This is a story you tell someone while looking elsewhere. You don’t want to look into the eyes of the person listening to your story because you’re not comfortable with what you may find. You look down at your toes while telling your story because you’re embarrassed about your own story. The good thing is, you go ahead and tell the story anyway because you know in the end, a weight would be off your chest. The elephant standing on your chest would lift its legs and allow you a breathing space.
We met four years ago. My problem from the beginning of the relationship was the fact that he was an introvert. He didn’t talk a lot. Sometimes I had to ask questions upon questions before he said something. He will call me at dawn and tell me, “Grace I miss you.” The next morning, I will rush through my chores. Cook but not eat. Wash but not wait for it to dry. I will rush to his house and be with him. When the love of your life misses you, you have one job and that job is to rush to his side.
I will sit on the two-seater sofa expecting him to come and sit by my side. He said he missed me. If he did, then he should draw closer to my skin, breath me in, and look at me like I’m the candy the kid craves. But no. He’ll sit in his favorite one-seater, fidget with the TV remote and later move to his phone and read away whiles I’m there wondering what is it that made him say that he misses me. One evening I asked, “Joshua, are you shy of me?” He answered, “Why would you ask that? I’m not shy of you and you know I’m not a shy person.” He said that whiles looking at his phone. I said, “You do a lot of shy stuff for someone who isn’t a shy person. I’m here. Treat me like you see me. Look at me. Talk to me. Let me feel like I exist in this space with you.”
That day he tried. But I could still see traits of inhibition in his character. It was a start so I took it like that.
You can hardly change a man who had used over twenty years to build his character so some of the things I let go. I didn’t dwell on them. I told myself, “That’s how he is. I will take the bad just as I take the good. Talking about good things, he’s really a good fellow. I’ve never dated a man who will give me the last of what he has and go hungry. Joshua was that man. He had his shortcomings. He has his grace. He has his madness. It all came together to make him who he is.
We dated for two years before we got married. We had sex three times in the two years that we dated. At some point, I didn’t want to count those ones as sex. It was lousy. It wasn’t great. It felt like they didn’t happen. They were simply forgetful but it didn’t scare me off the idea of marriage. Marriage is more than just two people getting intertwined beneath the sheet. There’s more. There’s companionship. There’s teamwork. There’s the glory of spending all your life in front of one person. And there’s the thought of growing and greying together in love. Those thoughts were more important to me than sex.
Everything was lousy on our honeymoon. He slept, played games on his phone, and said a few words. On the third day, I told him, “Let’s go home.” He asked, “Why? What is it about home that you can’t wait to go?” I asked, “What are we doing here apart from wasting money in the name of honeymoon? Let’s go and begin life. The earlier the better.”
That evening, I parked what belonged to me and he parked what belonged to him. We said goodbye to the hotel room. If walls had mouths to speak, they would have said, “Adios our boring guest. We’ll never miss you.”
Two years after marriage, my husband is changing. He had become very vocal in bed. He would like to direct affairs and he’s very vocal about it. “Turn left.” “Raise your left leg” Push up your waist a little.” “Do something. Don’t leave all the work to me.”
What has come over this man? I caught myself asking.
I started checking the food I’ve been feeding him. If he drank something and I saw it, I would go and pick it up and read what is written on the bottle. I wanted to be sure of what is causing that change in him. So far, I haven’t found anything negative. After everything is done in the bed, he goes back to factory settings. He won’t say a lot until you ask questions. He goes back to being an introvert. How could he be an extrovert in bed and an introvert in real life? Who keeps two characters in one body?
One afternoon, he asked me, “Why don’t you make noise when we are doing it?” The question caught me off-guard. I said, “What? what did you say?” He repeated the question while looking on his phone; “I’m asking why you don’t make noise when things are going down?” I said, “Joshua, you’re scaring me. What have you been on lately? Are you doing drugs?” He said calmly, “You haven’t answered my question. Why don’t you make noise?” I said, “Since when did you want a mockingbird?” He said, “Or I’m not doing great?” I said, “You haven’t been like that in the four years of our marriage. It makes me wonder.”
Honestly, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t like noise when things are going down. I’m the reflective sort of person. I will rather concentrate on the rhythm than singing the praises of it. I told him, “I don’t do that. It doesn’t happen to me. It doesn’t hit to the extent of making noise.” He said, “Then learn it.”
The question is, how do I learn that? Do I have to fake it? Do I have to scream when there’s no cause for screaming?
A few days ago he slapped my face during the action. He said, “Let me hear your voice. Even trees make noise when the wind blows.” I was shocked and angry at the same time. He held my lips and pulled them until I screamed out of pain. He said, “This is what I mean. Make a sound. Moan. Something is happening, don’t make it look like nothing is happening.” I pushed him off me and told him, “I don’t know what has come over you but I’m not that girl. You’ll hurt me just for the sake of a sound? What have you been watching?”
It turned into a long argument. A beautiful moment went sour. We slept angry and woke up with fire in our hearts. We didn’t talk for days. He didn’t touch me and I didn’t yearn to be touched. Last night he tried making a move. I pretended I was sleeping. He went on and on with it while I was busy in my sleep pretense. All I heard was gaam! A knock on my head. Followed by his shrill voice. “Are you dead? You mean you don’t feel anything?”
Another fight. Another moment of anger. Another beautiful time turned to ashes.
I don’t know how long this is going to continue but I’m already dreading it. If my lips had to be pulled or my head had to be knocked each night something goes down, then how long do I have to live before my lips fall off my chest? I want to know. Women who make noise during night duties. Do you make noise because you have to or it happens involuntarily? Is it a learned art? Is there a book written for that? Like “24 Laws of Moaning For Women Who Don’t Moan?” I want to know before my lips come falling on my chest. Thank you.