Photo Credit – Unicef
Happy New Year guys. So so excited for 2017. God bless you guys. Enjoy some Oolong while you read okay. 🙂
There is a difference in the way he looks at her now. When he looks at her at all. He spends most of the time looking at the child than he does her or anything else for that matter.
He used to get home by 6, walking tiredly through the mahogany doors that shielded their lives, brush her lips with a kiss, before going upstairs to change for dinner. These days he gets home as if he had been in a hurry all day to get there. He walks in, barely glancing at her, before rushing up to the nursery or wherever the baby is at the time.
And even though they had prayed and longed for these days they are now living, Aduke cannot help but miss the old days. She misses the way he used to look at her. The way he couldn’t keep his hands off her body in the beginning. The way he cradled her belly as it grew after she conceived. The way he always tasted her like he was saving some for later.
They haven’t made love since she returned from the hospital. It had been a difficult birth and the doctor had advised at least two months before sex. It has been five months and she has grown fat and ungainly, her breasts always heavy with milk and longing for him. The stretch marks everyone had promised her would disappear shortly as she lost the pregnancy fat were hanging on to her skin steadfastly. Who could blame him for not wanting to love her?
“It don’t think it has as much to do with you as it does with what s going on in his head, Aduke” Her mother says now, handing her a cup of Oolong. Ever since she could remember her mother’s solution for every problem was tea.
She takes a sip, more for the scent and the warmth of the hot brew than because she wanted a drink.
“I miss him so much,”
“He misses you too.”
“No he doesn’t! All he cares about his Morenike. Look at the name he even gave her. Shior!”
“Don’t be shioring my granddaughter biko. All you rude Ofemanu people. Honestly I should have listened to my father when he told me to marry Emeka the importer.”
Aduke laughs, mostly because every time her mother brought up the famous suitor ‘Emeka’, she imagined a pot-belied yellow skinned man like Olivier de Coque, her mother’s favorite musician.
“Your father is lucky he had all those good looks going for him if not eh.. tufia fr Yoruba people!”
“Anyway, as I was saying Aduke, your husband is probably missing you as much as you are missing him.”
“Then why does he act like I don’t exist? I am so mad at him Mum and he doesn’t even notice!!
“Have you thought of the fact that he might just be as scared of all these newness like you are.”
“What? Azu? Afraid? Azu is not afraid of anything! He is just insensitive and a lousy husband at the moment.”
Her mother stands up to make some more tea.
“So lousy a husband he called me yesterday to see if I and your Dad wanted tickets he got for you both to see Asa because he didn’t think you would be up to it?”
“What? Oh God! I hate that man! He didn’t even tell me anything about any Asa. Why is he thinking for me? I didn’t even know Asa was having a show. What is wrong with that man?”
“Four fingers are pointing back at you…”
“Mum!!! Whose side are you on anyway?”
“Me ke? Me I am on Morenike’s side please. Adults give me a headache.” The older woman answers chuckling.
“Not funny Mummy!”
“Okay okay, let’s be serious. See Aduke, the love between you and Azu is real. In fact it is so much better than what I have with your father. Love like that doesn’t just stop because your breasts are now falling. You both were alone with each other for five years. When you spend that much time with someone, you begin to take it for granted that they will always be there. You figure you know the person so well that there can be no new surprises. Remember when you went on that trip with Kasola two years ago. Azu made me promise never to tell you but two days after you left he came here looking like his whole life just ended. He made a statement that day that made me love him so much.”
“What did he say?”
“Life without Aduke feels like death”
“He said that?”
“He said that.”
She says nothing after that and for a while both women think the same thoughts about the different men in their lives.
“So what do I do now?”
“Go home of course.”
“Sigh…let me give you a scenario. When Morenike wants something, what does she do?”
“Right. Talk to your husband. I didn’t say scream o. Talk. Tell him what you need, what you want. Let him tell you what he needs, what he wants. You are both taking it for granted that you know everything there is to know about the other but that was marriage, parenting is virgin land for you both.”
Aduke finally accepts another cup of tea and silently drinks it before making up her mind.
“Okay Mum, I am going home now.”
“Good girl… Let me help with your suitcases and bags”
“Don’t worry. Chike will get them.”
They hug for a long time then Aduke leaves to return to the home she had fled a few hours ago. She has it planned in her head. She has a few hours before Azu gets home. She will put Morenike to bed early and tell the Nanny that they must not be disturbed on any account. She has some nice lingerie from the early days of her pregnancy that should still fit. She will wear those and put up her hair the way Azu liked.
She will cook his favorite meal, Ofe Onugbo and Garri and she will get out some red wine. They haven’t drunk together since she got pregnant. Then she will make her plea for help. She will tell him how much she needs him to love her even though she looked and seemed nothing like the woman he had married. She will promise to never again wear the horrible flowery nursing night gowns he hated. She will ask him to help her meet the weight loss goals they set together before Morenike’s birth. She will ask him to be her best friend again. She won’t ask to be lovers. That will follow easily once she takes off the lingerie.
For her own part, as she watches her daughter drive away, Aduke’s mother thinks back to 37 years ago when she too had almost run away from it all. She smiles now to remember what had stopped her: a flat tyre on Lagos Ibadan expressway. A flat tyre and the man that had come from nowhere to help her fix the tyre, saying nothing until the job was done and then “Go home woman, he needs you more than he knows. It is the flaw in us men- the new always seems preferable to the old, until the new too gets old. Your children will get old too someday and you will get your husband back. Go home.” And so she had come home, home to Kasola, to Morenike, to Ladipo. The man had been right about everything. That is how she knows that even though Ladipo was currently holed up in a room at Oriental hotel with his secretary, it was only a while before he returned home to her, to the old.
Song of day: Boyzone – Everyday I love you