Jeff had suddenly returned home from work the next day and seemed to be in the worst of moods, he wasn’t his usual cheerful self. He snapped at poor Jojo when she ran towards him to give him a welcome hug and frightened her further when he stormed upstairs slamming the door behind him without saying a word to Lara who had paused her cooking and stepped out of the kitchen to welcome him. She hurriedly picked a crying Jojo from the ground and tried to pacified her with kisses as she wondered what was wrong with him. He had never snapped at Jojo in the past, not even when she did the naughtiest things and for the first time since they got married he came back home without acknowledging her presence in the house, not even with the two letter word “hi”. She knew there was something terribly wrong and part of her was afraid to find out what it was, she had sensed a bad omen since Jeff left for work that morning but couldn’t explain why.
After checking to make sure she could leave the food she was cooking for a while without it getting burnt, she prepared a cup of milk and grabbed some cookies from the cabinet for Jojo putting her down in front of the tv to watch cartoons while she snacked happily on them. “That’d keep her busy for a while” she thought running up the stairs to meet Jeff. She always liked to treat Jojo to at least one glass of milk everyday because her late mum always used to tell her how milk was the only drink that contained all the nutrients needed for children’s growth and always told her stories of how mothers that didn’t give their children milk every day ended up having children with Kwashiorkor. She remembered how she would joke about not wanting her grandkids to have big heads with potbellies and tiny legs.
Although her mother had always said this jokingly, she did have a point. Kwashiorkor is a nutritional disorder caused by a very serious lack of protein in the diet, it is seen more commonly in children in developing countries where the diet is high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Children that have kwashiorkor can be seen to have some of the physical characteristics my mum joked about including hair discoloration and dry skin. Of course, all these traits don’t develop overnight, so to avoid such from happening to your children, you need to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients in the right proportion in their food.
As soon as she got to her room, she opened the door to see Jeff standing in front of the mirror attached to the dresser in their room and staring at himself while leaning forward with both hands against the table like he was trying to kiss his reflection. “Is everything okay?” She asked walking towards him, he ignored her and continued to stare at the mirror, “what’s wrong?” She asked placing her hand on his shoulder, almost immediately, he moved his shoulder and let her hand fall to the table not minding whether she would get hurt or not. She couldn’t think of any reason why he was acting so strange, he had never been this cold towards her in a long while; she tried to remember if she did anything to offend him earlier before he left for work but the only thing she could remember was him kissing her and reminding her that he loved her like he did everyday before he left the house.
“Please tell me what I’ve done wrong, your silence is killing me” she begged.
“The company has just asked me to leave” he finally said after heaving a huge sigh. “What?!” She screamed in shock, “why would they ask you to do that? What happened?” She asked. “They said they can’t afford to pay for my services anymore, apparently my salary is too much for them all of a sudden” he replied with a hint of sarcasm. “But why would they ask you of all people to leave?” She asked concernedly, “isn’t there anyway we can negotiate with them? You know, even if it means you forfeit your benefits” she asked, she didn’t mind if they took away the health insurance and travel allowances or all other amazing benefits, she just needed to know he had a job.
“Company policy doesn’t allow that” he said shaking his head dejectedly as he crashed on the bed with his back, arms wide open, staring at the ceiling.
The job market in the country was saturated with all sorts of overqualified people looking for jobs here and there, her husband was about to join them and she knew what that meant for her. He was the bread winner of their home and his salary was over 5 times what she earned, most of the bills snd upkeep were handled by him, the only thing she did payed for was food stuff and herself. How were they supposed to manage on just her salary? It would be a disaster. Not to mention, Jojo’s school fees that were due in a few weeks time.
“They can’t just send you away like that, it’s criminal!” She exclaimed, “so are you going to take them to court?” He asked sarcastically. She could tell that he was already very irritated from the way he responded to her, “it just that it sounds strange that they’d ask you to leave and not even give any form of compensation when you didn’t do anything wrong” she added, “oh! So now you don’t believe me too” he snapped, “well if you must know, the compensation I was given is only enough to pay off our mortgage for this house and that’s major priority for me now” he said sternly, “I’m sorry, I was just a little overwhelmed by the news” she said giving his back a Pat. “If you’re overwhelmed, then you can only imagine how I feel” he replied. “we’ll be fine” she said, even though deep down she didn’t believe those words herself…
Later that night she woke up to find that Jeff’s side of the bed was empty, he hadn’t gone to bed cuddling her in his arms like he usually did, instead he had rolled over to his own side of the bed and slept. Being such a deep sleeper, she didn’t notice when he had gotten up from the bed. The room was awfully quiet so she knew he couldn’t be in the bathroom, “where could he possibly be?” She thought rubbing her eyes and getting out of bed to find him, it was obvious this job loss had really taken it’s toll on Jeff but she had no idea that it was that bad. She went down to the living room, but he wasn’t there, checked the kitchen but he was nowhere to be found, she began to panic and started calling out his name as she ran back up the stairs to check other rooms, he wasn’t in Jojo’s room and since she had checked every other room in the house, there was only one more room where he could possibly be. She checked the time again, it was past 1 O’clock in the early hours of the morning. In all her years of marriage, her husband had never cheated and she had never for once suspected him of cheating, her sister had worn so much provocative clothing around the house that made her fear he would sometimes fall into temptation but he had never for one day fallen; he had been faithful to her and she could confidently beat her chest and say that anywhere.
Her friends had always warned that it was only a matter of time before something happened between them if she didn’t send her untamable sister out of her house to stay somewhere else but she loved her sister too much to let her out of her sight, she knew that if she stayed with someone else, she might become worse than she was and she trusted her husband with her life especially since he gave his word that he would have eyes for no other woman but her before they got married and she believed him. Deep down inside, there was always this secret fear that she would one day find out that he had been sleeping with her sister all along but she always brush it aside.
Right now she was beginning to realise the possibility of her fears becoming a reality, she became more and more nervous as she walked down the hallway towards Lola’s room, the thought of finding her husband in bed with her sister was enough heartbreak already, just picturing it in her head made her furious, she thought of what she would do if she caught them in the act but the only thing that came to mind was murder, if there was anything she hated to share, it was her husband and any woman that dared to cross the line was going to be made to pay dearly for it….”any woman” she thought with her hands in a fist, “even my sister” she whispered under her breath as she reached the door to Lola’s room forcing it open…..