The Caller

With the keys loose in my hands, I wonder whether unlocking the door and stepping inside is worth it or whether I should go with what my gut is saying and simply turn away. Recently, nothing had been drawing me back here, apart from the fact it’s a permanent place to sleep, but even that I’ve had to question whether it was really worth it? The flame that was once ignited and alight a few years back has most definitely died out. But yet we still smile, put a façade on, not only to others but also to ourselves. It doesn’t help the situation, and maybe in the back of my mind for some unbelievable reason, I feel as though it’s the easiest option; another action I’ve questioned myself on for several months now.

I sigh and put the key into the lock of the door. This had become a ritual; nearly every night after work, I’d find myself slumped and lethargic always questioning why I’m at this door every night. And every night I find myself unlocking the door and entering with a cheer in my voice that never was there previously, but all in an act that my wife and I had coaxed.

“Evening Martha!” I loosened my tie and placed my briefcase on the ground near the umbrella stand and hung my key onto the key holder, placed just beside the coat hangers. I shrugged my coat off of my shoulders whilst using my ears to predict where she was. There were no footsteps in the front room; neither was any sound coming from upstairs, so with that in mind I made my way into the kitchen. It was only until I started making my way towards the corridor, did the aroma of mince and meatballs make its way into my nostrils. I lingered just a little longer, remembering how hungry I was until I got to the kitchen.

There she stood, in a big T-shirt that I used to wear until she’d claimed it, with headphones on, swaying her hips to the music. It took a while for me to comprehend what I was witnessing. It had been months since I last saw my wife this way, and it felt odd. Maybe the love that should have been there from the start was making a way back into my system, and that feeling was beyond foreign. The way she stirred the mince with not only her hands but also her hips had me itching to run towards her and shake her asking her what went wrong between us. I took a step further into the kitchen, with my eyes fixed on her and unfastened my shirt button. Seeing my wife like this, in a light I was so sure had died, began to make the impossible possible in my mind. So what if things hadn’t been going right these last couple months isn’t that what was meant to occur in normal marriages? There wasn’t a manual to the perfect marriage or a strict guideline we had to follow in order to ensure our marriage was crystal clear, and thinking about it now, I don’t understand why I panicked so much when things took a turn for the worse. Maybe I should have tried. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up so quickly. Lost in thought, I hadn’t notice she’d turned around, stunned to see me there.

“You nearly scared me half to death!” She said, clutching her chest with one hand whilst the other removed the headphones from her head. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, sorry about scaring you, I was just lost in thought.” She smiled and turned around resuming her cooking, with her music still audible from the headphones. I walked behind her, and gave her a hug. Something I hadn’t done in such a long while, show affection towards her. Even the act was strange to me, but soon enough that feeling dissipated and before I knew it, I’d put my head to her neck and drank her scent in. At first her body was stiff, also aware of the strange notion that I showed her, but sooner or later she stopped mixing the mince and meatballs and rested her head on mine. With no words shared between us, we both knew that whatever was occurring was something to cherish, whether it was something temporarily or going to last, we both knew that enjoying this current feeling was most important. Soon after what seemed like a long amount of time, she turned around and sighed, with her eyes closed.

“Richard, what happened?” She didn’t even need to complete her question because I knew instantly what she was addressing. With her hand on each of my cheeks, I take a deep breath and try to conjure up the best answer to explain our situation.

“I don’t know Martha.” I watched her bite her lip nervously, with her nostrils flaring and her eyelashes slowly turning moist. I hadn’t planned on her crying, I was never too sure what to do when I was faced with an emotional woman, but tonight everything seemed to just fall in place, almost like the gods has finally pitied us and allowed all the pieces to fall, so that our incomplete puzzle could get solved. I wrapped my arms around her waist and placed my forehead on hers.

“It’ll get better Martha, I don’t know why things have gone the way they have, but it’s not the end. I’m willing, I never thought I would be, but I am, and I really hope you are too.” Her eyes opened, allowing a couple of tears to escape. She nodded and sniffed back more tears that threatened to show.

“Will it Richard? Because I’ve been asking myself this question for months now and it never did.”

“I can’t promise you anything Martha, but I will try and that’s more than what I’ve been doing these last few months. If you’re willing to try, then so will I.” With the cards in her hands, she took a deep breath and nodded.

“I don’t mind. I’ve missed you…us.” With tears on her cheek and a sob close to her mouth, I embrace her fully, trying to prove my change. Because I have to be honest with myself, I hadn’t been the best husband, intentionally working late just to avoid Martha, lying about business trips just to get a few days to myself and that’s not even considering the other lies. But, in hope that’s all behind me, I focus on Martha. I pull away from her and wipe her stray tears.

