I wore my tight blue jeans today. I looked really good in the jeans that were from before the time I was married. They were extremely tight, since I had added weight. Bobby would never let me wear jeans. He said it was against God. He said God would be angry. He said my curves were for him and him alone. At the time, it was the sweetest thing to hear.
I wonder what they said about me this morning when I left the house. I really wonder what Mama Maria and Iyawo, my sisters in the church of God, thought about my wiggly bottom as I passed their shop, strangely offering only a muffled greeting.
They would probably have stared intently for minutes, wishing they were me but soon after, criticize me. They would say “She’s become a bad woman. She shouldn’t bother coming for fellowship this evening in those jeans” They would clasp their hands, fret and pace around. Their hands would cover their heads and they would pray for my sinning soul. I wonder how I feel about that. I search deep down for my feelings as I sip on red wine, standing in front of the floor length mirror. I am numb.
I got a piercing today. One on each tragus and adorned them with tiny diamond earrings that brought out the light in my eyes. I observe my appearance with a wry smile, studying the deep brown color of my low-cut hair. I did that today too, at the beauty salon at the Estate gate where prostitutes perched at night.
The prostitute women, who lounged there during the day, encouraged me to paint my face and told me how lovely my skin was but how lovelier it would be if I did something about the stretchmarks. They were brutally honest and it made my soul flutter, to know that someone cared about me. I bought every product they told me to buy.
I keep staring at myself. I am not vain. If you had seen me yesterday, you would never have believed I could look this good.
I am not the perfect housewife, but I am the committed housewife. I have had two children who have made my stomach more than a little bump and my used to be perfect skin, soft like amala. A thousand stretchmarks adorn my arms, waist and stomach.
Bobby makes me stay at home even with my law degree, so you see why I’m the committed house wife. He can be charming as he’d been when we started dating but most of the time, he is a bastard who is ashamed of my fat and ugly. I can’t blame him.
The humiliation, I can tolerate and have tolerated but cheating on me? That, I cannot tolerate and once I discovered it yesterday, I sent for my Mother to come pick Taiwo and Kehinde. My Mother is a thoroughly beautiful woman, whose age is masked by a façade of elegance.
“Leave the bastard” she urged as she did always. She wove perfectly manicured nails in my face. Her purple lips were curved in a pout. Her dark skin illuminated brightly. No, she couldn’t be my mother, I had thought as she said those words. It was I, who was her mother. “come stay with me,” she continued.
I shook my head with a shy smile, retying my wrapper against my breast.
“Does he hit you?” she asked and I touched my face.
“No, not really.” Before she could interrupt, I said “go, just go mum. I would be fine.”
She smiled showing off perfectly white teeth and two deep dimples. “Darling,” she said “don’t be a slave to your husband or his bad religion.”
“Mum, I’ve heard” I said and kissed the twins goodbye. I watched as the car zoomed off and went in to prepare my husband’s special dinner. Special because it could be his last.]
He cheated on me with a light skinned, skinny beauty. I knew because, he’d left his I-pad at home and pictures of them filled the tablet. There was none of me or his children. Just the two of them.
He came home irritable as usual. He pushed me aside when I turned to peck him. He stank of female perfume like he’d drowned himself in a pool of victoria’s secret. I chuckled.
“How was your day?” I asked when two wraps of eba and a bowl of vegetable lay in front of him.
He ignored me. I laughed.
“Bobby” I began when he was almost through with his food. He grumbled a reply. “I know you’re cheating on me.”
His blood shot eye riveted from the food to me. For a moment, my vulnerable self, saw care and love but I wiped out that thought, it was just fear. His mouth was full, he struggled to speak.
“That food, it’s poisoned, you have two days to live” I was so straight faced, it was easy to believe me. I showed off two wraps of the hypo sachet bleach and explained how I’d started to mix the boiling water with bleach to teach him a lesson but that instead, I’d gone to a baba to give me something that would make him die a less painful death.
“the baba gave me this” I offhandedly showed off two wraps of local mosquito repellant that said “kill fast fast” Of course, he wouldn’t know any better. “he said this would make you die slowly. It would give you time to think of your life.”
I giggled and strode into the sitting room to continue an episode of desperate housewives. I listened to him struggle to gag himself and chuckled. He was pleading, mumbling “I’m sorry” he cried out “I’m sorry, please, please please Asake” I pretended like I was engrossed in the movie.
When he saw there was nothing he could do, he came to beg me. He knelt down and offered me the world.
“The deal is done, I’m sorry” I said smiling.
This morning, he offered me a check of a million naira, a sum he’d never once given me. He was covered in a duvet and looked terribly sick. But I knew it was just nerves. He said he wouldn’t go to work.
“Please, I don’t want to die love. Please” He groveled and begged. I wondered why he didn’t call the police or his pastor or anything. I figured, with death supposedly hanging around his neck, he couldn’t think straight. I wondered why he didn’t plead with God to save his life but I knew the answer, he was really a lukewarm Christian.
I smiled accepting his check “the deal is done love” I said.
He offered another when I got back, still in that same position he was in when I left in the morning. I took it and shook my head “baba said there’s nothing he can do” I wiggled my butt in front of him as I left the room. I wanted him to say something about my behind but he said not a word. I knew he was surprised at the beauty I had turned into with the snap of my fingers. I could feel his regret hanging around the walls of his room, a nasty scent. He was so much in love with life, he didn’t realize, I couldn’t hurt a fly.
I observe myself. I never knew I could be such a good damned actress. I sip the wine and laugh at myself. Sometimes, its good to step outside the comfort zone. Sometimes, its good not to care. I am not running mad but I could be mad. I chew on the bottom of my lips trying to suppress my laughter.
I am so numb, I say “Bobby don’t be stupid, you’re not dying. I didn’t poison you”