Outside, the wind howled and the rain came down in torrents. Save for flashes of lightning and the attendant thunder which lent credence to this storm of epic proportions, the night was pitch black as soot.
Inside the room, a different kind of storm was brewing. A spark that turned into a flame the moment flesh met flesh. The mind kept a compendium of moving pictures within its labyrinth which served as fodder for this soon-to-be roaring conflagration. Against its will, the serpentine form began its ascent as fleshy digits encircled it in a rhythmic dance of fire and ice.
My back arched against the bed as a soft moan escaped my lips. A tremor of pleasure coursed through my body, making its escape through my toes. I was riding the crest of a rushing wave which in a matter of seconds would crash against the sands.
A vicious stab of pain, the byproduct of excessive friction, heralded the indescribable sensation that engulfed my whole being as the point-of-no-return had been crossed but I was past caring. Nothing a dose of medication and generous lubrication wouldn’t solve in the days to come.
Seconds later, I made my way to the bathroom to dispose of the result of my clandestine activity. As I turned on the spigot to empty the contents into the wash bowl, a flash of lightning streaked through the house. I glanced at the mirror and shuddered at the image that stared back at me; hollow eyes that seemed to house a life time of pain, hate and scorn.
I tried to silently ease myself back into bed, careful not to rouse the figure sleeping on the other side. The instant my head hit the pillow, the bulk shifted a hundred and eighty degrees and even in the darkness, I knew she had been silently crying.
‘Dare, so this is what you have reduced our marriage to? You cannot rein in your proclivity for self-pleasure and commit to the marriage vows you took! I have observed you for some time and it’s evident that I’m just some piece of enamel ware on the mantelpiece for you’.
Her cries were louder by this time and I was thankful for the claps of thunder which masked them. I didn’t want her sounds to wake our son in his room.
‘Am I not beautiful enough for you? I have indulged you in every sickening behavior you have come up with since we met but no, you are never content. This path you thread has nothing but self-destruction for you!’
Josephine rage was evident in the way she slammed the door as she exited the room. I knew she would be heading to the guest room and made no efforts to go after her even though it was the right thing to do. Yet I thought, how long before we had another episode like this one, and were back to where we started from?
The call from the school came around midday. In fact I had missed the call several times. I could detect a tone I could not really place in the voice of the Proprietress, Mrs. Shotunde.
‘It is important we see you immediately. This has to do with Benjamin’. She apparently was not in the mood for courtesies.
‘Is he hurt? Did something happen?’ I was caught up in a series of issues for the day and wondered why the school had not bothered to talk to Josephine.
‘Ben is fine. By the way, your wife is on her way to the school. We would appreciate it if you could join us so we can adequately address this matter.’
Thirty minutes later we were seated in the school office and I knew the issue could not be good when we were joined by an angry-looking couple.
‘Good afternoon.’ I offered by way of making some form of conversation.
‘Nothing is good about this afternoon!’ The other woman shot back. Her eyes were red from crying and it was apparent she had been at it for some time.
Mrs. Shotunde proceeded to tell us why we had been summoned.
The drive back home was unusually long. Josephine and I had cancelled our engagements for the day. We felt the need to be away from prying eyes to allow the information we had just received to settle in.
I stopped at a red light and loosened my tie. The damned thing was choking the life out of me.
‘Mama…I want tea….Mama…I want tea…’
It was Benjamin, our four year old son, and he had developed quite an addiction for consuming tea. He consumed it as many times as it was offered and even preferred it to water.
‘Shut up your mouth! You tiny pervert!’ I eyed him through the rear mirror and he immediately launched into one of his tantrums; hitting his head against the glass. Josephine sprung to his defence.
‘Please Dare, don’t take out your frustration on my son. He is just a child and will outgrow this behavior. Besides you can always Google and read about it you know. Convince yourself that this is nothing to worry about’
‘Nothing to worry about? I turned up my nose at her. ‘Nothing to worry about you say? This is the fourth time its happening this term. You heard Mrs. Shotunde say that the other parents considered our son a risk to their children. God! How did we end up with him?’
