To have and to hold 6.

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Chapter 5

Ikedi was very angry. To be disrespected in the manner his wife had treated him, was incomprehensible. He could not get over the sight of his lunch, left for him on the floor, like he was a dog! His stomach turned in revulsion af the thought. Of course, he had kicked it aside. It was unthinkable that he would touch it, even at the risk of starvation. He had simply bought some akara balls, fried potatoes, and fried yam from the street vendors for lunch. Though this was not something he liked to do, it was his way of spiting her. For someone he loved so much, to wound him so intentionally, especially knowing how passionatehe was about the preparation of his meals. He shuddered again at the memory of food being left for him on the floor.

Born Ikedinachi Samson Opara, was the second son of civil servant parents. He was born after his two older sisters had become teenagers. Being the last of her children, his mother spared no expense to ensure that he had the best in life. His meals were specially prepared, his room was kept spotless by their domestic help, and his clothes were ironed crisp by his older brother.

Throwing his bag aside, he opened his fridge at home. Nonye was not at home. He did not like that, perhaps she was still sulking. Women were so emotional! Reading meanings into everything. Just because he was sleepy, and did not recognise her voice as quickly as she would have liked, she had stormed off. He opened a can ofbeer and took a seat in the sitting room. Turning on the television, he crossed his legs to await her return.

Ikedi had dozed off when Nonye returned. She was carrying a bag of personal items, having gone to a supermarket to do some retail therapy. She saw him lying on the couch, fast asleep. Hissing loudly, she turned to go into their bedroom to drop her bag.

“Nonye, where have you been?”, Ikedi asked before she could get to the room. She ignored him. “Didn’t you hear me!”, he rose to stand before her.

“I went out to buy some things” she answered tersely. “Excuse me” She made to get around him.

“Why did you leave food for me on the floor like a dog?” he asked, arms crossed, standing in her way.

“Who was that woman in the room with you”

“Woman? Which woman? Did you see any woman”

“I didn’t need to. You ignored me so as not to offend her”

You are accusing me again” he warned. “With no evidence”

“You are the one giving me reason to suspect you! Spending so many nights at work, with who knows.” She hissed loudly.

“I’ve told you I hate being hissed at!” he warned. She hissed again. “That was how you dropped food on the floor for me like a dog”

“Are you better than a dog? Sleeping around? Neglecting your wife and unborn baby?”

Ikedi went into a rage. Putting his hands around her neck, he hit her head on the wall.

“Don’t say that!” he kept shouting, squeezing her neck while she choked. She was clutching his chest, gesturing that she could not breathe but, he was too mad to care. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. The sound brought him back to his senses. He released her suddenly, letting her fall to the floor. She lay there, gasping for air, chest heaving painfully. The person at the door kept knocking.

Ikedi opened the door. It was the hospital matron.

“What is going on here?” she asked.

“Matron, why are you here?” he asked.

“I decided to drop your food flask off. You forgot it at work”, she pushed past him to enter.

“Were you trying to kill this girl, Ikedi?” she asked, dropping her bag to kneel beside Nonye.

Ikedi sat on the floor, hand in head. The matron began to examine Nonye.

“Nne, can you breathe? Where does it hurt?” she asked, feeling her body for tender areas.

Nonye could not speak. She tried to get words out, without success.

To be continued.

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