The alarm goes off at exactly 5.00am. He turns on his side and taps his wife. ‘Honey, go and get the kids ready.’ ‘Aren’t we forgetting something here? Today is the day you are wife for one day. So, off you go.’ Madam rolls over to get one more hour of sleep. Mr hops out of bed. First challenge?
It takes forever to persuade children to get out of bed especially if the next bus stop is the bath. Today is particularly not good.
Daddy does not know how to coo or do early morning deals with Junior. Worse still, the water is not hot enough because daddy did not know he was supposed to switch on the heater before commencing the get-outof- bed routine. Thankfully, without any casualty, bath time is over . At the breakfast table, he finds out that Junior won’t take Cornflakes because Benita is doing so.
He wants ‘Coco pops’. She wants Milo. He wants fruit juice. Half of everything still ends up uneaten. Is this how these kids waste my money? He asks himself. Well… Madam is down, ready for a quick breakfast. ‘Can I just have a toast and coffee, please?’ She asks, like a husband.
He slaps her with his looks. She slaps him right back with a mocking grin. ‘Hurry up darling, am running late for my first appointment.’ She rubs it in. He dashes off to get ready after serving the coffee with a slice of burnt offering which he must think is toast.
‘Is my lunch packed, darling?’ she calls after him, trying not to laugh. ‘Lunch, what lunch? I’m also running late. Silifa will pack something for you.’
‘Is the maid now in charge of my food?’ She smothers a full-throated laughter ‘She won’t poison you and I’ve got a job to go to too.’
He shouts back. ‘Okay love. Just be down in time to see the kids off to the school bus. Have a great day at work and don’t forget to call Aunty Romoke about the catering arrangement and ‘aso-ebi’ for her daughter’s wedding next weekend.
The kids are laughing and so is Silifa. This wife-for a- day drama is better than Big Brother Africa. ‘Daddy actually wore an apron’ ‘…and he made our breakfast.’
He drags himself into the house at 8pm, tired and ready to drop. All he wants is a good warm bath and a hot dinner, in that order.
He’ll get them but not so quick. But this wife for one day is not going to get his shower, cold or warm now. He’s going to have to find out why Junior’s counters are all over the floor of the sitting room and why Benita’s teddy bear is sitting on the piano.
He rushes into the kitchen, still screaming, with the bag of groceries he’d stopped over to buy at the market. He opens the freezer only to discover that it is switched off.
His ogbono soup is spoilt and he thought he’d leave cooking till the weekend. How could the silly house girl switch off the freezer for God’s sake? “Silifaaa!’, he screams harder ‘Sorry ma, it was when ‘NEPA took light’ that I switched everything off and I forgot to switch it back on. I’m sorry ma.’ If looks could kill, Silifa would have died right on the spot.
What is he going to do give ‘this man’ for dinner now? He was banking on that ogbono and poundo yam. Now this foolish girl has ruined it…
His phone rings. It’s Madam. ‘I’m stuck in traffic and hungry enough to eat a cow. I’d like that delicious ogbono soup and ground rice. See you soon dear.
You see his life now. She has to want ogbono tonight of all nights. Junior chases Benita into the kitchen, both of them grabbing each of their dad’s legs.
‘He beat me’. ‘She poured water colour on my book.’ He tries to make peace as he retrieves her legs from the warring parties.
He sets about the ogbono and ground rice. One hour later, dinner is ready. He’s still in his Hawes and Curtis shirt. Time to check the children’s home work.
He packs their books into their bags. Next on the list of to-do is tomorrow’s breakfast for the children.
Cereal, juice and fruits. He makes a mental note ; buy more apples and noodles and Ribena. Wife strolls in and falls into a couch.
He takes her bag and jacket and returns with a glass of water. She grunts a thank you and goes to have her bath. He serves the dinner. At the table she finds out he is not eating. He has just a glass of juice in front of him. ‘Why aren’t you eating? Are you okay?’ She asks. ‘My dear, I’m just tired.
All I want to do now is sleep. God, it’s been one long day.’ ‘You should try and eat something, you know?’ She gets up while he clears the table. He reminds her of the house keeping allowance for the month. ‘I’ll write the cheque before I leave for the office in the morning?’ ‘No, I don’t want a cheque. Please give me cash.
ow I hate going to the bank? ‘Well, that means you’ll have to wait until I have the cash.’ ‘Please, the kids need some things and that can’t wait. We’ve run out of noodles and Ribena. There is no stockfish, no snail. What am I going to cook with? Or you want to start eating red meat?’
‘In that case, use your money. I’ll refund you.’ ‘Not on your life. Since when did refund become a concept that works in this house?’ ‘Since now.’ ‘
This is not a joke.’ ‘And I am not laughing. In fact, your money problem is disturbing my Channels news. Can we talk about this later? Thank you.’ He stalks off into the bedroom. Oooooh God, the bedroom looks like a hurricane just swept through it.
Her pants and bras are in a heap on one side of the bed and his own boxers and handkerchiefs on the other. Four trous
er suits are at the foot of the bed choking his best tie and the dressing table is a mess of jewellery and perfume bottles. She does this every morning. She simply can’t make up her mind on what suit or wrist watch to wear until the bed looks like we are having a sale. His back aching, he sets about cleaning and clearing. He’s the one who made the rule that the house help must never clean their bedroom.
Is this what she does every day? He soon restores some semblance of sanity to the area. Before his head hits the pillow, he’s snoring. Then, he feels something soft, or two soft things rubbing against his back and warm fingers on his chests…
He tries to turn but his back is killing him. His head has a battalion of soldiers marching back and forth inside. ‘Darling please, go to sleep.
My back aches, my head…’ ‘Oh no, you can’t have a headache today. No you can’t. All aches will just have to wait, my love.’
‘Please…’ she purrs and goes to work, pressing the right buttons. Ten minutes later, music is over. An uninteresting duet indeed. He can’t wait to become the husband again.
Are you laughing? I think it’d be really cool to let our men act this wife-for-one-day script. Who wants to take the first shot?
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