The wind of the evening pushed the branch of the tree planted right behind their window. The sound of the branch together with the howl of the wind caused Sandra to unconsciously jolt from her nap. She had dozed off about twenty minutes ago. The windows were shut and the tripartite blades of the standing fan had stopped rolling. Mike was across the room, sucking on a piece of cow leg covered in ewedu. She had served a piece of beef and a piece of Pomo alongside. Those had vanished into the pits of her husband’s stomach.
“I thought you would have finished eating. I didn’t even know when I slept off.” Sandra said, looking at her husband.
“No o. This your meal is so delicious. I am mising it.” He replied. “You are a good wife.”
She shook her head, not surprised at his response. “Thank you, Mike, you are a good husband.” She replied.
She got up to pack his tray of plates as soon as he was finally done with the food and took them to the kitchen to wash.
When she got back to the living room, she saw that he had taken off his shirt. He was starting to feel hot because the windows were shut and the room was beginning to get stuffy.
“I don’t think Nepa will bring this light soon o.” She said.
“Well, let us hope they will.” He replied.
“But we have fuel. Let us put on the generator.”
He suddenly started to frown.
“This is the problem I have with you, Sandra. You are too wasteful. Other women are prudent and help the husband to save money.” He yelled.
She laughed, remembering how he had just called her a good wife barely thirty minutes ago. She headed for the bedroom and opened the window a bit then she changed into lighter clothing because she knew there was no hope coming forth from either Nepa or her husband.
Her husband; the man she had agreed to marry. He was a man of his own customized character and she had really tried to understand his personality but maybe she couldn’t; so she decided to adopt the best approach – to ignore him.
In the earlier days of their marriage, she had always made a fuss about his behaviour and had wondered how she ever ended up with such a man. First, he told her that there was no need for a honeymoon and that it was better if they channeled the funds into acquiring assets as a new family. Next, he told her that he couldn’t continue to subscribe for the full bouquet of cable TV so they had no choice but to watch about six channels only, only three of which were actually worth watching.
She had wanted to get a job before she got married but her mother had gone on and on about how important it was for a woman to get married so she could raise her babies early. Her mother had said she would find a job later. Besides, her husband was a rich business man. She wouldn’t have to suffer. She eventually got a job even though the pay was not much. The minute her husband knew about this, he stopped paying for cable. He said he hardly watched tv. So she had to pay. He also cut the monthly upkeep allowance by thirty thousand Naira without any reasonable explanation.
When she had their son Nnamdi, he had been so overwhelmed with joy and he had made a promise before all the family and friends at the baby dedication that he would buy her a Range Rover. She laughed at that one because she knew it wouldn’t happen. And when the child clocked one, she was still driving her beat up Baby Boy.
She knew that Mike was not an unfaithful husband. No. He was not a cheat. She had a Ph.d in snooping and investigation and she had trailed his every move. She knew for sure he had no mistress by the side. He had even said it once that he wondered how men who cheated survived knowing that they would have to fund two women.
The unbeatable and most alarming was the day he had counted the pieces of meat she put in the stew. He said he was not getting the value of the soup money he was dropping! Sandra had reminded him that they had a son to feed and she also had to eat. And then he had said those unforgettable words;
“Nnamdi is still a child. He does not need too much meat. Give him half piece from now on, Biko.”
It was Saturday. Her husband had to go to work because he had a meeting to attend. He had called her later on and informed her that he was coming home with some of his business partners to unwind and discuss in a more relaxed environment. She wondered why he didn’t just take them to a good hotel. He had been renovating the house and surprisingly had paid for the full cable TV they were once privy to. He had specifically asked her to make goat meat pepper soup, Jollof rice, salad and many other things. He had even praised her and called her Ezigbo Nwunye. He had sent a hundred and fifty thousand Naira through his driver earlier in the day and ordered him to drive her to the market.
It was 4.15pm when she heard the security man open the gate and a couple of big cars followed the other into their driveway. As the men walked into the house and settled in the living room, she came out to greet them. As her husband was still introducing her with all the accolades he never said when they were alone, Nepa decided to act with initiative and in the twinkle of an eye, power was interrupted.
“Wow. They only just brought the light thirty minutes ago. And now they have taken it again.” She said, shaking her head.
She hurried into the kitchen and came back with drinks for the guests. As she served them, she started to explain.
“Please manage the drinks. There hasn’t been light since and my husband does not like to switch on the generator. He thinks it’s wasteful of me.” She said.
She saw the rage rise in her husband’s eyes but because there were guests, he held his peace.
“I’m sorry gentlemen. Let me ask the security man to put on the generator.” Mike said to his guests. Sandra interjected immediately.
“Oh we are out of fuel too. I asked him for money the last time but he refused. He said the weather was cool enough and the day was bright enough so we did not need electricity.” She said innocently.
“Can we have some food please. I am starving. Your husband has watered my appetite already with how good a cook you are.” One of the men said.
“Oh, certainly!” Sandra said excitedly as she rushed into the kitchen. Then she returned with plates of biscuits, groundnut and chin-chin.
“How nice! You brought us something to get our mouths busy before the main course.” Another of the men said.
Sandra laughed, her gaze not shifting from her husband.
“No, that’s the starter, main course and dessert. That’s what we have at home.” She said.
Mike couldn’t take it anymore.
“I gave you money to get this done, Sandra!” He yelled.
She moved a step closer to him and placed her hand on his broad shoulders.
“I’m using the money for our son’s birthday party. The one you promised to throw him eight months ago.” She said, planting a kiss on his forehead and walking out.
“Enjoy your meeting!” She called out to the men as she closed the door behind her.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bruno Monteny