In the dim-lit room, Violet typed furiously on her laptop. A pile of notebooks sat beside the laptop on the cramped table. Every now and then, she would reach for the cup of coffee beside her and take a small sip. The coffee was already cold but she wasn’t bothered about it. Her eyes were worn out from looking at the computer for too long. With a satisfied sigh, she hit the last two keys on the keyboard. It echoed in the small room. After she had saved the file and switched off the laptop, she stretched her arms and stood up from the chair, twisting her waist sideways to ease the crimp on her back. I should swap this chair for one of those padded ones, she eyed the hard chair.
She grimaced as she downed the remnants of the cold coffee and reached for her phone which she had silenced an hour earlier. Midnight, she winced. She eyed the pile of notebooks still waiting for her to mark. She would have to postpone returning the books to the students.
She switched off the light and slipped out of the room. Darkness greeted her as she entered the bedroom. The glow of her phone guided her to the toilet and when she was done, she came out.
Oyim’s snores grazed her ears as she laid on the bed beside him. Feeling her warmth, he turned and laced his hands around her waist.
“You just finished?” he said sleepily.
In the darkness, Violet frowned. “I thought you were sleeping?”
“Are you still angry with me?” he continued, ignoring her question.
“You want to talk about this now?” Violet took his hands from her body and turned to face him. She couldn’t see him but she could feel his hot minty breath on her face. Three hours ago, he had told her “Not this night” when she placed her hands on his chest, so why was he still awake?
The bed creaked as he sat up. A small click and a glow of light brightened the room. She sat up as well, hugging a pillow to herself.
“You know I have to go to school tomorrow?” She faked a yawn. She wasn’t sleepy at all. With the amount of coffee she’d drank, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to go to sleep.
“The way you have been carrying face for me, you think I will just let the matter rest? What is the matter? Is it because I didn’t take you all out on Sunday? It’s already Wednesday, why are you still like that?” He made to pull her into his arms but she moved away. He heaved a sigh.
“What happened with you and Benny?” she asked. The question had been plaguing her since her conversation with Nene.
Oyim grunted. “Who keeps on feeding you all this nonsense?”
“Oyim, it is you that is asking me why I am angry. You want to know, so just tell me the truth. Why can’t you be satisfied with just me? After everything I have done? Is there something that she is giving you that I cannot give?”
Oyim rubbed his face, probably regretting why he had brought up the question. “There is nothing like that. Benny is my friend.”
“Friend?” Violet sneered. “It’s like you are not ready to have this discussion.” She returned the pillow to behind and moved to lay back on the bed. “When you finish, switch off the light. Goodnight.” She turned away from him.
“Oma baby.” Oyim laid down beside her, drawing her closer to him. “Don’t be like that biko. You are my wife, after everything, it is you that is the mother of my children.”
“The way you are going at it, I won’t be surprised if one of those small girls carry your baby.” Violet’s throat felt clogged but she forced the words out. It was one of her greatest fears.
“Jesus! Nneoma, which kind of nonsense is that one? Why will you be thinking like that?” His hands left her body.
“But Oyim, tell me. Why are you chasing all those girls? Am I not enough for you, eh?” Violet sat back up. Oyim had unleashed the flood. There was no going back now.
“But those girls, they…they are nothing eh? You are my queen. Why won’t you be enough for me?” Oyim said.
“I don’t believe it. All these sweet mouth, ‘my queen’ ‘omalicha’ will not answer the question of why you have not one, but two girlfriends outside. Since how many years ago, after everything I have done, you still don’t want to change. Tell me, what else do you want me to do eh? So that my husband will keep his trousers at home? I have lost weight, I got work, all the spice I even added to our sex. Mba, nothing happened. You’re still going around. What else do you want me to do, Oyim?” Tears were now running down her eyes.
Oyim pulled her into his arms, patting her lightly. “Ozugo, it is alright. I will not see those girls again. Stop crying, eh. It is breaking my heart.”
Violet’s eyes blazed. “You didn’t know hearing about you with other girls broke my heart too? My heart is in pieces. We have been married for over ten years, Oyim. Don’t allow those girls to come and ruin it.”
“I have heard o. I won’t see them again. Just stop crying.” He comforted.
“Are you sure?” She peered up at him. “You’re just saying it so that you will sleep in peace.” She was ready to burst into fresh tears.
“No, baby. I won’t see them again. I swear. They only specialize in spending my money.”
“Is it who will spend your money you’re looking for?” Her tone was fierce. “Bring all the money, me and your children will spend it for you. Not those girls. They don’t deserve it.”
Oyim laughed. “Don’t worry.” He kissed her forehead. “Anything for my baby.”
Violet stretched over to his side of the bed, detaching it from its charger, she handed it to him. “Oya, operation delete their numbers. One by one, we will remove all of them.”
Oyim laughed uneasily. “You don’t believe me?” He unlocked the phone and gave it to her. “Look for them by yourself and delete them.”
She looked at the phone, then at him, suspicion swimming in her eyes. “Are you sure? Maybe you saved them with different names; general manager, mechanic, electrician.”
Oyim burst out in laughter. “Honey, you should know me by now.”
Of course she did. He must have saved each of them with their real names, but how was she to know all of them? She scrolled down his contacts, going first to the one person she was sure about, Benny. She gave her husband another look. “Are you sure you don’t have their numbers in another place? I still don’t believe this.”
“Honey, just do what you want with the phone. Believe me, I won’t be seeing any of these girls again.”
What if you meet new ones? she thought, seeing no use in voicing the question. She would deal with the current source of her problem. “I’m going to send messages to all of them. By the way, how many are they?”
Oyim shook his head and laid down. “I don’t know. Just check them, anyone that looks suspicious to you, read the chats and do what you want it.”
Read her husband’s chats with his girlfriends, Violet mused. Like she wanted to give herself that headache. With a sigh, she canceled the notification verifying if she wanted to delete the contact and locked the phone. She handed it back to Oyim. “You should do it by yourself. You know all the girls, so it won’t take you more than fifteen minutes. I’m not going to say anything on this matter again. I have told you my mind this night and God will judge us. If you continue seeing those girls, it is your conscience that will judge you.”
Oyim had a small smile. “Don’t worry. Do you still want to sleep?” He winked at her.
Violet scoffed. “When I asked you before, what did you say? Abeg, allow me to sleep. Tomorrow I still have work. Maybe if we wake up early in the morning.” For the first time in the past year, she was denying him sex.
“It’s okay, no problem. I will wake you up by myself.” He laughed, switching off the light.
Violet had a smile on her face and she snuggled on her husband’s hands and went to sleep. The feeling of constriction that had been her companion since that day at the saloon was finally going loose. It wasn’t over yet, the war was far from being won. But she had scored a victory. She was determined not to bother herself about her husband and his extra-marital affairs again. She had made her point clear, and like Nene had said, you cannot force a man to keep his two legs at home when his second brain was pulling him in another direction.
Yet her conversation with her husband, whether he would stop seeing the girls or not, had given her peace of mind. She had done her part, she had communicated. It was left for her husband to make the choice. She couldn’t force him on that.