Its been 3 weeks since I was discharged from the hospital and everything is very much the same, Asad going about his business like I didn’t exist.
Later that day Ladi was oiling my hair, when we heard a ruckus being created downstairs, I asked Ladi to check, I waited when she didn’t return I went to see for my self.
There were two men in white robes and and red ribbons around their waist, with white flabby caps they were running around sprinkling water and ringing bells in my compound. They had 2 policemen with them, the gate men and the workers were trying to stop them but they were intimidated by the men in police uniforms.
‘What is going on?’ I asked the policemen.
‘We were called.’
‘Ma’am we understand you are a victim of domestic abuse.’ They said without bothering to answer my question.
‘What, who authorized you to come and say this rubbish here?’ if you dont leave my premises I’ll make sure you don’t wear that uniform again.’ I said.
‘Ma’am we understand you’re afraid.’
I was puzzled, what the hell was going on, who gave these filthy men the gods to come to my house.
Just then the men wringing the hand bells and running in circles came and circled me, they chanted, while moving round, and sprayed water on me
‘You shall be delivered in God’s name, the devil shall fail.’ They said.
I felt I was being assaulted, I covered my ears with hand shut my eyes, stop I screamed.
The police men watched amused, I saw when I opened my eyes, they were enjoying the show.
Just then Lami walked in, Lami happened to be my “frenemy”, we’ve had tiffs but I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her.
‘Ladidi, I asked them to come pray for you.’ She said an evil smile playing on her lips.
‘Because you need prayers.’
‘Ask them to stop.’I screamed.
‘Ok,’ she said cooly, she lifted her hand gave a wave and they were gone.
‘Why did you do that?’ I questioned panting my hands on my chest.
‘To help you.’ She was glowing from the pleasure she derived from my humiliation.
‘We all know why you visit Nia once in a while.’
‘Remember what happened at the Safina’s launching, consider this a payback.’ I couldn’t remember what happened.
She smiled and walked out, I had the urge to tell her to watch her back, as I was going to deal with her but I refrained. Something will surely hit Lami, but it will be what and when she least expected.
I laughed, as I mentally checked the list of people on my strike back list. Hmmm lami became no 3 cos 1&2 is still Asad and his mistress whose identity is still unknown.
I went back, ignoring the stares of my servants, they had just witnessed my humiliation, well they just have to witness lami’s own too. I had an an appointment by noon. I was going to see Nafisa. She happens to be a crucial part of my vengeance plan.
I set out, appreciating glances of admiration from onlookers as I cruised in Asad’s Bentley muslanne.
I wandered why Abhas and Nafisa chosen to stay in Gwarinpa when they could afford a house any where, my major problem with the area is keke napep, they crowded the road and you get the feeling of driving through a rural area.
I saw Nafisa outside watering her beautiful garden. She dropped the hose or whatever she was holding, removed her gloves and wiped her hands on her apron.
‘Ladidi.’ She exclaimed like she hadn’t seen me for years.
I answered back in sarcasm and called her name in high pitch too.
‘Nafisa,’she rushed over to hug me, she stopped abruptly, like she saw something scary.
We went inside, she served me drinks, and sat opposite me like she didn’t want her body to have any contact whatsoever with me.
‘How is Asad and the kids?’
‘They are fine I suppose.’
‘Yes, I haven’t seen them today.’
I asked after my brother and the kids. She told me they were in school. Her Tv set was tunned to Zee tv. We talked about the serials we watched.
I noticed the family pictures, they were all smiling unlike us who had serious expression, ‘how come Abhas is different from us?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know.’ She answered.
‘Maybe because he met you.’ I said and Nafisa blushed, seriously she was blushing because I mentioned Abhas.
After beating around the bush I came to the point.
‘Nafisa,’ I began not sure if I should continue and just pretend I actually came to see her.
‘Hmmm.’ She prompted.
‘You see, I want Asad to love me the way Abhas loves you, so if you can tell me the secret.’
