Here for You
By John Ogunjimi
I returned from the office exhausted from the day’s work and with files of unfinished business in my briefcase. My plan was to get home, have a shower, take a one-hour nap, and resume my office work, as I have had to do in the last two weeks.
However, something unusual happened when I arrived home. My wife was home earlier than usual, seated in the living room coiled up like a cat in a carton with her gaze fixed on the television.
“Hello, dearest,” I said, dropping my briefcase on a stool beside the couch.
“Welcome home,” she replied, sitting up but without really looking in my direction.
There was something about her reply that didn’t seem right. I could tell when my wife was angry about something, but this was not that. It was something else… Something I couldn’t explain yet.
She slouched in the couch, shot me a brief smile and refocused her attention on the television. I moved closer and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “I love you,” I said.
“I love you too.” She smiled and returned her attention to the screen before her. She was glued to it moving her eyeballs like one tracing a laser light on a projector screen.
I shifted my stare from her to the television. She was watching the Sound of Music.
“Great old classic,” I commented while removing my cufflinks.
“Hmm,” she replied curtly.
I made to move away but hesitated when I noticed she didn’t say anything or even look in my direction. Was something wrong, or was she just engrossed in her movie? I wondered.
I came closer again, and this time I sat beside her. She sat up and placed her head on my shoulder. I put my arm around her, squeezed her shoulder gently, and stroked my fingers through her hair. She exhaled loudly like someone relaxing into scarce comfort, then she put one hand around my back and placed the other on my chest as if to feel my heartbeat.
“Sweetheart, are you alright?” I asked.
“I’m fine,” she replied in a way that didn’t sound any fine, her attention still on the movie.
I paused for some seconds before trying to talk again. “If there is anything you w–” I was saying when she slid her hand from my chest to my mouth and stopped my lips with one finger.
“Shhh. Everything is alright, my love. You don’t have to say a thing. I just need you to sit here with me, watch with me, and laugh with me.” She looked up into my eyes like she was expecting a consent. “Like old times, you know?”
I nodded, took a deep breath, ran my hand through her hair again, and replied, “I’m here for you, darling. Like old times, I’m here for you.”