The Absurdities of Unspoken Words
Story Written by Juliana Oludeyi
The Absurdities of Unspoken Words…
It was an unforgettable afternoon, I laid on the couch, sobbing and unsure of what to expect in the days to come. I could hear the sound of the car parking in the garage; my heart skipped, and fear engraved me. I sat up, wiped my face, and waited for the door to open. The door opened, and James entered the house. “Welcome dear,” I greeted, as I stood up and walked towards him. He looked at me with disgust and went straight to the room without uttering a word. I wanted to follow him to the room to explain the incidence that had occurred the previous day, but I figured he wanted to be alone. Meeting me at home was probably the last thing he expected.
I laid on the couch and began to reminisce about our early days and the events leading up to the day before.
Our love story was one that I had always taken pride in whenever I got to share with people. We both loved God and promised eternal love for each other. But just a few months to our fourth wedding anniversary, James and I had drifted apart. To be honest, we both had our share of the blame, but sometimes I feel James had a greater part. After all, I tried to rectify things but he had been very angry, and I began to wonder if he still loved me.
James and I met during our national youth service corps (a one year service program set up by the Nigerian government for graduates) in Kogi State; a state in the North Central of Nigeria. It wasn’t love at first sight, as I was never a lady that fell for a man’s physique or look; although he is a handsome man. It was during one of the Christian fellowship services we had; I got to the sanctuary quite early, and I saw a young man praying quietly in the corner, who later turned out to be the worship leader that evening. I went to take a seat, plugged in my earpiece and was listening to music. Shortly afterward, I had a tap on my shoulder, I looked up and saw this same man, standing there with a broad smile. I was surprised, and I wondered what he wanted when he jumped in and said I resembled his younger sister’s best friend, Doreen Bright. He brought out his phone and showed me a picture of his sister and her friend. I smiled and told him that Doreen was my younger sister, and he was right, everyone said we are identical sisters but not twins. We both laughed. “James Stephen,” he said while stretching his hand forward, I shook his hand and said, Becca Bright. We talked for a while until service was about to start and we parted.
That was how we met, stayed in touch and later became close friends. James asked me out during our National youth service program but I told him I was not read, but he promised to wait. I didn’t think of him as a partner; I just saw a good man who became my friend because of my look-alike sister. Towards the end of our NYSC program, James visited me at my house. He told me he was going for his Master’s program in the United Kingdom, and that he had grown to love me and would love us to be more than friends and take our relationship deeper. Deep down, I knew I wanted it but I was scared of him leaving, so I told him I don’t think it would work and that I needed time to think it through as he was going for his Master’s abroad. He smiled and said: “Becca Bright; I will go, come back soon, meet your parents and take you to the altar; how soon that time will be is in your hands.” He said goodnight and left. His reply melted my heart; I knew at that moment he was the one my heart longed for.
It was about three months to my 30th birthday, and I was looking forward to it. I would gladly tell anyone who cared to listen that I was going to be 30. James would always tease me about my obsession, but I just wanted it to be a memorable time. So when James asked me what I wanted, I told him “a getaway weekend- just the two of us.” He didn’t seem quite interested, but he knew I wanted it, and so he agreed. I strategized my plans on where and when and informed James about it. One evening, James came back from work, and he casually told me that he wouldn’t be able to make it to my birthday get-away weekend because he had a seminar at work on that weekend. I got upset and told him that if he was really interested in the weekend, he would have applied for a leave. I called him a selfish man and told him he didn’t care about my happiness. At that point, he got angry and said I could go for the weekend if I wanted, after all, it was my birthday, not his. I walked off angrily, went to the bedroom and started crying. I thought about how I had made a huge surprise party for him on his 30th birthday, 2 years earlier; how he felt loved by everyone and appreciated me for putting it together. I wasn’t expecting him to repay me by doing the same; all I wanted was for him to be there for me, and if work wouldn’t permit him, he could have said it in a better way or plan a way around it.
