“Where could he be by this time?” I ask myself as the big clock chimed its twelfth count. It was 12am and my darling husband was nowhere to be found. I stand up from my working table to stretch my back. I had been bent over this darn script for hours and the only break I had gotten was the short dash I made to the kitchen to carry down the burnt pot of beans I had left cooking. Very burnt pot of beans I had left. I tend to get carried away with work a lot, but in my defense, the script is due for submission in a few days and I still had a turn of corrections left to make before it is even marginally presentable for review.
I walk to the window on the other end of the room and look out, hoping to see the headlights of my husband’s car making it into the driveway of our mini-mansion. Aside from the occasional night lights that broke into the darkness, the drive way was as dark and empty as could be. Not a sound was to be heard for miles, as we had no neighbours. A light breeze blows in through the window, momentarily chilling me. I straighten up, close the window and went back to work. That should get my mind off things for a while.
“Where in devil’s name could this man be na?” I ask myself two hours later as the clock signaled the end of the hour. He should have been home by now. Kunle stayed out late, but never this late. Has something bad happened to him? I try his cell phone. The automated voice calls out a lack of network connection. His office number rang and rang, and kept ringing. Ha! Where could he be? I try his best friend, Shola. Surely Shola knows where he is.
“Shola, sorry to disturb you. Do you know where Kunle is?”
“Kunle said he was going home hours ago na,” Shola answers with the voice of someone forced out of a really exciting activity. Sleep.
“He isn’t home and he isn’t reachable,” I could feel my eyebrows forcibly coming together as my forehead folds up in concern.
“Ha! Let me try calling him. Maybe he is stuck in traffic or has car trouble.”
“Please do, I am really worried.” I hang up and stare out the window. Haba! Kunle, where are you? I save the unfinished edit of the script I had been working on, forfeiting all hopes of concentration. I shut down the laptop and clear away the mess that was the top of my working table. I carry the almost empty bottle of wine that had been my companion for hours, drain out the little that was left in d bottle down the drain, toss the bottle in the trash and chugged down my half glass in two quick gulps. I was already twirling down the path of blissful sleep when I heard the unmistakable sound of Kunle’s car making its way into the driveway. I had been telling him for weeks to go and get that engine checked out. It sounded like a rat got caught between two cats who were just out to have fun. The engine was crying out for help, but somehow Kunle was oblivious to it. Why fix what’s not broken, he had said. I pick up my BlackBerry and checked the time. 2:30am. I slide my legs off the couch that I had almost fallen asleep on, put on my slipper and walk towards the front door to unlock it. I open it just as a clearly drunk Kunle reaches the first stair. I rub my tired and still sleepy eye as I watch him try to compose himself up and into the house.
“Kunle, don’t tell me you drove in this condition.” I close the door behind him, at the same time I catch him in time to stop him from missing a step that would have sent him Careening into the sitting room and making a big mess of everything.
“What eez deez condition juuu speak of?” A signal of how drunk he was. A very bad one. You could always guage how drunk Kunle was by the way he talked whenever he was under the influence of alcohol. He always imitated a movie character, sometimes even down to the accent. It was not uncommon to hear him say, ”Howdy, guv’nor,” a couple shots into the bottle and right now he was in his Jack Sparrow phase, which was the phase just before the other phase which was the phase before he passed out.
“Speeeeak to me, wench. What eeez deez condition of weeesh juuu speeak?” his words slurred by the pervading and overwhelming presence of alcohol.
“Never mind, just come and sit down,” I try to get him to sit on the sofa that was closest to the door.
“Leave me be, wench. Me thinks me can find me own way around me house. Unless you think me short a man to handle me own business.” And here comes the ‘me’ tirade.
“Just sit down, Kunle, let me get you some water.’
“Me needs rum. Water is for many a faint-hearted man, and Kunle is no faint hearted scum.” He pronounces the ‘scum’ as ‘scam’, so it takes me a while to register what he meant. He muttered some inaudible words again and I ignored him for it was obvious he was intoxicated and I had to get him to rest or if possible bed. After staggering for some seconds moving nowhere in particular he seemed to have remembered something and yelled at me suddenly.
“Me didn’t get no warm welcome and me is meant to be king of this house,” I ignored him one last time trying not to get on my own nerves and handling the situation the best way I could and before I could think straight he pushed me and looked at me with disgust and slight rage, “Don’t you dare me silly what is a “whore” like you doing awake this late in the night?” he asked
Still staggering and without thinking, I stared at him, and with venom in my voice said, ‘I guess that makes two of us whores now, doesn’t it?” And then like a bomb waiting to explode, he pounced on me and dealt a heavy slap on my ear that rang into my medulla and recalled childhood memories of when I first felt true pain. And at that moment, his ever faithful alibi PHCN interrupted the power supply and in darkness all I could make sense of was his fist cutting through thin air and my voice resonating the pain that tortured my senses and in no time the world turned blurry and faint as I lost grip of consciousness.
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