Richard sat opposite Mrs Lycette and for a moment after greeting her, he could not say another word. He looked at her hoping she would start a conversation but she just smiled and he knew what that meant, for him to start. He did not know what to say, he thought of starting where they ended at the previous session. He brought out the piece and handed it to her. “it is not much though. I could not really put something down”
She collected the piece and looked at him. She tried to read it but couldn’t really make something out. She gave him a penetrating look. “ you want to explain this Mr Richard?” she asked.
Richard sighed. He could not explain because he himself didn’t understand what he wrote. He shook his head.
Mrs Lycette laughed feebly. She gave him a did-I-not-tell-you look. She folded the paper neatly and placed it in a file, which had Richard’s name boldly written on it.“you may want to tell me your experiences with other women, before you met your wife” she smiled.
Richard’s gaze met hers; he knew she would still ask. Reluctantly, he shrugged. He watched Mrs Lycette place her hands interlocked on the table, which only sent him one message; I am waiting, he thought.
Hesitantly, he started. He started telling the tales of his university days and before he knew it, he had told her everything he didn’t want to tell. He wanted to keep his pride, but he didn’t know when he told her how devastated he had been when Lara left him.
She sighed as she looked at him. “Mr Richard, I don’t really think your wife has any problem” she paused; she saw the questioning look on his face. “But you do.”She raised her brow. “From what I have gathered so far, from your tales and assessments, I have been able to discover some difficulties you have”
He leaned forward. “Difficulties! What are they?” he asked.
“You will have to find out yourself. I would tell you how” she opened his file, read through some notes she had scribbled down. “Your wife should come too”
Richard grimaced, how was he going to tell Mrs Lycette Lillian didn’t know about his sessions? “ she does not know about this”. He managed to tell her through closed teeth.
If his replied caught her by surprise, she hid it well. Without even looking at him, she replied impetuously. “Simple, then tell her”
Now, the pride that left him minutes back glowed about him. “How am I supposed to do that?” he scoffed.
She swivelled her chair to grab a book on the cabinet behind her. “Ego” she called out.
“What?” he asked.
She swivelled back to face him. “One of your problems; Ego.” She dropped the book on the table. “You can’t tell her you have been having sessions? You should” now she spoke with her voice a little raised. “I need to see her”
Richard sighed. “All right. Will see what I can do.”
It had been six weeks since Richard and Lillian had been apart. He made sure he called her on phone every day not minding the fact that at times, the phone would have to ring for many times before she finally picked. At first, when he started calling and she would not pick, Richard would get angry but he knew there was no use getting angry, it was better if he got angry at his own image in the mirror rather than at someone he didn’t see. Whenever he went to see her, he made sure not to say anything that would get her angry. Later into the second week, she started picking his calls after the second ring.
Before he started his sessions, he thought of telling her, but he discarded the thought as soon as it came. Ego, Mrs Lycette had said, if she was right or not, he didn’t want to think about it. Now, she had asked him to go figure his difficulties. Ordinarily, he knew he constituted a larger portion of the problems he was having with Lillian, but he would not admit to other people. She had helped him figure out one of his difficulties, Ego. Now he felt like an undergraduate given an assignment.
If there was one problem he knew he had, it was fear. He was strong, at least he knew he looked strong, how would he let people know he was afraid. He couldn’t let his wife think him as a weakling. How he eventually became fearful, he didn’t know but he knew it was gradual. He was afraid of losing his wife, because of the experience he had with Lara. He could not bring himself to forget his past.
Lara was a terrible nightmare for him. After he left her, his drinking increased, he even started smoking. He got used to the habit for some few years until he met Lillian. At first, he didn’t have the intention of dating her not to say getting married to her, but she was sweet. And soon, he forgot the promises he made to himself that he was not going to have an affair with any woman again. But he still had his fears, the fear of losing something he wanted. He was someone who could not handle defeat.
In a way to fight his fears, he frustrated his wife. Now he had lost her and the baby.
He later knew that apart from that, he wanted a child so bad; and now that he had the chance after years of waiting, he messed things up himself. Only if he had known. Now his fear had grown to become nightmares.
The chances of him being a daddy, very slim, another of his nightmares, the one that terrified him most. When they got married, Lillian wanted to start up a family immediately. Sixteen months after when no pregnancy was coming forth, they decided to go for check-up. Both of them were tested. The doctor certified that Lillian was totally fine and that she could carry a child in her womb. And he had simply said Richard was fine.
He knew that if he was actually fine, the doctor would have buttressed it. He had only said that they should come for treatment often. But if they were fine as the doctor had said what treatment would they need? He got answers to that the next time he went to see the doctor, alone.