A call came in while I was thinking about what happened, it was my friend Tracy. She had called to ask about the update towards my birthday when she noticed that I wasn’t responding well, she asked what was wrong, and I didn’t hesitate to tell her everything. She felt sorry for me, and tried to console me when suddenly a thought came to my mind, and I asked Tracy if she would love to go with me for my birthday weekend. She was speechless for a few moment then she said yes, and I was so excited. We both planned to meet the next day to discuss in details how the trip was going to be. Tracy was a friend I met in my first year in school; she was my roommate. Everyone who knew Tracy was my friend questioned our relationship; we both have an opposing lifestyle. She was lousy, nonchalant towards her studies and she made her way through school with different men, most especially some of the professors, all because she wanted excellent grades. We lived together for 3 years and that was how we became very close; she was my confidant and gist partner.
A week passed after James and I had a fight, and neither of us talked about what had happened. Our ego got in the way, and we didn’t make any move to make things better. We started drifting apart; we would only talk when it was absolutely necessary. One morning, while leaving for office, I informed him about my plans to travel to Dubai with Tracy in about two weeks from that day for my birthday. Deep down, I wanted him to talk about our fight and make me know that he cared about me, and probably talk me out of going but he just okay, and he left. I became furious, I had deferred making payments for flight and accommodations, with the hope that we would make things right but he didn’t care, so I went ahead and paid for the expenses.
Things began to downhill in our home; James would come back late from work, refuse to have dinner, and would always go straight to bed. I woke him up one night and told him that we needed to talk. He shouted at me and asked why I disturbed his sleep; he said he doesn’t have anything to say as long as I have decided to be adamant and go for the weekend. That was the first time James ever raise his voice at me, so I decided I was going to take my stand too. Shortly afterward, he mumbled some words, got out of bed and left the room. I waited for him to come back to bed but he did not, till I slept off. I got up in the morning and when I didn’t see him beside me; I knew he didn’t come back to bed. From that night, we stopped sleeping in the same bed; I would sleep in our room, and he would sleep in the living room or the guest room sometimes. Our communication became casual greetings in the morning and at night when we came back from work. I made an effort at another time to make things right but he was still angry, so I gave up.
The night before my trip, I called Tracy and confirmed that she should pick me up in the morning on her way to the airport. Our flight was scheduled for 8:00 am, but in order to avoid the traffic, I told Tracy to pick me up at 5:00 am. I was prepared to prove to James that I was not a weakling who would give in to his demands every time. On the morning of my trip, James and I didn’t see each other. I woke up early, had my bath, got ready to leave while he was still sleeping, and Tracy and I left the house for the airport. I left him a note stating that I had gone and would be back on Sunday evening.
We had a smooth flight from Lagos, Nigeria to Dubai, UAE however, I was very unhappy about my marriage. Tracy noticed my reaction and told me never to allow anyone stand between me and my happiness, not even my husband. I agreed with her and cheered up, after all, it’s my birthday coming up, and I have to be happy. Tracy and I took time to rest when we finally lodged in a hotel because my birthday was on Saturday and I did not want to look stressed out. We went window shopping at the mall in the evening, had dinner and went to bed. I said to myself “you have a big day ahead of you tomorrow Becca, you deserve it” and for the first time in a long time, I felt happy and free.
I was woken up by the sound of a band playing my favorite orchestral music, I walked off to the balcony, and I saw the band, I felt like I was in paradise; so loved and cared for. After all, that was what I wanted from my husband; love and care. I took my mind off him and rehearsed to myself what Tracy had told me earlier; no one will come between me and my happiness. I had a beautiful breakfast specially made for me by the hotel kitchen staff. Tracy told me about the plans for the day and dinner party in the evening. I was so happy and full of life; my 30th birthday was going to be splendid. Tracy and I got dressed and ready to go out, when a knock came from outside the door. Tracy jumped up quickly and went to open the door, and to my utmost surprise, it was Tony standing by the door. Tony was my old school crush in my first year at the university, and I had told Tracy about how brilliant he was in our department. He tutored me in my room one day, and Tracy was there, so I introduced them. Tony came in, looking all the more handsome than I used to know. I got up to say hi, and he gave me a big hug that lasted for a few seconds, while he wished me a happy birthday. I asked Tracy what was going on and she explained that they kept in touch after school through Facebook and when I told her about the Dubai plans, she decided to reach out to Tony since he resides here. She also told me that he was responsible for the band and the special breakfast from the hotel management. I was amazed at everything he had done and showed my appreciation. He said he was taking us out and he would be honored to be our guide by showing us around the city. We all left together in Tony’s car to view the city; it was a beautiful sight, and we all had so much fun together. Tony took us back to the hotel at about 2:00 pm and said he would come take us to dinner in one of the best restaurants in town by 4:00 pm as he had to run an errand.
