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I could almost hear my heart thumping in my chest. How long had he been standing there? He couldn’t have seen anything, could he? If he had seen us, he wouldn’t stand here with that needy look on his face.
Oh God, what is wrong with me? Why am I not rushing into his arms, kissing him and telling him how much I want us to settle our issues?
‘Boye, please be rational,’ I heard him say. My vision blurred at his words, my eyes clouded with unshed tears.
What have I become? I thought, leaning against a door. Why am I so confused, so disoriented?
‘Boye,’ I heard him call. He was close to me now, the scent of his body spray teasing my nostrils.
‘Things are not the way you think they are, that’s why I am here, to end this anguish for us both.’
‘Did you have to come? You didn’t have to.’
Someone cleared his throat. It was Femi. I had forgotten he was there. Jite and I glanced at him.
‘Boye, I will be going downstairs to join the others. I think you should talk to your husband but if you are bent on throwing him out, I will be here.’
‘That’s a joke,’ he added at Jite’s startled look.
I watched him leave, his words echoing in my head. ‘If you are bent on throwing him out, I will be here.’
Is that what I have been doing? Throwing him out? Meanwhile, wait ooo is Femi coming on to me?
‘Let’s find somewhere to sit Boye.’
I led the way to my room and he followed.
I am not a saint. Omoboye’s behaviour was infuriating me and I wanted to do what my head was telling me. Turn back and look for an ATM machine to withdraw money from.
But I felt I had to do the best that I could to salvage our marriage. Heck! We hadn’t even done six months and we already looked and sounded like a marriage counsellor’s nightmare.
I followed her to her room thinking of Femi’s remark. What did he mean by he was there for her? Was he planning to take advantage of Boye? I felt my fists clench at the thought. Would he dare? They were friends, they worked together. That was all I knew, so what was that comment about? I didn’t want to dwell on such unpleasant things and decided to focus on Boye.
I took in the room. ‘Great place,’ I said just to break the silence.
‘The whole place is so peaceful and quiet.’
Okay, this is going nowhere.
‘Omoboye, let’s talk.’
‘First thing, I am sorry for not telling you about Skipper. I would like to do that now.’
‘Not yet Jite,’ she said. ‘I am going to faint if I don’t say what’s on my mind now. I feel so guilty and dirty. I just have to say it.’
My heart constricted at her words. I swallowed the saliva that instantly pooled in my mouth, and my hands shook in dread. She feels guilty and dirty, she feels guilty and dirty…why would she feel guilty and dirty? I felt a faint headache starting as I said the words over and over in my head.
If we were going to talk, we might as well bare it all. I had made up my mind I was going to open up to him, only the decision was easier to make when he wasn’t there. Seeing him face to face, it was hard to talk.
But still, things had to change and there was never going to be a good time. He needed to hear everything and then he could decide if he still wanted me.
‘Jite,’ I began, pausing as I saw the fear on his face.
Oh my God, he knows already and it scares him. But I felt compelled to say it.
‘Jite, Femi touched me.’
‘Oh Lord’. He whimpered burying his head in his palms.
‘It wasn’t a “touch touch” like that. I quickly added. ‘It’s not what you think.’
‘So what kind of touch was it?’ I asked raising my head up.
‘I was upset, I was crying and then he was trying to comfort me.’
‘In the room?’
‘No, Jite, we were outside, just by the door. I didn’t even plan to cry, the tears just started flowing when he asked why I was without make up and if I was having problems with my husband.’
‘He was hugging me, consoling me and then he placed his hands on my bum.’
‘And nothing Jite, nothing. I stood there, I didn’t flinch, I didn’t take his hands off, I didn’t ask him to take them off, I did nothing, not for several minutes, and that’s why I hate myself so much right now. How could I stand there and do nothing? I have always imagined myself as the kind of girl that took no nonsense, as the type nobody except my husband could touch. But Jite, I let Femi touch me. I don’t know who I am anymore. I find it hard to recognize me.’
I said nothing. I just stared into space for several seconds.
‘So where were you going?’ I asked.
‘He said there was this sightseeing organized by some of the guests. He wanted us to go too.’
‘What else were you going to just stand there and let him do?’
‘Nothing. I swear. He offered to take me back inside the room so we could talk but I said no.’
‘The bastard,’ I said through clenched teeth.
So Femi was one of those people I had heard about all my life. The lizards who stood around waiting for cracks in a marriage’s walls so they could sneak in. And to think my wife just stood there and allowed another man touch her backside. My own property, the one I was supposed to be the only one touching!
Easy Jite, don’t be too hard on her, remember why you are really here and be grateful that it didn’t get worse than that. And above all, be thankful that she told you.
