5th year of marriage ma. ”

Eno was taken aback. The woman looks so young.

”You look young, ” Eno said.

”We have that in my family lineage ma. All Im trying to say is, I think it will be nice if you reciprocated his approach ”

”Did Usen tell you anything? ”

”No, he didn ma. He was full of joy just seeing your face and his eyes sparkled a little bit ” Mrs Edith said smiling.

”Please save those special observations of yours and listen to me very carefully. Do not ever butt into my business and how I do my husband is my business. how I look down and look upon him is my business. So please, if you are very hungry and miserable Im sure you can have it. Im serious I wasn joking. You can take it if you so desire it. ” Eno insisted as she ordered Mrs Edith.

” Im sorry Ma for offending you ”

” You
e not offending me.

” I am sorry for speaking out of line. Mrs Edith said.

”Yes let that sink in. You are out of line. ” Eno emphasized

”Im sorry ma. It will never happen again ”

e excused ”.

Eno was angry with her secretary for the first time since she resumed working with her. Mrs. Edith has also never spoken to her about anything personal but it was obvious that Usens dropping off this miserable lunch is stirring up judgment against her.

This was not the first time he was bringing lunch to work but she had hoped that after yesterdays embarrassment at Chief Brians compound, he wouldve learned his lesson and be the responsible man by finding a job. It was obvious to her that he was trying to find money and she will continue to act oblivious to the fact that he might have been sacked from work. Her money was hers and hers alone.

Later in the evening when Eno arrived home, her Husband was nowhere to be found. She got in bed immediately because she ate on her way back from work. She assumed he went somewhere and would return before 8 pm. Usen was not someone who kept late nights.

By 11 pm, Eno woke up to discover Usen wasn around. She was all alone on the bed. She got up and searched the three-bedroom bungalow they lived in. It was strange to her. She called his phone and it was switched off. In a few minutes, Eno began to panic. She was worried about what wouldve happened to her Husband. Without thinking about where he would have been, she went outside and asked the security man.

”Okon, come here! did your Oga tell you he is not coming home today? ” she asked the very sleepy security man.

”I think Oga dressed to go out this evening ”. He replied.

”Excuse me? What did you say? ” Eno asked Okon raising her voice.

”When Oga came back from work, he dress again and went out, ” Okon repeated in his not-too-bright English.

On a Monday evening, Eno wondered where her husband would be. She contemplated several decisions in split seconds. She also took her phone and wondered if she should call her parents but she decided against it because they will yell at her. She couldn call her sister because Uduak might have gone back to school.

All through the night, she wondered what wouldve happened to him. She prayed that God should protect him from all forms of evil. Usen was not the type of man who would disappear without a trace, living his loved ones worried and confused. Finally, after encouraging herself, she managed to sleep off on the cushion in the living room.

At 6 am, she heard the rattling of the enter key and she sat up on the chair. She was expectant of her husband. Usen stepped inside looking tired and you could see his Bible and church note in his arms. He wore a simple shirt, trousers, and a palm. Eno blamed herself for getting worked up over this church boy. However, she was angry that she was not pre-informed of his movement. Hence she decided to make a scene.

”Usen how come you didn tell me a

You would be going to church? ” she began as she got up from the cushion and walked towards him.

”Good morning my beautiful wife ” Usen greeted as he moved tiredly toward the dining.

”Please spare me your pretentious greeting as though you are a good person. You disappeared and got me worried. I came back from work and there was the new message or even a note informing me of your location ”.

”On Mondays, we regularly have fathers and priests pray at night. I went to Pray in church. You shouldve come to church or called the church if you were seriously looking for me. If Im not home or I am not with your parents or at work, then I would be in church. By now, I am you should know that.

It was at that moment, Eno realize that she did not think about the church. Usen was right. He had a predictable pattern and had previously intimated her that he would only be found in those places by the time she was looking for him. She felt remorseful that she never thought of the church and Usen could see it.

”Oh, you never thought about the church right? because you have a new covenant that you don go there anymore ” he chastised her as he sat down.

”Uncle believer please relax ” Eno replied.

”Oh, I will. I just wonder what has happened to you that turned you into an unbeliever overnight ”

”Please I am still a Christian. so relaxe ”

”Are you? Eno Obong Usen are you sure you are still a Christian? are you behaving the way, Jesus Christ would behave? ”

”Please….please. This is too early. I have the office to prepare for Pastor Usen. If I remembered that you would be in church, I wouldn have been this bothered about it. You are here sounding like the resurrected Messiah himself because you have a lot of free time on your hand ”

”Eno, can you hear the way you talk to me? No respect. No polite approach. You talk about me disappearing? How about my wife explain to me that she left this house on Sunday for a birthday party without my approval ” Usen shouted.

