What would you do if you were me? I had an option to fight it out with my wife who was already drunk anyway. She smelled like a brothel and I am sorry we cannot share a bed in this state. I don’t mind her drinking, I don’t but I do mind her coming home drunk like this. I have always told my wife that never go to bed angry because it is not healthy for the relationship if you wake up with anger in you. However, much as I was a believer in that there are times when silence possibly sends the best message possible. My silence therefore I hoped was going to tell her all she needed to know. To save costs my wife would make me a lunch box even though there was a cafeteria at work. The food there was highly questionable because out of every 3 occasions that I ate, at least once I would get sick. I had therefore learned to avoid the temptation of eating it by bringing food from home. When I woke and got ready she was passed out on the couch. I did not wake her up and I left before she was up. She was blacked out meaning she had drunk more than normal wherever they had gone with Nobuhle. My weekend was done and I was going to my second home, work!
“I must put a glass of water and two painkillers next to her!”
I whispered to myself when I reached the door. I turned around and did just that. Even now she did not wake up. There was no kiss goodbye today.
“You were quiet all weekend I needed that spec for the client on Friday already!”
Kudzai our boss was shouting at us in the weekly Monday meeting. Kudzai was Zimbabwean and I often felt because of that he tried to show everyone that he worked twice as hard. He was our project leader not boss per se all because he was a kiss ass. I swear this guy was the guy that snitched on everyone else for making noise at school. Class monitor type. He loved being in charge.
“Kudzai this thing is due on Friday and if I recall well in last meeting we said today was just going to be a progress report not a full on presentation!”
An annoyed Rethabile reminded him. These two had dated once upon a time and things went sour. It was therefore always them who went head to head in meetings because they hated each other. I have never asked the details of why but you know how relationships are.
“Rethabile, every week it has to be you that tries to show me up. Can you not give it a rest?”
He said pretty annoyed at her but this is where she got her Monday morning mojo,
“I am just stating facts here. You can’t change your mind simply because it suits you. The pressure is unfair because we never know when we are doing wrong!”
She warned him. Much as she was right the rest of us always chose not to intervene because in the office when you start taking sides things get messy.
“You know what; just know I am unhappy with this, meeting adjourned!”
He said storming out. He had the emotional temperament of a 5 year old only child and when angry he would throw his toys out of the cot. The reason it did not startle us was that Monday morning meetings were about the two of them.
“How was your weekend guys?”
She turned to ask us with a smile. It was like she had not just gone through that. Although she was right yet again it felt as though she antagonized him on purpose.
“It was good hey. Drama!”
I responded to her. We got along well enough and in a way she was my work wife. Our cubicles were next to each other so we spoke quite a bit.
“So Londiwe came home drunk yesterday. What do you think I should do?”
I asked her.
“She is not a child Vusi. This thing of acting as though she is a child will never work and I have told you before!”
She said with a smile on her face. She always does that whenever I complain about my wife.
“But I don’t know where she was. One moment we were partying together and the next she had made new friends and disappeared.”
I explained a bit further.
“Still, I don’t think she needs your permission to drink. I get the disappearing part is not cool but allow her to explain herself!”
That was the advice she gave me and in fact that’s the advice you get from every woman these days. You can’t complain about anything a woman does without being seen as sexist or chauvinistic no matter how wrong that woman can be. It’s part of the new dispension of thinking.
“She is my wife and I don’t demand anything from her. Is this not disrespectful. Imagine if your husband does not show up at night would you still be cool with it?”
I asked her,
“Husbands have been doing that for years so why are you acting like a victim all of a sudden?”
Eh wow did she really think that?
“But you know me, I am a decent man and I don’t do such things.”
I protested as we walked out the conference room to our desk.
“I know you don’t but the same way you argue that white people benefitted from the land is the same way I argue that men benefitted from oppressing women all these years! That’s why men are richer, govern and don’t do a day of labour at home at any turn! I often hear you and your friends say bring our land back blah blah so by that same virtue bring our dignity back please!”
She said with a huge smile on her face. I lost my own argument imagine and she did not even blink.
“Nevermind! I shouldn’t have asked you!”
