You Don’t Want Me
I pick the damn thing from the nightstand to answer it but place it back as soon as I see who’s calling. Maybe I roll my eyes a little. I don’t know. I check the time and it’s 6:29 am. So early for me given the late night I had. I’m supposed to still be sleeping. In fact, I made sure I had no work pending because I needed this sleep.
But for some reason, you disrupt my sleep.
Most probably, you had one of those nights. Those nights where you think and rethink your life choices. Maybe a relationship is not going the way you’d hoped?
Did she cheat on you? Because I’ve heard that karma is a bitch. Well, did she? So maybe she cheated on you. And maybe you confronted her. Maybe you argued and she argued back. Maybe she even threw a few things around the house and stormed out. And you were left to spend the night alone with your thoughts and your life choices. Then you argued with them. Thoughts had a lot to say. Life choices couldn’t stop sneering at you. None of them could understand. So when you woke up this morning, you wondered who could understand and a wild scroll in your contacts led you to… me?
Maybe I’ve got it wrong. No arguments with anyone, let’s say. Not her, not your thoughts, nor your life choices. But maybe she said something witty and funny as only I could. And that made you think of me and you picked up your phone? Or maybe she told you a truth that I had told you before but you wouldn’t believe it? That your drinking is out of hand perhaps? Maybe someone in your circle misses me and they mentioned me yesternight as you were drinking or at a family gathering or wedding? And the mention of my name brought memories that made your fingers itch to call my number?
Or maybe it’s just life. You know? Maybe your girlfriend or current wife number three or four – I know you that well motherfucker – didn’t do anything wrong really. Maybe she is the ideal wife. So you came home late from drinking and found her in your living room head nodding off while she waited for you to come home so that she could feed your ass?
So you ate your food that your very nice wife cooked very well. She’s sleepy, but she tries to engage you in conversation about her mama mboga friend who was chased by the city council today, blah, blah, blah. Just the happenings of her day. Of course, you’re not listening. She gets the point and starts to watch some late-night Nigerian movies.
I imagine you now have some kids with one or two other women? Before you open your mouth to lie, let me remind you that I was the one doing the birth-controlling while we were married. So your kid(s) wake up and start crying. They’re screaming. Could be nightmares, could be anything under the sun. Kids, am I right? Your dutiful wife goes to tend to them. She’s there singing to them lullabies and you’re there unbothered, munching your food while staring at Nigerian witches running amok and bewitching each other while others scream and others try their tired pick-up lines on their bucket-wielding river-bound girlfriends.
You finish your food and then you go to bed. So as you’re lying there in bed, listening to your screaming little ones, you wonder how you got here. How it feels like a lifetime ago when another baby was screaming like this and you were unbothered. I imagine you miss the irony that even now that that other baby has outgrown the screaming, you have remained constantly unbothered about him.
I bet that’s when your thoughts wandered off to me. Who can blame you? Your thoughts never did stick on your child for very long. Maybe you wondered how I was. Who I was with? What I was up to? Maybe you thought about the life we had. For a flashing minute, maybe you longed for me? Longed for the nakedness that lay beside you and used your body to heat itself up? No? Did you miss how my skin tasted after an evening shower? The shower that I took every evening “more for therapy than for cleansing” You thought of how you would always crawl up behind me and cup my breasts in your hands, didn’t you? How I would turn to you and kiss you, my lips cold and my mouth warm? Wasn’t that what you said? Maybe you thought about the nights we spent making each other moan. I don’t know.
Maybe the crying has stopped, so your wife gets to bed beside you. You give her your back and feign sleep. You can’t touch her. You don’t want to. But she is a woman. Her breasts are cupable too, you know? Why won’t you touch her? You don’t know? Maybe something is wrong with you? This is relationship number three since I left you. Number three is lying in bed beside you trying to remember when last you cupped her breasts, while you toss and turn with thoughts of me running an entire movie in your head.
You wake up in the morning. You pick up your phone from your nightstand. You scroll down your contacts. You find my number still saved down there. You put your finger on my name. My number appears. You wonder whether to touch the call button. You hesitate. You look at your bedroom door. It’s closed. You hear your wife feeding your babies in the living room. You are a brave man. You touch the call button.
And you wake me up.
I put the phone on silent mode and turn my back to your call. I pay attention to him instead. He snores lightly oblivious to ringing phones. I stroke his beard and give his lips a light kiss. My hand wanders down his chest and finds itself in responsive parts of his body. His eyes flick open. His hand wanders too and he stumbles on my breast and cups his hand around it. He pulls me in and kisses my neck. The kisses move downwards to where his hand was. You know how this ends. You’ve heard these moans before.
You can disrupt my sleep, but you can’t disrupt my life.
I know you think you want me. You think I’m still the woman you knew.
I am not.
You don’t want me.