“Don’t cry,” I look towards the food, “it smells good.” Then it hit me, she looks good, more than just the average good, for some months now she hadn’t enticed me, her appearance had merged with the annoying personality I’d seen and everything had blurred. But now, with things becoming slightly clearer, I could take in her beauty. Her chestnut hair fell passed her shoulders, a sharp contrast to her somewhat pale skin that I always enjoyed watch turn pink or red. Her freckles lightly decorating her nose and cheeks accompanied by a rosy colour, made me smile, it surprises me how long it’s taken me to truly observe and admire my wife. Her plump peach lips, swollen only just a little due to her biting it previously, had all those reasons I married her rush back at me full force. It was too late to right my former wrongs, but at least this was a start. With no hesitation I bent down, only being taller than her by a few inches, give it four of five and kissed her. Eyes closed and heart beating, I grabbed a handful of her hair enjoying the feel of her hair in my hands, the softness between my fingers was like no other. She, reacting in sync with me, grabs my shirt and pulls me closer towards her. Almost as though the proximity between us wasn’t enough, the time we’d wasted wasn’t something we could get back in reality. But between us, we know we had to make up for lost time. Now switching fluids, remembering her taste, I made sure it my personal duty to not let any go to waste. Everything I received was never going to be enough, her scent, her touch, her taste, it wouldn’t amount to the months of separation, but I was sure to make her forget about those years. It was the least I could do and it was written in my vows, so I had to abide by my words and fulfil my promises.

Even air was something I was prepared to sacrifice, just to get more time with her. She pulled away with the only noise being made between us was our attempt in catching our breaths.

“God I’ve missed you.” She said through breaths. Releasing my embrace, I kiss her once more remembering the sharp pain in my stomach.

“I’ve missed you more than you can imagine, and I could take you away here and now, but I want to be sure that when I do make up for loss time, I go for hours and right now I need to restore my energy.” With my eyes fixed on the spaghetti, letting her subliminally know that I’m hungry, she smiles and playfully hits me.

“Go get changed and I’ll make you a plate.” I give her another kiss, which takes longer than planned, but eventually stops as I pull away and dash upstairs, with a newfound hope in my mind. I get to the room and begin to change. Things would have to change, that I’m prepared to do. To be fair, I have to be prepared. This is my marriage on the line and with sense more apparent in my mind; nothing is worth putting my marriage at risk. I can’t actually define when things went wrong between Martha and I, her mother is a little intrusive and it doesn’t help that she involves her in every one of our issues, but that’s a hurdle I’m prepared to address and overcome when the time comes. Right now all that’s on my mind is how I’m about to devour my meal and then my wife.

Buzz Buzz

I reach for my phone in my suit jacket and unlock it, seeing that I have a missed call and a message. I open the message and there, Jennifer’s name pops up. I had a few lies during the months Martha and I were on a break, some worse than others. Jennifer being one of the ones I planned to bury deep in the ground with me. I wasn’t planning to read the message, but as soon as I was about to disregard it another came through, more alerting than the previous one.

Jennifer:

First message: ‘Baby I miss you and I can’t stop thinking about you.’

Second message: ‘I’m not sure with what’s been going on between us recently, but I hope tonight we could rekindle some of our love? Get back at me soon.’

Jennifer was one of my employees whom I worked with on a frequent basis. She just seemed to perfectly fit into my schedule. If she wasn’t working with me constantly, she was asking whether she needed my assistance and as you could imagine I grew very fond of her. Not only was she there, she was something I needed at that time, she enticed me in every way…or so I thought. Day by day her shirt became tighter and her trousers became skirts, which eventually became shorter. The first night I fully noticed her and acted upon it, I was physically drained with the problems at home with Martha, so I decided to stay at work late that night. I had no work to do, but the comfort of my office was better than home. I wasn’t aware that Jennifer had also stayed late, it was only until a knock was at my door and her head poked through the tiny gap between the door and the wall, was when I knew she was still there.

“You alright Richard you seem a little stressed?” I could barely merit a response, I thought I was alone and to find out I wasn’t was a shock. But I told her I was fine, of course that wasn’t enough for her, so she invited herself in my office and decided I talk about my issue. It was the first time I spoke to anyone about Martha, I’m usually the type to keep my own issues to myself, but that night, I guess I was stressed beyond reasoning. Eventually, she offered a back massage.

