Learning to breathe

Archive for the category “Orin”


The few days after the fight were a flurry of events. Events too painful to narrate. I ended my affair with Tiwa in Sunmade’s presence. Then my son and I flew to London with my husband.

He has not said two words to me since we got here. It has been four days now.


I run my fingers over the healing wound over my left eye and turn to gaze upon my son as he toddles towards me.

“Mama” he coos.

“Hey baby. Come to mommy” I wrap him in my arms and twirl round the living room.

He shrieks and laughs.

The sound of his laughter reminds me of my wedding day and how Sunmade and I danced in endless circles, endless joy, endless happiness. And I could smell the cologne he wore that day all over again.

We were so young. We had no fear. We were wide-eyed.

The door creaks open and the object of my thoughts appears.

We stare at each other.

I put Ire in his chair and fumble with my hands.

“I’m…I’m sorry I beat you.” He says.

“I’m not sorry you did.”

Something in his eyes softens as he comes towards me and holds me.
I cheated on the one man I ever truly loved and guess what he did…

He chose to stay.



After getting my hair done with Amaka, I drop Ire at my mother’s house for the weekend. She mentions that I look healthy and asks if Sunmade and I are planning to make another baby soon.

My face goes hot.

I tell her that we plan to wait till Ire is 2.

She reminds me that I am getting older. I remind her that I am not even 30 yet.

Before she can attempt to lecture me, I hug her quickly and kiss Ire goodbye.

I get home in time to make Sunmade’s dinner before he arrives. I am going to prepare his favorite; Pounded yam and Egusi soup. Then take a long, hot, scented bath in anticipation for tonight…
I will make it up to him tonight.

After preparing the soup, I proceed to pound the yam till all the lumps disappear and it looks like white powder…with some water in it. Then I pound it a little harder till the powder sticks then becomes friendly and obese.
I pack the meal from the mortar into a nylon and into a warmer.

As soon as my kitchen is tidy again, I trot to the bathroom.


I am sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for him to arrive. The lights are dim. I have on lingerie and a floral scent. As soon as I am sure I cannot sit still anymore, I hear Sunmade’s car horn.

I smile and peek through the curtain.

Then I sit more comfortably on the bed with a coy smile still on my face.

Soon, he enters. He looks at me and cocks his brow.

“Welcome, love.”

He grunts. “Ire’s asleep?”

“No. I took him to my mother for the weekend.”

He raises his brow further then continues undressing.

“I made you some pounded yam and Egusi.”

“Did you now?” He says, sarcastically.

My heart drops a little but I continue. Standing in front of him now.

“Yes, I did.”

“Too bad. I’m not hungry.”

My heart plunges further. The crick in my neck and the dull ache in my arms remind me of how hard and well I pounded his yam.

“Why not?” I block the bathroom door as he tries to escape.

“Because I’m not hungry.”

I manage a weak smile. “Okay.”

I plop down on the bed and on a vibrating phone.

Sunmade’s phone. A new text message.

I do not try to resist the temptation to read it…

    See you tomorrow evening then

From a certain Ann.

It seems my husband is playing games of his own.

“Who is Ann?!” I spit in disgust as soon as he opens the bathroom door.

He looks at me like I am crazy.

“What are you doing with my phone?” He yanks it from my hand and drops it on the table. Farthest from me.

Who is Ann?

“My colleague” He replies. Then continues dressing.

“Why does your colleague want to see you tomorrow evening?”

He ignores me.

Are you seeing that whore?!”

He turns on me slowly. “You get to cheat and I don’t?”

I can feel the anger rising in me. My eyes flash red and without another thought I reach for his phone and smash it against the wall.

He slaps me with the back of his hand instantly and the other side of my face hits the wardrobe.

I fall into a heap like a ragdoll.

“You destroyed my iPhone? Are you crazy?!” He glares down at me.

Why are you seeing that whore?!

Because my wife is a whoring liar herself!

