Not the one in the bible that stoned and killed the arrogant philistine.
Her David. He was coming home. She smiled.
It had been twelve months. Twelve long, cold, hard, lonely, sad months. She had missed him so much. So damn much. Thinking about how much she had missed him made her feel a kind of pain that was indescribable. Thankfully it was over now. Her David was coming home. She could smile again.
She had been planning his return ever since he called her two weeks ago to confirm that he was finally coming home. He was a Captain in the Nigerian Army and had been serving in a year long peace-keeping mission for the UN in Libya. He was her “Hero”.
Thoughts of him in his military uniform with shiny brass buttons made her so proud. Tonight her Captain was coming home. She loved the sound of that. Her Captain.
She giggled to herself as she stirred the stew she was cooking. She was cooking white rice with stew and plantain. His best meal. Most men loved starchy foods with complicated soups but her David loved rice and never got bored of eating it. He had complained about never getting to eat rice the way he liked it while he was in Libya. Tonight he was going to taste rice again. Better than the way he liked it.
Fourteen months and twelve days ago she had walked down the aisle and said “I do” to the one man she loved more than life. Her David. He was everything she could ever dream of. Everything she had ever hoped for. He was funny. Scratch that, hilarious. He could make the sickest joke out of the most mundane of things. He was nice. Genuinely nice. If David had 1000 naira, he could give out 999 of it and not mind having just 1 naira left. She hated that about him cause it made some of his friends and family take advantage of him but that was David. Take it or leave it. He was such a happy person. There was hardly anything anyone could do or say to dampen his mood. Not that he didn’t have his off days or never frowned but his moods changed because he let them. Never because someone said or did something. He was responsible. So responsible it irked her. He hardly ever left anything undone and when he did, he always had a good reason. He was understanding. So understanding he made excuses for everyone. No matter how obvious the person’s foolishness or stupidity was, David had an explanation that could make you think differently. He made excuses for everyone and everything including their golden retriever, Willy. As if he heard his name in her head, he barked in agreement. She smiled as she turned off the gas as the rice was ready and poured cooking oil in a frying pan to fry the plantain.When she met David two years ago she knew that there was something different about him. Something she wanted to become a permanent part of her life. Something she couldn’t let go of and so she held onto him. Tight. A good number of girls were interested in him and they had good reason. He was 6’5, light-skinned and had a strong-build. He was good-looking too. He had the most amazing smile and funny-looking ears. He said he had been teased about his ears in nursery and primary school but as he grew taller in secondary school, his mates got bored of laughing at his ears. She didn’t care. She loved his ears. His funny-looking ears. She loved every inch of him.
She was done frying the plantain. In fact she was done cooking. She looked at the kitchen clock. It was 7pm. His plane was due to land in thirty minutes and because they didn’t have to go through any hassles whatsoever at the airport being Nigerian soldiers, it would take the Army Bus an hour to drop him off at their home. Good. She had one hour and thirty minutes to get ready to welcome the love of her life. Butterflies fluttered in her tummy. It felt like they were dating again. She hurriedly set the table and proceeded to the bathroom to take a shower. During the past twelve months, she had looked forward to his letters, phone calls, texts, emails and video calls. They were all she had to hold on to. He was allowed to call home once in every two months and send a letter every four weeks but he never used all of his allocated slots as he instead focused on his work and explained how being able to discipline himself and not call home too often stood him a better chance of top ratings and promotions.
He didn’t come home. Not that the Army wouldn’t let him but the only time he was scheduled to have a leave for three weeks, he had an accident in the army truck he was given to drive. It took him four weeks to be restored back to good health. She had never been more scared in her entire life. It had taken him four weeks to fully recuperate. That was one week longer than his scheduled leave. They refused to let him come home for another leave. Stupid army policies. Not that it mattered now. He was coming home today.
