DEATH IN THE POT
…My soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
I picked up my phone which was sitting beside my laptop and I looked through my whatsapp notifications.
Not one of the messages was from my wife
I sighed deeply
It was a Monday afternoon and work had not been flowing for me as usual.
Doris had said that she would be coming home on Sunday the last time we spoke but she didn’t come home at all.
It had been frustrating and I had been so moody and all to myself even at work so much so that my boss and subordinates had been worried about me.
When I tried calling her number, it wasn’t reachable and when it was, she didn’t pick up.
I placed my elbows on the strong table and buried my head in my hands
My breath was already hot and I knew fever was knocking
“Ah! Doris, I miss you! I miss you Doris! Where has my real, original Doris gone to oh Lord? Where?” I cried as my heart kept failing me
My eyes blinked severally and I knew tears would be inevitable for me; so when there was a knock at the door which flung open afterwards and I looked up with tears flowing down my face, I wasn’t too surprised
But I was surprised at the person that was at the door to the extent that I just stood up as if being controlled, my mouth suspended
“Doris!” I called out, so shocked with tears on my face and though my secretary who ushered her in was still at the door, I didn’t care as I rushed from my seat and ran towards her.
I carried her up high and she was high in the air for like thirty seconds before I dropped her
I had so missed her
It had been a while since I last carried her and felt fulfilled as a man and husband in showing love and care to my wife.
But looking into her face, I saw mixed feelings
There was an expression that looked so happy that I had carried her but there was yet another expression- an expression whose looks were so terrifying to my heart
I silently wished the former expression would prevail but I lost!
The latter did!
“Pelumi” she started in a very bossy way and I just smiled. I didn’t know what I had done wrong but I was determined to find out what the root cause of the problem was.
We would trash it out no matter what the problem was!
“Yes?” I replied, looking deep into her face although she tried not to maintain eye contact with me
“Please could you wipe the tears on your face away? It is so irritating” She said, looking so peeved
That was when I realized that my face was still wet and I quickly wiped my face.
“Doris, I really did miss you. Why didn’t you tell me that you wouldn’t be able to make it down again yesterday?” I asked and acting as if she didn’t hear what I said, she looked round my office, swirling her car keys in her finger
“Pelumi, you lack formal etiquettes this much?” she said again and though I felt so weird about her language, I bulged.
I had missed her!
“I am sorry honey. Please have your seat” I said, pulling out a chair for her.
She sat down and crossed her legs
I looked at those legs and oh how much I had missed touching them!
“Pelumi, let me warn you about something” she said and I gasped, almost frustrated
Were we going to be starting a whole new episode of another feud despite being the first time we would see in five days?
“What’s that?” I asked her and she snapped her fingers as she shook her head
“Never should you embarrass me in the public again!” she said and I was shocked.
As I wanted to speak, she raised her hand to stop me and I obeyed!
“Henceforth, public display of affection is prohibited.” She said and I looked on at her, so confused
I remembered those times that she would tell me that with me on her side, when we go out or travel, she feels secured because of my muscular build.
When she told me that, I not only started gymnastics properly, I even bought a pair of ten kg weight carrier for my chest and arms development.
What is she talking about?
“If you are going to touch me for any reason, you must ask for my permission. If you don’t, you would be penalized” she said, dipping her hand into her bag as she brought out a pack of chewing gum.
She took one, unwrapped it and threw it into her mouth
“Honey, so, what…” I was saying when she stopped me.
“Stop using pet names. It all sounds stupid! My name is Doris and Doris, I am!” she almost shouted, banging the table
My heart jumped into my mouth
It wasn’t getting funny to me anymore!
I felt like I was having a bad dream from which when I wake up, I would be so constipated!
“As I was saying, the only reason why I allowed you to carry me like that was because I didn’t want to embarrass you before your secretary. Next time, even if you are in the presence of your mother, I would gladly embarrass you!” she said bluntly and I was getting angry!
What was this lady talking about?
Was she saying all these because I loved her too much?
What had happened to her?
My heart was boiling
I balled my fists so that my furiousness wouldn’t be very obvious.
I stood up and shook my head as I bit my lower lip.
I walked to my swivel chair and I sat in it, shaking my legs as I tried to control myself
“So, the major reason why I am here is …” she was saying when she stopped!
She knocked my table
“Mr Man, can you hear me?” she asked, splashing her chewing gum
“Continue!” I said silently and she knocked the table angrily
“Arrant nonsense!” she exclaimed and I looked up at her.
My eyes were obviously very red because I had a burning sensation as the fluorescent shone in my eyes
“What are you talking about?” I was almost letting my anger reflect in my voice
The way we had actually been brought up by my mother was wonderful especially as far as anger was concerned!
