Taiye is as much as a man as he is a cartographer, it may be a weird way to describe him, but his large hands are skilled, slowly moving down your skin like he was taking coordinates. Taiye a twin, yes, but the only child. He lost his father to a bottle, his mother to the water and his twin in a hospital that already lingered with the smell of death.

Taiye was a man unmoved by tragedies and when his hands went around you, you’d imagine the vacant look in his eyes and curse yourself. You had become the woman who your mother cursed from her belly, everything around you growing wildly like trouble. It was your second year at an investment firm, he was the client, with bad jokes and a smile intent on pleasing.

You became that woman without notice, a reincarnation of the snake that tore your family apart. In your younger years, your mother would wake up in the morning and ask if she wasn’t enough, you swore never to be this, the cause of this question.

Taiye with wild hands told you that in his life had ever stayed, he vowed you were the only thing he cared about. You tried to avoid it, you tried to not to believe it, but you were convinced it was inevitably true. It’s not that he hated his wife, it was just that he was with her from duty, when he was with her he had to be this person, this person whole and stable. With you, he was messy, from the friendly beginnings and long phone calls. You don’t remember how you got here, through staying careful, through the warnings from Tolu “There is only one thing men want.” To which you would have retorted that she was small minded, if she wasn’t your only friend.

There are things people like Tolu, who act like it’s cut and dry do not understand, that people grow, people change, need evolve. Maybe marriage shouldn’t be so inflexible, possessive. Men may be liars. but when Taiye told you he was alone you felt it, you felt the man who had lived mostly to obligation.

You knew that for him it wasn’t just the thrill of still being adored or the pride of a man with the virility to keep a younger woman.

He swore he would leave her, if not for God and everyone else, he swore he knew what he wanted.

You told him that was a really stupid thing to say

And he just asked what I would do if no one else existed

The two of you had mostly those type of conversations, hypotheses and thought experiments because there was nothing final for you, nothing possible. It was a painful dream that dampened reality.

You ignored it all, through the rains, your neighbor’s questioning gazes, his car parked down your street by 1am.

You honestly never imagined it being more than it was, but you both knew what you wanted and there was comfort in that.

All his hypotheticals ended with fictional question marks, maybe a question, a hint, a plan to run away.

He let you take his son out on weekends and you could feel the curse growing in you

Your mother’s words blocking your ears

Her prayers specially customized by her pastors of Fire Ministries

“Something bitter and ugly will always live in her, she will have no home”

You feared for months and even imagined flinging yourself out the window of the 7th floor, to stop it from growing.

Last month, you held the baby in your hands and named him Kehinde.

You hadn’t seen his father in 4 months.