The tale of a young married woman’s disillusion
The noise Dapo makes with his shoes as he climbs up the steps isn’t half as annoying as the sound of my name on his lips. I’m not sure if it’s me, the ever changing mood swings that seem to overwhelm me these days, or it’s his especially hoarse voice this morning, but I know I’m irritated. I feel my eye brows knot into a frown as I grit my teeth and place a pillow over my head to keep from screaming.
“I’m coming!” I manage to say, but make no attempt to get up from the bed. I wait until his foot steps reach the head of the steps before bolting for the bathroom. I know he will be in my room in seconds.
“Adesewa!” he calls again.
This time, I bite my lower lip and start filling the tub with water to drown out his voice. When he calls a third time, I realize he is in the bed room.
“Oh Adesewa, please, don’t tell me you’re still in the bathroom,” his voice sounds more hoarse than I’ve ever known it to be. I try to ignore it and concentrate on applying toothpaste to my toothbrush. As his slow, unhurried footsteps approach the bathroom door, I make a quick dash for it and turn the key twice in its hole.
Obviously unaware of what I’ve just done, he turns the door handle and then gives the door two short rasps with his knuckle. He tries the handle again, “Adesewa, are you in there?”
Silence. Then I say in a much calmer voice than I feel, “Yes! I’ll be out in a minute.” We both know this is a lie. The amount of time I spend in the bathroom has often caused disagreements between us.
“My goodness, Sewa! We’ll be late,” his voice is muffled by the bathroom door between us but I don’t miss the exasperation in his voice.
“Dude, will you relax?” that said, I begin brushing my teeth. I know how much being early to his friend’s wedding today means to him and how much more he wants me there with him, yet I take my time.
It isn’t until I am satisfied that the tiniest speck of dirt on my body has been scrubbed clean and rinsed thoroughly that I leave the bathroom. I’m surprised to see Dapo in his tight fitting suit sprawled across my bed. He is lying on his chest, with his feet dangling from the bed. Since his left cheek is on the pillow, his face is turned away from me, but I know he is sleeping, for I soon hear him snoring lightly. I move closer to him and watch him sleep. I smile, forgetting my tetchiness for a moment. He still looks as handsome as when we just got married save for his now protruding belly. There is no denying the fact that he has added more than a few kilograms over the years that we’ve been married and I don’t mind it much except when his stomach has to suffer for it. It reminds me of all those fat, bald men that have bellies large enough to compete with their pregnant wives. I swore before marriage never to be with a man like that and now I fear Dapo is fast turning into one of them. Four years ago, his suit would have hung loosely on him and that is no exaggeration.
Dapo came as the total Mills and Boons package. I mean, he walked straight out of one of those romance novels you read where the hero’s near perfect. Besides being handsome, he was tall, lean and strong. I was immediately smitten the first time I met him. It was on a cold Saturday night and we were at a school party I attended with a friend and roommate. Lola didn’t think I should stay home alone since I was still hurting from a failed relationship so she urged me to come along. “You don’t have to dance with or talk to anyone if you don’t want to. Just come!” she said, and that was what I did.
I found a nice corner to sit in as soon as we got to the party. Lola went to get drinks and returned almost immediately without them but with her boyfriend, Soji, and a man she introduced as his first cousin. All night, I eyed the suave young man dressed in a deep blue, turtle neck and a black long sleeved leather jacket with its collar raised high to his strong square jaw. The jacket had ended up with me. After the party while we waited for a cab, he placed the jacket on my bare shoulders, insisting that I would catch a cold in my tube dress without it. He wouldn’t take it back even when I tried to return it. We became great friends afterwards and eventually became a couple. It wasn’t long after graduation that we got married. Lola and Soji’s relationship didn’t work out but they were both happy for us. I spent the first six months of our marriage in a state of euphoria. It was exciting to be married to the one man I loved. I played the perfect wife and he, the perfect husband until reality set in.
It started with the most mundane things. He would bathe and expect me to clean up after him, his towel was never hung out to dry; his soap case was always in a mess; and he never replaced the water he used. Each time he returned from work, he left his clothe items lying around the room; he never used the air freshener after using the toilet, as if it was placed there for decoration; and then when I got pregnant he never helped out with anything, like I had hoped. I was expected to do it all, wash and iron his clothes, clean the house, run errands, cook the food, the list was endless. I was almost going mad. But not as mad as when his younger sister came to spend an entire year with us. She was pathologically lazy and didn’t lift a finger to do anything. Then what I feared most began to happen right before my eyes, we started having arguments almost everyday. He was snoring, belching rudely and chewing rather loudly at the slightest opportunity and all I ever felt like doing was throttling him. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, his stomach started protruding and I simply got turned off. I became easily irritable; everything he did irritated me, even the way he called my name.
I’m startled out of my reverie by a small grunt. “What’s the time?” Dapo sits up and looks at his wristwatch. He squints his eyes to look up at me as if he is surprised to find me standing there. My hands reflexively fly to my towel and tighten it around my chest. Since I moved out of the room we both shared a couple of months ago, it’s been difficult to think of him as a sexual person. I turn and pick out my clothes from the wardrobe and head back to the bathroom.
His voice stops me in my tracks. “You don’t have to go to the bathroom to change. For Christ’s sakes, we have a child together.”
I say nothing. For some reason I can’t explain, I’m embarrassed and stare down hard at the floor.
“You know what? Forget it. You don’t have to go to this wedding if you don’t want to. I’ll go alone.”
I turn round in time to see him leave and shut the door behind him. I want to tell him to wait, that I’ll go with him and do whatever it is he wants me to but my voice remains still inside me. I want to go after him, but I don’t. Instead, I remain rooted to the spot and wait for his footsteps to start down the stairs.