I am a man on a mission.
And my mission?
To get my wife and family back.
To be in their good graces.
It’s been two weeks since Alexis told me to sleep in the car. The woman is still angry. She won’t talk to me. Or at least she’s avoided me at all costs. It’s hard to figure her out sometimes. Especially when she’s angry. One would say a woman must respect her husband no matter what he does, so how does my wife have the power to make me sleep in the car? Ever tried upsetting a woman to the point your face becomes a clutch board? I’m all better now. But she still hates me. Well I’m the one who made a mistake, I admit it. And I got caught. Granted I had not talked to Tasha for a while, but there is no excuse for it; the act was wrong. I admit I was wrong. I love Alexis. I’m not ready to lose my her and my family. I will make it up to her. I have a foolproof plan.
1. Get her a new car
2. Buy her new things that are not a reminder of Tasha
3. Convince her to let me back into the bedroom
I sit in the car and watch her standing at the door with Kambole in her arms as she talks to the gardener. These days I’m usually home. I go home for lunch. No more plans after working hours. I’m behaving. Alexis says something and the gardener nods and walks away. She smiles at Kambole and I see him clap his hands in happiness. She looks beautiful in white, her white pants and vest make me long for her, it’s been too long. And her long hair? In a bun on the top of her head – all natural woman- just makes me want to pull it and hear scream in pleasure. That’s why I married her. Gosh I miss her. I really do. She has ignored me for weeks now. And I know she won’t open up if I stay away from her and claim my pride as my friend. I need to throw that out the window and admit I made a mistake and talk to her. But how will I do that if she won’t let me in. She won’t talk to me at all. Maybe she still angry about what I did that night. But I swear I did it in good faith.
I called Tasha that night, after Alexis locked me out. Tasha didn’t pick up any of my calls. She never responded to my messages either and I had gotten worried. That was it. Worry. Even though Alexis had told me they had talked and nothing more, I was worried that maybe Alexis had lied to me. Alexis’s temper is one not to mess with. I drove out against my better judgement and my wife’s warning that night. I just wanted to make sure Tasha was alright. That’s all. And I found her. She was okay. Rude as hell too. She kept screaming about how Alexis had threatened her. Typical of Alexis. Tasha didn’t let me in, at first. She kept me by the door, but in the end, I guess desire took over. To be honest I didn’t want to go into her home but knowing I was without a bed and a wife, somehow I found myself in Tasha’s bed. For comfort, even if it was for a few minutes, I needed to get her out of my system. I said my goodbyes soon after. She knew it was over, she didn’t cry about it. And I didn’t feel bad about my decision. I drove back home, a bottle of whisky in the passenger’s seat and I drank till I fell asleep right in the car. Alexis did not talk to me the next day. Or the next. She stayed away from me. And I stayed away from her. To give her space and time to think things through. Maybe that was a mistake. But then she never picked up my calls even when I called her days after. Maybe I should have convinced her the next day that we had to talk things through. Well what’s done is done. But I will get her back.
Tonight will be the night.
I gotta put my plan in motion.
I pull out my phone from my jacket pocket and type a message.
Hey. I know you are angry. But I think it’s been too long. You might hate me but we should talk this out. Tonight. Dinner? Your favourite restaurant.
Please respond baby. We can’t do this forever.
I look up from my phone and see Chuma drive out. Chuma the cheater. Chuma the breadwinner. Chuma the father. Chuma the love maker. Why didn’t he say this to my face? No balls that’s why. He would rather avoid me than face me. Now he wants us to go for dinner. I’m not interested in dinner. What do I want then? I have been avoiding him for weeks now. I can’t keep going on like this. He’s my husband for crying out loud. We have to fix this for the sake of our children right? But what if he cheats again. Then what? Do I leave him then? Do people change? Maybe. Who knows. I might as well take the moment and talk to him. Kambole pulls my hair and I wince. That hurt. I look at him and I smile at him, his brown eyes look at me before he laughs. Of all my children Kambole is the one who looks most like me, though I see a few traces of Chuma in him, his eyes and lips. I pray his heart will be different when he grows up. A better man than his father. I kiss his cheek and sigh. What is that saying about children creating unbreakable bonds between two people. Isn’t this why we stay in our marriages no matter what our partners do to us? Our children? Plus the nagging fact at the back of my mind,where do housewives go if they leave their marital home. I became a house wife/stay at home mother after Kenya was born. Chuma’s view of a wife and mother was one who stayed at home everyday, cooking and cleaning and the benefit of opening legs. And to think I had job before all this. A good paying job. What I would do to get back to work again. The past two weeks had me reflecting on my decisions to follow my husband’s view of who a woman is. If Chuma wants the best of both worlds then maybe I can be able to give him that if I go back to work. I think I can use this mess to my advantage and inform Chuma I will go back to work. I will guilt trip him into accepting my final decision.
