Words by Safiya Salau.
Mrs Venire had a list of all her husband’s lovers and Mr Venire respected her enough to let her know when a name should be added to the list. It was a beautiful relationship. Mrs Lovita Venire even knew the lovers assigned to each day of the week, it was like she managed his affairs. Everybody knew how much Mr. and Mrs. Venire loved each other, but they never understood the nature of their marriage. Mr Hugho Venire was very careful not to have kids with these women or bring them to his matrimonial home. The couple already had seven children together and one on the way. Yes, Lovita loved being pregnant. It gave her an excuse to be idle in the confines of their massive home. Their seven kids kept her occupied and she was happily the ideal housewife.
With time, the list got too long to effectively manage and it was edited and refreshed weekly. Lovita kept close track of it and called them ‘investments’ for some reason. None of these women came to cause problems in the Venire home, in fact, Lovita would exchange warm greetings with them whenever they ran into each other. Life, love and marriage was good and Mr Venire was obviously the one gaining more, or at least that was what it seemed.
Quite surprisingly, names started to disappear from the list. One name per week would vanish and never be heard of again. With every name disappearing, the couple became happier. It makes a lot of sense right? The more obstacles you have cleared out from the way of your marriage, the stronger your marriage becomes.
When there was just one name left, the Venire couple started preparations for a divorce. “The children are old enough to be independent and the time is right” they said. Nobody understood what was happening. The nosy neighbours and extended family had not observed any tension between the couple, they all sat back in confusion to observe the ‘stupidity’ and final outcome. They started to split all their property, except the mansion. They kept the mansion together.
Three years after the Venire couple were officially divorced, they were announced as the richest people in Africa. Although their net worth was questionable, nobody came forward to report fraudulent behaviour. Only I know what really happened to the bank accounts of the couple.
The secret is hidden deep in the walls of their massive mansion; in a basement beneath the walk-in closet that they shared. Nobody would ever find this hidden room, filled with bones that belonged to women who had an affair with a married man. They all thought the bullion vans that came in weekly filled with breathing parcels for the Venire couple were expensive art work that they loved so much and stored away to protect.
The Venire couple never spoke to each other again, it was as if the deep love they had never existed; as if it was pretence to fulfil a contract. They were wise people. They kept their secret together. I only know because the stuffy basement, the one filled with skulls, tight cobwebs, and green eyeballs, is the last place I saw before I was killed. Surrounded by wraps that covered parcels, I was the last one on the list.