Mike hadn’t come home in the past weeks, I kept calling him, but he won’t pick up my calls.
I got a blue tick every time I sent a WhatsApp message – he was reading them, he just wasn’t responding.
I moved through the motions with every day that went by, I was beside myself with pain, and then, Monday morning happened.
That day started like any other day; I prepared our girls for school, and they hopped on the school bus and waved me goodbye. Then, I went back into the house and stepped into the shower.
I had just come out of the bathroom when I heard a knock on my door,
It must be a neighbor, I thought. I wore a shirt and pulled a jean on, then hopped down the stairs and opened the door, but a young man stood there instead, looking back at my confused face.
He handed a spiral-bound document to me.
“Good morning Ma. You’ve been served,” He said, turned around, and walked away.
The events of the last few weeks had been crazy. Every day held something more horrifying than the day before; not expecting anything good from this particular day, I flipped open the document, and another heartbreak stared me in the face.
My life was over; I was finished!
I shut the door after myself and trudged back into the house. I dropped onto the sofa and read aimlessly through the A4-sized papers.
I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this; I didn’t even think he would do this.
I climbed into the sofa and let my mind travel back to the day it all began…
MAY 5th, 2017.
I had rushed to the ATM to make some withdrawals, the queue was particularly long that day, and I didn’t have the time to wait, the school bus would be dropping the girls off at any moment, and I needed to be there to unlock the door for them.
I had spent the past hours at the market and decided to do a quick stop at the Bank for some cash before heading home.
I stood in the line, constantly glancing at my wristwatch and shaking my leg impatiently.
The bearded, tall, dark man at the forefront must have noticed because he gestured to me to come to his front.
Feeling pleasantly surprised, I moved out of the line and hurried to his front, ignoring the snide complaints and angry hisses of the other people in the queue.
“Thank you so much,” I said, looking over my shoulders at the stranger.
His small and pointed nose was the first thing I noticed. His entire face was so beautifully crafted; God must have taken his time on this one.
“You’re welcome,” he responded, flashing a set of Veneers teeth. “You must be in such a haste, I noticed your demeanor minutes ago, you didn’t even park properly,” he jerked his head towards my wrongly parked car.
“Oh!” I chuckled, embarrassed. “Don’t mind me. My kids would be home any moment, and I have to be there to welcome them.”
He nodded understandably. “I have two boys myself. My wife is always trying to keep up. You women are trying.”
“What can we do” I agreed, smiling back at him.
The line moved forward as two persons stepped out to make their withdrawal, leaving just one person in front of me.
I glanced down at my wristwatch, I would be out of here in less than three minutes, and it was all because of this stranger.
“Thanks so much,” I said again, honestly feeling very grateful.
He smiled. “It’s nothing, but you’re welcome.”
My turn came, and I stepped forward while he got to the other machine. We finished making our withdrawal and walked away simultaneously.
He stopped me before I could get to my car.
“Can I have your number? I’m Dapo, by the way,” he introduced.
“I’m Funke, but why do you want my—”
“Oh!” He shrugged. “I don’t know, friends, I guess? It won’t hurt to have one more friend, would it?”
My eyes accessed this man from head to toe; he was statuesque, oozing money and prestige.
Mike was barely home. With a job that kept him away from town, I was left feeling lonely most of the time. I decided it won’t hurt to have someone to talk to besides the kids.
“07063567891,” I recited, and he punched each number into his iPhone.
“I’m calling you now”
My phone buzzed in my hand. “Got it!” I confirmed.
He nodded, shot me a two-finger salute then walked away towards his car.
I unlocked mine, got in, and drove out of the premises.
He called a day after that day and asked me out to lunch, and I obliged.
We met at a restaurant called Royal China. I came wearing a gold metallic fitted dress that stopped at my knees, with strappy sandals to match, and I was glad I did because his well-tailored black suit looked so good on him and expensive too.
He rose to his feet as I approached the table, then walked around to hold out the chair for me.
I sat on it, smiling up at him. “Thank you,” I said.
He smiled back, nodded, and walked to his seat.
I carefully placed my purse on the round tabletop and relaxed my back into the chair.
I couldn’t believe I was here, with him. My brothers were the only men I had hung out with since I married Mike five years ago.
It’s just a harmless lunch; I reminded myself.
“You look beautiful,” He said, breaking into my thoughts. His eyes staring intensely at me.
“Thank you,” I smiled. “You look good too.”
What I really wanted to say was, you look incredibleeeeeeeeee!!! Because dang! he was dashing. How did someone like him even like me?.
“So, how are you?” he asked with his eyes never shifting from me.
