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Caleb Somtochukwu Okereke: 7 Solos For Women Who Stay

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(I)
Monday is for the day I meet you. The handsome young man standing in one corner of the banking hall, fresh out of The University of Lagos and saying “Teller” “ATM” with the familiarity of educated people. You are arguing with the attendant when I spot you, but then you spot me too. I notice you smile softly. Years later, you tell me that you had then thought I was one of those “Runs girls” who winked at men and demanded dinner at Lagoon restaurant before dropping something.

“But she was not a runs girl” You say on another night years later – after we are married. You are recounting how we met to Ibari, your friend that is visiting from the University “We clicked and fell in love and next I know, I was in Amichi asking for her hand”

Ibari is smiling. It is another Monday and soon she would leave. Of course, she does not know what happens after; she does not know that before we sleep, you would turn me over and straddle me.

She does not know that I would not like it, that I would protest vehemently and press my teeth against your groin in retaliation. But you would enjoy it, it would propel you to go deeper into me, to go faster. It starts on a Monday, the new fantasy of yours. All of it starts on Monday.

(II)

Tuesday is for broken promises. It is for radio shout outs I wake up to from you, on Cool FM. It is for “I want to dedicate this Neyo song to my girl”. It is for the fascination we are quick to call love, lipstick on your collar and the smell of feminine perfumes I do not own.

It is for me to preen in front of the mirror and make excuses for you. To complain that my nipples were too cracked, and stretch marks lined my belly. It is for me to rationalize why you would sleep with other women, because I perhaps feel that validating it, as my fault would mean I could do something to change it. It would mean I was in control.

But Tuesday, too,  is for realising I wasn’t in control. I never was and I perhaps never will be.

(III)
Wednesday is for wine glasses. They are the shapely ones lodged in one corner of our home bar – half-full, because once again, I am drinking alone. I will drink alone till 11:47pm when you will stumble in and blame it all on Lagos traffic. You of all people should know, that a lie told repeatedly and ignored is stupidity. I am stupid, I must be stupid.

Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps, Wednesday is for stupidity instead – for folly, inanity, idiocy, and futility. It is for “Why are you shouting? Can’t a man spend time with his friends again?” and shielding myself from your rage with my left arm.

But, I will not leave, I cannot leave.

The next day I will drink again from shapely wine glasses till 11:47pm, you will stumble in, hoot and howl; but I will do same the day after that, I will keep drinking till 11:47.

(IV)
Thursday is for weekly service. I stopped going two years ago when you burnt all my skirts and gowns. “Barren women do not go to church,” you said. Of course, you do not remind yourself that one cannot get pregnant when you use the wrong hole, you do not blame it on you.

This Thursday I will go to church for weekly service. I will find solace in the choir songs, and the simplicity, in the sincerity blurred by gaudiness on Sunday services.

Thursday is for prayers laid on altars broken, for women broken to unrecognisable pieces. It is for uprising and rebellion. I know you. Thursday is for you and for me.

(V)
Fridays are for 3:45’s. It is the only day you do not come home at 11:47, the only day I do not drink. I will be tucked under the sheets, tossing and turning when I hear your car in the driveway. I will wonder what the neighbours would think, before I actually realise that I know what they think. They know; they must know.

Friday is for misconduct hung like a washed dress on lines of my detriment, for naughtiness swaying in the Lekki wind and sprawled out for the world to see.

Edible Catering would call you at 4:00am. You will giggle and laugh, fifteen minutes before you will rush into the room.

At 4:25, I will lay turned on my back, sobbing feeling your erection poking at me.

Friday is for 3:45’s and 4:25’s. It is for realising just how broken one is, how crushed. But it is also for realising how one cannot leave, how one can never leave.

(VI)
Saturday is for society weddings, you will smile and show me off, like an eager bachelor shows off the love of his life to his family members; and I will smile too. I will smile when you talk about the peaceful home we have and about how we were trying to have kids, but that it wasn’t really a problem.

I would smile because I know of no other emotion beyond the white picket fence of our Lekki home. And I would miss the picket fence, because ironically, it is in it I feel so alive.

Saturday is for me to be your dummy –  the singular expression, submissive wife.

