HEATHER AND HER HUSBAND (SHORT STORY) #1
This is a fictional story of marriage and how relatives can get involved in it. The character of the relatives will determine if their involvement will serve for good or for ill. Enjoy!
#1 AUNTY WOMAN
Heather was not surprised to see a light in her son’s room when she tiptoed to check on him around 10 p.m. Junior was reading with a flash light again, she told herself with a smile. I think I have a professor on my hands. Heather switched on the light and found that this time, Junior was not reading. He was admiring a drawing he had done. It was of a puppy (terrier-like). She had to admit it was good but she sensed her son’s emotional attachment to the drawing. He probably wants a pet, she thought, but decided to ask him anyway.
“Junior, you should be sleeping by now. Why are you awake drawing a dog?”
“I’m sorry, Mum,” he replied, with a shrug that said, “I just had to do this.”
“Mum, can you buy me a dog just like this tomorrow?
“But I’ve told you you can’t have a pet till you’ll be able to take care of it. That won’t be for a couple of years yet,“ she reminded the four-year-old, ruffling his curly brown hair.
“Oh, no! This is not for me, it’s for Aunty Woman,” Junior disclosed.
“Aunty Who?” Heather asked, sitting on the bed.
“Aunty Woman. Her birthday is tomorrow and I want to give her a special gift.”
“Junior, you know better than that. Woman is not a person’s name.”
“It is too! Uncle JP told his friend on the phone that Daddy like Woman too much. He said he bought the aunty a Lexus for her birthday and he will give it to her tomorrow at Silver Point. Do you know where that is? I want to surprise her with my own special gift.”
Heather was speechless. She wanted to remind her son that it was wrong to eavesdrop; she wanted to correct his bad English, “It’s likes, Junior, Daddy likes Woman,” but she was too shocked by what she’d heard.
“Please, Mummy, say you’ll buy the puppy for me,” he pleaded, overwhelming her with his hazel eyes.
“But you have never met this Aunty Woman. Why are you even calling her Aunty and how do you know she will love a puppy?”
“Duh, Mum, everyone loves a puppy! And Uncle JP called her Aunty.”
“Okay, but can we talk about this in the morning? You really have to go to sleep.”
After tucking her son in, switching off the light and gently shutting his bedroom door, Heather could only walk about ten steps before her legs nearly gave way. Leaning on the wall, she slid to the floor and began to weep.
For one thing, tomorrow was not her birthday. For another, her husband, Pago, claimed his business was in the red and had her picking up more than her fair share of the family’s bills. She ran an online fashion shop which did well before but family expenses were almost rendering it insolvent. She didn’t have so much as a Mini Cooper at the moment, having decided to stop getting financial help from her dad, but Pago was planning to gift a Lexus to some woman. Bringing his cousin, JP (short for JohnPaul) to the US to live with them had turned into a blessing in disguise, she told herself. Otherwise, how would she have discovered that her husband was having a ball at her expense?
The shock was slowly wearing off as she realised the signs that he was in a serious relationship with another woman, not just another fling, had been there. She just wasn’t paying attention. He often had a faraway look in his eyes but she thought it was the pressure of his business troubles. Also, he hardly paid her compliments anymore and had come up with the idea of separate bedrooms a while ago. But the real red flag was that he was often too tired for sex. Who has ever heard of a man too tired for sex, five days in a row, she asked herself. And a Black man to boot! How could I have missed that?
Heather believed that Black men were the most virile men on earth and had reserved her heart for them. She dated a few before she settled for Pago although their relationship had been tumultuous from the start. But the sex was wonderful, sweeter in fact when they made up after their numerous rows, so she said “Yes” when he proposed two years after he graduated from college.
As she mused, Heather became angry. She got up and marched to her husband’s bedroom where he was snoring gently. She felt like shaking him awake and confronting him. But she didn’t want Junior to wake up and see them fighting as they often did before he was born. She had promised herself that she would protect her son from the trauma of watching his parents fight and had been so forbearing. What she didn’t know was that Pago was deep in his old game of cheating and lying, she lamented. She turned and quietly left the room.
The SilverPoint Hotel! That hangout of the rich and decadent on the other side of Houston was going to witness one h&#l of a fight tomorrow, she decided. She went to her room and sent a text message to her sister, Andrea, to come and pick up Junior in the morning. Then she reached above her wardrobe and brought down a hard plastic case containing her Glock. Someone is going to be sorry for messing with me tomorrow, she told herself, as she lay down.
“Someone will be very sorry tomorrow,” she repeated in an icy voice.
To ensure that her dark prediction came true, she got up and went to the pool house where JohnPaul stayed.
He was shocked to see her there dressed in nothing but a flimsy cotton night dress. As he was wondering what she was up to, she asked him a most unexpected question.
“When is Pago meeting his girlfriend at SilverPoint tomorrow?”
JohnPaul took a look at Heather’s wild green eyes and realised why Pago often called her a crazy White bi#ch. But he also knew that this “crazy White bi#ch” was behind everything Pago had achieved in the US- his degree in economics which she helped pay for, his green card that set him above illegal immigrants, his business connections, even this exquisite European style house in which they lived was a wedding gift from her dad (a real estate mogul).
JohnPaul also remembered how Heather had encouraged him after he lost both parents to diabetes and hypertension due to his meagre pay as a lecturer in a private university and how she convinced Pago to invite him over, claiming he was his sibling. He considered himself loyal and felt that Heather had earned it.
“7 p.m.,” he replied. “That will give him time to drive home and change after work,” he added but Heather was already walking back to the house.
A chill crept through JohnPaul. “God, please help me! What have I done? How did she even find out?”
-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2021
Hi! Kindly share your reactions to this story in the comments.
***How do you think Heather should handle the problem in her marriage?
***Do you think JohnPaul did well to give Heather the information she asked for?
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