I squawked! Sweat was breaking through every pore on my body. My heart had skipped breath for a while and my brain seemed to have stuttered. My eyes were as wide as they could possibly be but I was tongue-tied even though my lips were wide apart.
He was enfeebled at my squawk and as he turned, she was going to slip and fall. With the swiftness of a hare, I made out for her. She was just in my arms as I ran out. I was barefooted, in my lingerie but I was out on the street, bearing my baby in my hand, constantly checking her body as I drove to the hospital. She was running a fever like before but she was calm like she could make sense of all that had happened and wasn’t ready to cry.
” Please, where is Doctor Jaye, I want to see the doctor” I called out as soon as I stepped foot in the hospital. I was definitely not the one to wait in line to see the doctor. I was lucky he came out just as I asked and ushered me into his office.
“Doctor, it is herpes. It is truly herpes. I caught him, I caught Muyi this morning licking her vagina. I saw him.” I broke down in tears as I remembered in a quick flash how Muyi planted his face between her chunky thighs, slurping her puffy and delicate vagina with his chameleon tongue.
“Cunnilingus doctor, who in this world does that on a year old innocent baby? Who does that doctor? I was going to rest a bit. I couldn’t sleep since she started running fever days ago, you know. He asked to watch over her while I take a nap. Doctor, it doesn’t seem like his first. Those blisters aren’t diaper rashes. Help me, help me, please do the herpes test now” I said all amidst tears while I confirm the speculation the doctor gave me days ago when I earlier visited the hospital.
“You still have to calm down. Herpes isn’t the only cause of blisters on babies like I said days before. It could even be chickenpox but let’s run the test now. Please call your husband.” I was looking at him but I couldn’t see him. His voice was faint in my ears as the flash of what I saw thundered in my mind.
I had stayed in the hospital for 21days after. It was indeed herpes. The fever, the blisters on her vagina and those in her mouth that I didn’t notice before time were because of herpes she must have got from Muyi. Muyi does kiss her even in my presence but I never put much thought to it. I mean, I don’t allow strangers to do that but he is her uncle, he stays with us in the house and I’m sure of his proper hygiene. So why not? Little did I know, he does all forms of oral sex on her while I leave her to him to watch over.
The 21days were horrendous, to say the least. I couldn’t sleep or eat properly as I was in pain watching my daughter go through all the struggle. I wished I had done better as a mother. I constantly imagined when it could have started, perhaps a few days after her birth. I was not sure but I made up the blanks and blamed myself even more. The doctor advised I concentrated on attending to my daughter at the clinic while my husband handled his brother’s case.
I got home and Muyi was nowhere to be found. No matter what it is, my husband and I were not going to let a pedophile go unpunished, such was my thought. So I just settled in back and I was glad my daughter was recuperating.
I was later to get the shock of my life when I asked Ade the steps he took on his brother’s case. “I didn’t ask him anything. You caught him, so there was no need for questioning. I just told him he needed to have an apartment of his own seeing that he is no more a young boy too” he said. I felt like I didn’t hear well and had to confirm again, “you mean you didn’t get angry with him, you didn’t reprimand him for what he did? There was no scolding of any sort talkless getting him arrested? You mean you just told him you were moving him to his own apartment for his convenience? Is that it, Ade? ” I asked like I didn’t believe what I had heard, trying hard not to shout but I could hear my scream.
“See, woman, I don’t have time for this. My baby is responding to treatment. He didn’t rape her, did he? Please let’s just let it go. He is my brother, so don’t press too hard. This has cost me enough money for it to still cause me stress” he responded, adjusting the duvet like that was the curtain call and he needed no more talk.
Dumbfounded is the least to describe how I felt. I felt a rush of anger, hate, and betrayal but my soul was dampened and I couldn’t find words. That minute, all the memories of Ade’s cheating spree came at me. For 2years of our marriage, I have caught him several times flirting with girls on WhatsApp and Instagram. Sliding into Dms and shooting his shot at every opportunity like a single man with no regard for our marriage vows. Whenever I brought up such issues, his defence was always “am I sleeping with them? I sent love messages to her, did I mean it? I’m just playing around please” Anything I say after his lame words of defence would have been responded to with smiles on his face.
For two years, I had watched my husband disrespect our vows flirting with girls online. For two years, I had watched him stay longer in the toilet making calls to those girls. For two years, I have seen receipts of cash transfers to the ladies. For the two years, he has denied me the privilege to go on vacation with him with the excuse that he couldn’t afford to pay for me and his brother and can’t let me go with him without his brother as that would make his brother sad. For those two years, I had always blamed it on me. I had always thought I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t deserving of unflinching love. That I have no perfect shape for him not to cheat on me. For those two years that he trivialized his cheating attitude, I believed him even though it affected my anxiety and triggered my attacks more and more.
But I was beginning to see it differently, I was beginning to see Ade as a devil that kills without sword after my daughter’s case. She is innocent, she is beautiful, she is his daughter; his first fruit. She deserves his love and concern. Anyone who did her bad deserved to see his red veins. Why would he do this to our daughter?
In the morning, I confronted him. “So you are going to allow your brother to get away with infecting my daughter with a lifelong disease? You are going to let him go free and do it to other children? Ade, you are really going to do this to your own daughter.” I got no reply, just a man with his eyes fixed on his phone. “You are a devil” I yelled at his smiling face with a shot of blood in my eyes, my veins all worked up, my voice came out so loud but cranky from the tears of the night before. He laughed back at me just like he always does. “I will leave this house for you, you can do this to our daughter? I will leave, I will leave today” I screamed not being able to help my tears. He smirked at me and got busy with his phone like what I just said meant nothing.
I did as I said. I got my things and my daughter’s and left the house for my parent’s house. I have kissed my journey of mental and psychological violence; a goodbye. I wasn’t going to come back to it.
“Did he beat you? No. Does he provide for you and your daughter? Yes! What else do you want? See, marriage is managing o, you learn to manage and tolerate your husband. Not that you make divorce an option. It is never an option for a good woman. The daughter that you said is sick, who is taking care of her, is it not him or are you the one spending the money? Did he not send the Muyi away now, either it is nicely or how you want it, the main deal is Muyi already left your house. So why not save your dignity and self-esteem and stay in your husband’s house. We all have tales to tell in our marriages, it is best if you would stop acting like yours is worse and get going to your husband’s house”
Those were the words of my mother as I got to my family house expecting to be welcomed. She was clear with her objection and tried to dissuade every point I made. She made it a point that I return as soon as possible to my husband’s house.
As I rode back home to the strangling silence of Ade, I questioned my judgment. Could it be that I am still the problem? Could it be that Muyi was guiltless? Could it be that the anger and hate I feel are baseless? Who do I even blame if not me? Of my mother, my husband or his brother, who do I curse if not me?