Saturday, April 20, 2019

The shameless family

“Mr Bobby Chizinga, do you take Alicia Zulu to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do..”
“Do you, Alicia Zulu, take Bobby Chizinga to be your lawfully wedded husband? In sickness and in health, in…..”
“I do…”
This part of my wedding day had always been a happy and vivid memory to me. I thought I would forever cherish this blessed day but guess I was utterly wrong. Well, my wedding day had been a clear memory for the past 3 years until earlier this evening. Bob and my wedding vows now sounded distant in my mind. Why wouldn’t they when the only clear words lingering inside my mind were Bob’s words when he’d come back from work looking exhausted….
“I didn’t hear you drive in,” I said, stifling a yawn and getting out of bed where I had been for the past one hour due to a slight headache that I had developed after doing house chores all day. Not that I didn’t have a house-help but she wasn’t feeling well today so I had to give her at least a day off and she was free to come back whenever she felt fit enough to.
Bob let out a deep breath and locked the bedroom door behind him and then dumped both himself and his briefcase on our bed. I sat next to him and brushed a kiss on his lips. He didn’t kiss me back.
“How was your day, darling?”
“Must you ask me the same irrelevant question everyday when you already know the response you going to get?” Bob sounded agitated. “And please quit trying to get me undressed, I’m not handicapped so I guess I can take care of myself well enough.”
Okay I had no idea where all this was coming from. Didn’t I always take care of my husband? Wasn’t that my job as a full time housewife? To take care of the chores, my husband and my 7-year-old son?
“Bob,” I said, withdrawing my hands from his necktie and placing them on my thighs. “What’s going on?”
There was a long, pregnant silence and when Bob replied, I regretted having asked him what was going on.
He chuckled and stood so that he was peering down at me. “I’ve grown tired of this marriage.”
“What do you mean?” I found myself on my feet too.
“Are you deaf, huh Alicia? I mean exactly what I said, I’m literally bored to death with this marriage. You’ve gained too much weight such that I can’t even take you out to social gatherings anymore. Forget gaining weight, you’re as boring as a corpse when it comes to making love. Well, you’re literally useless! I’m sorry to say this but all you do is stay home and consume my food. All you are good at is eat, eat and eat.”
“Are you for real? Bob, don’t you forget that you knocked me pregnant when I was only 16 and as a result I quit school and oh, don’t you say all I do is eat cause you don’t know what it takes to run this house.”
“Ah honey, point of correction, I run this house cause I pay all the bills.”
I sighed in defeat as he was right about that part but still, I didn’t deserve the insults he was shooting at me now.
Defeatedly, I slumped back to the bed. “This isn’t about me gaining weight or staying home all day, is it? Tell me where this is coming from and where it’s going.”
“I’m glad your brains aren’t totally useless,” said Bob curtly as he leaned against the lime green wall. “Alicia, I hate to do this but I want a divorce.”
At that moment, I felt my world come crushing down on me and tears freely escaped my eyes. I loved Bob so much and besides he was my life even though I was only 23.
I pleadingly said, “Honey, can’t we talk this out?”
“No we can’t, Alicia. I want a divorce and whether you agree or not, I’m getting one. I’m a lawyer after all so you mark my words.” and with that, Bob stormed out of the room and a minute later, out of the house.
Now here I was, lying in the bathtub with sore eyes. Wondering where I had gone wrong or why Bob would abruptly ask for a divorce. To be honest, I had seen him drifting away lately but I thought he was just trying to recover from my second miscarriage after marriage. Could my miscarriages be the reason for the divorce? Of course not. Bob and I had a healthy son, Fredrick aka Fred. So there was definitely another reason as to why Bob would want to divorce me.
An idol mind is the devil’s temple and it’s because of my staying in the bathtub for too long that I started recalling old memories.
I was only 10-years-old when I received the news that both my parents had perished in an accident. After the funeral, my elder sister Lisa and my twin brother Francis and I moved from Mufulira’s Beijing to Kamuchanga and now stayed under the care of an uncle and his wife who were heaven sent as they even ended up sending my siblings and I to school….
