Jasmine? No. I am a rose or lavender lady; rose for its romantic essence, and lavender for its earthiness. I am not a jasmine lady.
My husband returned unusually late from work that evening. I was excited when I heard his car come in through our gate, I had missed him so much and I rushed to hug him at the door. Then it stung me harshly in my nose. Jasmine. The sting was so sharp that I blurted out, “Jasmine?”
Wale looked puzzled and stared at me quizzingly as I pulled away from his embrace.
Ten years ago back in the University I walked in on my boyfriend in bed with another girl. I really can’t remember what she looked like, especially after what I did to her pretty face, but I can never forget the heavy clouds of betrayal and the smell of jasmine that filled the room that evening.
My husband stood before me that evening oozing of freshly applied jasmine. Then as if it suddenly hit him, he smacked his head as he said, “I dropped off a colleague from work, and she gave me a tight hug afterwards.”
“Just one hug and her scent is so strong on you like you bathed with the entire fragrance bottle,” I shot back firmly.
“What do you want me to say now Tega?” He stared at me silently a while longer, then he just walked past me. I stood fixed to the ground for much longer and I feared to dwell much on the thoughts lingering in my head.
Things had been a little off between us lately since I shattered the earthenware dish his mother gave us on our second wedding anniversary against the wall. He was only joking but I didn’t take it lightly when he called me a thug. He swerved and I barely missed his head when I threw the dish at him in the kitchen that night.
I didn’t see why my failed attempt, though unintentional, at breaking his head that night, excused him returning home from work smelling of another woman’s cheap perfume. “I will kill her if I catch her, the bitch!” I thought to myself as I went up to meet him already asleep in the bedroom.
It didn’t take long for the truth to literally smash me hard on the head, and I am very glad I didn’t die from the impact.
It was a hot, sunny Saturday; he was watching a Premier League match while I sat reading a magazine beside him. He received a call from a certain female. The way he smiled I knew it had to be her. He hung-up after a while and turned to me as he said, “I’ll be going out shortly.”
“To where?” I asked, as calmly as I could possibly be at that moment.
“I’m meeting a colleague from work; we have to work on some things.”
“Work on what again na, is today not a weekend? Won’t you rest? What is chasing you from…”
“I’ll be back before dinner,” He said, cutting me off abruptly. He got up and went in to get ready to leave. I was stunned and slightly hurt, but I knew what I had to do.
As he stepped out of the house and made for his car, I followed behind him without saying a word. He didn’t say a word either. He opened the bonnet to check his oil and water level, and I sneaked into the back seat of the car and hid on the floor behind the driver’s seat. He got in, put on his seat belt and drove off, with me hiding just behind him, the smell of his black leather seat in the heat nearly choking me. He was driving so fast, swerving right and left at corners and hitting the brakes at traffic lights. I barely managed to stay put and not reveal myself.
Then a phone rang.
I heard him reach for his pockets and he realised it wasn’t his. It kept ringing and he realised the sound was coming from behind him. He let go of the wheels when he turned around and screamed loudly when he saw me crouched behind him. The sound of tyres screeching on the road muted the ringing phone, then a loud thud and my head smashed against the centre console of the car, and then everything became white and silent. I wanted to scream, but there was no sound; there was no time. In that moment everything was white, everything was the same, parched and frozen at the same time, I felt myself rolling, like rolling-pin over dough, falling asleep out of life.
Then it stung my nose again. The sweet, enthusiastic smell of, of…Jasmine? It filled the entire room, like it did ten years ago, only now it wasn’t mixed with betrayal. It was mixed with a certain freshness. I liked it and I smiled as I took much of the air in. I opened my eyes and felt a sharp pain at the back of my head. I shut my eyes sharply, and attempted to reopen them a few moments after, this time slowly.
Wale was by my bedside in a hospital holding my hand and a lady stood beside him. He noticed me staring hard at her and he rubbed my palm tenderly as he said, “Babe, this is Jasmine, my colleague from work. She rushed down here when I told her we had an accident on our way to the meeting.” He was smiling.
“Jas-mine,” I said softly as the name drawled out of my mouth.
“Yes, Tega…I’m so sorry about your accident.”
“Wh-at do-es your na-me me-an?”
“It means ‘gift from God’, Tega.”
“Hmmm…” I growled weakly as I fell back to sleep.