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She walked towards me with her arms outstretched, and combined with the smile on her face you would think I was her long lost sister.
So this calls for a hug? I asked myself as she wrapped her arms around me. Still smiling, she drew back and inspected me from head to toe.
She turned to Jite when she was done. He was still looking angry but she acted like she didn’t notice.
‘Jite, you picked a very pretty one this time,’ She said, giving him what looked to me like an intimate smile.
That is it. I am done, I thought, clenching my teeth. Who told her she could date my man behind my back and still act patronizing?
‘Jite, I am out of here,’ I said, walking away.
If you know what is good for you, husband, you will follow me. I thought.
You would think I was dumb. I didn’t say a word throughout the encounter, not even when Omoboye walked away. Skipper left right after Omoboye did, giving me a jubilant look before she entered her car.
Is our marriage jinxed? I thought, as I sat back inside the car. Why was it that every time we made some progress something happened that reversed it all? The weekend was supposed to be spent in relaxation. We were supposed to talk and sort out all our issues but then Skipper decided to show up. How did she even know where we were? Was she tailing me? It wasn’t something that was beyond her. She was psychotic enough to do worse.
Skipper! She was someone I had hoped Omoboye would never meet. She was someone I never wanted to have anything to do with again.
We met during our one year National Youth Service. I was determined to marry her and have three kids with her all within the first five minutes of meeting her. It was a classic case of infatuation at first sight even though at that time I thought it was love. I had been standing under the sun for hours waiting to be registered for the orientation camp and there were just about ten more people before it would be my turn when this lady walked up to me, pleading with her eyes that she would like to enter the space in front of me. It wasn’t like she needed to plead, I was taken already just by looking into her eyes. Who wouldn’t? Not with her kind of looks. She had the kind of face, frame, skin and curves that you get when you mix Edo, Igbo and Fulani genes.
I didn’t even think it through; I just motioned for her to get in. It didn’t matter that I had to contend with the other people on the queue especially the females. I made feeble attempts to fabricate a story about how she had been there before, but the looks they shot me said they understood why I couldn’t say no.
I stayed glued to her even after registration. I was the dude who took her bags to the female hostel, the one who ensured that she got two buckets of clean water every day. I also took her feeding as my responsibility. She didn’t like the food served in the dining hall. She said it wasn’t up to standard, and I agreed with her. She was too beautiful to eat the kind of food they served and so I took care of breakfast, lunch, dinner and the snacks and drinks she took whenever we were on the parade ground. She rewarded me with her attention; we spent nearly all our free time together. We wouldn’t go to our respective hostels even after the bells for lights out had been rung. We would remain entwined in one of the numerous dark corners until a soldier chanced upon us or it became too hard to fight off sleep.
She wanted me to make love to her the first day we met. I declined. I believed she was too beautiful for that. I told her she was a delicious dish that one was meant to savor. She didn’t seem too happy about that and by the third day she threatened to give her attention to other guys who needed it. And so I obliged her, even though I would have preferred that we did it on a regular bed. We had to make do with the parade ground and concrete floors. On subsequent days she brought a wrapper along from her hostel room which we spread on the floor or field whenever we wanted to make love. I told her how I felt, but she laughed it off saying we weren’t the only ones after all. I felt she was classier and more beautiful than all those other girls and I told her so but still it made no difference to her. That was when I started hearing the alarm bell that must have been ringing the moment she started pestering me for sex. What kind of girl does not mind being slept with on a parade ground? Yet I ignored my fears and we continued our escapades.
It wasn’t until we got posted to the same ministry and we started living together that I realized she was a sex addict. Skipper just had to have sex; nothing could stand in her way. Not menstrual periods, not fasting, not Malaria or Typhoid, not even having an audience. Nothing. I couldn’t keep up and wanted to break the relationship but I could not; she told me she had Borderline Personality Disorder and could commit suicide if I left her. So I was stuck with her for the rest of the service year. As NYSC drew to an end I was ecstatic, especially after she told me her parents wanted her to go for her master’s programme in Cyprus.
