Steve looked up from his phone in his car and saw a scene he would have loved not to see at that moment and his heart missed a beat. He had left his office earlier before official closing time and had gone straight as usual, to his wife’s office. Let me, he had said to himself, just wait in the car for her to close from work.
He never really expected what he saw but he felt it should not be a cause for concern either. That was Serena’s third week at her new workplace. He had picked her up from work back home on each of the days leading to that day.
I thought we’ve gone past this, he thought. I thought we’ve moved into the next level of our marital journey. But what I just saw is suggesting this type of ugly scene will always be there. Thank goodness I did not call her that I was already waiting in the car for her outside her office. I wanted it to be a surprise after I’d made her wait extra hours for me in the past. But it’s turning out to be the other way round; she’s the one giving me a surprise.
He adjusted his driver’s seat, lowering it so that he could lie straight on the seat as if that would help him to think right. But, he said to himself. Serena, you’re just less than three weeks old on this job and you’ve gotten so close to a man in your office that was holding your hand while you take a walk on the street.
He rose from his lying position on the driver’s seat, raised the seatback to the normal position, picked up his car key from the second front seat where he dropped it after he saw the ugly scene and tried to start the engine. But, he thought. Was that Serena I saw? Was that my Serena? What could have warranted such a close relationship in less than three weeks at work? I’m confused. I need to get out of this scene, it’s driving me nuts. Oh, what can I use to thoroughly clean a dirty pig? Until the dirty pig is thoroughly washed, it would always go back to its vomit. I believe that’s the task before me and it’s one I can’t run away from, it’s one I’ve got to find a way to do whatever it would cost me. He concluded in his mind.
Steve drove back home without waiting to pick his wife back home from the office. He felt that was the only action that could save him from the embarrassing scene he just witnessed and the raging fire that was already building and ready to burn in his body. He knew if he had waited to pick Serena up after the close of work, it was unlikely an ugly scene would not be created and he believed that would not be a matured thing to do.
Serena arrived home an hour after her husband arrived home and went straight into the bedroom and found Steve lying with his back on the bed and using the pillow to cover his eyes. Serena looked at him on the bed and then looked away, went to the mirror table, took off her wedding ring and wristwatch and dropped them on the table. She took off her clothes and moved towards the bathroom to have a shower.
“And what do you think you’re doing?” Steve asked.
Serena stopped just before entering the bathroom and without turning to look at her husband, “And what do you mean?”
Steve took away the pillow from his face, sat down straight on the edge of the bed. “You did not answer my question woman,” he said angrily.
“And what do you mean Mr. Man?”
“You came in here and said nothing.”
“And,” Serena turned back facing her husband, moved swiftly towards him and stood some distance in front of him. “You expect me to say something to you when you failed to pick me up at work today and also failed to pick my calls.”
“Serena, you don’t deserve to be picked up.”
That stunned Serena and she sat down beside him on the edge of the bed. ”And what do you mean by that?” She asked.
“So you want to know.”
“I don’t think I’m in the mood to tell you anything now.”
Serena reached out her hands and grabbed her husband on both sides of his head dragging his face and eyes to her own. “What have I done again dear?” She said.
“A,” Steve said and tried to release his head from the grip of his wife’s hands but she held on to it firmly. “Lot Serena. A lot. Who was the man that was wrapping his hands around your neck while you walked on the street in front of your office today?’
“A man,” Serena said shocked. “Which man?”
“Are you denying this?”
“Oh, you mean Charles”
“I don’t know Serena. Who’s he?”
Serena took her hands away from both sides of the head of her husband, stood up from the edge of the bed and walked away straight to the table mirror and sat down on the chair facing the mirror. “Charles was an old friend and he works with another company on the same street where we have our office. We met when he came down to our office yesterday for a business transaction and he promised to take me out for lunch today.”
“I see,” Steve said quietly now seeing that he would have to face another tough experience again. “An old friend and you feel it’s not bad to agree to a lunch date with a man that’s not your husband and also for him to wrap his hands around your neck while you walk on the street.”
“And what’s bad about that Steve.”
“So you can’t see anything bad about that.”
“I can’t Steve and I’m not happy we‘re going over all these again.’
He watched her stood up from the chair and went straight into the bathroom. He wanted to stop her, to hold her hand and to let her see clearly why everything is bad with what she allowed a stranger to do to her. But a strange force tied him down to the edge of the bed where he sat. He watched her go into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. He returned to his previous position on the bed lying flat with his back on it and covering his face and eyes with the pillow.
Why must things continue to happen this way? After the last argument and after I used kisses to dry off her tears, I thought then and believed things were going to be all right from then on. I kissed her tears off, held her in a warm embrace, and made passionate love to her and she promised to be good afterward. I think that‘s turning out to be an empty promise. Why is our relationship getting uglier by the day? Why is she finding it difficult to live the good morals and decency I saw inside of her when I saw her for the first time? Perhaps, I’ve not grappled with the reality that I’m married and in love with an unrepentant prostitute. Perhaps… He shook his head and then took away the pillow from his face and remembered he still had to finish the Charles issue with his wife.
