A gentle tap woke Violet some hours later. She had fallen asleep after giving Nma some painkillers and nursing her to sleep. She blinked, a blurred figure coming into her sight. When her vision cleared, she saw Oyim looking at her. She rubbed her eyes. The lack of weight on her laps brought her attention to her awkward sleeping position.
“Where is Nma?” she asked, straightening her legs. They felt numb.
Oyim sat down on the bed beside her. She shifted towards the middle of the bed. “I took her to their bedroom.” He tipped his head at her legs. “She laid on you throughout. Couldn’t you have placed her on the bed?”
Violet yawned widely. “I slept off. What is the time now?” She began massaging her neck.
“It’s almost three.” Oyim took her hand and pulled her off the bed. “So, I thought it has been a while since we spent some time together as a couple. I mean, without the children tagging behind us.”
Violet stumbled as she came down from the bed. She steadied herself and pulled her hand out from his. “Must it be today? I have assignments waiting for me to mark.” She walked into the bathroom and sat down to handle her business.
Oyim followed her, standing at the door of the bathroom, and continued. “I know, I know. But don’t you think it’s time we have a proper conversation? Everything that has been going on between us, in this family, it is not supposed to be.”
“Oh, you know?” Violet flushed the toilet. “We can have a conversation here in our room. The kids won’t disturb us.” She washed her hands and came out of the bathroom.
Oyim shook his head. “I mean a date, don’t you understand? We can’t have a date here at home. I know you are busy and you are reluctant to talk with me longer than necessary, but we are married. If we cannot communicate about our problems, then…”
“You are right,” Violet scoffed. She sat down at her dresser and reached for her hand lotion. “We have to communicate, but I also need a guarantee that we are not going to keep going around one topic. I asked you a question in the morning, It was a simple yes or no question. I still don’t understand why you are finding it so difficult to answer. It is either a yes or a no. There should be no explanation.” She squeezed out a blob of the lotion on her palm, raised it to her nose to sniff at it, and then rubbed her hands together.
“What if I say I would answer the question if we go on the date?” He sat down on the corner of the bed closest to her.
She turned to him. “If I go on that date with you, I only expect one answer from you. If you know that is not the answer you are going to give me, then I don’t see the need to go anywhere.”
He smiled widely. “So you’re coming with me, right?”
She rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
He got up and went to his wardrobe. Violet began going through her jewelry bag. He returned with a package. “I got this for you.” He held it out to her.
Violet looked at the transparent package for a while. The color was a vibrant red and it had a familiar look to it that she could guess what it was. She was in a daze for a while before she took it from him. “When did you get it?” She looked at the label on the package and frowned. “From Chidiogo?”
A bigger smile appeared on his face. “I know you like the clothes she sells. When I messaged her, she told me you asked for the price of this one, but because it was expensive, you ended up not buying it.”
“Wow!” Violet could only mutter in amazement. She could still remember the disappointment she’d felt as soon as her cousin, Chidiogo, had told her the price of one of the gowns she’d posted on her Instagram page. Chidiogo’s clothes were always on the expensive side. But they were quality, designer clothes. She had fallen in love with the red gown as soon as she saw it and immediately inquired about the price. She had bought clothes from Chidiogo before, so she could attest to the quality of her clothes. However, when she quoted the price for the gown, Violet knew that it was way out of her budget. She had bought a lower-priced gown to comfort herself, but the gown remained on her mind, the picture still stored in her phone gallery.
She brought out the gown from the packet. The faint smell of detergent hit her nose. She frowned at Oyim.
“I sent it to a dry cleaner as soon as it arrived. I know you don’t like to wear new clothes without washing them first.” The words were said as though he was expecting Violet to praise him for his thoughtfulness.
Violet said nothing. Her attention was on the gown. The feel of the material on her hands was like magic to Violet. It was a stretchy material, Chidiogo had assured her when she worried whether it would be a fit for her. It certainly was. She pulled the material gently apart.
“We will be late for our date if you don’t start dressing now,” Oyim said.
She stood up with the gown and held it to her body. “Where are we going?” This gown would look great on me, she thought as she pulled the gown closer to her curves. She was itching to put on the gown.
“A surprise.” He winked at her.
“Hmm.” Violet gently placed the gown on the handle of the chair. She stretched her body. “Surprise or not, just don’t…” She stopped halfway, rethinking her words. “I just hope this night ends well, because, I’ve told you before I won’t be-”
“You’ve been repeating the same thing over and over again.” Oyim came to her side and pulled her into his arms. When she attempted to loosen his hold, he tightened his arms around her. “I understand, alright? I know what I am doing. Just trust me, can you?”
“Trust?” Violet forced herself out of his hold, moved a safe distance away, and turned to face him. “At this point, you just expect me to trust you after everything that has happened?”
He pressed his eyes closed and pinched the gap between his eyes. “I know it is unfair of me to ask that of you, but if there is no trust between us, we won’t-”
“Exactly. Am I the person that ruined the trust their partner had in them? Oyim, this is not a matter that you can just brush over by being nice to me, preparing lunch, and buying me things. I appreciate the gestures. I really do. But I won’t waver on my stand. If you think going on a date will make me suddenly forget about what happened and rush happily into your hands, then you don’t know me at all. This matter, I am not going to change my mind about it.” Violet’s voice was firm.
Oyim had a pained look in his eyes. “At least give this a chance. Why do you have the worst thoughts about me? I am trying too, you know. At least meet me halfway. I know I have been wrong in the past. I’m sorry, okay. I am really sorry. What else do you want me to do? Kneel and beg for your forgiveness?”
Violet was shaking her head slowly. Tears were already running down her cheeks. “And I actually thought you understood what I was saying. Oyim, you’ve said sorry so many times in the past. I don’t believe it anymore. Show me through your actions that you are sorry. You still have all those girls outside and you expect me to just swallow this. It’s not fair, you know.”
“I broke up with all of them. I’m not going to see any of them again,” Oyim said.
“You said that last time. And look what happened? You found a new one. We just keep on going in circles. I can’t take it anymore, really.” Violet wiped the tears off her cheeks roughly. She breathed in deeply. “Maybe, we should both take a break. I know what I want for this family. I want a husband that cares for me, loves me deeply, just me, no other woman. I want a man that is entirely responsible to his family. I don’t want the threat of another woman coming to take my position in your life. That is what I want. I want a loving and happy family. Oyim, I don’t know what you want. You have to decide what you want—me and the children or nothing at all. I didn’t want to get to this point, but it…” She sighed. “When you have straightened it all out, I will still be here. Just don’t make me wait too long.”
She walked out of the room. Her words must have shaken Oyim as he didn’t say anything even as she left. She had gotten so used to the ache in her heart that she no longer noticed it. She walked down the stairs to the parlor. She was not going to beat herself up for being too impulsive this time. Her words had been right. Oyim had to decide what he wanted. He couldn’t have a family at home and still o out to play with the other girls. It hurt her that this decision was difficult for him to make. Wasn’t their family important? What was it about the girls outside that made him blind to the family?
She wasn’t going to call anyone this time around, she had decided. This matter would be between just her and Oyim. She reached for the remote control and switched on the television. Two questions kept running through her mind as she watched the movie that was showing on one of the channels—How long would it take for Oyim to make up his mind? What was his answer going to be?