‘Baby…’ I looked up from my laptop as I saw my wife strolled into the bedroom, ‘please try and close early tomorrow so you will be able to make fellowship. It’s been a while.’ My face settled back on the Exel sheet.
‘Oh!’ She stopped by the mirror and put her hairnet on. ‘Aunty would want me take them shopping tomorrow.’
Aunty arrived two days ago from the US with a missionary friend from Trinidad and Tobago. And they would be spending a few days with us. They were in the living room watching TV after a long day of touring the suburbs in Abuja.
‘You can do that on Friday. They are not leaving till Sunday.’ My eyes remained glued to my laptop.
‘I will have to check with them. It’s not impossible they have some other plans for Friday.’
My head shot up. ‘Regardless!’ I looked straight at her. ‘Let them know Friday is what you have free, they can readjust their plans. And by the way…it’s not like they told you they are busy on Friday, you are the one coming up with that. You have not even asked them!’ I snapped.
‘But,’ she turned and appealed, ‘I already committed to taking them tomorrow.’
‘They are out there,’ I pointed, ‘go and change the plans. I want the two us to be in fellowship tomorrow.’ My voice had that final tone of authority to it.
‘Baby, please!’ It was end of discussion.
Thursday fellowship has been our routine for several years. Of course, I was the more consistent one. My wife’s workload has not been quite favorable and being a nursing mother sometimes took its toll even when she was available.
But I really wanted us to be there together that Thursday. For two reasons basically; one, she had not been in the fellowship for three consecutive weeks and two, the fellowship we attended was for couples – it wasn’t really exciting going without your spouse.
She stood there transfixed and I did not dignify her by looking up. After a couple of seconds, she sat down on the bed, stole a momentary look at me, probably searching for a more convincing approach to swing things her way. It was like tinkering with the titanic, I refused to be patronized, not this time. My face was grim like a carved mask.
Thursday. The morning was cold but the sky promised a dose of sunshine during the day.
Fellowship time. The landscape was bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. The city was laden with people returning home from work. I ran up the two-storey full of spirit and eager vigour as a mountain stream. Our meetings were always refreshing and stimulating. It was something to look forward to every Thursday evening.
The meeting had started before I joined; I was ten minutes late. I assumed my wife was also running late when I settled on a seat, looked around and didn’t see her. The study outline focused on Parenting in the 21st century. As engaging and rich as the discourse was, my ears were more glued to the door than to the individuals in the room sharing their struggles as well as their success stories.
The entrance door was located some distance away from the living room. One would have to walk a few meters through a reedy passage before the connecting ingress to where we were. Every creak of the door was hope it could be my wife and every time someone else joined us that hope was dashed.
And that happened for all the five and half couples that walked in. We were about closing the meeting when I heard the door screeched again. I shook my head sadly but in relief that she made it by the whiskers. All the built-up fury was dissolving as I shifted on my seat and told myself I wasn’t going to cast her any look when she entered.
But it wasn’t my wife.
The disappointment was colossal. I feigned indifference as the leader of the meeting asked me to pray. We shared the grace and the meeting closed…and my wife did not come. Refreshment was served. We engaged in small talks as we munched the delicacies before us and took our drinks. People started leaving in twos. I checked the time; it was 8:45pm. I got up and said my goodbye.
I would usually go home from fellowship, but as I sat behind the wheels that night, home was the last thing on my mind. Anger, disappointment, disrespect were top on the feelings that brewed within me. And they all fermented in high concentration at my feet unleashing their demons heavily on the accelerator. I was at my aunt’s place in Maitama in less than two minutes. She was enthused to see me, of course. Uncle and I hit it off immediately. Gist ambled from soccer to work, to church, to Federer’s fitness in the upcoming championships. We watched TV and I was served dinner.
When it was 10:10pm my phone rang; it was my wife. I didn’t pick. Thirty minutes after she called again. I excused myself from the room, tweaked my mouth and answered.
‘Where are you?’
‘Why are you asking?’
‘You dinner is getting cold.’
I wouldn’t be swayed by any food, whether hot or cold. ‘I have eaten.’
‘When are you coming home?’
There were a thousand and one derogatory ways to answer that question. They were staring at me seductively to use them. I took a deep breath. ‘Soon.’
‘It’s getting late.’
As if I was a baby and I didn’t know? ‘I’ve heard you.’
‘Okay, see you soon.’
I cut the line and feigned a smile as I joined my aunt and her husband.
‘Se Tolu travel ni?’ Uncle asked. He wanted to know if my wife wasn’t in town.
‘O ye k’e ti mo yen, Juwon can’t be here this late if his wife was around.’ Aunty teased.
Oh well. No response was necessary, after all. I joined in the laugh.
I stayed a little longer and eventually left.
The drive home was slow. I wished the distance was longer. And the thoughts came in short bursts.
She chose to take them shopping instead of coming to the meeting with me.
She would rather hang out with the two ladies than hang out with me.
Their needs and requests relegated mine to the background.
She chose guests above me.
She chose the guests above me.
She actually chose the guests above me.
SHE CHOSE THE GUESTS ABOVE ME.
SO I NOW TAKE SECOND PLACE!
SO I NOW TAKE SECOND PLACE!!!!
I guess it’s not until they leave that I’ll begin to feature again.
It was 11:30pm. I inserted the key and turned the door handle. I knew everyone would be in bed save my wife.
‘But you could have called to say you were having dinner in Maitama.’ My wife retorted from the couch as I locked the door.
‘Hmmn hmmn.’ I mumbled and walked straight to the bedroom. A good night sleep was what I needed.
I had just pulled the covers over me when she came in with the texts she was studying. I remained still on the bed and pretended I was asleep. She settled on the recliner and took a reading position. I could see her from the corner of my eyes. I couldn’t sleep and I know she really wasn’t reading too.
Whatever excuse of an apology speech she had prepared tonight would not wash. My nerves strung tighter than my shoelaces. I struggled to decide which would be more effective, to belt out and give her a piece of my mind or to give her the silence treatment
I turned on the bed and backed her. She latched on the move.
‘Olami…but you could have called to say you were coming late.’
Seriously?! Is that what you are going to say now?! ‘Just stop it already!’ I bolted from under the covers. I had only one nerve left and she was getting on it. ‘What are you talking about?! You know I’m angry with you, so don’t just sit down there and school me on how to make phone calls!’
‘I thought as much. I’ve just been trying to figure what I have done wrong.’
‘How can you say that?!’ My senses swam dizzy as clouds.
‘Sincerely, I don’t know.’
‘I told you I want us to be in fellowship together this evening but instead you took aunty and her friend shopping.’ My voice scraped like sandpaper. My hands were flying all over the room.
‘Shopping?! What are you talking about?! Which shopping? I didn’t leave office until 8:30pm. I came straight home because I was too tired.’
I felt like someone literarily poured ice-cold water on me. Her explanation sent a frisson of shock through my spine. I was still as death. I sat there like a wave-beaten rock. ‘You didn’t take them shopping?’
‘Oh, I see…,’ she hesitated, ‘I see…is that why you’ve been acting up all evening?’ She shook her head in disbelief. ‘I see…’ She got up and went to the bathroom.
All the venom…all the fury…all the pent-up anger…It suddenly seemed I had a speech impediment. I couldn’t talk. My hand kept rubbing my head up and down. I managed and picked up my jaw from the floor…..
Have you ever assumed otherwise about your spouse only to discover how wrong you were?
Ever taken a second look at an issue and saw the countless available options of handling it better?
Any ‘I Was Wrong’ experience?
Be my guest.
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