Kathryn goes and opens the door and in walks Dave. “What are my wives celebrating? Dave asks, scooping Kathryn into his arms. “I love you, my darling. I’ve missed you so much,” he tells her. Then he moves over to Alice, hugs and pecks her on the cheeks. Kathryn feels a twinge in her heart and smiles.
She’s only being human. Jealousy is normal, as long as it’s not that blinding one fueled by hatred. She winks at Alice and Alice makes a funny face and they laugh again.
“Can someone tell me why I should join in your joy?” Dave asks, looking from one to the other. “Yes my husband,” Alice says. “So tell me!” Dave commands her.
“No, not me. My sister should tell you about the good fortune,” she replies. Dave turns to Kathryn and says, “Then spill it, the love of my life.”
“Well, we just realised that auntie and I will be checking into the labour room almost at the same time,” Kathryn says smugly.
“What do you mean…” he begins and then, the import of her statement hits him and he asks, “Do you mean Alice is pregnant?” “Oh my gawd! I said it. I told you it’s a matter of time, that you should have hope, and James didn’t tell me anything! Anyway, he’s on his way. He’s chatting with a friend outside,” he says, turning to Alice.
“He doesn’t know yet. I didn’t tell him. I need to iron out the issue of the other woman and her children first,” Alice replies. The bell chimes and Dave dashes to the door.
“Please don’t break the good news to him yet,” Alice pleads and Dave nods. As James enters the room, Alice shoots him a dart of a look and his heart sinks. Somehow, he knows that he has no secret again.
He knows he has offended his wife, the woman who gave him every support imaginable.
To make matters worse, he has just learnt that the woman who supposedly had two children for him is actually married to a Togo-based businessman, the father of those two kids! He hesitates at the door. He has not seen such fire in his wife’s eyes in a long while. She is obviously seething with anger.
He feels like bolting. Luckily, Dave is chatting away and doesn’t seem to notice his discomfiture. “My man, women have a way of stocking their homes. When it’s time to move homes, it becomes a big challenge for them.
Look at the stack of boxes they’ve packed and yet, it seems as if nothing has been taken out of this house,” Dave says, leading the way to the dinette. James hardly hears what Dave is saying but he murmurs something in response and nods his head absentmindedly.
Then, as he contemplates his wife’s countenance, he sees the anger transforms to a smile. Wonders of a woman! “My dear husband,” Alice coos, moving towards him with outstretched arms.
He is not fooled but nonetheless, his legs propel him towards her. They hug and he plants a kiss on her cheeks. He thinks he tasted tears but isn’t sure. “How are you, my darling husband? We have been packing my sister’s things.
She still has so many things to pack. We women and load!” Alice says, leading him in. She sits him comfortably on a divan and disappears into the kitchen. Kathryn joins her there.
Alice is scooping the jollof rice they prepared earlier into serving plates. She garnishes them with steamed vegetables. “They must be hungry now. We need to feed them fat,” she says. Kathryn observes her mien quietly. She wonders how she could carry so much burden in her heart and still pretends all is well.
“Auntie, how do you manage this? I guess you’ve forgiven your husband,” Kathryn says. “Forgive who? If I hear! I want to feed him very well so that he will have the stamina to bear what I’m going to say to him,” Alice says, bearing the trays to the dinette. Kathryn shakes her head in wonderment and follows her in.
They eat in silence…until the last person has pushed the last morsel of food into his mouth. “Pray, my dear husband, when are you telling me about your second wife and her children?” Alice says lightly, as if that is the most innocent thing to say.
They all freeze and Alice sips her glass of fruit juice. She looks innocently around her and chews the prawn in her mouth. James literally withers. Finally, the past has caught up with the present!
The liquid in his body embarks on a downward journey. He suddenly feels pressed. Beads of sweat appears on his forehead. “Are you okay, my man,” Dave asks anxiously. “He’s okay, my dear husband,” Alice replies, chewing cheerily.
“Um…um…I’m okay,” James says glumly. It’s obvious everything is but okay. He stands suddenly, pushes his chair back and moves to the restroom. There’s pin drop silence in the room. Alice chews merrily on while Dave and Kathryn look at each other. After about ten minutes and James is not outta the restroom, Dave goes in search of him. “Are you okay?” Dave asks James.
“I’m okay, I mean, I’m not okay,” James answers from within. “Look James, a man dies only once. It’s better you come out and confront this issue head on. There’s no point hiding. So please come out and let’s discuss it now,” Dave tells him.
