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"I'm so mad at him right now!" Mina exclaimed, with a quick shake of her head. "When I came home from work yesterday evening, I spent a long time in the kitchen making his favourite meal and then cleaned up real nice just to get his attention. He didn't get home early and by the time he managed to, he had the nerve to tell me that he wasn't hungry without even thinking of the amount of work I had done. I didn't even know what to say to him, really. To make matters worse, he just took a shower, turned out the lights and slept off immediately without a glance in my direction; So much for buying new lingerie to spice things up.”
Rolling her eyes, she added, “Sometimes, I think that man was put on this earth just to annoy me."
Azuka started laughing and at the look of irritation Mina flashed her, she raised both hands and said, "Please don't kill me with your eyes, madam. I wasn't laughing at you."
Mina rolled her eyes now and Azuka laughed even harder, "I'm just really amused at the way you said all of that. You do have a very dramatic way of telling these husband tales."
"You can laugh all you want o! Wait till you get married and your husband changes like mine did, then you just might go all dramatic," Mina replied. Sighing deeply now, she said, "Seriously, Zuky, I envy the freedom you have to just be your own person; I don't even understand this sudden obsession of yours to sacrifice that."
Adaora had been watching her two friends with a smile on her face. She noticed the sad look that flashed across Azuka's face. She wondered if she had imagined it because it was quickly replaced by a mischievous smile. "I wan be like una naa," Azuka said, winking at Mina.
"Besides that, there's a need in all of us for some sort of exclusive friendship and companionship. Everyone doesn't yearn for that at the same time or at the same pace but once in a while, it hits us that we can actually be more with other people," Adaora said. "I don't see Azuka's desire to be married as either sudden or obsessive. I think she's gradually come to that point where she needs more in her life, that's all."
"Zuky has so much already!" Mina disagreed. "She's young; she's very beautiful and she's also very successful in her career. She gets to do exactly what she wants and when she wants to too. In my opinion, she has it all o! Look at me naa, I was once like Azuka. I had wanted to get married like it was going out of fashion. When Baridi proposed, I was over the moon because he was everything I needed in a man, or so I thought. We've been married for only two years and already, I ask myself a lot of the time what had possessed me to marry him. He's so different from the man I fell in love with. I'm not even sure that he loves me anymore. If I didn't believe in the 'for better and for worse' ideology, I would have left my husband since o!"
Taking a sip from the glass of juice in front of her, she continued, "I've always wondered how you do it, Ada. You've been married for over six years and I've never heard you say anything negative about Dozie. There's this easy going friendship you share with him that I envy. Anytime I spend time with you guys, I go home determined to make my marriage work out really good. Both of you make marriage seem so easy, kai."

When Adaora sighed without saying a word, Azuka asked, "Ada, are you alright?"
Sighing again, Adaora replied, "I'm not sure I am, Zuky. I'm a doctor so I've always known that nothing good comes easy but lately, I haven't been very willing to work hard at certain things. Mina's right about a good marriage being the result of a lot of hard work. So many times, it's just easier to let things slide." She ran her right hand through her hair. Adaora had been friends with these women since they were all kids so they knew that whenever she did the hand-hair thing, she was very worried about something. She stayed silent for a while till Mina asked quietly, "What's going on, Ada?"
"It's nothing, really. I'm just going through some stuff right now. When I'm done working them out in my head, you guys will be the first to know, I promise."
Mina and Azuka exchanged worried glances. Azuka said gently, "Ada, are you sure you don't need to talk about whatever that has got you this bothered?"
"Honestly, it's not a subject I would love to discuss till I sort it all out in my head," Adaora said with a quick smile. "Mina, you look amazing! There's this glow you have. I remember you looked the same way when you were..."
Her eyes got wide as she looked at a nodding Mina, "Wow! You're pregnant again? Congrats, darling." Getting up, she went over to Mina and hugged her. Adaora held her friend an arm-length away and glanced at her belly. "Your tummy still looks so flat. Those exercises you've doing sure work! How far along are you?"
Azuka came over to both of them and saying, "It's my turn now," she nudged Adaora aside and hugged Mina too. "I'm so thrilled for you, sweetie and Ada's right, you look very beautiful. Before you start getting any other ideas in your head, just know that I am godmother this time."

