Toluwani 26


         Sola was visibly angry. He was trembling from head to toe. No one and nothing had ever pushed him this hard. 
The minute he dragged Ife out of the hall and they got into his car, he let go of her like she had some contagious disease. He doesn't want to hold her.
Her skin felt like acid to him.
He tried to justify her actions in his head. He desperately tried to understand why she did all that but he came short.
Bile rose up in him against her. He felt a sudden urge to throw up. He would have wiped away the defensive expression she had on her face with a hard hit of his hand but he was not one of those men. She was poking him beyond his limits into a monster he never dreamed of.
Ife sat in the car next to Sola as she ran the events over in her head. From when she had noticed Sola's distractions and to when she had kicked the table and sent the cutleries in different directions.
Truth be told, she knew she had gone over the edge by kicking the table, however, a part of her was unapologetic. She made a brief pause to consider the chaos that would have erupted if the cake had toppled but she discarded the imagination immediately. After all, it didn't happen, so there's no reason to dwell on the thought.
She peeked at Sola. His head was placed on the headrest. His eyes were closed with his lips tightly drawn. The embarrassment she had caused him still made his body vibrate. It was obvious in the way he held his fist tightly on the steering. 
Ife pondered whether to talk to him or let him be; she chose the former.
"Sola," she started. "If you had paid attention to me in there, there wouldn't have been a need for that drama. It was your fault as much as mine."
Sola's ears began to tingle. He wasn't expecting a word from her in this state but to his chagrin, Ife was heaping and passing blames rather than taking responsibility for the embarrassment she had caused them; for the reputation, she had soiled and the wedding she had nearly ruined.
He made to respond but he bit down his tongue. If he rolled off the words on the tip of his tongue, that would be the last time Ife would say anything to him. So he held his tongue and kept mum. Waiting for her to take his silence as a cue and roll in hers too.
Ife was annoyed, Sola had heard her obviously but had decided to continue with the attitude that had made her lose control of herself in the first place. The inferno she was struggling to put under control resurfaced; rearing its head fiercely and threatening destruction.
She became maddened and sent her hand across sola's face.
The slap landed on Sola's face. 
Sola opened his eyes in bewilderment. He never saw it coming. He launched out his right hand immediately to restrain Ife who was about sending her hand across his face a second time.
He held both her hands with one of his as she wielded for her freedom.
"Ife, I am not a monster, and I swear by God, you are beginning to turn me into one," he breathed hotly.
"You became one the minute you couldn't control yourself at the sight of another woman," she flung back.
"She isn't another woman. She is my best friend!" He yelled.
"A best friend you can't bear to see with another man!"
"The woman I should have chosen rather than the witch you are!"
Ife managed to wield free her right hand and as she did, she slapped Sola a second time.
This let loose all the hell he was keeping under control. He looked her in the eye and slapped her soundly. She had pushed him over the edge. He wanted a woman he would forever honor and treasure. He wanted a woman who is wise and can build her home.
He wanted the woman King Solomon's mother wrote to him about. He wanted a woman he could trust his life and future; one his children, her children would be safe to grow up around.
Not one who seemed to be a representative of the devil and his bound to spend eternity with him.
That minute, his eyes were opened and he realized he had only been enchanted by Ife's good looks. They have absolutely nothing in common.
He would ruin himself if he goes ahead to build a home with her and he would regret it with each of his seconds on earth.
Ife held her face in her hands. Her vision had blurred and she had seen stars dancing in the air when the slap landed on her face. The man she fell in love with and who fell in love with her was a devil! She was provoked! He wasn't different from the others who would beat a woman when she tries to prove her point.
She had thought Sola was different all along. She had been swayed by his cool and collected personality. He was a liar! Betrayer! Devil and a demon just like others who had come before him.
A part of her knew all her accusations were wrong. Sola was none of the adjectives she had described above but she cared less.  
Ife never gives thought to reason whenever she's angry.
Someone rapped on Ife's side of the window jolting both her and Sola out of their locked-up rage. A knife would cut through the thick tension in the small space of the car.
The person tapped the window again. Ife couldn't figure out who it was, it however looked like one or the other guests. Her eyes were still blurry and whoever it was could as well leave her alone at this point. She knew the fellow was most likely coming to get the gist and then serve others.
So she ignored the intrusion and sat glued to her seat. She noticed that the fellow turned and walked to Sola's side of the car. 
As soon as the figure turned, Sola rolled down the glass separating him from the world outside and waited for the person. He didn't even breathe a word; it must be someone he knew, she reasoned.
When her eyes cleared a bit, she noted it was a middle-aged woman who was walking towards the driver's side, she however hoped it wasn't Tolu's mother because this time she swore to unveil the cat in her and scratch her face until she bled.
