.”
She looked deeply into my eyes and sighed,” If that’s what you want, then so be it.”
I smiled and took her hands in mine compassionately, “You have been there for me mum, through a lot of nonsense. Remember that guy I was dating in my second year, Andrew?”
We both laughed.
Andrew was a mess, an accident waiting to happen. His temper could shame ten demons. Thank God I found out quickly before he smashed my head with a rock!
“I promise you mum, everything is going to work out perfectly.”
She seemed unconvinced and about to ask another question but smiled instead.
“Run along and have a wonderful wedding night!” she winked.
With joy in my heart I picked up my dress and went in search of my husband.