Meena’s Diary#13

Still, in France, I leave the details out, but the least was I let loose to have the fun of my life. I threw my problem to the bottom of my concerns. We will deal with all that when we get back home. One could not deny herself the pleasure of living a carefree attitude even if it was false and fleeting.
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I shopped with JK, and he was the ones choosing most of the outfits. That guy has a sense of fashion that beats me and put mine to shame. He should have been in the fashion industry and not the IT techy world.

I did many crazy things in Paris. Top three were

One, a permanent tattoo lined eyebrow. Yes! I did those perfect arcs. That I no longer had to stay in front of the mirror each morning drawing and my brows.

Two,  I tinted my lips red. I never in my life have to bother about those anymore.  Hubby was rooting for me like a maniac.

“This vengeance on looking young is severe. What else do we need to do?” JK asked tongue in cheek.

“Is it you that we are putting all this on? Calm down. I am going into self-actualisation mode.”

“Ha! It is me o. Don’t you know your body is mine?”

I did my un-lady like snort, rolled my eyes again and managed a “get out” under my breath.

The third almost brought the whole hotel room down. I got a second piercing on my ears and one on my nose!

“Meena biko! He pleaded in the Igbo language.  Is your new look not becoming too much. Do you want to compete with the 18-year-olds?

I stood there staring at JK blankly.

It is bad enough people take you for a teenager, but this one will leave no doubt in their minds.

“You did not discuss this with me before you did it?”

“Is this for real?” I ask myself with sparks flowing out of my head like the ones you see in a cartoon.

“JK, don’t worry, in my momentary transformation, I will try not to disgrace you,” I said sarcastically.

He looked at me with confusion which was more common these days. The bewildered look he gave on some of my comments. I would blow hot where I should be blowing cold. Pass comments not relevant to our discussion but trying to talk about his affair and not going about it directly. I was in a back and front motion. Some days I’ll be moving forward, other days getting stuck and some other times just going back.

“Babe that is not what I meant. It looks good on you, but I don’t think it is something you should be doing? When you do this, then trust the girls will do more.”

“Oh that will be their choice, and I can’t be held responsible for that,” I replied in self-defense knowing he was right but refusing to agree on it with him

“You are their role model. Where you stop is where they will. It is not about whether something is right or wrong. It about the kind of message you are sending out.”

“Where would our sons start?  Please note here we had none. Two wives and a harem of girlfriends?”

I blurted out!

Meena’s Diary#12

wordle-girlstoysI opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. I was not one to be short for words.  I had a rich vocabulary for My vocabulary was whatever situation. However,  for the first time in a long while, I found myself speechless!
“You should be excited to see me,” accused JK standing at the door with an overnight bag hanging over his right shoulder.
His words brought my senses back.

“How did you know I was here?” I asked eyeing his bag with disbelief. JK was the only person I knew who would pack so light to travel anywhere in the world.

Yes, my friends knew I was in Paris, but no one knew the hotel I stayed. There were several hotels in the city.A wild guess could not have been this precise.

“You left a trail of everywhere you have been with your debit card. I rushed down here to join you in spending our money so that when we get back, we can move to a one bedroom rented apartment in Mushin area or Agege.”
I scowled and turned back in. “I am exhausted and trying to catch some sleep. I am not in the mood for one of your jokes.”

“I am surprised you were awake. I thought I would have had to sleep at the door till morning, your knight in shining armour or personal bodyguard on duty,” he chuckled at his joke choosing to be oblivious to the annoyance displayed in my face like a shield.
I let out a small smile, trying hard to stay angry.
“I have to go back to bed.  I have an early day tomorrow.”
I refused to look at JK as I could see his eyes searching mine with questions in them.
The old me would have been too excited, jumping, hugging and chattering none stop of all I had seen and done.
“That’s okay, I should grab some sleep too, and we hit the road together in the morning.
“What! You have never loved shopping with me. ”
“A guy can change, can’t he? I did not come all the way to Paris to sleep. I came to spend time with you.”

