Time seemed to crawl like a snail for Violet that Sunday. About thirty minutes after she went to the parlor, Chike joined her in front of the TV, curling in her arms and watching the fashion show playing on the television with concentration. Violet’s mind was barely on the show. She was waiting, counting seconds, her eyes moving to the clock hanging on the wall. Even though she had been trying to convince herself not to expect too much from Oyim, she couldn’t help the flare of optimism that came whenever she thought of his earlier actions. She didn’t want to question if her actions were right, if her expectations were too high. If she did, all what she was struggling for would be in vain.
“Mummy, Daddy said I should call you.” Sochi came into the parlor. She was holding a textbook. Though she was talking to Violet, her eyes were on the book.
“Did you have your siesta? Or have you been reading all these while?” Violet remained seated.
Sochi sighed. “I wasn’t able to answer some questions during the exams yesterday. I have to prepare harder for the next one.”
Violet had taken Sochi for the common entrance exam in her school. Since after the exams, Sochi’s expression had been melancholic. Nothing Violet did lifted her mood. It didn’t help that Violet’s school was the one that she wanted to attend. Violet settled Chike on the couch and stood up. She put a hand around Sochi’s shoulders and walked with her out of the parlor. “Don’t beat yourself up because of one exam. How many do you think you failed? My baby is intelligent. Even if you fail one or two, it doesn’t mean that you failed the whole exam.”
“But mummy-” They were now climbing the stairs.
Violet stopped and turned Sochi to face her. “Sochi, believe in yourself okay. I know you are sad because you’re not satisfied with your performance, but you have to know your limit. Today is Sunday and you’ve been inside your room reading. Go and drop your book and accompany your brother in the parlor. In the evening, you will tell me the areas you need help with, let us solve them together. Inugo?”
Sochi nodded her head reluctantly. She closed the book. They continued on. Violet stopped by Sochi’s room and watched her as she closed all the books on her table and came out, shutting the door behind her.
“If you want to sleep, you can come upstairs and sleep. But I don’t want to see you opening any book until later this night, okay?”
Sochi assured her that she would do as she said and skipped down the stairs. Violet shook her head, a little concerned. Sochi was slowly becoming a perfectionist. She didn’t know if this was a good development, how it would affect her development. Saving the thought for future rumination, she continued the short distance to the master bedroom.
Oyim was seating on the bed with his head in his hands when she entered the room. He looked up when she walked in, his eyes reddened. Violet opened her mouth to say something, but the words got stuck in her throat. She swallowed hard.
“Oyim?” she called.
He patted the spot beside him, motioning to her to seat down. She walked over without resistance and sat down stiffly beside him. He took a deep breath. “I know that you don’t want to listen to any of my explanations, so I will go to straight to the point. I’m sorry for all the pains I have caused you. I know you are not going to believe my words now. I can only use my actions from today on to show you how sorry I am. I want this marriage to work. You are the only woman I want in my life. Sochi and the kids are the only children I need in this life. I know these past few days, I have been selfish, ignoring my duties both as a father and your husband. There is no explanation for it. That it took me this long to come to my senses, it took an ultimatum threatening our marriage, makes me feel ashamed.”
Violet was shaking her head slowly, tears rolling down her eyes. She reached out and took his hands in hers, covering it with her warmth. She allowed him to continue.
“Baby, give me another chance, okay? I know that asking this of you is unfair of me, given the heartbreak and pain I have caused you, but I am willing to make it up to you. For you, for this family, for Sochi, Nma and Chike. I don’t want anything to happen to this family. We have gone too far to have it destroyed by me. I just… Give another chance, Oma, just one last chance?” He looked at her, reddened eyes with tears brimming on his lashes.
Violet searched for any sign of deceit in his look. Was he lying to her? Simply trying to get back on good terms with her? She looked into his eyes. They were being honest, they told her. Despite this, Violet found it hard to believe his words. He had said them to her before. How was she sure he was saying the truth? What if he went back to his old ways after a week? What would it do to her? She was skeptical of the words that came out of his mouth.
“Oyim…” She sniffed. “I am only doing this for the children. All the words from your mouth, I don’t know what to believe again. This is not the first time that you promised me all these and look where we are today. We can’t keep on going around in circles, coming back to the same place every single time, talking about the same problem. Oyim, I love you. You are the only man that I can accept in my life. This is not going change no matter what happens in the future. But I need your reassurance, that all these, all my affections are not in vain. I won’t love any other man in the future. I cannot have anything with any other man aside you. You keep on distrusting me, making me feel as though I married a stranger. I do not talk about the women you keep outside, but you just keep being unnecessarily jealous. If you can’t leave those women, then I don’t see the need for all these. I don’t want to be among the women in your life. I want to be the only one, I deserve to be that. You have to give me that respect. I am doing all that I can to satisfy you everywhere. Why? Just why? Is there something I am doing wrong or I am not doing? I have tried, haven’t I? If others outside can see it, then you can. You know what I have done, but yet…” She moistened her lips and set her jaws. “Tell me, why do you keep going outside to those girls?” Her voice was soft.
Oyim looked at her. All through her speech, he had been nodding along with her, rubbing the back of her hands gently. A reflective expression covered his face. “To be honest, they don’t have anything you don’t. What you have they don’t have.”
“Then what makes you keep going back? You need to tell me, let me know what we are dealing with.”
His eyes brightened at the last sentence. “I started going with Benny because one of my friends introduced her to me. He too had women outside. And I just… It is like that.” He gave her a sheepish look.
Violet frowned. “I don’t believe it. And the other girls? This your friend, you didn’t say which of them, introduced all of them to you?”
Oyim shook his head violently. His actions reminded Violet of Nma when she was trying to deny something she did. “Benny was the first girl. They introduced me to her, but the others, I met them…” He trailed off.
While she wanted to get to the root of the whole matter, Violet couldn’t deny the pain the conversation was giving her. “And then now? What happens with them? And after today? I need nothing but the truth.”
A serious expression came over Oyim’s face. “I broke off everything last week. Gave them some money and ended everything. Right now, it’s just you in my life, no one else. From this day, I swear, just you and no one else.”
“That remains to be seen.” Violet tried hard not to be swayed by his words, but cracks appeared on the wall in her heart.
Oyim smiled broadly. “Then just relax and watch me spoil you.” He wrapped his arm around her and tried to pull her into his arms. She tried to resist at first. He remained persistent and she couldn’t help but go willing into his hold.
“Spoil me?” Violet’s voice was teasing. “You know what it will take to spoil this Violet of today? She is not the same person that you can appease with just suya.”
“Of course. My wife just keeps upgrading.” He laughed then tipped her face up to kiss her. Before his lips could land on hers, a knock came on the door.
“Mummy, aunty Nene is here. She is waiting for you in the parlor.” Sochi’s voice came through after three knocks.
Oyim groaned. Violet took the opportunity to free herself from his hold. “I’m coming.” She stood up, slapping away Oyim’s hand that was reaching for her waist.
As she left the room, Oyim asked, “This night eh?”
“Depends on my mood.” she said and shut the door. As she went down the stairs, the smile on her face disappeared, replaced by a gloomy, despondent look. Was this just another trick of his to get her to forgive him?