As continued from Part 13
FOUR YEARS EARLIER
Monday, July 23, 2012
The ticking wall watch downstairs sounded louder – like it was right next to me on the bed. Even Elijah’s typing on his laptop next to me sounded extremely loud. I couldn’t concentrate. I contemplated putting the Bible aside and listen to the audio version, but he was using his laptop. Besides, I couldn’t ask for it. The restaurant fiasco was still fresh. I didn’t have the will to talk to him or even look at him. I didn’t even remind him about our daily prayer. I just concentrated on reading and pretended I forgot it. I saw no point in praying together when we failed to share a cab. He called his and left me at the restaurant. I followed him with mine.
A stupid part of me wished to leave the bedroom and use the guests’ bedroom. But I wouldn’t dare. That would complicate things terribly. Not for Elijah but for me. He would not run after me and beg me to come back to the bedroom. He would never discuss it. Even if I use the bedroom for a year. Eventually, I would be the one who would come back to the bedroom, embarrassed. Even then he would not say anything about it.
I stretched my legs. The temperature was also irritating, yet the sheets and the headboard had adjusted to my body temperature. They were not cooling me anymore. And being in my silk nightdress couldn’t help; it wasn’t light enough for the weather. The best option was just lying naked but I wouldn’t. That would break the so much needed ice since Elijah could be destructed and start touching me until I loosen up. I wouldn’t even change from the sitting position to propping on one elbow – it made me doze and drool on the Bible several times before. Elijah would ridicule me saying, “The Bible was reading you the whole night,” yet I didn’t want him to have anything he could use to break the ice between us. He had to feel the pinch of missing me whilst with me. He had to feel the pinch until he changes his mind and get a job.
At the corner of my eye I glanced at him. He was thumbing his laptop with great enthusiasm. Deep hatred for his laptop brewed within me. I felt it wasn’t different from my rivalry. Always when we had clashes I created to suffocate him, he would just open his laptop and forget about me. I would end up suffocating and him enjoying work on his laptop. I got to the point where I wasn’t sure whether he valued work more than I.
I glanced at the laptop again. Deep hatred swept through again. I felt crushed. I recalled some line I read in some book, ‘There is nothing that crushes a woman more than the feeling of being unwanted, undesired by her man. It is powerful enough to crush every woman to a pulp.’
I shook my head and sighed.
I felt his eyes on me but I did my best not to turn and face him.
He said, “Reading or procrastinating?”
I said, “I’m trying to read, but the watch sounds noisier today.”
He continued thumping whatever he was working on. He had related what he was working on – something about a new client, but I had forgotten what it was. I had no interest on whatever he did. What good was it if it brought nothing home? Whatever he made only kept the silly company afloat, not us.
Mila’s strategy came back to mind. But I feared implementing it. It wasn’t only against my faith but I was strongly advised by old women who had successful marriages against it. Mrs. Jones put it more plainly, ‘You are not the only beautiful, young woman on earth. You withhold your body; he will get other women to sleep with. I’m talking through experienced, my dear.’
But Mila’s words also came to mind, ‘At times, the best way to be present is being absent, girl. And the best way to be absent is being present.’ I didn’t know which voice to listen to. Yes, the church women did have successful marriages, but they were from a different generation. Things change. Probably Mila was more relevant. But I wasn’t too sure, because she changed men like shoes and was never married.
Elijah said, “You will burst your brains.”
“I won’t,” I said, feeling a little angry. At times I even hated hearing his voice, more especially when he ignored my staged conflicts. My tolerance would sort-of die. Why would I have tolerance for somebody who could do without my emotional contribution to his life?
He stared at me again.
“What?” I asked, feeling like crying for nothing. I glanced at the laptop again.
Read Part 15 Next Wednesday
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