by Daniel Nkado
It was a perfect Monday morning. The bright morning sun blazed through the window panes.
Uzoma’s eyelids fluttered and she woke.
She turned to her side, her husband was not on the bed. She rose, put one hand to her mouth and yawned.
Out of the bed, she walked downstairs on bare foot. Her light-pink night gown fluttered in the cool AC breeze.
She stepped into the sitting room and saw him, her husband, setting the table.
She smiled. He had made breakfast again, and was wearing those briefs again.
The red underpants that made him appear like a male stripper with his tall, athletic frame.
People hardly believed he was 41.
‘You’d be late again,’ she said to him, smiling.
He turned and saw her. ‘Hey, Bu-Bu, you awake?’
He called her Bu-Bu. She did not know where he got that from, but she liked it, the way he called it. With his magnetic toothy smile.
Mostly, she considered herself lucky for having married him. Except sneaking out of bed to make her breakfast and walking about the house only in briefs, there was nothing else about him she saw too big to handle.
He was the only man she’d met who seemed not really interested in the millions she inherited from her late dad.
But she did not really like the fact that he was always so nice.
Not just to her, to everyone else. Sometimes she hated it. Like the day, his friend, Ndukaku or whatever his name was, called him in the middle of the night that he’d had a flat tyre on Third Mainland Bridge.
They were naked on the bed, about to plunge deep into a sensual affair.
‘Must you go?’ she asked him, crossing her arms over her naked breasts. He had been sucking on them when the call came.
The stupid, joy-killing, home-breaking call.
‘Honey, I have to,’ he said, already standing and picking his boxers.
She watched his erection drop and felt like blowing his friend in distress wherever he was into the ocean.
When he returned that night, after helping his friend as he’d made her believe, she was already snoring on the bed.
The next morning, he rushed out to work early, leaving her maritally unsatisfied.
When he returned in the evening, she ran to him at the door and jumped onto him.
He carried her to the couch with his lips stuck to her mouth.
And right there in the sitting room, they rushed through a quick one on the couch.
Now she walked up to him at the table. ‘What have you made?’ she asked him. She made to open the covered china.
‘Not yet,’ he said, gently taking her hand away.
She looked at him with a quizzical smile. What possibly could he have made? He couldn’t even boil yam without burning it.
The day they returned from the clinic with the good news, he’d asked her what she wanted to eat.
‘I want something strong,’ she’d said.
He extended his hand. ‘Let’s go into the room then.’ Touching his groin area, he said, ‘I have exactly that right here.’
She slapped his hand away. ‘Mention that thing again and I will cut it off,’ she said, feigning a frown. ‘Look where it has landed me in.’
He was chuckling. ‘So why didn’t you say no the time it was coming for you?’ he asked her.
She glared at him. ‘How could I have refused something so delicious?’
His lips burst open in laughter.
She walked upstairs to have her bath and he entered the kitchen, halved a tuber of yam and peeled. He put the pot of yam cubes on the gas and walked out to the sitting room.
He sat down on the couch and turned the channel to Super Sports. He was convulsing to each move on the screen when his phone began to ring.
He picked it and pressed at the answering button. The phone to his ear, he talked to the caller in a low whisper.
‘You don’t call at home, that’s the deal!’
‘What do you mean the plans have changed?’
His voice sank further down. ‘Nothing. We just returned from the clinic. The doctor confirmed her pregnant.’
‘She is carrying my child!’
He heard footsteps and quickly ended the call.
‘Honey, who were you talking with?’ she asked him.
‘Oh, nobody, Bu-Bu, just a colleague from work.’
‘Ok.’ Her nose wrinkled. ‘What is that smell?’ she asked.
He threw away the phone and ran to the kitchen.
Later when she was struggling through the blackened yam and ketchup, he hummed a tune and asked her if she realized, just as him, that yam actually tastes better when burnt.
She’d smiled, shaking her head.
Now he set the cutlery on the tray and opened her bowl for her to see.
Her mouth opened wide in surprise. ‘You made salad?’
She smiled and hugged him. Chicken salad was her favourite.
He pulled out the chair for her to sit.
She sat and he kissed her forehead. ‘Sorry, won’t be joining you.’
She turned to him. ‘Why?’
‘I’m already late.’
Her face crumpled.
He kissed her again. ‘I’m so sorry, Bu-Bu.’
She nodded her understanding and watched him run up to change.
She was still at the table when he came down in his suit, his briefcase in his hand, work-ready.
He pecked her again and she said bye to him.
He disappeared through the door and she rubbed her belly. For one stupid second she thought her three-month old foetus had kicked.
Halfway through the salad, her stomach started to turn.
Maybe it was the mayonnaise, she thought. But it persisted, metamorphosing into a biting pain.
She stopped eating and drank some water.
Worse! It became worse with the water. She drew back the chair, coughing.
She made to stand and pushed the rose jar on the table.
The glass shattered on the tiled floor, releasing the roses. The coughing escalated. She was on the floor the next minute.
She saw the red stains on the roses and put her hand to her mouth. Her eyes flew wide to what she saw.