I was 15 when I bumped into Bobby at Ipusukilo Secondary School. He was in grade 12 and I in 10. We started going out and I ended up falling pregnant and quit school in grade 11. Of course my siblings and guardians were terribly disappointed in me but what was done was done….
I was 18 when my brother Francis took ill and died a few weeks later. Losing my brother really shattered me but I thanked God for Lisa who was there to always comfort me and not to mention Bobby who showed unwavering love and care toward me and our son Fred…..
I was 20, Bob 24 and Fred 4 when I walked down the aisle and became Bob’s official wife and now after three years he wanted a divorce? I just couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
I must be dreaming, I thought as I stepped out of the bathtub. I was wrapping a towel round my body when I heard a knock on the bathroom door.
“Mummy, I need you to help me with me homework before I go to bed,” called Fred in a sulky tone. “You’ve been in there for over an hour, will you come out already? I’m getting sleepy.”
I couldn’t help but smile. My son really made me sane. “I’m done, sweety. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“You better be.”
“Bossy child,” I muttered when I heard Fred’s footsteps leaving the bathroom premises.
Bob hadn’t turned up yet and even though I had the urge of giving him a call, I refrained from doing so. I was done helping Fred with his homework and was now tucking him into bed. I sat beside him and cuddled him real tight.
“If you were to pick between your daddy and I, who would you pick?” I said, not knowing why I was even saying this.
Fred glanced at me with puppy eyes. “That’s a strange question to ask someone, mummy. You know I love both you and dad equally so I guess it’d be tough for me to pick either.” he paused. “Why, you too going on separation?”
“Of course not,” I said almost immediately. “Was just asking.”
“Well, I’ve got a friend at school who had to pick a parent. He picked his mum but I honestly don’t know who I’d pick. Good night, mama. Love you.”
“Love you too.” I kissed his forehead good night.
My two friends Monde, Lubona and I were out shopping. I was clad in a yellow pencil dress, black fancy pumps, gold studs and was clutching a yellow sophisticated handbag. My Masai braids were on point too. I now kind of felt comfortable in my own skin after hitting the gym for the past one month, all in a bid to please Bob.
Speaking of pleasing Bob, I had gone to extreme lengths just to do so. I had hit the gym and lost weight that I was now slim and quite sexy, I no longer stayed full time at home as I’d found myself a job selling in a certain boutique in town and I had googled love making methods. When I’d attempted one of them on Bob, he had pushed me off him in disgust.
“Sweet Jesus, Alicia. You acting like a w---e. What’s gotten into you?”
I had swallowed my saliva and slept. Crying of course.
Well, all my efforts to please Bob seemed futile as he was set on divorcing me but I was giving him a hard time cause I loved him so much and so did I love my son and I wouldn’t like him to grow up with a single parent nor to come from a broken home.
We were headed to where Monde’s car was parked when she said, “Aha. Before I forget, how’s your marriage, Alicia?”
Them being my best friends, I had confided in both Monde and Lubona. Lubona had suggested I grant Bob the divorce and Monde had suggested the opposite. So had Lisa who now worked as a nurse at a private clinic in Ndola.
“Bae, I can’t lie. It’s still going down the drain.”
“I know I’m not married,” Lubona began, flipping back her weave. “But I wouldn’t let a man treat me like trash. No way! I still insist you divorce his a-s cause you still young bae thus you need to live your life happily with less drama and problems.”
“Why don’t you let her decide what she has to do with her marriage, huh Lubona? As you said, she’s a grown woman so I think she’s mature enough to know what’s best for her.” Monde retorted and turned to me. “Alicia, do what you think is right.”
“Whatever,” Lubona snapped. “I’m the wild one in the group and I guess my opinion doesn’t count.”
“That’s enough, girls.” I was stern. “Lets drop this topic, shall we?”
“Thank you,” Lubona exasperated.
We had just finished loading our groceries into the bonnet of Monde’s Jeep when she tapped me on my shoulder, pointing toward where a car I recognized to be my husband’s was parked. I didn’t notice my husband nor his sidechick not until Monde ruefully said, “Isn’t that your husband? And who’s that chick that he’s….” she trailed off.
Bob had just planted a kiss on the woman’s lips before opening his car door. Just then, we all caught a glimpse of the lady in question.
