I’d like to kill my boss.
I don’t care what the jail term is. I’d really like a chance to hurt her in the worst way possible – and then kill her like a chicken for Christmas.
Remind me to tell you the story of a Christmas-chicken-killing gone awry. But this is not about that.
I mean, one of the most important tricks of matchmaking is the subtlety of the match-maker, right?
Suddenly my boss is all over me asking how ‘so-and-so’ is doing. Setting up meetings; four meetings a week with ‘so-and-so’. I mean, we have other business and clients, right?
My colleagues aren’t any help either. Haranguing and harassing me at every opportunity. I have become the killjoy at work – me; who used to be the life of the party.
I cannot continue like this. There must be something I can do – a move I can make to get this undeserved monkey off my back.
They say ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.
Trust me, the only thing more unsafe than an emotionally crippled man…
…is an emotionally crippled man mad at a woman.
Let the scheming begin.
Your silence is like a third presence in the room. It keeps my arms beside me with bands of steel when we both know they’d rather be around you.
But the same silence keeps me on my side of things because something in your eyes suggests that I’m much safer here than near you.
I wonder why.
I wonder about a lot of things these days. Like why you’re so bothered I won’t be around for our fifth anniversary when we live in the same house like comfortable strangers. We talk – but we’re actors rehearsing lines from a script. I know your questions, you know my responses. They’ve been the same for the past eighteen months – regular like clockwork.
How was your day dear?
Fine. Yours? You kill your boss yet?
There’s dinner in the cooler, darling.
We have our sides of the bed. There’s a wall in between them – a wall that cannot, must not and will not be breached. There’s nothing there visible to the bare eyes – but the Great Wall of China might as well be there.
You ask if we’re done. You ask if there’s nothing more to us.
You ask if…you ask if there’s someone else.
The words have a shaky feel to them. They command my attention to your expression, and I see the shimmer of something – a liquid on the surface of your eyes.
I stand there and watch them spill over with bullet-time slowness, convinced we’re all just props on a movie set. I’m there but I’m not part of what’s happening. You ask me why I married you if I was going to allow things degenerate to this point between us.
That’s the issue.
When I married you, anything like this was the farthest thing to my mind. I married you because, in spite of everything I believed in ‘happily-ever-after’. You made me believe in that.
But somewhere along the line, you stopped believing and I gave up because I didn’t have enough for two.
I gave up on you. I gave up on us.
You ask if there’s someone else. Again.
See? We’re following a script here. Must ‘someone else’ be the ‘why’ we’re so unhappy? Must I take to drinking and come home late because I’m having issues with my wife – in my marriage? Can’t there be something else; like work for instance?
In a matter-of-fact tone of voice you tell me I am not going anywhere. I try to explain to you how important this trip is – how the future of our company depends on the outcome of this Abuja meeting. You ask if it’s more important than the home I always come back to.
There’s no difference in your voice as you tell me I’ll have to make a decision. You tell how there’s still hope for us – how we can still make it happen. The feeling of being on a movie set persists – it’s really as though I’m hearing you talk in slow motion through the curtain of tears that cascade down your face steadily.
I don’t have a lot of choice, do I?
The door opens and a two-year old version of you walks in, almost blinding me with the sun shinning in her eyes. She rushes towards me and I kneel down to gather her in my arms. A burning sensation within my chest announces itself – my heart is breaking as the volcano behind my eyes erupts in a hot shower of tears. I hug our daughter to me and I sob…
The tears are there when my eyes open but everything else stays behind. I sit up on my bed and hold my head in my hands. I tell myself I’m just missing you – that it’s because I’m trying to adjust to single life again. But it’s more than that.
It’s a lot more than that.
It’s been six months – six months during which I’ve moved on. Six months of which everything has been better than ever – six months of being absolutely single and, for the first time in a long while; loving it. Not because it gives me an excuse to ‘explore my options’ but because it’s been six months of getting to know me all over again.
It’s been six months of seeing myself for who I truly am and working towards being a better me. It’s been six months of growth and development, six months of putting things in perspective.
Six months of thinking about you and smiling like an idiot in the middle of Oba Akran. Six months of suddenly bursting into laughter, startling the other occupants of the BRT bus I’m riding home in.
Six months of letting go.
So the dreams are not symptoms of my heart refusing to accept that you’ve gone. I don’t doubt we’ll go on our separate ways and live lives that are undoubtedly good. But in the same vein, I can’t honestly say we don’t belong with each other.
Were we ‘happenstance’? Were we ‘coincidence’? Were we stray cats who bumped into each other one rainy night and shared something millions search for all their lives and only few ever truly experience?
Too many questions. Not enough…
‘Limpopo’ starts to play somewhere not too far off, providing this movie with the perfect theme song. It takes me a moment to realize it is my ringtone; meaning means my phone is ringing.
I grab it – and though it has been six months I know the number. I know it because it’s written on every part of my memory in letters of fire.
There’s a drum beating as I take the call. And the first thing you say to me is…
‘Have you been dreaming about me?’
This is not a post
Rather; a message of hope
For those buried beneath lost souls
Buried deep within life’s full holes
This is not a post;
I should call it a rope
Plunged into an abyss of abysmal minds
Called to call to light; one at a time
This is not a post
It’s not even a poem!
Just because it flows
Your fear; I hope it slows
This is not a post;
It’s something to pass the time
You can read between the lines
And make up your own rhymes
This is not a post
Stop reading already!
Isn’t there something you should be doing?
Go. Stop dulling.
I looked everywhere except at her face. Obviously I was still upset.
Somehow, this daughter of Eve had convinced my boss that they would sign the deal – but needed to discuss some finer points of the contract with the media head.
