I have no proprietary rights to this photo. Unknown source
My life fell back into place except that my palette kept craving the exquisite meals from Nri- that’s the name of the restaurant where I met him- and my mind kept replaying jokes and witty banters from that evening. It’s been over a month and I have succeeded in not being able to forget Amanze- contrary to my plans. I am grateful for my ego that has prevented me from walking into that restaurant and making a big fool of myself. I also thank common sense for not letting me ask for his phone number that day. I have tried to push that meeting out of my mind and life like I promised myself I would but each time I pass that building on my way to work, I can’t help looking up to the window where I last saw him. Of course, he has more important things to do than stand all day waiting for me to pass by. Only idiots like me- married idiots- go around looking up at windows to find non-existent people. The strangest thing however, is that that vase never left the window sill and it always had different flowers in it. Like I said before, that man was too smooth for his own good. Anyways, I knew better than to come any closer than I already was. Besides, my husband came home about four days after I met Amanze.
Truthfully, I was glad to have him home. Amidst all my complaints and heartache, I must have forgotten to mention that I love my husband. I am not sure about being in love with him but I do not believe that love is just a feeling. I chose to love him so I do. He certainly doesn’t awaken my butterflies but he holds the keys to some of my best memories and of course, I made four amazing humans with him. That means something in my books. So he came home after months of being away for God knows what. At first, I was glad that he was alright but each time I remembered what he put me through during his absence, I grew mad at him. The striking thing is that when he was absent, I was fine. I was numb, remember? I didn’t care enough to be mad. I channeled all I had into being a mum, making good money, indulging my taste buds and just being another woman trying to remember what happiness feels like without allowing pain anywhere near her. I hadn’t even realized that there was anything to be mad at until another man reminded me of what it feels like to be noticed, indulged, taken care of and perhaps wanted. I didn’t care to feel all these things if I was not going to be allowed to have them. And that was maddening. Howbeit, I kept my cool. I have always been good at that. I took care of him and made sure he got to spend some time with the kids. Two years ago, we had a huge fight in which I clearly stated that I could tolerate being ignored but wouldn’t if thought he could do the same to my kids. I even threatened to give him a divorce and take full custody of my kids if he kept neglecting their paternal needs. By the time he got calls from two of my lawyers within three days, he knew that I wasn’t to be messed with on that matter. Needless to say, he made extra efforts when it came to the kids. He would always check his time when he was playing video games with the boy or excuse himself to take short phone calls when he was playing chess or monopoly with the girls but it was obvious he spent a great deal of himself trying to keep it up. If my kids were okay, then I would stay. We spent lesser time together; I guess he gave the kids what extra time he might have had for me but I was too frozen to be bothered.
This time around, I could feel myself creating more distance between him and myself. Usually, I’d put up a front and try to be all over him but I put in no effort this time. He probably sensed it and his play boy instincts were aroused. You know that primal trait that draws men to things that appeared inaccessible, that was probably it because I can’t think of any other reason why he came home one evening bearing a box of my favorite chocolate, midnight blue lace lingerie by Victoria secret and a pair of red bottom Loubs. The day before I was making my afro into two-strand twists in preparation for bedtime when he called me “Ima”. That’s the word for ‘love’ in Ibibio, our native dialect. He had just walked into our bedroom after spending some time with the kids. Eno, Nsikak and Aniekan had come home from boarding school for the weekend. Eno and Kaka (Nsikak) are the boys and are older than Nini (Aniekan) and Didi (Edidiong) who’s the baby of the house. She’s just seven and she keeps me company and busy when the rest of the family are away. They couldn’t imagine not being able to see their day on his first visit in five months. Eddy had gotten them loads of stuff; books, games, clothing etc and they were elated. Yes, Eddy is my husband’s name. Actually, it’s Edikan but his friends and colleagues call him Edikan. I used to call him baby until it started to sound foreign and odd on my tongue. So I just joined others in calling him Eddy. Right! So he walked into the room and said “Ima, …” Frankly, I didn’t hear the rest of it because I burst into laughter. I found it absolutely amusing that a man would be away for five months, call weekly or even bi-weekly, doesn’t text, hasn’t called me anything but Edima in two years, hasn’t touched me in almost a year would return and suddenly call me his love after I’ve decided not to care about any of the above. He stood there gaping at me while I continued twisting my hair still amused. He must have been embarrassed because he walked into the bathroom where he stayed until I finished my twists and went to Didi’s room to read her Bible stories, as is our tradition.
That next day, I was literally astonished. All the signs were in place; my mouth was hanging wide open, my eyes were almost popping out of their sockets and Most of all, I was dumbfounded as I stared at Eddy holding out his presents to me. I certainly knew what to do with chocolate and Christian Louboutin shoes but what did this Mr. expect that I’d so with the oh-so-beautiful lace lingerie? Who told him that we still have that kind of chemistry? I must have been thinking for myself because he came unto me muttering under his breath about how he knew he must have hurt me all this years. I was quite disgusted. I picked up the box of chocolate, said “thanks” and headed for the door. Just before I left the room, I couldn’t resist turning back to mention how he didn’t hurt me because I didn’t give him the luxury of doing so. He stood there visibly shocked; he had never seen me react in that manner. He could feel the anger seething beneath the surface and the coldness underlined it just like I hoped it would. A few hours and twenty-four chocolates later, I returned to find him asleep after he had dropped a note on my pillow. The note said he got a call the previous day and needed to go to Ghana for three months for some mega project. He said he understood that I have made great sacrifices for us and deserved better. He said he just wanted the night to be special. After reading the note, all I could think was that he had no idea whatsoever about what I had or had not sacrificed. I went into the bathroom, washed my face and a few tear drops away and went to bed. I had imagined that someday, something would cause me to start feeling again but I had envisaged it would be him awakening the love and intimacy we shared, and I imagined it would feel good. I never thought I’d ever be open to pain again. Nobody told me that another man would crack the glass or that Eddy making advances at me would be repulsive rather than endearing. Nobody told me that what looked like a gesture that I had always prayed for in years past would feel like vomit thrown in my face. I could feel the ice melting and all the rage and pain that were frozen were frothing over the surface. The next morning, I decided to act as if nothing happened the previous night. I chose to give him the treatment I had always given him. I had always performed my duties in silence and without warmth. I could give everything except warmth; I didn’t have it to give anyways. I had run out of warmth almost five years before now. I helped him pack all what he would need, got the kids to calm down and drove us all to the airport. Just before he boarded, he gave the adults (that’s what we call the ones in secondary school) some money, hugged them tight and whispered something into Didi’s ears that made her stop crying. When he walked up to me, he was about to say what I sensed would be mushy so I stopped him from going any further. “You’re running late” I said and dusted the lapel of his jacket. I was about to go for a hug when he lifted my chin and kissed me. It was a long, bland kiss but I obliged him if that would leave me with some peace. He hadn’t kissed me in almost a year, and it felt like the entire flavor had been lost with time.
Hello darlings. I hope you love how the story is unfolding. Pt 4 is on its way.
Anyways, I traveled home and it feels great to be with family. they are simply everything.
P.S- My laptop fell and some parts cracked and a few places got chipped. Its a Lenovo S400 Touch ideapad. I need to know if it's possible and what it'd take to change the carcass/casing/exterior. Its urgent. Kindly help me out. This laptop is my prime possession. More than half of me is literally saved in it. I have literally shed tears...and I need to do something asap. Biko....
I hope you are all having a great week.