We will dance to Sunny Nneji, go to shake the Bride and Groom. I will catch him whispering in your ears “I love your marriage, you inspired me to marry” and I will smile again, before pity. I will smile before I pity him.

Saturday is for all people who say what they do not know – for all women compelled to smile.

Listen to me Oga Groom, your primary school teacher was right…all that glitters is not gold; not all that wander are lost.

(VII)
When I decided I would call you Sunday, my heart skipped a beat. You are like soiled napkins, foul and sullied, stained and tainted, too mucky to be associated with anything clean.

But your name is Sunday. It is the name your Mother christened you with when you were born. It is the name that was printed in gold letters on our wedding card; it is what you told me when we first met.

“My name is Sunday, but my friends call me, Sunny”

So, Sunday is for you Oga, you are Sunday.

Sunday is for the anti-war room woman. I would not go on my knees and beg God for your sins. You are the sinner, plead your own forgiveness.

I would think this so much that it would motivate me to leave. Always on Sunday… bones all fired up.

“I am worth more than this, no man should hit me,” I say to myself.

Then you come back and say, “I am sorry Sweetheart, for my behaviour.” I will feel myself giving in, easing in. I will forget my resolve and I will stay.

Maybe I should leave tomorrow instead, maybe when he leaves for work, maybe after church on Thursday. Can’t I see he is now a changed man?

And I will keep staying.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime| Pemotret

aleb Somtochukwu Okereke is a writer and literary blogger whose works have appeared in Sun and Vanguard Newspapers, Kalahari Review, New Black Magazine, Hamilton Stone review. His first Novel was published by Bahati Books UK in 2016 and you can follow him on Instagram @caleb_okereke

35 Comments

  1. Peter

    January 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    DEEP

  2. Sherlie Holmes

    January 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Wow. This was so powerful and beautifully written…

    This is the sad reality for a lot of women. Olorun sanu wa o

  3. Great

    January 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    You write so well… Thank you.

  4. Jake

    January 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    ” I will drink alone till 11:47pm when you will stumble in and blame it all on Lagos traffic. You of all people should know, that a lie told repeatedly and ignored is stupidity. I am stupid, I must be stupid.”……….That Part got me, I remember all the years i did that to my darling wife and i hate myself. But, God turned my captivity around. I had a praying wife.

    • Rich

      January 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Sigh comments like these annoy me. “I had a praying wife” I dont understand why it even has to get to the point where your wife has to pray. Why cant men stick to the vows they make at the alter. Are you a praying husband? had your wive and yourself switched roles would she be able to say “but I had a praying man?”.

      I keep coming across this narrative of man messes up, Man does whatever he wants no matter how much it hurts his wife or family, Mans conscience finally catches up with him. Man finally realises value of wife and apparently how prayerful she is.

      This cycle is way too sily in my opinion.

      The sad thing is not everymnan will relise what he has, Sometimes you really have to master the courage to keep it moving. A lot of men do not value the women they are with and it is really time for women to stop pittying themselves and stand up for themselves. I walked away from an epic manupulator last year and it was honestly the best decison I made.

    • Hey

      January 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Calm the f**k down. That you cannot pray for your husband is your own kettle of tea.

    • Ani

      January 27, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Keep on walking, like Johnnie Walker

    • Ojay

      January 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

      Seriously! A wife who prayed. SMH. Thank God for you sha. At least you are a changed man.

    • Fisayo

      January 31, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Jake is not a changed man at all!

      See the next vulgar comment he made under the name “Hey”…just shows he’s still all up in there in his true nature, praying wife or not.

      Sigh….

  5. teetee

    January 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    so beautifully written….one million likes

  6. Mo'Diva

    January 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    OMG!!! I love this

  7. The Real Oma

    January 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Actually this makes me angry – at the man who would treat his wife, a human being, someone’s daughter and sister like that, and then at the woman who would stay to endure all that.. why?

  8. trisha

    January 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Caleb! I love you! your refreshing! this is beautiful

  9. onyinye

    January 26, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Caleb as always, you killed it, i love to read your articles, they are very interesting, a combo of all you want in article, i love love the sarcasm, well done!!!

  10. Kosi

    January 26, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Wow Caleb, just wow! If you were near me, I’ll just put a small token in your hands right now. You have a gift.