When the figure covered the short distance, she was disappointed it wasn't Tolu's mother. She was thirsty for revenge and longed to have her skin beneath her fingers. 
However, if whoever it was didn't mind her business, she would take it out on her. 
"Sola," a middle-aged woman whimpered. The woman seemed slightly older than Tolu's mother but she seemed to be equally affluent
Her modest jewelry and the grace with which she had walked up to the car are tell tales of the fact. Ife noted that she had seen her at the party. She had even sat at their table with an elderly man during the traditional marriage but she wasn't introduced to her.
"Sola," the woman said softly again and then cradled sola's face in her hands as he opened the car door.
"Mum," sola responded. He sounded distressed and went into her hands willingly like a baby. 
Ohhh, so it was his mother, she thought. Shame swept over her instantly. 
How was she to defend herself before his mum?
How would she explain her actions to her boyfriend's mother?
If what she knows about Africans is right, she had engraved her own name in black ink even before she had the chance to meet her would-be mother-in-law.
"Mum, I'm sorry," Sola apologized. Ife couldn't believe her ears. Sola had just apologized for something she had done wrong. She truly did not deserve the guy. He was all and more than she asked for, she knew that truth deep within her heart.
Mother and son held each other for several seconds. They seemed to be communicating even without saying anything.
Envy swelled in her but she knew she had to save what was left of her reputation especially in front of Sola's mother if she ever meant to take her relationship with Sola seriously.
Ife noticed Sola's mum carefully mopping up the tears that rolled down her son's face with her handkerchief. 
"Come home soon. We need to talk," she said warmly before walking away.
Sola nodded solemnly and muttered, "thanks for being my mother" before falling back into his seat in the car.
Ife waited some minutes expecting him to talk about what had just ensued between him and his mother.
Seven minutes.
She held her breath and waited for him to say something. She was curious to know why all his mother had said was "come home soon, we need to talk."
She was inquisitive as to why the mother didn't bare her mind now. 
Was she waiting for her son to come home before telling him how much his girlfriend had embarrassed the entire family?
Had she already concluded that her son can't end up with someone like her and that was why she didn't as much as looked at her or even say hello?
Her curiosity was eating her up and she had to know. She didn't know if could ask Sola. Tears were still streaking down his face with his eyes closed.
She tried to peer into his soul; understand the thoughts flying through his head and see if it was about her or Tolu.
Him thinking about Tolu sounded more logical to her.
He was likely thinking Tolu despite all that had happened. Men were unpredictable and you would never know until you ask.
"Are you still thinking about her?" She asked him through clenched teeth.
It would be devastating if Sola affirmed her thoughts to be true.
"Sola, I'm asking if you are still thinking about her," she said loudly.
"Who?" He opened his eyes to look into hers.
"She!" Ife responded. She couldn't bring herself to say Tolu's name, she was unsure of the kind of emotion that would elicit from Sola and besides the name was beginning to sound disgusting on her tongue.
"Who in God's name are you talking about?" He asked exasperatedly. He instinctively knew it was Tolu Ife was referring to since she couldn't bring herself to say the name. This was the second time had refused to say Tolu's name in a conversation because she was jealous. 
"So I should throw away everyone who has been in my life all along just because you came in?"
"I should dump like trash people who mean everything to me just because we're an item? No Ife that won't happen! Rather than seeing them leave; it would be you," he said as he shook with a fresh bout of anger.
Ife's bitchy attitude also came up again. She turned to face him squarely and poked him in the chest with a manicured finger, "We both know you're kidding, Sola! It's either me or me!"
"I guess that was what your mum wanted to say that she had to hold her tongue around me; I'm sure momma wanted to remind her cute boy that he deserves a better girl but you know what? When the battle with Tolu is over it had be your mum and I," she declared.
Sola nearly raised his hand to slap her a second time. It took all the strength he had to restrain himself. The first one was enough. He doubts if he will ever forgive himself or get over it.
He knew if he didn't leave the enclosed space with Ife, he might be tempted to wring her neck.
With this, he shoved her out of the car forcefully. Throwing her things alongside her body. He locked the doors and wept bitterly. 
He cried because he had been foolish. He had been swayed by the looks. He remembered the scripture saying that "Beauty is deceitful...." He had deceived himself over and over.
He also wept because he had broken his own vow; not to ever hit a woman. Now, he would struggle with guilt all through his life.
He and Ife had shown the world the vibes they had as a couple; they were disgusting and poisonous. 
Sola knew he had predicted that so many unfortunate things would happen at the wedding but he never imagined he would be a monster by the end of it.
He sat in his car and wept again and again; drowning out Ife's voice as she demanded he open the door.

To be continued......

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