Jimmy came back from work late today. He stepped into the house at about 8p.m. instead of the usual five in the evening. I guess it was one of his ways of punishing me for my transgression.
I was expected to protest, or bawl to the room and bury my face in the pillow, and wail the more. But I had my own surprise waiting for him; an ace about to flip out of my sleeve. Florence was coming out of the kitchen clad in something that resembled cloth. Swaths of colourful gauze stitched into a short gown. I almost protested before I remembered my plan.
I hope I am not about to permanently lose my husband. The girl’s look is over sinful, but she is doing a good job – the one I sent her. She went about the chore of setting the table for late supper.
Inside our room Jimmy asked me, ‘who was that?’
‘She is Florence, my mother’s maid years back,’ I replied succinctly.
He nodded quickly but not satisfied. ‘Okay. But what is she doing here?’
‘To help me out for a while until she relocates,’ I replied.
He flung his jacket on the bed in exasperation. ‘Help you out in what? Clean or cook. You don’t need a maid right now. I don’t need one either.’
‘It is not a permanent arrangement,’ I told him. ‘I am considering having that procedure we talked about. After the operation, I may not have the strength for anything else. Florence will cook and clean for me during that period.’
He looked at me for a while, then sighed, an indication that he had resigned to fate. He wants children just like I do and we have been talking about me having a corrective surgery; something to do with my fallopian tube. I had pushed it off ever since my doctor mentioned it. I hate hospitals. In a good way though.
‘When are you going?’ he asked me calmly. The mention of the baby thing seemed to have mellowed him down.
‘I need to get ready for it. Any moment from now. I am not yet too sure about the date,’ I prevaricated. I then chipped in immediately, ‘your food is ready.’
He grunted, wasted time in removing his shoes and tie, then washing his hands. The silence hanging between us was thick enough to jump on. He left later for the dining area and his body language indicated he didn’t want me there with him. I obeyed; certain he was going to catch an eyeful of Flo’s goodies while he ate.
I passed the dining area once or twice and saw Florence serve him water in style. By the time he returned to our room, he was pumping sweats from all his pores. The bait was cast.
The next day, Jimmy didn’t rush off to work. I chuckled to myself. I guess he wanted to see more interesting things. Flo didn’t disappoint. Even the way she walked around the house mesmerised me. The way and manner she shook her bottom was magical.
It was like her ikebe had a life of their own, they were like clashing cymbals. Her headlights nko; they tremble on her chest as if dancing to a thousand talking drums. Her gimmick became so effective that Joey, my brother-in-law now salivates after her.
Joey had a bitter quarrel with Philo early in the morning. ‘Why were you looking at her like that?’ She screamed on him at the top of her voice. ‘Last night you sat in the parlour with her, watching useless Nollywood movies.’
I was secretly happy that Flo is also causing skin-pain for Philo. I just got two packages for the price of one. Talk about killing two birds.
From Wednesday to Saturday.
It was constant quarrels between Philo and Joey, all on the account of Florence. My own husband has changed too o. He stays more at home now; like he used to, though he is still not really talking to me. We just say the necessary things to each other and cohabit like civilized Homo sapiens.
Then it happened. ‘Aunty, I think he is showing interest o,’ Florence said as she gave me her daily report Saturday morning, on the second week.
‘How do you mean?’ I asked her.
‘He asked me so many questions about myself. We talked very well yesterday.’
Though I felt a pang deep inside my heart to know that my husband was showing interest in another woman, I had to go on, knowing it was for a greater good. ‘Meet him in our room today. I will barge in on you.’
‘When is it going to be?’
‘By 7p.m. I will go out for our monthly women meeting. Fifteen minute later, I will return. Throw yourself at him immediately I open the door. Don’t do anything more than that.’
‘Aunty I am scared o.’
‘Don’t worry; he will not beat you up. My husband is a gentleman. Besides, I will make it worth your while.’
She shrugged. I sighed. This is it. By next week, you will know how I swung it. Did it work out? Did I receive a red card? Or did Florence end up snatching my husband?
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