‘Ladidi why did you think there’s a secret?’
‘What else could it be?’, I asked.
‘Can’t he just love me?’
I gave her strange look, ‘Nafisa with that protruding teeth and large feet that seem to be bigger than Adnan’s.’ Adnan has the biggest feet ever.
She shifted uncomfortably and looked away, maybe I saw a glint of tears in her eyes and somehow I felt bad, though am not used to apologizing I wanted to badly.
She smiled, I felt relieved I didn’t know what I would do if she started crying though it was unlikely that Nafisa would cry.
‘So you’re asking for my help Ladidi.’ She put so much emphasis on the “DI”.
‘Yes.’ I said shifting uncomfortably.
Just then her kids burst into the house like detonated bomb, they gave me a chorused greeting.
They jumped on Nafisa, she hugged and she pecked them on the cheeks, they bombarded her with tales,
‘Shamsiya where is your socks?’ Nafisa asked scrutinising the girl with her eyes.
The girl opened her mouth and covered it her hand. ‘I removed it after sport and forgot it on the sport field.’ Nafisa scolded her and told her to return it tomorrow.
And I was thinking, it must be designer socks.
The noise was starting to irritate me so I bid adieu to Nafisa, she promised to come the following day.
As promised Nafisa came clad in cheap outfit, the smell of cheap perfume followed her. But I was overwhelmed by her coming I didn’t comment.
After exchanging pleasantries I looked at her, Nafisa seemed to be carried away as she looked at any and everything that her eyes saw in my living room.
‘Nafisa.’ I called her attention, She looked at me, ‘I got carried away, every time I come here its seems like I have’nt been here before, its so beautiful.’ She said.
I smiled, ‘I do get a lot.’ I said.
‘Our discussion,’ I began, to tell me the secret.
She smiled, shifted and relaxed like she’d won an argument.
‘Like I said before no secret,’she paused, her expression turned very serious she opened her mouth to talk then stopped again, my patience was running out like air from a punctured balloon.
‘Nafisa talk if you’re actually going to say something.’ I said with my voice laced with small anger.
‘Hmmmmm’, she began, I love your brother and he loves me. But love alone can’t sustain a marriage.’
‘All you have to do is love him so much, so much he has no choice but to love you back.’
‘Not just me anybody would love Asad if they haven’t got close enough to know the stuff he’s made of.’
‘And you Ladidi, what stuff are you made of.’
It was my turn to shift uncomfortably, I was silent, after a while I told her I didn’t know.
‘That’s it, people are molded according to the circumstances they find themselves.’ Nafisa said.
‘So you’re saying Asad is justified for all he’s done.’ I asked.
‘Not at all, in fact he’s very wrong, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.’
‘So how do I love Asad.’
‘By cooking for him, washing his clothes, talking to him, listening to him, taking care of his kids. Appreciating him, Knowing his likes and dislikes and……’
‘Wait a minute, cooking, washing are you kidding me.’ I asked.
‘No.’ She answered.
‘Then.’ I probed.
‘Ladidi, you need empathy and sympathy plus compassion to drive your marriage through these hard times, you think my marriage is perfect, but its not, I work continuously to keep it going because I love my husband.’
‘So where do I start from.’
‘When last did you get him a gift?’
‘I never buy him anything, that’s his part to play.’ I answered.
‘When last did he get you something.’
‘Yesterday a Nina ricci perfume, I don’t like the smell urrgh.’ I said squeezing my face.
‘Did you thank him, do you ever say thank you?’
‘No.’ I answered tentatively.
‘Why?’ OK say start now.’
‘But why should……’
‘No ladidi, she cut me off, try the things you never did.’ Always see your kids before they go to school, and treat everybody with kindness.
After the long lecture, Nafisa left to go and cook, and I was left pondering if I could do it, if I didn’t then I’d be Asad’s scapegoat for the rest of my life, if I have to get even then he has to become a henpecked husband like Abhas, then I took out my phone and sent a thank you text to Asad, saying that I loved the smell.