The Comfort of Old
I have been officially married for 2 weeks. It felt good having a man come home to me. Labib had made me resign from my job. In his words “I make enough money for us to spend, save and throw around”. He had kissed me and went back to playing his PS3…annoying!!!
To be honest, it felt good staying at home watching TV all day and just glancing through fashion magazines and have my friends in the same category (full housewives) check up on me. We would gist, gossip about the so-called big Island girls who were unmarried and yet drove cars that could build a house. I also made new friends in the neighborhood. Sometimes Labib would come home really late from work but he would wake me up and rub my belly until we both dozed off.
I went into the kitchen and brought out milk from the fridge. I turned on the TV in the kitchen and sat at the table to have a bowl of cereal. The baby kicked as I swallowed the first spoon; just like her father, the sight of food would make him forget everything else, one would wonder if he was starved in his previous life.
The door bell rang and interrupted my quiet breakfast. I got up to answer. It was the laundry company.
“Good morning Madam!” The Company’s representative greeted.
“Mr. Labib called and asked that we do a pickup”
“Yea, give me some minutes; I’ll be right out with it”
I rushed into the room and picked up Labib’s laundry bag. In my life, Labib is the most organized man I have ever known….you would never catch him throwing his socks around, his underwear were nicely folded….by himself….sighs!
I decided to do a quick check and count the number of clothes. I can never be too sure; He may have ignored doing that; so I counted, 5 shirts, same number of pants, good!
I started to wrap them back one after the other.
Something dropped and I had to bend over to pick it up…phew! Pregnancy ehn….
It was a hotel receipt. Raddison Blu.
Hotel? I started to shake. I literally started to feel cold even though the Air Conditioner was not on.
It was only when the door bell rang that I remembered I was keeping someone waiting. I squeezed the rest of the clothes into the bag and went outside to give them to the man.
I shut the door afterwards and went numb. “Could Labib still be cheating on me?” I said to myself aloud.
Why was it such a big deal to me now if he cheats? After all, I should have been used to it by now, but then, maybe there is a part of me that was hoping Labib would really stop all his bad habits. Is it that the counseling is not helping? No! I shouldn’t jump into conclusions. There has to be an explanation for this. Labib is a changed man and I believe that. I fought back tears and went back to my soggy cereal. I managed to swallow 2 spoons and disposed the leftovers.
I became bored all of a sudden so I picked up the car keys and headed for the bookstore nearby. I walked into the store and began to glance at their Sidney Sheldon collection. I moved to the African stories session and began to flip through Chimamanda’s ‘The Thing around Your Neck’. I was about to drop it when I heard a sultry masculine voice behind me. “That’s a good book” it was a heavily accented British English. I smiled and turned to look at the person.
“Oh my God!” I shouted as my eyes met with the dude’s.
“Mo!” He shouted.
Ok pause. This is the only person in this world that calls me Mo. This is the first man that I ever ….you know…..anyway, this dude was my first love, was my ‘first’ and……”what are you doing here Mohammed?”
“What are you doing here yourself…..” he paused and continued “look at you….oh my goodness! You are expecting…”
I wasn’t sure if that was a question or a statement so I answered “yes, ‘am pregnant”.
We hugged each other.
“I only just came into the country few weeks ago and I just thought to check this place out….I live behind this bookstore”
“Really? I live 2 streets away”
I laughed and punched him playfully “with my husband silly”
“Oh! There’s a husband?” he asked grinning
“Of course there is” I flashed my ring
He smiled. “So when did you tie the knot, a year ago?”
I rubbed my belly…I knew he had that speculation because of my huge belly.
“Ehm!! 2 weeks”
“2 weeks?” he started to laugh “Someone has been naughty”
I punched him again. For some reason, thoughts of Labib cheating slipped away from my mind and I allowed myself enjoy the company of Mohammed. Mohammed was Hausa. His parents are Aristocrat, polished and schooled abroad. Mohammed was 6 feet 2, light skinned and extremely handsome, dimpled cheeks, intelligent, eloquent….sighs! And yet he got away from me. Whose fault? Story for another day.
“So what are you doing here?” he asked again.
For a second, I was tempted to rant out to him but I held back.
“Exercise” I lied
“You do know I know when you are lying, plus since when did driving become an exercise for a married woman?”
I looked at the car keys in my hand and smiled “ok, you got me. I got bored doing nothing”
“Don’t you work?”
I grinned “no I don’t”
“What happened to that career woman in you?” he smiled “come on. Let’s grab something to eat. We have a lot to catch up on”
I was about to decline when he pulled me into the café situated in the bookshop.
Well, there is nothing wrong in catching up with an old friend.
We started to catch up and I absolutely lost track of time. By the time I glanced at my wristwatch, it was almost evening.
“Wow! Mohammed, you successfully made me forget my wifely duties.”
He smiled “you have to go yeah?”
“Yes, I have too. My husband will be home soon. His dinner has to be ready.”
“Aren’t you a good wife…..” he teased.
“Whatever” I got up to leave.
He walked me to the car and we said goodnight.
“Don’t forget to say hi to that girlfriend of yours”
“I sure will and regards to your husband. See you soon”
“See you soon”
I drove home hurriedly and ran into the kitchen to prepare Labib’s food. Who knows if he would be home early? I was setting the table when I heard the front door open.
“Oh! You are home early”
“Hello to you too wifey”
I smiled. “How was work baby?”
“Good! So what did you do all day?”
“The usual. I went to the bookstore on the next street. I ran into an old friend of mine”
“Oh! Interesting! What’s for dinner, I’m famished”.
“semo and vegetable. Won’t you change?”
“I’ll just wash my hands and eat ooo”
He ran into the kitchen and hurried back.
I watched him eat. Was he cheating??
“Are you cheating on me?”
“What!” he coughed and gulped down a cup of water.
“why would you say that, Motunde?’
“Because I found this in your laundry bag” I placed it on the table.
He frowned and kept on eating “oh that, I had to do a booking for the Guest Artist for the Walk for Cancer program” he kept on eating.
“Oh! ‘Am sorry”
“na! It’s ok” he kept on eating.
This was strange. Why wasn’t he angry? The usual Labib would flair up and curse and maybe even push me…and if I retaliate, he would hit me.
It must be the counseling. It has to be, otherwise I will conclude that something is fishy. As much as I say anyone can change….my instinct kept telling me something was fishy. Whatever it is, I will figure it out.