Some weeks back, that would have been the sweetest words he could have uttered, but today they made no meaning to me.He broke my trust and love has flown out of the window. Our lives could never go back to what it used to be, or so I thought.

I still struggled to sleep but kept my eyes shut and rolled as far away to the end of the king size bed.

I smiled when he got on the bed and stayed on the other end. Message sent out and received. That was communication, but somehow I would have loved him to make an effort to come closer. But I still would have insisted I needed the rest and did not want to be disturbed. Did I know what I want? I wanted the old JK who was true to me. I wanted our old relationship filled with love, honesty and transparency not where I was now. There were hurt, doubt and mixed feelings.

In the morning, I woke up with a start as confusion clouded my mind. Who was in my bed?  I have played with the thoughts of infidelity but was not planning on carrying it out. I was about to scream when I realised it was JK who had his arms wrapped around me.
“Hey gorgeous, you look like you had a nightmare.”
I was about to reply he was my nightmare but kept my mouth clamped shut. Pressed my temple and fell back on the bed. Just a few more minutes to recollect my thoughts and I will be ready to start the day.
The events of the night before came flooding back. The knock and JK in my room. So it was not a dream.It was real, and I had no clue how I wanted to deal with the situation.

I rolled out of bed and dragged my fatigued body to the bathroom shutting myself in. I still had not said a word to JK this morning. I was angry with myself and angry with him. How do people deal with infidelity? I have had to advise a friend or two, but that was many years ago when they were dating and not married. My stand was if a guy cheats on you with another woman take a walk. If he raises his hand at you, not even hitting you, take a fast walk and never look back. If he hits you, married or not take a flight out of that relationship.
So the advice was given to others, and here I was. “Take a walk.” Every day I hear that in my head. Take a walk but is that what I wanted. I hear other advice like go out with someone to hurt him.   Would that not be in the extreme? I could not do that even to my enemy. Others were, make life miserable for him. But how long will he put up with such and not be driven entirely into the hands of the other woman?
I remember the book the woman on my fight gave me, and I wondered if I had it in me to do all that. Can I sweep it under the carpet, forgive and move on like nothing happened. At what point do I confront him? Would he deny or confess? Was this the first, second or the last?
I must have been in that toilet for a while because JK came to knock on the door and asked if I was alright.

I am touched by the concern in his voice but quickly reminded myself of what he was doing to our relationship. I had to be strong and not get carried away with whatever love and devotion he threw my way.

I cleaned up and came out to dress. Ordered breakfast for two after asking JK if he wanted anything special.
“My ice queen wife has decided to grace me with some words.Today must be a beautiful day.”
“I am not much for talking today. I got a lot on my mind.”
“That you have refused to share.”
“I can’t share with you because I have lost you along the way and  I am now alone. I peeked to look at his face watching intently to see his reaction.
There was a moment of hesitation like a self-check. I think, but there was something in those eyes that was gone before I could put a word to it.
He came close to me and took my hands placing them on over his heart.
“You got my heart babe! Every piece of it.  You have the whole of me. I might not be the perfect husband, but I love you with all I have got.”

Should I mention that the words were so genuine and, I wanted to believe it and wish whatever it was I think I had found out will go away or was just my imagination or something similar to my friend Sa’a s situation.
Can the man before me declaring his undying love still be the same person exchanging text messages? To be honest, nothing was incriminating from his messages sent out, but the words from the other end left little for one’s imagination.
As much as I was torn as to what to believe, and wish the problem away, I could not go past my hurt. I was also not sure I wanted to spend the rest of myself without JK. I did not know what to do.
Love him through this. The words came slowly to my head! What! I blurted out.
JK looked at me confused.
“What is what?”
“Nothing,” I shrugged.
He prodded me, and  I had to think of something to say
“What if you stopped loving me and start loving someone else?” I choked the words out.
“There could never be another you. I can never love another person like the way I love you.”

