Red is not my colour.

I slither to the middle of the muddy narrow road like a maven assassin. The rain is drizzling now but the heavens keep belching hungrily. It was frantic with shards like broken pieces of glass aimed at the earth, only seconds ago. An animal persistently howls in the remote distance. It also seems to be my imagination. It seems like my ears are tingling with niggling clamors and rackets that do not actually exist.

My usually excited heart isn’t beating rapidly. I do not feel fear tickle my skin like it usually does. I feel relatively electric and energetic. My leather jacket is wet like the rest of my body. I feel like I just got baptized, or something of that sort. I don’t feel any pain surprisingly. I am bruised everywhere but I don’t feel any pain throbbing through me. I take a deep breath, my small squinted eyes, searching for my preys, if I may confidently call them that. I take a crawling position and with my elbow and knees, move forward. My back is hunched up, my face bent low, my breathing is deep. I must resemble a wild creature. My knife is still secure in my jean pants. I didn’t lose it in the fall. I like having a knife in my jean pants when I’m clad in my leather jacket.

I listen to the night’s wicked hymn and the buildings breathe, my preys do not give away the slightest sound.
The time around midnight is usually beautiful and calm, with the night singing its song of romance, the wild mating under moonlight, the stars twinkling brightly and the faint clouds briskly floating by the glowing moon.
But this moment is the total opposite. The black shadowy demons sing songs of terror that frightens the wild. They dance to their songs at the same time, hungrily ravaging and raping the night. They wickedly hunt dreams.
The street lamps make only a slight difference to the lightening situation in the stark night darkness. I try to stand and the first pain shoots through my waist. I’d rolled down the entrance slope of my home, what was I to expect? By chance, I am not dead yet. There are cars on both sides of the narrow road. Despite the pain, I run to their sides to search for my preys. I pull at doors and boots, to no avail. Frustration works itself in me. Little dots of sweat surface on my nose and forehead. Wicked perspiration on a cool night.

I start to chew on the side of my bottom lip and bend over a car, to catch my breath. I should give up I say to myself rubbing my fingers against my neck. I lean completely against the white Toyota corolla angry with myself. I wonder where the energy and the guts came from. I am a mess. My new Brazilian hair weave is a total mess. My face is a mess. What gave me the courage? I ponder all these, examining myself by the glass of the car, under the green street light.

Coming out here, was my decision. I might like to think I was forced by the demons of the night. Maybe I was a little influenced by the anger and unequivocal knowledge that I have lost love. But I know for certain, that I thought I would have a swell time, running into the night hunting. I thought I was acting an action movie, a sort of female James Bond.

My mind races back to how the events of the evening played out.

I came back home earlier than usual today. I was in a good temperament. I was clad in my best dress, a Christian Dior lacy dress. Since Jibola lost his job in May, I had been chiefly debauched to him. I wanted him to grieve since it was his fault he lost his job. It had been a sexual harassment suit. He had been accused of making advances at his secretary. I didn’t know why he wouldn’t allow the court proceedings to go any further before settling out of court. To me, it had just indicated his guilt which he so much denied to me. But earlier today, I was going to let it go. I wanted to consummate our marriage and try to be happy with him.
I got home at half past six, grocery bags in hand. I had just walked through the muddy uneven market road, something I hardly did. I was going to make Egusi Vegeatable and Ewedu for him, a combo he liked, with tiny diced pieces of cow skin and chicken stew. Then I was going to prepare yam flour for him. Then we would talk like we had never talked and when it was time to go in, I would light eccentric candles in our room, change into black lingerie and, you know, be his wife again.

A foot out of my Mercedes, however, though still with a happy-go-lucky attitude, I inhaled something irksome. I took off my 6 inches heels and walked barefoot on the interlogged ground, feeling nauseated. I tried to place a finger on what was wrong, but I just couldn’t. I only knew something was out of place. I tried to shake off the feeling by inhaling the soft scent of my garden roses. But even that scent, was stained with the pungent odor of trouble.

