Guest Writers Short Story

Matilda’s cross – By Sharon Imarhiagbe

Matilda woke up to a disturbingly high-pitched hum coming from the television. She reached for the remote controller which was seated beside her. After reducing the volume of the television, she checked the time from the clock hanging lazily on the wall.

“Past midnight,” she confirmed.

It wasn’t the first time Kingsley, her husband, would come home late. Matilda recalled a time when he would stamp a kiss on her lips in the morning and come rushing into her arms at night. She missed the times when he would call her over the phone to say nothing in particular. He was content just hearing her succulent voice and she was glad to be his queen. She returned to the present, pointed the remote controller in the direction of the television and switched it off.  Shifting her weight to her side, she picked herself from the sofa and went to check on Adrian.

Adrian was the only reason she was still holding on to her less-than-three-year-old marriage. She opened the door and entered his room with the agility of a cat. She didn’t want to wake him.  Matilda directed the light from her phone to his bed and was content he was sound asleep. He looked so happy in the company of his toys. 

Matilda smiled as she took her mind back to the day Adrian was born. The excruciating pain of labour was replaced with the joy of motherhood. Not long after Adrian was born, she began to notice odd behaviours from Kingsley.  Although the doctor had advised they stayed away from sex for a while, she was surprised that her husband didn’t make an attempt to explore her secret place.  Matilda recalled some ladies gossip that a man who didn’t have sex at home was probably having it outside. Those words flew around her head several times but she didn’t allow them land there.

Time went by and Matilda could no longer take it, she confronted Kingsley.

“Why have you refused to sleep with me for over a year now?”

Kingsley made some excuse about how time had passed so quickly and then he had been very busy with work.  

Flimsy excuses, she thought.

She was now convinced more than ever that her husband was having an affair. Matilda never imagined that she would be one of those women that would feel insecure. She needed to know for certain if her husband was cheating. What did her husband so desired that he didn’t find in her? Matilda hired a private investigator to confirm her suspicions. A few weeks of investigation and Matilda was presented with a shocking revelation.  Her husband was indeed having an affair and the ‘woman’ was a man.

Kingsley had introduced Kunle to her as his secondary school friend, they had lost contact for a long time but only reunited around the time Adrian was born. She wouldn’t have believed her husband was gay if she hadn’t seen the pictures of he and Kunle having sex.

As she looked at all the evidence, she began to put the pieces together. Kunle and her husband regularly had awkward conversations on phone, there was even a time they travelled together and shared the same room.

She secretly wished he was cheating on her with another woman. At least then she would be able to compete, but how would she compete with another man ? she wondered.

Discussing the matter with her parents was totally out of it. The only reason they allowed her to marry Kingsley was that she insisted strongly. They never really liked him. She didn’t what to go to the Church, she was sure they would prescribe prayers and then go behind her to gossip about her situation. She felt helpless, hopeless and duped.

There was a knock on the door, she hurriedly stepped out of the room making sure she didn’t wake her little boy. After she confirmed it was her husband, she undid the locks and allowed him in.

“Babe, sorry I am late”  

 Matilda listened to him disinterestedly and locked the door behind him.

“Ehen, Kunle said I should greet you,” He added, casually, and then walked away.

A tear drop made its way to her eyes as she pondered on the web of deception she was entangled in. How could she fight for the love of a gay husband? Why did he propose to her if he knew he was gay? Would it be best to request for a divorce? She struggled with many thoughts.

The only thing that made sense in that moment was to cry and that was exactly what she did. She switched off the light, fell into a sofa and cried.


Photo credit: Atoubaa