“Daddy, daddy,” the echo of the voice of the twins reached Violet and Sochi in the kitchen as they went about preparing dinner.

“Go and open the gate for your father.” She hadn’t gotten all the words from her mouth before Sochi zoomed out of the kitchen leaving the plates she had been washing on the sink, without bothering to rinse her hands.

Violet laughed as she reached for the wooden spatula hanging on the handle of the pot and proceeded to stir the contents of the boiling pot. She reduced the heat of the gas-cooker and rinsed her hands, wiping them on a towel that hung on the window before she went out of the kitchen in her own excitement.

The children were telling Oyim of their day when she met the group beside the car. The children hadn’t even let him get out of the car, crowding the door as he put off the engine, listening to them with exaggerated nods as they spoke excitedly. Sochi was holding a black leather bag, standing behind her siblings.

“You people should allow him to breath,” Violet said reaching for Nma and lifting her up.

“No, I want daddy to carry me,” Nma stretched her hand towards her father who was already lifting Chike in the same manner.

“He’s already carrying Chike,” Sochi scoffed, reaching to slap her hand lightly.

Nma pouted, but when her father tugged her cheeks lightly, she giggled, jumping excitedly in her mother’s hold.

“Honey.” Violet allowed him to kiss her on the cheeks. She caught a whiff of alcohol on his breath as he leaned towards her. Her heart caught in her chest, dousing some of the excitement she had felt at his return. “How was your day?”

“Good, good.” They started going into the house, Sochi leading the way. Violet caught her rummaging the black leather bag in her hand, but said nothing.

Violet returned to the kitchen leaving her family to bond over their day in the parlour. She heaved a deep breath as she stood in front of the now simmering pot of soup. Why? She wondered. No matter what she did, it seemed she was destined to never have her husband to herself again.

She shook her head, putting the saddening thoughts away from her mind. “Sochi!” she called as she switched off the gas-cooker.

“Ma.” Sochi came running into the kitchen, going straight to the pile of plates she had left.

“Rinse those plates quickly. The food is almost done.” Violet brought down the pot of soup from the gas-cooker and placed it on the tiled counter, leaving the lid half-closed.

“Mummy, mummy,” Nma’s voice was small as she came into the kitchen.

What drama does she want to act now? Violet looked at her with raised brows. “What is it, Nma?”

“I want to eat bread and tea.” Nma hugged her mothers legs, rubbing her cheeks on her lap.

Violet sighed. “You took bread and tea this morning. You’re supposed to take eba this night. It’s your favorite soup o,” Violet said even though she knew it was useless.

Nma pouted. “I want bread and tea.”

“Okay.” Violet carried the little girl. “If you eat three balls of eba, I will make bread and tea for you, with egg too.”

Nma stubbornly shook her head, refusing to be deceived. The last time her mother had made that promise, she had slept off before the promise of tea was fulfilled.

“If you don’t eat eba, you will not drink tea o,” Sochi said with a cheeky smile. Violet gave a look, she looked away.

“Oya, just take small eba, one ball. I will make tea for you now.” Violet promised. “Sochi, go and bring two eggs from the fridge so I will fry it.”

“Mummy, me too I want to eat egg,” Sochi murmured.

Violet rolled her eyes. “Bring five. Let everybody eat one one each.”

Sochi’s ‘yay’ coincided with the little laugh of glee from Nma. Violet dropped her on the ground. “Go and stay with your brother. Food will soon be ready.”

Nma did not see her mother’s triumphant grin as she ran out of the kitchen chanting, “tea and bread, tea and bread.”

The family of five had a quiet supper with little disturbance from Nma who had forgotten about the promise of tea for supper and gobbled down eba that had been molded into tiny balls.

“Nma, don’t eat all the meat in the soup, one is for you and the other one is for Chike,” Sochi warned as she saw Nma reaching for one of the small quarters of meat.

Nma humphed at her. The adults on the table laughed. Violet cut a small piece of meat and popped it into Chike’s mouth. He had been eating slowly as usual, taking time to chew each ball of eba.

“Mummy, I want too.” Nma opened her mouth. Violet laughed as she repeated the action with her.

After supper, Sochi shuffled her twin siblings to take their bath. Violet and Oyim retired to the parlour. Violet frowned as Oyim changed the channel to a local news channel.

“Did you go to see her today?” Violet asked after unsuccessfully trying to pay attention to what the female reporter was saying.

Oyim grunted. “I went out with my friends.”

“Okay,” Violet’s voice was small. She reached for one of the throw-pillows and folded her hands under it.

