I was a little relieved when I left the support group that day. I had let out some pent up feelings which had messed me up for a while.
I was considering going for another meeting. Maybe, I’d judged them too harshly at first. I didn’t drive straight home, though. I did some grocery shopping instead. I was going to make Mo a nice dinner and probably have a repeat of this morning.
So, I was more interested in sex than before; so what?
When I got home; it was almost four pm. As I struggled with the door and groceries; I noticed a brown envelope sticking halfway underneath the door. Like someone had slid it there on purpose.
Strange. I thought as I picked it from the floor.
My name was written on the front. Now my curiosity was piqued.
With one hand clutching the grocery bag; I opened the envelope and a piece of paper slid out.
I glanced at the paper and was surprised at the contents. It said:
“GUESS WHERE YOUR HUSBAND WAS ON 16TH APRIL 2013?”
Weird question. I examined the note for some form on clarification on who’d sent it. None. It was typed.
Now I was more interested, because 16th April was the day we lost Shirley.
I set the grocery bag on the table in the kitchen and sat down to look at the remaining contents of the envelope.
I gasped as I examined at the remaining contents of the envelope.
Pictures. Lots of them.
My husband…Mo…no, God please. Let this be a joke…
For the rest of that day, I walked on air. I’d resisted the devil; I’d not fallen for her tricks and wiles. It was a step in the right direction.
After leaving Ruby’s place, I drove to my office and worked till evening. I wanted to stop at the church to see Pastor B, but I decided against it and drove straight home.
On the drive home; my phone rang.
“Hello sweetheart.” A familiar voice.
“Hi mum. Strange number. I take it you’re in the states.”
“Yes dear. Flew in this afternoon. I want to see you. Where are you?”
Good old mother. She hadn’t changed one bit.
“On my way home. Just got off work. You can drop by the house, you’ll meet Kemi. How was your flight?”
“Actually, I stopped there on my way from the airport. No one was home. My flight was great.”
“Really? Then she must have gone shopping or something. Let me call her, mum. I’ll get back to you.”
“I missed you son. How are you?” Her voice dropped a notch.
I knew she was referring to our recent loss. The blow had hit her hard too.
“I’ve been better, mum.” I replied.
“You talked to your dad, recently?”
My parents had been divorced over fifteen years now. They were still on speaking terms; that is, when my father wasn’t halfway around the world.
I happen to maintain a cordial relationship with him, though.
“Not since the funeral, mum.” I replied.
She made a sound over the phone which I didn’t bother to interpret. My mother communicated in both words and sounds.
“I’ll talk to you later, mum. Where are you staying by the way?”
“The condo at Brooklyn. I might get a cab to drive me to Hollis. What do you think?”
“If it’s too late, then there’s no need. We’ll see tomorrow. Let me call Kemi now. If she’s home, I’ll call you back.”
“Tell me again why you need to call her?” I detected the faint note of jealousy in her voice.
I sighed. “Because she’s my wife.”
“So you have to ask her permission before I can come to the house?”
My mother had taught me that elderly women pout, whine and exhibit grade A jealousy.
“No mum. I don’t want to get into this right now. We’ll talk later.”
She hung up.
The thought of my mum in New York was comforting. She might not be everyone’s favourite person, but she adores me. That’s why I love her. Selfish of me, right?
Granted, she can be tiring, bossy and way-outta line. But she was still the woman who raised me.
I dialled my wife’s number, it rang severally…but no reply. After trying two more times and getting no response I gave up. Hopefully, she was home.
Half an hour later I turned into my driveway. The lights in the house were on, so I knew she was home.
I smiled to myself, I’d stopped on the way home to buy flowers for her and I was pleased with myself. It was a spontaneous act and hoped she’d appreciate it.
“Hey, honey.” I called.
The living room was empty. She was probably upstairs. I made my way upstairs after locking the front door behind me.
“Hey,baby.” I called.
She was sitting on the bed, clutching something in her hand. I should’ve noticed something was amiss. I didn’t.
“Look what I got you.” I presented the dozen roses to her.
She looked up at me and gently plucked the flowers from my hand.
I noticed something was amiss when she didn’t smile and thank me or attempt to hug or kiss me.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Please sit.” She patted the space beside her.
I did. I was nervous now. What was going on? Why the grave look on her face?
“What’s wrong?” I asked again.
“Tell me what happened the day Shirley died.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, I knew she knew. All the lies, the secrecy was finally over.
“I was with Ruby.” I said quietly, too ashamed to keep up the lies.
“Working, I presume?” She looked at me now and from the glassy look in her eyes, I knew she’d been crying.
I didn’t answer. She dumped an envelope in my lap.
“Maybe that will jog your memory.” She said.
Even before I opened it, I knew what I’d find. Pictures, proof of my infidelity. My blackmailer had done it again. He’d destroyed the one thing I had left.
Whoever had done this had been very thorough…I began to suspect that Ruby had orchestrated this whole thing.
The pictures showed me in the most compromising of positions with Ruby. It was as though whoever it was had been watching my every move and taking detailed pictures.
I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. What could I say that could explain what she’d seen?
“So, it’s true? You can’t say anything, because it’s true.” She spoke slowly. “You betrayed us. Shirley and I. You weren’t there for us, because you were with her?! God, Mo!…How could you?”
I heard the tremor in her voice and I knew she was close to tears. Heck, I was close to tears too.
“I’m sorry.” Was all I could say. “I don’t know what came over me, I’m…”
“You lied to my face! All this while! You…” She was crying now.
I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to beg for her forgiveness, but I knew it would make no difference now. I’d not only betrayed her, I’d betrayed our daughter and lied about it. I hated myself.
“Baby, please let me make this right.” I pleaded.
She stared at me through teary eyes; it was then I knew how badly I’d hurt her.
“Please.” I reached for her hands.
She jerked away from me and stood.
“You had your chance.” She dropped the flowers on me. “I packed your things and moved them to the guest bedroom. I’ll be out jogging tomorrow by 7am; when I get back, I want you gone.”
With that she walked away from me, and I’m guessing…out of my life.