I opened the door quietly, trying to shake off the evil gnawing at me. I’d wanted to surprise him. He was always in his study, reading a book, or working on his computer. I tiptoed into the kitchen, set up a pot of water to boil on the gas cooker for the yam flour. I poured the chicken into a pot of water to dissolve them and poured the vegetables into a sieve to air them. I was going to change into something more comfortable for cooking. I tiptoed out of the kitchen and made no attempt to check for him in the study before going upstairs to change. We shared a room which was well partitioned. It was a peculiar white vast room with taupe and soft silver grey colored draperies. There were extra wide mahogany dressers and two walk in closets. A flat screen television sat idly opposite our queen sized bed. I always paid attention to the softness, crispiness and silkiness of my beddings. I loved a good night’s sleep, to sink in the softness of the sheets and fly far away.

But I planned a union of man and wife, on the lush beddings.
Before turning the knob, standing right outside my matrimonial room, I heard sounds. Moans that seemed born out of pleasure. The smell, just then became pungent. I swallowed hard and tried to listen carefully. But there was music in the background, soft Enya music. My music. I became infuriated. What was going on in there?

Jibola wouldn’t do this to me, on our matrimonial bed?
I turned the knob angrily and pushed the door open. Lo and Behold, my matrimonial bed was being defiled. My comforter and duvet were on the floor. My fluff pillows were disarray. Bile rushed to my throat, but I swallowed hard. The disgust I felt, could have set my hair aflame. I felt very insulted. As they scrambled off the bed, their dark faces sang guilt. They shook with fear. Their voices trembled. The girl cried. She cried, dirty tears. I couldn’t think as I stared at the two of them.
The anger seeped into me gradually. I stared at the girl intently, hate filling me up. Was it wrong to take in someone, give them education for free? Was it wrong to feed them and pay them handsome salaries? They were both stark naked hiding their private parts with my pillows. Their hands clasping the pillows infuriated me. A light headache spread through for my forehead.

“Where the fuck are you Jibola” My voice roared “both of you stay here. If you freaking move, I swear—” I was fidgeting, pacing around with my well-manicured red finger in between my teeth. I gritted my teeth, letting my palms drum against my temples angrily. I had never been this angry. How could this possibly happen with Jibola in the house. How could they even manage the guts to go up when they knew Jibola and I could walk up on them anytime? I knew they were not expecting me, at least for another three hours. But Jibola? Where could he be? I went about opening doors. “Jibola, come out here. Come see this shit” I shook my head vigorously. He was going to take the blame at the end of the day.

I was confused and annoyed.

I searched around the house and when I couldn’t find him, decided to call him. I saw a text from him, but no missed call.

“Hey, I’m out with Tosin and Uzor. I’ll be back Sunday evening. Take care”
That was the rudest thing he’d ever done. Just go out without reason. I tried not to make judgments. It wasn’t as if our relationship had been filled with much communication. I decided to call him. The phone rang endlessly but I kept trying until it was picked. A female answered. I was tempted to cut the call, convincing myself it was just a network error.

“hello” I said “Jibola”
“errrr, Jibola is not here right now, Who are you” she was popping a gum at the same time. She sounded irritated, yet relaxed. Her voice was so soothing to hear. But I snapped out of it quickly. What was a stupid rude woman doing with my Husband’s phone? Hundred possible thoughts ran into my head. I pushed back the dominant one and pondered on some like, maybe his phone had been stolen, maybe and coincidentally, it was a network error, maybe Jibola somehow got an ignorant rude assistant. Maybes.
“I’m his wife” I finally managed to spit out when the momentary silence got overly awkward
“Oh,” the female voice suddenly sounded remorseful and weak “Oh,” she whispered again thoughtfully. That’s right be very thoughtful I said to myself feeling like I’d won a silent battle. “It’s actually a very sad thing” she continued. I thought I noticed a gloating voice as she continued. But in that second of silence, as my mind raced around the possibilities, I thought, maybe Jibola had an accident? Maybe he was in an accident and was dead. Oh my God, Oh my God, I thought. I listened for her voice. “I’m very sorry for you” this time, it was full of pride, no mistaking that. I was taken aback. That wasn’t the way bad news was broken.

