BITTER_LOVE : Chapter 1 – 10



“Mr Bobby Chizinga, do you take Alicia Zulu to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do..”
“Do you, Alicia Zulu, take Bobby Chizinga to be your lawfully wedded husband? In sickness and in health, in…..”
“I do…”
This part of my wedding day had always been a happy and vivid memory to me. I thought I would forever cherish this blessed day but guess I was utterly wrong. Well, my wedding day had been a clear memory for the past 3 years until earlier this evening. Bob and my wedding vows now sounded distant in my mind. Why wouldn’t they when the only clear words lingering inside my mind were Bob’s words when he’d come back from work looking exhausted….

“I didn’t hear you drive in,” I said, stifling a yawn and getting out of bed where I had been for the past one hour due to a slight headache that I had developed after doing house chores all day. Not that I didn’t have a house-help but she wasn’t feeling well today so I had to give her at least a day off and she was free to come back whenever she felt fit enough to.

Bob let out a deep breath and locked the bedroom door behind him and then dumped both himself and his briefcase on our bed. I sat next to him and brushed a k!ss on his lips. He didn’t k!ss me back.

“How was your day, darling?”
“Must you ask me the same irrelevant question everyday when you already know the response you going to get?” Bob sounded agitated. “And please quit trying to get me undressed, I’m not handicapped so I guess I can take care of myself well enough.”

Okay I had no idea where all this was coming from. Didn’t I always take care of my husband? Wasn’t that my job as a full time housewife? To take care of the chores, my husband and my 7-year-old son?

“Bob,” I said, withdrawing my hands from his necktie and placing them on my thighs. “What’s going on?”
There was a long, pregnant silence and when Bob replied, I regretted having asked him what was going on.

He chuckled and stood so that he was peering down at me. “I’ve grown tired of this marriage.”
“What do you mean?” I found myself on my feet too.

“Are you deaf, huh Alicia? I mean exactly what I said, I’m literally bored to death with this marriage. You’ve gained too much weight such that I can’t even take you out to social gatherings anymore. Forget gaining weight, you’re as boring as a corpse when it comes to making love. Well, you’re literally useless! I’m sorry to say this but all you do is stay home and consume my food. All you are good at is eat, eat and eat.”

“Are you for real? Bob, don’t you forget that you knocked me pregnant when I was only 16 and as a result I quit school and oh, don’t you say all I do is eat cause you don’t know what it takes to run this house.”
“Ah honey, point of correction, I run this house cause I pay all the bills.”

I sighed in defeat as he was right about that part but still, I didn’t deserve the insults he was shooting at me now.
Defeatedly, I slumped back to the bed. “This isn’t about me gaining weight or staying home all day, is it? Tell me where this is coming from and where it’s going.”

“I’m glad your brains aren’t totally useless,” said Bob curtly as he leaned against the lime green wall. “Alicia, I hate to do this but I want a divorce.”

At that moment, I felt my world come crushing down on me and tears freely escaped my eyes. I loved Bob so much and besides he was my life even though I was only 23.

I pleadingly said, “Honey, can’t we talk this out?”
“No we can’t, Alicia. I want a divorce and whether you agree or not, I’m getting one. I’m a lawyer after all so you mark my words.” and with that, Bob stormed out of the room and a minute later, out of the house.
Now here I was, lying in the bathtub with sore eyes.

Wondering where I had gone wrong or why Bob would abruptly ask for a divorce. To be honest, I had seen him drifting away lately but I thought he was just trying to recover from my second miscarriage after marriage. Could my miscarriages be the reason for the divorce? Of course not. Bob and I had a healthy son, Fredrick aka Fred. So there was definitely another reason as to why Bob would want to divorce me.

An idle mind is the devil’s temple and it’s because of my staying in the bathtub for too long that I started recalling old memories.

I was only 10-years-old when I received the news that both my parents had perished in an accident. After the funeral, my elder sister Lisa and my twin brother Francis and I moved from Mufulira’s Beijing to Kamuchanga and now stayed under the care of an uncle and his wife who were heaven sent as they even ended up sending my siblings and I to school….

