Izu knew something was wrong – really wrong. The voice on the other end indicated that much to him. There was no warmth or ‘life’ in the responses he got; instead he felt raw pain and hurt. Instincts told him there was trouble, and he knew what was coming.
The next words over the phone confirmed his worst fear. And the nightmare of the past few days came crowding him.
“I will not be here when you come back, Izu.” It was a statement that was as solid in its inevitability as it was in its finality. For a minute, Izu just stared at the wall opposite his desk, his mind unable to function and his brain unable to comprehend what he had just heard.
He continued to stare at the wall, the one that had the huge and almost life size oil painting of himself, his wife and their five year old daughter, Daphne. Maybe he would have just gone on staring at the picture, but something dragged him back from his semi-conscious state – a distant voice, almost unrecognizable voice that kept jabbering away.
“What did you say?” He could not get himself to say beyond that, his mind was in turmoil and his thought processing abilities impaired. He was not sure if he had even heard right what he thought he heard the first time.
“Izu, I said you’d not meet me when you get back,” her voice was calm and measured. It came in controlled bursts – each word punctuated for emphasis, the kind he had heard her use when she was really angry. The same tone she had used that one time when she had found out that her brother was using hemp.
“I just wanted you to know,” it was the same voice, the same tone jerking him out of his reverie.
What was she talking about? What on earth is she talking about?
“What do you mean? I ….I …I don’t understand. What do you mean, you won’t be there?” Izu loosened his tie. The room was becoming uncomfortably hot and it seemed the walls were crowding in on him. What the hell was happening? What had happened and what in heaven’s name is his wife talking about?
It was just a reflex reaction by his brain. His head told him he knew what happened. And indeed he knew.
‘I won’t be here….’
He was the cause of this whole thing. He had been running from the reality for four days. He hadn’t gone home because he couldn’t bear to see his wife. Not when she was as sick as she has been these past few months. In and out of hospital, and to stack more misery on all of that….
“Oz, please do not go anywhere. I don’t know what is wrong. But, please wait for me and let’s talk honey. We can sort it out together, babes. Please…..”
The line was quiet for a while. All he heard was static as she paused to consider his plea. For a brief moment his heart stopped beating altogether, as he feared she had hung up the phone and left him forever like she said she would. Then, he heard a sniffle and a deep sigh; instinctively he knew he was cooked. Now, his heart resumed beating but it was worse. It was beating so fast he was afraid he would suffer a mini heart attack.
When her voice came back on the line, it was teary and laden with pain and the accusation of betrayal.
The name was uttered in a whisper that was louder in his ears than if a heavy-metal rock band had gone crazy on set right in the same room. It felt like he had been dropped from the steep end of a cliff, the nothingness as he fell was almost physical. He felt his stomach stiffen and the wall crowding in some more. The sweat broke out now and his hands could barely hold the mobile phone still. It was shaking so badly he had to support it with the other one.
Izuchukwu Amadi knew the game was up. His breath stopped short as the full weight of the import of the information coming from the other end of the line washed over him. That was one name his wife was not supposed to know. And he was not dumb or stupid enough to act like those other foolish men in the same situation would, asking ‘ which Olamide?’ He knew which one quite alright; the realization of his situation didn’t help much. The room grew smaller and hotter. How was he going to get out of this? Four days he had hid from his wife….
“Honey…please.” It was the lamest thing to say under the circumstances. But, he was a drowning man clutching at straws. Right now, he would clutch at even a feather…he would clutch at anything to save his marriage.
The line went dead before he could get round to saying more.
Yes that most horrible of human waste has finally hit the fan – the evidence was all over the place.
He sat rigidly at his desk for a long time, wondering and trying to figure out his next move. How had Ozioma gotten to know about Olamide Smith? It was not supposed to have come to her knowledge – at least not according to his plan. It was something he had worked really hard at – to keep a secret – the way they had agreed. But, it had not stayed that way. Not for as long as his greed and bestial lust would have wanted.
All of eight months, and now he had ruined his marriage in the process.
He wasn’t sure he could have carried on for much longer without having to let Oz know what was going on. He was not built for the life of sustained secrecy, and loved her too much anyway. Especially, since the issue had become so serious it was hard to ignore the obvious turn of events. Sure, she had always let him go and do whatever he wanted. She also, always turned a blind eye to all his conversations with ‘female’ friends, colleagues and acquaintances. She had even once told him on their wedding night, ‘whatever you do with another woman outside of our matrimonial home is not my concern, as long as it is not brought to my knowledge and you do not defile our matrimonial bed.’ That blank cheque had come with a warning though – Izu, be very careful. I’d not come looking for stuffs but do not, ever get careless.
Now, he had overdrawn on that cheque.
So, here it was. He had been careless and the information was in her hands; and she was leaving him because of it. It was as final and as stark as that.
Izu didn’t know how he was going to get himself out of this quagmire. But, he knew one thing for sure. He was aware of the danger of what he was getting himself into the moment his eyes was cast on Lamide Smith. She was the other half of the woman of his dreams.
She complemented Ozioma very well – in ways he could hardly describe but instinctively felt the moment he saw her; and in that was where his doom lied. He had cast one look, their eyes had met and in that singular action, their lives had been irrevocably intertwined.
The scenario then had struck him as weirdly being almost similar fashion as when he met his wife. And then the unexpected had happened and the calabash broke, leaving the putrid contents trapped inside oozing all over the place. The smell of the putrefaction has now found his wife, and she was moving away from it, from him.
Izu laid his head on the table and wept. He loved two women in ways they can never imagine –the one was his wife and the other was a relationship that was hard to describe. He had fallen in love with the first many years ago, and still loved her fiercely; but, he has also fallen in love with another and he was also committed to that feeling. It was an emotion he had struggled with for so long. He had no way of explaining how he felt as strongly for another woman as he felt for his wife. It was just something that just came and never went away.
His sobs racked his body as he cried silently. After a while, he got up and retrieved his car keys. He prided himself man enough to stand up to his own actions and mistakes, and that was certainly what he had to do now. Certain facts were clear: he loved two women dearly; he didn’t want to let either go; he was totally lost in between the ocean and the deep blue sea.
So, it is true that you cannot eat your cake and have it?
That was the thought that followed him as he headed out of the door…