I already have my plans in place as I lock my car door. Getting your husband to your side isn’t such a difficult task, especially if you know the exact buttons to push.
As it happens, I know the buttons to push, and I am prepared.
I step into the sitting room after unlocking the door, and my husband is there, seated on one of the sofas with his iPad. His face lights up when he sees me, a pleased expression that crinkles his eyes attractively and threatens to weaken my resolve. But no, I am having none of that. I have a plan to execute.
“Welcome,” I mutter, just audibly enough for him to acknowledge that I am greeting, but low enough to make him understand that he has not come home to a happy wife.
Slowly and deliberately, I bend to take off my footwear. Then, in measured steps, and making sure to emphasize every movement of my body, I walk past him, straight into the room.
I close the door to our room gently. It is then I realize that I have been holding my breath. I let it out and go to sit on the bed, waiting for my trap to bring in the results.
Sure enough, it did. I hear his footsteps walking up the passage toward the room.
I get busy at once, straightening out the bed.
“So, this is how you greet your husband who has been away for days?” His voice comes from the doorway.
“You mean, the husband who ignored me for days?” I retort, keeping my back to him. “Let’s not omit that detail.”
“I’m sorry,” he says, his voice coming from right behind me.
I freeze for a moment. I did not hear him walk into the room. I turn to face him.
“Are you making the bed for us?” he asks with a chuckle and a twinkle in his eyes, as his hands shoots forward to hold my waist. His touch begins to melt rapidly my resolve.
“Stop dreaming!” I reply, stepping into his embrace and smiling up at him. I have really missed this bone-head, I realize a millisecond before he lowers his head to mine and captures my lips in a kiss.
“I am not sorry for fighting Leticia,” I say, staring up at the ceiling.
We are lying in a tangle of limbs and sheets. The bedroom is shadowy, because the curtains are drawn over the light of the afternoon. We are cuddled in a state of euphoric enervation, and the rightness of my husband’s body next to mine warms my heart all over again.
“I figured,” he replies with a soft sigh, “or you would have said so.”
“You know me so well,” I chuckle. “But how come you didn’t trust me when I said I had borne enough insults from her?” As I speak, the anger that melted away under the intense heat of the last thirty minutes begins to solidify.
“I know. I should have heard you out…” he starts to say
“Do you know that your brother hasn’t slept in this house for two days now?” I cut in, rising from his arms and sitting up, in a bid to accommodate my wrath. “What have I not done to show him acceptance? He orders his food in this house as if he is in a restaurant, and when he deigns to eat my food, I go out of my way to give him what he wants to eat. Then, he eats and leaves the dishes for me to pick up from the dining table and wash. He has never picked up a broom to sweep the sitting room, yet he will wear his shoes from outside right into the house. Something you do not do. He brings in his skank of a girlfriend into the house, and doesn’t say anything when she traipses all over the house without invitation, raids my kitchen, takes things that I kept for future use to form future good wife for Ifeanyi.” My voice tightens with fresh anger as memories of my episodes with Leticia floods my mind. “Is Ifeanyi still a baby? If this were your mother’s house, would he allow a girl to come in and do as she pleases? Honestly, if this isn’t a sign of disrespect, I don’t know what else is…”
Even as I am venting, I hear them. (You remember those two warring beings that always perch on my shoulders whenever I have to make a decision? Yes! Those ones! They revisited my shoulders and started)
The first: Oya! Shed a few tears. It’ll score you extra points.
The other: No need. You’ve already gotten him where you want him. Plan A worked perfectly. Why go for the overkill by initiating Plan B?
The first: Shed a few tears joor! You need all the points you can get. Trust me!
I trusted it. Sniffing a bit, I let my voice break.
“And you have been here through it all! Not noticing, or noticing and keeping quiet. You have been enabling Ifeanyi by keeping quiet, and that is why he has been disrespecting me, and encouraging that his anu ofia of a girlfriend to disrespect me. Do you know what happened the day I fought her? Do you know? What have I not done to make your brother comfortable? Is he even supposed to live here indefinitely? The contract job he is doing for NNPC nko? Don’t they pay him…” I sniff again, this time letting the interlude draw out.