I grab the lamp on the table and throw it at him.

It misses his head by an inch. I throw my wedge at him and it meets his shoulder.

“I am not a whore!”

Before I can throw something else, he pins me under him then pins my hands above my head.

“Say that one more time!”

Before ‘not’ gets out of my mouth, he lands me another slap across the same cheek.

“Who are you cheating on me with? Jamal?!”

I spit at him.

He picks me by my jaw and throws me to the chair with so much force it tips back and I fall.

Before I can gather my wits, he is on top of me again.

Who is it?

Get your bulky self off me!

He lands another slap across my face. I taste blood.


It’s Tiwa! I’m cheating on you with Tiwa

I cannot begin to describe the expression on his face.

He slowly lifts himself off me.

Breathing heavily.

“You’re cheating on me with your past…” He whispers in between deep breaths…

What is it you want, woman?!” He kicks the door so hard I jump. “What do you want from me?”

I gather myself into a corner. Mute.

Answer me!

I was going to make it up to you tonight! I’m through with him” my sides hurt from screaming so much

“You’re sick! You know that? You’re crazy!” He kicks the door again.

Get out of here!Get out

I itch to throw something at him again but I fear he will hit me. Again.

He tells me that I disgust him before he leaves. Slamming the door behind him.

I crawl to the bathroom…and break into hot tears when I see my face in the mirror.

The side that hit the wardrobe is bruised above my eye, four harsh lines are on my other cheek and my bottom lip is bleeding. The back of my head aches and my back laments.

When I am sure there are no more tears left in me, I approach the living room.

Sunmade is sitting on the couch staring blankly ahead of him.

Slowly, I move towards him.

Then I sit beside him with my head on his shoulder.

He does not move away and he does not stiffen.

“I am taking the first flight to London on Monday. You and Ire are coming with me. One week. Business.”


He continues, “End it.”

Past the lump in my throat I say, “It’s over.”


“Orin, you know I’ve never been in support of this from the beginning.”

Amaka and I are at the salon. Ire is toddling close to Amaka’s chair. Amaka is not looking at me but her reflection in the mirror tells me that she is anything but pleased.

“You better thank God he did not beat you. I would’ve beaten you ehn

I would have chuckled.

“What should I do?” I sigh

“Oh? Now you’re asking me. When all this started you didn’t tell me anything. Wetin come concern me now?

“Amaka don’t be like that now.”

“End it, Orin.” She hisses.

The hairdresser mistakenly touches the curling iron to her forehead. Amaka curses in Ibo while the man apologizes.

Abeg do my hair let me leave this place jor!” She turns back to me, “Ehn hen as I was saying, end it before Sunmade finds out. If he does, it’s either he kills you or he almost kills you. Both ways, you’ll lose.”

She pauses to plant Ire on her lap.

“I don’t know what you’re looking for sef. You have a good looking, rich husband and a son. What does Tiwa have to offer?”

That is the question.

Defining moment.

I know now that it is time to end it.

I guess I am looking for intrigue…so that for awhile I can be the heroine in a sloppy romance novel. So that I can be some author’s tool of fantasy. So other women will read my story and shed a few dreamy tears because I have the best of both worlds.

Ire coos “Mama” and stretches his hands towards me. I carry my son tenderly in my arms and hold him close to my chest. The smell of baby cosmetics fills my nostrils as I pat his back. He makes a happy sound.

I love my son. I love his father too.

I am going to make it right again, If not for anything, for these two.



I feel like a robber in my home.

“Welcome ma.” Jamal greets and carries my bag into the house for me.

“Why isn’t the generator on, Jamal?”

Oga say make I never on am

My stomach tightens.

“Put it on.”

Sunmade did not call me all day. I did not call him either…mostly because I was with Tiwa.

He always tells me to leave my family at home when I am with him. I try to.

As I walk into the house, the smells of baby food and burned rice passes me. My eyes quickly adjust to the darkness.