She got out of the bathroom and started dressing up. She had gone shopping the week before with her friend Tomisin. Tomi’s husband had been deployed to Liberia two years ago and so she understood what it was like to be an “Army Wife”. Her husband was back home now but Tomi offered to help her “prep” in every possible way for David’s return. They shopped for everything. Foodstuff, home decor to jazz up the house, clothes that hugged her in the right places, shoes that were perfect for any and every occasion, lingerie, scented body oils, body lotions, perfumes and so on. Tomi even helped her pick what she called “the perfect outfit” from the underwear to the dress itself. She wasn’t going to wear it though. Tomi could go a bit overboard sometimes. A leopard print dress and red stilletos weren’t exactly David’s taste. She decided instead to wear a short black dress. It was simple but hugged her contours perfectly and she knew David would appreciate it. She wasn’t going to wear shoes. It was afterall their home and David loved her feet. She wore red lipstick and brushed her long weave then she sprayed some perfume on her neck and wrists and made her way downstairs to touch up the living room and dinner table.
As she adjusted one of the couch pillows, she heard a bus pull up in front of their house. She jumped in excitement then she quickly composed herself and adjusted her dress. She felt like a teenager all over again. Only David had this effect on her. Someone pressed the doorbell. She hesitated. She didn’t know if she should jump on him or gently hug him or scream or kiss him. She was glad she had locked Willy in his cage at the backyard. With Willy and David two things could happen. Willy might not recognise him and in attempting to defend her, might hurt David or Willy might remember David and steal all the attention from her by barking and jumping in excitement. A rush of emotions welled up inside her. Her David was finally home.
She finally made her way to the front door and opened it. There he was, her David. Her eyes moistened. He looked exhausted but strong, his eyes told a tale of the dark evil he had seen and he clutched his bag in his right hand like it was all he had left in the world.“Oh baby…” she whispered. “Welcome home.” She said as she hugged him. He barely hugged her and went straight for the couch, but she put it down to fatigue and took his bag from him and went in. She dropped off his luggage upstairs and wondered why he was cold, “Maybe his favourite meal and some rest will bring him around” she thought to herself. She was barely down the stairs when she heard him yelling, “What’s all this nonsense? Why did you rearrange the whole house? Who told you to do that?” as he forcefully rearranged the settee and media arrangement by himself. She was dumbfounded as to where all this animosity had swelled up from.
She went to the kitchen and served up his meal and took them to the dining table which she had set up for a romantic dinner but this was turning into nothing like it. “Dinner is served, honey”, as she walked up to him as he didn’t hear the first time. She tapped him on the shoulder and he greeted her with a slap, “I heard you the first time and i’m not interested”. It felt like she had been hit by a forceful rush of wind. She blinked as she placed her palm on her now warm right cheek. She wanted to speak but she couldn’t find her voice. She stormed upstairs and slammed the door behind her. He watched her leave without saying a word and went to the bar and poured himself a glass of Jack Daniels. Then he sat down in the living room and sipped from the glass as he reminisced the events of that night:
He was on foot patrol and as soon as he was done he was supposed to be at an army karaoke night/dinner but he had to call his wife who had sent him a letter complaining that he hadn’t called in four months and hadn’t sent a letter in three months. He would rather not do so but he went ahead and told the crew he’ll catch up with them at the hall. About 7km from base he heard a series of gunshots and he ducked behind a car not entirely sure where it was coming from. Suddenly he felt a prick in his back of something cold and then he was told to surrender quietly or risk being shot. He had no choice but to comply. He spent seven excruciating weeks in the enemies lair and he kept wondering why his wife had insisted on him calling her. Couldn’t she have waited a little bit longer? He had only five months to go. Luckily he was rescued after the army chiefs had authorised an exchange seeing as David was a promising agent and had a bright future ahead of him. They never did prisoner exchanges but he was an exception. This is what hurt him, his career would have been cut short because of a five minute phone call.
He blamed her. He loved her but he blamed her.
He drifted into sleep on the couch as he didn’t want to go to the room they shared.
The next morning came and she had barely had any sleep. She had cried to herself and wondered what had happened to her David. She heard him outside and saw him playing with Willy and was glad he had recognised David and she thought to herself that He must be a lot better this morning and went ahead to meet up with him. As soon as she opened the door and stepped on the lawn, He gave willy a nice rub on the head and headed back inside, walking right beside her and not acknowledging her. She wished the ground will open up and swallow her.
She wanted her David back.
He had come back, but he was not the David she knew.
He had changed.
This piece was written by myself and @Ms_BeeA.
Do share with us what you think about the experiences of David and how it changed him.
Is it really his wife’s fault or is he just overreacting?
Can anything be done to restore the relationship to what it used to be?
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