The alarm clock adorning the living room wall chimed one o’clock in the early morning hours. She shifted her gaze from the clock and turned her attention to the television, tuned in to Al Jazeera.

She lay sprawled on the couch, dressed in her nightgown, her beauty distinct in its own way, a reflection of her class and grace. The distinctive mole gracing the bridge of her nose was a testament to her natural allure.

From her vantage point, she heard the familiar sound of her father’s car pulling up. This nocturnal behavior wasn’t new, especially when her husband was out late. Her father, a politician and the deputy governor of Kebbi city, often convened late-night meetings at their residence. The commotion from these gatherings frequently drifted into her domain.

Shortly after getting up, she heard her father’s entrance, complete with a stretch and yawn, indicative of his post-meeting fatigue. He entered the living room, clutching a football in his hand.

He couldn’t miss the anticipation in his wife’s eyes. She had grown accustomed to this routine. As he looked at her, he sensed an unspoken sadness. The football and the socks on his feet held her attention captive.

Upon completing his preparations, he made his way toward her, the intensity of his focus on her. He settled beside her, his hand finding hers.

“Be patient, Iman, just as you are every day,” he urged. “Playing football is one thing…”

She bestowed him with a quizzical glance.

“I know you usually play football in the afternoon or morning, but I’m curious about your late-night games,” she questioned.

He winked at her. “Iman, do you doubt me or are you jesting?”

“There’s no doubt, but God, I’d like to know what compels you to spend your bank salary on this passion,” she expressed, her concern evident.

His response was a nod. “Honestly, Iman, it’s just a ball. I enjoy playing with it.”

She took a deep breath and offered a gentle smile. “I understand, my husband, but I implore you to be mindful of worldly matters and God’s will.”

He chuckled softly. “Insha Allah, Iman.” He reached for her hand, and they both rose to their feet. They proceeded to switch off the TV and other devices. She remained at his side, her hands clasped over her chest, gazing at him affectionately.

“Let’s go,” she said, leading the way. They ascended the stairs without shedding their shared pants, their hearts connected.

Fauxiya entered her sister’s room and retreated quietly, finding her sibling in deep slumber. The air conditioning unit was set to a chilling temperature, leaving her sister visibly cold. Fauxiya’s eyes met her sister’s in an expression of concern.

“See, Fauxiya doesn’t heed my advice about drinking cold water,” Ahmed remarked as he approached to adjust the A/C and cover her sister with a blanket. He planted a tender kiss on her sister’s forehead and offered a prayer for her well-being.

He proceeded to the bathroom for a shower and later returned to bed. She, however, appeared with a cup of coffee in hand, which he graciously accepted with a smile.

“Thank you, wifey,” he said. He sipped the coffee, gazing at her warmly.

As he finished the coffee, he kissed her forehead and said his goodbyes before settling into bed. She closed her eyes, tears of self-pity welling up.

“What kind of life is this? What kind of marriage have we forged?” she pondered. As a doctor and a banker, they both had demanding careers. Yet, his frequent absence, his late nights, and his football training had created a rift between them.

It had been two long weeks since they’d been intimate. She had needs, and as his wife and life partner, she had every right to expect his attention and care. He seemed oblivious to her desires.

Her longing for his love and attention remained unmet. Their marriage was faltering, and her heart ached for the affection she had once known.

As the wife of a banker and the daughter of a prominent politician, her life had grown complicated. His late-night rendezvous with football left her feeling neglected, questioning the foundation of their relationship.

Her father’s absence from town only added to her sense of isolation and frustration.

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