When we got back, I was worried that James didn’t bother to call or send a message to wish me a happy birthday, so I decided to call his line, but his phone was switched off. I thought he was still angry with me and in my thought, I began to question the man he had become. For the first time in years, James didn’t wish me a happy birthday. Tracy interrupted my thought when I saw her walk out of the bathroom well dressed and all set to go out. I asked if it was time to leave, but she told me that she wanted to meet with a friend, and if she doesn’t get back before Tony arrives, I should go with him and she would join us at the restaurant. I didn’t like the idea, I told her I would call Tony to cancel the dinner, but she promised she would be back soon. I got dressed and waited for Tony and Tracy to come back, while still making all possible effort to contact James but to no avail. Shortly, I heard a knock on the door and Tony came in. I told him Tracy was out and I would like us to wait for her. While we waited, we conversed about our University days; our classmates, and the interesting moments we had back in school. Tony told me that Tracy had informed him that I had a crush on him while in school. He also mentioned that Tracy discussed my marital issues with him, and that was why he wanted to make sure I was happy while I was there. I felt embarrassed and disappointed that Tracy would tell him about my marriage, but I still thanked Tony for being there. Tracy’s call came in while we were talking, she was going to stay longer, and she advised that Tony and I go for dinner in her absence. I felt reluctant going alone with Tony, but I remembered that he was there for me on birthday even when James didn’t make any effort, so I agreed.
It was a lovely evening; it reminded me of my first date with James; the beautiful garden, the lightings and the aura of friendliness. We ate and gisted till around 6:00 pm, and we headed back for the hotel. As much as I wanted to take my husband off my mind, the thought of him kept coming. On our way back, Tony reached out and held my hand in the car, at first, I wanted to withdraw, but I didn’t. It just felt lovely having someone to hold my hand on a nice evening. We got to the hotel, and Tony insisted on walking me to my room. He held me closer, and it felt like the way James would hold me while walking back after a romantic dinner. I knew that I was allowing too much advances but the bitterness in my heart towards my husband didn’t make me stop.
Walking towards the elevator, a familiar voice called out my name, and without doubt, I knew who it was. Shame engrossed me, thinking of the position the person was meeting me; wrapped in the shoulders of another man. I turned around and saw James standing with a bouquet of roses in his hands with a saddened face. He dropped the bouquet and turned to leave. I felt so embarrassed, I tried calling him back, but he didn’t wait. I was shocked to my bones; I couldn’t believe James had come all the way to make things right. Tony asked what was wrong, and I told him that was my husband standing with a bouquet in his hands. Tony was surprised but still wanted to walk me upstairs, I told him I was fine, and I would like to be alone. I thanked him for his kindness throughout the day and told him I made a mistake by allowing the wrong gestures that he extended towards me. I went into the elevator with tears in my eyes and couldn’t stop thinking about my husband. I called his number, but it didn’t go through. I tried his social media and left messages as well.
Later that night, Tracy came back and saw me crying, she apologized and narrated what resulted to her being absent. She also confessed that she contacted Tony because they sometimes talked about me and she felt I was living a boring life with one man while she wanted me to have fun and experience freedom. She opted out of the dinner to meet with one of her boyfriends, so Tony and I could be alone. I couldn’t believe that I was stupid enough to have been played into Tracy’s game. I thought of my husband and how betrayed he must feel. I decided it was time I keep a distance from Tracy. I couldn’t wait till it was morning, and I decided to catch the first available flight back to Lagos. I got up in the morning, packed my bag, and was ready to leave. Tracy woke up from her sleep and apologized for what happened, and that she never meant to hurt me. I thanked her for everything she had done, and I left. I was a bit relieved that I wouldn’t have to be together with her on the same flight. I just wanted to get home to my husband and make things right.
I got home and waited for James to come home so I could explain what happened. I was so ashamed and didn’t know how to face him. I just laid down on the couch and cried.
