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He crumbled under the weight of his guilt and told her everything. He didn’t tell her he wouldn’t handle his responsibility as the father of the baby she was carrying; however, he told her couldn’t marry her.
He was already married.
She hadn’t cried but the shock was intense enough for even a blind man to see. She hardly even said one word all through his lengthy explanation and pleading. He had told her he was taking full responsibility for misleading her. For putting her in such a situation, but that he loved her and it was because of the love that he had not found the strength to break off from her from the very start. He should have, and it was the best thing to have done, but he couldn’t. He is a man and he is fallible. He is also stupid, selfish and grossly irresponsible. He laid all the blame at his own doorstep, in truth she was blameless and had only loved him without question.
All through his talk she didn’t look at him for once. She just held herself, trembling like someone who was in the rain and had nowhere to run or hide. He could feel his heart tearing as he saw her struggle to accommodate all he was saying.
“Izuchukwu, I want you to leave. I want you to leave right now. I can’t stand the sight of you or the sound of your voice. As for this baby,” she palmed her stomach, “I am going to keep it. It will be a testament to the world of my mistake in loving a man I really didn’t know. A man whom I loved unreservedly because I placed him in a place of honor without making him work his way up through the murky waters. And as for your sister, yes I knew at least one person from your family, I still will thank her for trying to help. But, I will sure let her know my mind – for sending me a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“What are you talking about? What sister? I don’t have a sister.” The look of shock on her face grew more intense. Izuchukwu was sure she was going to faint. The sweat was beginning to pop out in lumpy beads. She was shaking uncontrollably.
“You don’t have…have…a….a…sis….” She couldn’t make herself finish it.
“No, where did you meet this person?” He was looking at her now with concern, hoping that he had not damaged her permanently. She looked slightly crazed and over-excited.
“KATE! You sonafabitch!!!” She spat the name at him. “You deny you are not families with Kate – Kate Amadi. Her daughter’s name is Daphne and she lives on Kudesoh Street in Ikeja. Deny it, you lying piece of shit!!!”
It was then that his world collapsed.
He had left her flat that afternoon, there was nothing to be done. He couldn’t bear to see how she had looked at him with such venomous hate when he had told her.
“Kate Amadi? Now, Ozioma Kate Amadi? Oh My God!”
He was the one who now felt faint. He told her the truth with just three words which when he uttered them, the look on her face led him to believe that had Olamide Smith had access to a gun she would have killed him on the spot.
He didn’t stick around for too long, as he had beaten a quick retreat from her flat, barely escaping the huge flower vase which was hauled at the general direction of where he was standing only moments before.
He had driven to his place. His life in a royal mess. How could this have happened? Of all the women in the world, he fell in love with one who was friends with his wife. Now, he had gotten her pregnant. And his wife knows nothing about it yet. How can he tell her? How can he even live through daily life looking at Oz and knowing somewhere was her friend who was carrying his baby?
He didn’t want to go home. So, he called Oz hours after and told her some business opportunity had surfaced and he would not be home till the following weekend.
“Okay baby. No problem. I will take care of your little angel and please, don’t forget that her birthday is in a month’s time.”
Every word was like a burning arrow piercing his heart. This was a woman who had also invested her love in him. The mother of his child and his wife. She had not failed to fulfill her duties as a wife and had never let him down as a friend and a sister. Yet, he was going to throw her life into the greatest ever turmoil she had ever known. By his own act of selfishness, he had introduced a poisonous variable into their hitherto ordered and blissful lives.
He had hung up the phone. He couldn’t bear to imagine how torn his life was going to be in the next few weeks. But, maybe he can hope that Olamide won’t rat out on him. Maybe, just maybe, she would allow them to work out a solution together.
He was eating his cake and hoping he could still have it back as a whole piece.
But it didn’t take long.
The call had come the next day, “I will not be here when you come back, Izu.” By the time he hurried home the place was empty. His wife and daughter were gone. All that was left was the letter pinned to the fridge where he could easily spot it.
I am gone. I am sorry I did what I did. Izu, I love you and still do and it is one way I wanted to leave – u knowing I always loved you that much. But, now the bubble have burst before its time. I could no longer be of use to you – someday I will come back and explain this to you. But, now is not the time. So, I thought to myself Since I couldn’t be with you, I couldn’t leave my man and daughter to suffer at the hands of just any woman. So, I decided I was going to help you along the way some. Luckily, there came my old friend and soul-sister, Olamide. And I cunningly led her unknowingly to take an interest in you.
The rest you know. I am however unaccustomed to sharing you and you have also been very strange lately. But, know this – I approve of her. I hold her no grudge, but I couldn’t wait around making you both feel miserable because of me. I am of no use to you anymore. I can’t be of much use to Daphne for much longer. But, be rest assured I will bring her back to you soon. For now, I want to spend some quality time with her.
Please do not come looking for us. And do not feel guilt as all the guilt is not yours alone to bear.
I will be thinking of you my love.
He crashed to the ground as he wailed and pounded his fist on the refrigerator door, the note crumpled in his fist.
It was the scream that brought his neighbors rushing in, where they found him lying prone on the floor, fuming at the mouth with a crazed look in his eyes.
When he got out of the hospital, Izu tried to pick the pieces of his life together again. He hoped he would get a call from Olamide. But, none came and she had not visited while he was in the hospital. He understood that she must have a lot on her mind to deal with too. So, he went looking for her.
But, when he got to her flat it was locked. It looked deserted and lifeless.
“Good afternoon, Oga.” It was the gateman. “Madam no dey. She don travel.”
“Yes, she travel last week. She tell me to tell anybody wey look for am say she travel.”
Izu knew what it meant. Olamide too had left and scampered from him. He was a contagion that they all wanted no part of. So, now she too had left him and ran far away. Somewhere he didn’t know or could guess.
“Thank you, Sulaimon.”
Izu turned round, got in his car and drove away. He didn’t know what else he was going to do. The tears were flowing freely again now. He couldn’t help himself as his heart shed the weight of the burden that was threatening to constrict it. He was now all alone. Just some months back, his life was perfect. Now, it was all in tatters and he had no clue how to put it back together again.
He has lost his wife, temporarily and maybe permanently. It was only a matter of time. And Olamide, he bit his tongue, as he felt his heart tighten a bit more. He still felt for her the same way he had always felt for her. He wiped his eyes to make it free of the tears, he didn’t know where he was going but he kept driving.
He stopped when he got to the Marina. He found a spot to park and went to seat looking at the water.
How did he get here? How did it get this way? People cheat on their partners every day and never get caught. He had never seriously cheated on his once, and that one time he went and did it the whole thing blew in his face. And how could Oz have even thought to hatch such a plan in the first place. How could she have decided to pass him off? Was he a bit of item?
He sat there all afternoon and till past midnight before he got up and left.
He couldn’t make the past go away and he couldn’t stop the future from happening. So, he would try and live the moment as best as he can, and prepare for what else life is willing to let him have.