She roamed the kitchen looking for nothing in particular. She opened the refrigerator for the second time and held the door ajar. She allowed the cool air embrace her bare skin but it wasn’t cool enough for her wandering soul. Her gazed fixed on a square transparent bottle, Last Night. She struggled with the thought to grab and gulp like she would usually do. Removing alcohol from her daily night routine was like putting knife to her throat but her therapist had warned that if she must make progress in rediscovering herself she must remove alcohol from her life.

She took a small wine glass and decided to take a shot from the bottle instead of gulping it. She made it half full and held the glass to her nose, inviting and irresistible smell. Just as always. She used the wine glass to brush her lips still battling with tasting it or not. She truly wanted to be a better person and signed up with a therapist who gave her a long list of dos and don’ts. The therapist believed that if she can stop the alcohol she would be able to deal with most of the other issues in her life. She tossed the wine into the sink and ran some water to flush it away.

She roamed back to the sitting room and dropped herself on the huge leather sofa, it wasn’t as comfortable as she wanted. A duvet was lying carelessly on the floor, she pulled it up to her neck and grab the TV control. She flipped through the channels several times but nothing interested her. Finally stopping at a fashion channel, she fixed her gaze. She was actually concentrating on the frame beside the TV.

Herself, her third husband Nosa, and her three sons. All three boys from three different men.   

At 48, Ajoke Johnson has had four failed marriages and contemplating a fifth less than a year after the last one Nosa Amen left. She didn’t really love him but loneliness made her desperate for the company of a man especially at night. She tried to make him stay but there were too many reasons he couldn’t. First his dad wanted a car, she bought it. They needed to pay fees for two of Nosa’s siblings, she paid it. The excuses kept coming but she knew with her money she could do it. Nosa moved in to live with her but she wanted it to be a formal wedding. She wanted a societal ceremony with her politician and ‘fashionista’ friends spraying foreign currencies but Nosa’s mum didn’t want him to marry someone who already had children. The real reason.

Her second husband, Uchenna Okafor was every woman’s dream and he went after everything in skirt. He was a lair, a cheat and a thief. They were only married for eight months after which she found out that she was pregnant. Soft-sells and some social media gossip platforms went agog with the break up. There were different versions of what happened. Uchenna had a good time telling anyone who cared to listen to his own version of the story.

Uchenna lied to some journalists that he wasn’t responsible for her pregnancy. He added that she was having an affair with one chief Kokori who he believed was the father of the baby. When journalists reached Ajoke she said nothing until the baby was born. He was a striking resemblance of Uchenna. The pictures of both the baby and Uchenna were paired on different social media handles bastardizing him for denying the pregnancy. Although he made a public apology on another soft-sell and requesting that Ajoke gave him the opportunity to take full responsible of the baby, she refused and warned that she would shoot him if he ever came near her residence.

Her first husband was Mudiaga Ehigiator, handsome and rich oil mogul. He was separated from his wife, Esosa when they met. The separation was not legalized but this Esosa severed all ties with him. He already had two children who were living with her. Mudi and Ajoke had an instant spark from the beginning of their friendship and few months later he proposed to her and she agreed.

The formal joining was delayed because Mudi still wanted to be sure if it was totally over with Esosa, but she won’t even pick his call or give him audience whenever he visited. He only spent few hours with the children. Ajoke could not wait, she was sure they were meant to be. He agreed to wed her.

It was a very quiet and private wedding in Dubai. It was the dream life she had always wanted to live. Mudi dotted over her like a queen and was loud about how much he loved her. Much more than all his nice qualities, he was a Christian, went to church regularly, read his bible and prayed often.

This beautiful world came crumbling when from nowhere, Esosa came into their lives. She wanted him back.

That day, both of them were cuddling in the sitting room watching a romantic movie when a maid announced that someone was at the gate. Mudi went to see, to Ajoke’s surprise he came back with a woman and two children. She needed no one to tell her those were his family. She had seen her face before in one of his photographs.

Without exchanging pleasantries she went upstairs into her bedroom and immediately slept off. Her pregnancy was already obvious and made her sleepy most of the day. She tried to eavesdrop on Mudi’s conversation with Esosa but they discussed in hush. She left after one long hour. He didn’t speak about what they discussed and Ajoke didn’t bother him.

Four months after that visit the baby was born, Mudi wasn’t as excited as expected. He became withdrawn and deliberately avoided. He gave excuses to stay out late or to go to bed early. Then one night as she was getting into bed after a tiring day with the baby, he broke the news to her. He had reconciled with Esosa and wanted to move back to living with his family. Mudi told her she could have the house as his gift to the baby. He promised that he would be responsible for the baby but no longer wish to remain as her husband. He was truly sorry but Ajoke considered him very mean and told him never to come near again.

She couldn’t keep to that promise of staying away from Mudi as she had a secret affair with him even when she was married to Uchenna.

3am

She yielded to the temptation of the alcohol. She hurried back into the kitchen, grabbed the bottle and took three quick large gulps. It burnt her throat and her chest. It was just the feeling she had been longing for. She examined the bottle and took one more gulp trying to decide if she should empty the content or not. She knew she had taken so much but she just didn’t care. She took the last gulp and emptied the bottle then tossed it into a trash bin.

An instant excitement triggered in her head. She picked the TV control and tuned to a music channel. Her vision dimmed, the alcohol had found its way to her brain. Just then she remembered Uche Jnr would be six the next day and she had a big party planned out. It was too late to think about anything serious as she dozed off with TV control dropping to the floor.

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