This short story explores the discomfort in society with induced marriages, where both partners are not psychologically, emotionally, or sexually attached. Both partners yearn for a vacuum that will never be filled, a desire that will never be sated.
Frigid was what my husband grunted as he humped on me that night. He thrust and growled, hissed, and mumbled what I had never heard because I shut my eyes and heart from reality; I never wanted to see his cringed brows and pouted lips as he glided in and out of me. I tried to shut my mind too, but it never happened. I was present to feel his manhood wriggle in and out, hot, sizzling pain spanning to all my veins and arteries. My head felt woozy, and I saw the white walls whirl around us, our king-size bed spiraled, and the small bedside table upturned. My head was chaotic, and it seemed like a band group was rehearsing in my head. Thumping. Throbbing.
With a final hiss, my husband climbed down; he had not released yet, and I knew he would bound to the bathroom next to jack off, and he would moan loudly as he did this, probably to spite me, to tell me that his hands were more skillful than I could ever be.
"I can't continue this way. No, Gloria. I must find a way for myself," he grumbled as he sauntered around. I knew he was darting his eyes around for the Vaseline tube I used for my toes. He found it, clenched it like a trophy, and breezed into the bathroom.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped, but he didn’t hear me at all.
A hush fell in my head at last, even as I heard the slurping sound of his hands working on his dick and his soft moans. He became wild after two minutes and growled like an ogre. Whenever my husband was cumming, he became a monster, a vociferous beast who barked and snarled. The few times he did it while inside me, I clamped my ears shut with my palms and shut my eyes so as not to see his distorted face like a child who tasted sour akamu.
"Don't feel bad when I marry a new wife, Gloria," he said when he came out, his hands wet and his eyes beastly red. "I have been faithful to you, always faithful. What did I do to you that you can't satisfy me at night, after a day's toil?" He slid into his trousers, and soon he would be off. I never knew where my husband went each night we had depressing sex.
I wanted to tell him many things: that it wasn't his fault that I lay like a thunderstruck banana sucker each night he climbed me; that it wasn't because he hadn't done right by me; that it was because I didn't feel anything for him; that even his huge, black, curved dick didn't make me crave for mad sex, rather it scared me, made me coil on the bed. I wanted to say so many things, how I used to drive madly through the streets of Lagos when he went off to work, to meet the fair, shapely girls I hooked up with on Facebook - the girls with the big waist and dexterous fingers. But my mouth dried up, and I sucked and sucked my tongue. My lips refused to part. I lay on the bed, naked and miserable.
I wanted to tell my husband that I wouldn't be married to him if, at the age of thirty-two, my mother hadn't stormed my house at Ikoyi every morning to scream that my singleness was becoming a curse; if my father didn't shake his head mournfully as if I were a sad story to draw moral lessons from. Every day, I watched a blanket of hopelessness and longing covering me, longing for a dream that would not see reality, longing because I would never walk down the aisle with Niniola, my girlfriend, who built castles in the air with me. But I didn't tell, and I married my husband.
Three weeks later, my husband brought his new wife, a brown-skinned girl with brown eyes that seemed to penetrate one's mind and search for things. Her hair was cut in afro style, and my husband introduced her as Oge. Her hips were well rounded, and her elegant legs fitted in the blue denim jeans. Her boobs were full in the tight red top she wore. I fought hard to take my eyes off them.
My husband had settled her bride price because he thought that sleeping with a woman who hadn't paid anything was illegal and adulterous.
I smiled, a very weak, piteous smile. Pity because my husband was the nicest man any woman would straddle to her chest. Pity because his eyes searched for what I felt when he introduced the new wife. I knew he would cuddle me in bed later tonight to plead because it was never his intention to hurt me. I knew my husband didn't deserve what he got from me, but I couldn't leave him either because my mother yelled over the phone three days before asking when she would be here for omugwo. Everything was about my mother.
The new wife settled in, and we blended like salt and oil in a soup. I heard my husband howl in the other room in that characteristic way, and I heard the slapping sound. I wondered what position they tried each night. I imagined her on him, wiggling her waist, clutching and pressing her breasts, and her eyes dreamily shut. I wanted to feel something, a rage inside me when my husband would trudge into the room afterward, breathing hard and his dark skin glistening with sweat. I wanted to jump off the bed, rush into the other room and strangle the new wife, but anytime I thought of the new wife, I softened, and something kept melting in my chest, dripping into my stomach. I felt a freeness anytime he stayed out late to creep into the new wife's room. I felt something dislodge from my chest anytime I heard his loud moaning.
My husband was still good; he still tried to see if I could respond now with a rival in the picture. He felt I would roil up my sexual hormones to yearn for him now that I had to share him. But I was still stiff, frigid, looking at the ceiling when he slid in. I would never agree to climb on top of him as the new wife did.
The new wife always stared at me lusciously anytime we were alone. She was equally sweet, trying to strike a conversation whenever our husband left home. I never understood the stares, the licking of her lips afterward, and one day, she brushed her hands against my buttocks in the kitchen. I swirled and met her eyes. They were the dreamy eyes of one desirous of something they never had or felt. I was stunned, suggestions popping up in my head. She acted normal again, opening and slamming shut cupboard doors. I grunted and discarded the suggestions, and, just when things were about to glide into normalcy, she grabbed my butt as I bent to pick the knife. She pressed and straightened me, and I felt her lips on my ear lobes.
"I knew you had wanted this for so long," she whispered. "Get it now, baby." Her voice was so sensual I loosened up, and soon my nipples were in her mouth. She sucked and sucked, her hands pushing down my bum shorts.
When she knelt before me to plunge her tongue into my clitoris, we heard our husband's car honking. We hastily disengaged, and I turned to the tomatoes I was chopping. My husband came into the kitchen with a turgid dick and winked at the new wife. He mumbled greetings to me and held the waist of the new wife.
"Let's wait till when I'm done here. The food will burn," the new wife protested, wriggling out of his hold. He whispered that he was terribly hungry and couldn't wait for her to come up. I glanced at his trousers. His dick nodded as he left the kitchen.
The new wife smiled conspiratorially at me. She sneered at our husband and tittered now. Her laughter was sardonic, and her eyes held mockery in them. Mine was piteous, always, ever. I shook my head. My husband had lost again.
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