Holiday Drama

If I knew that my wife would punish me during this pandemic period, I wouldn’t even consider my choice as an option – moving from Lekki to Ipaja. Recently, I bought a house in Ipaja at about one-sixth the estimated original price from a drug addict who inherited his father’s property. Any sane person would prefer living in cool, bright and modernized Lekki to living in rough, congested and rowdy Ipaja. It took days for her to agree for us to move to our new home in Ipaja – a four bedroom duplex with a security building and enough space at the back to do a small-scale farming – for someone like Dorothy, our househelp and my wife's distant relative who loved cultivating vegetables.

I spent roughly a quarter of my annual income on house rent and, despite my wife's reluctance in moving to our new home, she didn’t consider contributing to paying of the exorbitant house rent which was even bound to increase the following year; her money was meant for clothing and clothing accessories or savings for God-knows-what. And the family was increasing in number. Living in Lekki this period when earnings are low might make a family's need an opportunity cost.

The day we moved in, it was almost sunset, Dorathy’s first task was to arrange Stephanie's room, placing her toys beside her bed where she could easily reach out to them and stop her disturbing cry. Her mini-keyboard was also kept on her bed; it was her companion. After settling the driver we hired in moving our belongings, I assumed that my wife had started arranging our room, keeping things in and on the wardrobe that might take me hours to find and placing things in stack for the room to be spacious. And we usually fought over my scattering of the room after looking for my bow-tie, file or belt, which perhaps, she'd be the one to find the item. However, she wasn’t in the room, she was at the guest room's veranda. The lightening was weak, followed by thunder which was barely heard. Shortly, it began to drizzle. She looked around the area with disdain; the roofs of the buildings had rust, no form of aesthetic, even the one we lived in needed rejuvenation, there were many unpainted face-me-I-face you buildings – public houses, the noise from the generators around apparently, suggested that there was a poor power supply in the area. She could see a mama-put on the street where moi-moi, rice and beans were sold on a truck close to the drainage. When it began to drizzle, little children came out in the to play. How weird that was; they were inside when it wasn't raining, but came out in the open, wearing only pants. When the intensity of the room increased, a few children, some with dread came out with their soap and sponge to have their bath in the rain. This time, my wife went into the bathroom to make sure that we had water running in the house. She knew there were people who lived that way, but couldn’t believe she now lived amongst them.

“Hon, we'll need to buy a dog.” She said to me. I was surprised that she still called me, “hon,” when I thought she was still angry for our moving in into the area. She brought the arrangement pattern and only directed or ordered me in placing heavy objects. The dog was for security. She had already assumed that the area wasn’t secured, especially for people, not living in public houses.

She went to veranda again to place her aloe vera plant in the nursery and discovered that the street was now muddy. Those children, or perhaps, another set of children now molded different objects with mud. Women now paraded the street with their cheap clothes that exposed their bodies. The teenage girls and boys who fetched water in a building spent hours there, chatting with themseves and a lot more.

I am not gregarious, I just love being with my family. I don’t have problems with where I am living. In fact, I’m happier now; lesser visitings and social activities. When we were still in Lekki, we lived a lifestyle, a bit false lifestyle to blend in with society. I am an investment banker who pay all the bills at home and she is just a ‘simple’ lawyer, an associate. Truly, my daughter wouldn’t associate with the neighbours, she will learn to live the life we've always wanted her to live: she’ll have friends in school and the churches.

It was since last month that I knew that the purpose of marriage is for companionship. Due to the corona virus pandemic, my wife and I mainly worked from home. Coming to the office was optional for us, do a few works, pick up the necessary files and leave. She woke up at midnight for two consecutive days and complained about a church on the street whose loud and incessant songs and praises sickened her, and the following night, a disc jockey who usually played music in his store from sunset till 11 pm became a cancer. The next day, she went to work in the morning and came back around 8 pm in the evening. She went to work the next day and for the rest of the week. Most times during the weekend, she visited her friends. It was unusual that she always left home with a stolid countenance and returned with a grimace.

“I am trying to make myself believe that I do not live here, ” she said to me when I demanded her frequent going to work. She was blunt and didn’t mince words when she told me how much she detested the area and as each day passed, the time she spent away from home increased.

My wife is near, yet far away. I am punishing her, despite her being pregnant with our child. Her sight on the environment and environmental nuisance exasperate her. I am punishing myself, too, always home without her, We are meant to be home this lockdown period just like we were in Lekki. If this weren’t a period of pandemic, at least, colleagues at work would keep me busy. When she began going to office this period, I thought that she'd get tired of it because of her condition, but she hasn't stopped. Now, I wonder how miserable she felt when we moved out of Lekki.

September 18, 2020 23:59

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