I laughed the first time Niyi uttered those words to me.
“Fall in love with you? That’s never going to happen. I am married.” I stretched out my ring finger. He gave me a wry smile.
That was two months ago.
“I have to go now.” I said, shivering. We were in the reading room and even though the windows were shut, I could still feel the aftermath of a rain so penetrating.
Niyi pulled me towards him. We had spent everyday together after the training sessions in the morning.
He held my hands as we walked out of the empty reading room. At the entrance, our eyes met. My pulse raced.
No I can’t be feeling this way. I am married.
I opened the door quickly just as the icy wind hit my face. He removed his black leather jacket and covered my face with it. We hurried towards the student quarters where I had been lodged. The workshop was gradually coming to an end and somehow I wished it had been longer.
When we approached the three storey building, Niyi hugged me tight. Quietly, his hands slid to my waist. I swallowed hard. His skin against mine brought warmth. My fingers trembled.
Even though I had vowed never to kiss him again but here I was praying him to make another move. My legs were shaking. He carried me in his arms, and slowly marched towards the mango tree, few blocks away. Despite the steady drips from the leaves, we kissed passionately, his strong hands reaching hidden places only my husband had access to.
I cried again that night. My husband, Dele, called. I left my phone ringing.
Lord, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Help me.
I struggled to push the scenes of that night away. Why wouldn’t my husband leave me breathless the way Niyi had? Shouldn’t I also enjoy this kind of pleasure? Was I always going to feign happiness after we had sex when I was actually depressed?
The next day, I sent Niyi a text message. Whatever friendship we had was over. I was married and it was my decision to stay true to my wedding vows. He didn’t reply. He didn’t call. Everyday he walked past my seat without a word. I became worried
I missed him badly. His laughter, the dinner treats, the weekends at the cinema, the way he listened patiently as I shared my thoughts, his jokes that made me laugh so loud, our reading sessions, the poems he wrote me every Sunday, the massages on my leg and neck, the text messages that brought fire to my eyes.
I couldn’t bear the silence any longer. I made up my mind to go to his quarters. I was going to knock on his door until I got a response.
8p.m. I got dressed in a simple red gown, the one he loved best.
My phone rang.
” Hello.” I started, coldly.
“Cynthia, why did you keep it away from me?” Dele said.
My heart skipped.
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw your journal.”
“Dele, oh my God! That’s so wrong. Why-how?”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. I’ve been praying to know why you are usually cold towards me and when I saw the journal, I just-‘ he stopped. “Sweetheart, I got hold of some books this morning. But you know I’m not much of a reader. But I’ll try. I agree, I’m naive, but I can learn . I can give you the best sexual pleasure-“
“Cynthia I love you. I told God this evening to teach me how best to love you. I promise I’ll listen to you more. Imagine, I can’t write poems, but you can teach me. Let’s do this together.”
“Sweetheart, we can-“
“I’ve been seeing someone.”
“I didn’t know it would go this far. I just couldn’t help it.”
“Have you had sex with him?”
“Do you still love me?” He whispered quietly.
“Yes I do.” I sniffed. ” I’m so sorry.”
“I’ll take a week off. We can leave Mabel with my mother.”
Mabel. My beautiful daughter. How I miss her.
“Should I come pick you up in Abuja?”
“That won’t be necessary. You can wait for me at the airport. I’ll give you a call before the plane lands.”
I had barely ended the call when Rebecca my roommate entered the room. She sat on my bed.
“I know this is not business. We are all adults here but you are like a sister to me.”
I waited. She continued when I didn’t say anything.
“I’m just coming from Shade’s room. She has been crying since morning.”
“What happened to her.”
“Her husband’s friend saw her coming out of a hotel room with Niyi, two days ago. Now, he has asked her to go straight to her father’s house after the workshop.”
My face went white. “What?”
Rebecca stood up.”I just want you to be careful. I don’t know what you see in that man sef.”
I placed my hands on my chin.
My phone rang. Niyi. I picked it up, my head boiling in anger. So what we had together meant nothing to Niyi. What a fool I was.
“Cynthia I have missed you badly. I thought I could stay away from you forever but every night since we stopped talking, my heart has yearned for you. I’m dying to see you now.”
“Niyi, your wife does not deserve this kind of treatment. Stop this nonsense please. Don’t call my line again.”
Rebecca stared at me, surprised.
As I rolled my luggage towards the exit, I saw my husband rushing towards me. A verse I had read from the Songs of Solomon flashed through my mind.
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
I let go of my luggage and ran into his embrace.
I have a good man.