~Vanguard Nigeria. Sunday, September 18, 2016.
IT was a little incident, but it opened the floodgate of nostalgia, I'd arrived late at a wedding reception and was ushered to what looked like the high table. The groom's mother is a close friend. I sensed rather than saw this look of disapproval burning into my scalp. I turned, and there she was – Dolapo's wife. I held her gaze and gave as much hostility as she emitted. She promptly looked away. How long ago was it? Over 20 years at least. I'd met Dolapo on a flight from abroad when he wangled his way to the empty seat by my side in first class. Those were the good old days!
The goodies I didn't want jostled about in the haul was deliberately perched on the empty seat next to mine. I had to shift for Dolapo to sit down. It later expired that the seat was booked in his assistant's name but he quickly nudged the poor man towards his own seat so he could sit next to me. I wasn't really interested in what he had to say. Someone else had treated me to this holiday and I'd had fun. Then I noticed he was a picky eater. First, he didn't touch the individual pot of caviar that was served with the starter. Then the lobster in his main dish was left untouched. "I'm allergic to sea food," he whined. Deftyly, I scooped the lobster on to my plate and retrieved the pot of caviar.
"That moment you stole my food," Dolapo later boasted, "I knew I would get my pound of flesh!" And he was a very easy person to love. In spite of his position, he conducted our affair as if he were single. Our social outings were very public and once or twice, his private driver had hinted I should ask him to be a bit careful, that whenever he sent him to mine, it was always within ear- short of the poor wife.
What exactly was I supposed to do? From the little he told me, his marriage obviously wasn't up to much. What was more, I was almost divorced, I had no irate husband to worry about. We were together every opportunity we had and the man's appetite for sex was insatiable! It was as if he couldn't have enough of me. Even when we were apart, I had one of these cordless phones with a very wide range as mobiles weren't in vogue then. I took the phone everywhere I went and became a laughing stock with my friends.
Still, Dolapo's wife's ghost was always there. I saw both of them together a few times in the dailies and she fitted my image of a dull, frumpy wife. Even the wig she always had on looked like a badly used mop. I was never a frumpy dresser and for him, I pushed the boat out a bit – wearing really flattering gears any time we were together. And he often spent the night too – his martyr of a wife never questioned him and they had separate bedrooms.
Within months, I had a stack of romantically crafted letters and cards. Our torried affair went on for close to two years when wifey struck through a phone call. She sneered over the phone I wouldn't be the first and I definitely wouldn't be the last. I simply hung up on her and called Dolapo immediately to ask where she got my number from.
He had no idea but that didn't stop her from calling again. I simply ignored her. Then came the day I'd sneaked off to a party – which was a rarity since I met Dolapo – and she was on the phone at least 12 times as I checked my missed calls when I got home. "Shouldn't you be in bed instead of harassing innocent citizens?: I spat down the phone. She unleashed a string of expletives. My last laugh is going to be the sweetest', she yelled. 'Your husband doesn't love you: I told her.
"Where is your self-respect'.
'Well, I'm here and you're still on your own, a mere mistress: she replied smugly and slammed down the phone.
She later told Dolapo she'd discovered my phone number via an anonymous call she'd received. The caller said 'your husband's f***ing a woman called candy. If you don't believe me, call this number and talk to her.' She already knew who I was, so the number really helped. I had no idea who could have done a thing like that. One of my so-called friends? A friend of his? Yet in spite of all this, they still lived together, four children between them.
As she'd rightly predicted though, things started falling apart. Dolapo wasn't as besotted as he once was and guess who called to find out if I knew Dolapo had gotten someone else pregnant? The wife! I told her she was lying. 'Why don't you ask him yourself?' she challenged. 'He just brought the tramp to the house to be introduced to the family as his second wife.' She gave me a name.
I called Dolapo immediately and he told me he was sick and tired of me not being totally divorced from my husband. That technically, I was still married and it would be foolish for a man in his position to keep on latching into a married woman. I was stunned. If I'd expected this kind of brush-off, I would have been prepared for it. Could a man who showed so much passion be this fickle?
I didn't see him again until years after. He'd come to apologise, he said. His new 'wife' had been sent packing after she'd been caught a couple of times with other men, mostly his friends. Apology accepted, I told him. Minutes later, my flavour-of-the-moment walked in. They were both shocked to see each other because they worked with the same establishment. Only he held a position senior to Dolapo's and Dolapo had to leave. It was a really sad experience as I felt absolutely nothing for him. All that passion that almost destroyed us both, where did it go? It was a triumph of sort to see his humiliation.
And now his long suffering wife was scowling at me? Just how low should a woman get to keep a floundering marriage?!