The other woman-Similoluwa Aluko


I can’t do it so I won’t do it and thus it won’t be done. God, I’m cold. My thighs, orange-brown with a gold tint and my perfectly dark knees and my clothed feet. They’re all cold. My oblong fingers taste warmth as they scurry along the keypad but as my self-deceit becomes self-discovery and the heat becomes icy and my thighs start to freeze and the frost licks my knees again and runs his hand up my skirt and down my blouse and props me against the wall. Like a beast, he uses me until I have cried all my tears and bled all my screams. He leaves the bright, cold room with the door open behind him.

It’s the bag of cereal with its head poured over the tub of Vaseline, next to a half-empty bottle of water. It’s the fabric softener lying on the small tub of detergent. It’s the clean bag of laundry kissing at my knee, the beautiful red top caressing my thigh, the blanket under me that sustains my chest when the nights are long and I’m crawled into a fetal position, fervently jerking backwards and forwards, shivering and sniffing. It’s the elements relying on each other, and me relying on no one. It’s a camaraderie of objects that cannot feel or touch or see whereas I feel and touch and see—feelings and sights of pain and rejection—of unworthiness and self judgement, of “why does he love you and why won’t he love me too?”. I wish he’d rely on me, I wish he’d pour himself out to me. I wish he’d speak to me or smile at me or even look at me the way he looks at her.

For the love of all, I just want to love.

I am love as I am of God and so I ooze love and give love and love love and want love but get rejected. And the love of God is my strength but my heart wishes people would love me, and they just don’t. Why doesn’t he even try? Is there something wrong with me?

I am an adulteress in my own home, a destroyed destructor whose existence is parallel to destruction and whose destruction destroys her existence. I slave tirelessly, seeking only his love and his happiness. It’s days spent cooking, mornings spent cleaning, evenings spent piercing, pulling,cutting down myself to awaken the woman he wants me to be, It’s painful nights spent torturing my flesh for the sake of his pleasure and my pride for the want of his love. I wake up empty every morning. I pray. I cry. Then I clean.

And the evening comes too quickly again. I sit on my bed, my skin covered in oils and perfumes, my hair in dyes, my body in tattoos. The same tears fill my eyes. The same footsteps crush my heart. Will I live this till I die? Will this be my song–the ode of the second wife, the story of the other woman? I sigh. I cry. I pray.

Here he comes again. The frost. He reaches for my knees. but the warmth of God makes it so I do not feel him.



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