It had taken less than a year for her after her much celebrated wedding to realize that the man she had married was a serial cheater. She had seen the signs even during the few months they had dated but had ruthlessly crushed her suspicions. His wandering eye was something they both constantly fought about but over time, she had come to accept, albeit subconsciously, that this was the way things were going to be and she was just going to have to get used to it.
Still, in the seven years they had been married, she had never had to deal with the reality of the other women upfront. All she had to go off on most times about his escapades were rumors and Jide used that to his advantage, insisting that people were only too willing to break up a happy home and that she couldn’t believe everything she heard. Little wonder she was easily able to rationalize all his affairs away – as long as he doesn’t disrespect me, as long as I don’t have any proof, as long as he comes home…all the typical rationalizations of the insecure, can’t-do-better woman she had always judged and never thought she would be.
However, today was the first day ever that she had been confronted with the reality of Jide’s cheating and it was throwing her for a major loop. There was nothing as surreal as watching your own husband –who had sworn to love and protect you and be with no other but you until death – put his arms around some strange, beautiful woman you had never seen in your life and kiss her with so much passion that you had to avert your eyes. She almost wished she had never tailed him in the first place but underneath the numbness that now blanketed her, she began to feel rage simmering.
How dare him….how dare her? That was her husband. He had his fucking wedding ring on for heaven’s sake. He belonged to her. What right did this bitch think she had to put her hands around her husband and kiss him like he was her man in fucking public for God’s sake? How dare her…no, wait, how dare HIM? How dare he have the nerve to disrespect her so much by acting that way with some strange woman in broad daylight and with his ring on to boot??
Jide didn’t come home that night. He called to say that he had an unexpected work meeting which looked likely to run over so he was just going to check into a hotel if it was too late to drive back from the mainland. Needless to say, she didn’t sleep a wink that night. Instead, she tortured herself with imagined images of her husband and that…that…thing in sordid positions in a bed in a room in a hotel which could have been only a stone’s throw from the house for all she knew.
How could he? After seven years of enabling and ignoring, Dunni felt like she had just been slapped out of a coma with a bucket of hot, scalding water that first burned you, and then cooled to cold, cold ice. Her heart felt like it was literally on fire from the pits of hell. She made more than two trips to the bathroom to throw up what little was left in her stomach. She hadn’t even been able to face dinner.
She lay on her bed all night, her eyes wide open. How did I get here? That was the question resonating through her mind. How did I get here? She knew the answer. This was what happened when you ignored your intuitions and went along with what everybody else but you thought was best for you. Yes, that was how she got here.
She was up before the sun, shopping-size bags of unshed tears under her eyes. Clueless about what to do next, she hastily left the house, anxious to get out of there before Jide arrived, got into the car and began to drive aimlessly. To her surprise, she found herself pulling up in front of the building where she had seen her husband’s…woman come strolling out of yesterday. Now she was here, she wasn’t sure what she had come here to do in the first place. Caught in the moment, she finally let go and began to cry.
Minutes later, she was wiping away tears from her bloodshot eyes and digging in her bags for some tissue to blow her now stuffed nose. She looked up in surprise as she heard a car pull up and swing into the driveway. Every muscle in her clenched in reaction as she watched the woman she had seen with her husband yesterday hop out of the car and walk up to the door. Then, Dunni’s mouth dropped as she watched her quickly whip out something from her purse – what on earth was that…a ring???? – and push it down her left index finger before pulling out a set of door keys.
Before the woman could insert her keys in the lock, however, the door of the house swung open and she nearly lost her balance as she had been leaning on the door. The door had been opened by a tall, built man. Dunni couldn’t see his face too clearly but from his hand gestures and the loud tone that carried well over air, he was clearly very angry. He seemed to be demanding to know where the woman had been and she was feebly trying to counter his every word but her meekness only apparently served to inflame him further.
Now Dunni was confused. Who was the man? Was this woman married too?? Did Jide know that? Because unless her eyes were deceiving her, this was the same woman she had seen him canoodling with yesterday. Did this same woman have a husband of her own?? And was the man confronting her now so angrily her husband?? What the hell was going on?
She wanted so badly to pull up and see if she could hear the ensuing conversation clearly but she didn’t want to attract any undue attention. Already, her car was sticking out like a sore thumb, just sitting right outside beside the pavement. She slowly leaned over the passenger seat, squinting and trying to get a better glimpse of the situation when suddenly, the man stopped in the middle of his tirade and looked directly at her.
Oh shoot! She muttered when she realized she had been seen. She quickly started up the car and switched gears. At this point, the woman was now also looking over her shoulder to see what had caught the man’s attention. As she made to reverse, she threw a quick glance in their direction and found herself looking into his eyes and the moment she did so, she felt her entire world come screeching to a complete halt.