Laughing as they took their seats on the round table, Mina said, "Thank you, girls. You sure do boost my self-confidence. Baridi, certainly, has a way of sapping it all up. From my calculations, I should be only about seven weeks gone now so I guess that’s why my tummy’s still flat. If this baby gets as big as Soprinye was, I don’t expect it to stay that way for too long, though. Zuky, you are definitely the godmother this time. You made it easy for me to choose Ada as Soprinye's godmother by being conveniently away on a business trip."
"I, definitely, am not going anywhere any time soon. Soprinye's a cute boy but I want a goddaughter, biko. Girls are so much easier to spoil," Azuka said, laughing.
"Yeah, I'm hoping it's a girl too," Mina said, getting all dreamy-eyed. "Immediately I found out yesterday, I started thinking of the baby as a girl o. I'm calling forth things that are not as though they were."
Laughing, Adaora said, "You sef. The baby’s sex can't be ‘called forth’ after the fact."
"Abeg, madam doctor, allow me dream, jare. I have a feeling about these things. Didn't I successfully predict the sexes of your children?"
"Yes o, you were correct all three times but ermm, I remember you saying that Soprinye was a girl." Adaora teased Mina.
"Oh, well. That was just wishful thinking getting in the way of intuition," Mina said and the three of them laughed.
"You see, children are another reason to want to be married," Azuka said wistfully. "I know I can have a child without being married. These days, people don't even frown so much at that sef. But, I truly don't want to go down that route. At thirty-four, my biological clock is ticking really fast but I want to raise a child in a home that has two parents who love each other."
"Zuky, I know what you mean, jare," Mina said. "Even though Baridi and I seem to be like strangers a lot of the time, these days, there's still this thing that gives me hope that if I keep trying, we'll be alright, someday. But, wait o. Why should I be the only one trying to make our relationship get back the steam it used to have?" When she noticed Adaora was about talking, Mina raised her left hand and said, "Hold on a minute, Ada. I already know what you want to say, anyway. You've said it too often for me not to know. I know that I should always do my own bit, regardless of what Baridi does or does not do. That's theory, sis. That's not real life! Using last night as an example, can you tell me what I didn't do right? I cooked real good food and I looked all hot just for my husband. But, he didn't want any of what I had to offer. He didn't even make an attempt at conversation. He just went to bed, without knowing that I had wanted to tell him that I'm pregnant. I went to work, same as him. I came home tired but I still did all I could to let him know that he's a huge part of my world."
Tears sprang to her eyes now. "For how long would I do the heavy-lifting in my relationship with my husband? How long am I going to be the one striving to keep us together and happy? Baridi hurts me in so many ways and doesn't expect me to act hurt. I do my best to treat him nice but he pretends he doesn't notice. He hardly pays me compliments about anything, even! I won't be surprised if he's cheating, really, because I don't understand him anymore. It's just that sometimes, I see a hint of the man I dated for two years. At those times, he's playful and all over me and also allows me to be all over him, just the way it used to be. Sometimes, he gets all apologetic and tells me he's all stressed up from work. I really want to believe that because, if I found out that he truly is cheating on me, I just would be crushed." She accepted the handkerchief Azuka dug out from her bag and wiped her eyes.
"I hope we'll be fine, really. I pray about that everyday," Mina said quietly. "Enough about me, jare. What's new, these days, with both of you?"
Laughing, Azuka said, "To hear you ask it like that, no one would know we talk on the phone almost everyday."
"It's not the same thing, jare," Adaora said. "There are some things you don't just say over the phone."
"That's true," Azuka concurred. "Anyway, I'm going on a date tonight."
"Yay, Zuky's found a man!" Mina exclaimed, laughing. Turning to Adaora, she raised her right hand and they slapped their palms together. "How come we're just hearing about that? One of those things you can't say on the phone?"
"You're really silly sometimes, Mina," Azuka said, taking a swipe at her friend's shoulder. When Mina responded with, "Ouch, you don't hit a pregnant lady!" the three friends started laughing.

