Honey, I Need You! Driving your woman away unknowingly into someone’s arms. By Herbert Mtowo Jill was awakened from a deep sleep by her husband Herbert, who had to shake her by the shoulders to bring her out of her state of unconsciousness. “Hey, sleepy head”, he teased. “Are you going to sleep all day? I need some socks so I can get moving. I have that important sales meeting today remember? You know I can never find the socks after they have been in the wash.” Jill glanced up at the clock on the wall and let out a gasp. She really hated getting up late, and she hated it even more when she had to get moving the moment she woke up. It required a good morning cup of tea to put her in the right frame of mind before she tackled anything else. Today she felt moody and depressed, as though she was carrying the whole world on her shoulders right from the start. Perhaps it was the dream she was having when she was so rudely awoken, or maybe it was just that time of month. After extracting a pair of socks from the washing box for Herbert, she scurried around making sure that he had everything he needed for the day. “Sometimes men are just like little boys”, she thought to herself. “I wonder what he would do without me in the morning?” She walked with Herbert to the car, giving him a quick kiss as he attached the seatbelt and started the engine. Then she watched as he pulled out of the driveway and headed off into the distance. She watched until he disappeared around the corner of the road, then slowly walked back into the house to face the task of the day. Normally she had things pretty much under control, but today, it seemed like a heavy weight was pushing down on her. Before attacking the chaos that existed in the home as a result of having visitors the night before, she decided to freshen up with a hot shower. This was normally a pleasant experience, but it soon became apparent that today was not destined to be a good day. An accidental spilling of some soap suds into her eyes caused her to gasp in pain, but when she reached out to grab the face towel to wipe the soap away, it was not there. Someone must have moved it from its usual place. “Ouch”, she cried out as she fumbled blindly looking for a towel to wipe her eyes. Then, “Herbert, you idiot, when will you put things back where you found them!” When the ordeal was over, Jill felt anything but refreshed. She decided to try the next best thing to get her started for the day. A good healthy breakfast. Pulling a bowl out of the cupboard, she removed the box of cereal from the cupboard to pour out a bowl full of cereal for herself. But, yep, you guessed it, the box was empty. It had been put back into the cupboard that way instead of being thrown in the garbage bin. Her anger level was beginning to rise slowly, but Jill kept her cool, and decided to stay in control. Further examination of the food cupboard showed that she was overdue for a trip to the grocery store. So an unplanned item was added to her schedule for today. Since she had already wasted valuable time that could have been used better, Jill was in a hurry to get the shopping over as quickly as possible. But today it seemed that every slow driver in the community had the same idea, and it took an age to get to the shops. As if this was not bad enough, it seemed that everyone in the community had also decided to shop at the same store she chose. It seemed like each person had the idea that shopping was supposed to be a casual stroll through each aisle. After a few incidents of waiting forever for someone to move their cart out of her way, she decided to just push her way through the crowd. Grabbing everything she needed, she hurried to the till to pay and get out of there. Taking the teller who had the shortest line, she waited to be served. She recognized the teller, and was glad she had chosen this line, because she was usually fast and efficient. There was only one person ahead of her, an older man who only had a few items in his cart. But appearances can be deceiving. The man slowly and methodically removed each item from his cart, placed them carefully on the counter in a straight line, and then proceeded to pay. When given the total amount due, he then slowly pulled out his wallet and began to dig feverishly into each compartment. He removed some notes, looked up at the total again, and then began to fidget in his wallet for some coins. It was clear that he was planning to pay the exact amount, to the cent if possible. “Argh” Jill bit her lip in frustration. “Why couldn’t he just give her a larger note, and let her give him the change’, she thought to herself. Finally, he had given her the correct amount. And now he took another half hour (at least it felt that way) to put his wallet back together and return it to his pocket. And then, finally, she got her chance to be served. The teller was true to her usual standard, and moments later, she was heading out of the shop with her cart, heading quickly for the exit so she could get out of this place. She looked up to see a young boy running headlong towards her. It seemed as if he was going to run right into her, so she quickly stepped out of the way. But the boy was not alone. His friend now came hurtling towards Jill even faster than he had. Obviously they were playing a game or something, and were chasing each other. “Where are their parents?” Jill almost snapped out in anger. “How can they let their children act like lunatics in a public place like that?” This was the final straw. The day had started out badly enough, but now she felt like she was ready to explode and burst into tears. Clearly the onset of her period was now near at hand, and the hormones were making her feel emotional and out of control. She knew that this was a normal thing for most women, and it was her time of month for this to happen. She knew this was something that she needed to control. She knew she had to try to keep positive and things would come right. She knew these things, but putting them into practice was not quite that simple. By the time she got home, she was in a state. She needed to talk to someone. She needed someone who would understand and help her calm her emotions. She needed Herbert so badly. If she could just hear his calm assuring voice, it would help a bit. Picking up the phone she dialled his work number, and waited anxiously for him to pick up the phone. It seemed to take an age for him to answer, but finally she heard his business voice as he said, “Herbert Mtowo here, how may I help you?” “Herbert” she burst out. “I just wanted to hear your voice.” Expecting to hear her husband say something like, “Jill darling, what is the matter? How are you doing?” she was somewhat taken aback when he spoke to her curtly and said, “Honey, this is a work phone, and I am busy right now with an important project. This is not a good time to call. Please show more wisdom before you call me at work just