In a hurry, Evans left behind the parcel labelled “To Kojo, my chocolate cream hero on his birthday.” It was an unexpected but unavoidable hurry. Days later, my husband saw it, and that’s what made the difference in my marriage of thirteen years.
Chocolate was my weakness, and I wondered why. I just needed to scent it and all hormones for the effectual cross-fertilization of warm human collaborative emotion starters came alive. James, my husband knew it. He used chocolates to lure me, when I was a teenager. He used to steal from his mother’s shop to feed my huge appetite. Later, when he realized bars could not satisfy my avid hunger for the product, we switched to the cream.
For years on end, a bowl of chocolate cream was never absent in our home. During our honeymoon, I had a chocolate painter and I was a canvas. A bowl of chocolate cream found its way into our bedroom. James got himself a paint brush and set himself to work. He painted all edible parts of me with the cream. Later, he said it was all a mistake so he was going to apologize.
Well, before I could accept his apology, he had to rid me of all art work, and he had to do this with his gustatory operative. He grumbled and walked off but came back like an obsequious sentinel in kilt. I was a sadist because I enjoyed the punishment I gave him. For minutes, I was screaming, asking him to stop because I was at the point of passing out.
Thirteen years into the marriage, the chocolate consumption frequency curve just slumped out. I couldn’t even remember the last time he bought me a bar of chocolate. In a sense, he’s justified; he claimed the chocolate and my sedentary life made me obsess. So now he bought either Milo or Chocomilo for breakfast only, insisting I could make a chocolate meal or its cream from what he’d bought.
It’s true I’m fat, very fat today, after having our third child. I had a surgery to suck fat from my system but that really aggravated the situation. Now there’s a great change; I could not fit into the front seat of an ordinary sedan. And the other time I went to Accra Mall with him, climbing the stairs was very difficult for me so he, as usual, helped by holding my hand but that brought my regret on the trip. A female gossip just mocked, “This man really loves his mother”. James told her to mind her own business. He should have left her to me. Yes, that’s one thing I hated about James.
In fact, my attempt at cheating on him didn’t materialize early. In the eyes of the world, I was a darling. He held the gate for me when we went out, served me at buffets, held my hand and so on. He would open the car door for me, and after opening, wait and shut after me, but as soon as we entered our bedroom, it became a mouse and cat game. I chased after him and he ran away. He would be in the toilet for ages. He sometimes went to the children’s room and taught Kobby a topic in anticipation of a class exercise and homework in the weeks to come, all because he’s running away and avoiding one thing.
So I called him a hypocrite expecting him to become angry; he just smiled. I did all to see if he was cheating, negative. My cousin tapped his phone line for me and monitored him for six months but she got nothing. We tried to see if he had another phone line, negative. I planted a recorder in his car, negative. While placing him under surveillance, I denied him his monthly homage for five months hoping I would push him to the wall to cheat with vigor so we could catch him, negative. Even then he did not change his behavior towards me.
Now I felt ashamed I’d accused him wrongly. I went for my monthly grant and was denied. No saliva meal, no. Nothing happened for nearly a year now. Well, after the five month suspension placed on him had elapsed, he decided to extend it without any explanation. Hurtful. He’s keeping up appearances. If anything, he’s enjoying his marriage, not moi. So he pushed me to the wall to do the unthinkable.
I recalled Evans, my husband’s sister’s step son who came to spend the weekend with us some eight years earlier. He was a teenager then but was a blessed debonair lad. Even then he was a senior to James. Putting two and two together he would be in his late twenties now and he would be able do a better job than James. I craved him three days and three nights. I meditated on having him until he showed up one wet Wednesday morning when I was on sick leave. I faked the ailment, and trusting me was easy.
I was in the porch when he arrived. James had just left for Takoradi minutes earlier. He had no reason for coming; he just felt like seeing me. Asked why he didn’t go to my workplace, he only stared blankly. There and then, I sent him to buy me a small bowl of chocolate. Of course, he was amazed how I warmed it in the oven and applied it before asking him to work. And he did, in stupour. Indeed for the first time in more than a decade, I saw pure joy. So we’d been doing this for three years.
I took advantage of the fact that, James was an elder in church and that he wouldn’t miss Wednesday evening service for anything. Evans was due for maintenance work so I faked that feminine tiredness and slight headache again. James was at his caring best surprisingly. I managed the verisimilitude of my drama script in order not to make James choose a nursing role over church that night. He bought me pain relievers and set me to bed before leaving for church.
Our home was in this new residential area we’d moved to, our own house. It’s isolated and un-walled. Our dogs provided security yet those dogs knew Evans too well. As soon as James left, Evans who had been waiting in the nearby bush came in through the kitchen door. We were far too ready to need preparation.
We tried a plastic chair and it broke. So we became the headmaster and the school girl on a kitchen tool. Evans of course was the headmaster and, I the school girl. We lost count of space and time. We only heard the hum of a car whose engine we could not say we knew not, and toots that asked the dogs out of the way followed.
Evans went the same way he had come in. The shock was too real to bear. James back home? I met him at the front door as usual but with disheveled hair.
“I smell something,” he said.
“You closed early”, I said nervously.
“You’re worried about me. I was sleeping….”
There was a drawn pause. the world stood but was not still. A trade of glaces, followed by the unleashing of the sixth sense. I exhaled and sneezed in a quick succession.
“I smell something”, he repeated.
“You and your hypersensitive senses”, I womaned.
“Head Pastor said he dreamt someone came in and raped you while I was away at church.”
“Jesus!” I blurted foolishly.
“So I’m here,” he assured.
“Serious… and who?”
“He said the intruder came in through the kitchen door”.
James made for the kitchen.
“James! I’m dying”.
James came over and I fainted in his arms.
……to be continued.