After the laughter had subsided, Azuka said, "I haven't met him yet."
"Oh, a blind date then. That's interesting," Adaora said, winking at Azuka.
"Hmm, a blind date? He had better not be a serial killer o!" Mina said.
Laughing, Azuka continued "Both of you sef. Technically it's a blind date because we've never seen each other but we've talked so much on the phone during the past two weeks that I feel like I know him already. He's that guy I told you girls, the last time we hung out, that my mother was trying to set me up with."
"Oh, the obodo oyibo guy?" Mina asked. "I thought you said you were never going to allow your mother match-make you with anyone."
"Mina, I'm just going on a date with the guy, biko. It's not like I'm agreeing to marry him immediately. My mother just doesn't know how to take no for an answer. She pushed and pushed till I gave in and allowed her give the guy my number. I enjoy talking to him, though. But, I don't know him enough to say that he's the one."
"Na so e dey start," quipped Adaora and when Azuka tried to swipe at her, she moved away and said, "Nne, you seem to be in a violent mood today."
Laughing, Azuka said, "Well, that's what I have planned for tonight. I'll keep you girls posted, of course. And, Mina, he doesn't live abroad anymore. He recently relocated to Nigeria."
"I bet he has an accent. I like all those fone-speaking guys. If the guy come fine toona correct package be that o!" Mina said to the amusement of her friends.
"You're an old married woman o!" Azuka said.
"Abeg, I never old o. Moreover, being married doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the good things of life, biko."
"Okay o, make e no pass appreciating, sha," Azuka said laughing.
"Of course! Wetin I wan do before? Fear no go let me do more than that naa. Besides, my Baridi's a hunk," Mina replied, causing her friends to laugh again.

Two hours later, Adaora let herself into her home. She had enjoyed having lunch with her two best friends. Adaora and Mina had become close friends as soon as they met in secondary school. The next year, Azuka had changed schools and enrolled in their school. The three girls were in the same class and Azuka had quickly become friends with the duo. They had been a team since then. Azuka was an investment banker while Mina was a corporate lawyer in a multinational firm so each of them had a lot more responsibilities now. However, they still made out time to see each other at least once a month.
Adaora thought about her children now. They had gone to spend the weekend with their grandparents and wouldn't be back till tomorrow. She missed them but she was glad the house was quiet. She had worked long shifts during the week and needed to sleep without any interruptions.
Walking past the living room, she noticed her husband in there. She hadn't expected Dozie to be home because recently, he spent the weekends playing tennis and hanging out with his friends. She walked into the living room. "Hey," she said to him, dropping her handbag on one of the wooden side stools.
Looking up from the book he had been reading, Dozie smiled at his wife, "Hey." He took in her beautiful face. As usual, it was devoid of makeup. He had always loved the fact that even when she wore only lip gloss, Adaora still looked stunning. She was wearing a red halter neck top and that showed off her shoulders beautifully. She had paired it with a pair of jeans. On her feet, she wore high-heeled shoes that made her long legs appear even longer. His wife was beautiful but what he loved most about her was her warm and generous heart. It hit him then, like it had in the morning when he had woken to see the note she had left him, that he missed Adaora a lot.
"I didn't think you'd be home,” Adaora said, smiling back at him. “Have you had lunch?" Their children's nanny had gone to Adaora’s parents' home with the children and their housekeeper was a middle-aged woman who went home to her family every weekend. So, no one was home besides Dozie. 
"Yes, I heated up some okro soup I found in the freezer. I even managed to make some garri for myself," he responded, laughing.
"I'm sorry I didn't bring out food for you before leaving. I thought you would be out all day," Adaora said.
"That's alright. It was good to know that I can still do some things by myself. You spoil me a lot," Dozie responded, still smiling at his wife. Patting the spot beside him, he told Adaora, "Come sit with me."
Adaora hesitated a bit before going to sit on the chair opposite her husband. His face dropped and he said, "I see."
He stared at his wife for a few minutes and noticed that she didn't want to look at him. "How have you been?"
Looking at him now, Adaora replied, "You see me everyday so that's a very strange question."
Sighing, Dozie said, "You know what I mean, Ada. I stayed home today because I wanted to have some alone time with you. We haven't done a lot of that lately."
"That’s because we're both busy people."
"Ada, our schedules haven’t changed. We've always been busy people but we always made out time for each other. These days..."
"These days, you have your friends," Adaora said, interrupting him. "Dozie, I had long and grueling shifts throughout the week and my night shift starts tonight. So, I really need to go and sleep."
"You didn't think about that when you decided to spend over four hours with your friends today, did you?" he asked quietly. "Why would you give them what free time you have and leave me with nothing?"
Standing up, Adaora said, "They've always been there for me. Moreover, haven’t you been doing the same to me?" She retrieved her bag from the stool and taking long strides, left the room.

