Nnamdi reached for the snooze button on his phone and cursed when it buzzed just out of his reach and fell with a thud on the carpeted floor. He reluctantly climbed out of bed and picked it up. 5.30 am. Time to rise and shine.
He lay in bed silently for a few minutes and gazed at his wife while she slept, the covers carelessly thrown over her legs. Her skin glowed in the faint light from his phone screen – he teased her by calling it ‘creamy caramel’ and she would always laugh and tell him he needed better lines. The sound of her laugh had always thrilled him, and he missed hearing it. He hadn’t heard her laugh in a long time, not since the miscarriage. They had been devastated by the loss of their unborn baby, and after the initial grieving period, Nnamdi had hoped they could try again, but Nonso adamantly rejected all his advances. He couldn’t figure out why.
They had been so happy before that, but things had been…uncomfortable, tense…like the calm before the storm. The difference in their marriage was so clear that it seemed to have two different parts: Before Miscarriage and After Miscarriage. Nnamdi missed his happy wife, and he didn’t know what to do to get her back. He stretched out his hand to wake her, but the thought of her reaction stopped him. She always seemed to be irritated by him and he didn’t want the day to get off to a bad start. He sighed and climbed out of bed to start his morning routine. I hope she’s in a good mood today.
Nonso turned tearful eyes to Nnamdi as he pleaded.
“Baby, I’m so sorry for not being there. You don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could take it back and re-do that whole day. I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you; just say you’ll forgive me.”
Sobbing, Nonso nodded and gasped when Nnamdi swept her up in his arm and twirled her around the room. He kissed her then, and she could taste her salty tears on his lips. Their kiss deepened and awoke an almost forgotten desire in her. She reached for the buttons on his shirt…
“Baby, baby, wake up. It’s almost 6.30. Aren’t you working today?”
Nnamdi’s persistent voice dragged Nonso from her dreams and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Just when it was getting to the good part. In her dreams, Nnamdi was the perfect husband – he apologized when he hurt her, showered her with gifts and made love to her like he used to in the beginning. The reality was something else entirely. She glanced at her husband and irritation flashed through her when she saw that he was already dressed. They both had a long commute to work and usually left the house before 7 a.m. Why hadn't he bothered to wake her up when he woke up? Why hadn't her alarm gone off? Or, had it? She vaguely remembered fumbling with her phone, but she brushed that aside. He should have woken her, but he didn't and that would make her late to work. She pursed her lips and was about to say just that when her friend Sandra’s voice echoed in her mind. “Pick your battles. Don’t be in a hurry to take offense at every little thing.” Nonso wondered whether it was worth starting a fight just because she had ignored her alarm and overslept. She sighed. It wasn't Nnamdi’s fault; it was just easier to blame him for everything that went wrong.
She looked up at him and the look on his face made her glad she had decided not to say anything. He looked at her warily, cautiously as though afraid that she would pounce on him like a hungry tiger would pounce on a juicy antelope and rip it to shreds.
“Say something sweet to your husband every now and then. Men have emotions too. They enjoy that stuff …just as much as we do”. Sandra’s voice again. She didn't know whether to be irritated or happy that her friend’s advice from their lunch date had apparently taken up residence in her head. Hmm...something sweet. She thought hard. She couldn't remember the last time she had done that.
“Thanks for waking me up, baby.” She guessed that was sweet enough to start with. It wouldn't be easy to undo the damage that had been done to their marriage, but she supposed she could be the bigger person and take the first step.
Nnamdi turned away from the dresser mirror where he stood adjusting his tie and sent a smile her way. “You’re welcome.”
Nonso found herself smiling back. She loved the way his eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled. He really had a lovely smile, and she had missed being on the receiving end of it. On impulse, she walked the few feet from her side of the bed to where he stood and gave him a little hug.
Nnamdi looked down on his wife as she kept her arms loosely around his mid-section. He was pleasantly surprised when she had given him a pass on not waking her up early enough. He would have, but he was so afraid of her sullen moods that he had preferred to enjoy the sight of her asleep, with nary a care in the world. But now she was hugging him? It was a casual hug, more suited to acquaintances than spouses…still, it was a beginning. He felt her arms beginning to loosen and he tightened his arms around her. It was nice to hold his wife again.
He ran his hands gently down her bare arms and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. It felt so good that he gave her another. He could hear her breathing quicken and felt her tremble in his arms. He ached to kiss her, but he wasn't sure whether his good fortune would go that far. What if he tried and she blew him off? Or slapped his face? Or didn't respond? That would just kill him. It was silly to be so indecisive about kissing his wife, but she had rejected him so many times and he didn't think he could handle one more rejection. Lord, help me out here, he prayed silently. Just then, Nonso turned her face up to his in an age old signal and he could resist no more.
To be continued…
Stay tuned for the final two installments of Nonso and Nnamdi’s story…and stay inspired! As always, thanks for reading!