But you could love someone else like the way you love them. I finished sadly in my head. The guy was smart. I can give him credit for that.
I hope I could love him the way I should because to love JK from now onward would be thoughtful and hard work. It was not the natural love where your emotions were involved, with chemistry, hot and sizzling enough to melt ice. I was a long haul to loving him and that book, “Love Dare” might be worth trying. If it does not work, then I might have to take my advice to take a walk. No need staying in a loveless marriage.

Meena’s Diary#10

I loved the thrill I got from the shock in JK’s voice. The one-minute silence before the barrage of questions. When did I plan the trip? What was I going to Paris to do? Who was with the kids? Why did I not discuss this with him? What is happening here? When are you coming back? To we need to talk when you come back. As the questions flew like gunshots, I was fuming and daring him in my head to forbid me from making the trip. I had thrown caution to the wind and wanted to hurt him in every possible way, so he felt the same pain I felt at finding out, I was no longer at the top of his priority list. I had been displaced by someone else.

 

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Was I curious? Yes. I wondered who she was. What she looked like and what attracted him to her. Am I going paranoid? My daily browsing through his phone convinced me he was about to or into an affair. Although, I still had not confronted him with on what I knew. Somehow I wanted it to be a lie, hoping that by not talking or acknowledging, it would all go away. I was hurting and lashing out. There was no rational or logical approach to my recent actions.

I ended the call entirely satisfied. It was just the beginning. I was going to make JK pay and go through the same hell I was living in now.

I settled into my seat with the hope that I might be able to sleep during the flight but alas I had this woman beside me who was too chatty for my liking.

I tried answering all her questions with monosyllables and nods with smiles that said I want to be alone but either she chose to deliberately ignore or was just psychologically stupid not to pick up my innuendos. The former I later found out was the case. I gave up on sleep and chatted with the dimwit woman, or so I thought and found I had met a soul mate even though I was reluctant at first.

She brought out a book “Love Dare” which piqued my curiosity. “What book is that?”

“It’s a 40 days devotion on saving your marriage. They also have the film and the novel – Fireproof.  You might be able to watch the movie on the flight.”

“No, give me a book on how to wreck a marriage. I am done with saving. It’s just too tiresome and yields no result.”

“Why don’t you watch the film? It’s a long flight, and you can tell me your thoughts on it.”

I reluctantly watched the film and had a thing or two to say. It looked like where my marriage was, but it was not in us women to wander. The unfaithful partner here was unbelievable the woman.

“It’s not for us to be unfaithful,” I commented to my new friend.

“But that is not to say we are saints. Can I let you into a secret? I have almost been there before sanity snatched me from the highway of destruction I was willingly walking.

It felt so right that it started as an innocent, genuine friendship. The man was having issues with his wife at home, and my husband was battling to save his business. Our lives were too busy and at varying tangents. I could do with a friend who genuinely cared.

We crossed boundaries with every red light shining, but I always rationalised it. Until the day we found ourselves in a hotel kissing and groping at each other. Like a flash of lighting, I was fortunate to come back to my senses. I knew it was wrong.  I could not do it. I picked my clothes and ran out of the room.

My ears tingled as I looked at the woman before me. Infidelity is never written on faces and if it were, certainly not this lady sitting beside me. She looked noble, respected and contented. I wondered why she was telling me. She did not have a clue of what I was going through but was hitting deeply at the issues of my heart.

Why did you run? What came to your mind? I asked curiously wondering all the while if I had it me to be unfaithful. However doing it to hurt JK seemed a good excuse.

“Marriage is a covenant. Some say it’s a contract you do your part I do mine. When a marriage goes through stuff, it might be one person tirelessly doing the right thing without expecting a reward till the partner comes around. Therein, is the test of all marriages.

“I buy the contract school of thought. I am not stupid. We both come half way to the table. No one is superior to the other. You can’t go about misbehaving and expect the second party to keep doing it all to keep the home. I am at a place in my life where I am wondering if I should walk out or stay put,”

“I won’t be able to tell you which. I have not walked your road, but deep in your heart, you know what to do. You might want to try this before throwing the towel and walking away.

