He sat with his head bowed in the living room. The room was small, sparsely furnished with just three pictures hanging on the wall at corners of the house.
The last rays of sunlight filtered into the house from the window and made patterns inside the house. The center table housed a vase of old paper flowers and a cup of water that his wife had served him earlier when he returned from work. An almost inaudible soundtrack played from the stereo.
“You are still worried.” Akunne said coming from the kitchen which was adjacent to the the living room. She moved to him and touched his shoulder.
“Everything would be fine.” She told him.
She smelt of spices and seasonings and it stung his nose. He looked up at her, through his transparent glasses, he took in her concerned look. They had been married for a year, blessed with a child. She was the love of his life. He was the love of hers.
Her fair skin had been the attracting factor when he had first met her at Ikoyi at a bank opening ceremony. When he approached her, he was not only appealed by her skin color, but by her large heart and big brains as well.
At first, he thought she would disregard him due to her high profile and class. She had told him that her father was the director of Senafine Mortgage Bank, he was just a mere accountant.
When he first asked her out, and she turned him down, but fate played another role when they had met again in Abuja for a banking conference.
“How do we survive now? That’s the question I keep asking myself. How do we take care of Ebere? How long do we have to live here?” He asked. Worry etched visibly on his oval face, his beards were short and unkempt.
“Everything happens for a reason. I could call my father to assist us.”
“No. You can’t do that.” He said looking away from her intent gaze.
“We have been asking him for support. He has been supportive but he has done enough.”
Akunne pressed her lips together. The mood of her husband troubled her, it made her heart race. She wished there was something she could do to help. She resigned from her firm a month before she got delivered of Ebere.
Ever since then, she was been a house wife. She missed working and she still yet have not told her husband of her intention of working for her father.
“He is not complaining, he even wants the best for us.”
“I am his son in law. If you keep asking him for money what impression does it give you? What impression do you think it gives to him?”
Akunne sat down next to him and dropped a hand on his lap.
“You know my father wouldn’t mind.”
“But I do. I mind that my pride is on the line too. Even though he doesn’t tell you, deep down, he would see me as a man who is not fit to look after his daughter.” He took of his glasses and dropped it on the table.
“So what do we do then? I’d have to start work again. Since we haven’t used up all our savings, we could register Ebere with a daycare. I have better chances of getting a job.” She said.
Indeed she had better chances. Daughter of a bank director, two degrees with first class honors and she had even done a masters in the United States.
All he had was his bachelor’s degree and it was in no way better than hers.
“I will submit my credentials to Cyron Holdings tomorrow.”
Akunne opened her mouth to say something but she held it back. The last time she brought it up he had politely turned it down. She knew high ranked personnels in offices and places in the government, but her husband wanted to uphold his pride like he said. She herself knew it felt awkward to refer her husband to people. She wasn’t ashamed of him. He toiled so hard to make sure she fed well. She married him because she loved him and not because she wanted his money.
“I would look out for promising vacancies too.”
He nodded. She leaned closer and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“I have to check the food.”
He watched her as she went back into the kitchen. He was blessed with this woman who would lay down her profile to fight his battles with him. A tiny cry started from the bedroom, he sighed, rose up and walked towards the room on the left.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got him.” He shouted as he lifted the curtain and let it fall behind him.
When her father called her the next day, they were in the living room eating from the plate of steaming rice and stew. She excused herself, leaving Ebere on the chair next to him. He raised an eyebrow and wondered why she had to leave to answer a call. He didn’t bother, but tried to listen to her conversation in the bedroom.
She was inaudible and even the little he heard made no sense.
“Who was that?” He asked lifting a glass of water to his mouth.
“My father.” Her eyes showed nothing but worry and anxiety.
“What does he want?”
She didn’t know how to face her husband now. If she told him she had been talking to her father about their family issues since the past week, he would probably get mad at her. But she only needed someone to talk to, and talking to her father only made things worse.
“He wants me to come back home with Ebere.”
That was all she said. She didn’t say why, she only went back into the bedroom. At the sight of her disappearing frame, the young child cried.