‘Anyway, I am grateful that you told me this Boye,’ I said, placing a hand on her exposed knee.
‘I know you very well or at least I think I do. I know you are not the wayward type and I will like to believe that you won’t cheat on me. So I am not going to dwell on what happened between you and Femi. All I will say is you won’t be working with him ever again. I think as your husband I can still say that, right? I am still your husband or aren’t I?’
‘Yes Jite. You are my husband,’ I said, warmth filling me and removing some of the guilt that I felt.
I don’t know if it was the hand that he placed on my knee or hearing myself call him husband but I was suddenly so aware of him. I smiled at him, my heart open and ready to make peace as my mind visualized a night of passion.
‘Alright then Boye, so we are done with that. Now to the Skipper issue, I am sorry I didn’t tell you about her.’
‘Did you read the note I gave you in your Mum’s house?’
‘I don’t think I did. I didn’t. I hope I have not misplaced it though, because I can’t even remember where I placed it.’
‘Don’t sweat it. What I wrote there was that Bisade is not pregnant for me and that I am sorry once again about what happened with her. Right now, I am hoping you would forgive me totally. I know you still harbour hurt in your heart and that’s why you can’t trust me. I can’t blame you too much. It’s only human but Boye, we need trust if this is going to work. We can’t keep doing this or we would have to dissolve this marriage.’
‘God forbid! Anyway, God will only forbid if Skipper’s pregnancy is not yours,’ I added, searching his face.
‘No baby. I dated Skipper years ago. I am sorry I didn’t tell you about her, she was someone I wanted to forget. It was a turbulent relationship. She was not only a sex addict, she also has Borderline Personality Disorder. She was clingy, controlling too. It was more than I could handle. I just wanted to forget that one year of my life.
‘Yet, you kept her pictures…’
‘I know it’s crazy to keep them, but I am the kind of person who finds it hard to trash pictures, messages or any other thing that connects me to someone. Even if I have forgotten that they exist.’
‘So where did you meet her? School?’
‘Oh…! So she is the weirdo you once mentioned that you dated during service. The one you said got a nickname that had to do with a skipping rope just because she had an uncanny ability to skip classes and still pass.’
‘The very one.’
‘Oh! Oh my God!’ I covered my mouth as the pieces fell into place.
‘So that was why I thought the name was familiar.’
‘You know she called the morning after we made love all night. That was back in Zanzibar. You were sleeping and you asked me to check who was calling you. I did and I saw Skipper and felt the name sounded familiar. Somehow I saw a text she sent to you where she said she loved you and had something to discuss with you, something that was very urgent. I decided to assume that it was Bisade’s name that you stored as Skipper.’
‘Oh really? So that’s why your behaviour changed; I kept worrying about what it could be. Why didn’t you just ask me?’
‘I don’t know. I just couldn’t. I also deleted the message and the call record and I felt ashamed afterwards and couldn’t tell you because of that.’
‘You see why we need to talk to each other. To think you were obsessing over someone that means nothing to me.’
‘Jite, you know what’s funny.’ I said, putting a hand to my mouth to suppress laughter.
‘What’?’ He asked.
‘I am a joke. I kept looking for flaws in her; a pimple, darkened knees or something and yet she had all of these issues and looking at her you wouldn’t know.’
‘Yes, you wouldn’t. At least not until she opens her mouth.’
She was smiling. I felt all the tension in me ebb away. I stood up from the couch, pulled her up and embraced her.
‘Jite, hold on.’ She said, sighing. ‘We are not done’.
‘Okay. What else is on your mind?’
‘I think I may never be able to conceive.’
‘And why would you think that?’
‘It’s just a gut feeling that I have. Besides I have had enough time to take in since we got married.’
‘Relax Omoboye. No need to worry. I want children, I am not going to pretend that I don’t but the fact remains that I want you more than I want children so not having them won’t change what I feel for you. It was part of what I wrote in that note. Children or not, I will still love you. Worst case scenario, we will adopt children. I keep thinking that there are several children out there praying to God for a mummy and daddy; we could be the answer to their prayers especially if we can’t have ours.’
‘Jite…hmmmm…are you sure? Because all these things are easier said than done ooo, especially since we both know this is my fault. ‘
‘Shhh, Boye. Don’t go into that.’
‘You see. It still hurts you to think about it, so you are pushing the thoughts away.’
‘No, Boye. You are not entirely right. True, it hurts that we might have been parents by now but I am willing to let go of all of that and see what the future holds.’
‘Jite, I just hope that future holds something positive because Mum promised to make my life a living hell if I don’t have a protruding stomach or a baby by our anniversary.’
I laughed out at her words.
‘Are you for real?’
‘Yes, she said plenty things o, about how she will make sure the whole world knows what I did and how my life will be miserable. Really scary things o.’
