‘Argh!’ the shovel gets lost in the earth again. Deeper and deeper, faster and faster, your heart beat follows the movement of the metallic tool.
She walks out of the light green painted bungalow on to the patio, tears in her eyes and beads of sweat lavishly embracing her face. Her sweat and tears are replaced by the heavy drops of rain as her feet touch the interlocking bricks. Closer and closer, louder and louder, your heart screams as she draws near.
‘Lola, you can’t keep treating me like this’, you said to her just an hour ago.
‘Treating you like what? Oh please shut up!’ she screamed back.
‘You’re my wife Lola, I deserve to be re…’
‘Don’t even say it. Respect who? Would you have respected me if I was the one sitting at home taking care of the baby? Would you even treat me like a wife? I would have been your maid Muyiwa!’
‘I have never turned you into a maid, I have been nothing but supportive. What’s got into you? Why are you so defensive these days? All I wanted was for you to ask for a leave at work. I need to be in Abuja next week… I told you Emeka’s finally got me a contract, a contract that could finally take the financial weight off you, so you could spend more time with our son, spend more time with me…’
‘And then spend more time in the kitchen isn’t it?’ she laughs scornfully, ‘Muyiwa I have taken care of our financial needs in the past few years, you’ve never heard me complain. You want to go to Abuja? Fine, I’ll sort out who will look after the baby. I doubt you’ll come back successful, you’ve never really had the brains for business’.
You grabbed her arm as she started to walk off.
‘I cook, I clean, I take care of our 11months old son. I do the laundry… I do your laundry!’ you held on to her arm tighter.
‘Muyiwa fi mi silẹ’, her eyes showed the pain as she tried to break free from your grip.
‘I’m a man who has a building material shop that isn’t progressing, with a wife who works for an oil company and makes a lot of money! And so what?! I didn’t ask for this Lola. You are my wife! You are supposed to be responsible for the things I’ve taken responsibility for…my responsibility is to love you and care for you…to help you out with those responsibilities. You’ve become the man Lola!
‘You’re hurting me Muyiwa’, she whispered in more pain as your nails dug deep into her skin.
‘Shut up!’ you yelled, pushing her to the black leather settee, ‘this isn’t marriage Lola…this isn’t marriage’.
She scurried to her feet, her eyes fixed on the blue vintage ceramic plate on the side table. She picked up the plate, letting the knife which was on it slip to the floor.
‘I’ve taken the responsibility of providing for you and this baby’, you kept moving towards the kitchen, ‘I’m talking to you Muyiwa, Look at me when I’m talking to you!’
‘I try to provide for you Lola, I try to get us the basics’, you turned, deep sadness in your voice.
‘And yet the basics aren’t sufficient enough!’ just like a puzzle, pieces of the plate were created as she threw the plate at you. Deji started to cry at the sound of the plate hitting the well-polished cream tiles.
You stared at her in shock for a few seconds and choosing to pretend she hadn’t done anything, you moved to the baby, taking him up in your arms as you tried to calm him and moving towards the kitchen again.
‘Coward!’ she said, pushing you forcefully to the ground and bringing an end to the cry of Deji as his head hit the ground and embraced the blood drawn by the broken pieces of the vintage ceramic plate becoming part of his skin.
Now she holds the lifeless body in her arms and you wish it was her you were digging this grave for, not your son. You snatch Deji from her, without thinking again you drop him in the earth and your shovel starts to work again. Murderer, murderer, your heart cries as the heavens cry louder and greater at the death of your son.
‘Write your resignation letter tonight’, you say to her as you move towards the bedroom after all the digging is done, ‘and clean up this mess you’ve made in my living room!’