The Other Room: Excerpt

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Questioning love…

This video I am about to watch will change everything. My willingness to click play alone raises an enormous question on my faith in my family.  And if I watch and it turns out what I suspect it is, everything collapses. Everything I have believed about my marriage is about to be destroyed or validated by seeing what is contained in this video.

I am gliding the tip of my index finger over the mouse pad of my computer, not sure if I was ready to shame or be shamed. Not sure I was ready to be shocked.

I looked over my shoulder, Bolu was about to die from holding his breath. I’m not sure I want to see this with anyone else, not even a close brother.

“You should go home,” I said to him.

He narrowed his gaze on me. I could see how hard he was trying to hide his disappointment of behind excused from the most anticipated film show of his life.

“I want to do this alone.”

He stood from behind me and headed for the door. I held my hand away from the mouse till I heard him open and slam the sitting room door, then faint footsteps down the stairs. Still, my hands did not click play till I could hear his Innoson SUV come alive.

I can’t even explain how I convinced myself to do all I did to get to this place. Four weeks ago, I was watching the news and a certain old man was addressing a press gathering, standing beside an old white lady. Someone asked him a question I can’t exactly remember and his response was in the line of, ‘…my wife belongs to my kitchen, the living room, and, the other room.’

The first and second parts of his response were spontaneous and came out smoothly.

But not the last part.

He hesitated for a second, committed a little thought to his next words, and then let it out like he was being careful. This might not mean a thing but it got me thinking. A man in my condition gets off thinking on anything that makes or do not make sense.

The other room.

This old man made the reference to this other room like he had a particular room in mind. His gaze into empty air when he made those words tells me he too was wondering what the frack goes on in that other room. Yes, that was what I was wondering immediately he said that. What happens inside the other room? But this story is not about the other room in this old man’s home. No, it is about the other room inside my home.

 

There is an other room in my home that I have no idea what happens there. For nearly six years I have not entered this room. Only Tolani enters there and until I watched this old man refer to his other room contemplatively, I never got interested in knowing what happens inside my own other room.

It is not as if I had never been giving an excuse of what happens inside this room. Tolani had said several things over the last six years she had had this other room to herself. Now I am thinking none of them made any sense. After my accident, four months after that to be precise, she said she wanted it converted to her prayer room.

I did not question that. What could be my reason to? Yet it doesn’t make sense. Tolani had never been a religious woman. She wouldn’t even close her eyes while the pastor prays in church. At that time I had thought she was for real. A woman whose husband of five years becomes confined for life to a wheel chair could easily turn to God if she wasn’t facing him or could easily turn away if she was facing him. So since Tolani was never giving God face all her life, I was easy to believe she had been jaded into turning to him. Good.

 

Tolani would help me roll my wheel chair to the veranda which wasn’t very far from this mystery room whenever she wanted to go in there. Then she would stay in for a few minutes or hours. She could hear me if I raised my voice to call her if I needed anything, but I have never heard any sound coming from there all these years. Talk about quiet times.

The first and most important step to moving mountains is a curious mind that would not give up. From the moment I became curious to find out for real what happens inside that room, my mind never went to rest. I began to question every explanation she had ever given for locking herself inside there for nearly hours so often.

If she had left it at the prayer room excuse then I might have easily let that pass for it but she came up with something else that made even less sense. About three years ago, Tolani said she would convert that room to a sort of office.

“Office?”

“Yes sugar boo.”

Then, I hadn’t any clue that she was up to some mischief whenever she called me both sugar and boo together. Heck, even if I did what the frack could I have done about it. I was a vegetable on a wheel chair and this pretty woman babysitting me still finds enough kindness to call me two pet names together. Let’s be frank, you wouldn’t quarrel with that even if you knew she was up to some sick plot.

“Why do you need an office?”

“I want to start a blog. It’s a way to make money these days.”

“Like Linda Ikeji.”

“Like Linda Ikeji, sugar boo.”