to chat.” Jill wanted to shout out, “Herbert, I need you desperately. I have had a terrible day. I need you to understand and comfort me.” But she felt hurt by Herbert’s stinging words. He did not understand what she was going through. And perhaps she was just being selfish expecting him to listen to her emotional outburst. So she apologized and hung up the phone. There was so much that needed to be done in the house, but Jill just did not feel up to it now. In frustration she decided to do the only thing that she knew would help relieve the stress and the tension that had built up inside her. She decided to take an afternoon nap. At least by the time she awoke, it would be almost time for Herbert to come home. Then they could spend a bit of time relaxing together, and she could share with him the cares of the day. The sleep sure helped, but she awoke still sensing a deep need to be with Herbert and to have his comfort and understanding. Rushing through the house, she quickly pulled everything together to make the place look neat. Then she set about making herself more presentable for her husband. She put on an outfit that he really liked. Then fluffing up her hair to make it look good, she proceeded to apply the necessary paint that has the power to transform a woman from plainness to prettiness. The red lipstick was Herbert’s favourite, so she applied that last to complete the makeover. Looking at herself in the mirror, she nodded her head in satisfaction. “Not bad, even if I say so myself,” she said. She then began preparations for supper and was busy in the kitchen when she heard Herbert’s car pull up. Running to the door, she swung it open to greet him as he stepped up to it. “Hi honey”, Herbert said, as he gave her a peck on the lips. “How was your day?” But then, as she was about to pour out her heart to him, to tell him what an awful day it had been, he pulled some files out from under his arm and walked to his desk, to put them down there. Jill’s heart sank. “Not extra work from the office again, “ she wailed inside. The last thing she wanted tonight was for him to sit glued to the computer screen again, typing away at some work project. She had already pictured in her mind what would happen tonight. She just wanted him to hold her close, and listen to her pour out all her frustrations and cares. He did not need to do anything, just be there for her. But the determined look on his face showed that he had already made his plans for the evening. He was still in ‘work’ mode, and intended to finish the job before going to bed. She did not say anything, because she knew that he would not understand. It was a battle she would surely lose if she tried to fight it. So she pinned her hopes on supper. Perhaps there would be time to share while they ate. Perhaps he would listen as she poured out her sorrows. Perhaps he would take just a little time to be with her before he started the work. It started out great. He was relaxed and enjoying the meal, and she was about to open her mouth to tell him about her day, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. It was Chris, a close friend of Herbert who had come to return a saw that he had borrowed. “I saw you were home, so I decided to just pop in,” Chris said, as Herbert motioned him to join them at the table. Jill was hoping he would refuse the offer and go home, but Herbert then offered him something to drink, so that was the end of her chance to have some private moments with her husband. Chris did not stay long, but the moment had now passed. The atmosphere was just not right for her to bring up the subject that was burning on her heart. Now she would just have to wait until his work was done, and perhaps at the end of the evening there would be time to share. She could not wait to lie in Herbert’s strong arms in bed, and feel his strength surrounding her. Oh how she needed him to just hold her tightly and help her forget all about the world around. He would understand, and say the right things and this would take away all the pain inside. Herbert was a hard worker, and when he put his mind to a job, he gave it his all. So it was no surprise to Jill when he sat down at the computer after dinner, and began to apply himself to the work that he had brought home. She sat waiting for him. She would never have imposed on him. She loved him too much for that. So she sat and busied herself with a handcraft hobby to pass the time until he was done. Then, to make the moment even more special, she changed into a lovely negligee that she felt sure would get his attention. Then she applied some of his favourite perfume, and brushed past him so that he could smell it. Herbert glanced up at his wife, and he liked what he saw. The smell of her perfume filled his senses. But he had to finish his work first, and he now made an extra effort to do that. Pushing himself hard, he finally managed to put the finishing touches to the project. Then he sat back in his chair, sighed a huge sigh of relief, and prepared to retire for the night. “Finally” sighed Jill to herself. “I thought it would never arrive”. Now at last her moment had come, and as Herbert began to move towards her, she reached out her hands to him to invite him to join her in bed. He touched her hands, and she felt a rush of anticipation as he began to draw her closer to him, but the moment was interrupted by a loud noise coming from the computer. “Oh no” Jill moaned. Someone was buzzing Herbert for a chat on his computer. “Can’t you just ignore it honey” she cried. “Let me just see who it is quickly,” he said. “Oh it’s Paul. He says he’s got the equipment ready for me. I just need to pick it up. Let me just discuss it very quickly with him. I promise I won’t be long! I know you’re waiting for me. Be there right now.” “Yeah – in another hour. I know you when you get on chat,” she growled. Then she thought to herself, “It’s strange how when I need him, everybody else needs him too. And, true to type, Herbert did just as she expected. He chatted on and on, while she lay waiting in frustration. Eventually she gave up all hope that tonight would ever end the way she had hoped. She was already beginning to fall asleep when he finally crawled in next to her. Herbert’s touch brought her to life again. And as he placed his strong arms around her she snuggled back into him and finally felt like her moment had come. “Herbert darling” she began. “Today has been terrible. Nothing has gone right, and it felt like everything was against me. I got soap in my eyes while showering, and then when I went to the shops everyone was getting in my way, and there was this old man in front of me at the till that took all day to pay for his stuff and…” As she paused to take a breath, Jill heard what sounded like a cat purring. Turning to her husband she realized that the sound was coming from him. He had fallen fast asleep and was snoring away. She was talking to herself.