“I’m good. How are you?”
“It’s been a crazy day, but I’m fine now,” he added with a broad smile, and I chuckled.
“We should order,” he said, picking up the menu.
I picked mine up, and we went through it quietly.
“You’re ready?” He asked, lifting his eyes from the menu.
He clicked his fingers at the waiters, and a young man in uniform walked to our table.
“Good afternoon Sir, good afternoon, ma.”
“Afternoon. I’ll have the Pineapple rice with beef ribs and a bottle of red wine ” He said, pointing down at the menu.
I decided on fried rice with coleslaw, and the waiter bowed and walked away.
“So,” Mike began, clasping his hands on the table, “Who is Funke? Let me know her.”
What is going on? Is this a date?
I shrugged. “There’s nothing much to say. My life is boring.”
“Let me be the judge of that,” He stated, looking steadily into my eyes.
Why did he have to maintain such intense eye contact, though? He was making me really shy.
I chuckled. “Okay. I have two girls, I’m a housewife, my life is basically revolved around the kids. My husband works at a rig in Port Harcourt and visits occasionally, so it’s just me and the girls most of the time. It’s boring I warned you.”
“Hmm,” He nodded, taking a sip of water from the glass on the table. “So, you don’t want to work?”
“I do, but my husband thinks we should be done with having kids first.”
“How many more are you going to have?” he inquired.
The waiter returned and placed our dishes before us. “Thank you” He nodded in acknowledgment. The waiter bowed and then walked away.
“So,” he continued. “It’s not what you really want, is it?” He asked in all seriousness. “To be a stay home mom?”
I shook my head and then laughed; the conversation was getting too personal, “Enough about me! how about you? what’s your story?” I fetched a fork full of rice and put it into my mouth.
“Two kids too, boys. Married for six years, based in Abuja, my company only posted me here to see to the finishing of a project.”
I had only just met him, yet he was going to leave. I tried to hide my disappointment.
“So, you’re not staying for long?”
He shook his head and put some food into his mouth, smiling tightly at me as he chewed.
He swallowed. “You’re very beautiful you know that?”
I dropped my head and blushed. The last time I felt this nervous was when I was sixteen.
“I’m sure you hear that a lot,” he added.
I rolled my eyes up at him, smiling. I really didn’t hear that a lot.
By the time lunch was over, he had given me enough to reminisce and smile about.
We talked every day after that.
Mike was fond of not replying to my messages on time. He did more of calling, but Dapo was a texter just like I was, we messaged each other back and forth all day, every day, and I liked it.
He would send me photos of himself at work, at a meeting, at the gym, anywhere, doing different things, and the pictures often came.
Before I met him, my life had been dull, mundane.
The only excitement I had was the girls, but they were just kids. With Dapo, I had an adult whom I could have honest conversations with, and the best part was that he tickled my fancy.
We would meet up when my kids had gone to school. Because of my marital status and because it was my town, we tried to keep our meetings as discreet as possible, so we narrowed it down to a particular restaurant in a quiet part of town.
As much as I wanted to take him up on his offer of going to see The Avengers when the movie got released, I couldn’t. The best time to go would have been at night, but I couldn’t leave my kids home alone, and I couldn’t risk being seen with him in public.
Mike came home for a week, and I had to inform Dapo so that we didn’t call or text each other during Mike’s stay.
We had to put our communication on hold for caution, and it was pure torture. I missed him so much!
I was happy that Mike was home, but I couldn’t wait for when I would see Dapo again.
At the end of that week, Mike left on an early morning flight, almost at the same time the school bus picked up the girls. As soon as I waved the girls goodbye, I dashed back into the house and eagerly called Dapo.
He picked on the second ring. “God I missed you!” he breathed into the phone.
“Where are you?” I couldn’t wait to see him.
“In my hotel, I’m staying in today.”
“I’ll be headed to the restaurant immediately, you’ll meet me there won’t you?”
“Ehm, why don’t you come here instead?” he suggested, and my heart skipped a bit. “You’ve never been here before,” he added.
I knew what going to his hotel room meant, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that, but I missed him too much to turn him down.
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Yes, Okay, send a description. I’ll be there soon.”
“Can’t wait.” I could hear the excitement in his voice.
“See you soon,” I said and hung up.
I dashed into the bathroom for a shower. I had missed him so much. Going a week without speaking to him had been so hard, and now I couldn’t wait to see him again. I was jittery, like a child in Disneyland.
He made me feel like a kid again.
I stepped out of the shower and took my time with my makeup. Then, I put on white jeans with a red T-shirt and red sneakers.