“Wait, why are you asking that type of question, eh? Who are you talking to these days? Is it Nene?” Oyim reduced the volume of the television and asked.

Violet shook her head. “No, I just asked.”

“Hmm” Oyim turned his attention back to the television. “I did not go to see anybody today.”

What of yesterday? She wanted to ask but the question did not make its way out of her lips. After awkwardly sitting for a few minutes, Violet stood up. “I’m going up,” she said then waited for his reaction.

He scratched his jaw, the sound of his fingers against his beard loud despite the sound of the television. “Give me some minutes.”

Violet nodded and made her way to the bedroom. She stopped at the children’s room. Sochi was trying with much effort to get Nma into her pajamas. Chike was already on the bed, dressed to sleep staring wide-eyed at his two sisters.

“Mummy, Nma doesn’t want to wear her cloth,” Sochi’s relief was evident as Violet entered the room.

Violet was grateful to see that aside the obvious mess that Nma had made, the room was otherwise arranged. Now that she worked, it was difficult trying to contain the children she had at home with the ones she had in school.

With her in the room, getting Nma into her pink pajamas was easily completed. When she made sure that the twins were settled into bed and Sochi was off to complete her own routine, something she could handle all on her own, Violet continued the remaining distance to her room.

The master bedroom was the biggest room in the house, even bigger than the parlour that visitors said was big. She was grateful for the space. A wide bed sat in the middle of the room. To it’s left was a wardrobe that contained her husband’s clothes. Clothes that he removed when he came home hung haphazardly on the half-opened door of the toilet. The sound of the heater in the toilet grated annoyingly on her ears. Later, he will complain that the meter keeps running too fast. She walked to the toilet, wrinkling her nose at the suffocating hot air filled with the smell of soap. She switched off the heater, picking up the clothes on the door as she returned to the room.

Her actions after the small tasks were slow and deliberate. He had said a few minutes, but Violet knew he wouldn’t come upstairs until 10pm when the nine ‘o’ clock news was over. She went into the room adjourning the bedroom. Her closet. It was one of the few things Oyim had conceded to when they were getting married. Even before she got married, having a closet was one of the things she was certain she would have when she was younger. She often joked with her friends then saying, “if he doesn’t have a closet for me, then I don’t have a space in my life for him.”

Now, she was grateful she had insisted on it. Only half of the closet had been dedicated to her clothes and shoes. In fact, she had even bought a cabinet for some of her clothes. The other half of the closet had a decent sized table with a chair. A rechargeable lantern sat beside a cup of pens, most of which were useless. A narrow shelf ate up the remaining space between the table and the wall, cushioning itself comfortably. Her space, she mused. It was a year ago that the table found its way into the room, the shelf following weeks later. Before that, the room had been filled with heaps of clothes that had forgotten to make their way on the hangers where they belonged. Shoes decorated the ground and the room had been filled with a stale smell that told of unwashed clothes and abandoned shoes.

She took a deep breath of the fruity scent that filled the room, tribute to the packet of Sunshine air freshener that was glued to the wall of the room. She went to the cabinet and opened the second to the last drawer. Her hands met silk as she searched through its contents. She pulled out a pink material from the drawer, neatly replacing the other contents before she closed the wardrobe. In the same pace, she opened the second drawer and brought out a matching colour of panties.

Armed with the silky material, she left the room, crossing the room to go into the toilet. Her shower was quick. The light scent of her soap replaced the smell of Oyim’s soap that had overshadowed the bathroom. When she was done, she ran her towel gently but firmly all through her body. The silk was rubbed against her skin as she put it on. The sheer fabric came down to her mid-thighs. Her breasts, not exactly one of her proud features laid on her chest, the neck of the gown came down in a V, leaving little to the imagination. The panties were useless, but she still put them on, appreciating the feel of their softness against her pubic region.

When she was done, she went out of the toilet. 9:54pm. She walked over to her dressing table and carefully applied a scented oil on her skin, that didn’t fail to make her skin glow. She spritzed a little perfume on her neck, rubbing on it when it seemed like it was too much.

She was brushing her cornrows, still new, when she heard his footsteps coming towards the room. She peeked into the mirror, satisfied at what she saw.

When he came into the room, she stood up and without a word to him, went to lay on the bed. She heard him rub his hands as he went to the toilet.

He didn’t waste anytime. Soon, the two of them were engulfed in a passion-filled embrace. Her moans bounced off the walls and his groans fueled the fire in her blood as she pleased him in the way she had recently learned to.