I saw her smelling my clothes while washing them. She will pick my shirt, bring it to her nose before she dips it in water. she didn’t smell the trousers. Only the shirts. I was standing there looking at her. She didn’t know I was looking at her. She did the same thing for all my shirts until she finished washing them. I didn’t ask questions. The next weekend too I stood in the window and looked at her doing the same thing. I called her name, “Bee, what are you doing? You’ve been smelling my shirts. Are they smelling bad?”
She didn’t answer. Went ahead washing the things as if she didn’t hear what I said. She was three months pregnant then. I said, “Last week too the same thing happened. I was watching you. You smelled all my clothes before putting them in water. Is anything the matter?” She answered, “Nothing is the matter. I just feel like smelling something. Do you have a problem with that?” Her mood changed. She didn’t talk the whole day. She walked around the house looking miserable and tired. I kept asking what the problem was but she kept telling me everything was fine.
Then came the night. She was lying next to me in bed. The light was off and we were about to sleep. She tapped me: “No, don’t sleep. I have something to tell you. Go and switch on the light and let’s talk.” I asked, “Can’t we talk in the dark? I can hear you so keep talking.” She got up, went to the switch, and put it on. She said, ‘I want to see your face as we talk. Tell the truth. Are you cheating?”
We’ve been married for three years. Before God and man, I’ve never looked at any woman since we got married. When I see a beautiful woman, I compliment her in my head. Maybe I will say something like, “Some of God’s creations are indeed beautiful.” That’s how far it goes. I’ve never desired after any woman and I’ve never felt that my wife isn’t enough. It’s always been her. I close from work and I’m home before she even gets home. Sometimes she will come and meet me cooking evening meals. She will then join me in the kitchen so we cook together. On weekends, I don’t go anywhere. If it’s a wedding I need to go, I go with her. Same with funerals. And these things are planned long before they happen. I didn’t understand her question that night. I probed further.
“You think I’m cheating? What gives you that impression?” I asked with a shaky voice because the question really got the best of me. She answered, “If you think you’re not cheating, remove your ring let me see something.” I said, “Bee, are you alright? What have you heard and what have you seen? Who are you talking to? What has come in your head to make you believe that I’m cheating?” She yelled, “Just remove your ring. Go ahead, remove it.” Before I could say, ‘Jack’, she had already reached for my finger and removing the ring. I asked her to leave me alone so I could remove it for her. I removed the ring and placed it in her hands. I asked, “Even if I was cheating, how could you see that in a ring?”
She answered, “I’m not asking you to give me your ring. Let me see the ring finger. If you’ve been wearing it all the time, the ring scar should be there.” She took my finger, turned on her phone’s torchlight, and started inspecting my finger. She said, “You see I’ve caught you. Where is the ring scar? Why don’t you have any scar on your finger? You wear it in the house when I’m here. You take it off when you’re outside so you can go after other women, right?”
I have a tinny finger. The only thing that keeps my ring in place is my thick knuckle. My ring is always loose on my finger and she knows it. Everything that was happening that night was strange to me. I tried to explain it to her: “Bee you knew from day one that my ring isn’t tight around my finger. The day we tried it on you saw it. I’ve come close to losing it twice. You’re aware of all that. What has come over you?” She mumbled while lying on the bed, “So you’re telling me that I don’t take good care of you, right? You haven’t grown big since we got married because I don’t take good care of you. Is that the reason you’re out there chasing sluts? Whoever you’re chasing, tell her to use good perfume because she smells like a dead cockroach. You don’t even go after classic women.”
She pulled the cloth on herself trying to go back to sleep. I wasn’t ready to let her go. I needed an explanation. The whys and the hows. I pulled off the cloth. “Bee talk. How did you arrive at that conclusion? It’s strange and I want us to discuss this to the very end before we sleep.” She responded, “I’ve told you already. Pick women who know how to keep their skins clean. The ones you’re moving around with are carrying bad scents and I can smell them from here.”
Then I remembered that weird attitude she had picked recently. Smelling my shirt before putting them in water. I told her, “Tell me I’m smelling and I would do something about it. Whatever scent you pick from my shirt is mine and no one’s.”
I bought a perfume. (I’m not a perfume person) I changed my roll-on and even changed my hair cream because a woman I spoke to in my office told me some women develop a sharp sense of smell when they get pregnant. I wanted to smell better so she stops accusing me. The next day when I returned from work she was moody again. “Bee, what is it again?” She flipped, “How dare you ask me that question? What do you mean? You want to tell me that all I do in this house is get angry? Change your character. Stop chasing women. Stop getting me angry so both of us can have our peace of mind.”
Another day another accusation of me going after women. “What did you find this time, Bee? Am I smelling of a woman?” She retorted, “Why did you buy perfume and why did you change your roll-on? Trying to musk the scent of those women you go after? You think I don’t know? Go on. One day, your cup would be full. I know I’m the one you’ll run to when that your cup overflows and tip-off.”
I didn’t engage her. I’d been advised to stay calm anytime her mood swings. I’d been told it comes with the pregnancy territory. So whenever she goes that way, I go the other way. That night I tried to get close to her. I tried touching my way to paradise. I touched her back and she didn’t talk. I moved to her chest and she didn’t talk. I started pressing things until I felt she was ready. Immediately I tried taking dross off, she screamed, “Where do you think you’re going? You’ve had the main course so you want to use me as dessert, right? For your information, no shuperu until you change your ways. I’m pregnant. Don’t come and give me and my baby AIDS. We are not ready to die with you.”
“Ah! Has it come to that?”
So that night I also got angry. It turned into a verbal war. She screamed mean words at me and I also did the same. When I got tired, I picked my pillow and went to sleep in the hall. At dawn, I felt my head kicking the ground. When I woke up, I saw her leaving with my pillow. She pulled the pillow off my head. She didn’t care what happens to my head. I let her go. We didn’t talk for days. When I cooked she didn’t eat. When she saw me passing, she passed silly comments about me; “I can smell a cheat. A cheat passing by. I can smell a cheat!”
Currently, she’s eight months pregnant. Things get worse every day. Someday, she’ll stand at the door and smell my shirt before I walk in. A lady hugged me at work one day and all day I was disturbed. I was thinking, “What if I go home and she smells the lady in my shirt?” I got home, I passed by her and she said, “I can smell a cheat walking!!”
So now, I sit in a trotro and I don’t want anybody’s skin touching mine. I could squeeze myself in a corner as if I don’t want my seat. Some people take offense and insult me with their eyes. Some people also think I take myself too seriously. I walked around with my hands tucked to my side. I get concerned when the air blows too much. I don’t know the kind of scent the air may be carrying. I haven’t done shuperu since the night she accused me of bringing Aids into her life. All that doesn’t bother me a lot. My worry now is, what if she’s serious? What if this whole new behavior is not a result of the pregnancy?
What it means is that she’ll give birth one day and I will go and visit her at the hospital. She’ll see my face and start screaming, “I can smell a he-goat around here…who let the goats out?” This is what I think about these days. This is what keeps me awake at night when everyone is sleeping. I could sit quietly for a long time thinking about this and praying that it shouldn’t be permanent. But what if it becomes permanent? Has any woman here gone through this experience before? Has any man here experienced such a thing from his wife when she was pregnant? I want to know because this is too much for me to bear.