  11. nawa

    January 26, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    And that is my story
    Thank You, Caleb

  12. heh

    January 26, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Na wa o. This is so deep. Maybe why i am still single. I honestly cannot deal with such a life. I am too independent minded and stubborn to settle for such. I would rather be homeless… what a tragedy. Very well written too.

  13. funmilola

    January 26, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    this is overwhelming and passionately deep…..no woman should be made to go through hell in the name of marriage,its not worth it.
    thank you Caleb for giving me the pleasure of a well written article, you keep my eyes glued all the time to every word. thank you!

  14. Damilola

    January 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    This is sooooo well written! Clap for yourself well done!

  15. UZOAMAKA

    January 26, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Caleb- thank you for this piece. This line struck a nerve “Sunday is for the anti-war room woman. I would not go on my knees and beg God for your sins. You are the sinner, plead your own forgiveness.”

    • Ify

      January 26, 2017 at 11:13 pm

      I was just about to write this!!!!!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      January 29, 2017 at 1:35 am

      Incidentally, I watched “Fireproof” for the very first time yesterday.

      On the recommendation of a friend who’s been a fan of the Kendrick brothers long before they made “War Room”.

      And after watching, I just thought to myself “Heavens, so there was already a compelling Christian movie about a man fighting to save his marriage, before the coming of War Room? And Nigerians somehow ignore this one where they’re recommending marital therapy??? I wonder why.” ??

      Caleb, this so well-penned and compelling. ????

  16. Meee

    January 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    So what exactly is the purpose of right up???????

    • Tolulope

      January 26, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      You’re too young to understand dear, go and finish your home work.

    • Meee

      January 27, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Oh well so educate me better then! What good does this do for anyone in such situation? How does it help? If this is just not one of those write up like any other for the purpose of applause.

      Give credit to the woman who stays for reasons beyond your comprehension and not this portrayal of self pity and hopelessness because far more than you can imagine, they are the strongest ones.

  17. Otinkpu

    January 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Beautiful piece!!! I got a little confused regarding Sunday’s sexuality. Clearly he enjoys anal sex but his extra marital affairs are with women. Are we to assume that Sunday is having anal sex with all of those women too? Is he a homosexual or bi-sexual? There is not enough here to deduce whether he was having anal sex with his spouse as a form or control but why deny himself children in the process? It is obvious that she is already under this control. I thought he was subjecting her to anal sex because he is a closet homosexual. I would have concluded that he was having the extra marital relationships with men if the piece did not state “lipstick on your collar and the smell of feminine perfumes I do not own” Perhaps the writer can consider cleaning up that aspect a little.

    • Marian

      January 27, 2017 at 12:50 am

      I wasn’t sure what to make of his sexuality too. At first I thought she was a trophy wife he had to hide his homosexuality from the world but he did have an erection and cheated with women so not sure.

      Marriage is so beautiful and it’s sad to think some people are enduring and not enjoying it. I wish our society will tell men it’s okay not to marry.
      What’s the point of a marriage filled with misery? Ladies, don’t ignore the warning signs before marriage. A broken engagement is better than a marriage you have to endure.

  18. Papacy

    January 26, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    I enjoyed this. Kudos to the writer.

  19. Las

    January 27, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Caleb, you write so well.

    The Thursday part was overwhelming, I lost my breath at a point. It felt like blow after blow.

    Your words paint thousands of pictures.

  20. cath.

    January 27, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Women can sound soo weak!

  21. demashi

    January 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

    War Room!

  22. Ebuka Mmaduabuchukwu

    January 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Very captivating piece. It portrays the realities of what goes on in the society. We tell ourselves that we would leave d relationship but we keep staying. In fact, Caleb reading this has made my day.

  23. z-eo

    January 27, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    I love this boy too much.

  24. A Concerned Youth

    January 28, 2017 at 7:01 am

    So sad, so real, and so true. It breaks my heart that in this day and age some women still choose to stay in abusive relationships.

    You are more than your cirmstance. You are more than your situation. You have the power to walk away. It is better to die alone, happy and safe than to live with an abusive individual.

  25. Tiv Girl

    January 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I wish people would stop living in denial about the number of people who love and engage in anal. And no, I don’t mean homosexuals. There’s enough research to show many heterosexual men engage in it, and it’s not because they are closeted. Not my thing, but to each his (or her) own.

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