“And who’s Charles?” Steve said after his wife came out of the bathroom.
“Charles is an old friend,” She said without looking back while she walked down to the table mirror.
He rose from the bed, moved quickly toward her and held her firmly shaking her body. “You’re not doing anything until you tell who he’s.” He said angrily.
“Steve, you‘re becoming violent.”
“Because you‘ve said nothing and I want to hear something,” Steve said, relaxing his grip.
She shook off her body front his grip and took her seat on the chair before the table mirror looking into the mirror in front of her.
“Ok, ok,” He said softly. “Serena, who’s Charles?”
“Charles,” she replied still looking into the mirror, “Is an old friend and he only took me out for lunch. He was sharing a joke which got us laughing and that was why he wrapped his arm around my neck. We were childhood friends and I told him I’m married. There’s nothing sinister between us. There’s nothing between what you saw and what you think you saw.”
Steve felt a bit relieved and put his hands under the armpit of his wife, lifted her up from the chair and took her to the bed so that they could sit beside each other.
“I’m sorry I shouted at you,” he finally said.
“You did not only shouted; you were violent.”
“I”m sorry all the same.”
“Look, Serena,” he said now looking straight into the eyes of his wife after dragging her head toward his face. “You shouldn’t have honored a lunch date with a male friend without first telling me.”
“Really,” Serena said shocked. “Must I tell you about every action I take even at work?”
“Yes, you should. That’s what it means to be a responsible married woman.”
“But I’m not dating him.”
“Yes I know and I believe you.”
“It was just a reunion with a good old friend.”
“Yes I know and I believe you.”
“Then, what’s my offense this time?”
“You shouldn’t accept a lunch date from a strange man.”
“But Charles is not a strange man to me.”
“But he’s to me.”
“Or don’t you think so?”
She stood up from her sitting position on the bed, moved some steps from her husband and said, “Yes, he is. I can see what you’re driving at now.”
“No one will believe your story if you tell them there are no strings attached. As a married woman, you don’t act like a free bird that anyone can have access to any time they like.”
“Now I know I’m caged.” Serena suddenly busted into tears and walked back to sit beside her husband on the bed.
“What,” Steve said surprised at her sudden outburst. “Is that supposed to mean Serena?”
“I’m,” she said with hot tears now dropping from her eyes.” Caged! You’ve caged me with this marriage thing. Now I can’t do what I like. My entire life is under a cage as a married woman. I’m not free anymore to enjoy the type of freedom I enjoyed as a prostitute. I’m not comfortable with this; I want to get out.”
Steve pulled up his wife from her sitting position beside him, opened wide his laps and made her sit in between his laps. “That,” he said. “Freedom you enjoyed as a prostitute was dangerous freedom. You taught you were free but you were actually caged. This caging you called marriage is the best a woman and a man should hunger to have and keep.”
“No!” She said with balls of tears now rolling heavily down her eyes. “You’re wrong. You called life where I can do all I can without anyone watching over my neck and putting an unnecessary burden on me a caged life? Common, don’t be silly Steve.”
“Sweetheart,” he said using his palms to dry the tears rolling down from her eyes. “You had all the freedom but freedom without control can lead to destruction. This marriage presents you the freedom with control. It’s the better life, Serena.”
The couple kept silent for some moment as if there was a cerebral force that ensured they did that so that they can individually apply their hearts to understanding.
“My dear,” Steve broke the short silence. “Can we see a Marriage Counselor?
“Why?” Serene asked, shocked.
“I think we need one.”
“We need help. We need a third party who’s a professional in matters like this to talk to us. You need to hear all the good things I’m saying about marriage from an expert third party.”
“And what’s the discussion going to be about?”
“About us; you and I. About our marriage and about our home and future.”
“Now, are you planning to wash.my dirty linen in public?”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“The Counselor and the whole world can know that I’m a prostitute.”
“Common Serena, I’ve told you that you’re not a prostitute. There’s decency beneath your personality. You’re my lovely wife and we only need a piece of professional advice on how we can have a prospering marriage.”
“When do you want that to come up?”
“I think as soon possible my dear.”
“Ok Steve,” She said and tried to stand up from her seated position between the laps of her husband. “Let me quickly dress up and get us something to eat.”
“No,” he said and dragged her back to her seated position. “You’re not going anywhere, I want you here.”
“But you must be hungry. You need to eat something.”
“Yes, I need to eat you, my dear.”
“Oh,” she said trying to remove the hands of her husband that were now caressing the top of her skin from her head to the shoulders and down to her elbows. “Common lover boy. Not now, there’s time for everything. ”
Steve was adamant and ensured his choice overruled that of his wife. The couple melted down in deep love using their bed as the platform for love play.