As soon as Adaora had settled down to sleep, the door of the bedroom she shared with Dozie opened. She lay still on the big bed, pretending to be asleep. She heard him walk across the room to her side of the bed. As he stood looking at her, she made no move to show that she was awake.
“I know you’re awake, Ada.”
Without opening her eyes, she replied, “I really need to sleep, Dozie.”
“We need to talk.”
“We can talk later.”
“Adaora, I’m not asking you. I’m demanding that you get up immediately.”
Eyes blazing, she sat up on the bed and replied, “Dozie, you have no right to make such demands on me. If I want to sleep, I will sleep. I am a grown woman and …”
Cutting her off, he said in a cold, quiet tone, “It’s very sad that our relationship has deteriorated to the point where you can walk out on me without batting an eyelid. I would not have you insult me even further. If I say we have to talk, then we will talk.”
“When you take the stance of lord of the manor with me, what reaction are you expecting, really? If I don’t want to talk to you, you can’t make me and you know that.”
“What’s come over you lately, Ada? Do you hear yourself?”
“I hear myself, alright. I sound like a woman who is exhausted and sleep-deprived. If you had any respect for me, you would understand that this is not the right time to force a confrontation with me.”
Raising his voice, Dozie said, “This is not a confrontation, Ada! It was not supposed to be this way. You’re making it all difficult to…”
“Oh, I’m supposed to make it easy, right? You really are so used to me rolling over on everything. Well, I’ve got news for you, sweetheart; it’s no longer business as usual. Moreover, I don’t understand your sudden need to talk, Dozie, particularly since I’ve told you that this is a bad time for me to indulge that.”
Dozie stood silently for about a minute and just stared at his wife. He clenched and unclenched his right fist rapidly, a sign that he was livid. He took a deep breath and then, slowly let it out. Turning on his heels, he walked over to the dressing table and picked up his car keys. With a slam of the door, he left the room.
A few minutes later, Adaora heard him drive out of the compound. She looked around the room then. Everything looked exactly as they had always done so she didn’t understand why her world seemed to be spinning out of control. Slowly, she lay down. She remembered when she would cuddle with her husband in the middle of the bed. Now, both of them slept on opposite sides of a very big bed. The tears started flowing.

Sinking gratefully on the soft couch in one of the on-call rooms around two a.m., Adaora rubbed her neck. Some night shifts were uneventful but tonight had been a very busy night. She was a paediatric surgeon and had dealt with two emergencies already. Almost immediately after her shift resumed by seven p.m., a pregnant woman had been brought in from a nearby maternity clinic. Her uterus had ruptured during labour and she had been losing blood rapidly. The baby’s heart rate had been discovered to have dropped significantly also. Adaora had been among the team of doctors in the operating room who tried to save the lives of the woman and her baby. There had been an emergency caesarian section and the bleeding had been controlled while a blood transfusion was given to the patient. While the gynaecologists had worked on repairing the mother’s uterus, Adaora had worked on the limp and shallow-breathing baby girl. “God, please don’t let her die,” she had chanted in her head repeatedly. Working quickly, she had inserted an endotracheal tube through the baby’s mouth, into her trachea to remove the meconium she had inhaled while in the womb. Applying suction, she had slowly removed the tube. She repeated this procedure till there were no traces of meconium remaining in the suctioned fluids. She was elated when a blood gas analysis showed that the baby was getting enough oxygen. The chest x-ray Adaora had ordered had also shown that the infant’s lungs were clear. The little girl was then transferred to the Neonatal ICU for monitoring. Except if any complications developed, she was expected to be healthy.

Barely an hour later, a ten year-old boy had been rushed to the hospital by his panicked parents. They had explained that he had complained of a tummy ache in the morning which had lessened after some hours had passed. Suddenly, their son had developed body chills and had started throwing up. When his body temperature had increased, they knew that it was time to take him to see a doctor. At this point, he had started crying from an intense belly ache again and could barely walk. Adaora ordered a CT scan where it was discovered that the little boy’s appendix had perforated in two places. Emergency surgery had been required. Adaora had finished in the operating room barely twenty minutes ago and had spent some time with the boy’s parents, assuring them that even though he would most likely spend a few weeks in the hospital, he would eventually be alright.
“I really need to sleep,” she thought, exhausted.
She had slept very poorly after Dozie had stormed out of the house. He hadn’t returned before she left for work. She had never seen him as angry as he had been before he left the house. She hadn’t been scared because she knew that he would never be violent towards her. However, she had been very sad that they brought out the worst in each other now. She had never spoken to him as contemptuously as she had done and she was ashamed of that now.