Meena’s Diary#8

My eyes flew open while I slowly stretched on the hard seat in the waiting reception of the hospital careful not to wake Hauwau.
The things I heard still rang in my head. To think that I had always thought my friend had her life on a platter of gold and was going through a difficult marriage deeply hid in the false exterior of a fulfilled life. She had opened up to me in the hours that flew while we waited for Sa’a to wake up.

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I gasped when I saw Atiku standing before me. I knew I was not dreaming for my eyes were well wide awake although my addled brain was still trying to process the information.
“You came,” I exclaimed with joy like a little girl who had just received a gift from Santa Claus.
“Where was I supposed to be, when my dear wife is on admission at the hospital? Stay and be working? Oh no! You do not think work is more important than Sa’a?”

I am both confused and shocked simultaneously. What in the first place brought Sa’a to the hospital? I rubbed my eyes tiredly stifling a yawn, and thinking that perhaps I must be dreaming. This was not the attitude of one willing to take on a second wife.
“Atiku, I don’t know what to think.” He did look tired, but this was my chance to broach the subject. Maybe he would have a rethink and the looming calamity over my friends’ home will be averted.
I took a glance where Hauwau lay and was happy she was fast asleep. She would have reprimanded me to let sleeping dogs lie but me in my character of saying what I thought neither paid attention nor gave heed to the warning but for the intervention of providence.

There was no love lost between Hawau and Atiku. How she managed to remain in Sa’as life is still a mystery. One thing Sa’a had not been able to oblige Atiku is forfeiting her friendship with Hawau.
Atiku followed my gaze and his tired face now replaced with a scowl. I could not help but chuckle, and he scowled harder.
“You should get used to her,” I walked ahead to leading the way  Sa’as room.

Sa’a was fast asleep. Atiku rushed to her side holding her hand with so much tenderness that tears rolled down my cheek. I hoped what I heard were lies or a misunderstanding. The picture before me did not portray a man planning to bring in a second wife. There definitely must be a mistake. The look of love and anguish that filled his eyes as he watched Sa’a lying almost lifeless on the bed except her slow but laboured breathing.
“What did the Doctor say?” He asked hoarsely, and I felt so sorry for him.
“She tried to commit suicide.”
“What!” He exclaimed shutting his eyes in anguish.
“Why would she do that?”
I could see the look of confusion on his face.
“Why would she want to kill herself?”
“You have no idea?”
He was looking at me like I had a growth or something not in place on my head.
“Meena, please do not torture me further by going in circles. Tell me what I need to know to rectify why she felt the need to try to kill herself.”

A few minutes ago I was ready to give him my opinion and beg him to see reason, but common sense told me to keep shut and let this two work out whatever the issue was.
There was hope for Sa’a. A man heartbroken like what I just saw could not have been the mean guy portrayed in the story Hauwau narrated. Something was not right in the story, but the scene here was looking good.

Meena’s Diary#7

Reflections

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“He is taking the first flight out of Dubai,” I informed Hauwau triumphantly.
She rolled her eyes. “It means nothing to me. Let Atiku focus on his wife and family.”
“Isn’t that what we all want from our husbands, the happily ever after, a romance that won’t end with the wedding but continue in the life of the marriage,” I thought out loudly.
“Sadly, we don’t. Romance dies once the wedding gets consummated,” replied Hauwau.

“But you have it all?” I challenged her.
“You think so, my dear? Is it because I show you what you want to see?  A perfect husband and marriage?” She laughed bitterly.”Meena, I have learnt to live with the pain, smile through the hurts and betrayal and be content in the success I get from my career and love from friends and family.”
“What are you trying to tell me?” I asked shocked at what I was hearing but refusing to let the reality sink in.
“I have said it in plain English. You are naïve to the truths and ways of life. In your naivety, you have shielded yourself from harsh reality, so you live in the past because the present is far from what you wish and you have no idea what the future holds.”
The alarm on my phone went off reminding me I had to go and pick the kids from school.
“Don’t move,” I will be right back I commanded. “This heart to heart talk must continue.”

Hauwau’s words kept playing in my head. To think that I felt she had it all together. There she was struggling and hurting on her own. My thoughts moved to my present relationship with JK. We were okay in a sense we neither argued nor had disagreements but no longer connected the way we used to.

