“Kaabo.” I locked the door, “Baby, you have a key, use it!” I roared like an enraged tiger. In the same swift motion, I turned and went back to the room. She stood transfixed by the couch, stunned – No hug. No smile. No kiss.
I had been disturbed from my reading and meditation. For the four times the bell rang, I had a premonition she was the one and I had thought discretion would win and she would use her keys instead of interrupting my quietness. When she didn’t, I had gotten up in annoyance to open the door and that was the only greeting I could scare up.
I got back to the room and continued reading.
The children hadn’t come back from fellowship. It was just the two of us in the house.
She was in the room a few minutes later. She minded her business and I minded mine. She didn’t stay long, possibly didn’t want to disturb the peace. I was in the living room later. It was time for one of our favorite soaps. She was already geared up to watch. I picked the remote control, increased the volume of the TV a little, as I took a seat far away from her.
It was our custom to discuss the various scenes of the soap during commercials or ask questions for clarity or laugh at comic scenes, but not tonight. She perched in her corner and I perched in mine. How do you watch a romantic comedy with your wife looking serious as nuclear war? How do you sit in a room with your spouse and it was all quiet but you can hear the screaming silence so loud your ears are burning?
I crushed every nudge and desire to talk or discuss the drama. The temptation was strong but I killed it.
When it ended, I got up immediately and picked my food from the kitchen. Fight and food have no relationship in my world. I served myself and ate quietly at the dining. She picked her bag and brought out her laptop. She busied herself with the computer while I had my meal in ‘peace.’ She found a seat close but our hearts were far away. I could feel despondency clinging to her like a garment that is wet. She let out a breath, more akin to a sigh actually.
The doorbell rang. The kids were back.
“Mummy!” Princess ran to her. They hugged and Champion joined the party excitedly. They finished Mummy’s session and came for my session.
“Go and bring your homework and let me see it.” She called.
“Daddy has seen it.”
“Still bring it.”
I released the little girl and she did as she was told. Under normal circumstances, her insistence on seeing the homework would have been an opportunity to chat or share gist on what the children were being taught in school but then, this was not a normal circumstance. In fact, her insistence felt insulting. It came across as ‘Bring it and let me be sure your dad didn’t overlook any errors.” If all you have is a hammer, you treat everything as a nail.
I finished my food and took the dishes to the kitchen. I was sorting them out when she brushed past me to fix herself some tea.
“Josephine, do we still have paracetamol?”
“Yes ma.” Josephine joined us in the kitchen.
“Help me get some.”
How convenient, ensuring I was close by before announcing she needed Paracetamol. If that was arranged to make me feel guilty that she was not feeling well, I told myself, it did not wash. I left the kitchen and detached myself from any pity party. She fetched a glass of water from the dispenser and swallowed two tablets. The minutes crawled by like years, it felt like everything was moving in slow-motion.
I browsed through some TV channels looking for something interesting to watch, just anything. Even a phone call from anyone could suffice, anything at all to excite me or take me out of the dreariness in the house. The kids were running around – final details before bed time. Doors opened and closed. Shower ran. Books and bags neatly packed and put away. Teeth brushed. TV buzzed. A lot going on but you could still hear the deafening stillness that seemed to envelope the house. All your attempt to squash it with excessive nothingness could only further prove its existence.
The rumblings in my mind maintained a foothold. Frustration jangled my senses.
She is expecting me to talk to her first, and I won’t.
And now she is trying to play the victim. Lie! I won’t bulge.
Why wouldn’t she use her key?
How many times have I told her whenever she arrives she should just use her key?
She just wouldn’t listen.
She doesn’t have to disturb anyone to come and open the door to her.
Just use your key! Simple!
My jaw firmed and I stared with growing disapproval. But…the more I dwelt on it the more upset I became. A distasteful jumbled mix of anger, melancholy and trepidation. The discomfort metamorphosed into pigheadedness and I switched off the TV. Sleep would be a needed cure for this turmoil. I left for the room.
I feigned calm and cool but nothing could silence the noises and uproar I battled within. The longer the silence tarried the more difficult it was to break it. The longer it stretched, the more grounds I formed to justify I was right and she was wrong.
“Good night, daddy.” Princess entered the room.
Hugs and Kisses.
“Good night, Princess. Love you.”
“Love you too, daddy.”
I picked another book to read. Sleep was a distant friend, so was focus. Five minutes later my eyes were not only dancing on the same page, they were stuck on the same line. But I wanted to read. I had to be seen as busy, occupied, undeterred, unmoved, indifferent, unaware of the shenanigans, and enjoying the company of my own self.
The door creaked open. I remained still on the bed with the book covering my face and my focus sharp like razor blade. I was blithely aware she had walked close and was standing over me.
“Olami, you know I’m not happy with you.”
Deflated. Punctured. I looked up, not to Jesus, to her. All the anger diffused. All the nuts loosened. I shifted to the left and made ample space on my right. I motioned for her to lie beside me. Forget the book, I had thrown it away, alongside my ego. I smiled as she joined me on the bed.
There was no need for words. I wrapped my arms around her.
It’s not worth it.
Whatever! I choose to be happy.