A knock interrupted her musings. “The door is open,” she called out.
When she saw the man that entered the room, she smiled widely and said, “Hi.”
“Hi, yourself,” he said, closing the door. “I was told that I could find you here. I heard you caught two bad cases tonight.”
“It was hectic for a while out there but no life was lost so I’m very glad. I’m really tired, though. You know how it is; I’m on that low after the high.”
Coming round to the back of the couch, he gently removed her hand from her neck and said, “Allow me.”
As he kneaded the tense muscles on her neck and shoulders, she relaxed and closed her eyes. When she felt a warm breath on her neck, her eyes snapped open and she whipped her head around. He had intended to kiss her neck but when she turned, he kissed her lips instead.
Adaora blinked like a deer caught in headlights as she stared at him. When she finally found her voice, she whispered, “What’s going on here Bayo?”
“I really don’t know, Adaora,” he said, whispering too.
Scrambling away from him, she said, “Oh, my goodness. What have we gotten ourselves into? I’m married and you are too.”
Without a word, he left the back of the couch and sat on the other chair in the room. He ran his hands over his face and said, “I know that, Adaora. But, I can’t seem to help how I feel. When I came over here to see you, I didn’t know what I was going to tell you but I just had to see you. I’m not even supposed to work tonight but I snapped up the opportunity to stand in for Jude, all because I knew you would be working this shift. I see the way you light up when you see me. Don’t tell me you don’t feel this crazy desire too.”
“Bayo, you have a young wife who is pregnant with your first child and I have a husband and three children. I can’t do this. Whatever this is, we can’t do it. Please, I beg you to leave.”
“You see? You can’t even issue a denial. You feel this thing between us, just the way I do. I have feelings for you, Adaora though I’m not yet certain if I can call it love. I’m not sure how that happened because I still care a lot about my wife. But, I know that what I feel for you is as real as, or even more real than, what I feel for her. Right now, I know that it’s you that I want to be with. I don’t like it but I’m done fighting it. It’s …”
“Bayo, please leave,” Adaora said, interrupting him. “My emotions are all over the place right now so I can’t deal with what you’re saying. Let’s talk about this later, okay? I’m tired and I really need to get some sleep.”
“I can respect that,” he said. “Try and get some rest. I hope you won’t be called out till it’s time for you sign off in the morning.”
As soon as Bayo left the room, Adaora stood up and locked the door before sitting on the couch again.
“What have I gotten myself into?” she groaned.

“How did your date go?” Adaora asked Azuka
“Hmm, it was fine, my sister,” Azuka responded, smiling brightly.
“That smile certainly looks like you were impressed with Mr. obodo oyibo,” Mina said. “Abeg, is he fine?”
Laughing, Azuka replied, “His name’s Ugochukwu and fine is not enough to describe him. The man is gorgeous and he’s even more interesting in person!”
“So, your mother was right then,” Adaora said, laughing too.
“Oh, well. Let’s see how it goes, biko. Meanwhile, what’s up with you, Ada?”

Adaora had called Azuka as soon as her shift had ended. “I need to talk to you and Mina. I’ve tried calling her but her phone is switched off. I know that I’ll sleep for a long time by the time I get home so please help me tell her. Would three p.m. be a good time for you?
“Yes, three is fine. What’s going on, Ada?” Azuka had asked worriedly.
“I’ll explain when I see you, okay.”
“Alright, then. Where do we meet?”
“Anywhere’s fine. Please send me a message so that I know where you and Mina decide on. When I wake up, I’ll see it.”