“Who told her about Meg and her children? Why did you tell her? I thought we agreed to do so at an appropriate time,” James whispers through the door. “No, I didn’t tell her anything. Someone else obviously did. Anyway, there’s really no ‘better appropriate’ time than now. This is a chance for you to right all the wrongs in your marriage,” Dave replies. “Someone did? Who could it be? OMG! I’m finished. Who else knows my well kept secrets? Who?” James says in anguish.
He knows that Kathryn knows too. “It’s too late to dwell on who said what. You should know how many people you told because I didn’t tell a single soul. Anyway, whoever did should be the least of your problems. Your wife is there seeking an answer to an urgent question. You need to pull yourself together and talk with her. I trust she’ll understand if you approach it the right way,” Dave tells him. James opens the door of the loo and steps out, beads of sweat on his face.
He looks at his cousin, wondering what he will do if he learns that for three years, Kathryn, his beloved wife, had slept with him for a fee. He is convinced that Kathryn exposed his well-kept secret.
Anyway, let him settle this first. He will deal with that pesky issue later. Now, to the problem at hand! “I’m scared my man,” he says, looking around like a fugitive. “You don’t have any reason to. Go out there and answer her questions with boldness,” Dave tells him.
As they step back into the living room, Alice asks, “Are you ready to talk about your little secret?” “Yeah, my dear wife. I know I’ve offended you. We are all human beings and so, fallible.
But I want you to know that bad association will destroy our marriage. If you listen to bad people, who do not wish you well, you will always have big problems. Let’s forget about this and live our lives peacefully, the way we have been living before some good for nothing bitches came into our lives,” James says, sneaking some acid looks the way of Kathryn. Dave, Kathryn and Alice exchange glances.
Of course, Kathryn and Alice know Kathryn is the object of James’ vituperation. Kathryn knows she didn’t reveal his secret but how will James know that? She becomes scared that this spineless man may destroy her marriage if care is not taken. Alice comes to her rescue, albeit, covertly.
She begins, “James, what are you talking about? You think you can nose this issue to another angle? I don’t know which bitch you are talking about, but I do know that no one told me about your dalliances with the harlot that purportedly had those kids for you. To make matters worse, she’s another man’s wife. You think you keep your tracks covered? No, you don’t.
You see, you take me for a fool so much that it never occurred to you that I could have sense at all…” James cuts in, “Look Alice, I will take any shit from you but not the allusion that Meg is a harlot. I hate harlots and you know that!”
“You hate harlots?” Alice says with a laugh and continues, “Then, you must hate me too. Anyway, because you ascribed so little brain to me, you carry on as if you are living with a blind, deaf and dumb in the house. Well, your deaf and dumb wife hates eavesdropping but one day, eavesdropping was thrust upon her and she heard your phone conversation, a fight more like it, with your slimy bitch over a text message. Well, your dummy wife picked your phone later and read that and many other messages therein…”
James ditches his butt on the nearest chair with a thud! He looks like a drowning man. Dave, unconsciously, draws Kathryn into his arms. “OMG! I’m done! Alice, you mean you’ve been snooping around me? What do you mean I must hate you too?” James asks.
Alice smiles at him and asks, “Have you settled the issue of the children’s paternity with your bitch? You must have been paying so handsomely for her services to warrant her trying to tie you down with pregnancies and bastard children. No… and you hate harlots? I laugh in Pidgin!
You see, that passion which you deny will always seek you out. That’s why you gather harlots around you wherever you go.” Dave and Kathryn look on incredulously while Dave, confusion written all over him, asks in a little voice, “What do you mean?” “I’ll explain. Keep calm, I’ll explain every little detail to you, my dear husband.
I’ll tell you all you want to know and more,” Alice says. Turning to Dave and Kathryn, she says, “Any marriage built on lies and falsehood will never thrive. Truth is the foundation you need…”
Alice looks from her husband to Dave and Kathryn. “I have suffered,” she begins. James looks wildly around him. He wonders what bombshell is coming. He now realises that he doesn’t know his wife. He doubts if he knows women at all.
So his wife has been reading him like an open book? So much for closely guarded secrets! “My momma didn’t marry my dad. Her parents didn’t want her to marry a man from a strange culture. Not even a fast protruding belly -a sign she had eaten the forbidden fruit at 18 years- could change their minds…”
What did Alice explain? What’s the repercussion on James, Dave and Kathryn? You won’t know if you don’t keep a date with me here on Sunday!
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