There is something about me that attracts a total stranger to me like the bee to the honey. It could be downright embarrassing, sometimes overwhelming but most times humbling. I am truly honoured by a total stranger pouring out his heart out to me.
I remember some years back, just a young girl on her first job. I had just collected my first salary and I thought it called for celebration. I got home early enough to go out again. So I changed from my office attire and wore something comfortable. I stepped out of the house and stood for a while trying to decide where to go-not that I had too many options in those days. I pondered on if I should walk down to the stores down the road or visit the snacks bar. I was still undecided when a black Golf car stopped in front of my house. There was nothing unusual about it since my house was on a major road; people usually stopped to ask for direction.
The man in the car let down his window and I peeped in to see if he was someone I knew. “Good evening” the stranger greeted
“Good evening” I replied waiting for him to ask for direction.
“Can I offer you a ride to where you are going?” he asked
“Oh thank you. I am just going down the road” I replied and started walking away. The man got out of his car and followed me.
“I can actually drop you wherever you are going” he said persistently. I ignored him and wondered if there was more to this offer. I hated the idea of the man trying to pick me up and I was increasingly getting angry with his pushiness.
“Actually, I am sorry for harassing you. Let me rephrase, I need to talk to someone” he said sounding very desperate. I turned round sharply to give him a snide remark but what I saw in his eyes stopped me. It was raw with naked pain. This stopped me in my track. I starred at him wondering if it was a plot to “toast” me but the pain in his eyes convinced me that the pain was sincere enough.
“I am really sorry but I need to talk to someone desperately. I left my house in frustration because I don’t want to commit murder.” He said anxiously. I kept quiet wondering why he picked me to talk to. I was still a bit sceptical about his intensions though.
“I can park my car and we could walk while I talk to you. I am not going to harm you” he said eagerly. I looked at him pondering. Now, I am not a sucker for situations like this but there was something so sincere and hurting about him. Eventually, I reluctantly agreed that we should walk down to the snack bar wondering if I did the right thing. We got to the bar, ordered what we wanted and sat down. The bar was somehow empty that day which was unusual since the place was always active. That was the reason I picked the place.
“I am sure you must wonder why I want to talk to a total stranger but I am going through a tough time at home. I love my wife but she is driving me round the bend and I don’t know what to do about it.” He said “I met my wife in the University but we didn’t start dating until well after graduation. My wife is from a wealthy family and I am from a poor one. I had loved her since University days but I could not bring myself to express my feelings. She belonged to the hip girls on campus and I was just a struggling undergraduate. I did every odd job to see myself through school. I played football. I was on the University team so I was popular. She and her friends used to come around to watch us play but I was scared to approach her. We graduated and went our different ways and I didn’t see her again until the day she walked into the bank where I work. I was excited to see her and believed that God has given me a second chance. I was in a relationship then but I didn’t love the girl. I quickly broke up with her and made an aggressive move towards my wife and luckily enough she agreed. A year later we got married and that had being my undoing” he explained as I kept silent wondering where this was leading to
“It has being one wahala after the other since we got married. She is spoilt and does not know how to take care of the home and the children. All she is ever interested in is partying. Her weekend starts on a Thursday and she and her friends would go from one party to another and then she gets home so late. I have tried talking to her to no avail, I am fed up” he said looking distraught.
I kept quiet since I didn’t know what to say to him. Somehow, I realised that he just wanted to pour out his frustration.
“I got home today and she’s left for one of her parties despite the fact that I banned her from going. I mean she left the children with the housemaid and left me a note that she has gone to a party with her friends at Ilesa. Can you imagine that? I work hard to take care of the family while she is busy gallivanting with her friends. Who knows what they get up to?” He lamented.
I sat there listening to him. I thought of what to say to him but was lost for words. I knew back then that letting off the steam was good for his soul but I thought I could say something intelligent to soothe his pain but I was lost for words.