Gbenga entered his room and went into the bathroom. He didn’t notice the figure standing on the balcony observing his every move. He entered the room and changed into a blue shirt, backing the balcony.
“Gbenga, is this how you and your mistress planned to get rid of me?”
He jumped back in shock, lost his balance and fell down. He got up from the floor.
“You almost made me hurt myself! Why did you do that?”
Shade came close to him, her hands balled into small fists. “Is that all you have to say?”
He took a step back and looked at the door to make sure he could flee from his angry wife if things got out of hand.
“Did you have sex with Ngozi?” Shade asked her husband.
“I…what…are you talking….” He couldn’t look her in the eye.
“Look at me and tell me the truth. Were you sleeping with Ngozi?”
“I don’t know….what you are talking….”
Shade slapped him hard on the face with her right hand. “Don’t you dare lie to me. Your whore told me everything that happened between you. She boasted to me about how she comforted you!”she spat like an angry serpent.
Gbenga placed his left hand on his face to soothe the sting of the slap. “This is all a misunderstanding. I can explain what happened.”
Shade pushed him on his chest against the wardrobe. “Did you sleep with that whore? Answer me Gbenga and stop telling me lies!”
“Yes, I did!” Gbenga shouted. “I slept with her and you pushed me to her,” he said in a voice laden with shame.
A dark cloud descended on Shade’s face. Her legs became weak, rubbery like jelly. She leaned against the wardrobe and slowly drifted to the floor and sat on the floor, with her hands folded on her head. Tears came to her eyes and she began sobbing.
Gbenga stood opposite her. “I asked you several times to give up this insane job and find something else that won’t demand so much travelling but you wouldn’t listen. I begged you to give your time to this marriage and family but you said that I was jealous of your success and wanted to clip your wings.”
Gbenga paused, reaching deep for painful memories that lurked beneath the surface of his mind. ” Can you remember when you told me that you were now better than me, that you made more money than me so I should shut up and listen to you? Shade, you told me to shut up and you walked out on me because you had to catch a flight to Brazil!” Gbenga hit the wardrobe with clenched fists.
Shade was crying, her head bowed like a penitent sinner praying at the wailing wall in Jerusalem.
Gbenga continued. “I did all I could to draw your attention to what was going on in our marriage but you were blinded by your lust for power and money and I couldn’t reach you.”
Shade lifted her head. Her eyes were red like a thug smoking his third joint of marijuana on a Monday morning. “Gbenga, you really did sleep with my friend. I thought she was safe with you. I trusted you with her.”
“I was the one who wasn’t safe with her. Ngozi wanted me so bad and allowing her to come to our home made things worse for me. I couldn’t run away from her forever.”
“Why didn’t you tell me what Ngozi was doing? Why didn’t you let me know about it?” Shade asked, still crying.
“And what will you have done, stopped her from coming to the house while you were away on your trips?” Gbenga asked his wife.
Shade was silent for a moment. “But Gbenga I trusted you to be the man and push her away from you. Why didn’t you do something to discourage her?”
Gbenga stood at the window and looked out at the darkness that had descended on the land. “I tried my best but after a while I caved in to her demands. Shade, my business was going bankrupt and the only person who understood me, who helped me was Ngozi.”
Shade lifted up her head, her face squeezed in anger. “She was the only person who understood you?” She asked.
“I spoke with you twice about this but do you know what you said? You told me that things will work themselves out. You said that life has a way of correcting our excesses. That was what you said! You gave me some New Age nonsense you have imbibed from only God knows where. But Ngozi listened to me and even helped me out financially.”
Shade stood up and came to where Gbenga was standing. “Gbenga, that woman gave you money and you took it from her? Ah! Gbenga, you’ve disappointed me.”
Shade shook her head from side to side like a white garment prophetess having a transcendental spiritual experience in a prayer house. “You shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t have. You have shamed me. You have made me a laughing stock among my friends.”
She sat down on the bed and considered her predicament. Her mom had warned her about this but she wouldn’t listen. She told her mom to mind her own marriage and she would mind her own. Apparently she had no idea how to handle a marriage.
