She is finally here. My wife is finally mine. Nnwa, you have brought her home.
I have not seen her sleep like this in years – without her thinking face. As if the people in her head are still up and working on assignments she will need responses to when she awakens. Master of her league of minions. You are in your cot, not far from her side. Your mother was afraid she would turn and crush you if she let you sleep by her. Seeing as she is out of practice on these things, she said. So I sit in between, sharing my stare with you both. Mine.
Adamant. Your mother is adamant. Because of it, I love and often hate her in the same magnitude. She knows this, and she laughs because she can tell when I am on either side or in between. When we were younger, and I had just convinced her to give this dream a fighting chance, she would always ask – every day, like clockwork. She would always ask “Are you sure?” every time I would say that I loved her. Which was every time we spoke because I was afraid that if I did not say it enough, someone else would say it more. Someone else would steal what I was certain had to be mine. So I answered, every time I said, “Yes, I am sure”; ” I am very sure”; “Absolutely sure” until I got comfortable, irritable even and demanded to know why I was interrogated like a child. What nonsense kind of question was this? What kind of woman asks these questions? Was I not man enough to know what I was saying? She was silent. You will soon know that such moments are few and the fewer, the better for us all. She hung up. That was the last time I raised my voice at your mother. And the last time I asked nonsense kind of questions.
It was five years after that she finally answered me. Five years later when Winston’s wife came knocking at our door at 2am. Eyes swollen. Not the kind that is caused by fist fed flesh. But the type worn by a woman who has cried every tear from her past to her future. A woman who had, in a split second, been broken and put together again. She had stayed for a week during which your mother helped her scout for a new apartment; begin to set up the foundation for a new life because she had run out of tears to cry. Winston had not chased her from his house. He had merely brought another wife home. Many weeks after she was gone, your mother finally answered me. “I wanted to be the first to know. If you stopped loving me, if you change your mind, I want to be the first to know. That is why I ask.” Just like that. She is like a puzzle, your mother. Sometimes the pieces do not fit when you are frantic, and all you want is to finish the set. Sometimes they fit later when you are staring at your past and your future at the same time. Winston’s wife, she didn’t know until she did.
Your mother is adamant. I don’t know why it is this memory that plays in my head when all I could; should be doing is breathing your scent – your heavenly scent. Or sleeping beside your mother again; finally. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because it has been a while since she asked – so long it takes rememberence to know I did not imagine she did. Or that the last few years have been so heavy on us we lived with bowed backs, only hoping to survive and so many things went unspoken. Perhaps it is because the storms have chipped away her resolve so much that she is not docile, but she is not her. Maybe it is because I want her to start asking again. I want her to ask me, even if once so that I can say yes; I would give my life over if that was the price of my surety. I love her – your mother. Nnwa, I love her. If I was not confident before, the years have taught me lessons that have stripped me bare and there, left me before truth. And now that you have lifted this darkness from our eyes, maybe she can see me again. Really see me. Perhaps she can ask me again. And when she does, I will be ready to tell her what the sun has been scorching before it leaves my lips. Your mother. My wife.