I smile to myself. Maybe I will go for this stupid dinner.
Now what to wear.
Makeup? On point.
I grab my car keys and clutch and turn to look at my image in the mirror.
I look perfect. Chuma will definitely approve. I still seek his approval after all these years. The man loves it when I look good and I know I look good now.
My white dress? Definitely a good choice I think. The strapless hip hugging, back revealing knee length dress and my animal print heels go hand in hand. I am the perfectly dressed scorned wife right? Oh well. I walk outside being thankful to God it’s September, the evening is cool, so no need for a jacket on the dress. I am walking to my car when I see headlights of a car driving through the gates. I curse under my breath when I notice it’s not Chuma’s V8. I hate having guests at this time of night. And just before I leave the house? Talk about bad timing. I sigh and watch the car stop, headlights blinding me. What the hell? I stand waiting, not moving an inch hoping this is not a friend or relative with a problem. I have my own problems to sort out. Plus I have to go now or I will be late for dinner. The bright lights go off as the engine is turned off. The car door opens and I see Chuma standing beside the car. Our eyes meet and he smiles.
“You look beautiful Alexis.”
Who is the owner of the car I wonder. Do I even want to know? He walks towards me, smile still on his lips. Why does he do this to me? Make me feel like a teenager with that look in his eyes. I want to smile but I will not smile for the enemy – no matter how yummy he looks in his checkered shirt, white chinos and brown loafers. I swear the handsome ones are always the problem. He stands taller than me even in my heels, and the view is pretty good.
“Hi.” He says.
I wish I could ignore him. But I can’t.
“Hi.” I respond.
“How are you?”
“Everything okay inside?”
He raises his eyesbrow at my response. One word answers are rude. I know. But who cares. He looks so hot, shit, my mind is straying. I will not ask how he’s doing. He’s the cheater so he should be the one worried about me. Why is he home anyway?
“I thought I would see you at the restaurant.” I say slowly.
“Well I thought I could surprise you.”
“With what? A free lift to dinner?” I ask
He laughs. What is funny? He puts his hand in his front pocket and pulls out something dark. He dangles the object in front of me. My eyes widen when I make out the shape of car keys. Oh my. Did he get me a new car? What the hell is the occasion? Are we gonna get pregnant tonight? What the hell?
“So, they are car keys. What should I do with them?” I ask.
“Drive the car for one. I figured that maybe I should get you something new. Just for you. And what is a better gift than this.”
I look at him and look behind at the car and then back at him.
“You got me a BMW?” I ask him.
“Yep. An X6. Just for you.”
“You have the money or you got a loan. Are we broke now? Or did you get everything you got Tasha back?”
I should be jumping right now. But I’m not. Did he get his Tasha a similar car? This line of thought will never end.
“We have the money. I wanted to surprise you baby.” He says.
“And you think the car fixes everything?” I ask.
“No. But it’s a start. Alexis, I have made so many mistakes in my life and this being the worst. But I will make it right. I will make us work. We are a family.”
I shake my head and roll my eyes. Men. Pathetic.
“Still doesn’t fix anything Chuma.” I respond.
My heart does the happy dance. I hold back a smile by biting my lip. I will not crumble. No. He will take advantage of it.
“We will not argue about the car here. Can we go to dinner now?” He asks.
He gives me his hand and I look at it. I take a deep breath and put my hand in his. I see him smile again. It’s a start. He leads me to the white car. It is beautiful and mine. If he had given this to me months ago, we wouldn’t be going for dinner. We would be planning for other things right now. Hmm it’s been too long. He helps me get in the car and he goes as far as ensuring I have the seat belt on before he heads to his side. He starts the car and the sound make me smile to myself. Well it definitely is a better gift.
We are silent in the car during the drive, I keep myself occupied, pretending to be looking at my phone while I keep stealing glances at him, watching the way his hand grips the steering wheel. I miss his hands on me squeezing parts of my body. Ahh all those long lonely nights. He does not push conversation, he simply keeps silent, letting me keep my thoughts running while he drives us to my favourite restaurant. I am grateful he maintains his silence cause I am not ready to chit chat with him like the past two weeks didn’t happen.
We get to Marlin’s restaurant and he helps me out of the car, he squeezes my butt with his hand as he closes the door. See. His hands. I don’t lose my cool. Oooh. I ignore the act. He holds onto my hand as we walk through the car park towards the restaurant. The smell of good food assaults my senses as we walk into the restaurant. Chuma must have booked in advance for we are shown a table within a minute. He pulls out a chair for me and I sit down. He sits across from me. As he talks to the waiter ordering our drinks I take the time to look around noticing the place is packed, as usual. Marlin’s and their famous pepper steak is why I come here. Nothing more. I ignore the way the tables are weirdly placed, too damn close but the food makes up for the blunder. The waiter places the menus in front of us and once he walks away Chuma gives me his full attention.
