“Oh shut it! You do not need to be vocal about every little thing that bothers you. Is she not here to help too? You have been busy and tired of late, your sister is ill and Morenike does our laundry and you complain? You did not even thank her all you could say was that she not enter our room. What is with you, Ronke?”
“Oh? Should I go and kneel to thank her so that you would be satisfied? You talk as if she sat on a low stool to wash the clothes or as if I punished her or something. Did she not just throw the clothes into the machine? Why didn’t she leave the clothes in a basket in the laundry room or outside our door? If she had to come in because you wanted her to why didn’t she leave the clothes for me to sort out? So, opening the wardrobe and touching my clothes is very much allowed, right? Would you say the same if I was to do that in her room? What was the point of boundaries for heaven’s sake?”
“Look, you can yell all you want. I just don’t like your behavior these days.”
“So now I am the one yelling? E bi e ko?”
“Hey watch your mouth…”
“Or what Adebiyi? You want to beat me because of a tramp, go ahead. Let the whole world not only hear of what I have suffered, let them see the results as well.”
“I can see you want to push me into temptation but I won’t give you the satisfaction. Keep on playing the victim card…it suits you so well these days.” With that, he walked out slamming the door hard.
Oh God, what was happening to me?
“Aunty Ronke, please hi want to go to the market;” the ‘creature’ said in a bit to act nice.
“Okay,” Go to hell.
“Please hi won’t be long. Should hi get anything for you?” Heaven forbid.
“No, that’s okay. I am fine. Thank you.” Stupid creature, I’d prefer it if you never came back.
The thought made me smile and I was careful to make it look as if I was smiling at her. This probably made Bee think everything was alright because as soon as the ‘creature’ stepped out, he sidled over to my side.
“Hmm, I like your scent,” He whispered coming close and nibbling at my ear lobe.
I have always had this scent. “Thanks, Biyi please stop. Someone might come in.”
“So? You are my wife and we are in our house.”
“But Morenike could have forgotten something.”
“Morenike isn’t my wife, you are. Hmm…your breasts are full…are you on?”
The nibbling was getting to me but I just couldn’t. “Where were you at two this morning?”
The hands that were tweaking my nipples stopped. I wasn’t enjoying it anyway; my breasts had become heavy and more painful especially my nipples, so his touches bruised me more than they caressed.
“What are you trying to do babe, can I not have a little fun with you in peace?”
“What do you mean? I have always asked you questions tons of times during romance; how is this different? If my husband was not on our bed for an hour and a half, I deserve to know where he was.”
He sat up and shifted a bit putting some distance between us. The gesture brought about a sudden chill and a sense of foreboding.
“I got a beep from Morenike, she needed help.”
“And why didn’t she beep me or better still why didn’t you call me to go with you if you didn’t trust me to go alone?”
“Look, I don’t like your tone. Have I not answered your question?”
“And I don’t like yours as well, Biyi. Why should Morenike call you when we had agreed that she was to go through me if she wanted anything?”
“You wouldn’t have known what to do”
“What is that supposed to mean and how exactly did you know what to do? Have you suddenly become a doctor? Is it because you have your family’s support?”
“’Our family’ babe, they are yours as well.” Even in anger, he knew not to differentiate.
“No, I doubt that. I doubt that my family would have allowed me to go through this whole drama; even your mother stood by and watched, have I done anything to her?”
“She is your mother as well.”
“No, she is yours. Mine if alive would never have been so callous.”
“Ronke, please leave ‘our’ mother out of this.”
“Ehen and if I don’t; will you throw me out?” I was behaving like a rogue no scratch that a local area mama, this wasn’t me. I hated those kind of women.
“I cannot throw you out of our house. We both own everything but I can leave the house for you, it’s getting obvious you want to be alone.”
“Don’t let me stop you. Please take your tramp as well and go have jolly fun with other tramps.” I had crossed the line.
“Listen to me, I am trying so hard to please you but I don’t know what else to do. I have tried to suppress my joy ever since I have had the news that I was going to have a child but because I knew you would be hurt; I have suppressed the feelings, but you cannot know how I want to shout from the tree-tops, you cannot know how saddening it is that I cannot share all of this with you. Ronke, is it not glaring that at least I am not the one with any fault?”
“You are the personification of a fool at forty.”
The slap that followed was stunning. I have never been hit by my husband before not even when I was 25, a new wife and a bit heady but then again we had never stooped this low.
I had stalked to the door when I stopped. No, I was also going to have my say but this time I was calm. The tears fell but I was calm. I read somewhere that tears and calm words had a greater effect.
“You are a silly bastard Biyi.”
“Ronke, listen to…”
“No, you listen to me. You are a silly bastard if you have the guts to refer to our childlessness in such a manner; yes, it’s ours as well not mine alone. If we both own everything, we both own the troubles as well. For the past ten years have I not gone through pain as well? What have the doctors said, Biyi?”
“Look I am sorry…”
“No, what have the doctors said? Say it out loud. What did you say to me on the night you tore my hymen after we had become one? Were they promises whispered on the spur of the moment or did you mean them?”
“Ronke, please I…”
“No, did you mean them or not? I want to know what to tell our child when he grows. Perhaps it’s for the best this happened. I wouldn’t want the child I am carrying to know that his father was a man that couldn’t keep to his words.” I shouldn’t have said the words that would haunt me later.
“Ronke what are you saying?” He was broken, I was watching my pillar crumble at the news he was hearing but I felt nothing.
This was not how I had wanted to deliver the news that we were having our first child.
“I am saying what I have been trying to say ever since you came back. The joy I have had to suppress so yours could be expressed; the fact that even though our dreams came true it had been turned to a nightmare because of your selfishness and impatience.”
The man was broken. “Ah Ronke, the wife of my youth; I have wronged you. Can you ever forgive me? ” He came close touching my belly as he spoke, his voice filled with sorrow, his eyes with unshed tears and I cringed, I couldn’t help it. “Can our child ever forgive me?”
I wanted to reassure him that everything was going to be alright but I couldn’t find the words. I didn’t think we would be alright.
The house felt alive as I entered. Dropping my first set of groceries on the kitchen counter, I walked into the sitting room. My sister was not yet back from school and I had decided to come home early from the market, owning your business was definitely a good thing. I heard the laughter and stopped, it appeared Morenike was talking to someone on the phone.
“No, emi nikan ni mo wa n le,” Laughing to what the other person was saying, she continued making half-hearted protestations.
“But what did you want me to do now? This is the first step o, hi pray everything works out well for me ore mi. No…mo sure now. Mo lo female condom fun ara mi now but awon o mo, won ti mu oti yo…Olorun yo mi pe mo lo fun bachelor party nye; kini ma ti se?”
She paused probably to hear what the other person had to say; “Iwo no ba mi ro now se ma wa gbe oyun lo fun ‘HEMEKA’ ni, boy nye olowo ke? Ngbati o wa sele be mo kuku lo brain mi, o sa mo pe mo smart gan?Ma se sime sime fun wan for a while especially iyawo rada rada yen but je kin bi mo tan …
I didn’t need to hear more, I had heard enough. I had thoroughly gone about everything the wrong way. I had been played by the ‘creature’ – no, she was now a bitch, she had officially become one – and had nearly been won.
I now had a task and that was to save my marriage. No woman was going to bring another man’s child into my house and then chase me out as well. If only I knew how to get to Emeka.
Backing out slowly, I had forgotten about the pan I bought along with the groceries. As I watched it fall and make the loudest noise; it occurred to me that I was sneaking around in my own house…sneaking around because of a stranger.
TO BE CONTINUED