He called me at the start of work, lunch and just before leaving the office. Every call ended with the perfunctory “I love you” we talked about our day in the narratives without depth to our feelings. Our sex left me yearning for more than just a physical connection of our bodies but our hearts.

Many times I recollected telling him I sensed I no longer had his heart but he would reassure me of his faithfulness. I am and would be the only woman in his life. The words were what they were, mere words which did not connect to my heart.
I argued with myself severally that I had nothing to worry about and we were in a phase that would pass away with time. How long that would take, I did not know. Sometimes I stare at JK and wonder if we have not become two strangers connected by the kids and the four walls of our apartment.

Hauwau’s words have jolted me into reality. My marriage might even be over, and here I was downplaying a fire that has started slowly, the smokes giving the signs but ignored by me. Would it take an inferno to wake me up to how far I was from the kind of marriage I wanted and wasn’t it possible to have it all – romance and happily ever afters?

Meena’s Diary#6

Survivor

The doctors rushed in as I got a glimpse of Sa’a gasping for breath while the hospital staff shooed us out.An eerie feeling filled the air, I shivered with goose pimples, negotiating with the creator to spare her life. My thoughts went to her little twin girls. Who would take care of them if anything happened to her?

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I was pacing the length and breadth of the reception, too apprehensive to sit down.
” Meena,” Hawau called out to me.
“You should sit down. Let’s hope for the best.”

She looked more scared and subdued than she thought she was letting on but this was not the time or place to hassle her.

“Do you think she’ll make it?”
“I hope she does. If for anything for her girls
“Do you think Atiku would marry this new girl?”

“You might need to ask him that question Meena. I am not him, and for the life of me, I don’t know what he is thinking.”
I closed my eyes as the pain washed over me. I tried to imagine JK marrying someone else or maybe having an affair, and the mere thought was enough to kill me.I shook my head willing the idea out of my head.
“What would you have done if you were Sa’a?” asked Hauwau
“I don’t know. The thought just crossed my mind, and I don’t wish it upon my enemy. It will kill me. Sa’a might not have a choice since her culture allows it. Although we thought with Atiku being an educated man, it will be different, but with JK, polygamy is not an option.
“If polygamy is not an option. You are aware they could have affairs and mistresses outside ko bahaka ba?” said Hauwau emphasising her point in the Hausa language.
“JK would never do that. He loves me and the kids so much to toe that line.”
Hauwau laughed. “Oh my naïve friend. I am with you in your paradise of foolishness.”
I was on the verge of replying when the team of doctors and nurses who were with Sa’a came out.

We rushed out to them with hope in our eyes. The lead Doctor smiled at us and reassuring us “She pulled through but is resting now. She will be all right.”
We both heaved a sigh of relief.
“I have to go and pick the kids from school and would be back. I would spend the night with her. Shouldn’t we call Atiku?”I asked again.
“He should be here with his wife and not on some rendezvous with a God forsaken girl who sees no wrong in going after someone’s husband.”
“You have been itching to call him. Call him,” hissed Hauwau. She has been in a foul mood all day, and I was yet to get around asking her what the problem was.
I pulled my phone and dialled his number which he picked on the first ring.
“Hajia Meena, ya kike?” He greeted me over the phone.
“Kalau  Atiku but there is a problem. We almost lost Sa’a today. Thank God she is out of danger,” And I started crying over the phone.
“When was this?” He asked, and I could hear the trepidation in his voice.
“This morning.”
“Why did you not call me?”
I had to lie to answer the question. “I was called in by Hauwau. Everything was happening so fast that I was so confused not until the doctor just assured us she was going to be alright, did it occur to me to call you. At least the latter part was true. Where are you I ventured to asked?” feigning ignorance
“I am in Dubai, but I will be taking the next available flight back home. “What hospital is she in?”
“Gurara Hospital.”
I whooped for joy. The situation was not that bad. He still cared for Sa’a.

