With the immeasurable fun they had and all, they still disagreed at times. The fights were mostly stupid, but necessary. Sometimes she hated how much time he spent on his phone. Sometimes he would zone out of a conversation in the name of the phone. So one day she snatched his phone and clang to it. He snatched it back but after she’d put up a good fight. They’d wrestled each other for the phone. He was winning, and she didn’t like it. She frowned. He thought she was taking the game seriously. He suddenly got all harsh and angry. She didn’t understand his problem; this was supposed to be a game. She didn’t stop trying to snatch the phone back from him. He yelled at her.
“Stop… I don’t want to tell you something hurtful!”
“Yea, like what?”
He did not respond. V too got angry. He had told her something like that before.
“What is it you harbor against me that you’re always scared to spill?”
“Give me my phone back before I get really angry!” He ignored her question.
She looked at him like she couldn’t care less.
“I swear, V, I’ll smash that phone if you don’t give it back now!”
She held onto it. She secretly hoped he did. He went silent for a while then threw her an ominous glance. V got scared and gave back the phone. He did not smash it. V almost reminded him to, but decided against it. He did not talk to her again after that. At some point she stopped trying to get him to talk. She’d tried texting him but he only responded with emoticons. V decided he was being a baby and decided to give him his space. She stood up and left. She would go to Angela’s and leave him alone. She was angry at him for making a big deal out of the stupid joke.
He must have hoped she would come back as soon as his anger had subsided. He tried to reach her. V knew he was feeling guilty. She could tell from the absurd texts he sent. The kind people sent to each other when they really had no idea what to talk about. V was not going to be a part of that conversation. She decided to leave it alone. She missed him though. She wanted to go back and be with him. Instead, she joined Angela for a good workout session to keep herself busy. Maybe she would go back the next day, but first, he had to apologize for being mean to her. V woke up the next day feeling better. She was over the stupid fight. She hadn’t carried a change of clothes so she put on Angie’s and left for school. Exams were about to start and so revision was a bit serious. She had a discussion meeting with one of her classmates at the university library. She went and had a fruitful one. Ali talked to her. He wanted to know where she was. She’d left the previous day without a word and had gone silent. Ali knew that V was impulsive. He was also quite paranoid; he thought she would run off into the arms of a waiting ex anytime they fought. Sometimes his little faith upset her, sometimes it flattered her, and sometimes she felt indifferent.
V wanted to go back to him that evening. She told him that and he agreed. V had walked in on some of her exes with other girls. She had also come close to walking in on Kelvin once. After that, she’d decided to stop showing up unannounced unless it didn’t matter. She trusted Ali. Still she avoided showing up randomly.
When she got there, he was about to leave. They had a brief talk, each deliberately avoiding mentioning the stupid fight. He had to go and so she let him. After he was gone, she made a good meal, one of his favorites. When she was done, she realized she still had some time to spare, so she decided to clean the house. She wasn’t looking for trouble; one fight was enough for her. Besides, she hadn’t done it for a couple of days and she was hungry. She wanted to set the mood for that night. It was going to be magical. She was going to have makeup s3x. She looked forward to it.
As she mopped the floor, careful not to miss a spot, she stumbled upon something: something silvery gray, something that left her numb for several minutes. V sat on the floor, blank. Her lips felt dry, each breath a burden. There was a ringing sound in her ears. Everything went silent. V didn’t move. All her joints were frozen. She just sat there and stared into space. She had no idea how long she’d been in a trance, she was startled by a warm tear down her left cheek. Then she stretched her hand and took the something between her thumb and forefinger. Slowly, she whispered a prolonged why? Just then, her tears started to flow uncontrollably. She sat on the floor and wept for a while. She made no sound, except for the occasional sniffs.
What was a condom wrapper doing on their floor? When they did it they never used those. They’d tried once and V didn’t like it. Being the gentleman he was Ali gave them up. For him, pleasing her was his pleasure; in bed and out of bed. After all, she was his woman and, according to him, it was his sacred duty to satisfy her. A duty he took seriously. Sometimes too seriously
V looked at the wrapper. It resembled some from his collection. V sat up. She started to think wildly. She made up explanations of how that could not be his. She wanted to believe so hard that she had not been cheated on for being away for just a night. She wanted so bad to believe that he would not disrespect her enough to bring his night’s conquest into the bed they had shared for a while now. Yes he was not her husband. And yes it was his house, his bed. But still, it was offensive and disrespectful but most importantly, she did not want to go through that pain. She knew she could not bear it. She knew it would break her down and tear her apart. She knew this was more than she could handle, so she wanted any form of escape.
V stopped cleaning at that point and got into bed. She wasn’t even going to wait for him. She shut her eyes so tight. She was hoping to erase everything she’d seen. She desperately wanted to go back to the time before she’d seen the wrapper. She wanted to up and leave, but she was too weak to do it. She decided she would wait for a confession from him, or she would have to get it somehow.
He came back later in the night. V did not bother to wake up. She couldn’t even face him. So she pretended to be sound asleep. He had his meal and joined her in bed. He reached her and tried to hold her like was his norm. V pulled away and stiffened up. He left her alone. He had stayed around her long enough to understand her body language. V hoped that the pain would be gone by the time she woke up. She hoped that somehow everything would be ok. She slept finally with a great deal of difficulty.
V woke up the next morning feeling sore as hell. The pain was still fresh in her heart. Why on earth had she moved in with him? If only she still had her place! If only all her stuff was anywhere else but here! The thought of moving for the third time tired her. Why had he done it? Weren’t they happy? Had she missed a sign? Was she just wasting her time after all? Why couldn’t he have done it elsewhere? Did he have to bring her to his house? A house they shared? V sighed. She was exhausted from her thoughts. They were deep and frightening. She didn’t notice him staring at her. He was disturbed by her coldness that morning. Normally, she would wake up, roll over him playfully, take a shower after begging him without success to join her, make breakfast, eat hers, feed him his, sometimes, ask for his opinion on what she wore, then peck him on the cheek, lips, or forehead before leaving… sometimes on all those parts. That day she got off from the back of the bed, without as much as an accidental graze. She had a silent bath, threw something on and left. She went to school. She spent a few hours there then went back, hoping he wouldn’t be there. Sadly, he was. V was scared of facing him. When she got to the house, she completely ignored him and sat on the floor near a corner, trying so hard to mind her business. She desperately wanted to know what had happened but was too scared of the truth. So she went silent.
Ali knew V to be playful, cheerful and noisy. He had once asked a doctor for medication to calm her down. Funny though was how he could never stay with her for two minutes of silence and not ask if everything was ok. He was always so scared of getting her mad. That evening she must have scared him. He took a while before asking why she was being cold. V did not respond. She could not look at him either. She had lingering tears, but she wasn’t going to shed them.
She felt angry, she felt betrayed, she felt sad, she felt stupid, she felt stuck, she felt confused, she felt afraid, she felt bitter, she felt lost, she felt weak, she felt helpless, she felt frazzled, she felt rattled. She told herself that she was only there to listen to his side. Deep down she knew she had trouble leaving. She’d always told herself that she would leave him any day she wanted to, provided he gave her a good reason. There she was with a sensible reason, but she was stuck. She had underestimated the power of love. She had underestimated the power of trust. She had overlooked the meaning of being with one man that long. She had undermined the power of submission, of faithfulness, of giving herself wholly and selflessly to him. She had miscalculated it all. She now had the real deal and was as helpless as an infant. She was cold. She just sat there, still hoping it would all go away. It didn’t help that she’d just gotten her period.