TURMOIL- Chapter Six
Doing laundry was one of the chores I hated, but today was different. I was pleased. Happy. Ecstatic. I hummed a tune under my breath as I loaded the washing machine. Everything I wanted was falling into place.
The ultrasound scan revealed that I was carrying a boy, Alhamdulillah, Same as HER. I had also found out where she had done her maternity shopping- a store located downtown. It was a little over our budget, but we would manage. Anything for our son.
Even Abdul was falling in line. Since that day he had brought home the travesty he called a phone, he had been a little quiet. He rarely ever ate the meals I prepared for him, so I stopped altogether. He never looked my way either. Sometimes he spent the night away from home. I wasn’t worried because sometimes, he slept over at his company’s staff lodge whenever he had a lot of work to do. I knew he was feeling guilty for what he did but was afraid to approach me.
I wanted to forgive him, but he had to do two things first; Apologise to me, then get me my iPhone. Only then would all be forgotten.
The washing machine beeped, and I emptied its contents and put them in the dryer. I still had another batch of Abdul’s clothes to wash so I prepared to load the washing machine again. As was my custom, I checked inside the crevices of his clothes for anything useful or useless- as the case may be. Abdul was a very careless person and he often left important stuff lying around in there. Most times I discovered loose change- a few thousand naira. I pocketed those- as a reward for doing his laundry. Other times I found payment receipt from malls, random strips of paper and one time I found an important document.
I continued to search and found nothing until I picked up the last piece of cloth- a kaftan. Its pockets protruded making it obvious something was inside. I dipped my hand inside and pulled out a fancy looking envelope. I remembered the day Abdul had worn this kaftan because I had been convinced that he was attending an event due to his dressing. He must have left the invitation card in his pocket. I brought out the card and read the words written in the middle of two love-shaped hearts connected by an arrow.
Abdul weds Atikah
The letters danced, scrambling before my eyes. The card fluttered out of my numb fingers to the floor. Subhanallah. Alhamdulillah. No, I was probably over-reacting. Maybe the groom shared the same name as my husband. Nevertheless, I opened the invitation to find out more. What was revealed was even worse. It contained information which confirmed without a doubt that my Abdul was the groom. Surnames, family house addresses, etc.
The room spun, making me dizzy, so I sank into the only seat in the laundry room. Abdul had taken a second wife. Abdul was married for the second time. I repeated those words to myself again and again. The date on the invitation card read 7th March. Today was 3rd April. Almost a month. That explained the sudden absences, late nights, nonchalance about my refusal to share his bed and everything else.
Tears began to run down my cheeks. Why would Abdul do something as sneaky as this? Wasn’t I good enough? I didn’t know how long I remained in that seat. I just sat there crying my eyes out.
When I was spent. my initial shock began to wear off and was slowly replaced by anger. What right did Abdul have to TAKE another wife? After only two years of marriage? Who was the unfortunate woman anyway? He even had the nerve do it without telling me about it. I picked up the card and left the laundry room. Laundry could wait. Abdul would soon be home, and I intended to get an explanation for this stunt he had pulled.
The atmosphere in the house was tense. I felt it the moment Atikah and I stepped inside. Jemima was standing just by the door poised for a fight.
“What is the meaning of this?” She threw something at my chest and I could see it was the invitation card I had planted in my shirt pocket for her to find.
“Waalaykumsalam and a good evening to you too.” I smiled sweetly and pulled Atikah closer to me. “Welcome to your new abode darling.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.” Atikah kissed my cheek. “Is that my co-wife?”
“Yes, dear. Let me introduce you. Atikah meet Jemima. Jemima this is Atikah, my beloved wife.”
Jemima tightened her fists into balls and the veins in her neck stood out. I was afraid she was going to lunge at me. She didn’t however and asked instead in a level voice I knew she was trying hard to control.
“Answer my question, Abdul. What is the meaning of that?!” She pointed at the card on the floor.
“Oh, that.” I made a dismissive wave of my hand. “It’s exactly what you think it is. Sorry, I didn’t remember to invite you to the feast.” I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter anyway.”
“HOW DARE YOU?!” Jemima’s rage erupted. “You think you can waltz into my house with that… that thing, and pretend everything is alright? I demand a proper explanation this instant!”
I was enjoying this. Too much in fact.
“Be calm, Jemima. Remember your condition.” I patted her cheek and she slapped my hand away. I laughed. “There’s no need for an explanation, I am sure you’ve figured it all out. Now if you don’t mind, my wife and I are tired and we’d like to get some sleep – in my house.”
“Goodnight, ‘Mima. I can call you that can’t I?” Atikah asked sweetly.
We didn’t wait for her reply but started up the stairs. At the first landing, I asked Atikah to wait for me and descended the stairs again. Jemima was still standing in the sitting room looking like she had just been bowled over by a truck. Her mouth was hanging open and she was trembling visibly.
“Ease your storm, Jemima and please don’t try any funny games. This is a new era and you may not like the consequences.”
I walked back up the stairs to join Atikah.
My, was I ready for the show to begin.
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