Why Is She Here?
So much has happened here. We’ve made love here. On this bed that I sit on now. On the rug at the foot of the bed. Completely naked most times. Half clothed sometimes. Against that wall next to the window three times. Quickly and roughly sometimes. Slowly and softly most times. We have talked about our future in this very room. If rooms could talk, these walls could share our plans for the next couple of decades. They would mimic the excitement in our voices as we talked about our future. Narrate the disappointments we faced, and the mushy stuff too.
This room would tell you everything. From the way we crushed those pillows as we hoisted our heads to talk in the middle of the night. To the way we’ve planned our future as if it was guaranteed to us, as if it was an airtight contract that could not be breached.
These walls would count for you the number of times I reached into my wallet to finance his business. List for you the many ways in which I supported him when he was down. Show you the look on my face when I found out that I was pregnant. They witnessed my apprehension and excitement when I approached him one night as he read a book in bed, as I wondered how to break the news to him. My frantic search for the right words to use to break it to him that we were going to be parents. The light from the bedside lamp hit his head, his t-shirt, and his book. He looked up at me. I walked to his side of the bed and sat down. He knew. I had mentioned that I was late. He knew. He shut the book and lifted his body towards me, he pulled me to his side and lying back on that pillow, crushing it once again, he hugged me.
We stayed like this for a while. His chest became my pillow. His heartbeat became my lullaby. Next thing I knew, it was morning and I could hear him in the shower.
The bulge came and grew. Mood swings danced around me, never leaving my side. Nausea became my bff. Exhaustion pitched camp at my backyard. Movement became my sworn enemy.My water broke. Soon, the pregnancy went away leaving behind a brand new baby. Our love stuck around too.
These walls will tell you how we talked about her when she first arrived. She came to visit. To see her grandchild. To take care of us even. Weeks later, he suggested that she should stay, stay. The walls heard it. She lived alone. She had nobody to watch her. She should stay. She would stay, we agreed. Even the walls nodded in agreement.
It was in this room that I took solace when I needed to shed the tears inflicted by her. The walls heard the insults and the sobs. Her proclamations about my unfitness to be her son’s wife did not fly past our heads. These walls saw firsthand the sharp words that she used to tear me to shreds.
I think about days gone by. The good times we had with my beloved. Coincidentally, these days ended the same day she offloaded her bags at our doorstep. The support my husband gave me, his words of encouragement, his kindness and his love, all dried up the minute she took her first step inside our house. Now there is only silence. No words come out of him as my world breaks apart. He has become like these walls. Watching everything, saying nothing.
It was in this room that his silence started to kill me. He saw me sitting on the bed, infuriated by her constant interference, looking for answers, seeking his support. His silence then started chipping away at my livelihood. I was getting stabbed from both sides; his mother was killing me with words, he was killing me with silence. Both were sharp, brutal and they cut deep.
These walls will tell you how my world was breaking apart, while his never suffered a single tremor. It’s as if we were on different worlds. Or as if a wall was erected between his world and mine. I couldn’t reach him, just as he refused to reach me. I was crying, he wasn’t. I was upset, he couldn’t be bothered.
This room. This is where I made the decision to end the tears. Ending the tears means opening our wardrobe and separating my stuff from his stuff. I’ve separated my blouses from his shirts, my pairs of jeans from his, my t-shirts from his. I have picked out my skirts and my dresses. My shoes and my towels and lessos and baby’s clothes and diapers. His clothes remain intact, mine go to the bag. His life remains intact, mine gets disrupted.
This room is where it started, and it is where it’s ending. This was our space. Nobody was supposed to attack us here. Nothing was supposed to get us here. She came into our house and nothing was the same ever again. When she told me to pack up and leave, he stood there and said nothing. When the time came for him to stand with me, he left me exposed. Nothing and nobody was supposed to get to me. Not on his watch.
Instead, he opened the door. He let her in and held it open for me to use on my way out.
Now my bags are packed, my baby is in my arms. She stays, I leave.
Before I do, I want to ask these walls a question that has been bothering me for the longest time; why is she here?
Anyone have an idea?