“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.’
The words do not seem to come. I have been staring at my screen for the past twenty minutes and I can’t seem to make one coherent sentence. But I have to because I have some explaining to do. I get up from my chair in frustration. And pick up my phone to reply my chats. I read through the messages from my husband. I have to go and open up the door for him. Our two children – Ileri and Fifunmi – are in the boarding house. We have the house to ourselves. I allow a smirk on my face. When he comes inside, he gives me a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. It was like a reflex action. I squeeze my fists in disappointment. I take his bag from him and follow him into the bedroom. It’s like every other night.
‘How was work?’
‘Great. Thank God’
I pick up after him as he undresses – putting the shirt and singlet with the laundry, hanging his suits, keeping his shoes on the make shift rack, tying his tie on the hangar for that purpose.
‘I made Ofada rice and Efo riro.’ This is probably the only part of the conversation that changes.
I step out of the room in order to go serve dinner as he moves on to take his bath. I smile as I hear him singing in the shower. He has an amazing voice. Maybe one of these days he will remember to serenade me. After his bath, he sits at the table and I watch him eat.
‘Is it good? Does the soup have a lot of pepper?
He shakes his head. I pour him a glass of water.
‘What did you have for dinner?’
I jut my chin forward gesturing towards his plate to indicate I had the same. I eat early to keep my belly fat at bay. I have no six packs, but I can still give some girls who haven’t given birth a run for their money.
I clear the table when he finishes. He comes into the kitchen to wash his hands. I am hoping he will stay back and talk to me. He doesn’t. ‘It was a nice meal. I enjoyed it.’
I clean up in the kitchen and return to my laptop. Maybe this explanation would have to wait. My husband is already in bed. I know he is not asleep yet. I let my wrapper fall and I pull my shirt – actually one of his old shirts – over my head. I join him on the bed. I sincerely hope he will say something. But to my deepest mortification, he doesn’t. I clear my throat.
‘I am hoping to travel for this conference in China. The Governor signed an MOU with this Chinese corporation. It looks good. I just hope the Perm Sec. remembers me this time. Plus there would be some loose change.’
He grunts and adjusts the pillow. ‘When?’
‘In a month’s time.’
I adjust my position propping myself with my elbow so I am directly facing him. I let the duvet slip down a bit.
‘Let me put a call to Animashaun.’ Animashaun is my husband’s family friend, but he comes from an influential family in the state. I drop a quick kiss on his cheek.
‘Thank you. Long day?’
He nods. I release my elbow and turn to face the ceiling.
‘Sorry. Good night. You should rest.’
He finds my hand under the duvet.
‘You remember the first time we met?’
I let go of his hand. ‘You mean the first time you really saw me?’
He turns his head abruptly. I continue, ‘it was at the airport, Niyi.’ He sits up on the bed. ‘But you have always known right? You knew then. And I was available. And bam! I said yes.’
He says nothing. ‘I said yes, Niyi. And then, it’s been from one sacrifice to another. Putting you first, chasing your dreams, putting the kids first, seeing to their needs, putting your family first, enduring their crap. You were just right there in the middle of everything. I thought I could love you enough for the both of us. How did I do?’
He adjusts the pillow behind him. I wait for him to say something. Anything. ‘I thought we were doing great…’
I scoff. I move my index finger rapidly between me and him pointing at his chest and mine at intervals. ‘This is great? You call this great? We live like flatmates for God’s sake!’ I get off the bed in the heat of my speech. I throw my arms around me. ‘You know why we are like this? It’s because …’
He throws the duvet of himself and jumps to his feet.
‘Because I took you for granted! You would always be that girl that looks at me with all her love in her eyes. I just knew. That you would stick with me through thick and thin. And you waited for me to come to you. I did. Even now, you have waited for me to come to my senses.’
He throws his arm wide as if to invite me into his embrace. I stand there naked like the day I was born, arms folded across my chest wondering about my explanation. They are just four words, and I throw them across the room.
‘I slept with someone.’