“Trust me Richard, if I wasn’t working here, I’d earn a good living off being a masseuse.” I chuckled and allowed her to massage me. At first her hands remained on my shoulders, then my chest and slowly my thighs. I couldn’t find it in myself to stop her, it was the first time in a while my penis had awakened, by someone other than porn. One thing led to another and that night I buried myself deep with Jennifer. After that night, I continued to bury myself deep within Jennifer, it was a place of solace and my escapism, I didn’t have to think about work, home or my failing marriage, instead I could just think about how her walls convulsed around me and had me shivering. I knew the risks, not only about my marriage but having frequent sex with a employee was dangerous, but Jennifer seemed to be understanding to those boundaries, so I continued. Before I knew it, I needed Jennifer more and more; I’d call her to meet me in various locations, just to escape again. To think about her had me involuntarily smiling; she was something to remember, but never something to keep. It was only recently, the place I used to go to for solitude began to lose it’s meaning. I could no longer escape in the clasp of Jennifer’s love; instead it was another place of strangulation. She began demanding, requesting for things she had no need in worrying about. Eventually, I grew distant and resumed my position of being stressed and tense, until tonight. Things are starting to work and I’d be damned if a pothole in the road is going to stop me from getting to my destination.

I took my phone and replied back to her text,

‘I think we need to talk, not tonight but later on in the week.’

It didn’t take her long to reply, she was always so responsive.

‘What’s this about Richard? You’re giving me this bullshit line that people throw around when things are coming to an end…’

This wasn’t something I could do over text, it wasn’t even something I wanted to do now, but with the way Jennifer was reacting, had me wondering how bad this could get if I didn’t defuse the situation asap. I went by the staircase and called out to Martha.

“Yeah?”

“I’ll be a few minutes, I have a business call, I won’t be too long, keep my plate warm for me.”

“Sure!” With that I walked back into the bedroom, closing the door behind me and called Jennifer.

“Well Richard?”

“Jennifer relax,” I whispered, “I just wanted to speak with you, I’d prefer to do this on a more personal level, but I could sense you getting agitated via text.”

“Fuck this business like shit Richard, what are you saying?” I could tell this conversation wasn’t going to go anywhere, no matter what direction I tried to attack this matter, the outcome proved to be the same.

“I think, with the way things are going between us-”

“And how’s that Richard, explain that to me? Because in my eyes, you were the one who changed, everything was great…that’s what I thought. And then one day you just lost your spark, so you tell me how things are going, because I was beyond eager to hear your side.”

With a sigh, I continued. “I think we should stick to a platonic relationship.”

“Bullshit Richard! What changed? You wasn’t talking about platonic when we were fucking, you weren’t complaining when I couldn’t speak because I was filled with your-”

“Okay! I understand Jennifer. Things have changed, but they changed even before things got better.”

“What are you referring too when you say ‘things got better’? What with you and Martha huh?” Damn, I didn’t want to bring Martha into this, because I knew that’d just anger her more. I lay on the bed and rolled my eyes, trying to find the words to explain what was inevitably happen between Jennifer and I but I just kept quiet, words failing me.

“So you have nothing to say huh? Well I have loads to say. How dare you do this to me? Do you understand how much I gave you and how much I did for you to use me and throw me aside like a rag doll? I will not be treated like this Richard, I won’t be kept in the dark like a damn secret, I will not! I am worth more than that and you treated me as though I was worth more than that, so I know you love and if it’s fucking Martha that’s got your mind clustered, then we can just clear that by simply telling her about us.”

“What?”

“You heard me, why not let her know about us, because what we have is far more valuable than that shamble of a marriage you were close in ending last month.” I told her far too much during our time together, which is evident now, but making her more angry is not going to help anything. I take a deep breath and try from another angle.

“Okay baby, maybe I was acting irrational, maybe this is just a phase with me and Martha and I don’t want you to feel used, so why not I take you out this Friday after work and we can work on us.”

“No Richard, let her know. It’s about time she knew, what’s the point in hiding anymore – tell Martha you’re done or I will.”

“Jennifer you will not get involved in my marriage, you’ve said enough tonight. Not only have you crossed a line tonight, but you continue to persist with this attitude that you must have assumed I’d take? I don’t, so while I spend tonight with my wife, I want you to relax and tomorrow when I see you at work I want you to speak nothing of this until we’re alone, where I can find a solution.” With that I dropped the phone and sighed in exasperation. I’d let that line of lover and boss get far too clouded and for that reason I had to cut our relationship off. Even though that wasn’t the main reason as to why I wanted to terminate our relationship, it was reason enough for me to tell her, she was beginning to turn into a nuisance, something that she didn’t normally do. However, I’m glad she’s an issue for another day and for now I can focus on the future between my wife and me.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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