It has been over one week, and every time I tried bringing up the issue that happened in Dubai with James, he would either walk away or tell me he was not interested. Our house no longer felt like a home; it was more like hell for me. When I couldn’t help it any longer, I decided to speak with an older friend of mine, Mrs. Joy Williams. She was one of the speakers at a women’s conference which I attended a few years back, and we got quite close afterward. She is a woman of faith and one who believes in the unity and bond of marriage. I called her on the phone and we scheduled to meet on a Saturday.
When we met, I explained my ordeals, without keeping out any details. She listened intently and afterwards told me that James and I had taken a wrong approach in dealing with such a trivial matter, which has now escalated. She asked about our prayer life, and I opened up to her that we were not at the best of time. We got our priorities misplaced when the challenges of life came. We started out with skipping family prayer altar due to the rush to go to work to skipping church service on Sundays. I couldn’t remember the last time James and I had prayed together or individually. A once fervent praying Christian couple had grown so cold in our faith, we hardly spend time to pray or study the scriptures. Also, when we had tried to have a baby the first couple of years and we couldn’t, James and I resolved to enjoy our marriage and hoped that God would answer us in His time. The problem wasn’t that we decided to wait on God to do it in His time, it was when it led to relenting in our prayer life. Mrs Joy advised and counseled me on the effectiveness of good communication in a marriage; she also said for love and peace to reign in our home, we must invite Christ to be the head of our home and stop doing things in our own strength. She encouraged me to draw close to God and commit my husband’s heart to God. She prayed with me and promised to pray for us. I thanked her and left. I decided to go home and start interceding for my marriage in prayers. While in the car, I prayed for restoration of joy and peace, and most especially Christ in our lives and home. My heart felt a relief, as if a heavy burden has been lifted; there I felt God’s presence surrounded me.
I arrived home and saw James’ car parked outside; I was surprised he was home. He had stopped spending his weekends at home for a while, and I had gotten used to it. I walked in and saw him sitting on the sofa, watching TV. I greeted him, and he responded. I went to the room, had a shower and decided to make dinner. About twenty minutes in the kitchen, I heard James’ footsteps, and I saw him standing by the kitchen door, with a faint smile on his face.
“Do you need something dear?” I asked.
“No, I just wanted to keep you company while you cook,” he responded.
“I’m almost done; dinner will be ready soon,” I answered.
I turned back to continue cooking, but tears started flowing from my eyes. I wiped my face and tried to continue cooking when I felt James’ arms embracing me. I couldn’t hold the tears back at that point; “I’m so sorry darling, I have done terrible things, and I have offended you,” I said. He wiped the tears in my eyes with his hands and hugged me tightly, as he whispered in my ears, “I love you Becca, food can wait, let’s talk.” He held my hand as we walked to the living room. I told him everything that happened in Dubai, who Tony was, and how Tracy had set me up with him, and how he had seen us together in the hotel. James listened carefully without interrupting me, and I apologized for being childish with the obsession of celebrating my birthday and for every wrong step I had taken. He kissed my forehead and held my hands; he told me he felt he abandoned me and booked a last minute flight to Dubai after his seminar at work. He had checked my email to know the hotel I was lodging in and had just arrived when he saw Tony and I walked by. He apologized for his actions and the words he said when he was angry that led to my decision to leave for Dubai. We both cried in each other’s arms and remained there for a long while. I told him about my meeting with Mrs Joy, and he said he had been praying earlier that day about us and we needed God. Together, we knelt down and poured our hearts to God, asking for forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We knew God had always been there and all we needed to do was turn to Him. We ate as a couple for the first time in weeks, and we tried to catch up on the things we had missed out in each other’s lives. We made a vow to always communicate effectively about every matter, no matter how small it may seem as this is the building block for friendship and unity in marriage.
Needless to say, the night ended on a loving note for us, as we began to walk in our journey towards restoration.
It has been a year since my darling husband and I have been back together, so full of love and joy, and peace in Christ. We have been tested and tried, but Christ our foundation has been firm and sure. Today, we are celebrating God’s faithfulness in our marriage, as He has added to our family, a beautiful baby girl, and our faith in Him has been restored.
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