“I want a divorce.” Adesuwa whispered to her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her eyes were tired and sad. Her cheeks were hollow and her hair was a horrible mess of black curls that begged for attention. She looked weak and it matched how she felt inside. Once upon a time, the woman looking back at her was confident and daring. Her laughter was a beautiful song, her eyes lit up the room and she wore red lipstick. Now, this woman was sad and broken. The sound of her laughter was a distant memory and there was no light in her eyes. Red lipstick? Please. She closed her eyes and drew a long breath. She exhaled and opened her eyes. Her eyes still looked tired, her cheeks were still hollow and her hair was still horrible. She scoffed at her reflection and left the bathroom.
There he was, sitting on his side of the bed, smiling at his ipad and tapping away. What a piece of…she stopped herself. He was not worth it. She cleared her throat, “TJ, I’m going to check up on my mum and dad this evening.”
He did not move. He was still smiling and tapping away. Did he not hear her? She cleared her throat again. Louder, this time. “TJ, I’m going to check up on my mum and dad this evening.”
He finally stopped smiling and tapping away. He looked up at her with a glare that was somewhere between disgust and irritation. “Alright. ” He muttered.
She grabbed her car keys on the dresser and said “Your dinner is in the fridge. I made joll–”
He raised his left hand, cutting her off. “Never mind. I’m heading out in an hour so I’ll eat out.”
As always, she thought. “Okay. Well, I won’t be gone very long. It’s just that since my dad’s chest pains have gotten worse I haven’t–”
He raised his left hand again looking more irritated than disgusted. “I don’t need the backstory, I’m the one footing his medical bills. You can take as long as you want. Rafiu will let me in whenever I get back so do whatever you want.”
“Adesuwa mi!” Her mother said in that comforting voice that almost put all her fears to rest.
“Mummy how are you? How is daddy?” Adesuwa asked as she fought back tears.
“I’m fine. Your father is finally asleep. He had a tough day but we thank God.” Her mother replied.
“When he wakes up, please tell him I asked about him.” Adesuwa said in a shaky voice.
“Of course, I—Are you okay, Adesuwa? You sound funny.” Her mother said with concern. “Is Tijani okay?”
Adesuwa smiled. It was a sad and tired kind. “Mummy, TJ is fine.”
“So what is it? Why are you sounding like this? What is wrong?” Her mother asked with even deeper concern.
“Mummy, I want a divorce.” Adesuwa said with a heavy sigh that set free the tears she had fought so hard to hold in.
“Ah!” Her mother exclaimed. “Adesuwa where are you?”
“I’m at home.” She lied. Her car was parked right in front of her parent’s house but she did not have the nerve to face them. Not like this. It would have made her father’s chest hurt even more and her mother? She was very sensitive and seeing her daughter like this would break her heart. So Adesuwa had decided to call her mother on the phone instead.
“And where is Tijani?” Her mother asked.
“He went out.” Adesuwa replied mid-sob.
“Adesuwa, what is going on? Why would you say such a thing?”
“Mummy I’m tired. TJ is not the same person anymore. He is so mean and horrible to me. He acts like he is disgusted by my presence. He barely talks to me and he no longer eats the meals I prepare. At this point we’re basically just sharing a house.”
“Ah! Adesuwa when did all this start? Why are you just telling me this?”
“For months now! I can’t even remember how long. Maybe almost a year. You had a full plate with daddy’s medical issues. I didn’t want to stress you any further.”
“See, Adesuwa calm down. Every couple goes through rough patches. This is your fourth year of marriage, I’m sure the both of you will make it through this rough time. Even your father and I—”
“This is not a rough patch!” Adesuwa yelled. She had never raised her voice at her mother but she was so angry she felt like she was going to explode. “He mocks me! Mummy, he mocks me! He says I am empty and fallow! He goes out almost every single night. Most times he comes back in the morning and sometimes he doesn’t come back until the next night. He sleeps around! I read messages on his phone from other women and confronted him once. Do you know what he said to me? He said that if I had a baby, I would have his attention. This is not a rough patch, this is my hell!”
Her mother sniffed. She was definitely crying. “Look, Adesuwa I understand that this is very difficult but you have to be patient. I’m sure Tijani doesn’t mean all these things. It’s his desire for a child that is making him bitter. You know he is a good man. He’s taking care of your father and he has not complained once. Please just—”
“Oh, so because he is paying for Daddy’s medical bills I should continue to let him treat me like this? Can you hear yourself?” She asked angrily.
“That’s not what I’m saying Adesuwa! You can’t just say you want to leave your marriage just like that. You just have to keep working at it. No relationship is easy. Tijani will come around, just give him time—”
Her mother was still talking but Adesuwa could not listen anymore. There was no point. Her mother wanted her to stay married and Adesuwa knew why. She was an only child and growing up, her parents did not have a lot. Tijani’s family had saved them and lucky for her, it was not arranged. Once upon a time, she and Tijani had really been in love. She was a young kindergarten teacher who wanted nothing more than to educate children and he was a young real estate developer from a rich family who wanted to take over the world. Together they made magic but now…
She disconnected the call, turned on the ignition and drove home.
Tijani collapsed on their bed with his shoes on and his breath reeking of alcohol. Adesuwa was lying in bed, awake with her back to him. She looked at the clock on her bedside table. 6:32am. She turned to face him. His eyes were closed. Once upon a time, his eyes were her happy place. Not anymore.
“I want a divorce.” She said.
Tijani did not hear her. He had fallen asleep.
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