The moment I walked through the entrance of Nikki hall, someone behind me hollered my name. I didn’t turn. I flounced along the narrow divide, keeping an eye on the dark-skinned slender usher who was leading me to a seat, just two rows away from the Guest Speaker. I heard my name again two hours later as I stepped out of the hall and this time I turned.
“Sarah!” I shouted, clearly astounded by her appearance. She looked prettier than eight years ago.
We hugged. I swallowed her up with my bigness so her head was on my chest. For a second, I took her in, flashes of old memories flooding in. She held on too and I could hear the quick pants of her breath. I pulled away forcefully the moment the hypnotism cleared out.
“I’ve missed you so much.” Sarah said, touching my stunt beard.
“How are you?” I managed to utter.
“I’m fine and I’m so happy to see you.” she said and put her hands around my neck.
She frowned in puzzlement when I untangled her hands from my neck and placed them gently by her side.
She tugged at my grey suit. “I still love you.”
Lord, help me through this
“Sarah, I-” she put her finger to my lips
“You don’t have to say anything here. Let’s go somewhere. I know a place close-”
“Sarah, I’m married.” I blurted.
Her countenance changed, first from shock and later to anger.
“How could you? I’ve been waiting all these years.”
“Sarah, I’m not that person anymore. My life is different now.”
“My mother is right. I am the dumping ground for men’s bilious disorders. They just run away like I’m some kind of incurable disease.” Sarah said, pretending to wipe invisible tears with the back of her hand.
“Gbenga, you are the only guy I ever loved. You deflowered me. How am I supposed to live with that?”
“Look, I was blinded by ferocious passions at that time. I’m very sorry.” I pleaded.
“At least, we can still be friends.” She smiled now, handing me her phone.
I punched my number and returned the phone back to her.
Sarah called me every day and at the same time in the three weeks that I kept this secret from my wife. I would turn off my ringing tone and at 12:20a.m tip-toe to the living room or the bathroom waiting eagerly for Sarah’s call. We would talk untill 4:30a.m and once in a while she would demand I blew her a kiss. In response, I placed my mouth on the phone in a somewhat pouting manner and sometimes whisper “I love you”. But by the end of the call, a dark sense of guilt would have overshadowed me. Then I would vow to stay completely away from her, but the next day, I’d be consumed with thoughts of the call.
One night, Sarah didn’t call at the usual time. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed on the bathroom floor for several minutes, waiting, expecting. 12:30a.m. 1:00. 1:30. I couldn’t bear the silence anymore. I dialed her number.
“Hello.” a trembling voice said at the other end.
“Sarah. Are you there?” I said, whispering.
“Gbenga, please I need to talk to you. I’m depressed.”
“I’m here. What’s the matter?”
“It’s not something I can discuss over the phone. I promise we’ll just talk. We can meet in an open place if you like.”
That evening, at Praise Gardens, Sarah ended up placing her head on my shoulders after the long talk. I couldn’t resist wrapping my hands around her shoulders. She gazed into my eyes and I swallowed hard when she touched my chin playfully.
I remembered how I chased Sarah from her arrival at the University of Lagos till the commencement of 200 level when she finally agreed to date me. I could recollect that she cried the first time we went to bed, saying she had taken a vow of chastity in the presence of her mother and had sworn to break it only with her husband. I had smiled at her sweet naivety and was strangely amused when she moved into my self-contained apartment and commenced her wifely duties-washing my clothes and preparing my meal.
She was unaware that I screwed around or probably she didn’t believe I could do such. I watched her miss classes just to get my food prepared- my three square meals- and when she stepped out of the room, We-my friends and I-would mock her, calling her a ‘fool’ and wondering how she was going to handle the numerous ‘carryovers’ which would eventually land her an extra year.
By the time I was in my fourth year as an Engineering student, I and Sarah had developed a strong bond that brought an end to my playboy game. But I picked up my game again at the NYSC orientation camp and changed my line when Sarah wouldn’t stop calling me.
I removed my hands from her shoulders and held her hands. With my eyes staring into hers, I laid out in profound words how sorry I was for taking advantage of her ingenuousness .She hugged me tightly and began to weep profusely.
That night as I threw my beautiful daughter playfully in the air, my mind went through different avenues of escape.
Oh God, what am I getting myself into, I muttered.
“Sweetheart, You look pensive. What’s wrong?” My wife said as she placed my dinner on the table.
“Thelma, go play with your toys.” I set her on her feet and she wobbled to her room.
Lola tapped my waist playfully. “You had a bad day at the barber’s shop this evening?”
I stared into the eyes of the woman I truly love and at that moment, I was determined to turn from the dangerous path that was gradually leading me to a ditch.
She sat on my laps as I narrated the whole story about my involvement with Sarah. When I finished, she got up and sat beside me, staring into space.
She stood up and scuffled out of the living room. I was devastated.
Lord, please forgive me. Please, give my wife the heart to forgive me, I prayed silently.
Lola returned to the living room holding our wedding CD. She slotted it into the DVD player. Taking a clue, I got up quickly and switched off the light before settling beside her on the creamy sofa. She cuddled up against me. We laughed and talked. I held her closer and in the darkness whispered into her ears.
“I love you.”
The next day after the church service, we drove down to Sarah’s apartment and met a startled lady in a pink bathrobe, bearing scents from the same fragrance that tickled my nostrils eight years ago. She never anticipated the beaming woman beside me when the door flew opened. She had thought I would come alone.
Sarah never called after that day.
Don’t wait until you completely fall headlong into that illegal sexual intimacy. Read the signs on the wall and stay clear. Guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy (romance inclusive) between husband and wife.