Nonofo pushed past the large figure that had planted itself in her kitchen doorway. The wall-clock hanging above the framed image of a five-year old girl beaming over a pot of flowers, read twelve-forty-five. She shook off her jacket slowly and increased the pace with which she was walking away rather unsteadily from the voice that was yelling behind her. She realized that she was not walking fast enough as bits and pieces of it’s sentences landed sharply in her ears. An exclamation ending with what she thought to be “…at this late hour!” here and a question starting with “What kind of mother…” there. Feeling the exasperation of the regular listener of a radio station that seemed to only play one song over and over and over again she marched steadily to the master bedroom.
She had heard it all before. This was the third time this week she’d come home late from a night out with Judith. But the way her husband behaved one would think she’d just come home from a five-month-long stay at a whore-house.
By the time she’d reached the bedroom she began to feel the exhaustion that a night out dancing inevitably resulted in. She sighed loudly as she plumped herself at the foot of her bed and then immediately proceeded to scold herself internally for the umpteenth time that night for allowing her vanity to delude her into thinking that six-inch-high platform heels would be appropriate attire for a night out dancing. She moved her eyes from the fingers that were struggling with the shoe-buckles beneath her to the full-length mirror that faced their bed. She imagined that her reflection was the version of herself that had chosen the shoes at the beginning of the evening and she was the one in pain now. She opened her mouth to begin reprimanding her own reelection. Thinking of saying something like “you’re not a teenager anymore, ngwanyana!” she was surprised by the cascade of laughter that escaped from the pit of her stomach before she had a chance to go ahead with the act of scolding herself. Before she knew it her back had landed on the bed behind her and she was holding her stomach in as if to stifle this unbearable laughter that was streaming from her lips.
“Look at you.”
The deep authority of his voice penetrated through her laughter and she was stunned silent. She kept her eyes closed. She didn’t have to look at him to know he’d be standing in his regular scolding pose: folded arms and a stiff shoulder resting, solidly against the inside of the door paneling.
“Look at you!” His voiced bounced off the stone walls and landed sharply in her ears. She did not move. He made a long clicking/hissing sound with his mouth which they both understood to be his expression of incredible disgust.
“You’re not even ashamed. Coming in at this time on a fucking Thursday. Sneaking out before I get back from work…”
He paused. The brief silence was a “What do you have to say for yourself?” to the room. Nonofo remained still. Her eyes screwed shut, she could feel the room begin to move beneath her. He continued,
“What kind of wife are you?”