I told her.
“O tla ba strong man!”
She said and she laughed it off only that to me it was not funny. Rethabile and I had that platonic relationship but were strictly office friends. We had never once met outside of work and come to think of it I don’t think we had ever called each other outside of work.
“Don’t pout now Vusi otherwise it’s going to be as long a day as it was a season for Pirates!”
She said and this was not meant for me but for Kudzai who was walking past at that very moment. The dude loved pirates and I could see she was deliberately trying to wind him up and it was working.
“Cut him some slack come on, does he not deserve a moment of peace?”
I asked her laughing and she just grimaced.
“Never, I will torture him for as long as he lives!”
She told me and I left it there. I had my own problems to worry about. I was not a strict guy but I still had traditional values when it comes to my marriage. It was therefore not a good day for me. Londiwe called me twice and I did not pick up. I was not sure what was going to happen if I did.
Tumi wanted to meet up but I did not have time. I wanted to go to the gym and finally work on our project. I had not done my share of the work as I had been busy chasing around my wife.
Then I had to go home. Was not looking forward to it. When I walked in she was sitting on the couch she immediately stood up.
I said rather coldly. She immediately ran to me and hugged me. I did not hug her back.
“I thought you were not going to come home.”
“Why wouldn’t I do that, I live here!”
I told her pulling out of the hug.
“Well because you have never ignored me all day. Thank you for the painkillers in the morning they really helped!”
She said but I did not respond. I walked away. I could see she had cooked or rather I could smell the food as the spicy aromas filled the room.
“You know when I call you and you ignore it is not cool. You make me start to believe that something is happening to us!”
She said to me. I turned around to confront her on it then I noticed she already had tears in her eyes. If I did that now I knew she would cry, it would feel like emotional black mail and nothing would be resolved in my favour.
“And you know when I look for you at night when you have gone out with strangers and you don’t pick up your phone it’s not cool either!”
She did not respond.
“With all the kidnappings taking place what do you think I thought had happened to you?”
I asked her and I had said I will not get angry but who was I kidding. I could feel it come up.
“Love it was not my idea. I went into that car thinking that we will be back in ten minutes. I had no phone because we left here in a rush and were only going next door. I was wrong and I am sorry!”
She said pleading with me. I was sorry too. I should never have agreed for us to go to that party next door. I ended sitting with that dude alone and for what, so that my wife could go partying.
“Look I have always said you have the freedom to do whatever you want in this relationship so long as it does not disrespect us. I feel like you taking that for granted and taking me for a fool!”
I said to her. I could see she wanted to make a snap back but she stopped herself.
“I am sorry. Please let’s not fight anymore and go back to being us. I cooked your favourite food!”
She told me with a smile on her face through those tears. I just felt bad.
“We will stop but this cannot happen again!”
I told her and she nodded her head immediately.
She walked to me and opened her arms. This time I hugged her. I had actually missed her when we had been fighting.
“Baby I think I am pregnant!”
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter.
I am a married with two kids. We have been married 8 years now. Two years into our marriage my wife got diagnosed with a stress disorder and the relationship turned into a nightmare. When she has one of her episodes she becomes super violent against me. The last 3 years have been the worst and because of her condition and frequency of it she cannot work and support herself. I won’t lie I have wanted to divorce her several times because when you wake up not knowing what’s going to happen in the morning it is the most stressful thing ever. I am tired of having to watch my back. I stay with her because she needs my medical aid and I cannot abandon her. She did not choose this. She is on medication but sometimes it fails her. I loved her once but right now I do not think its love that’s keeping us together. The kids also fear their mother because these episodes are random and you cannot prepare for it. When she is fine, my wife is the most amazing wonderful loving caring sensitive person you will ever meet. I have not met anyone who met her when she was like this who did not love her. I can never fault her on this part because she is a total angel. It’s when the demon sets in that I worry about. I don’t know what to do. I used to think even thinking of divorce was cruel of me but for better or worse really has turned into a scary thing for me. She has an idea of how I feel not because I treat her badly but a person can tell when a person is pulling away. I tried to stop pulling away but I cannot help it.
Does anyone have advice for me on what to do?