Running her right hand through her hair, Adaora responded to Azuka’s question, “I’m in trouble.”
“What kind of trouble?” Mina asked, frowning.
“There’s this guy at work.” When her friends exchanged glances, Adaora continued, “I kissed someone last night. No, he kissed me. Oh, I don’t know who kissed whom anymore. I’m so confused.”
“What are you saying?” Mina asked.
“Things haven’t been great with Dozie lately.”
“How long has this been gone on for?” Azuka asked.
“For over six months, we haven’t been close at all. We hardly talk and when we do, we seem to just snap at each other. He’s out a lot too so we hardly spend any time together, these days.”
“Why are you just telling us this, now? Mina asked. “I thought we shared everything with each other.”
“Initially, I thought it would blow over. Then the longer it went on, I didn’t know how to broach the subject.”
“That’s very interesting,” Mina said, rolling her eyes. “You obviously didn’t think that we could handle whatever you had to say. Or was it because you wanted us to keep believing that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage? Or did you just think that no one could be for you what you are to other people?”
“Mina…” began Azuka only to be cut off.
“Zuky, hold it right there. I never said Adaora should tell us everything about her relationship with Dozie. I don’t even do that, myself. My point is that I have always run to both of you anytime I’ve needed help or support with anything at all. I thought we had the kind of friendship that would make her reciprocate that gesture. Her marriage must have hit a really rough patch because that can be the only reason why our almost-saintly friend would kiss another man or let him kiss her or whatever it was they did. Yet, she never said a word to us.”
“I’m really sorry, Mina. It’s not for any of those reasons that I didn’t tell either of you what I was going through at home. Mina, you have your own problems with Baridi. I wanted you to keep trying your best to make things work out fine. I knew how much you looked up to Dozie and me as the ideal couple so I didn’t want to disappoint you. That was my reason. As for not telling you, Azuka, I knew that no matter how nonchalant you try to sound about your single status that you are really sad about it. I didn’t want you scared about making a commitment with a man if you saw how badly my ten-year old relationship with Dozie had deteriorated. I’m so sorry. It wasn’t my intention to hurt either of you.”
“Hearing about what challenges there are in marriage would not make me yearn any less to be married. Knowing about the mistakes my friends have made may just help me not make them when I do get married. You should never feel that you have to protect us from anything especially when it means that we can’t help you or support you the way we should. You are a really great person and over the years, you have always been there for us at one time or the other. So, if you need a shoulder anytime at all, we would only be too glad to offer ours,” Azuka said. “Mina, abi na lie I talk?
Abeg, leave me jor. I still dey vex, Zuky,” Mina said.
E don do, you hear?” Azuka pleaded. “What’s the story, Ada?”
By the time Adaora finished speaking, she was crying. Mina went round to her, stooped and hugged her. “It’s going to be fine, darling,” she told Adaora, offering her a handkerchief to dry her eyes with.
“What about this guy at work? Who is he, exactly?” Azuka asked.
“He’s also a doctor, though he’s not in my unit. We’ve always been friends but lately, he’s been like a shoulder to lean on because he understands everything about my job and the emotions I constantly have to deal with. We started spending more time together a few months ago, though. It’s been innocent till the early hours of this morning.”
“Are you attracted to him?” Azuka asked.
“No. Maybe. I don’t know. He said that I look at him like I am attracted to him. So, maybe I’ve been leading him on. I really don’t know. That is a completely new territory for me,” Adaora replied.
“I’ll tell you what I’ve heard you say to Mina too often to count. Go home to Dozie and make your marriage work again. Forgive him and give him a chance to be more than he was to you.”
“It’s really hard, Zuky,” Adaora replied, starting to cry again.
“Yes, it is, Ada,” Mina replied. “Trust me, I know. Yesterday when I got home, I put my resentments aside and made Baridi’s favourite meal again for dinner.”
Smiling widely, she continued, “He gratefully ate every morsel up and was excited about the fact that I had served dinner wearing one of the new lingerie from the previous day. Then, when he heard about the baby, he couldn’t stop smiling. I got all I wanted a day later than I had planned but the most important thing is that I eventually got them. My dear, I’m taking your advice, no matter how annoying it is to. I’ll do the best that I can, for as long as I have to, till it bears fruit. It’s time for you to take your advice. Go find your man. By the time you sort things out with him, ‘Mr. Doctor’ will not be as important anymore.”

