I’ve been getting calls to update. The culprits haven’t exactly used the word ‘update’ but I got the idea. Since I’m currently facing a bout of blogger’s block (there’re some interesting things going on but they’re too private to share) I’ll just put up one of my book ideas from the past. This is part of Chapter 1 from something I called The Family — something about internal family strife told from different perspectives. Dumb name, dumber story, so I dumped it.
Things were beginning to firm up between us, I thought as I squeezed Eka’s thigh under the table. She gave me one of those impish smiles and I smiled back.
“Yes dear?” I turned to my daughter who had been tugging at my sleeve.
“Daddy when are you going to pay our school fees?” she asked.
“Hasn’t your mom paid already?” I asked in reply.
“No,” her brother said, his mouth overflowing with food. “Our headmistress said we haven’t paid our school fees and that we should tell our parents to…”
“Alright that’s enough,” I cut in. “No talking with food in your mouth.”
I could feel my wife stiffen under the table although her face showed nothing above.
“We’ll pay before the end of the week,” I forced a smile. “Now hurry up and finish your food, and remember, no talking.”
This rule had been hard to enforce but my wife ensured she twisted the ears of any defaulter and that worked better than my bargaining. We ate in relative silence.
Dinner ended and the children rushed to the living room to begin their usual duel over the TV remote. Eka made to rise but my grip on her thigh stopped her.
“What did you do with the children’s school fees?” I asked quietly. She knew that tone so well, not daring to meet my gaze.
“I haven’t bought clothes in a long time,” she said hesitantly.
“We both work. I give you money for food, the children, rent and every other thing. You spend your money any way you want to,” I struggled to keep my voice from rising. “What kind of clothes do you spend eighty thousand naira on?”
She squirmed uncomfortably in her chair.
“What’s wrong?” I leaned forward. “Is the chair biting your yansh?”
She sat quietly, unable to reply.
“You can’t spend eighty thousand on just clothes,” I snarled. “Where’s the remainder?”
A tear rolled down her cheek, a prelude to a downpour. I lost my cool.
“Where is it?!” I thundered.
Startled, the twins stopped wrestling over the remote and watched us, rapt with the curiosity of six-year-olds.
“You’re going to cough it out — all of it,” I said harshly. “When you finish tidying up, I’ll be waiting for you.”
I got to my feet and stormed to my room, trying to appear oblivious to her as she dissolved into tears.
I lay face up on the bed, unconsciously counting the ceiling tiles as I wondered how I was going to handle this. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened but this was the first time I wasn’t going to pay.
The door opened slowly. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the twins walk in, Sola urging on Segun from behind. I shut my eyes and pretended to sleep as they inched towards me.
Someone — I think Sola — pulled on my moustache. I said ‘ouch!’ and sat up.
“Hey!” I held my arms out to them, wondering if their mother had sent them to me. They jumped into my lap and we shared a hug.
“Daddy..” Segun began and I stifled a frown. Perhaps I wasn’t wrong after all — Segun was his mother’s pet.
A shadow fell over us and I looked up. Eka was standing in the doorway. I tensed as she walked over and sat beside me, placing an arm around me. When she rubbed her breast subtly against my back I could tell she was aroused. I wondered how the night would play out.
We joked with the kids for a few minutes. While she put them to bed, I went to brush my teeth and take a shower.
I was hardly out of the bathroom than she was all over me…
When it was over, I looked down at her head resting on my chest, listening to her shallow breathing from the exhaustion of the moment.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“I know,” I replied.
“I won’t do it again,” she said, like a little child.
“I know you won’t,” I replied, smiling to myself in the near darkness. “So when’re you going to get the money?”
“Please…” she began.
“No,” I interruped. “Get the money. That’s all I have to say.”
She was suddenly as cold as a fish. I watched her silhouetted against the dim light as she got off me and grabbed her wrapper.
“I’m sleeping in my room,” she said. I didn’t answer.
That was the beginning of the end of things between us.
Soppy, I know!