Ije pulled into her suburb with an accustomed ‘near-speedy’ driving along a pale feeling of difference, deciding whether or not it was wise to make home timely at such a Monday. It has been substantial months since her return from work came in hand with twilight contrary to her usual nightly arrival.
“Earnestly I need words with Tony . . . . Only if this pride of mine can be swallowed;” were the thoughts that revved her mind.
A few blocks to her residence sauntered an elderly man with a young lady supposedly his daughter, sharing exhilarating chats along the subway of the suburb. Approaching from behind, ije’s attention was captured by their lively demonstrations, the man nodded with interest and both laughing at intervals. Picturing herself as the lady and Tony her husband, the man, reassured a seeming auspicious outcome in her crumbled marital happiness. At that moment she resolved to unclad every weight of pride and come to terms with her man. Her soul thumped with increasing tempo as she sped across, speculating on the possible scenario.
“This in real sense was your fault Ije,” she silently re-admonished herself.
She is an ambitious woman who aspired the greatest height of career. Working hard and smart amassed her with the company of elites whereupon she achieved an abiding connection with the CEO of her Multi National Organization. Things worked fine, promotions stormed her with travel privileges and all that anyone could wish for at the expense of her time with Tony. Returning late night and leaving far before dawn, spending weekends and months outside town gradually nibbled all her marriage once shared in common.
The scene of a faithful day when before her eyes, Tony was utterly humiliated at her cost, hunted the life out of her. It happened that her CEO along with his driver had dropped her home some minutes past 11 o’clock in what she claimed was an official trip, unbeknown to her that Tony failed to embark on their earlier agreed journey. The CEO lavished kisses on her neck while she chuckled and giggled like a newly betrothed maiden. Upon entering the house, she was astonished to behold Tony’s presence and she half concluded, “Perhaps he has taken notice of my endearment with the CEO.” Confirmation to that speculation unveiled abruptly as Tony fronted her with heated questions which earnestly heightened into argument and for the first time in her life, a slap from Tony pounced hot upon her cheek. That was the height of embarrassment she would tolerate from a man she believe, feeds from her purse. She returned the offensive in kind and got the beating of her life. Nothing was left of her little strength except the ranting of words – despicable words of abuse to Tony.
“Yes am his lapdog.” She screamed opinionatedly. “He has my thighs at his wish because he worth it. Far unlike a riffraff like you who cannot afford half of what it takes to make your woman sound.” “I feed you Tony, I feed you,” her voice bawled …. “And do you know what? He pays me that money. Your flight tickets are from his damn pocket, even the food on your table after your days of fruitless work.”
The beating increased as she vomited all the unhearables till Tony had a sudden sweep of weakness at a particular word of hers. “He is your fellow man,” she lamented, “I married you to help me achieve my dreams but he did. I don’t regret saying he deserves your wife more than you do.”
This dropped Tony cold against the wall and he began weeping with head buried in his both palms, presenting Ije an opportunity of revenge. She rammed a mortar into his skull and got a break of a phone call while he yelled in pains. The fight commenced as she countlessly pounded the disoriented Tony with every object her hands could find until he mustered some balance and took hold of the prime. At this time Ije’s CEO barged into the apartment with a handful of fierce looking bodyguards. The phone call was to him and his response was timely. At the end Tony ended up in the hospital and return home on wheelchair.
“Give it time, he may still walk again,” said the doctor. “Though his spines were excessively cracked.”
The couples though dwelling beneath the same roof, neither spoke to one another nor observed whatever conjugal involvement as married people till a full year went by. Ije prided on the fact of her strength and connection, enough to drop her husband on wheelchair for laying hands on her. She however subtly wished for the months to run by till he gets back on his feet. Her anxiety was full blown when after a full year, no development was recorded and the doctor announced that hopes of Tony leaving the wheelchair was bleak. At this moment, she sort ways to mend the rift which have grown too wide to be bridged. She cried all day at work and thought of how she have sent her life to a steep voyage with no lesser end than destruction. All the “I DO” when at the altar now contains more patches than cloth. The continued affair with her CEO has become more obligation than pleasure and aspiration.
These rattled through her mind on the twilight of that Monday as she headed home, resolute on an apology, though unsure of the possibility of Tony’s instant acceptance. She would break the news of her intention to quit her job thus, distancing from the CEO – a thing she believed Tony would relish. With that, she would regain the time to rebuild her home.
“I have decided to be a good and humble woman,” she kept mumbling as she neared her residence. Suddenly a vehicle swerved into her path and she quickly notice a man at the rear, point a gun at her windscreen. She once had seen the man in the entourage of her CEO’s wife whom she supposed must have grown resentful of the affair between her and her husband. It happened so fast. All she recalled was the loud bang that cranked a bullet into her brains. Next was blurred faces of crowded sympathizers who were pulling her off her vehicle and then emerged a fellow on wheelchair who looked close to Tony. She managed to hold dying breath as he held her, fuzzing with tears and remonstrating words that sounded vague. This was the moment she ever longed for – a moment buried in Tony’s arms, feeling his warmth. For those seconds, nothing mattered, neither the past, present nor future; not even the death before her. In his arms was a touch of heaven.
“Am sorry baby, I love you,” she muttered with a weary smile as her breath drew the last.
Nnaemeka Kezie (eN)