“Pepper steak?” He asks.
“What else?” I respond.
“The best in Lusaka.”
“Always.” I respond.
“Remember the times we would come here often? Good times. Good memories.”
He smiles and I smile back at him. He wants to remind me about the good times passed. Smart. I don’t respond and he doesn’t continue with the topic. Well this is now awkward. What are we supposed to talk about now? Maybe we should talked about this at home.
“Uhmm. Alexis…” He starts. “Baby. I know stuff hasn’t been right at….”
I turn and see a woman, possibly in her late twenties standing by the next table. See too close. She moves away from the table and weaves through to our table. Who the hell is she? If her bum long brown weave and heavily powdered face is anything to go by she must be a “good friend” of his. Chuma looks at her with a forced smile on his face while her smile is brighter than the sun. Her brown eyes are only for him, clearly ignoring me. Chuma offers her his hand but she pouts and he stands up to give her a brief hug. She kisses his cheeks and he looks at me. Ahh he is scared. Where the hell is the waiter with my drink? This will be fun.
“Fancy seeing you here.” She says happpily. “Oh my gosh. How are you?”
“I’m great. How are you?” He asks.
“I am perfect. You didn’t keep your word.”
“Uhhh the transaction will be done tomorrow. No doubt about it.”
“I hope so. Came by your office earlier. I was told you left early.”
“Yea. Tonight is date night. So yeah. Having dinner with my wife.” Chuma responds. “Tomaida meet my wife Alexis. Alexis meet Tomaida. A work… A client.”
Tomaida turns and looks at me. Oh now she acknowledges I exist. She’s pretty. Her red lips break into a smile that does not reach her eyes. I can tell she is not happy. Then again no one is happy at this table.
“Hello Alexis.” She answers happily. Pretending to be happy.
“Mrs Nkhuwa.” I tell her.
“Uh?” She asks.
“Call me Mrs Nkhuwa.” I respond.
Chuma smiles. He knows where this is going. Well I am staking my claim. I know she means something to him. Her level of disrespect is appalling. What’s with women and thinking they can lay claim on a married man. And for Chuma to have the balls to even introduce me to his other trash is too much for me. Did he bring her here? To my favourite restaurant? Or maybe he doesn’t know she likes him. It was pretty obvious to me. Men. What is with this man and his drama? The waiter appears with our drinks and he places my glass of red wine in front of me and whiskey for Chuma. I hope this Tomaida won’t decide to sit down at this table.
“Okay. Well nice to meet you. Chuma and Mrs Nkhuwa. Uhhh Chuma call me.” She says.
She walks away as I take my first sip of wine. This is going to be long night. I want to go home now. But I will wait. I will wait for the right moment. He sits down and makes the food orders while I take the wine. I hate nights like these.
She does not look happy. Oh maybe I’m overthinking this.
What the hell happened.
Tomaida and her cockiness almost cost me a perfectly good night. Almost. Alexis seems to be enjoying her pepper steak though she’s quiet. Too quiet. The wine probably has her tongue. She didn’t say much about what happened after Tomaida left. If she was angry then she was a doing great job hiding it. I tried to bring her out of her shell to make her talk about Tomaida but to no avail, she didn’t budge so that meant I couldn’t explain my version of the truth. I can feel she’s angry with me but to what extent I do not know. And she has it all wrong. I have never done anything with Tomaida. Yet. That’s the truth, granted she likes me – well that was pretty much easy to see from the get go with her “happy nature” whenever she’s around me- but I never put any notions in her mind that I was single. A friend, nothing more, nothing less. But those lips have me wanting her whenever she comes by the office. Shit. I should assign her to someone else before things go too far. She’s ruined the progress I had made with Alexis earlier. So I went with the flow and we talked about the past, memories of stuff we used do, and for a moment I had her attention. She laughed for a bit and she talked, she literally answered back. Like old times. She was smiling and laughing with me. She did not pull her hand away when I touched it. It was progress enough for me. We were going to be alright.
I know I will fix it.
I watch her eat her pepper steak. Even watching her eat makes me want her more.
What am I supposed to do now?
Thank God we are going home. The food was good. The wine was the best part. I must be tipsy because I am so happy. Kinda too happy to be honest. When was the last time I had a good dinner date with Chuma. The night overall was actually okay. Chuma was the perfect gentleman as usual. And he made sure I had desert. Buttering me up tonight. I wonder how far he will go. He helps me up from my seat -I definitely need help in these heels – and he places my hand in the crook of his arm as we walk out of the restaurant. I enjoy it this time. Holding onto his muscled arm like I did on our wedding day. I just want to go home and get to bed. With him? Maybe. A massage would be good too. When we get to the car, instead of him opening the door he pins me against it and kisses me. Ahh Chuma with the soft lips.
