The liveliness of the club was nauseating for Chika. The noise, the euphoria, the endless masses of mingling sweaty bodies dancing themselves to stupor. It all drove him crazy. As a youth Chika had liked clubbing, in fact he was always the soul of the party. But as a grown man, he hated everything that had to do with it. Only something as grievous as this would have brought him here.
How could it be possible? He still couldn’t believe it. If anyone had told him that Shola had it in her to cheat on him, he would have just laughed. But then he had heard Okey and Ada talking about it. He had to be sure. He had searched the club for Shola and her lover but he hadn’t found them, and the dim lights weren’t helping matters. The whole place was filled with people. It was going to be difficult to spot her. Chika started thinking: maybe this was a bad idea; maybe the children weren’t sure of what they were saying. The Shola he knew would never cheat on him. He was beginning to feel awkward and turned to leave the place. That was when he spotted her.
Chika’s heart stopped for a moment. There she was, with a man and they were too close for comfort. They were sitting at the bar lounge with drinks in their hands, and they seemed to be talking dirty. Chika creeped towards them. He wanted to hear them. He wanted to catch Shola red handed. He had disguised himself with shades and a face cap and in the dim lights it was enough. He silently sat near them and pretended to read a magazine. They didn’t seem to notice him.
“You’re beautiful you know that right?” The man said to Shola who laughed and replied:
“Seriously Tunde, your jokes are becoming too boring”
“But I’m serious.” Tunde replied “God! You’re a masterpiece”
“And you are just realizing this now after how many months.” Chika clenched his fists.
“Your eyes are beautiful, it looks like that of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mikaela’ or was it his ‘Ginevra’?” Shola had to laugh.
“I think I remember someone telling me that.”
“It’s true; I just wish I could…” Shola had to cut him short. “Please stop blabbing Tunde, we came here for something and we’ve got to hurry up, I’m on a tight schedule.”
Tunde ran his fingers through Shola’s hair as if he was trying to straighten them. He started stroking her cheeks. Then his fingers disappeared. Chika was shocked. He couldn’t see Tunde’s hands and he did not want to believe he knew where they were. All of a sudden it came up again. Chika felt like ramming this guy’s head through a wall but just managed to hold himself.
“So?” Shola asked.
“Yup.” Tunde replied “I think you’ll do. Although I prefer nude.”
“I’ve told you Tunde, I am not posing nude. If you try to-”
“Yeah yeah okay I got it, for some eyes only, no problem I agree.
Chika was mad. So this oaf who was Shola’s lover was also an artist who wanted to paint her naked. Chika was now furious; we would have turned and given Tunde a very delectable punch if not for what he heard next.
“And about your husband?”
“Yes about that, what have you got for me?”
“I tried my best Shola; the only thing I could come up with was a first class counterfeit. I assure you no matter how good your husband is he would not notice the difference.” Shola shook her head.
“You don’t know my husband, he’s crazy about all this art stuff, he could spot a fake painting from miles away. And besides I want to get him the genuine one. He’s been dying for that ‘Esmeralda’ portrait for a long time now. If I get it for him as an anniversary gift, he would be very happy.”
Chika was confused now. Why was his wife talking about him with her lover?
“I could still try to get it for you, but the payment would increase, the painting is in high demands.”
“Hurry up! Our anniversary is a week away.”
“Did you hear me? I said it was going to cost you more, it’s quite expensive.”
“I don’t care Shola said, I would do anything for my Chika, I know how much that painting would mean to him though I don’t understand it. But I would want to see the look in his eyes when he sees it, he would be delirious. So I don’t care how much it costs, just get it you hear.”
Tunde became sober. “You really love your husband don’t you?”
“Of course I do what did you think?” Shola replied, “With all my heart and with all my being.”
Chika was beside himself now. How could he have made a fool of himself like this? Here was his wife making plans for their wedding anniversary which he hadn’t even remembered, and here he was, stalking her, trying to discover what never was. He ran the incidents through his head. Tunde was an artist, so all those compliments had just been artist talks, and besides, Shola never responded. When his hands disappeared, they were sizing her up to see if she would make a good model. That was what artists do. And for some eyes only had meant his own eyes. Now Chika wanted to cry. Shola had never understood his love for art. But she still went out of her way to get him a gift and he knew how much the genuine ‘Esmeralda’ portrait would cost and yet she wanted to get it for him, from her own pocket. And he was busy mistrusting her. Chika was so ashamed of himself, but he made up his mind immediately, he was going to make it up to her. He was going to get her her heart’s desire no matter what it was or how much it cost. He quietly stood up and made his way through the non-tiring clubbers out of the club.
Shola and Tunde were still conversing.
“So you love him huh,” Tunde said “Where does that leave me then?”
“Oh don’t be silly Tunde” Shola replied looking quite amused. “Yours is different.” Tunde raised an eyebrow.
“Yes” Shola continued “yours is fierce, yours is fire, yours is passion”. Their eyes suddenly became alive.
“Are we still on for tonight?” Tunde’s voice was now husky and Shola’s breath intake was sharp.
“Of course” was her reply “I’m totally looking forward to it.”