Collins had a way of making me follow his own suggestion and that was why without arguing further, I surrendered.
But I was still not comfortable seeing him look like he had lost a big fight. I looked at him dismally, while he gently pulled off his shoes, shaking his stockings in the air around him as he did. I was worried about him and I was ready to take up the fight on his behalf, whatever the danger that was lurking behind the corner.
As a clear testimony to my commitment to offer him a helping hand, to support him sort of, I began to look at him quizzically, his face still maintained that angry and depressed look.
“Darling, what is it? Please, tell me now?” I asked, my voice carrying a tinge of anxiety.
“Later, please,” he replied. “I am tired. Let me sleep first.”
I looked at him with a glare of defiance and he noticed it. As if he sensed that I was angry, he apologised.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to hurt you but I will tell you later.”
“It’s okay,” I replied. I shook my head, and left him. Not quite long after, he fell asleep even before his food was ready. It dawned on me truthfully that he was very tired. I wanted him to eat before he slept fully but I decided against it.
Later, I went to my own room. I began to think he was angry because I had not become pregnant for close to eight months after we got married. Such thoughts could weary the soul of some men sometimes. It couldn’t be, as it was not my responsibility alone. He did not wake up until about two hours later. By that time, I was sleeping myself. He woke me from my sleep and then it was twilight. Dinner was served and we ate together. After dinner, he called my attention, although, that forlorn look on his face had fizzled out. He began to unfold the drama that was to disturb happiness before my very eyes. It was horrible. I did not know exactly if I heard everything he said because I was in such psychological distress that so deafened my sense of reasoning.
“Are you ready to listen now?” he had called my attention.
“Yes,” I’d replied. “I can’t continue to see you languishing in this state.”
“Thank you for your concern, that is why you are my wife.” He finished ruefully and patted me lasciviously on my shoulder, perhaps in an effort to steady my bottled up anxiety.
He gave a deep frown, then cleared his throat.
“This is not recent, it can be very devastating and I believe that you will bear with me whenever it is fully told. Will you promise me that, before I spill the beans?” he asked, looking deeply into my eyes. I was moved but I controlled my emotions. If that was a trick, it worked well. I did not know what I answered him.
“You have my word on that, I promise.” I assured him.
“About nine years ago when I was in my first year in the university, I fell in love with this girl, Emmanuela. For the purpose of this discussion, I will shorten the name to Emman. Any objection, my darling?”
“None, my lord, is that all you want to tell me?”
“No, it’s more than that. You have not heard the sad aspect yet.”
“Is she dead or something?” I prompted.
“That would have been better, darling,” He spoke confidently, playing with the title every now and then.
“The situation must be terrible then?” I chipped in.
“If you say so but I am sure with a little help from God, we will be able to bring it under control. I need your cooperation and that is why I have chosen to tell you first before any other thing.”
“Go on,” I encouraged.
“So, as at the time I fell for her, she was in class three in the secondary school I finished from. All through my university days, she was always doting me and her image always hovered about the sky of my life. I could not bring myself to go into any relationship with another person.
“We continued like that until I finished from the university. But there was one thing that looked sinister or strange about her and I could not reconcile. She never allowed me to make love to her, not even once. I never understood why and I could not force her into it for the fear of losing her. And she would not hesitate to tell whoever cared to listen that she was my one and only heartthrob, which was true.
“Even during my youth service…are you listening? I nodded and he continued.
“During my service year, she came to visit me twice or thrice and not even then did she allow me to make love to her. I was worried that I almost called it quits with her but I never wanted my efforts to be in vain. I could not believe, neither could I understand why she treated me like that. When I asked her about it, she said that the time was not ripe for that. ‘Dirty nonsense’ as she called it. That made her to ask me if I wanted her for sex or for keeps. Because of the weight of that question, I could not disturb her further, after all sex was not my priority.
…to be continued