Now there are two comedy lines. First is that Tolani had never written anything more than a facebook post with more errors than alphabets. Second was that she never concentrated attention on something serious for more than 23 seconds. So how was she going to become a blogger?

I did not raise these points with her because if I did, I would be miserable till the next leap year.

“Who would do your web design and hosting?”

“Yetunde already helped me with those.”

“What is the web address?”

“Not decided yet.”

“What will this blog be about?”

“About facing challenges as a housewife.”

“Hmm, just don’t let me see photos or stories of me on it.”

A few days later I asked for the web address again and she said she dumped that idea and began writing a book?

I couldn’t believe it.

“I am interested in reading something you wrote.”

“I am not eager to share till it’s finished.”

“I can help you edit, what else am I good for like this?”

“I am not confident enough to let you see it.”

I gave up. I let it die. But not anymore. I would like to know what happens inside that room. There is no way she will let me in there, judging from the way she conducts herself when it is time to get in. I was not thinking about asking her to tell me. She would realize my curiosity and react. I want to take her unawares. And if she is actually writing her book in there all these years, then at least I would get to read it.

 

 

Starting a plot…

How do I even get into that room?

I don’t know where she keeps the key to the room. I decided I would have to study her the next time she goes in there to find out where she keeps the key. After this, I would find how I will be moved without her assistance into the room.

That did not seem to be a big problem. My younger brother, Bolu has all the time in the world. He is always a phone call and twenty minutes away.

It only took a few days later for her to enter the room. It was a Tuesday afternoon. She served me moimoi and sliced bread. I asked for chilled water, she cheerfully ran downstairs to bring them in sachets. Then she wheeled me to that front veranda.

“I need to be in the office, sugar.”

“You got another inspiration?”

Yes, sugar. I need to pen it down before it vanishes from my head.”

“Hurry then, I will be fine here.” She grinned flirtingly as she walked away. That was by any standard the sweetest grin any human has been able to put together. Tolani is a goddess as far as beauty goes. I was praying for whatever I was going to find out inside that room to be fair. I could not live with discovering she has been doing wrong all these while I was confined to this chair. Yet I could not over power my curiosity and let sleeping dogs keep sleeping.

I tilted my head to watch as she made her way through the sitting room and into her room. She did not go straight into this other room. Instead, she entered her room first then came out some seconds later. That was when she entered this other room she preferred calling her office.

I assumed she had gone into her room to fetch the keys. This narrows or even rules out my chances of discovering where she keeps the key. I gave her ten minutes in there then began to call for help.

I held my chest and screaming, “Help, my chest. My chest.” While I was doing this, I kept my eyes on the door to the room.

It took her nearly thirty seconds to get out and when she did she did not leave without locking the room with keys before she began to run to me.

I had just confirmed my fears. Rather, I had confirmed that whatever was going on inside that room was worth any investigation possible. A woman whose husband was having a heart attack would not have the patience to wait and lock a door except whatever was behind that door would give her a heart attack if leaked.

I sank my head into my chest, still screaming. This time I squeezed my eyes shut. What is Tolani hiding? What is she doing to me? I began to feel sorry for my state. If only I could use my limbs I was sure she would not be involved in whatever she was doing inside that room. It is a disheartening life for a half man who is married to a full woman. I wished this heart attack was real.

By the time I opened my eyes, I was tearing a rushing flow. She had wheeled me into the sitting room and held me tightly. I was trying to shake her off me but she held me tighter.

“Sugar, what is the matter. I am here.” She kept saying.

“My chest,” I gasped, “I felt a sharp pain on my chest I thought I was going to die.”

“Are you fine now?”

I nodded, “It has reduced.”

“I need to call doctor Babatunde.”

I wanted to ask her not to bother but this lie has to be smooth, “Please do quickly,” it would also be interesting to see how she manages whatever unfinished business was inside the room.

Continue reading on Kindle…

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Published by

Ray Anyasi

Ray Anaysi is the author of the thrillers Poll of Vampires, Ujasiri and To Live Again...plus plenty other short fictions.

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