We parted on the passing out parade ground. She made me promise I was going to call her every day. I made the promise and a host of others that I had no intention of keeping. I liked her a lot, she was and is still very beautiful but she was much more than I could handle. Unfortunately, Skipper wouldn’t let me be. She became my official stalker. I had to close my Facebook account and even change my email address because of her, but still she always had a way to get in touch. She would use my Mum, friends and anyone else that could give her access to me. That went on for two years and then there was silence. Three years of silence. No calls, no mails. Nothing, until the day Omoboye and I got back from Zanzibar.
My heart had skipped a beat when I saw ‘Incoming call from Skipper’ on my phone. I was never going to delete her number; I wanted to always know it was her calling so I could ignore the call. But that day I picked it and then she screamed my name, saying how glad she was to have found me again. I didn’t ask why she had to call after I had given thanks to God that she was gone forever. She apologized for not keeping in touch for so long, saying that after her master’s programme she took up a humanitarian job in Asia, something that had to do with educating children in remote villages. So why did you leave the needy children of Asia or did you just wake up one morning to the realisation that there were children with greater needs in Africa? I wanted to ask her that but I didn’t. Instead I asked why she was calling.
‘Jite that hurts me; you shouldn’t be asking me that. You are the only man I have ever loved and you know that. It wasn’t like I ever forgot you, I thought of you all the time and when I got back I wanted to call but I decided it wasn’t time yet. But then a few days ago, I was quite bored and I decided to check a blog that a friend told me about. Going through the blog, I saw a link about some popular makeup artist’s wedding. When I opened the link I saw you, Jite.’
She said the last few words in a pained voice. I knew what was coming even before it started.
‘Why Jite? Why would you marry another woman? That should have been me you were holding Jite. We had so much promise.’ She sighed deeply.
‘Anyway let’s leave all that. I think I am over it now, although I cried for hours after seeing your wedding pictures, but I am fine really. I would just like you to do me a favour. Can I meet her? I would like us to be friends.’
‘Friends ke? I wouldn’t even allow you guys to meet.’ With that, I ended the call. Despite my firmness, Skipper continued to call every day and her request was the same every time. She wanted to meet my wife. And now, unfortunately, she had.
I started the car, deciding it was better to go look for Omoboye. I opted to go the house, praying I would meet her there. I could imagine what was going through her mind. She probably thought the pregnancy Skipper was carrying was mine.
Why is it so easy for my wife to believe the worst of me? I am so not trusted, I thought, sighing as I drove away from the Supermarket.
Getting a cab wasn’t hard, there was a taxi park few yards from the Supermarket and I hopped into the first one I saw.
‘Where?’ He asked.
‘Just keep driving towards Ajah.’
‘Where in Ajah?’
‘Just keep moving.’
I was calm. It was strange. My typical reaction would have been to cry or tear my hair out, but I was calm. I knew what I had to do; it was to get out of Lagos for a few days. I needed to be out of Jite’s reach at least for a few days and I knew just where to go. Calabar. I was actually meant to be there that weekend. There was a fashion and beauty exhibition organized by an international clothing line that was being held in Tinapa, and I had been invited together with the photographer I worked with, Femi.
He had been excited about us going together but I had declined, thinking it would be better to spend the weekend with Jite.
Calabar is where I need to be, I decided. I gave the cab driver the directions to our house, praying I would be able to pack my things before Jite would get home. I called Femi and was glad to hear he hadn’t left; he was just about to head for the airport so I told him to get me a ticket and come pick me up on his way there.
However, there was something else I needed to do before I left. A pregnancy test. It was time to know, I decided. If Skipper was pregnant then it was only fair that I should be pregnant too. Then we would see who Jite would pick between his wife and his mistress.
I was glad to see Jite wasn’t around when I got home. I had a short time for everything I wanted to do. Jite could come home any minute. The cab man had stopped at a pharmacy to allow me I had bought some pregnancy test strips on my way to the house and grabbing three, I rushed into our bathroom.
Fifteen minutes and three used strips later, I had what had to be the result in my hand. It was negative. ‘There is nothing in this stomach after all,’ I murmured. I had no idea how much I wanted to be pregnant until that moment.
Three months and you are not pregnant. You are barren, Boye. I wailed, images of several childless women I knew flashing before my mind’s eye.