Back from work, earlier than expected, in a faded cream-painted apartment, he dropped the car key on the table and stripped off his jacket. The air was stale and warm as he tugged off his tie, retrieving a can of Heineken from the fridge. A gorgeous black off-the-shoulder strap floor-sweeping velvet gown lay spread out on the bed as he opened the dust-stained and cracking wooden door to their bedroom—his wife’s latest purchase—one of her many frivolities.

“She spends her money on clothes, not on housekeeping. As far as she’s concerned, a man’s salary is for paying bills.” Irritated, he threw the tie into the bedside drawer while still soliloquizing, this time sounding very audible.
“Tell a woman to bring part of her income to complete rent payment, and she looks at you as if you’re high on crack. She expects you to pay the children’s school fees, pay the landlord, maintain and fuel your car as well as hers, and even send money to her parents and siblings. If you can’t foot these bills, then you’re not man enough.”
“Is manhood now measured by how much money you dole out, even if it’s killing you?” Frustrated, he sank into the bed while shoving aside her latest Sunday best.

“Should I? My dear, don’t die in installment yet,” a voice replied from behind apparently she overheard.
“When a man decides that he’s grown to become a husband and father, he’s also entitled to responsibilities accompanying such title.”
She enumerated further, “If I spend my wages paying rents and your children’s school fees, then your manhood is handicapped.”
“Is it only during sex that women ascertain a man’s manhood?” She asked, but he kept quiet out of restraint, knowing he has fanned the embers.
“If a woman has done all that God says she should – bearing children and servicing her man in bed, plus giving him a good head, why should a man shy away from tilling the land and bringing the proceeds home?”
“You quote God, ehh! When it suits you …,” he stopped midway before asking, “Didn’t he (God) also say your husband will dominate you? Why am I not overseeing your income? I don’t even know your monthly earnings. Is the injunction ‘a wife will stick to her husband, and they’ll become one flesh’ divorced from your paycheck?”

Dismissing his objections with a wave of her right hand, she flattered him, “Thanks, Mr. Central Bank, but it’s not as if you ever give enough. You give monthly allowances that I have to subsidize. You pay school fees and tell me to buy books and school sandals. After all that, I still have to buy my clothes and braid and make my hair, while you take the glory when you share a pint with your buddies. May God forgive you and your stinginess.”
“God will forgive you also, your meanness and many frivolities,” he said while rolling his back towards her and facing the wall. Does this sound strangely familiar? The many wars fought in the bedroom. Case closed.

© Ugo Nkwoala | TheVillageGong | 2021

Photo credit: Unhappy Couple is a photograph by Ikon Ikon

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