The generator comes on and light floods my living room. I find my husband sitting in his favorite chair, directly opposite me.

“Where have you been?”

“At the agency. Where else would I be?” My bottom lip trembles. I look quickly away from him as I slip my shoes off and shuffle into the kitchen.

“Why didn’t you call me?” He calls.

I scan the refrigerator for orange juice. I cannot think of a lie. I should have thought of one before now.

“Ire cried for you till he fell asleep. Had to go pick him from daycare myself.”

His voice is closer now. He is behind me. I turn slowly to face him.

“I’m sorry love. I was so busy I lost track of time.” I wrap my trembling hands around his waist. His body is stiff and unyielding.

“You’ve been different lately.”

“Different how?”

“I don’t know. You tell me.”

I rest my head on his chest. ” I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Orin are you seeing somebody?”

My heart hammers against my ribs. I pull away quickly, hoping he didn’t feel it. Wide-eyed, I glare at him.

“What sort of accusation is that?”

He shrugs casually. “You’ve been acting funny. I can read you like a book.”

“I don’t believe this.” I push past him into the dining to our bedroom. He follows.

“It’s a yes or no question.”

“I am NOT cheating on you.” I cannot say it to his face so I say it to our bed.

He grunts. “Okay. If you say so.”

I breathe a little easier.

Then he says, “If you’re going to become an irresponsible wife, at least be a responsible mother. Ire has nothing to do with anything. I’m heading out tonight.”

“You never go clubbing.” I look at him as he grabs his keys.

“Same way you never used to lie to me.”

“I’m not lying to you” I reach for him but he pushes my hands away.

“Right now, I want to be as far from you as possible.” He strides to the door.

“Don’t!” I grab his arm. “Please.”

“Let go of my arm.” He says through clenched teeth.

“Sunmade please…”

He flings me almost effortlessly away from him. My head hits the bedpost. Hard.

I am too stunned to speak. My head throbs and without another glance, my husband walks away from me.

I am turning him into a monster. He called me irresponsible but I do not know what I have become. Irresponsible is not the word.

I have become…something…else.

Something else entirely.


Myself, Sunmade and Ire are at home this calm saturday afternoon. My son and his father are watching television. I am in the kitchen cooking.

As you already know, I ruminate on my life’s happenings while I cook.

I added Tiwa on my instant messenger that day at the restuarant.

Guilt has settled on me like a garment ever since. Especially when I steal away to be with him…

Telling Sunmade that I love him has become a lie.


Firm as a rock. Stable. Ever present.

I cannot describe Tiwa in this manner, yet, I find myself, irrevocably attracted to him. Once, I dreamed that I divorced Sunmade and went back to Tiwa with Ire. And Sunmade did not mind much because he found someone he truly loved.

I woke up to Sunmade’s kisses.


Perhaps it is true what they say about love…that it is as powerful as death.

Lunch is prepared.

“How does this work babe? Ire gets boob for lunch and I get amala? Why can’t we ever switch places?”

I find Sunmade tickling a giggling Ire as I carry Sunmade’s lunch through the living room to the dining.

“Ire is one. You’re 34.”

“Oh so there’s an age limit for boob now?”

I chuckle. “It appears there is.”

I gingerly lift Ire from his father’s arm and put him on mine as I settle down to breast feed.

Soon I will be leaving to see Tiwa at the Mall. I tell Sunmade that I will be meeting up with Amaka.

He nods.

A satisfied Ire coos and smiles up at me. He has his father’s piercing eyes and smile.

Knowing eyes.

Ire will fall asleep soon.

“When will you get back?” He asks.

“Later…in the evening.”

He nods and stares at me. His eyes seem to be saying “Orin, two can play this game.”

It is loud enough for me hear.

His eyes are screaming.

I seek solace in Ire’s eyes but find the same accusation: You are cheating.

I turn to look instead at the television. At a certain Joseph Kony and the horrible things he is doing in Uganda. They are not far more horrible than the things I am doing here.

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