Lubona, Monde and I now stood petrified as my husband drove off. I thought I’d known pain in my life but I was wrong. I knew his sidechick very well. I just couldn’t believe she could stab me in the back.
Monde and I paced back and forth in her living room while Lubona was seated on the couch, her head buried in her palms. She always did that when she was deep in thought.
“For how long has this been going on?” I demanded, crossing my arms and sternly glaring at Lubona who then glanced up at me.
“Alicia, don’t tell me you’re indirecting accusing me of being aware of what’s been going on. Do you honestly think I have a hand in this?”
“What must she think?” snapped Monde. “Angela is your young sister and you expect Alicia and I to think you’re not aware she’s going out with Alicia’s husband? Lubona, I’m utterly disappointed in you cause I just can’t fathom the bitter truth that you’d literally stab Alicia in the back!”
Yes, Angela, Angie or whatever she called herself had always been a wild slay queen but never in my wildest dreams had I thought she’d go out with my husband.
Lubona’s eyes became watery. “Guys, I swear on my late mother’s grave I’m innocent.”
“Why don’t I believe you?” Brow furrowed, Monde asked.
Before Lubona could reply, I said, “I don’t know whether I believe you or not, Lubona. But please tell your sister to leave my husband alone cause all hell will break loose if she doesn’t.” with that, I grabbed my handbag and carrier bags then stormed out of the house. Both Monde and Lubona came calling out my name.
They caught up with me at the gate. Monde grabbed my arm. “Let me at least give you a ride.”
“Thanks for the kind gesture, Monde. But I have cash on me and can find my way home.”
“I’m really sorry about this,” said Lubona. “I also am shocked by this as much as both of you are, believe me. Angie is wild. This I admit but I’m ashamed to call myself her elder sister after learning what she’s done. I’ll try talking some sense into her though.”
“You better do that ASAP cause I don’t know what I’ll do to her if she continues going out with my husband, trust me neither of us will like it.”
I opened the small gate and stepped out of Monde’s compound. I heard her scold Lubona about her sister’s morals and shook my head as I headed towards the taxi rank.
“Your food is getting cold,” I told Bob who seemed busy with something on his laptop.
He didn’t bother glancing up. “I’m not hungry. And even if I were, I wouldn’t eat your goddamn food lest you poison me or drop love potion in it. Now, I’m busy so please spare me your retorts.”
Had he just read my mind cause I was definitely going to retort. Shaking my head in dismay, I left the bedroom and closed the door behind me.
“Yes, love?”
Fred and I were seated at the dining table having supper.
“What’s up with daddy, he barely eats with us anymore.”
How am I supposed to answer this? “He’s not hungry.”
“He’s rarely hungry lately. What’s going on, mummy?”
“It’s just work and stress,” I sighed and patted Fred’s free hand. “Besides, you won’t understand cause it’s grown up stuff.”
“Geez, all the grown up stuff terrifies me. If growing up is all about problems then I don’t want to grow up.”
“Fred, trust me when I say growing up’s fun too. Now eat your food before it gets cold.”
Fred merely nodded.
“Who is Angela?”
I was clad in my nightdress and was preparing to go to bed. Bob was seated at his desk, working on something.
He flinched. “Woman, don’t start with your drama. There’s so many Angelas out there and if my memory serves me right, I’m not acquainted with any so quit nagging me,” Bob saw to it that he was blantantly rude. “And one more thing, some of us have demanding jobs so let me work in peace.”
I shook my head and slid under the covers, leaning against the wall and crossing my arms.
“Of all people, it had to be my best friend’s sister Angela. Why, Bob? Why? Couldn’t you find another girl to bang?”
“Oh please, not again.” moaned Bob as he slammed his PC shut, turning so that we were now facing one another. “Alicia, tell whoever’s badmouthing me to get lost. Or better still get a life or hang themselves but they should please just leave me out of their gist.”
It’s amazing what great actors most men are. So Bob was denying knowing Angie?
“No one’s badmouthing you, Bob. Earlier today, at the mall, I saw you kissing Angie, in public!”
“So?” I couldn’t refrain myself from yelling. “You’re cheating on me in broad daylight and you think there’s nothing wrong with that?!”
