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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Crying at my husband's funeral


 Bunmi Sofola Foluke was in her late 30s when she lost her husband of six years. “From the day I met Joel at a mutual friend’s house, I’d known him to be an extremely extroverted man who loved the company of his boisterous friends”, said Foluke. “He had a fairly well-pai ob which enabled him to afford a fancy car which he simply loved driving. I was always on tenterhooks whenever I was in the car with him. Most of the time, I preferred to drive to save myself a possibe heart attack. 
 
“Even after our two kids were born, he remained a daredevil. I tried to tell myself that Joel was a good husband and father, that he deserved some relaxation. If he wanted to relax by tearing round the streets in his speed car, who was I to stop him? Only, there came this Saturday night when he didn’t come home. I remember looking at the bedside clock and realised it was 2 o’clock in the morning. He was normally home around midnight. Could he be crashing out with one of his friends because he was drunk. 

He’d done that a couple of times. Or maybe he was enjoying himself and had lost track of time. |”When he called on his mobile, I grabbed my phone ready to give him a piece of my mind. Only it was a total stranger asking if I knew him. I said I was his wife. He was calling from the hospital and asked me to come down with a friend as Joel had been involved in a terrible accident. Thankfully, Mum lives close to us and I called her. Her driver took us both to the hospital where a doctor solemnly informed us that Joel had died instantly after slamming into a stationary trailer. 

“The next few days were a blur of tears and sympathisers streaming in and out of the house to offer their condolences. I was numb with grief. On the day of the funeral, which took place at our church, which thankfully was near the house, Joel’s coffin was at the front with a photo of him on the top. I remember the picture being taken on our wedding day. The Vicar gave the eulogy. He said lots of very nice things about Joel and mentioned nothing about his love for fast cars!  “

My Mum sat beside me and held my hand tightly throughout. I sobbed gently and just prayed that it would all be over soon. When the service ended, we had to walk out of the church with all those people looking at me. It was torture. Outside, I had to shake most people’s hand before getting into the car. I recognised everyone apart from one woman, dressed in black, who was on her own. She was about my age and my build and one thing hit me – she looked how I felt; utterly crushed and bereft. “Sorry, we’ve never met,’I said. “How did you know Joel?’’We were… friends,’she replied, before bursting into tears, apologising and dashing off – barging other mourners out of the way. 

My mum was surprised and wanted to know who the mystery lady was. ‘I’ve got no idea, ‘I told her, ‘but I’m going to find out.’A strange feeling grew inside me. Unless she was a mad woman, there was only one reason for her reaction – she had been in love with Joel. “Throughout the rest of the ceremony, I was distracted by curiosity about who this woman was. Curiosity – and a growing anger. I felt guilty suspecting my husband of being unfaithful, on this day of all days. But the idea wouldn’t shift from my mind. Who was this woman? How did she know my husband? And how well did she know him? A few days after the funeral, I rang Joel’s brother Sesan. He and I got on well and I know that he had often tried to stop Joel from driving so recklessly, for the children’s sakes and mine.

 ‘Did you see that woman who got upset and ran off at the church? “I asked him. He hesitated before telling me he would be over to my place as soon as he could. “He was at my door thirty minutes later, ‘I told Joel to stop it and I think he had, but she wouldn’t accept it’, he said. ‘Was Joel having an affair with her? ‘I asked. ‘He loved you and the children,’he assured me. ‘He knew Lara (the woman) from ages ago. She turned up again about three years back. They had a bit of a fling,’I did a quick calculation. It may have been when I was pregnant with our-second child. Rage boiled inside me. I thought my only rival was his dammed car. Now I knew there was another woman.

 Reluctantly, he gave me Lara’s address. I went round there the following day. She lived in a stylish apartment block on the Island. As I reached for the buzzer, it struck me that I had no idea what I would say. Joel was dead – this woman was no longer a rival to me. Maybe. I just wanted to find out her reasons for carrying on with a married man. My man. “I was expecting a maid to answer the door but she did herself. She was mildly shocked as she cautiously opened the door. Maybe she thought I was going to physically attack her. That was the furtherest thing from my mind. I just wanted answers – to find out things about my husband that I had never known. ‘So you know? ‘ she asked as soon as I sat down. ‘Yes, ‘I replied calmly. ‘I’m sorry I came to the funeral’, she said. ‘Sesan told me not to, but I had to say goodbye. Joel had stopped seeing me a few months ago. 

He said he loved you too much’. ‘But not enough to be faithful,’I added bitterly. “It was all my fault,’ insisted Lara. ‘I’m sorry, ‘I actually felt sorry for her. She looked a mess and clearly wasn’t looking after herself. Even though I’d found out Joel had been cheating, at least I’d lived with him and our children as a family. Lara had been the ‘other woman’, damned to live as a bit on the side and, I realised, used terribly by Joel. I realised by meeting her, that she’d never been a threat to my family. Joel would never have left us for her. 

I felt angry at his betrayal but what was the point of that? He was dead. “I no longer felt anger towards Lara – just pity. As soon as I could, I made my excuses and left. It struck me that while I had fond memories of Joel – albeit tainted now – and two beautiful children, Lara would only be left with misery and the fact she had been used. I still mourn my husband, but Lara has made me realise he was no saint and his faults ran deeper than refusing to stop speeding dangerously with his precious car…” Revenge, A Dish Served Cold? (Humour) One day, a 12-year-old boy walks into a brothel, dragging a dead frog behind him and says, “Hello, I’d like a girl for the night.”The madam says: “I’m afraid you’re too young for one of my girls. So he gets out his wallet and gives her N2,000, to which she says: “She’ll be waiting for you upstairs”. 

The boy says: “She’s got to have active herpes.””But all my girls are clean!“ So out comes another N2,000. The madam says, “Okay.’So the boy goes upstairs, dragging the dead frog. Half an hour later, he comes back down, still dragging the dead frog. By now the madam is curious and asks: “Why did you come in here dragging a dead frog and asking for a girl with active herpes? “”Well”, he says, “when I get home, I’ll sleep with the baby-sitter and she’ll get it. One person killed in knife-attack in Melbourne Then, when my parents get home, Dad will drive her home and have sex on the way home, so he’ll get it. Later, mum and dad will make love, and she’ll get it. Then, when Dad has gone to work, the driver will come round and have sex with my mum, and he’ll get it. And he’s the bastard who killed my frog.

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