After I reminded her that she’d just done the very thing she’d warned me severally, never to do-talk about my exes, (because she’d been talking and talking about her ex and all his qualities, placed side by side with mine), she retorted, “before nkọ? Don’t you know that you’re a guy and so, you should be able to forgive me even if I don’t forgive you for a similar crime?”
She smiled and placed a finger on my lips, “shush! Girls have earned the right to get away with murder.” Then, She giggled, a little too loudly, considering that we were not in the isolated recovery room at the moment and the fact that the theater was grave silent; I always insisted on being very careful, even though the teaching hospital was on strike and the population of workers was negligible. But, she giggled some more, anyway. It made her dimples sink deeper in a beautiful way, reminding me of those on Chisolum’s high cheeks.
Her statement was meant to be a joke, or so I thought, and to be sincere, I laughed. A hearty laughter, though stifled, which resulted in her tickling me. And to tickle me properly, she had to hold me, resulting in her breasts pressing on my back, and one thing leading to another, until my lips got together with hers and our tongues started dancing in our now fused mouths. Ravishing kiss. A build up of passion. And our hands moved too, reaching for some secret places on our lustful bodies. Soon, we’d end up on one of the recovery beds-the one hidden away from prying eyes, and got into some more intense passionate stuff.
Our bodies felt cold because the AC was on. Thanks to the generator man who’d decided to put on the big generator. So, our bodies didn’t get drowned in sweat like they did the first time we had such a romantic tangle in that teaching hospital, just a few days after I’d met her half dressed in one of the gynae theaters and she smiled and apologized profusely for ‘assuming too much,’ for ‘thinking that no one would ever come into the theater at such an odd hour, searching for vicryl 2-0 sutures.’
So, we lay down a little longer, held each other a little longer since we needn’t bother about how to get our bodies dry in order to conceal the bright sweat that usually covered our skin each time we made love, in case someone bumped in on us.
However, instead of laughing and giggling and asking her whether she enjoyed this move and that move and why she always almost convulsed after I did ‘that thing,’ as was usually the case when we cuddled after making love, I found myself thinking about what she’d said earlier. “Women should be allowed to get away with certain things because, they’re women.”
I found it difficult to understand. Why should women be treated differently? Why were they always given a softer landing? Why would she, Ada, get so furious whenever I talked about Chisolum, making me apologize for weeks yet, there she was just a few minutes ago, in her pristine white gown and flowing black Indian hair, talking about Ikenna’s great qualities for minutes on end, and I wasn’t supposed to get furious?
I got lost in my thought; I always did whenever something serious came up on my mind. And, I kept thinking until she started to get worried, asking whether I was thinking about my failures and life difficulties again. And I give it to Ada. She’s very caring and sensitive to my feelings and mood swings which often went from sky high to crippling depression. She looked at me with something that looked like tenderness in her eyes, as she sat there on the couch, strapping on her bra, probing my mind for answers.
But I couldn’t answer, couldn’t tell her what I was thinking because, I had to be a man; men aren’t supposed to let women know about their fears and jealous feelings. So I simply told her “I’m fine, don’t worry,” planting a kiss on her navel, as she in turn started running her tongue on my nipples. It felt good. It always did, and on a normal day, should have taken away my worries.
But, that particular thought wouldn’t go away. The words: ‘women should be able to get away with murder,’ kept ringing in my head, until Papa’s words of many years ago, each time he had to rebuke me for exchanging words with my sisters came up fresh on my mind. ‘A man must learn to ignore the women-their privileges and excesses- most of the time, or he’ll find himself living a very troubled married life.’
He always held my hand whenever he said those words. He would explain and explain until he’d end with the statement “be a man, try to shield her from herself.”
And with that I smiled a little. I’d let it go today. I’d try to find answers another time.
It’d soon start raining, a sudden kind of rainfall that came with furious wind and dust in the beginning of the rainy season and we’d get dressed and run back to my flat in the house officers’ quarters where we ended up doing some more and more romantic things.
And things went on fine. And time went by, as the seasons came after one another and my posting neared completion until, the day I found out that she was seeing another guy.
