Another long story…make una no vex. At least, i am writing. This is a good thing. LOL!
I like stories of forgiveness. I am a true believer in not giving up, especially on a marriage. Please if it is a relationship and they are being asses, tell them Kiah said to ‘Gerrahia’! A marriage on the other hand…God designed this for great things. We need to stop twisting it upside down just because it makes us ‘feel’ better.
Oh well, what do I know? I just make stuff up…
The house is silent. It used to be a noisy house, a house that held laughter and sounds that only love and kindness could make. All of that stopped on the day the secret stopped being secret, on the day it became a secret shared by more than two people.
As it stood, the secret sharers were Mosun, Ifeanyi, Ifeanyi’s mistress, their marriage counselor and then three nights ago, after being so strong for too long, after grappling with the enormity of the secret on her own for so long, Mosun had finally broken down and shared the secret with one more person- her sister Mide.
The sun was just beginning its ascent on Yaba and environs. Ifeanyi had again forgotten to shutter the windows after staring at the stars last night. He had been remembering a time in the not so far yesterday as he looked out of that window, a time he is worried he will never get back.
He doesn’t know why he did what he did but he knows why he didn’t do it. He didn’t do it because he had stopped loving Mosun. He didn’t do it because of the pressure from his family to produce them with a male heir either. He hadn’t done it for any cogent reasons he could explain away and there lay the crux of the matter. Mosun could not, would not believe that his disloyalty was not borne out the desire for a child or love for the other woman. She had always been this way. It was one of the reasons he had fallen for her-her ability to call black, black and white, white and never consider gray areas.
He gets up slowly from the couch he had been sleeping on, like an old defeated man. He feels much older than his 34 years. Last week he had found some gray in, of all places, his chest hair.
There were four other bedrooms in the house besides their bedroom yet Ifeanyi has chosen the uncomfortable couch as his penance. He remembers how when they had first bought the house, Mosun had gone from room to room, giddy with joy and hope for their future.
“Our daughter will sleep here. I will paint it yellow.” She had said of the room adjacent to theirs
“Why not pink?”
“Because…uggghh” She had replied and Ifeanyi had laughed.
“The boys can share this room. It is bigger I think and there is less light coming in.”
“Are you calling my sons vampires?” He had asked, coming to stand behind her to look into the room, hoping to see this bright future that she saw so clearly.
“I am saying boys prefer to hide their scruffiness under the guise of darkness…”
He had laughed again, perpetually gladdened by the tiny woman in his arms with her bubbling personality and hopeful spirit.
But the future had come and miscarriage after miscarriage had meant that bubbly lost its bubbles and hope was soon replaced by despair.
Four years ago, after countless efforts, medical and spiritual, Kamiye was born. At first, their joy had known no bounds. Mosun had stayed true to her word and painted her room yellow. Their daughter was magical in every way they had hoped and prayed for. But then, when Kamiye was two years old, Mosun miscarried again and the shadows returned. When it happened again, just before Kamiye’s 3rd birthday, Mosun turned the room that should have been the boys’ room into a library and music room for the one child that she did have. Soon she was unrecognizable. Gone was the bubbly personality. In its place was a woman of fierce determination and passion to pour all the hopes she had for three children into one child. She began to withdraw from everything and everyone else. Sex and intimacy soon became a bothersome thing for a woman who Ifeaniyi had once teased as being a cat for her desire to be constantly touched.
The woman Ifeanyi had an affair with was not a beautiful woman but she reminded him a lot of the woman Mosun had been.
He tiptoes to the guest bathroom to begin the day. It is beginning to look like the bathroom he had shared with his wife up until a few weeks ago. All that is missing is her Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner, her Aveeno Facial scrub, the Veet hair remover he sometimes borrowed, her pink shaving stick, her purple tube of Vaginal wash, her box of tampons, the pack of condoms…
He is brushing his teeth vigorously when he remembers the condoms. He rinses his mouth, ignores the mouthwash, and takes the stairs three at a time to his former room.
Mosun is awake, staring sadly out of the window closest to her side of the bed. She jumps as he walks into the room and he sees that she is naked. She looks vulnerable and he wants to run to her and cover her up but there are more pressing matters.
In the bathroom, he finds the condoms and snatches them up.
“Do you know when I bought these Mosun?” He asks as he comes to stand in front of the bed they have shared so long that he knows every bump, every crease, every loose thread in the mattress.
“What kind of question is that?” She snaps back, “What are you doing in here anyway? We agreed you were to stay away from here for the mean time.”
“I didn’t agree! You suggested and the counselor said yes. I listened to you both agree. But you haven’t answered my question Mosun. I will help you out though. I bought these a year or so ago.. Maybe 18 months? A pack of 12 condoms. The flavored latex kind because you used to love them, remember? In 18 months, can you guess how many we have used? Shall I count or would you like to do the honors Mosun?” He is angry now and it takes everything he has left to keep his voice down so it does not travel to the yellow room.
