‘What’s wrong?’ Esi’s mother asked in concern.
‘He is a child, don’t take him seriously. Please.’ Esi responded in a pleading voice.
‘I didn’t take him seriously…’ Esi’s mum laughed and clapped her hands.
‘Please relax.’ She continued and tried pushing her daughter back into the seat to relax.
‘I think we should be leaving…Don’t worry about the food. Might buy some food for Jake while heading home.’ Esi responded and got out of the couch.
‘Kojo…Pick up your bag and let’s go.’ Kojo nodded at his mum and picked up his bag from the floor. He had found his other sneaker when his mother had been chatting with Grandma.
Esi bent to peck her puzzled mother on the forehead, grabbed her son’s hand and walked out of the house. Esi’s mother’s eyes had followed the two out and remained glued to the shut door after they had left. Her daughter seemed so tensed. She breathed out loudly and rose to clear the clutter Kojo had caused while he waited for his mum.
Traffic in town heading home was horrible. It seemed like no one was moving either way and the commercial vehicles kept using the side of the roads worsening the situation. Esi used the opportunity to strike a conversation with her son to assess what damage he had done;
‘What did you tell grandma?’
‘Granma?’ The little boy asked not totally comprehending what his mother was driving at.
‘Did you tell grandma Daddy is a monster?’ Esi rephrased her question.
Kojo nodded excitedly and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand.
‘I told you Daddy isn’t a monster. Stop calling him that ok.’
‘Daddy likes shouting and beating you. That’s what monsters do.’ The little boy replied.
Esi gripped the steering wheel hard and took her gaze off her son.
‘No…He doesn’t.’ Esi said quietly.
‘Huh?’ Kojo asked and struggled to turn and face his mum.
‘Your daddy is not a monster. Stop telling people that especially your grandmother. Do you understand me?’ Esi turned back at her son.
Kojo bit his lower lip and looked back at her silently.
‘Do you understand me?’ Esi repeated.
‘Yes, mummy.’ Kojo replied.
Esi nodded and raised the volume of the car radio. She doubted they will get home soon. She picked up her phone and dialled her husband’s number. He didn’t answer. Neither did he on the second or third try. Esi placed the phone upside down on the dashboard and adjusted her son so he wouldn’t hurt his neck as he slept.
Esi had tried sending messages to her husband via WhatsApp but received no answer though she saw clearly he was online. She was about to send him a final message telling him she was going offline when she received a message from an unknown number. Esi ignored the message and began chatting with another friend. She didn’t like chatting up unknown numbers especially when they didn’t introduce themselves.
Moments later, the same number called and Esi refused to answer. The unknown number persisted yet Esi ignored it. She placed the phone on the bed and walked to the bathroom to brush her teeth. When she returned, she realised she had received fifteen images from the same unknown number. Out of curiosity, she downloaded all the images but regretted her actions after.
There, in the images, was her husband dancing with an almost naked lady. Esi quickly typed out a message to the unknown number and waited. No reply came after a minute of waiting so she decided to call.
‘The pictures jolted you out of your slumber didn’t they?’ A voice slurred at the other end.
‘Who are you?!’ Esi demanded.
‘You need to calm down woman, I am trying to help you.’ the voice replied
‘By sending my pictures of my husband with another lady? How is that helping me? Educate me?’
‘You are acting all strong…I don’t think you are so strong, though. You couldn’t resist the urge to call me after you received those images.’
Esi pressed her hand against her forehead, it had suddenly began to ache.
‘What do you want?’ Esi said in a strained voice.
‘I don’t want anything… I just want you to know what your husband has been up to.’
‘Who are you?’ Tears began to well up in Esi’s eyes.
‘Doesn’t matter.Just tell your husband to be more careful next time. He is a church leader.’ The strange voice dropped the call.
‘Hello? hello?’ Esi heard nothing. Slowly, she took the phone off her ear and redialled the number. It was switched off. She tried calling her husband but his phone was off too. Esi stared at her phone silently.
Jake staggered into the bedroom at half past one. Esi was in bed with her arms across her chest and watched in disgust as her husband groped in the dark for their bed. She noticed he was coming to her side of the bed and held her breath. He grabbed her thigh and began to move his hand up.
‘Leave me alone! You smell awful!’ she cried out.
Jake swung his free hand and slapped her hard.
‘I am your husband, I have control over your body!’ He climbed on top of her and pinned her hands down. Esi struggled with her husband but gave up eventually. His huge frame gave little room for her release. After he was done, he got out of bed, removed his shoes and clothes on the floor and headed to the bathroom. Esi hugged her pillow tightly and cried into it. Things had turned for the worse yet she couldn’t run.
Jake had not been happy with the decision to wed and had opted for an abortion but Esi had been adamant. It was either a wedding or she told her parents about their illicit affair. Jake hated being caught in the wrong so he had grudgingly agreed to the marriage and convinced his father to allow them to have just a month of counselling. His excuse was he and Esi had been childhood friends and grown up in the church, they didn’t need an overdose of counselling to make their marriage work.
To be continued….
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