The Hidden Plan
Written by Simi (contributor)
He whistled happily as he opened the door. He held the packages he brought tightly. “Anyone home” he yelled. “Daddy“, shouts of delight greeted him back. His three children ran to hug him. It was his favorite part of the day after sweating for hours at the construction site. The aroma of fried chicken filled the air. He could not wait for dinner.
“Welcome”, his wife icily murmured. In an instant, the atmosphere changed and his enthusiasm drained. Handing the package to the cheerful children, he walked in.
“Sharon, really? I come back and you greet me like I’m a complete stranger. It’s not…. She broke off the whisper.
” It’s not what? Do you have the money?” She barked, not taking her eyes off the television. He shook his head sadly. When did it become like this? He wondered as he sat down beside her. She did not give him any attention but focused on the screen.
Her behaviour was unbecoming and he was glad no friend of his was present to witness this. Removing a brown envelope from his pocket, he turned to her. She quickly grabbed the envelope and smiled. “Why did it take you so long to come home today? That is why I was upset with you”. She giggled.
“Of course it has nothing to do with the money”, he quipped.
“Honey can I not joke with you anymore? Let us go and eat dear”.
“Women, women and money”, he laughed.
After dinner, he sat down to relax in front of the television. Putting the children to bed was a task he gladly relinquished to his wife. Their active children took him for granted. They would play relentlessly till exhaustion wore them out. They slept immediately their mother insisted it was bedtime.
“We need to talk”, she spoke softly. His face was impassive but he braced himself inwardly.
“Don’t you think it’s time we build our own home. You are a great provider but what if you no longer worked there or if something happens?”
“Nothing is going to happen. Business is booming right now. Stop worrying your pretty self, my dear”.
She sighed softly. “Okay, but I need…
“Don’t even go there, I give you half of everything I am paid or I won’t get peace in this house. So don’t even try it”, he warned. She nodded and left him alone.
The following months were hectic but he was glad when they were halfway done with the road construction. They had graded the road and began to fill it. His wife sometimes would act nice but she made sure she always collected half of what he earned. It grated his nerves sometimes.
He often wondered what could he do. She would either be suspiciously kind about it or would nag non-stop till he gave it to her. Once he came home to find her dressed in a short gown that looked like a second skin. He didn’t recall how he gave her almost all he was paid that evening. The next evening he decided to join his co-workers to relax in a joint. They talked about their marriages and how their wives had changed.
One said his wife would constantly berate him and would compare him to others. Another mentioned that his spouse would get upset over the minutest things and then proceed to keep malice for days on end. Ralph also complained about how his wife was money crazy and would do anything possible to get it from him. How did the women they loved turn out like this? They drowned their sorrows with drinks and parted ways.
Ralph got home tipsy. His wife stared at him and hissed in anger. She walked to the room without a word. He followed her but could not ask for dinner.
“Why did you marry me?” He enquired. It was clear that his question caught her unawares but she put up a front, blurted out some words, and laid to sleep. He laid beside her as her words echoed in his head. How could she tell him that marriage was mainly about having not to die single? Where did he go wrong? He kept asking himself.
Two months later……
Ralph entered the house quietly. His children looked uncertain. They walked to him to welcome him but he barely noticed. His wife ushered them to go to their rooms. She brought his dinner but he didn’t touch it. He half expected her to blow up in anger but she sat down beside him. Her face looked genuinely worried.
“What is wrong? You didn’t touch your food?” She asked.
Her gentleness touched him. He anticipated a frown or argument but not this. He kept mute but she was persistent.
” I got laid off today. It turns out the company is closing. We….. He struggled to continue. We were given compensation but where do I start from? To rent or leave this place? To build but, but how?” He stammered as his voice shook. She nodded quietly and held his hand.
“Is that why you won’t eat? Cheer up. I know it’s hard but please, eat” she encouraged. He slowly picked up his fork to eat.
It took him some time, but he finally ate half of the food on his plate. Sharon had entered their room but returned shortly. She didn’t bother clearing the dishes but handed him some documents. He was puzzled at first but proceeded to study them.
“I had a feeling that something like this could happen. I just felt within me and that was why I kept bothering you. I made sure you gave me half of what you earned, not for my personal interests but for this purpose”, pointing at the documents, she continued.
“Look, these are land documents. I purchased the land with the money you gave me and here is my phone. If you look at the account balance, you will notice my balance is 2 million naira. This is also part of the savings from the money you gave to me. I harrassed you only because you didn’t want to build a house. We can add this to your settlement and build a house and set up a business”. Her voice never wavered as she spoke.
He struggled so hard to believe it yet the evidence was in front of him. The land documents were real. He was speechless. He saw her in a new light. She not only took the initiative to safeguard their future but was right all along. They sat and talked lovingly through the night. The next day, he called his family members and hers as well. She had no idea they would come over but she welcomed them. When everyone was seated, he opened his mouth to speak.
Feeling overwhelmed, he could not stop the tears that flowed freely. Everyone was surprised and tried to comfort him. After some minutes, he stopped.
“I’m fine”, he assured them. “I want to, to, I want to apologize to my wife. I have complained to all of you about her. I thought she was unreasonable but I’m ashamed of myself. She kept telling me to build but a house but I refused. I refused, thinking that the job would always be there. I got laid off. I was given compensation but I was shattered”. He paused and continued.
“I didn’t know how to start over till Sharon, my beautiful wife told me that she not only bought a land but has saved over a million naira so that we can build a house. She also suggested we move to a smaller house to reduce our expenses. I thought she was a wicked woman. I insulted her to all your faces and now I’m begging you Sharon and all of you to forgive me”. He knelt down as his tears continued to flow.
Everyone was in shock as they recalled how they had agreed she was a bad wife and a selfish woman. They felt ashamed yet amazed. Sharon went to him and hugged him. She understood why he thought that way but it was a step she had to take otherwise he’d never have taken her seriously. That was her hidden plan.
Their relatives also apologized to her also and she gladly forgave them. Then they left. Ralph and his wife were alone in the parlour when he turned to her asked if she had truly forgiven him. Smiling saucily, she touched his sleeves and whispered in his ears, “Follow me, and I will show you how much I have forgiven you”, she winked and ran to their bedroom. He ran after her.
If you were in her shoes, would you do same? Do you think there’s a better way? Do you have a hidden plan? Drop your comments.
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