“I thought you were on night shift today as well,” Dozie commented when he noticed that his wife was still at home by seven p.m.
“I got someone else to swap with me,” Adaora replied.
“Why? Hope you’re alright?”
“Yes, I am. I wanted to have a talk with you.”
He chuckled and said, “That’s very interesting. Honestly, I’m not in the mood for talking. Since you’re home and can be with the kids, I’ll go out for a little while.”
“Dozie, the only reason I’m not working tonight is so that we can talk.”
“It doesn’t work that way, Adaora. Today is to me as yesterday was for you. I’m not in the mood for fighting, please.”
“Dozie, please listen to…”
“Not now, Adaora,” he said and left the house.

Three hours later, they were talking heatedly in their room. The kids had gone to bed so they were careful not to raise their voices.
“I don’t believe you would say that I don’t support you as much as I should, Ada. I’ve always known that as a doctor, there would be times I’d want you with me that you wouldn’t be there. Because I understand that, most times, you don’t have a choice in the matter, I have never complained. I make sure that I’m home anytime you have to work at night so that the kids are not left alone with the nanny. How else do you want me to support you?”
“Dozie, you’re missing my point entirely. I listen to you talk about the construction jobs you handle. Sometimes, you even reel off technical terms to me. I’ve never complained because I understand that you have a need to share that part of you. But so do I, Dozie! You always say that the sight of blood freaks you out but if I ever wanted to talk to you about my job, it wouldn’t be about blood and medical procedures. You may consider my patients a job that I do but that’s not the way I see them especially since they are little children. I lost one of them seven months ago and you wouldn’t even let me talk about it! She wasn’t the first patient that I had lost but she was the first that died on the operating table. I was that devastated because in my opinion, her death had been avoidable. But, you didn’t let me say a thing about how I felt at the time. In your opinion, I had to grow a thick skin or I’d become a mess. I could have easily brushed that comment aside but it had hit me then that you’ve never cared enough to truly understand things that bother me. You’ve always preferred that I brush aside any emotions that would make you uncomfortable.”
Wearily, Dozie said, “We’ve always been different people, Ada. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other. I’ve never been able to handle stuff that intense. I don’t know how to.”
“Did you know that her parents made noise about suing the hospital for negligence? My professional reputation would have been in tatters if the investigation had not revealed that she had not been brought into the hospital early enough to save her life.”
“How was I supposed to know that, Ada? You suddenly stopped talking to me.”
“I was hurting, Dozie and I knew that you would brush me aside again.”
“Please don’t say that, Ada. You didn’t try to find out what I would have done.”
"What about the baby we lost?” Ada said quietly now, tears falling rapidly down her face. “You did everything to make me comfortable when we came home from the hospital but anytime I wanted to talk about it, you were quick to remind me to be grateful that I had only been pregnant for nine weeks. You certainly didn’t understand why I still cried for weeks after that. I had developed a bond with that child as soon as I knew I was pregnant. You might have understood that if you had let me talk about it.”
“Ada, that was five years ago and we’ve had two more children after that incident,” Dozie responded, clearly surprised that she was bringing that up.
“You’re doing the same thing again! You’re negating my feelings. The fact that you don’t understand them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. You may find it very easy to step away when bad things happen and just move on to the next thing. But, I’m not that way. All I want is for you to love me enough to just let me deal with my grief about anything in a manner that would heal me, as long as I don’t traumatize you. The fact that I brought it up after so long should tell you that it still bothers me.”
Dozie was silent for a while and when he spoke, his voice was tired. “I honestly had no clue that you felt the way you did. I’ll try my best to listen to you talk about your job but, spare me the gory details, please. Deal?”
“It’s a deal only if you promise to be stay home more often.”
“Ada, I haven’t seen the point in being home lately because it’s been lonely and very boring, really. So, it really is up to you to reverse that situation.”
They talked for about an hour more and for the first time in months, they slept in the middle of the bed.

