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“Please brother, be calm. I’ll do whatever you want after today. Just stay in place till we get home, then you can come out to play. Please.”

Guttural laughter reverberated inside his skull.

“No” it responded. “Not today. You won’t get off that easy this time.”

All around the table dinner progressed without any of the guests being aware of the groom’s internal conflict. The Smiths had provided quite a spread to welcome him into their family and all the invitees were tucking in heartily. His father in-law was at the head of the table flanked by his wife and a friend, while he was another two seats away sandwiched between Sandy his wife (who was at the moment focused on her plate of Greek salad) on his left and her younger brother Ronald on his right.

“Care for some” asked Ronald, gesturing at the salad bowl.

Taiwo declined with a smile and a shake of the head, and then returned to his wordless conversation with his sibling.

Again he pleaded.

“I swear brother; I’ll give you free reign once we’re out of here. You can do absolutely anything. Just hang in there for a little more while I sort things out.”

“Liar!” it thundered back. “I’m done listening to your promises. When you guys met you promised me that she would never come between us and I believed you. Yet in no time I became a third wheel. Do you know how it feels to be abandoned by your own twin? Do you know how painful it is to be forced into silence by the only one with whom you can converse? Do you realize how dehumanizing it is to be relegated to the part of a helpless onlooker whilst being forced to see, hear, smell and taste the person driving a wedge between you and your blood almost every second of the day? I begged you not to marry the bloody white girl to save our bond. Did you listen? You promised me. You swore you wouldn’t and yet here we are. I’m done listening to your lies. I’m done giving up my place in your life to that blue-eyed female upstart. Today is the day I take matters into my own hands.”

Dabbing at a spot of sweat on his brow with a napkin, Taiwo tried to placate his enraged parasite one more time.

“I’m sorry brother, I’m really sorry. I know I’ve let you down a whole lot, but I’m assuring you right now that it will stop today. Just bear with me until we get home. I assure you that she’ll never come between us again…”

“…then end it right here” it interjected. “End it right here and now. Tell her in front of everyone present in this room that you’re no longer interested in the marriage. Tell her that you only married her to get your resident permit and not because you loved her at all. Tell her right now and I’ll believe you.”

“Ah! But you know that’s not true brother. The union is just a month old, and even if I wanted a divorce to please you it shouldn’t be announced while I’m in her parents’ house and eating at their table. That would be a horrible thing to do brother, please understand. You can’t be that insensitive now.”

It laughed again before it responded to his last statement.

“Horrible eh? I can’t be that insensitive right? Okay, let me tell you something dear host. If you can’t be a man just this once to live up to your responsibilities then let me be the man for both of us. I’m sure your in-laws won’t have any problem giving their consent to the break up once they lay their eyes on me.”

Taiwo panicked and his control slipped.

“No!” he screamed aloud.

Startled Sandy dropped her fork and quickly turned towards her husband. The others at the table also stopped eating, questioning looks on all their white faces.

“Tehewho, what is it?” she asked. Her pronunciation wasn’t as good she’d gotten it over the past few months of constant practice.

Already Taiwo could feel movements in his chest. His audible exclamation had been a mistake, but he knew he would never recover from the damage about to unfold he didn’t do something fast. He had to leave.

Pushing his seat backwards, he stood up and tried to calm her fears.

“I’m sorry dear; I think I choked on a…arrrrrrggggh!”

Something heavy slammed into his heart making him double over. The intensity of the pain from within was beyond what he’d ever felt before and he clawed at his rib cage which felt like a balloon about to burst.

In spite of the terrible pain, he started laughing at the macabre comedy of his situation as he fell.

The Smiths were finally going to meet his family.

Kehinde was coming to town.


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