Josephine raged at me. ‘Dare leave my son alone. You would be one to throw stones.’ She eyed me maliciously before muttering under her breath, ‘Pot calling the kettle black’.
I smashed my foot on the brake pedal and pulled to the side curb. I had murder in my eyes as I fumed at her.
‘What did you just say?’
The rest of the journey was made in silence.
We were advised to withdraw Benjamin and get him some medical help. He had developed a penchant for exposing himself to his class mates at the slightest provocation; having been caught on four occasions touching or exposing those of his female classmates. The latest episode had involved him dragging a two-year-old to a part of the school play area, and performing an oral act on her.
Suddenly I was young again. It all came rushing back to me. I also had derived pleasure in exploring my nether regions and played regular ‘mommy and daddy’ games with Sola; a six-year old girl whose parents were our neighbours, whenever our folks were not around.
The ‘games’ didn’t seem so innocent anymore when I grabbed Mojisola, my younger sister in a bid to play ‘mommy and daddy’ after Sola and her parents had moved away from our neighbourhood. The scars from the hiding I received from my parents that day would stay with me for a lifetime.
The latent seeds of deviant sexual behaviour blossomed in secondary school, and by the time I graduated from the University, I was addicted to the concept of self-pleasure with a repertoire of adult content as visual aids. Marrying Josephine didn’t help my plight either. Ours was a union to fulfil some biblical obligation as well as convince my parents that I was not averse to women.
Josephine was still not speaking to me by the time we got home. The happenings of the day had left me angry and flustered and I could only think of one way to reduce my ‘stress’. I plugged in my laptop computer on the living room rug and made a beeline for the guest toilet. I was pretty certain that the hand wash would be more than sufficient for what I had in mind
Seconds later, with trousers around my ankles, I was in familiar straits of pleasure when a stinging slap brought be back to reality. I stared into Josephine’s face and it was a mask of thunder.
‘Really Dare?! In front of the kid? And yet you question where his behavior stems from?’ She was bawling by now as she ran to the guest room.
It was not her retreating figure that got to me. It was the fact that in my quest for ephemeral pleasure, I had left the door open. Benjamin was naked in all his glory, having somehow managed to wriggle out of his pants, with that cheeky grin of mischief on his face; his hand vigorously working his penis. It was a case of what you do, I can surely do better.
I hit him. Again and again.
I wanted to exorcise whatever demons had managed to escape from my loins and ingrain themselves into him during the process of procreation. It felt like every blow was meant to fend off the waves of emotion that threatened to breach the levees of my sanity.
Fear. Anger. Shame. Love. Helplessness.
My stomach was tied in knots and I shuddered to think what poetic justice or sick game it was that fate was playing with me. Why could I not be cursed alone? I had read that children would outgrow this phase with age but I clearly could not handle my paranoia.
Benjamin screamed at me repeatedly until I let him go, and made a dash into the living room where he proceeded to exercise his right to throwing tantrums by annihilating my laptop with his school boots. The equipment had almost all my life’s work with no back-up in place.
Minutes later, belt in hand and restrained to the ground by the neighbours, I watched as paramedics wheeled out the bleeding, unconscious body of my son, with his mother in tow, screaming blue murder at me.
Some weeks later, the divorce papers were delivered to the prison facility by my lawyer. I was in no hurry to sign them. Josephine had made known, in clear terms, during the murder trial that we were through and impressed it upon the judge that I was a menace to myself and society at large.
Given the facts of the matter, the judge didn’t hesitate to give his judgement. According to him, I would be hung by the neck till I was dead.
The exchange between Santos and myself is swift and barely noticed by the other inmates. I palm the tube and slide it into my pocket while waiting for the wardens to finish their rounds. In a matter of minutes it will be time for prison activity and I relish in a million ways, the pleasure I can realise with a slab of Vaseline.
My date with the hangman is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Warden Sule acquiesced to my request for a few minutes of prison activity. His last act of kindness for a man about to die.
The world might be going to hell but I sure won’t depart it without an earth-shattering high.