Thing is that I wasn’t supposed to look at her phone because it wasn’t just my thing to look at my girls’ phones. But, the day before I found out about the other guy, she’d literally forced me to give her my passwords after she saw me hugging Ebere too tightly at the ER. So, it was normal for me to have felt the urge to also look into her phone but, she wouldn’t let me see because “men aren’t supposed to look into girls’ phones.”
I didn’t argue. No need arguing with Ada- opinionated Ada with her high-pitched voice and faultless English acquired during her time in England for her degree. Ada, with her fierce Chimamanda Adichie’s kinda matriarchal ideologies 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂. I couldn’t just argue. I’d never win.
However, I waited for her to sleep before I used her fingers to unlock the phone and the gods hear me, I regretted my action immediately because, my heart couldn’t just contain the pain inflicted by what I saw in her WhatsApp. Pages and pages of romantic chats with a guy named Mike. Pages and pages of nudes sent and received.
I got furious, and without thinking, yanked her off the bed, almost tearing the purple sequined night gown I’d bought for her just about a month ago for her birthday, demanding an explanation.
“Who’s Mike?” I asked, my heart about to go through the walls of my chest. “When did you accept his proposal without telling me, without even having the courtesy to ask me to return the ring I’ve been trying to put on your finger?”
There was something burning in my head and my chest. Furious flames born out of the unparalleled love I had for Ada. A kinda love that saw me let go of Ebere, the tall beauty who’d taken away my pain following the bitter break up with Ọkuchi. The kinda love that makes one vulnerable to pain and anger.
I tried to tame it but, I couldn’t. You know how difficult it can be when you try to tame a wild fire? I knew the tears were about to fall because, my voice was about to crack and so I stopped talking, in order to avoid crying. Men aren’t supposed to cry you know? Men who cry are nothing, you know? I wanted to be a strong man.
So, I waited for her to speak instead but, she wouldn’t, no matter how hard I tried to get her to. Until after what seemed to be like a year, filled with total silence, only broken by wisps of our onions tinted breath, following the suya we’d eaten the night before, she said that “I should please let her sleep and I’d get my answers in the morning.” She sounded formal, like Dr Mrs Glad, my young and beautiful consultant in cardiology unit, for whom I’d developed a crush on, at first sight.
I looked at her. I wanted to slap her. I wanted to kick her and remind her how I hated the way she kept things too close to her chest, away from me, even when the said things affected my own life. But, I remembered my father’s words. “It is better to let a woman’s go than to fight another man or anyone else over her because, ana emelụ nwanyị, nwanyị an emelụ onye ka ya mma (when you’re loving a woman, she’d be loving someone else).”
So, I’d keep the screaming demons under the leash until morning. But, I couldn’t sleep anymore, even though the cold wind of early rainy season was supposed to make me sleep. All I could hear through the night was her voice, her moans during lovemaking, and the stubborn chirping of the insects lurking at every corner of the quarters.
Morning came and I’d demand for an explanation again, this time ready to force it if I had to but, I froze midstream, midair, when she gently put down her already packed bag and dared me to touch her. “Touch me and see if I’ll hesitate to sue your sorry ass for rape and assault.”
Her eyes appeared ominous. Her lips glowed deep red. Just like her skin that had the color of newly made coffee. She looked crisp in her tight black jeans which made her more curvy than Beyoncé, in addition to giving her a super thigh gap. Her body fitting red top, propped up her breast, made them rise in unison with every breath she took. She was supposed to look beautiful enough to have made me drop the will to fight and hold her instead. But, those words of hers chilled my blood. “Sue.” “Assault.” How’d she come about them so suddenly? I stepped back a little and watched her.
“You really meant that?” I asked, hoping to get a different answer, and possibly a mischievous smile and the word ‘no.’ But, I got non of those. She only said “your time has come to an end. Thanks for the mind blowing sex and that thing you often did with your tongue. Now, I must go. Mike and I will be wedding in Frankfurt, soon.” She sounded so cold I could feel my skin freezing from the cold. I tried to speak but no words came from my mouth.
The room suddenly felt too hot in spite of the fan. It felt stifling. And utterly quiet, except for the ‘koi koi’ sound made by her supper high heels.
“Tell me I’m dreaming?” I asked rather tamely but, she said nothing. She just kept walking until the sound of another rain drowned the sound made by her heels.
BY Nnaemeka Ugwu.
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