I read the message and deleted it, like he’d do mine. Not that I had a husband to hide it away from like he had a wife but I wanted to exorcise myself from reading his texts over and over, savoring the words and wishing I was the only woman he sent those sorts of messages to. “No woman can ever make me feel the way you do. I wish I could come to you tonight.”
We never hung out in public places, never went shopping or seeing movies but we once went to a resort, it was just me, him and the water. I wished that day never ended.
We had a lot of road trips together. But not flights, because, he met a lot of people he knew on flights. But we could only hide so much.
We either met at his place, or mine but mostly mine. I moved out of my self-contained apartment to a two-bedroom flat so we could have all the space we needed. A corner of my house belonged to him, his books, some clothes and other unnecessary stuff. I should have left the day I found out he was married, that it wasn’t only me, that I was the other woman. “It doesn’t change that I love you Miriam, don’t behave like this, it’s breaking me” He said to me while I laid crumpled on the floor crying a flood. I should have shrugged him off, but I let him hug me and kiss me, and put his tongue between my legs. I cried more, I wasn’t sure if it was from the pleasure or from the pain of knowing he would do same with his wife.
I should have deleted his number the morning I got home, I should have bathed with very hot water to wash off all the remnants of his touch.
But I gave him space to dominate my life, my heart and my house.
His family lived abroad, they were distant. It made me feel like I mattered, made me forget he’d run off to her soon as she returns for one of her little breaks. I’d often endure, play small, pretend I didn’t care till he was all mine again, but not tonight.
I wanted to reply, to tell him I wished he wasn’t hiding in the toilet to text me so his wife will not see but I texted my mom on WhatsApp instead.
“Are you home?”
“Yes, are you coming?”
“To stay the week, right? Yay!”
“I don’t know about the week mum, but if I stay here tonight, I may die of boredom”
“A lot of overripe plantain awaits you my dear. God bring you safely”
Mama was getting better at using her WhatsApp. When she started using it initially, she’d call after I send a message to tell me she didn’t know how to reply. I took a few clothes from the wardrobe, turned off the control switch and headed to mum.
The volume on the speakers were so loud, it made the room appear smaller. Mama turns it off on noticing my presence.
“Since when did you start listening to loud music? And why is the door open by this time?”
“Since you decided this is not home for you again”
“I’m not a child anymore, I won’t live with you forever”
“But you can live with me on some days while I’m alive”
“Mom please let’s not have this conver….”
The vibration from my phone interrupts me. It’s Ayo. I ignore and sit on the couch besides mama.
“Why aren’t you responding to me?” I delete it and put the phone back in my pocket. On second thoughts, I pull out the phone, click on our thread of messages and delete all.
“When are you coming to pack your things from my house?”
“What is going on Miriam?”
“Just another woman, that is what I am to you”
“I’ll come over tomorrow night so we talk, my wife is travelling so I’d take her to the airport.” I imagine him rubbing her hair like he does mine, kissing her neck, giving her head. I imagine her underneath him, moaning his name and I feel the anger down to my feet.
I deleted the whole thread again, switched off the phone and turned back to mama. Her face was expressionless.
I opened my mouth to talk but tears flow instead. She brought me to a warm embrace as I sobbed uncontrollably on her chest till my tears formed a map on her blue dress which smelled of orange.
She didn’t need to ask, I always only came to her when I had Ayo to deal with. It made me feel like I didn’t deserve her love.
“You deserve better Miriam, you shouldn’t be a second woman.” She whispered. I crumple on the floor like I had done that night when I first found out he was married, broke off into loud jerky sob because I know when he comes tomorrow to pack his things, his presence, will disarm me, and again, I won’t walk away. I will melt into his arms and let the pain consume me.
by Farida Adamu
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