”Are you my Jailer? Am I in prison? if you
e my Jailer, please let me know so I will give you notice of everything I do ” she hissed.

”Its called responsibility my love and I am so sure that you
e responsible. Simply telling the person you stay with shows your regard for me, even as your husband. You skipped service to go to a party filled with ladies of questionable character and reputation. A full-blown wild party in the evening without the company of your husband as your escort. Then I saw you in the arms of another, man you
e not married to. Eno, you looked into my eyes and saw no disrespect in it ” Usen exhaled

”Are you suspecting me of cheating? ” Eno yelled.

”I am not. This is because,I know you have sense enough not to disrespect me or disrespect the faith you were raised in. But in recent times, I have taken so much shit from you that I don even think you
e possessed any more. I just think that youve become so rude and mannerless because of some small position. ”

”Usen you can call it a small position.

please tell me what is your position. ” Eno challenged.

”Money or position should not change you Baby. Besides, I just had a wonderful night in the presence of God. let me go and rest. ”

With that, he walked into the room, and Eno in turn hurried up and dress up for work.

When she arrived at work, she complained to Jessica about her husband stressing her out. Jessica told her that Usens ultimate goal is to control her and once that happens, her life of joy was over.

When she returned home in the evening, Usen had dinner on the table for the both of them.

As she entered the house, she wanted to ignore him but she couldn because she was seriously hungry. she went to the table and washed her hands.

”Good evening my darling ” he greeted⁴⁴ smiling. Usen always managed to be polite in several circumstances.

”Good evening ” she grudgingly responded. She quickly dug her hands into the Afang soup and Eba. The portions of goat meat and snails were so inviting. Uduak indeed made a sumptuous meal. She finished her portion in no time and Usen dished another for her.

”I can see you
e very hungry and tired. I already turned on the water heater so you can go shower and sleep okay ” Eno nodded like a baby.

”Thank you, ” she said. Indeed Usen was a very thoughtful husband. He has always prioritized her well-being she thought. But she didn want to be controlled. Maybe if he asked her for a little cash she would give him she said in her heart.

In the middle of the night, Eno stood up to urinate and discovered her husband was not in the bed. She heard his voice in the living room and was curious to know what he was doing. She tiptoed there and found him kneeling and praying.

She quickly turned back and walked into the room to sleep. it was obvious He was praying for a business breakthrough. This made her wonder what sort of a person is this?

She was tempted to ask him about his office but she was not willing to become a financial contributor at this age.

In the morning she hurried to work and at the gate of the bank, she saw Mrs. Ediths husband kiss her on the cheek, and how she laughed. 15 years of marriage together and they looked good.

”Good morning ma ”

”Good morning Mrs. Edith ”

”Is that your husband? ” Eno asked.

”Yes ma. He is taking the children to school ”

” You have kids? ” Eno asked in shock

” Yes ma. three of them ”

”Wow you look so young ”

”Oh yes we had our kids early to plan our finances in order not to be under pressure ”

”What does your husband do? ”

”Oh my Husband has three Clo thing shops here in Calabar and two shoe shops in Lagos ”

” wow thats nice ”

”Thank you so much ma. when I have worked enough I would join him in advancing our band ”

”Thats impressive ” Eno complimented.

”Oh thank you ma. It takes planning together ”

Mrs. Edith said as she walked inside the bank. The rest of the day went well until Enos father gave her a call. At first, she didn want to pick up the phone as it rang but she managed to.

”Hello daddy ”

”Are you sure I am your father or I am your houseboy! ”

”Daddy good Afternoon sir. Please don talk like that ”

”Will you shut up?!! ” The old soldier thundered. Eno shivered as her father has always been a firm disciplinarian.

”I am talking to you and you are telling me not to sound like that ”

”Am sorry sir ”

”Sorry for yourself. When was the last time you saw me with your eyes? If not that I had a son in Usen, a lot of things will go wrong in my life. ”

”Daddy I am sorry I have not been around. I have been quite busy ”

”Oh yes. You are now the only banker in Calabar? ”

”I didn mean it that way ”

”You see This attitude of yours, it Will rob you so much of all that is dear to you and I pray you will recover it……

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