Baba Mide walked down the street to his house like one battered in a fierce combat. He held his briefcase loosely with his suit dangling closely behind him, grasped by his index finger. Everything on the street appeared blurry in his eyes, he couldn’t decipher why fate had shown its ugliest part to him. He wasn’t able to figure out why his world agreed to be decorated with such darkness. He had paid his dues from the onset, he was nothing short of uprightness and diligence, and he exuded excellence in its entirety.
“My love, welcome home. Your face isn’t looking bright, hope everything is alright? And why are you even home early?” Mama Mide curiously asked.
He stared helplessly at the ceiling like it had answers to all his wife asked. He was clueless on where to start from, he wasn’t sure she was ready to hear the heart shattering news, neither was he guaranteed of his peace afterwards. Nonetheless, he wasn’t blindfolded to the fact that her face looked seemingly impatient.
“Baba Mide, you are really getting me scared and upset. What is going on? You are back home quite early, looking doleful, and you have refused to utter a word. Or did someone die?” She asked again, her voice clothed with irritation this time.
“I was sacked.” He sullenly replied.
It struck Mama Mide like a lightening. She inquired severally to know if it was one of his silly jokes, but he looked too despondent to be up for some antics. Like one who had cold chills running down her spine, she gently headed to the room. That night seemed like the longest for them both as they drowned in an ocean of worries. Memories of how joyous she felt when he came home with the news of the job filled her mind, it was a prayer answered; their lives changed afterwards. She didn’t understand why God wanted their happiness to be short termed, she earned a meagre salary as a school teacher, and it couldn’t sustain them.
After a week of mourning his lost Job, Baba Mide remained at home with a blatant refusal to job hunt. This didn’t augur well with his wife, she couldn’t comprehend why a man would mourn a job for a long while with little desire to seek for another.
It was a beautiful Monday morning, Mama Mide who was dressed up in her corporate attire, ready to head out, looked at her husband who sat absent-minded on the couch.
“I am off to work, you can sit here all day if you wish. But just know that this your nonchalant attitude towards getting a new job will not sort out our bills in this house.” She maliciously stated.
“Please, hold your peace woman and let me be.” He retorted.
The day had gone half with him still seated on the couch, he racked his brain on the easiest way to bounce back to his feet. He knew his pride as a man was heading towards the rock if he didn’t think his way out of the situation. For all he knew, he wasn’t ready to stick out his neck for a job which could be taken away from him at the slip of a finger. He took a walk down the street to stretch out and breathe fresh air after a long while. His entire thoughts took a different direction when he caught sight of the Bet 9ja shop which was centered few blocks away. All his life, he had never seen gambling as what a sane man should indulge in, he fought the temptation of looking away but got trapped in the middle of his indecisiveness.
Baba Mide didn’t see the addiction and entanglement coming, his life became centered on the scores of football matches. It was always a toll of disappointment for him as he always disposed the slips in frustration after most matches ended in his disfavor, but always had a way of refiling his hopes.
“So this is what you have decided to make out of yourself? A learned man like you, moving around the house with these useless papers while you pant like a goat and shamelessly grace the warmth of that miserable shop that is full of miscreants. Don’t you feel for yourself? Or you think you are the first man to lose a good paying job? You are smarter than this! How do you expect us to sort out our bills and feed properly if you keep spending your little savings on this nonsense?”
“I think you need to worry more on yourself and let me be. I know this doesn’t make sense to you, but never mind; there is this sure game I will be staking next week, and I am very sure it will change our lives once it clicks. Just keep calm and watch out.”
The turnout of events deteriorated daily as Mama Mide came back always to behold the infuriating sight of bet slips littered around the siting room. No day slipped out of her hands without nagging her husband around on the immediate need to drop the habit before it ruins their lives beyond repair. Her words never halted him, he seemed very hopeful and assured of what he was into. The turnaround of situation deteriorated as they experienced awful lack in their home. Feeding properly daily became a tedious task, the landlord had already sent a stern reminder to them regarding their rent which was to expire in a month’s time. In the midst of all these unfortunate happenings, Baba Mide never gave a second thought to quitting gambling and walk on the modest path of job-hunting.
It was a sunny Friday afternoon, Mama Mide sauntered quietly while she reminisced on the depressing situation her husband had put the family through. It left her more heavyhearted and soiled in pains; she had turned into a shadow of herself. Whilst she slowly moved, she heard faint chants of some area boys hailing, “Area mama! Wife of the latest millionaire!” She didn’t ruminate as she concluded that was out rightly mocked by little boys on the streets who used to regard her. This broke her into silent tears as she hastened her footsteps. She had been turned into an object of ridicule because her husband chose irresponsibility as his companion. As she entered the sitting room, the sight of the bet slips inflamed her beyond control. She ruggedly squeezed them into her hands after which she shredded everything into pieces and disposed carelessly over the fence. Her husband’s voice echoed from afar, he screamed relentlessly as he drew nearer. His reason for exuding so much joy didn’t matter to her, she reluctantly walked into the sitting room.
“Truly, delay is never denial! Sweetheart, God has finally done it for us and it’s unbelievable.” He announced while he danced around the palour and rendered songs of praises unto God.
The long hiss and silence which welcomed his announcement wasn’t enough to change his mode as he never expected more. Immediately, he scouted for his bet slips while he still jubilated. When he didn’t have them in sight, he began a rigorous search; the atmosphere transformed gradually.
“Where are the slips I left on this table, did you see them?”
He rushed to the bedroom like one who was chased by a strange force and ran out after a few minutes. His wife sat still amidst the ongoing drama which didn’t stir up her interest.
“Did anyone enter this house apart from you? Are you sure you didn’t mistakenly sweep out those slips? Say something woman! I am talking about ten million naira here. All my games entered, I won!”
A strange flash of events abruptly replays in Mama Mide’s head. She didn’t want to believe he was referring to the papers she angrily destroyed moments ago.
“Are you serious about what you are saying right now?” she nervously asked.
“Why will I want to joke about this? I know the slips are with you, please bring them out. God has finally smiled on us, I told you this will pay.”
After she had emitted a loud scream, Mama Mide fainted.
Tales by Marvy