Now, he had a lot to confess, to Lillian. He left home immediately he called her he was coming to see her. All the while he had been going to see her; it was just her and her mother. John was always not around, whenever he asked after him, it was either he was in school or he just went out. He always felt comfortable without his presence. Not that he hated him; they did not just get along well, especially when he started having tiffs with Lillian. But as soon as he entered the living room, the first person he saw was john.
For some few seconds all he could do was stare at him. He was not afraid of him; he just did not want a fight. They had not seen after the incidence, and it was at the hospital they saw last. He remembered how John had confronted him fiercely. He had given him a blow on his face before Debra took him away. He felt the taste of fluid, he was bleeding. He didn’t feel any pain until he got home. By the time he even got home, he had more pains to feel, his wife was leaving him.
“Hi” he summoned courage to say the word.
He knew that not replying him would not restore everything his sister had lost, but then, the sight of him reminded him of one word, detestation. He didn’t reply him with his mouth, he only nodded.
He knew he had to be careful with whatever he was going to say. He knew John was still angry with him and he could do anything now that he was in his house. He wanted to ask him how he was doing, but he knew that would be redundant. He realized that john was staring at him, waiting for him to speak. He got choked and all he could say was “Lillian”
“What about her. You want to come beat her up again?” he was calm, as always that one would not believe he could ask such a question in that manner.
“John” he started calmly. “Am sorry for whatever happened in the past...”
The past! As if I wanted you in her future, John thought. “You are always sorry” now his voice was raised. “You need to check yourself”
“I have been doing that” he declared without thinking. He had finished saying it when he realized it must be a bad idea to let it out that way.
Lillian who was just getting into the living room asked from behind them. “Really? That’s interesting”
“I was going to tell you about it” he softly told Lillian.
Richard and Lillian were left alone in the living room. He wanted to hold her hands; he wanted to assure her that all would be well; he wanted to tell her how much he missed her but all he could do was stare at her. He noticed that she was looking different. Her cheeks were a bit chubby, she had gained more flesh and her skin was glowing. She was totally looking radiant. Her mother had done a good job; he knew one of the things that facilitated the changes in her was rest. He denied her that but Debra gave her. For one of the first time in his life, he could not find his voice; it left him in the lurch. He knelt down before her.
If she was surprised, she hid it well. She adjusted and turned her back to him. She felt his hands hold one of her legs; she jerked him off. However, he would not leave one of her legs free.
“Am sorry” he was sobbing now, profusely. “ please forgive me, I want you back” if he knew he was going to come and cry like a baby, he probably would have stayed back, but now, even his ego cried with him. Still holding tight to one of her legs, he placed his head on her laps still sobbing.“ please come back”
“No! “ Already she was misty eyed, she didn’t like to see people cry, especially the ones she loved, and here was Richard crying his eyes out on her laps. She thought staying away from him would help her forget him, but the more she stayed away the more she missed him. “No I am not going back with you” she successfully fought back her tears, stood up and moved some steps away from him.
“Please, I want my wife back”
“Your wife or your punching bag, your wife or the one you treat like a tramp” she could not help the tears that escaped down her eyes. “ your wife or the woman you...” now her voice grew frail. “ made think she was barren, the woman you deceive every day, the woman you made think that not having a child was her fault” her tears came freely now. “What did I do wrong, where did I go wrong?”
Still on his knees, he pleaded. “Am sorry, am ready to correct all my mistakes, please give me a second chance. Please, my Lilly”
“I am not your Lilly anymore” she snapped. “The Lilly you trampled on.”
“Am sorry, I promise to be better”
“You will not hit me again” Richard nodded quickly. “You will not look down on me, you will treat me with respect, you will tell me everything” she paused to catch her breath before she continued. “And we will renew our vows” she folded her arms and placed them beneath her breast waiting for his reply.
“Yes, yes. Anything you want, just come back please”
“I love you” she gasped with her eyes damp. She held him up and hugged him tight.
“I love you” he said in the middle of tears. “I have missed you so”
Now the both sat down holding hands. Richard placed her head on his shoulder. “Am sorry for the pain I have caused you, I promise to be a good husband from now” he held her face in his hands. “I promise” he affirmed. “Can we start all over again?”
Lillian chuckled, it sounded funny, but she knew they needed to start all over again, so she could as well correct her wrongs. “Yes” she nodded. “Yes” she smiled as her tears flowed freely. “Hi, am Lillian” she held out her hand.
He chortled before he shook her hand. “Richard. Richard Badmus” he withdrew his hand and hugged her warmly. And that marked another beginning.