Mosun is on her feet in an instant, naked and uncaring.
“Are you seriously trying to justify your adultery? Because we don’t have sex often is not enough justification for what you have done!” She tells him angrily.
He almost smiles because he this is a rare glimpse of the fiery woman he fell in love with but he doesn’t. There is too much at stake for humor. He had not come here to be angry or to become aroused by the sight of his naked wife yet here he was.
Oh how he loved this woman. Despite the sagging breasts, the stretch marks that claimed permanent ownership of her waist, her rounded belly…She was still the most beautiful woman in the world to him.
His eyes take her in slowly. The last night they made love was two months ago. He had just returned from a rendezvous with his mistress and whether it was from the shame or the guilt, he had come home and made love immediately with his wife. With no contraceptives.
He vividly remembers how pliable she had been. He had assumed it was because she was sleepy and too tired to put up a fight.
“You are pregnant.”
It isn’t a question. He has heard her throwing up at least twice this past week. She has been weepy and hormonal, with mood changes as erratic as the Lagos weather but he had blamed it on the secret that was no longer a secret. Her breasts are fuller; and even though it has been a while since he saw her naked, he remembers her areolas have been this color only one time.
He staggers in surprise as the full weight of what he has done hits him. Fortunately he is standing close to the bed so he sits. He had woken up with tiredness this morning and now fear had been added to the equation.
What would another child bring to this equation of a marriage that no longer added up? What would another miscarriage mean to a woman that had lost so much and was about to lose even the one person who should never let himself be lost? He had blamed her for losing hope when it was really he that lost hope. Or how else could a man sink his head into the bosom of another woman without having first killed all the hope of a future in his marriage? How could he have been so blind?
He weeps silently for her, the children that didn’t stay, the one that did, and the one whose fate was still up in the air. Then he weeps for himself, for the cowardly little man that found it easier to blame than to try. He stops weeping when he realizes she is weeping as well.
“I am so so sorry Mosun…” He starts to say but she cuts in.
“Don’t. Don’t say that word any more please. It only makes me feel more guilt as if that were possible. Ifeanyi, my God, Ifeanyi, do you even realize how hard I was trying? I knew I had changed. Everyone told me except you. You were so patient, so kind with me and maybe that is what gave me the false sense of security. Maybe that is what made me feel like I could take my time in finding myself. I had started to try, you know? Mide and Mummy had had a talk with me and I started praying about it. Remember that night you came home and we made love like we used to? That was me trying to beat the demons of despair that hounded my every step. Did you notice I moved the piano to the living room downstairs and repainted the study so it could be the boys’ room again? Or that for the first time, I let Kamiye go to your parents’ for a whole week so we could be alone together ? Couldn’t you see that was me trying, me really trying to get back to the woman I once was, the woman you loved?”
“You think you lost the woman you loved, but did you ever stop to think about what I lost, Ifeanyi? Is there anything left after you lose yourself? 6 miscarriages, Ifeanyi, and I am not saying you didn’t suffer too but can you imagine what I went through every time I saw life drain out of me, every time my body rebelled against an innocent child? Can you even guess? I started to hate my own body. I promise you Ify, more than you wanted me back, I wanted myself back. And I was trying Ify, I really was. I still am, damn it! It is why I have booked five appointments since I found out to get an abortion and haven’t kept any. It is why I am still in this house. It is why I still attend marriage counseling with a husband that only ever says “I am sorry” and nothing else.”
The house is no longer silent. Ifeanyi can hear it. There is anger, there is passion, there is love, there are sounds everywhere, silent ones but they are there.
Ifeanyi is the first one to recover and when he does, he is all out of words. Words, he has realized don’t take away the silence. Love does, and love can be silent and without words. He retraces his steps to the guest bathroom he came from. There is his Gillette shaving stick, the Herrera cologne Mosun loves, the blue bottle of Vaseline Intensive Lotion that is his trusty aide against the harsh Lagos weather, his almost finished Old Spice deodorant, Softsoap body wash and sponge, that is all. He takes it all up in one trip, along with his towel.
“If it okay with you, I am going to have a bath here,” He tells his wife. She has wrapped a blanket around herself and is looking out of the window again. She seems not to have heard him but he knows better. He knows better to wait. Butterflies take their time emerging from cocoons. She can take all the time she wants. He should have been waiting before but he wasn’t. Now he will wait as long as she needs him to.
Finally she turns around to look at him, “There is some more Veet in the cabinet below the sink just in case you need it.”
Tears fill his eyes but he turns to go into the bathroom before she can see. He lets the shower run without getting underneath it. He doesn’t have to wait but he does anyway; so he can take her hand and lead her in, so they can receive absolution together, so she knows that come what may, she will never have to try alone again.
Song of the day: Israel Houghton -Moving Forward