She so trained us in such a way that we had strong hatred for anger and acting out of anger and I had really been an anti-anger activist -if there is any word like that!
Doris stood up sharply
“It is arrant nonsense that I am talking and you are looking down. Yes! It’s not bigger than my mouth!” she said, raising her shoulders high
I looked into her smooth face and I wondered what had happened
But the beautiful dark eyes of hers didn’t appeal to my already angry-red heart
“It is well bigger than your mouth Doris!” I said as I stood up slowly, picking my words one after the other
She looked shocked!
Why was she shocked?
Was it because I stood up to face her?
Or was it because I called her Doris in an angry tone?
Didn’t she say she wanted me to cut off all the pet names?
But despite my coolly angry short sentence, my precious wife was mad!
“Pelumi, you have no right to stand up to my face and shout at me!” she said, her voice almost shaking
“Doris, I didn’t shout at you at all. In fact, I selectively picked my words and delivered them calmly. Don’t bring up a baseless accusation here please!” I said too, my heart thumping fast as it appeared that I was joining in a first hot argument with my wife for the first time in ten years
She was shocked the more
I was more shocked!
What was the problem?
Was I saying anything as worse as what she had been saying since she came into my office?
“Doris, the look on your face is surprising to me. Were you expecting me not to reply you at all? Why do you look shocked despite the fact that I am replying so softly? I am your husband and I really do love you! For many days you have despised the love and trampled it under feet but I had been very careful with you. I never wanted to hurt you because I saw you as a part of me…” I kept explaining, trying to see if she would reason with me
“Pelumi, you are not normal!” she dropped
Just like a sharp sword, it pierced into my heart and I sank down into my chair
“Yes! What are you feeling like? What do you have that is making you to feel yourself this much? Why do you behave like a crybaby?” she started lashing me with words and I pointed to my chest as I whispered ‘me?’
“Yes you! You are not normal! You are abnormal! You are very stupid! What do you see me as exactly? A crybaby like you? Oh no! I am very strong! I can’t fall apart just like that! Oh no!” she said, her face was confident and all but I saw the sides of her head- the veins were really thumping
Her voice was shaking!
Was there something she was struggling with at all?
“Falling apart? Who is asking you to fall apart?” I asked, not ready to back down
She laughed hysterically
“You think I am like you? Didn’t I meet you crying this afternoon? Weren’t you trying to attract a kinda sympathy that I don’t even understand from your well-endowed secretary?” she asked and I was madder!
Was she trying to accuse me of infidelity?
Was she being jealous of my beautiful secretary?
“Are you intimidated by her? Antonia intimidates you?” I chuckled, enjoying how bad my wife felt, for the first time
She was disconcerted but I didn’t care at all!
I had packed her shit enough!
She smiled coolly
“Anyways, I actually came to inform you informally before the papers are ready formally that this marriage is officially over!” she said, spitting those words into my face
My heart skipped a beat and my shoulders shuddered
“What!” I exclaimed!
She smiled again, enjoying my confused state too
She picked up her bag, blew her chewing gum and walked towards the door
“We will meet in court!” she said as she opened the door and slammed it
My whole world collapsed in my front as I heard those words that I didn’t know exactly what I should do
Should I go after her and beg her?
I would create a scene in the company and this era of social media, people would just record the scene and start sharing it
My body cringed as I thought about the possibility of that
What if my mum sees the video?
No, I can’t follow her ooo
What do I do? Oh what do I do?
The headache in my head was indescribable!
I staggered to the door, turned the door knob to a lock, staggered again to the desk, picked up the telephone receiver and dialed a number
“Don’t bother telling me when you are going home. I would be fine in here. I have a lot to attend to. Okay?”
“Sir, I hope there is no problem”
“Goodnight sir” she replied and I dropped the receiver as I slowly fell to the ground.
I removed my suit and threw it aside, tears flowing down my eyes
I dug my fingers into my well combed hair as I had suddenly had running nose
I pulled at my tie knot and I was really going crazy!
I felt like screaming but they would be able to hear my voice if I should.
I reached out into my pocket and got a medium-sized handkerchief which I stuffed into my mouth
I screamed to the extent that the foundation of my heart shook like it had been be invaded by an volcanic eruption!
And of course, it was a volcanic eruption!
The more I thought about it, the more tears rolled down my face
What would my mum say?
What would everyone say?
What about James and Jerry?
The suddenly realization of what had been said by Doris drove me crazy!
I fell to the floor, crying bitterly as my whole body shook vehemently!
It was a very serious heartbreak!
No girl had ever been able to break my heart as much as this before!
None at all!
I cried on and on till sleep descended upon me and I fell into its waiting arms, hoping never to wake up again.