Meena’s Dairy#5

Wake up

 

wordle-girlstoys I ran into the reception of Gurara hospital looking around for Hauwau, and there she was sitting calmly like she was not the one who had raised the alarm sending me scurrying off to the hospital like a frightened rat.

“Hey! What’s the problem, spill it out,” I commanded irritably.

“You need not be in a hurry.  Only brace yourself for what you are about to see.”

“What kind of suspense is this?” My heart was beating at 70, above the normal healthy heart rate per minute and my friend was all cool and dilly-dallying on the main issue

“Follow me,” she said gravely.
I was filled with trepidation as I walked behind her trying not to second guess what I was to behold.
Once we entered the room, I almost blacked out with shock as I saw Sa’a my dear friend lying lifeless on the bed.

My knees buckled as my mind screamed. She could not be dead. No, it was not possible.
I spoke to her over the weekend, and we had planned to go to the Garki city mall to watch a movie on Friday Night.
I gripped Hauwau and asked “What is this? Is she sleeping?” I wanted to believe Sa’a was sleeping.

“She was brought in here unconscious; her house help called me after raising the alarm and a kind neighbour brought her here last night.

Last night, and I was lying on my bed being cuddled by JK while my best friend was being snatched by the cold hands of death.
“What about Atiku?” I asked. “He should be here.”

Hauwau hissed and rolled her eyes. “Atiku is away in Dubai. He left yesterday night.”
She handed me a letter, and I took it from her. Something was terribly wrong, and I could feel it.

Atiku and Hauwa were two inseparable lovebirds. We were both in the same class in secondary and went on to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Their love had span teenage-hood to adulthood. Atiku was just a year older than Hauwau, but they had weathered the storm through thick and thin that threatened their love.

Their love story would make you never feel enamoured by Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet.
In her second year at the University, Sa’as father had gotten her a respectable husband. He was a dear friend of her father, a business mogul and she was to be his fourth wife. Sa’a fought tooth and nail with her father and faced almost being disowned but for the intervention of the Emir of the town who she ran to for help.

The intervention brought a twist to her destiny of being a fourth wife to marrying her teenage sweetheart in pomp and pageantry as the two families were Arewa socialites.
What I read in the note brought tears to my eyes.

Sa’a had contemplated suicide on discovering Atiku was having an affair with a girl ten years their junior and was planning to marry her. She was a daughter of a governor. I recognised the name when I saw it. We had one of the girls in our class in secondary school. I also remember she was a sworn enemy of Sa’a over Atiku. What one sister could not get the other has gotten it. Was it Sa’as destiny to be traumatised by this family?

I sat in the nearest available chair dejectedly.
“Is she going to make it?” I asked with an apprehension that had come to seat within my breast since I walked into the room.
The Doctors are doing all they can, but they can’t give us any assurance.

“Oh, Atiku! What have you done?” I whispered to myself.

“Is Atiku aware?”

“No, he is not. Like I told you he was off to Dubai. That I know because the house help said that much to me.”
I pulled my phone out to call him; he would most likely be roaming his number.
“What are you doing?” Hauwa asked making an effort to snatch my phone from my hand.

“Calling Atiku,” I answered what else did it look like I was doing. I fumed below my breath.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she threatened.

“Why?” I asked more baffled by the way Hauwau was handling the situation. Why so much anger and poison oozing out of her.

“You think he cares? The man is on the verge of taking another wife, and you are calling him?” she hissed.

“Taking another wife or not he would want to know about his wife near suicide attempt,” I argued stubbornly.
Hauwau laughed at my foolishness.

“You still think life is like all the – Mills and Boons you read in school. How many did you read? 100, 200 300, because I believe you have been brainwashed. What part of – there is no happily ever after in marriage are you finding it hard to believe?”
“My story,” I retorted upset with her and how callous she was being.
Tsk! Tsk!! Tsk!!! she smirked. “My dear Meena, wake up from dreamland before you find out that the carpet has been pulled from under your feet.
A groan from the bed where Sa’a lay got me rushing off to her side while Hauwau picked the phone to call the Nurses.