Should she tell Gbenga what happened with Roberto or should she just pack her bags and leave him with her best friend? She decided to tell him. But first she had to know about the maid.
“Yesterday morning, I discovered that the maid was pregnant. Are you responsible for it?”
Gbenga turned away from her in shame. His silence was an acceptance of his guilt. Shade nodded knowingly.
“Gbenga there’s something I must let you know before I leave.”
“You are leaving? Where are you going?”
“That is not important right now. I need to tell you the truth about what happened to me in Italy.” She paused. “I met a guy.”
Gbenga’s mouth hung open. He was afraid for what he was about to hear. “You met a guy?”
The door to the room swung open and Ngozi walked in. She stopped when she saw Shade sitting on the bed and Gbenga looking out of the window. It seemed as if scales fell from Shade’s eyes as she looked at her friend. Ngozi wore a red dress, her long legs tapered off in nude heels. Shade had forgotten how beautiful her friend was. Their closeness and friendship had blinded her to her beauty. She used to wonder why married women forbade Ngozi from their home, and single ladies kept their men away from her. She thought they were just jealous of her beauty. But now she knew why . Ngozi was a walking, breathing sexual predator. Looking at her Shade concluded that even the saintliest among men would find it difficult to resist her charms. She had made a very terrible mistake to allow such a woman, no, to allow this sex fiend have unrestricted access to her husband. Her husband never stood a chance against her. It was like a dog challenging a lioness to a duel in the jungle. It stood no chance at all and such a battle would have ended before it even began. She had been such a fool and she was going to pay for it with her marriage.
“What are you doing here?” The words escaped from Ngozi’s lips before her brain computed that she was the one trespassing in her friend’s bedroom.
Shade rose up slowly from the bed and faced Ngozi. “I should be asking you that question,” she said.
Gbenga was silent in the corner, his eyes filled with trepidation as he watched the women square off in his bedroom.
Only yesterday morning this women sat down together as friends and had breakfast. But that was a distant memory in their minds. The thread of friendship which once bound them together had been burnt by betrayal. Now, the former friends faced each other as full fledged enemies.
Sadique sat on his bed thinking. He couldn’t remove Yemi’s face from his mind. She filled the screen of his consciousness and evoked feelings that he never knew were there, feelings he thought were dead and gone. This afternoon when he lifted his hand to strike that mortal blow at her neck, his mind was made up to dispatch her to her ancestors. But when she turned around and he saw her face, something gave way in his heart. He thought he had overcome his feelings for her. He thought the feelings he once had for her had been confined to the trash can of painful memories. But the feelings were there, raging within him like a wild bush fire during harmattan. They were weakening him, sapping his mental energies, making him wonder if he was a real man beneath his tough, macho mien.
“Hmm.” He sighed deeply. He reached for his secret stash of alcohol, totally forbidden by his religion and took some gulps. He grimaced as the liquid hit the back of his throat. His emotions held him captive to this woman who betrayed their love by having an affair with an Igbo spare parts dealer. He had sworn that he would never have anything to do with her after he found them hurdled together like cats in her room. That was three months ago. He thought it was over. He had given her his love but she had rejected it to be with that…that small boy!
He hated this weakness in his character. How could a woman make him feel like this: so feeble and uncertain? This was insane! Where did this strong rush of emotions come from? If what he felt was love, he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He stood up from the bed. “I am Sadique Musa. I am a man, a real man, not a weakling.” He spoke unconvincingly to himself, his conflicted face stared back at him from the mirror which was nailed to the wardrobe door. Even as he spoke, he knew he was losing this battle, he knew he was being drawn back into the arms of the woman he once cared for. No, this wasn’t love he felt, he argued with himself. This was infatuation or something worse. “I can’t go on like this,” he muttered to himself. He peered into the darkness through the curtains, then turned on the light in the room. His feelings for Yemi was driving him crazy. Tonight, he would have a talk with the maid and put an end to this madness.
To be continued…