So my boss had
ordered suggested that I have lunch with her. I hadn’t gotten the call from Chevron or Shell…so I obeyed.
Maybe if I were right-thinking my chest would have expanded a few inches and I would have been levitating. Yeah.
All I felt was anger. I really wasn’t in the mood for socializing – especially not with a member of the opposite sex. Not then.
So I sat there with a wooden face and kept navigating the conversation towards business hoping to get done and get back out and into the safety of my small cubicle.
After a while she sat back and stared at my mouth, chewing slowly and steadily. When she finally spoke…
“We have all day.”
I sat there in silence and swore bitterly.
Life for what it is; not what I want it to be,
And then not losing hope
With words like these I cope
Leaving lessons all over time
Christ’s words I quote
Moving from what life is to what I want it to be
See it before I live it
Talk it and then I walk it
Do what I love to do – for fun
And then profit
Sadness I forfeit; as I let go of all I was
Remade in His image; perfection
Let’s talk about death in relationships.
When the man-of-God who’s joining the couple says ‘till death do you part’ I’m sure he means death as in ‘Grim Reaper’ and related subjects. Death; as in the end of physical life.
But as we’ve come to learn, physical death is the least responsible for ending so many marriages marriages nowadays, no?
Let’s consider death in other forms – death of other things. Things that were once exciting – and suddenly are not as exciting as they used to be. When the sight of her body no longer sends you into the mindless frenzy it used to – when his snore and one-pack become the two most annoying things you know.
When we just want to say ‘you know what? This is no longer working for me’.
In recent times we’ve witnessed more weddings than university students around here have attended lectures. We also know of the tales of woe that abound – tales that make marriage sound like a badly written Stephen King novel. And little by little, slowly but steadily, a happy marriage is starting to look and sound like a myth.
We all know there are happy marriages – just as we know there are still virgins (word to Chidinma) but the thing is – these things hardly; if ever get celebrated. No one made the cover of The Daily Sun for being a faithful husband or wife! We’re more likely to read about ‘Pastor Impregnates Wife’s Younger Sister’ than ‘Couple Celebrate Twenty Years Of Marital Bliss’.
And even if we did read that, most of us will probably ‘yimu’ and go ‘na lie jo’.
Now, what happened to make us so disillusioned about getting married?
I think we happened.
WE. YOU and ME.
We simply stopped taking each other seriously.
Someone said something somewhere ‘If we took our romantic lives as seriously as we took our professional lives, we would be lots happier’.
Consider the picture.
Remember that Pacesetter novel ‘Death Is a Woman’?
But then, let’s keep moving.
The vow says ‘till death do you part’. The picture depicts one way death can come into marriage, right?
Now let’s consider the thought that ‘anything not growing is dead’.
Ever flipped through your CV and noticed that for a while, nothing new has been added to it? And then you thought about getting a new job, a new degree, a new experience – something to make the CV fuller and richer?
Can we think about our relationships in those terms?
Relationships in which both partners are individually and collectively thinking of new ways to grow; individually and together.
I won’t lie. I used to think the hardest part was ‘getting the girl’.
But then, as I grew older that part of it became progressively easier until – and then I had a reality check.
The hardest part is making her stay.
I mean really. I had to ask myself; why should she stay with you?
Do you know anyone on any planet or in any reality who likes stale food?
Men want to talk about how men are natural breeders and how men get bored with just one woman. Hello bro. Wake up and smell the coffee – you’re not the only one stuck with her; she’s also stuck with you!
Make it worth her while.
A friend of mine is taking belly-dancing classes. And when I asked her why, she said ‘you never know with men. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it’.
Okay. Maybe belly dancing is kind of awkward if you’re a guy (or maybe not); you can learn how to wash her hair. Learn how to make new dishes regularly. Take her to Dubai (these things are not as expensive as we think!). Be interested in her career – things that matter to her. Come home one day and say ‘I was browsing and saw this online course I think you would be interested in. I already subscribed for the brochure; but if you don’t like we can cancel’.
It’s far beyond ‘dinner and a movie’ these days o. Real.
It’s beyond lying-back-and-letting-the-partner-do-all-the-work. There’s as much competition for men’s attention as there is for women now. We’ve all heard the ‘sleeping-with-his-wife’s-best-friend’ story. Maybe the man was greedy and so on – but where was the wife in the midst of all that?
There’s more to infidelity than sleeping around. And sometimes, the sex is just a by-product; the visible results of some other things. We see the sex, so we just think it was lust. And in some cases it was/is just that. Lust.
But in some other cases…
If we spent more time enriching each other – our partners, friends, spouses – whatever people we have around us, don’t we think things would be easier for all concerned? Don’t we think we would have less of short-term marriages and actually have more people committed to improving themselves and each other?
In Social Studies we learnt the smallest unit of society is the family (or something close). Don’t we think that’s another place a better Nigeria can start from?
I’m just saying.
But I do know this – it’s impossible to do something nice for someone else and not be touched ourselves.
Let’s blow the dust off that record, folks. Let’s get to know each other all over again.
I’m Seun Odukoya. It is a pleasure having you here.
What do you think? What other ways do you think death come into relationships? Looking forward to reading your opinion!
Have a blessed week.
She wanted to take me out for lunch, and she said so with a hand on the sleeve of my jacket.
I acted like the warmth from her fingers was too slight to make a difference to me and looked everywhere but at her mouth as she spoke. She came to the office at the behest of one of our latest clients – she was the company’s legal adviser.
Normally I wouldn’t be involved in such a meeting – signing official documents and what nots. But in light of several recent events…
I told her no. I didn’t – don’t fraternize with clients and seeing how they were new I’d rather not.
A smile appeared on her too-thin lips and she said she understood.
“I understand,” she said.
I still have a hell of a lot to learn about women.