I was 15 when I bumped into Bobby at Ipusukilo Secondary School. He was in grade 12 and I in 10. We started going out and I ended up falling pregnant and quit school in grade 11. Of course my siblings and guardians were terribly disappointed in me but what was done was done….
I was 18 when my brother Francis took ill and died a few weeks later. Losing my brother really shattered me but I thanked God for Lisa who was there to always comfort me and not to mention Bobby who showed unwavering love and care toward me and our son Fred…..

I was 20, Bob 24 and Fred 4 when I walked down the aisle and became Bob’s official wife and now after three years he wanted a divorce? I just couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
I must be dreaming, I thought as I stepped out of the bathtub. I was wrapping a towel round my body when I heard a knock on the bathroom door.
“Mummy, I need you to help me with me homework before I go to bed,” called Fred in a sulky tone. “You’ve been in there for over an hour, will you come out already? I’m getting sleepy.”
I couldn’t help but smile. My son really made me sane. “I’m done, sweety. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“You better be.”
“Bossy child,” I muttered when I heard Fred’s footsteps leaving the bathroom premises.
Bob hadn’t turned up yet and even though I had the urge of giving him a call, I refrained from doing so. I was done helping Fred with his homework and was now tucking him into bed. I sat beside him and cuddled him real tight.
“If you were to pick between your daddy and I, who would you pick?” I said, not knowing why I was even saying this.
Fred glanced at me with puppy eyes. “That’s a strange question to ask someone, mummy. You know I love both you and dad equally so I guess it’d be tough for me to pick either.” he paused. “Why, you too going on separation?”
“Of course not,” I said almost immediately. “Was just asking.”
“Well, I’ve got a friend at school who had to pick a parent. He picked his mum but I honestly don’t know who I’d pick. Good night, mama. Love you.”
“Love you too.” I k!ssed his forehead good night.

My two friends Monde, Lubona and I were out shopping. I was clad in a yellow pencil dress, black fancy pumps, gold studs and was clutching a yellow sophisticated handbag. My Masai braids were on point too. I now kind of felt comfortable in my own skin after hitting the gym for the past one month, all in a bid to please Bob.

Speaking of pleasing Bob, I had gone to extreme lengths just to do so. I had hit the gym and lost weight that I was now slim and quite s*xy, I no longer stayed full time at home as I’d found myself a job selling in a certain boutique in town and I had googled love making methods. When I’d attempted one of them on Bob, he had pushed me off him in disgust.

“Sweet Jesus, Alicia. You acting like a w—e. What’s gotten into you?”
I had swallowed my saliva and slept. Crying of course.
Well, all my efforts to please Bob seemed futile as he was set on divorcing me but I was giving him a hard time cause I loved him so much and so did I love my son and I wouldn’t like him to grow up with a single parent nor to come from a broken home.
We were headed to where Monde’s car was parked when she said, “Aha. Before I forget, how’s your marriage, Alicia?”
Them being my best friends, I had confided in both Monde and Lubona. Lubona had suggested I grant Bob the divorce and Monde had suggested the opposite. So had Lisa who now worked as a nurse at a private clinic in Ndola.
“Bae, I can’t lie. It’s still going down the drain.”
“I know I’m not married,” Lubona began, flipping back her weave. “But I wouldn’t let a man treat me like trash. No way! I still insist you divorce his ass cause you still young bae thus you need to live your life happily with less drama and problems.”
“Why don’t you let her decide what she has to do with her marriage, huh Lubona? As you said, she’s a grown woman so I think she’s mature enough to know what’s best for her.” Monde retorted and turned to me. “Alicia, do what you think is right.”

“Whatever,” Lubona snapped. “I’m the wild one in the group and I guess my opinion doesn’t count.”
“That’s enough, girls.” I was stern. “Lets drop this topic, shall we?”
“Thank you,” Lubona exasperated.
We had just finished loading our groceries into the bonnet of Monde’s Jeep when she tapped me on my shoulder, pointing toward where a car I recognized to be my husband’s was parked. I didn’t notice my husband nor his sidechick not until Monde ruefully said, “Isn’t that your husband? And who’s that chick that he’s….” she trailed off.
Bob had just planted a k!ss on the woman’s lips before opening his car door. Just then, we all caught a glimpse of the lady in question.

Lubona, Monde and I now stood petrified as my husband drove off. I thought I’d known pain in my life but I was wrong. I knew his sidechick very well. I just couldn’t believe she could stab me in the back.

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