House on Fire: Part 1

By Marion Williams Akena

Jayden and I met in a gym at Bomah Hotel. He pretended to be a tiger but he had the heart of a fluffy little kitten. He was just adorable and too sweet for the world. At first, he was unbearable to be near. He never smiled until one day when I was running on the machine and I slipped and almost fell down. Luckily, he was around and caught me and told me to please be careful. That’s when I realized that there was some soft spot in his heart. He’s not as bad as he takes himself to be. After our gym work, I thanked him and asked if we could go out for a coffee. He agreed and that’s where our love began.

Five years later, we were married and had a beautiful daughter called Lily. We both loved each other so much that neither of us could be without the other. One morning at around eight o’clock when we were still in bed, I got a call from one of the biggest companies in Uganda that deals in real estate. They told me that they wanted to partner with me. I was so excited that I jumped on top of Jayden and started romancing him till we made love. Then I told him about the good news, but the response I got from him was not what I expected.

“Baby, you won’t believe this. Looks like my big breakthrough is here. This is a miracle. The Avanor empire wants to partner with me in building flicks of estates in Uganda. They want me to go to Tanzania to sign the contract with them. And guess what, they have made reservations for me and my flight is in three hours,” I said as I jumped out of bed to go into the bathroom. Jayden just sat quietly on the bed doing his own thing on his phone. He seemed unhappy about the news for whatever reason I didn’t know. Maybe he felt that I might end up falling for someone else because he had lost his job. Ever since he was left jobless, he was insecure with me. He wanted me around all the time but I always had to go to work since somebody had to put food on the table. But this time it was different because I was travelling to another country to sign the deal. This may have made him scared of losing me.

I took a shower as quickly as I could and packed my things to leave for the airport.

Jayden kept quiet and just continued pressing his phone. I didn’t insist on disturbing him so I dressed up and packed my things. As I was leaving, he grabbed my hands and said, “If you leave, it will be the end of this marriage.” He looked serious.

I dropped my bag and kissed him. “Baby, it’s going to be only two days and you know that this has been my dream, please don’t make me choose. You know how much I love you, right, but someone has to make money, right. So please my love. Let me go and make my dreams come true. Am doing this for us. Me you and the baby.” I sweet talked him as I hugged him with the hope of him agreeing.

“I guess you’re right ah! Just that am going to miss you a lot, come back soon please.” He tried to fake a smile.

“Thanks my love. You look so cute when you smile,” I replied as I picked up my bag ready to go. I was a bit worried about leaving my baby home but her caretaker, Jenifer, always took good care of Lily whenever I went for work. And the fact that Jayden was around lessened my worries.

I took my car and drove away. I hadn’t gone far when I realised I had forgotten my phone. I drove back home and went straight to the bedroom where I had left my phone because I was in a hurry to catch my flight. I opened the door and I almost collapsed from what I saw. My husband and Jenifer, oh no! I thought to myself. She was there naked wrapped in my white bed sheets and my husband. She jumped out of bed as soon as she saw me.

“Jayden, Jenifer, I can’t believe what I am seeing. What’s going on here?” At that moment, I was disappointed and felt betrayed. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that the man I had been happily married to could do this to me. My body trembled with anger. If I had high blood pressure I would have died on the spot due to the shock.

Jenifer jumped out of the bed immediately and wrapped a towel on her body.

“Why did you get up, come back here, don’t mind her,” Jayden replied calmly as though he didn’t care that I was standing there. I hurriedly went closer to slap Jenifer and right at that moment I heard my baby crying. I left in a rush to check on the baby. When I got there, she wasn’t on her bed and the room was so quiet. I looked around and found my baby lying down on the floor. She had fallen off the bed and was not crying anymore or waking up. For a moment I felt that my heart was not breathing seeing my baby lying still on the floor. My body trembled with the fear of losing her. I immediately carried her and rushed to the hospital. Jayden followed me in his car together with Jenifer. The doctor took the baby in and I waited outside the room. I saw Jayden entering the hospital with his lover, Jenifer. I went to them and gave her a hot slap before either of them could speak.

“What is she doing here, she is the reason my baby is in this hospital bed and we don’t know what is going on with her because she left her alone on the bed and you still brought her here. Have you no shame, Jayden? How could you do this to me after everything I have done for you? I fed you and the entire family ever since you lost your job till now. I bought you clothes and the car you’re driving. I gave you a shoulder to cry on when you were depressed because of losing your job and you…. Where did I go wrong Jayden?” I asked as I looked straight into his eyes with tears rolling down my cheeks. Nurses were running and moving around receiving many patients with different types of diseases. People stood there looking at us as though there was a movie going on. The feeling was so embarrassing.

“Look who is talking about shame here. You should be the one ashamed of yourself. How dare you get pregnant with another man’s child and bring her to me as the father,” Jayden shouted. I tried to keep my eyes wide open to look at Jayden while my mind flashed back on how everything went two years back. My thoughts went mute.

“Oh you think I didn’t know, why are you quiet, speak up.” Jayden yelled as he looked me straight in the eye. I became a bit scared of the tone he used with me. All I could see at that moment was the tiger-like person I used to see from afar. The fluffy kitten that I fell in love with had scrambled up a tree too tall for me to reach.

28 June, 2023