“Cheating on you?” Bob retorted. “Madam, you’re the one that doesn’t want to divorce me so quit whining. In my mind, you’re no longer my wife. The sooner you get that through your taut skull the better!”
My tears couldn’t quite seem to find a better time to fall than now.
“And there, she’s now crying,” Bob muttered. “What a drama queen she is!”
Wiping my tears, I asked, “Where did I go wrong in this marriage, my dearest husband? What happened to the dates, picnics and all the loving and caring moments we shared? What wrong have I ever done to you, huh Bob?”
Bob slammed his hands on his desk. “Jesus, Alicia! Get the hell out of my case!” he was yelling. “Just sign the divorce papers already. If it’s being stranded you worried about then you shouldn’t cause I can always give you 20% alimony.”
“Do you think I care for money? Bob, I love you so much and all I wanna do is spend the rest of my life with you and our son.”
“Well I don’t love you except my son, period!” Bob sprang to his feet and turned off all the lights. He later slid under the covers beside me. “I want to sleep so if you value your looks, Alicia, don’t bother nagging me further nor sobbing. If you’re so emotional, you can go over to the guestroom and mourn all your dead relatives. You can even mourn your ancestors for all I care but just leave me alone.”
I slept with tears pouring out my eyes.
It had been three days since I’d discovered Bob was going out with Angela and he had already spent two nights out. Knowing what he was doing and whom he was doing it with almost drove me crazy but I still somehow managed to keep my sanity. But I think my tolerance had reached it’s limit when I read a text from Angie on Bob’s phone this morning whilst he was having a shower.
The text had read, “Hey boo, last night was intense. Can you believe I can barely walk from all the sex? Anyway, just thought of saying I miss you. Are you spending the night in the company of your old hag of a wife tonight?” I knew the text was from Angie after comparing the number from which it had come from with the one of Angie’s that was saved on my phone.
“Your side plate sent you a text,” I said to Bob when he left the shower.
He defensively grabbed his phone from the bed and read the text, scowling. “The next time you go through my messages, I’ll poke your eyes out. I just don’t get why you can’t get a life already.”
Now I was seated on the couch sipping on some juice as I watched T.V. I wondered what was taking my maid Mulenga so long. When she finally showed up, I snapped at her. “What took you so long to come for work, huh Mule? It’s past 9 AM for crying out loud! You’re lucky I’m not working today.”
“Madam,” began Mulenga in a mischievous tone. “You won’t believe what just happened in my area.”
“Try me,” I braced myself for the gossip that was coming my way. Trust Mule to gossip all day long.
She was saying,”So there’s this harlot in our area who goes out with every married man who says ‘hi’ to her and today, she finally got what was coming her way… As I was headed here, I saw two women angrily knocking on her door and I immediately knew trouble was coming so I stood to watch. When Ireen, that’s the harlot’s name by the way. So Ireen opened the door with only a towel wrapped round her body and guess what?”
“I can’t guess, Mule. Just tell me already.” I wasn’t in the mood for the gist.
Mule went on, “One of the women grabbed her by the weave and the other stripped her naked. People had now gathered to watch. And then the two women were pouncing on Ireen calling her all sorts of names and when they were done beating her, one of the women spat in her face and warned her to stay away from her husband,” she paused. “Madam, no matter how shameless that Ireen is, she’ll surely keep away from married men. I would too after being embarrassed like that.”
Mule stood and immediately begun working. One part in the story she had told me had really caught my attention and kind of inspired me.
Why hadn’t I thought of this on my own? I asked myself as I rushed to my room to grab my purse. I didn’t bother taking a bath so I simply told Mule to take care of the house while I was away.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“It’s none of your business.” I rudely replied.
It was only after getting on a taxi that I gave Monde a call.
“Babe, you busy?” I spoke into the phone.
Monde replied, “No, baby boo. My guy stood me up so I’m just sulking over a movie with my cousin. And you now I’m on leave from work. Why, you wanna drop by?”
“Yes, bae. Go do some push ups or any exercises as you wait for me. Now, don’t ask questions and just do as I say. Trust me we are going to have ourselves some fun.

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