To Love And To Hold

With tears trickling down her cheeks and her left hand stretched out to wear the ring, Mojisola Benson, about to become Philips, suddenly had a flashback about all the events leading to this particularly happy day.

It was on the 26th of December 2002 and family and friends filled the auditorium of St. Peter & Paul Cathedral. Only few however knew the intimate history of the couple and how just 2 years back they were on the verge of destroying each other, one in anger, and the other in ignorance.

Adebayo Philips first saw Mojisola(or Moji as her friends call her) walking from her last class of the day to her room in the hostel. She was alone and had head phones on but what caught his attention was her beautiful voice. She was singing along to the track that was playing. There was something about her that gripped Bayo and he just knew that he had to speak with her. He however had to work up the nerve to do so but by the time he was courageous enough, she had gone out of his line of sight. 

Adebayo, a final year student of Accounting however wasn’t deterred; he returned to the spot he usually went to relax, determined to remain there until he caught a glimpse of the damsel and speak with her. He got lucky. After waiting and watching for her for hours on end and for three days running, she finally walked that path on her way to class. On that memorable third day when Adebayo saw her again, he had been waiting seemingly aimlessly for two straight hours! He walked up to her and slowed his stride to match hers so they could walk side-by-side.

Moji was glad. Finally, the handsome guy had decided to talk to her. She was careful not to show this but pretended to be irritated. (You know ladies and the hard to get thing!) She however didn’t want to waste the opportunity so when he asked for her number, she reluctantly gave it. About a month later, the student of Political Science, Moji, finally said yes to Bayo and to celebrate, he cooked her dinner at her place and after everything else, passed the night there. They were actually up all night talking. The relationship was solid from the start. They had no problems at all except that Bayo kept skipping classes to be with her and this, she didn’t like.

The love birds dated for 3 whole years. It was a very memorable and pleasurable love relationship. Who said life is not a bed of roses?  Life for Moji and Adebayo was indeed a bed of roses until they began to notice that their scented roses had thorns! The thorns began to prick. In layman’s language, trouble struck. By this time, Moji had finished school and had gone for her service year in Adamawa and Bayo started work at a firm in Ikeja as an Accountant.

They kept in touch and it was obvious they were crazy about each other. Then one day after her service year, a pregnant woman showed up in the very early hours of one Sunday morning. Moji was still deep in her sleep dreaming about not going to church.

 “He was too good an opportunity to pass up and we had a fling”

 The knock first sailed into her sleep softly and then more loudly, disturbing and particularly annoying her. When she finally made it to the door, Moji saw a strange woman standing, crying and requesting to see Bayo. She told her he was away. The pregnant woman slid down to the floor, her back to the wall and her tears fell freely.

Moji alarmed, quickly invited her in, eased her into a chair and got her tissue to clean up her face. Tayo, the pregnant woman, felt a twinge of conscience at what she was about to do. Although Moji was nervous, she didn’t have an inkling as to the impact of the bombshell she was about to receive.

“I am sure you are wondering who I am. Well my name is Tayo. I met Bayo about 2 months ago while you were at (NYSC) camp and although he told me about you and all that, he was too good an opportunity to pass up and we had a fling. As you can see,” she continued “that fling resulted in this pregnancy.” She concluded by resting the palm of her right hand on her belly.

The silence was loud and deafening. Moji helpless for a few minutes, slowly digested this little piece of information, then not saying a word, she gently but firmly ushered Tayo out of the door. She retreated to the bedroom, took a bath and then laid down on the bed.  She remained in this position until her fiancé got back from work. Severally her phone rang but she was in a different world.

She didn’t whisper a word to him but got up, prepared dinner, served him and went back to bed. He ate and after working for some hours went up to bed. The silence treatment went on till the early hours of the morning. He woke up trying to interact affectionately with the love of his life. She said “good morning” turned her back on him and promptly went back to sleep.

Confused, he looked at the time and had to hurry out to work muttering to himself that as soon as he got back (bearing peace offerings); he would speak with her, find out his offence and apologize. He was concerned, yes, but far from being alarmed. Whatever was the cause of the mood swing, he was sure he could effortlessly fix it. That however was not to be because as soon as he was out of the house, she got up not even bothering to bathe, went to the closet, packed her clothes and other belongings of hers in the house and left.

“She however still insisted that the baby was Bayo’s and after a prolonged debate, had to agree to a DNA test to be conducted on the boy and Bayo to determine the baby’s true paternity”

Bayo, on his way home from work had a very strange feeling. He however ignored it and made several stopovers to buy gifts for his “hearthrob.” As soon as he stepped into the house, he felt empty and bored. He subconsciously knew she had gone. Not even bothering to look for her, he picked up his phone while searching for a note in the hope that she left one. After several trials, the call finally went through. Moji however didn’t pick the call.

Moji immediately after leaving the house, went to her best friends’ place. She told Susan everything. Susan being the sensitive yet sensible friend that she is, consoled her but at the same time chided her for not asking Bayo about it. She tried to get Moji to pick Bayo’s call which she adamantly refused to. Leaving the room(with the ringing phone), Susan picked it and told Bayo where she was, what had happened, what she thought of him and what she thought he should do.

The quarrel was on for about 6 months with Bayo on his knees more often than not. By this time, Tayo had been delivered of a baby boy. She however  maintained her claim that the baby was Bayo’s while the DNA test result was being awaited.

Fortunately for Bayo, the DNA test proved negative and he was able to convince Moji to at least see him and hear his own side of the story. With Susan on her neck, she agreed to meet Bayo on the 26th of December 2007. This was the first time they met in almost a year since the incident! Both of them were shocked at the terrible changes in each other’s appearance. They were both emaciated and miserable in that long year they were apart and their love for each other became looking stronger than ever. 

Bayo started his story; he had met Tayo at a party organized by his office. She had accompanied a female colleague of his and when she came out to meet him, he immediately started talking about his “wife” as he used to refer to Moji. Tayo however wasn’t deterred and for the rest of the night, spent all her time conversing with him. He got fed up and left but not before she had dropped a pill in his drink. It was the kind of drug that would make one get high and irrational in actions.

He safely drove home but unknown him, Tayo had followed him. His plan was to undress and fall on the bed. He did just that and the next morning woke up with a terrible headache.

Feeling the presence of a strange body, he shifted in bed and saw a naked Tayo still asleep. In utter confusion, he hurriedly left the house and stayed out till he was sure she would have gone. After that occurrence, he swiftly changed his job in a bid to put the ghost of that unfortunate incident behind him for good. He continued living his normal life not breathing a word of what happened to anyone except his closest friend, also a colleague who had seen Tayo follow him home.

This friend corroborated Bayo’s story. In the end, it all played out well for Bayo coupled with the fact that the results from the paternity test exonerated him. Moji, with a lot of nudging, finally forgave him but spent a year working on her trust. And on the 26th of December, a year after her forgiveness of Bayo’s trespass, she became Mrs. Mojisola Adebayo Philips and was indeed happy.


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