Sofia pushed the wedding album she’d been flipping through for the last hour aside and sat up in the king-sized bed. Bored with the television, she’d retired to the bedroom a couple of hours earlier to pass time while waiting for her husband to come home and the pictures had provided a needed distraction. It was late to be out on a weeknight and none of her numerous calls to his mobile phone had been answered.

At exactly five minutes past the hour of twelve, he walked in with a smile as if it was the most natural thing in the world to return from work at such an ungodly time. His countenance however changed on seeing she wasn’t asleep.

‘Hi,’ he said gruffly. ‘I expected that you’d be sleeping by now. It’s late you know.’

Sofia managed to swallow her anger and frustration just in time.

‘I was waiting for you. You could have called you know, or answered one of mine, at least to let me know you’re alright.’

He pulled off his jacket and unceremoniously dropped it in a heap in the corner. Next, he did the same with his trousers and then his shoes. Everything went into one untidy pile, right there on the floor. She knew he did so on purpose, knowing how much she hated leaving stuff lying around on the floor, but she refused to take the bait.

“Of course I was alright, why wouldn’t I be?’ he asked nonchalantly. ‘Today won’t be my first time of returning late to this house, and this is not even the latest I’ve ever been so why the fuss? How many times have I told you to go to bed whenever you feel like it irrespective of whether I’m back or not? You just like worrying your head unnecessarily. I’m not a kid you know, I can take care of myself.’

She took a deep breath to steady herself before she responded.

‘So you think I can sleep when my husband is not back from work by midnight? Come on JJ, what kind of woman does that? What if something happened to you? You think I’ll be able to explain to the world how I went to sleep without knowing the whereabouts of my husband? Haba!’

Her voice had risen a bit by the end of the sentence so she paused and breathed deeply again, then continued in a much lower tone.

‘Anyway, thank God you’re back. How was work? Do you want dinner? I kept it warm for you.’

He shook his head.

‘Thank you, but no dinner for me. I had something to eat just before I left the office so I’m perfectly fine.’

He was lying. She knew his office didn’t have a canteen, but she let that slide and watched as he yanked his towel off the hanger and ambled into the shower, whistling softly to himself. The door closed quite firmly behind him.

Sofia didn’t need a diviner to tell her there would be no further conversation tonight and she groaned inwardly. From his recent routine, she also knew he would hit the bed and be asleep in seconds once he came out of the bathroom, and would most probably be gone again before she woke up in the morning. Why she’d waited for him to return was because she was ovulating and in the mood to try for a baby. All her careful preparations were in vain.

She sighed as she put off her bedside lamp, arranged her pillow in place, turned her back towards the emptiness of his side of the bed and pulled the duvet up to her chin. This was definitely not the picture of paradise her mother had painted of marriage.

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