“I need to get you home.” He whispers. “I love you Alexis.”
He opens the door and holds my hand I as get in the car. He gets in beside me, seat belts buckled and starts the car.
“I want to go home. You wanna do something else?” He asks.
Club? Tonight? No.. Not tonight.
“No. Home is fine.” I respond.
I feel his hand on my thigh squeezing it and I smile in the dark car. Well this is the time I think. No better time than this. I finally say what is on my mind.
“I want to go back to work.”
His hand stops, in the available light I see him turn to face me. He looks shocked. Yes that’s exactly what I wanted.
“You want to work?” He asks
“But the kids.”
“They are old. We have three kids already. We are not having any more children Chuma. I can’t be home forever.” I respond.
“I will think about this.” He says and he moves his hand off my thigh.
So that’s a no then.
It’s no use talking to him. He is so stuck in his ways. He drives us home and I ignore him the whole way. The kiss and the promise of more forgotten. Even when he tries to touch my thigh again I push his hand away and ignore him. I will get what I want. Period. When he drives through the gates of our home and parks the car, I leave the car without waiting for him to help me out. I take quick short steps the house. I don’t hear the car door close but I feel his hand on my arm.
“Look Alexis. The children need you.”
“They will be fine. Kambole is almost a year old.”
“We talked about this.”
“No. You decided and I agreed. But gosh Chuma I can’t stay home. Look at me.”
“You want more money then fine. I will give you money. You can start a business. Clothes. Or a bakery. Whatever you want.”
“I don’t want that.” I yell.
“What do you want? You want me to beg? To cry? You want flowers everyday? You want more cars? New perfume? I will do what you want. But I will not allow you to work. You are fine here.”
“Yet you slept with a working class woman while you kept me waiting and warming your bed.”
“Are you ever going to let that go?”
“No. I won’t.”
“Fine. So then tell me what do you want?”
“How about your stop introducing me to your hules!!” I yell. “They are everywhere. You have so many of them Chuma you don’t even have places to take me I guess. Do I have to go through your phone again? Do I have to confront all of them?”
“Like you did Tasha?”
I do not respond. I know he probably went to see her after I told him not to. He thinks I want to go back to same life I had two weeks ago. Being paranoid about who he is with every second of the day. He can’t even trust me to work for the same stupid reason.
“Gosh Alexis there is only so much a man can do to make it up to you.”
“You haven’t done enough.” I yell.
I hit his chest with my clutch and he doesn’t move.
“You need to face this. I cheated. Fine. I was wrong. Fine. You slap me or threaten to kill me. Fine. Then you forgive me. Fine. We move on. Fine. No matter how much you yell baby it won’t change the facts.”
“How many are there?” I ask.
“We can’t argue about this again. You know there was one. And Tomaida is nothing but a friend.”
“Oh come on Chuma. I am not that stupid. I don’t care about Tomaida. You have taken your bimbos to my favourite spots. You have gotten them what I have too. What next?”
“You want to hate me forever? You want us to sleep in different beds? For how long?”
“Baby I miss you. I won’t lie. I do. But you’re pushing me into a corner. I have needs. So do you.”
“I don’t want to stray again. So can we please fix this. We go for testing. Anything. But the job is off to table. And I’m not cheating anymore.”
“Give me your phone?” I say.
“You are so difficult. You know that? I am here ain’t I? Making this work.” He says. “Our children are in that house sleeping hoping we make us work.”
Am being difficult? Is that it? Am I treating him so bad when he desperately needs forgiveness. Am I destroying my family right here?
“Fuxk Alexis. Baby I love you. I am sorry. But can we get past this and move on. I have a bed with your name on it.”
He kisses my cheek and hugs me, his arms around me, my head on his chest. Gosh he smells so nice. Would be it wrong to forgive him? Would it be so bad to just let go of this anger and simply take him back. Go to bed and makeup. I miss waking up next to him. This is the man I married. I love this man. Way too much. He is my everything. I have given him all of me and more.
“I love you.” He says. “Now come on. Let’s go to bed. And we can makeup and practice forgiveness.”
I love you too I think. I love our children. I love my life and everything I have been given. This is hard. But I love me more. He won’t change. Tomaida is proof of that. There must be more of them. And I can’t get his phone each time. It’s not right. And besides it’s only cheating right. I can get passed this. I can forgive him. Even the STI is a forgivable sin.
“I want a divorce Chuma.” I whisper.
His hands fall to his side and I take a step back. I look at him and smile.
“We are done.” I start. “I am keeping the house, the cars and our children and you can keep the ladies of Lusaka except me. You can leave if you want.”
“Are you kidding me?” He asks.
And I turn around and walk away.
Well that’s my type of forgiveness.
Scorned women still rule the home.