When Peter entered, I noticed his eyes scanned the living room.
‘Nice place.’ He placed the shoe box on the center table.
‘Kike, I’m sorry for everything. I take responsibility for how badly I treated you. I hope you find a place in your heart to forgive me.’
I sat on the arm of the sofa, my eyes down.’Peter, please sit.’
He walked over to chair opposite mine. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him so I fixed my gaze on the wall.
‘I’ve forgiven you and I mean it but…I don’t think I can live with you again.’
Peter stood in front of me so I was no longer staring at the wall but at his legs. ‘I understand. After all, I don’t have anything to offer you. Segun tells me, I’m alright now but then science can fail. I may still not be able to give you a child so I understand if you say, you don’t want us together.’
‘Do you have plans of getting married to someone else?’
‘No. I just want to be single and happy.’
‘I get it.’
I folded my hands. ‘Can you please stop leaving gifts at my front door.’
‘On one condition.’
I raised my head. He drew a long breath. I waited for him to continue.
‘You see, I don’t have plans of getting married to anyone else too so we can be friends…just friends. I can call you, check up on you once in a while. You know, we can just our friendship rolling. I strongly believe it will be of tremendous benefit to us.’
‘I’ll think about it. I have to go prepare for work now. I have a flight to catch.’
Peter held out his hand. I did not take it. He returned it to his side. ‘Thanks for giving me this amble opportunity to express my deep intention. I do not take this immeasurable, stupendous and fabulous rendez-vous for granted. Deep in my heart-‘
‘OK. I’ll go now. Thanks again. Have a safe trip.’
Peter called me seven times that day.
Two weeks after that incident, Kemi invited me for a Ladies meeting she organised weekly in her living room. Reluctantly, I decided to attend. At the meeting, there were six ladies, one of them was very young and pregnant. She must be in her early twenties, I concluded.
The meeting had barely started when one of the ladies began to cry.
‘I’m fed up. Can you imagine, for three weeks, my husband has been speaking to me in monotones. There are days he wouldn’t even say a word to me. It’s killing me.’
I saw the way the other ladies surrounded her and each dished out encouraging words. Take the matter to God. Have faith. Be patient. God will touch your husband.
‘Why does he react that way?’ I asked, curious. She was taken aback by the question. She took her time before responding.
‘I don’t know. I’ve been praying about it but I can’t see visible changes. Infact, last week, I fasted and prayed. I don’t know why God is so slow.’
‘Don’t speak like that.’ A woman cautioned.
‘God is never slow. He will touch the heart of your husband. Let’s keep trusting God. Remember how I shared the testimony of the salvation of my husband. I trusted God for five years and He answered. My husband now loves God more than anything else.’
‘He will do it. Relax’ another woman said, patting her back. She nodded and blew her nose into a dirty handkerchief.
I was disgusted but I kept my cool. My instincts can never be wrong. She was hiding something.
‘You won’t believe that after my Pastor talked to me, he didn’t change. How can a man be heartless like that.’
‘Is there something you are not telling us.’ Kemi asked.
Exactly, I mouthed.
‘What really happened?’
The tears returned. ‘I can’t even figure it out. He woke up one morning and began to relate to me like a robot.’
I couldn’t keep my mouth shut again. ‘I don’t know why my heart tells me you are not saying the truth. If you don’t want to share your problems, then don’t give us half of the story and expect a spontaneous solution. Something triggered this…and you know. My instincts cannot lie.’
All the women glared at me. I was tempted to walk out of the meeting because I hated pity-parties. The woman stared at me and I noticed she wasn’t upset like the others. That made me relax.
‘Three weeks ago, my husband’s brother came to stay with us. Before I married Kay, I was greatly attracted to him and he knew it. Every time we hugged, I felt electric current rush through my body. I knew he had a history with girls but I couldn’t just keep him away. When he came this time, I had taken my leave from work and so we spent time together. He stirred me in ways that Kay hadn’t. My husband caught us kissing in the kitchen.’
The women gasped. I didn’t take my eyes away from her.
‘Kay ordered him to leave my house. We’ve stopped talking since that timr. I didn’t know how to apologise for what I had done because he wouldn’t even look at my face.’
‘There are some things prayer will not do for you. God is not a magician. He works with principles. You must talk to your husband.’ Kemi said.
‘I agree. You should work on your communication. It’s very poor.’ I added.
Pot calling the kettle black.
I stopped myself. Look at me removing the moth in someone’s eyes when there was a speck in mine. My communication with Peter had been horrible even before our separation.
‘Thank you.’ She whispered. Other women talked about their difficulties and laid out their prayer requests and afterwards, Kemi took over, sharing God’s word on the capabilities of women and how they could make impact in their generation. My phone beeped. It was a message from Peter.
‘Can we have a friendship outing tomorrow evening.’
I smiled. Which one is friendship outing again?
Without thinking, I replied the message. ‘Yes.’
At the restuarant, Peter was a different person. After taking our orders, he sat opposite me, acting boisterously.
‘Thank you for agreeing to spend the evening with me. It’s the privilege of a life time…I mean…I have prayed and longed for this…You look stunning…Are you OK with the order I made? We can order for more grilled chicken. It is a-‘
He knocked over the glass cup, I moved quickly to rescue it before it touched the floor.
He looked at me in a rather childish manner and we burst out laughing.
Peter called me every night. I always looked forward to his call too. One Thursday evening, Peter did not call. I placed the phone beside the bed and waited. I slept off. The first thing I did when I opened my eyes was to check my missed call history. Nothing.
Second day. Third day. No call.
Was he deliberately refusing to call me so I could miss him? If that was his plan, then he had met his match. I was never going to call him.
On the fourth day, he called to inform me he had been sick and was presently on bed rest. Why didn’t Segun tell me about this? I grabbed my keys and drove to his house, my house.
My heart pounded as I approached the door. I entered quietly, my eyes taking in the living room. Nothing had changed except that the table was dusty and the house seem cold. Out of impulse, I entered the room where my tormentors stay. It was empty. There were cobwebs hanging here and there.
My husband was facing the wall when I walked into the room. I sat on the bed and touched his forehead. It was warm. He turned, surprised to see me. I smiled. He didn’t say anything.
I left the room and went to the kitchen. It was sparkling clean. From that moment, I didn’t know what descended on me. I rushed to a supermarket across the road, stopped at a small market some miles away from the house, rushed back home and prepared pepper soup, amala and okro soup. When I finished, I stood back, shocked at the speed at which I had completed the task.
As I headed to his room with the tray of food, I thought to return the following day to clean the house.
‘Feed me, please.’ Peter pleaded.
I hesitated. I dug the spoon into the peppersoup and lifted it to his mouth.
We are just friends. We are just friends, I muttered repeatedly.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.