How do you live peacefully with your neighbours?
Pretend nothing said in their sitting room seeps through the walls into your bedroom.
“Why did you keep the door open?”
“I just wanted to grab something.”
“Ehen. So that is why you want to allow mosquitoes to give someone sickness abi?”
“But it’s still morning and we will still spray insecticides when we leave the house. And the house is even stuffy as it is.”
“So that is enough reason to kill me abi? Kuku use knife and make the job faster.”
Slide a Soweto Gospel Choir CD into your PC. Let the harmonious rendition of One Love drown the voice of nagging-wife. Continue your countdown to the day verbal exchange will escalate and “Ye! You hit me? I will not agree today” will seep through the walls. Practise detachment.
Walk to the window and part the blinds with your fingers. Watch the husband clean his Suzuki Superbike. Watch his sculptured muscles dance to the forward-backward rubbing of the red beast and wonder why any woman would want to be intimate with the harsher uses of those muscle groups.
“Every morning pap, pap, pap. Very soon you will be making it yourself and will understand how easy it is.”
Watch macho-husband bob his head to whatever is playing through his earphones. Nagging-wife bounces out of the house. You can see whatever he saw in her underneath what started as postpartum weight gain but is now junk food finding expression. Nagging-wife yanks off the earphones of macho-husband.
“Are you not the one I’m talking to? Is this how your friends ignore their wives when they are talking?”
Macho-husband continues to massage the red beast. Wonder for a moment how a man can be calm in the face of such embarrassment. Perhaps, this is why your boyfriend of two years shrinks at the suggestion of marriage. Marriage does terrible things to macho men. Make a mental note to review the topic with said boyfriend. Abandon paranoia and get ready for the day. You should practise how to mind your business.
See unmistakable red beast sunbathing beside a shed close to boyfriend’s place. Wonder if this is the day you’ll finally get that ride macho-husband promised you in a rare moment of neighbourly camaraderie. Think about the wind combing through your well tended natural hair. Think about the faces of pedestrians as red beast booms through the street and you extend your arms in the air, Titanic style, or clutch the pecs and chest of macho-husband to prevent natural hair kissing the ground with a bang.
Walk into the shed to check on macho husband. Approach the bar like you do not see macho-husband’s table in the far right corner of shed. Pretend you do not see the Gulder extra smooth on the plastic table, do not see the catfish pepper soup beside said Gulder, do not see the girl with cheap extensions perched on his laps and making a good effort of feeding him her red-coated lips. Buy malt at the bar and make an about turn.
Sing Soweto Gospel Choir’s I’ll remember you as you walk home. Do the Titanic-hand-stretch as the wind signals the imminence of rain and combs through your well-tended natural hair.
This is how to live peacefully with your neighbours: greet nagging-wife at the gate and ask if macho-husband is back, slide into your apartment before she answers and practise minding your business.