“Nne, I am so sorry…” my husband begins. “Honestly, I commend your attitude so far. I just didn’t realize you were having such a hard time.”
I finally gave in to my fake tears, dropping my head in an angle that concealed my eyes from his stare. I blink rapidly to keep my eyes appropriately moistened. “I was! It has been extra hard! Do you know I have to clean the house double the number of times I used to?”
I choke back a sob, and turn my back to him with an injured air, when in truth, I am endeavouring to hide from him the little smile stretching across my face. Angelina Jolie, you have nothing on me right now.
“It’s okay, my love. I will settle this issue once and for all, okay? I’m sorry you had to go through all that. Ndo…” he soothes, rubbing my back in consolation.
“I have to go and pick up Gabby,” I say in a small voice, wiping at my eyes.
“Let’s go together,” he says, getting up from the bed.
“You’re driving o,” I warn.
“Ah-ah now! I drove all the way from Calabar today. I’m tired of driving please,” he says with a plaintive smile.
“No. You are driving. Me too, I’m tired of driving. I have been driving all over town, taking care of the home front,” I say, enjoying the easy banter.
“Okay,” he says, as he struggles into his jeans. “Last person to get dressed will drive.”
“I don’t agree o!” I scream, scrambling out of the bed and racing for the wardrobe. “You started before me. This is unfair!” I wail amidst his robust laughter.
Nearly an hour later, we pick up Gabby. Thankfully, Nneamaka had travelled with Nuella on short notice this morning to her mother’s hometown in Oji River, upon the news that the elderly woman isn’t feeling too well. So, I did not have to pick Nuella up too.
My husband decides that we should eat out, and spare me the trouble of making lunch.
We sit around a table in Crunchies, eating, gisting and generally having a swell family time, while watching Gabby in fascination as he attempts to eat by himself.
And then, a hand taps me from behind. I turn and look up into Mimi’s face.
“Babe, how now,” I hail her guardedly. Turning to my husband, I say, “Sweetie, meet my semi-friend, Miracle. Miracle, my husband.”
“How do you do?” my husband says perfunctorily to Mimi, and returns his attention to Gabby without waiting to hear her reply.
“Semi friend?” Mimi says, reproof rich in her voice.
“Ehen now. Shey you said my enemy was more of a friend to you than I am? You are even lucky I still consider you a friend at all,” I fire back, my eyes daring her to counter me.
“About that…” she says. “I’m really sorry. I have had time to think things through, and I was wrong.”
“Hold up just a bit,” I say, raising my palm to halt her speech. “You thought about what exactly? You thought about the scale with which you weigh friendships, abi you thought about me and her side-by-side as your friends?”
This girl is not getting away with what she did that easy, I am thinking as I barrel on, “Babe, even if you felt the way you did, did you have to spell it out with such cruelty? I was hurting and told you about it as my friend, and what I get from you by way of comfort is that the person hurting me is more of a friend to you than I am? How do you expect me to feel?”
“Shebi I have said I’m sorry?” she says, sitting down beside me on the sofa-like booth. “Actually, I have something to tell you…” she starts with a hopeful smile.
“I am not interested biko,” I say, waving her off. Plus female gossip isn’t something I want us to get on with in my husband’s presence.
“No, wait first,” she insists. “Trust me. You want to hear about this! It’s about Chioma – erm, Leticia,” she announces triumphantly.
My husband’s interest is instantly piqued at the mention of Leticia’s name. As for me, I am not liking this tatafo at all. Okay, I am liking the tatafo, but not the fact that it is cutting into our family time.
“Oh, really? Did she send you to get information from me?” I ask, unnecessarily being mean.
“If you don’t want to hear it, no problem,” Mimi says sulkily, rising from her perch beside me.
“Oya sorry,” I say, drawing her back and casting a glance at my husband, who is now observing us, not bothering to hide the fact that he is now listening to our conversation. “As you can see, we are having family time. I will call you later so that you will tell me about it, ok?”
“No!” he speaks up. “If it’s about Leticia, I want to hear it.”
Written by Adaku J