“madam,” I cut in, “may I speak with my husband.”
“oh” she replied “so he’s still your husband,” she laughed “aren’t you seeing clearly. Don’t you know what’s happening?
“huh?” seeing?
‘Jibola is with me. We just made wild love” Just as she said those words, I heard Jibola’s voice. There was no mistaking that deep Goth voice which I’d fallen in love with.
“Your wife” I heard the woman whisper. I heard Jibola yell. I heard the struggle between them. I heard the click as the phone call was ended. I let my phone, an Iphone, slip to the ground and shatter.

I nodded my head tears burning my eyes. So Jibola was cheating? Were the fates against me I thought? One moment I’m standing by the door of my room apprehensive that my husband has another woman in his matrimonial bed, next moment, I hear that he just made wild love to a rude woman.

I tried to calm down but I was overly worked up.

I ran upstairs to my room, holding back the tears. The help and gardener were already fully dressed but they looked all the same shabby.

I made them sit to have dinner with me after preparing it. I didn’t say much. They ate with caution when they could have easily destroyed the meal as hungry birds. They squirmed, looking into each other’s eyes, unsure. I made sure they cleared their plates. When we were done, we sat down together, watching the night embrace us in the darkness of my home. We listened to the crickets and the wall geckos, together in silence. I was serene. They were scared to death. I didn’t ask them why. I didn’t ask anything. Each time they offered explanation, I hushed them. They were not doing the right thing. I wanted them to do the right thing before I spared them the awkwardness.
All of a sudden, the gardener, Bayo, a guy who claimed to be a university graduate, and looked like one but spoke like he hadn’t attended school a day in his life bolted holding the arms of his girl, a thirteen year old Hausa girl. They ran over stools, desecrating my living room area. I heard the crashing of ceramics but I didn’t flinch.
I knew they wouldn’t get far. The estate closed the gates at 11:00 and it was already well past 11. I rushed up, threw on my leather jacket and kissing my knife, rushed outside. The heavens then released a shower, and in the blur, I rolled down the slope of my house.
I stand straight, letting my thoughts slip away.

What exactly am I doing out here? Is it worth getting myself injured? I turn around, hands on my hips. The pain is moving through me slowly. I would need a good night’s rest and then a full week to get myself together and accept reality. I would probably have to see a therapist. I know my behavior is obnoxious.

I move slowly to my home. Jibola is cheating on you, my mind rings out.
I see, feel and hear movements in the shrubs by the estate Mart. I hear voices.

The exhilaration comes back to me and I precipitously feel energetic once more. I feel like I have hit jackpot. My maid springs out of the bushes. Her face is pale. She goes on her knees.
“Madam, please, please do not kill me” she says
‘Kill you?” I whisper “why would I want to kill you?” I’m surprised even though I understand she has good reason to think that. My behavior and the knife, one stretch away.
“I just want you to apologize nothing more.” I continue “It’s the right thing to do, apologize for doing it on my bed. Do you know how annoying that is?” I paused exasperated “Besides, do you think I want your blood on my head, on me? You must be crazy. Red, Red is not just my color”

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14 thoughts on “Red is not my colour.

  1. Tbh, I love this… U made ordinary events extraordinary!!! Ur description ehn…painted a good picture of the whole event…very good!

  2. Great piece Ope, suspense packed & way beyond captivating,I practically felt I was her, pls write another piece of her killing her husband tho, he’s mad. 😀

  3. Great piece! Nicely written. Honestly though more work could have been put into describing the scene where she caught the gardener and the help at it in her bedroom, was a little confusing. Then there was the use of too detailed description “…my phone, an iPhone, slip to the ground and shatter…” You might want to tone it down a bit. Otherwise it was a very interesting read. Well done.

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