I fell asleep on my hand, and woke up with that numb, tingly feeling and the residue of a dream. This is the result. Enjoy!
My husband came back early from work today. We had been texting each other all day, so when he came into the house and headed straight for me in the kitchen. I knew he was going to kiss me, then drag me into the bedroom. I knew we were going to make love. Well, he was going to make love to me. I was in it for baby making purposes. After another attempt at biological alchemy, I knew he was going to ask for food, then notice that the house was in a mess.
He would say things like, “What have you been doing all day?”
“Why don’t you clean up a little?”
“Kai, if I know say you dirty pass me, I for no marry you”.
The last one would be an attempt at humour to diffuse what he would consider to be a tense situation. Tense because in response, I purse my lips, narrow my eyes and say nothing, but my look promises retribution.
Retribution never comes, but it is gratifying to know that the promise of it is enough. Usually. Tonight, I want my pound of flesh, specifically N2,000 worth of roadside peppered beef barbecue.
“Let’s go get suya”, I say.
I know he will say yes, because he just wants me to be happy, and if it is suya that will make me happy, then it’s suya I’ll get. He was like that when I was pregnant, traipsing round Ikeja to get me Asun, and Banga soup at odd hours. So we get out of bed, pick out track bottoms from the pile of clothes overflowing from the laundry basket, get clean t-shirts from our closet, and head out with slippers on our feet. I’m wearing my outside slippers. The pair my sister sent from the UK. They are tan with green rhinestones. I think they are pretty. My husband thinks they are garish. I have to remind myself to wear them, because I’m tired of hearing my husband say, “At least, they are better than bathroom slippers”.
What’s wrong with bathroom slippers? Who is looking at my feet? What does it matter in the grand scheme of things?
But I will not tell him what I am thinking. He will ask annoying questions.
We head out for suya at 10:13PM. There is electricity tonight, so the estate is uncharacteristically quiet. I can hear frogs and crickets, and they assure me that Lagos is not all concrete and hypertension. There is life here as well. I cross my fingers and pray that there’s life in me as well. Maybe it’s early, but it doesn’t hurt to pray.
We walk past the estate gates, and the slumbering security men. My husband hisses. I laugh. I have always considered hissing a feminine tool. He hisses again, “Why are you laughing? They charge us thousands of Naira for security and this is what it comes down to – open gates at 10pm and sleeping guards?”
“If they were awake, they would have stopped us to ask 20 questions and delayed us”.
“At least, I would know my money is working”.
I smile at him, put my arm through his and keep walking. “Let’s hurry up. I want my suya”.
A man jogs past us. I squeeze my husband’s arm. He squeezes back. We keep walking. Another man walks down the road towards us. I turn my head around, and notice the street is empty. Where has everybody gone?
The man walks past us. He is wearing a suit sans tie, and nods at my husband as he walks by. I am not offended. I am invisible. No one can see me so I cannot be harmed by the things that come out of the darkness.
Light bounces off something and there is a man in front of us holding a razor blade to my face. Where did he come from? I don’t move. I don’t breathe. My husband’s arm is clamped in mine. He has moved his feet apart in a fighting stance.
“Guy, dey walka”, my husband says.
“Egbon, just give me the money or I go use this blade for your wife”.
“Guy, dey walka”.
“Wo, you dey try me. I go spoil this your fine wife face o!”
I know what I must do. I take a deep breath, then everything happens quickly. I let go of my husband’s arm, and go for the blade with my other hand. The vagrant moves to punch me, but my husband grabs his fist and hits him in the throat. The blade presses into my hand, and I squeeze. It cuts deep, and I squeeze some more. I am not afraid of getting cut. I cut myself all the time but usually with my little kitchen knives. The large ones leave marks I don’t like to explain. There are no razor blades at home. The vagrant looks at my face as blood seeps through our joined hands. I smile. He is afraid. My husband clears his feet from under him in a sweeping move, and my smile becomes smug. I let go of the pleasure of the blade and its owner’s hand so I am not pulled down with him. The smell of the blood dripping from my hand pleases me.
“Babe, you’re bleeding. Let’s go back home”.
I nod. Who needs suya?