Hubby went ahead to start work while I packed up the house and our things. The day before the kids and I left, M and I spent the entire day together. At some point during the evening he said, “I have something for you…” I was like he shouldn’t give me anything cos he’ d been so generous sorting out a lot of things concerning the move for me. He had organized the shippers for me for some things we were taking and had pulled strings to get my kids’ new Nigerian e-passports out when there was a delay. He insisted though, and handed me a small kente bag. “This is a keepsake of our ‘firsts’. The bag is for you to remember our first kiss in Accra…” I looked inside it.
The decision to move away from Lagos was very hard for me but I had no choice. People were irritated that it was even an issue for me. I mean, to everyone it was a no brainer. At work, my direct boss was sorry to see me leave and my department threw a huge going away dinner for me. Hubby stopped by to pick me up at the restaurant and my female co workers oohed and ahhed over him. I heard many a “she’s so lucky! See her husband, fine boy!” from them. We got in the car and He remarked how nice it was for them to have the do for me, that he knew it was hard for me to go and start afresh in a foreign country but he would make it up to me, it was a great opportunity for us all, blah, blah… I just stared ahead in silence all the way home. M was on my mind. I played back the conversation we had when I told him about the move. “I’ll miss you like mad but you can’t not go, my darling. Don’t worry we’ll find a way to make this work”. Please click to continue reading…
There were two laminated movie ticket stubs from ‘jumper’. “That’s from our first movie.” my mouth was agape. “yes,I saved them. Like the guy in the movie, I’ll be with you in a heartbeat when you need me…if you need me, which leads me to my next gift… Now this couldn’t fit in the bag…” he brandished a new iPad. ” I can’t teleport but I can appear on Skype!” I burst out laughing. “You? On skype? That will be the day!” I had always teased him about men of his age not being tech savvy. ” I don’t have a choice. I have to learn. If not, who will pick out my ties and cuff links for me?” he shrugged. Hugging him tightly, i sighed to myself.Was I really going to leave all this behind? “Thank you…” ” No, Thank YOU, my darling for everything, ” he said and then we tumbled back into bed.
Settling down was hard for me. It was the middle of the school year so I busied myself with getting the kids into a private school paid for by hubby’s office. Then I got down to furnishing the gigantic house, also courtesy of the office. Hubby was busy flying around, meeting people from the different field offices around the “geo zone” as they called it. I had no job, no friends; kids were busy at school, hubby at work. The one thing that kept me going was M. We skyped every single day, sometimes twice a day, the time difference was no issue. My birthday was a few months after we moved and I was so miserable because the kids were going to be away on a school trip and as usual hubby was out of town. To his credit though, he’d booked a spa day for me and arranged for me to be pampered silly. At every moment I wasn’t covered in some goo or had my hands free, I’d check my phone. It was odd that I’d not heard from M apart from a bb message he had sent at midnight to wish me a happy birthday.
Every time the red light blinked, i would extricate myself from my attendant’s grip and check the new message. Still nothing. It was truly going to be a miserable day. I drove home in a daze, my body was refreshed but my mind was in turmoil. How could he do this? Especially after he knew I was already feeling bad about spending the day alone. Not even a phone call? As i pulled up into my driveway, my busybody neighbor ran out with the largest bouquet of multicolored roses I had ever seen. She said they were delivered while I was out and so she signed for them. She was hanging around to see me open the card but I thanked her and drove into the garage. No one needed to tell me who they were from. I knew! Multicolored roses were “our” thing. We called them m&m roses. I opened the card while i was still in the car. There was only one word in it… “dinner?” I looked around frantically half expecting to see M crouching in my garage. No. It couldn’t be that he was here? In this city? If not, then dinner where? I Got my phone out and dialled shakily. No answer. Then sent a message thanking him and asking what the whole cryptic message was about. Several hours after I got a response. He WAS here! In a hotel in the next city, about 45 mins away. No need to tell you what I got up to that night. I’m sure your imaginations would serve you well. Let’s just say I had a wonderful birthday.
Within a few months, hubby finished his period of orientation and was fully settled at work in our city. Like clockwork, he was home at 5:15 everyday which was a huge culture shock for me. Suddenly, he was available for the school run, attended sports meets and recitals, concerts and school bbqs. The silences grew between us. It was only then that I realized that in the last two years, our conversations had mostly been filled with playing catch up. Now he was home all the time, I didn’t have much to say to him. He witnessed everything pretty much first hand. We would have dinner, the kids would go to bed, I’d catch up on my daily tv shows while he would be on the computer. He would get on the treadmill and work out in the basement while I skyped or talked with M from the privacy of the den. I would get into bed and squeeze my eyes shut before hubby came to bed, just in case he had any plans for you know what. He noticed the change and tried to bring it up. He felt I was cold because I was still resentful about having to quit my job and because I hadn’t found a new one. I always shrugged and said I was ok, that it didn’t have anything to do with him. He begged me to talk to him, to tell him what was going through my head. I just stared into space and mumbled something.
Then one day we got a phone call. His best friend,best man at our wedding and all round 2nd in command had suffered a heart attack and died. Just like that. No warning. I thought of his wife. We had never really gotten along. She had always been standoffish. She clearly thought my hubby was a bad influence on hers and she never pretended to like him and by extension, me. However, my heart went out to her. He had just turned 40! That night, hubby cried like a baby. He was on a plane to Lagos two days later. He came back from the funeral with a broken spirit. I saw the headlights and opened the front door. The figure that was paying the airport limo driver seemed different. It looked like even his carriage had changed. He enveloped me in a bear hug,almost crushing me. He said, “we have to talk”.
That night, we talked until daybreak. He told me how things had gone in Lagos. How sad it was to see someone who was like a brother to him be put into a casket. He said “the guys” went out the day of the funeral to “let off some steam” and all he was thinking was that they were insane. One of them had just been put into the ground and they were thinking of going out to drink. The week in Lagos was an eye opener for him. There was such vanity and dizzying levels of ridiculousness that appalled him. It was like he was an outsider. Then he talked about his friend’s widow and her kids. How frail they looked. It was like he had an epiphany. My husband turned around to face me. He begged for my forgiveness for all the lies, the cheating, everything. He wept and promised me that going forward, there would be no more indiscretions.
He was committed to me and our kids 100%. He handed me his blackberry and told me the password and the password to his email accounts. He said he wanted to start afresh. He wanted me to trust him. He wanted things to be back the way they were before. He knew I had withdrawn even before we moved here but it was far more glaring now we were together more often. I felt like a bucket of ice had been thrown over me. I was numb. These were words I’d been dying to hear for years. It should have been like music to my ears but all I could think about was M. What did this mean for us?
That morning, as hubby snored quietly in bed, I took off my m&m bracelet and put it into an old jewelry box. I got my phone out and deleted five numbers from it. I also deactivated my Skype account and threw away the iPad charger just for good measure. My husband had made some choices and I had decided to make some too.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say I regret my affair with M. I don’t AT ALL. Not in the slightest bit. It took every single bit of willpower not to take his calls. I rejected all bb invitations and deleted all emails without even opening them. Some days I miss him like mad but I’m going to stick with the choice I have made. He has come into town several times and tried to get my attention. I was so tempted to go and see him. Just to explain what happened but I know if I went, I was doomed. Then I was scared he would show up on my doorstep. I got an email the day I decided to send this story in. In the subject line was, “please! Just talk to me. That’s all I want!” I almost clicked on it but hit the delete option instead.
I will be in Lagos in a few weeks for my dad’s 70th birthday. I know I will bump into M and I’m hoping I will not fall into temptation. I will let y’all know what happens 😉