Zuky, na wa for you sef,” Mina said with a roll of her eyes. “I wonder why you thought that I’d want to waddle up the aisle in bridesmaid’s clothes.
“Stop complaining, jare. You know that you loved the attention,” Azuka countered. “Besides, you don’t waddle. You still look amazing even with your almost eight-month old bulge.”
“You’re right, Zuky,” Adaora said. “Mina does look amazing. Just looking at her, I almost want to get pregnant again.”
“Thank you, thank you,” Mina gushed. “But, it’s not about me today. Zuky you were such a lovely bride. When you said your vows, I shocked myself by tearing up. I loved the fact that you made up your own vows for the ceremony.”
“Yeah, those vows got to me too. They were really beautiful,” Adaora said smiling. “After the ceremony, Dozie told me that he’d love it if we did something similar when we renew our wedding vows next month.”
“Hmm, love nwantinti. Ada, una don old for this marriage business o. Seven long years, wow! Anyway, small small, we go reach there. Zuky, soon you and Mr. obodo oyibo would be making lots of beautiful babies. Boy, that man is handsome.”
From behind her, a voice asked, “Who’s the handsome man?”
Winking to her giggling friends, Mina answered Baridi, “It can only be you, my love.” She slipped her hand in his and said, “Come let’s go waddle on the dance floor.”

To read the second part of this story, please go to A CORD OF THREE: IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER


  1. Nwachinemere8:39 am


  2. Nice one babes......good friends? PRICELESS! Plus marriage? No be small pickin matter.....

  3. Anonymous10:18 am

    Beautiful write up.

  4. yeah marriage has its challenges. we just need to be determined to keep the bliss alive

  5. Nwachinemere; Thank you :)Good friends definitely are one of the best gifts to have.

    Ng; Thanks, dear. Nne, no be for small pikins true true, lol.

    Anon 10:18; Thank you :):)

    Rowzlyn; Yep, that determination has to be a constant decision if not...

  6. Mina,Zuky and Ada,if friends like them dominated this world,it certainlt would be a saner place to live in....come ooo Olaedo,u be doctor?as u take describe intricate details of the patients Ada saw that night,I bow ooooo,as per marriage,it is like an unwrapped ogili,when u open it,na wetin u see inside u go use cook.....but in the end,it is not a one man mission,so both hands on deck with all my personal JK,it was an enticing read...jisike.

  7. Anonymous1:22 pm

    Cool.. I love it. Though marriage is challenging but its also sweet and can be enjoyed if d people involved are committed. Communication is very important in any relationship.

  8. Ada; Thanks, dear :) Your ogili comment got me laughing really hard. Na good analogy be that, jare even though marriage no suppose smell like that tin ;);)
    Thanks for the plenty plenty encouragement.

    Anon 13:22; You're absolutely right. Thanks for your comment and for dropping by :)

  9. I hate long posts but this? I read all the way through excitedly :) You're a good story teller and trully friends and faith in God and 2 things that make this hard, hard life a little bearable.

    God bless you for sharing

  10. Dosh; Thanks for the compliment and for reading all the way through ;) You're so right about friends AND faith in God making life a little more cushy, jare.

  11. Anonymous11:24 am

    I have little patience for long stories but i just couldnt stop till i got to the end.

    A beautifully told story (and very real in out today's world) told by a truly gifted writer (story teller).

    Keep them coming.

    Story, story...........story

  12. Anon 11:24; Thanks so much :) Your story story... story had me laughing.

  13. Colettoo6:10 am

    Chai! Ola u had me thinkin it will end sadly! Thank God I was wrong! Loved every single line! Interesting! Good friendship dey sweet ooo! Way to go gal! Eye on de prize

  14. Coco; Thanks, sweetie. Eyes firmly fixed on the prize ;););)

  15. I never ceased to believe in the value of good friends. Nice one dear.

  16. Emeka; Thank you :):)

  17. Brick's Momma8:51 am

    My favourite sentences here are 'keep on,no matter how long it takes till your efforts yield fruit' and 'we can actually be more with another than on our own'. †нє unfortunate part is relationships can be bring out †нє best or worst in us, †нє difference being †нє choices we make , †нє friends we keep and how willing we are to let †нє past and hurts that we feel go. Give it a chance to work again and again.
    Great job Ola.

  18. Brick's momma; Thanks, girl. Yeah, you got that right, try, try and try again ;)

  19. Olivia2:31 pm

    God bless the work of ur hands. I've been glued 2 d screen 4 d past 3days, just soaking up ur stories. So inspiring! It is so important that couples communicate properly 2 make marriage worthwhile. Good friends are a priceless treasure anyday. Ladies, let's keep cheering each other on. Single ladies, pls work 2wards maturity b4 getting married. Marriage ain't 4 d fainthearted.

  20. Olivia; Thanks, so much for reading and enjoying my stories. I loved your comment too; I couldn't have said it better.
    God bless you too!


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