“I’m going for a stroll and from there will branch at NNPC quarters to pick a few things for school tomorrow.”
I raised my head to check the time before my eyes settled on her face. It was 7:30pm. “Why are you looking like someone collected your puff-puff?” I could see the dark solemn eyes cupped by fleshy pouches and a little shadow of melancholy that settled on her pretty face.
A tiny strained smile fought for expression, “I will soon be back.” She held the door handle and shuffled into her slippers
“That’s not the answer to my question.”
“Olami, I’m fine. Let me go, please.” She said looking as innocent as a new laid egg.
7 years in this trade? Come on, I know better!
“Is it the children?”
“The children are fine, they are in their room, ready to sleep.” She snapped.
Okay. As usual, she needed more encouragement. And for the life of me, I wouldn’t know why she wouldn’t just go ahead and talk about what bothered her. This ploy never seemed to grow old and for her it would never run out of style. But, God forbid! I dared not show any sign of frustration at this time. The fact that she was still standing by the door, and not gone, was indicative that I was making progress. It was indicative she wanted me to press more.
Let me throw one more question, if that doesn’t work, then I will get up and move closer to her. I can’t throw all my arsenals in at once.
“Is it me? Is it anything I did?” I flourished in a beautiful smile that could wither an oak a hundred miles away. “Come and tell daddy who collected your puff-puff.” My hand motioned to a space beside me on the bed.
I sustained the smile. My eyes went to work, pleading. My head already arched in a manner a young chap takes when toasting a beau. Every part of my body was persuading. And my heart was not left out, it prayed, Lord, let this one work. And if it doesn’t, I will load the next bullet.
She locked her face in neutral and weighed the request, contemplating whether to oblige me or not. Her eyes darted from the smile on my face to the oscillating motion of my hand on the bed. She was going to treat my attempt to be funny with scorn. I could sense the war going on in her mind, or maybe her head – Should I? Should I not?
My eyes continued to entreat.
Her body turned back into the room. Her hand was still on the door handle, though.
Gosh! Some more progress.
“Please, let me go…” Her feet followed the cue of her body, they apparently were not in agreement with her mouth because they started moving her to the space beside me on the bed.
I grinned like a Cheshire cat. But I maintained focus. My eyes remained fixated on her. I was walking on water, like Peter. And I know I dared not repeat the mistake Peter made when he looked away and began to sink. Even when I shifted a little to give her more room on the bed, my eyes never left my Jesus. “Who is the person? I will go and deal with him right away.”
“Nobody collected my puff-puff.” She blushed like a five year old.
That was a tremendous progress.
She was sitting beside me now. But only 50% of the job had been done. But I would be a fool to think she would just, by herself, spill out what was bothering her. Here was the part I needed to be smart. Whoever said marriage was easy lied to us.
“What is it?”
Lord help me now!
“You don’t look okay.”
Still unyielding as a block of limestone.
“Did I do anything?”
Come on! Just come out with it. If you knew you were not going to talk, why are you sitting down? And if nothing is the problem why is your face like a plate of spaghetti with its sauce dripping all over?!
Shut up, Juwon! Patience is a virtue.
I needed a quick change in strategy. “How was your meeting with Debby?” Specifics sometimes never fails.
The question was like using a pin to puncture a full blown balloon, you could hear the ptssssssssssss sound. It was like a tight rusty nut had just been unscrewed. Her face lit up. She shifted the gear that had been in Neutral all along to Drive, released her leg from the Brake and gently placed it on the Accelerator. I closed my laptop, kept my phones away and quietly told myself this would be some long drive, I fastened my seat-belt – folded my legs and fully faced her. Nothing else mattered now.
“Hmmn…” the car revved a little, “she had so much to say,” the car jerked forward, “do you know that…” and with that we hit the road.
I would say one or two words intermittently and the car would rev again. I ooohed and aaahed periodically and she would increase the speed. It wasn’t too difficult a task.
We finished with Debby Street and from there we took a left turn towards Margaret’s Avenue. We stayed a little while there before we careered the vehicle into Nkechi’s Boulevard. These women had one matter or two that wifey provided them a shoulder for. We analyzed the issues and suggested possible solutions. We branched at Zainab’s Lane. Her wedding was close and it wouldn’t be possible for both of us to attend. She agreed she would go – seemed that was the easiest matter to decide on. From Zainab’s Lane we made a right turn to Collins Concourse. The road was a bit bumpy with several pot-hole of issues. We feared for the car tyres as we maneuvered one bump and another. We didn’t have answers to all the begging questions and we were getting tired. By unspoken unanimous decision we turned back. From Collins Concourse we made a U-turn and drove to Odutayo’s crescent. As we approached the crescent, she reduced the speed. I shifted a little. My head didn’t itch but I scratched it nonetheless. Slowly, she applied the brake, put the gear in Park and allowed the car to idle.
My phone beeped. Bad time. I ignored.
At Odutayos’ crescent she started off asserting Champion was not placed in the right class. We considered the options of probably meeting the school admin to express our complaints. I committed to visiting the school the following day.
She pulled out a form that was given to Princess from school the previous week. She had placed it by my bedside three days counting for necessary action but I hadn’t acted on it. I collected it from her and I signed appropriately.
The generator had developed a major fault and needed repairs. I proposed a replacement was a better solution. She agreed. We checked the accounts and sighed.
We discussed work, we discussed business. We highlighted upcoming events and how they clashed with church commitments. We shortlisted and decided what would work. We talked some more.
And talked some more.
And talked a little more.
Smiling brightly, she pulled up the hand brake and put the car to a final Stop.
“Can I still call mummy?” I asked.
“Are you sure it’s not too late?” I looked at the time.
“What’s the time?” She looked at the clock. “What!” She bolted from the bed. “Past 10! My evening walk!” Shock and disappointment was boldly printed on her face.
I was shocked too. It was truly a long drive.
“I will call her tomorrow morning.” I got up and stretched my legs.
“Wow! The time just flew away like that! And I wanted to pick some few things at the supermarket.” She cried.
“That would have to wait till tomorrow too.”
“I guess so.” She resigned. She walked to the book shelf, picked her phones and stopped when she got to the door. “Do you want to snack on anything?” She had the same posture she took some few hours ago when she announced she was going for a stroll, but something was different now – she looked like sunrise. She looked refreshed and reinvigorated, like someone who just had a shower. All the wrinkles of stress and discomfort I saw hours ago had disappeared. She was bright and shiny, so full of energy. And the smile on her face, it was priceless. “Would you like me to get you anything?”
It was 10:14pm. “I’ll pass. I will do just water.” I smiled.
“You know I love you, right?” She turned and winked at me as she left the room.
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