I woke up with a start and everywhere was extra bright so my eyes were half opened
Where am I?
I felt an intermittent bite in my eyes and bangs in my heart!
I looked around me
I sat up
What was I doing on the floor?
The realization dawned on me as the scenes unfolded in my head again
Tears rolled down again as I tried to stand up
I picked up my car key, packed my laptop inside its bag, hung it on my shoulder as I walked to my suit which I had thrown on the floor earlier on.
I picked it on, looked around the office to be sure I had picked everything.
My eyes caught the wall clock and my heart missed a beat!
“3am?” I exclaimed. It was then I realized I still had the handkerchief in my mouth. I didn’t bother removing it anyways
I had slept that long?
I walked to the door, opened it and went out of it, slamming it behind me
The question of how dangerous driving at that time of the day was didn’t cross my mind.
The only thing on my mind was how empty and useless my house would feel with the absence of Doris
Was I going to survive it?
The gate was not locked when I arrived at the gate and I was shocked
I pushed it open and drove in
I could see rays of light inside the house and my heart jumped into my mouth
Had a thief broken into the house?
I jumped down from the car and ran towards the door
I opened and it wasn’t locked as well.
As I opened, the aroma of fries filled the whole house and I was shocked
Who was frying something for God’s sake?
I looked at the sitting room and as my eyes cleared, I saw the back view of a lady, watching the 3D LG television with rapt attention.
“Who’s there?” I asked, very scared
She turned to look into my face and there she was – Doris!
She had a bowl of chips beside her and she had some stuffed in her mouth
“Doris!” I exclaimed, very happy
She added more chips to the ones in her mouth
“Welcome!” she said and faced the cartoon she was watching.
Gleaming with so great a smile, I went out of the sitting room, carried my laptop bag and locked the car.
I jumped back inside, closed the door quietly and dropped everything
“Am I permitted to hug you?” I asked, feeling happy a bit that she was around
She shook her head. I was disappointed a bit
But I wouldn’t back down!
I would save my marriage myself!
“What about a peck?” I asked and she nodded
I went close to her
“Forehead” she said curtly and I obeyed her, smiling happily
As I pecked her forehead, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow that kind of mistake again
I would love and cherish her
When she is mad, I would be calm!
I will make my marriage work!
Funny enough, she didn’t push me away as I pecked her forehead but was looking straight at the television despite the fact that I was obstructing her view.
I went to sit in the chair in front of her and smiled as I admired her in her lovely nightwear
“Why are you just coming home? Its too late!” she asked and I smiled
“I was very sad and angry at myself for getting mad at you. In fact, I wept and slept off in the office” he said and she laughed
“But if I call you cry baby, you will say no!” she said, crushing the chips in her mouth noisily
I smiled too
My wife was coming up again
Probably there was a problem facing her already o
Could it be psychiatric?
Does she need a doctor?
I kept these to myself but I was worried that she was fluctuating in her behavior especially towards me
“So, Doris, what are you still doing awake at this time, munching fries?” I asked and she looked at me
“I was waiting for you” she said and I smiled so happily
“For real?” my eyes shone
“Real!” she replied, smiling too. She placed the bowl of chips on the center table, dropped her legs to the floor and switched off the television
She faced me directly and smiled
“You are getting better” she said and I was shocked
Who was getting better?
Who was sick at first?
Was she not the one behaving abnormally for a while now?
“What?” I asked, wearing a fake smile
“Yes now. I gave some rules and you are already adhering to it. It’s great. You called me Doris and you asked for my permission before pecking me. That’s mature” she said and I smiled sheepishly
Let me just endure it for the main time before getting a really great psychiatrist that would come and check her up for me.
“If you can cooperate well with me very well like this, there would be no form of divorce but immediately you start showing yourself and feel that you are superior to me, the divorce would be irreversible!” she said again and I nodded
I fought my senses to keep calm
My marriage shall work!
I will make it work!
“Now, the major reason I came to your office in the afternoon was to deliver some news to you. I have good news and then a bad news. Which do you want to listen to first?” She asked, smiling as she rubbed the oil from the chips she had eaten on her leg
Good news? Then a bad one?
“Ok. The good news” I said and she looked into my face
“Remember, don’t touch me! Ok?” she asked
My heart started racing.
What had happened?
“Ok” I replied
“Fine…Look at this paper. I got it from the doctor last Thursday when I was feeling funny.” She said as she pointed a paper at me
I collected it and unfolded
There were some jargons and I was confused.
Then, I got to the part that I could understand and my eyes widened as my mouth yielded to the smile that evaded it!
