Jide had never seen his wife in such an emotional state before. The negative energy emanating from her seemed to fill the small room that served as her office, the force of it beating against him, and he could feel the beginnings of a headache. He was frankly at a loss for how to calm her down. Mixed with his fear was concern; Patricia was breathing so hard he was afraid she would hyperventilate and pass out. “Okay, Patricia, I know this looks bad, but you have to calm down and give me a chance to explain this whole thing…”“Calm down?” Patricia shrieked. “I get pictures in the mail, of my husband with another woman and you want me to calm down?” Jide threw another helpless look at the pictures. They showed him in various hotel bars with Anita at diffretent times. On some of their trysts, she had insisted they sit down in the bars and take a few drinks before they went up to whatever room she had reserved. He had been mostly reluctant, knowing she was trying to force the semblance of a normal relationship on him and the few times he had allowed her have her way, she had tried to show public displays of affection. He could not count the times he had subtlypushed her hands aside when she grabbed his crotch, tried to burrow down the back of his trousers or rubbed his chest. He had also been surprised by a few unexpected kisses and she had even occasionally grabbed his own hands and tried to push them onto her b—–s, bottom or inside her shirt.Jide’s main concern had been that someone would see him and report back to his wife, but what had happened was worse. Someone had been taking pictures.He stared at a picture that, to all appearances, showed him with his hands on Anita’s b—–s and panic filled him. Just how was he to explain that Anita had just grabbed his hands and forced them there? Patricia wouldn’t believe him. He wouldn’t even believe it himself if someone told him that. “And who is this Anita Bankole, for heaven’s sake?” Patricia was still yelling, veins standing out on her forehead. “Hen, Jide? Who is she? I was even here suspecting that kpomo-selling secretary, not knowing you were getting a different kind of ‘kpomo’ elsewhere…”“Patricia, please…” Jide’s wife cut him off with a glare.
“Don’t you dare ‘please’ me. Who is she? I demand to know.” He threw his hands up, and then rubbed the back of his neck. “She’s a colleague at work.” Fresh hurt blossomed on Patricia’s face. “Oh. I see the office is your hunting ground, hmm? Maybe i was even right to suspect the secretary as well. What about that one? Doing the dirty with her too, dearhusband?” Jide recalled the kissing scene in his officeand immediately pushed it out of his mind.He had no intention of pushing Florence into the middle of this. “Listen, Patricia. What you see here isn’t the real truth.” Jide gestured helplessly at the pictures, wincing when Patricia clapped slowly in disbelief. “Believe me, I know how that sounds, but what’s here wasn’t voluntary. In these pictures, I was taken by surprise…”“Ohhhh! Surprise eh?” Patricia crossed her arms, eyes blazing with sarcasm. “Okay let me get this right? This over bleached woman keeps surprising you at various hotels, right?” she tilted the laptop screen towards her, jabbing at the screen with a finger trembling in rage.
“These are obviously different days- i should know, I wash those clothes you bring back home, so I recognize them. So…? You stop to drink somewhere and she just surprisinglyshowed up on all these occasions and surprisingly kissed you here, and surprisingly touched your crotch here and surprisingly licked your ear here…” Jide stepped forward, hands reaching for Patricia.
“No, wait, Pat, that’s not what I meant…” With an enraged cry, Patricia pulled back, then powered by hurt, disappointment andthe weight of all the mental torture she had gone through for months, she suddenly rushed towards Jide. Her head met his face with force and there was an audible crunch as Jide’s head jerked back in pain.Jide staggered back, hands flying to his face where his nose was jetting blood. He stared at Patricia in horror, not recognizing the stranger that glared back at him, her arms clenched beside her thighs, her head stained with his blood. “What the hell?” Jide gurgled through the blood that was pooling in his mouth. His nose and mouth flared with pain he had not felt since he was involved in a brawl during his university days. He knew he had a cut lip and probably a broken nose.
Even Patricia’s head must have been throbbing with pain at the force used, but she had not even flinched. “Have you goneinsane, woman?” He stopped talking when he realized there was not an iota of regret in Patricia’s face.If anything, she looked even more enraged. “Yes, I have gone insane, no thanks to you.” Patricia gritted out. “And if you don’t want worse, you better watch your back.” Jide stood frozen as his wife grabbed her laptop and shouldered her way past him. The office door b@nged shut loudly, the force she used sending another jolt of paininto his smashed nose. Jide fished out a handkerchief from his pocket and clamped it to his face, wincing as the white piece of cloth was immediately soaked through with red.He turned to face the door, torn between anger and apprehension. He was a well-built man, capable of holding his ownagainst anybody, but the utter shock of being attacked by his wife had rendered him helpless. He stood there trembling; wondering what would have happened if he returned her violence in equal measure.But mostly, he was extremely worried.The only other thing Patricia detested more than infidelity was violence. She wasa fervent advocate for non-violent resolutions. He could never imagine her abandoning these principles that had shaped her; it would take the most unusual stress to push her to the point shehad reached.Had his marriage totally collapsed? But even more importantly, had his wife truly gone insane? Was he really in danger?
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