David stared at the framed picture on the wall of his house,
he hadn’t thought of bringing it down and it’s been eight months since Nnenna
left him. He turned on the television and tried to listen to the news but he couldn’t,
he was so upset and contrite, he wanted everything to be back to how it was in
the past and he wanted so desperately to call her and tell her that he missed
her. He hadn’t eaten dinner as the lunch he’d eaten in Nathan’s place sat like
a log of wood in his stomach and refused to digest. He picked up his phone and
dialled a number, he knew that there was a slim chance that she’d answer his call
but he hoped she would.
Then like a miracle, she picked, after eight months of not
speaking to him and of not answering his calls.
“What do you want?” She asked in her crisp businesslike tone
which had drawn him to her in the first place over four years ago.

“Nnenna…please don’t hang up.” He started.
“I haven’t hung up, what do you want?”
“I just want to hear your voice…it’s been too damn lonely
without you and I miss you. Can you maybe, come back to me? Please…”
“You have such audacity…” She said with a hint of vexation
in her voice.
“You are still my wife and I love you…”
“We are separated and our divorce is almost finalised.”
David scratched his head in frustration.
“Nnenna, I have changed…I am a better person, I can’t live
without you.”
“You can’t change David…you can’t…you will never change.”
She said.
“How can you say that? I have spent eight months away from
my family and I want you back. I have not even had any other woman…”
“Women are not your weakness, David, you know what your
weakness is.” She said.
He paused for a while and said.
“I know I’m an abusive husband, I know I hit you badly…I
know I raised my hand on you and I should never have. It’s just that my temper
gets the best of me and I’m working on it.”
“Have you been to therapy? The lawyer recommended that you
see a counsellor, have you done that yet?”
“I haven’t but I have worked on myself and I swear that I
have self-control.”
“You can’t work on things like this by yourself….you need
help David. Call me when you get one.” She said and hung up.
David stared at his phone in sadness mixed with relief, does
this mean there was hope? She said he should call her when he gets help, does
it mean she was considering coming back home to him? He dropped his phone and
he looked up at the framed picture of his family. He remembered the day they
took the picture, he had beaten Nnenna a night before and she had used makeup
to cover her bruises. He reached out to touch the picture on the wall, his
smiling eyes stared him in the face while his wife’s hurt eyes gnawed him in
the heart, and their one year old daughter sat on his laps staring at the
camera with an elated expression. He let his hand slide from the picture and a
lone tear fell from his eyes.
“Why? How did I wreck my life with my own hands?” He said as
he burst into tears.
**********
Chima alighted from his car and walked over to open the
booth.
“Daddy!” His son screamed as he ran to hug him.
His daughter followed closely behind, rubbing the sleep away
from her eyes.
“Hey babies….how have my best little angels been?” He
asked as he brought out two new gleaming bikes from his booth.
“Yay! New bikes! Yay!” His kids whooped in joy.
His wife walked towards the car, one hand on her waist and
the other on her protruding belly.
“Hey gorgeousness!” He greeted, walking over to give his
wife a kiss.
“My love…you’re back. Welcome darling.” She greeted. “I
see you bought the kids the bikes they’ve always wanted. What can I do without
you darling?”
“You know I’ll do anything to keep my family happy.” He smiled.
“We are so lucky to have you dear.” His wife said.
The kids were ecstatic over their bikes and Chima’s wife’s younger
sister came to help them carry the bikes into their flat. Chima snaked his arm
over his wife’s shoulder as they conversed.
“So, tell me, how was your day?” She asked.
“It was hectic.”
“I thought you went to meet Nathan today on that business you
guys have together.”
“Yea…I did…we spoke at length in fact we spent most of
the afternoon together before I went to get the kids bikes but on my way home,
my car broke down.”
“Serious?”
“Yes, it did and I had to call a mechanic.”
“Did you call our mechanic guy?”
“No, I didn’t because I was so far away but I told him to
come and check on the car tomorrow.” He said.
“Tomorrow’s Sunday, what car will we take to church?”
“Well…since your car is still undergoing repairs, we could
take a taxi….or I could brave my car to church and keep my fingers crossed so
that it doesn’t disgrace us and stop us on the way.” He said.
“You must have been so upset when the car broke down on the
way. I’m so sorry baby that you had to go through all that.” She said.
“Thank you baby…” He said.
His phone vibrated and he took his phone out of his pocket,
it was a phone call from a number.
“Who is it?” His wife asked.
He flashed the phone before her eyes and she saw the number,
it was registered as 4477.
“It’s these advert people from the telecommunication network…I
wonder why they can’t leave us alone.” He said.
“Mtccheww…I don’t even answer their calls.” She said.
“Oops…I forgot my wallet in the car, lemme go get it.” He
said.
“I’ll wait for you.”
“Don’t worry love, I’ll be right up.” He said.
His wife nodded and went up the stairs while he hurried
towards his car, his phone was still vibrating and when he got to his car, he
quickly answered.
“Hey baby… I had a wonderful time in your arms sweetheart.
Can you come over tomorrow?” She purred.
“Lookatew! Loving and missing me at the same time. You know
I live and breathe for you honey. I should be free after lunch tomorrow…so, I’ll
come over.”
“Make sure you empty your tummy cos I’m gonna prepare that
food you love so much.” His side chick said.
“You know I’m always hungry baby…” He said with a smile. “You
know what? My battery is running low…can I call you tomorrow?”
“Sure you can love.” She said and hung up.
Chima looked at his phone and quickly cleared his call log
from the number, 4477, a code he’d used to store his side chick’s number. His
wife was very snoopy and she had no idea that he looked at any other woman talk
more of having side chicks and he wanted it to remain that way. He’d fooled her
for five years and he knew he’d keep fooling her for the rest of their lives if
he had the chance.

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