“Doris, you are pregnant! One month pregnant!” I exclaimed, going towards her before she waved a finger before my face to remind me of her rule
I jumped up and laughed happily
During courtship, we had agreed on having three children – I had said two girls, one boy while she said two boys, one girl!
We had our two boys and years after we had been unable to conceive again
I so loved baby girls–probably because I never had a baby sister!
I sat down again, my joy knowing no bound
No wonder she had been having different kinda behaviors!
I smiled to myself
She smiled too as she handed another envelope to me. I collected it happily too
“What is it?” I asked
“One more good news” she said and gladly, I opened the letter again
I started reading and reading and I stood up abruptly
“8,000 US Dollars per month!…” I kept reading
Then I sat down and looked into her face
She obviously loved it and the look on her face looked as if she was watching to see if I would negate the idea.
So I quickly smiled
“Wow! Congratulations Doris! Congrats!” I said, trying to cover up my disappointment
She looked into my face
“You don’t like it?” she asked and I smiled
“Why wouldn’t I like it? You have just got a very beautiful job with the United Nation Women empowerment department. I am happy” I lied
She would have to be in Lagos when duty called, thereby leaving me for days
She had just taken in too- how would she cope with the growing fetus?
But I couldn’t tell her!
My words no longer carried weight
I couldn’t fathom what had caused the sudden change but whatever it was really was effective
I cleared my throat and faced her squarely
“Before you continue Doris, could I ask you a question please?” I asked and she nodded
“Please don’t be offended at my words. Just say the truth and nothing but the truth” I said and she nodded again, picking her teeth
“Doris” I called out
“Yeah?” she replied
“Are you seeing another man?” I asked and she growled like a wild dog before bursting into laughter
“Pelumi! You can so burst my brain!” she laughed on
“Answer me” I insisted and she nodded
“No I am not. Are you satisfied?” she replied and I nodded too
“But you have your new ways of deriving sexual pleasures asides me?” he asked and she looked away almost angrily
“What sort of a question is that?” she retorted
“Doris, the last time we met was one month ago. It would be 3 weeks, 5 days tomorrow” I said and she laughed
“You are so good at keeping dates! Keep it up man!” she exclaimed, snapping her fingers and I shook my head
“Leave my sexual life alone. You can’t control me” she said and I was dumbfounded
“When did discussing issues like this with my wife become a taboo? Control you? I thought you used to enjoy it” I said and she blocked her ears
“I don’t want to hear anything about it. Leave my life!” she almost shouted and I raised my hands in total surrender
“Ok ma” I said, sarcastically
“Thank you sir!…that’s what we are saying o my husband. Respect begets respect! You said ‘ok ma’ to me, see how I replied too, ‘Thank you sir’ isn’t that sweet at all? Of course it is!” she replied too, smiling sheepishly
I was taken aback
“Oh, you want me to use ‘Ma’ for you?” I asked and she shook her head
“Don’t get me wrong o. if you want me to use ‘sir’ when addressing you, use ‘Ma’ for me as well. Respect is reciprocal” she explained and I clapped my hands in amazement
“Wonders shall never end!” I exclaimed and she smiled
“The bad news is this…” she said and bent her head
I bent my head as I awaited the bomb blast
“It is contained in this tablet of mine! You can watch it. My tablet must not break o” she warned and I collected it.
I played the video and started watching
I jumped up abruptly
“What!” I exclaimed
She returned her two legs to the chair, picked her bowl of chips and switched on the television as he left me to the horror of watching the bad news video all alone
I was practically mad as I watched but the only thing I could repeatedly say was ‘What!”
As my face was covered with beads of sweat, I looked around the sitting room
I was looking for something sharp!
Something that could help me end my life quickly
Was I seeing so clearly?
I tried to paused the video but when I realized it wouldn’t pause, I heaved sighs of frustration
I breathed hard and moved to and from the sitting room!
What eyes would help me see this horrible video for goodness’ sake?
I gave the tablet a last look before suddenly my anger reached beyond the boiling point and I smashed it against the television!
The television went blank!
The tablet smashed into pieces
I fell to the ground
There was a sudden jab at my neck as some blows were being rained on my body
What was the jab?
Was it a blade cut or a knife stab, or teeth bite or what?
I couldn’t fathom it at all!
Who could be beating me this much?
Had the person seen what I just saw?
Could the person have been able to bear it too?
What is a television and a tablet as compared to this bad news?
Or, could it be that the person blowing and giving a jab at my neck is Doris?
She wouldn’t do that to me after knowing the gravity of the bad news
Did she think I would just sit and keep calm?
Oh goodness me!
What is happening to me?
I cried as my head grew bigger and the pull round my neck seemed more suffocating
I choked on and on as the pull became tighter and tighter!
Watch out for 3