Our next call was to a woman called Madam Comfort. She was the mother of Aunty Philo.
Aunty Philo gave me her phone number when i told her that i was traveling to Nigeria.
Madam comfort was home when we arrived. Austin had almost refused to go there but after begging him that it would be our last visit in Benin City, he reluctantly agreed.
Madam Comfort was very happy to see us. She said i was lucky to have found a good and caring husband who agreed to follow me everywhere.
Everything was going fine until she suddenly asked us to kneel down for her to pray for us while holding our heads.
“Uhm i don’t kneel down to pray Ma. You don’t have to hold our heads while praying for us. You can just pray for us” Austin Said, he was even shifting back slowly.
Madam comfort said her prayers anyway and asked us to be good husband and wife.
Each time anyone made a reference to us being husband and Wife, i would pray that it someday become a reality.
However, my problem started when i asked Austin to give the old woman N5000 on my behalf. I wanted to feel like the wife i was being referred to. I had given the woman the money i had with me but i wanted Austin to give him more.
“I don’t have money here” He said.
I was sure he had money with him, it wasn’t my business but i saw when he bought petrol along the way and returned the remaining money in his pocket.
I only wanted Madam Comfort to be proud of me but somehow, the entire thing escalated.
My hand bag was inside the car and my money was inside.
“Baby i don’t have any money with me here” I said when he eventually asked me to give him money.
“Lets go and get money from the car” he said.
I waved goodbye to Madam Comfort and followed Austin out of the gate.
Inside the car, i saw Austin open the Pigeon hole and counted out 5 pieces of 1000 Naira notes, folded them and walked back to the compound.
I didn’t really understand what was going on because i was sure he had some money in his jean pocket. I decided to say nothing about the matter for the time being, i would definitely ask some questions later on.
A minute later, he came out of the compound and hurriedly started the vehicle.
“Have you given him the money?” I asked as we joined the road and started increasing the speed.
“What else did i return there to do?” He asked.
He was unnecessarily being hostile.
I wanted to say something that would annoy him but somehow, i decided that it was better to hold my peace. He was the person with the car and the steering wheel, anything that affected him would do the same to me.
We drove for some minutes without talking to each other. When we got to a hotel, he asked me to go in and check their price list.
When i returned and told him the price, he decided that we would stay there.
Inside the hotel room, i decided that it was time to ask Austin why he did what he did back there at Madam comfort’s place.
After taking our baths separately like enemies, i sat down on the bed and said, “Why did you behave that way back there?”
He was about to say something when my phone rang; it was Madam Comfort.
“Why is your husband like that? He said he was going to get money from the car to give me but when he returned, he said that there was no money” Madam Comfort said on the phone.
Why would Austin do something like that?
I was beginning to feel insulted and it was time to react.
“Mummy, i will call you back” I said and without even remembering whether i cut the call or not, i said to Austin, “Why didn’t you give Madam Comfort the money?”
He turned around and looked at me.
“Wait here Maria, why did she call you? Do i owe this woman any money? Why did you even insist that i give money to this woman? You know what, i am going back there to give her the money, let me see if you will allow me to rest.”
I watched as he jumped up from the bed and started putting on his clothes. It instantly reminded me that very night he wanted to leave my place in Lagos because of what Juliet did. Since i had knelt down that day and started crying, which eventually made him to stay back, i decided that the trick could work again. But i was wrong.
The moment he finished wearing his clothes and shoe, he grabbed his car key and opened the exit door.
“Baby wait, please come back” I said, still on my knees.
But it didn’t work. He just opened the door and closed it behind him. I would have stopped him forcefully if i could. Leaving me all alone in the cold hotel room was too bad for me.
“Austin wait, please wait” I said as i got to his car and saw him driving off.
I didn’t know if he even heard me. I was delayed while hastily wearing my gown in the hotel room before going downstairs to the car park. The delay gave him enough time to reverse the car before heading out of the hotel compound.
Austin didn’t stop, even when he knew i was crying. People were looking at me as i rushed back upstairs to the hotel room.
With tears running down my cheek, i pushed the room door handle and the door refused to open; i had locked the key inside the room and there was nothing i could do except to return to the reception to get a spare key and that was if they even kept one there.
I stood there at the door and cried for several minutes before i was able to calm down.
I didn’t just calm down, a man who lived in a nearby room had walked past me and stopped.
“What is the problem young lady?” He had asked.
I was able to tell him that i locked my key inside the hotel.
He asked me to stop crying and follow him to the reception. While i went down the stairs of the hotel with some tears, i vowed to punish Austin. I vowed to make him pay for what he did to me in Benin City. Although he didn’t know yet, but it was time to show him that I was Maria James who conquered Europe before returning to Edo State. I didn’t know or care how much it would cost me but as long as we were in Edo State, Austin was going to pay for every insult he gave me.