The eyes have it

Whoever said women are the weaker sex was drunk on Zed and Bronco and Histalix combined.  I just have to look at my friends, and the fearful regard in which they hold their wives, to understand that men are not the real tyrants when it comes to love.

It’s all in the eyes, you see.

There are looks that kill, and then there are looks that torture. Looks that will pluck both your eyeballs and testicles until all the tendons and ligaments stretch, leaving both sets of balls either transfixed, or dangling, between your feet.

Torture, yes. Delivered in clinical regard with cold, sadistic pleasure.

And so, on a normal Saturday or Sunday morning in Harare, countless brothers devour their late breakfasts (or left-over dinners) in haste, struggling to keep from groaning about babalaas as they clean their plates. The ominous silence stretches on, even as she casts sidelong glances of cold calculation, unconvincingly camouflaged as happy, loving looks.

Then it’s time to return to the bars and pubs, usually for a football match. These precious, deadly moments of domestic tranquility (fraught as all such moments are, with all that’s left unsaid, the hidden pitfalls, explosive outbursts and awkward silences) have to come to an end, as memories of drunken camaraderie and alcohol-fueled revelry return, once more, to the fore.

“Baby, I must leave you now.”

“Oh, must you?”

“Yes. Until maybe midnight, but don’t feel the need to wait up.”

“I have a busy day planned. I doubt I’ll be awake when you return, darling.”

“I’ll try to be quiet.”

“Of course you will.”

Mwa mwa, awkward kiss.

Pleasant exchanges to conclude the matter at hand, but of course such words are the flourishes of illusion and cunning sleight of hand. Beneath the innocence, we all understand, is this:

“My sweet, I will escape in all haste back to the pub now.”

“Oh, you have a hangover? Let’s hope you vomit all over those fooly little waitresses when you get there.”

“Yes. And suddenly it’ll be midnight and like a doomed man I will count the steps to the gallows awaiting me at home. Pray to Jesus and Muhammad that you’re asleep when I get here, or at least pretending to be.”

“I’ll have a busy day, husband, just thinking of all the things I’d like to do to you for breaking all your promises. And when you get home, why, I’ll be dreaming dreadful scenes, each one adding to that pleasant smile on my sleeping face.”

“I shall attempt to sleep on no more than a ruler’s width of bed, stiff as a board, not making a sound.”

“Yes, you will. Darling.”

And the obligatory kiss, smooch smooch.

Such is the power of love, the lure of domestic tranquility and the pleasure of eternal companionship. Would we have it any other way?

Ask me later.