‘There is no problem baby. Your mum can’t cry more than the bereaved. Besides who says anything is wrong with you? It’s still early days Boye. We haven’t even been married six months yet. I need you to get over the paranoia and just relax or we could go for a test just to know if everything is okay.’
‘Why does that sound so scary Jite?’
‘Don’t be scared. Like I said earlier, I will still love you, children or no children’.
‘Oh Jite, I don’t deserve you,’ she said, sitting in my lap and wrapping her arms around my neck.
‘No, baby. I think we deserve each other. We are both crazy.’
‘But I think I am crazier sha.’ I said, pressing against him.
‘Well, since you said it yourself, I have to agree that you are the crazier one.’
‘Something about us is odd, Jite. I feel like we always do this and then we go back to our quarrels.’
‘You mean we always make up somewhere out of our own house and then not long after something else happens that takes us back to where we started.’
‘So what do you suggest? That we stop making up?’
‘I don’t know Jite. I am just tired of our wahala,’ I said, frowning.
He laughed at my words and tickled my ribs till I joined in the laughter.
‘I have a suggestion,’ He said, when we stopped laughing.
‘I think we should do a vow renewal.’
‘No. Jite. That’s a no-no. Vow renewal when our marriage is not even up to a year?’
‘It doesn’t matter; even if it’s two days into marriage. What matters is we know why we want to do it. You and I know our wedding day vows weren’t exactly heartfelt. We know our wedding was just a show for our guests.’
‘You are right though’. I said. ‘So the vow renewal will be like the one where we say our heartfelt vows right? I think I like the idea.’
‘I knew you would. We will organize something small, invite some of our friends and do it. No priests, no dressing up, just two souls baring their hearts to one another.’
‘Won’t our friends suspect that something is wrong with our marriage?’
‘Do you care if they do? Boye, we need to start paying less attention to what people think. Let them think what they will as long as we are happy.’
‘Okay then. But I don’t agree with the no dressing up thing oo. Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well and so we are going to make it a grand party.’
‘Seriously, Omoboye, I want a small party.’
‘Leave story jare husband and kiss me. Kiss me like your very life depends on it. Then I want you to make love to me, do it like I am this bad girl that you want to set straight, like you want to punish me for all the stress I have been putting you through.’
‘Have you been watching porn?’ He asked. His words made me laugh and I was about to give a saucy response but the look in his eyes stopped me. The need I saw there, the fire…..they dried the saliva in my mouth. All I could say was kiss me, kiss me Enajite, please kiss me.
Sometimes you think you know what your husband can or can’t do and then he shocks you by doing the unexpected.
The time for dinner came and we went down. We were all over each other, basking in the afterglow of great sex. I made sure we sat at a table far apart from everyone else. I wanted to avoid Femi as much as I could and hoped that he would do the same.
For a while, we ate our dinner in relative seclusion. We were undisturbed save for the occasional one or two people who came around to chat with us. Femi was the last person I wanted to see; I still felt some shame for allowing him to touch me the way he did and so I was very uncomfortable when he walked up to our table.
‘Hello Mr & Mrs, you guys seem cozy; everything cool in conjugal land now?’
And then Jite spoke through clenched teeth.
‘Femi, excuse us please.’
‘Sorry to bother you. I was only being nice.’
Femi looked sincere as he spoke and I could have been fooled if I hadn’t recognized the mischievous glint in his eyes. Jite wasn’t impressed either.
‘Thank you Femi, we appreciate your niceness. Now excuse us.’
‘What’s with the attitude? Is it my fault that you guys are having problems?’
He said that aloud and my eyes darted around the room desperate to see if anyone was taking notice. They were; several pairs of eyes were trained on our table.
‘No, it’s not your fault.’ Jite replied. ‘But let me warn you, the next time you as much as lay a finger on my wife, you would wish you were never born.’
I fixed my eyes on Jite, my heart doing flip flops. I had never seen him that angry. His fists were clenched, there was saliva hanging at the corners of his mouth.
‘Jite, please ignore him.’ I pleaded. ‘Let’s not cause a scene.’
‘Baby, stay out of this.’
‘Wow, wow! Such honesty amongst couples. This is so cute,’ Femi said.
‘But Omoboye seriously? I can’t believe you told him about our small adventure this afternoon. Makes me wonder if you also told him about how I once rammed you so hard, you farted for…’
He didn’t finish the sentence before Jite’s fist shut him up.
I was mortified. I wanted the ground to open and swallow me up. I still don’t know which affected me most; the shocked look on the faces of the other diners, the damage that Jite’s fist did to Femi’s mouth, the clicks of cameras as pictures were taken or the look of excruciating pain on Jite’s face as he turned towards me.