Hello Everyone, this is the continuation of the story from where we stopped last time. Do Enjoy and Please don’t forget to drop your thoughts and contributions.
The rest of their lunch continued smoothly, there was so much to talk about. Amara painted such vivid pictures about her stay in the United States that Barbs could almost see and feel everything as she had felt them, neither of them realized when the day flew past. Barbs was just reaching for her half empty glass of juice when her eyes briefly fell on her wrist watch. She sat up, alarmed. “It’s almost 6.30pm,” she gasped.
Amara stretched, yawning lazily. “Do you have to leave?’ she pouted.
Barbs flashed a smile, snatching up her purse. “Of course I do. I’m married, remember?”
“I miss your single ass,” she teased.
Barbs smiled, rising heavily from the chair. Most times when she sat, getting up was almost a chore. Amara laughed at her efforts, as she rose fluidly, holding out her hands. Barbs took them, grateful for a hold as she steadied herself. “You look funny.”
“Thank you,” Barbs replied, making a face. They walked out of the restaurant holding hands, Amara offered to drive her home, but she declined.
She drove home, her fingers mentally crossed as she prayed not to run into any traffic, with Dave’s perpetual foul mood, it wouldn’t do to give him a reason to yell. Unfortunately, the gods in charge of traffic were probably taking a well deserved nap that evening, because by the time she got home it was 8.45pm. She had met a very short but totally immobile length of vehicles around Lekki, towards Oando. She drove into the compound with her heart pounding, her mind totally devoid of any explanations as to why she was returning by that time. She knocked tentatively, waiting as she heard slow footsteps and then the door was darkened by Dave’s very angry face.
“What’s the time?” he asked, without preamble.
She blanched. “I’m sorry. I was with Amara…”
He cut in angrily. “What’s the time?” he repeated impatiently.
She opened her mouth, and closed it. She looked at her wrist watch, deciding that the sooner she replied, the quicker they got over the about to ensue drama. “8.50pm.”
The words were barely out of her lips when a hard slap landed across her face. “Dave,” she cried.
He dragged her inside, kicking the door shut to avoid prying eyes. The door banged shut with an angry thud that sent shudders into her. She raised her face to explain only to receive another slap.
“You are my wife,” he spat, his words covering her flaming face. “You don’t go whoring around with that slut.”
She turned and fled into the bedroom, locking the door behind her. For the first few hours, she lay curled up, too stunned to even weep. She didn’t know for how long she lay there, her body a curled up, taut, motionless mass, when she began to hear his voice, soft and pleading outside the door, apologizing for hitting her and begging her to open the door. She ignored him. Her phone began to ring and she picked it up, it was Amara. Knowing her friend, if she didn’t take the call, Amara would keep calling, she’d probably get alarmed and bombard her with calls. But if she took the call, on hearing her voice, Amara would instantly know something was wrong. No option was better. She hit the receive button, clearing her throat imperceptibly as she did so.
“Hello,” she said, striving for cheerfulness.
“Hey hun, I just wanted to make sure you weren’t till stuck in traffic.”
“I’m at home now.”
Amara sighed with relief. “How’s Dave? Hope he wasn’t mad?”
“What’s the matter? You sound strange?”
“You are not,” Amara insisted. Her always alert radar had picked up something off in her friend’s tone and she wasn’t about to drop it till she found out what the problem was.
“I have to go now. Later.”
“Hold on,” she snapped truculently. “Did he yell at you?”
Barbs gave an uneasy chuckle, her index finger hovering above the red button in preparation to end the call. “No.”
“Did he hit you?”
“Talk to me Barbs. Did he hit you?”
With the question, tears welled up in her chest, hot lumpy tears that she tried unsuccessfully to swallow.
“The idiot hit you!” Amara growled. “I will…” she began, her voice shrill and angry. Barbs didn’t wait for her to finish her threat. She promptly hung up and switched off her phone.
From outside the door, Dave knocked softly. “I’m so sorry Princess. Please open the door. I beg you. Please. I didn’t mean to…” his voice broke, “I didn’t mean to hit you…I’m so sorry. Please open the door,” he pleaded soulfully.
She didn’t answer him; instead she uncurled herself, and began to undress slowly, mechanically and then she lay down on the bed but sleep eluded her till almost dawn when she finally slept.
They got over it but Amara never forgot. “Any man who hits a woman is a coward,” she spat vehemently the next time they met.