I let my silky straight weave fall to my back. I grabbed my car keys and walked out of the house, locking it securely behind me.
I got into the car, typed the hotel address into google maps, and began to drive, following the voice prompter.
Twenty-five minutes later, I was driving into the hotel. I pulled up under a shade, walked into the reception, and waited as the Receptionist called his room to confirm my visit.
“You can go in Ma,” she smiled politely.
I climbed up the stairs and strode to his room number. At the door, I paused to take deep breaths, and then I knocked gently.
The door flung open almost immediately, and I rushed into his arms. I couldn’t even hide how much I had missed him.
He hugged me back all so tightly, and we just stood there in each other’s arms.
He smelled of fresh soap and cologne. I could have stood there with my head pressed to his chest forever. I was falling for this man.
He pulled me into the room and kicked the door behind me close. He leaned back just enough to study my face. I smiled up at him, feeling nervous.
He looked so handsome. He always did.
He pushed a strand of hair away from my face and tucked it behind my ear. “I should have met you first,” he declared. “It should have been you.”
“Me too…” I muttered, losing my defenses in his arms.
With that, he took my lips into his and kissed me tenderly. I didn’t object; it had been a long time coming.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and tipped upwards, pressing further into him.
His kisses were warm and precise, passionate too. His lips felt soft, and his breath so fresh. It was exciting. I kissed him with reckless abandon.
When he edged me towards the large bed, I stepped backward willingly.
I lowered myself onto the bed and allowed him to undress me.
It all felt so exhilarating that I almost could not wait. My inner thighs were quivering, wet with desire.
Stark naked, I lay before him.
He ruffled eagerly out of his shorts and impatiently plunged deep into me. My toes curled downwards, and my fingers grabbed the sheets.
He felt so full inside of me, so sweet.
The more he dug, the wetter I became.
Moaning loudly, we swam in an ocean of continuous pleasure.
I didn’t think of Mike. I didn’t think of my marriage. I didn’t think of anything or anyone. I was present at the moment, crying with my eyes shut as he thrust me to an epileptic orgasm.
As we laid panting against each other, I was sure now,I was in love with him!
His project was completed, and he went back to Abuja.
Our relationship became virtual; we texted and shared photos constantly. Our photos were more of nudes now.
He brought out a sexiness in me that I hadn’t felt with Mike.
The way he kissed and complimented my imperfections made me forget that I even had any.
I was no longer ashamed of my Stretch marks or belly pooch. I found myself posing seductively in photos, and there even looked nice.
I felt like a whole new person because of him. I no longer minded when Mike couldn’t come home for some weekends, we were fighting a lot anyway, and I would always turn to Dapo when things got too heated.
Dapo did all the right things. He didn’t spare his money on me either; he bought me anything I wanted, including what I didn’t ask for.
He was constantly showering me with gifts and introducing me to new things. I was happy.
Night had fallen. I was sitting in the living room watching television with my girls when my phone rang.
It was Dapo. I gladly picked it up and went to the dining table, out of the girl’s hearing.
“Hey…” I said into the handset, smiling as if he could see me.
“Hiya, how are you?”
“I’m fine, watching Tv with the girls.”
“What are you girls watching?”
“Cartoon, but I swear I would rather be watching something else.”
He laughed. “My sons are watching the same thing. I’ve left the parlor for them and their mother. I’m in my room now.”
“I miss you,” I confessed.
“I miss you more. I booked a flight to come see you. I’ll be in Benin before 10 a.m tomorrow morning.”
I cupped a hand over my mouth excitedly. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, I can’t stand spending another day away from you.”
“Awwwww babe! I’m so delighted!!”
“Me too. So, I’ll see you soon?”.
“Yes! can’t wait.”
He chuckled. “Me too.”
As soon as he arrived in Benin the next day, I went to see him.
Over an hour later, we lay panting, over an exhaustive round of sex.
Minutes passed before he sat up and placed a kiss on my forehead. “I have some work to do,” He said, rubbing my arm. “Do you mind?”
“No,” I responded.
He reached out for his laptop and placed it on his thighs. I snuggled next to him.
He turned it on, and the screen came alive with a picture of his wife and their sons; it was the first time I saw her. She was a beautiful woman with a flattering figure. It made me wonder why he was with me when he had all of her.
“Your wife is fine” That didn’t come from the heart. What I actually felt was jealousy.
He smiled, kissed my hair and returned his focus to the screen.
“What is she like?”
“She’s not you,” He replied absent-minded, typing away at his keyboard.
I felt terrible, and I wished he was all mine. I could see us living happily together.
He sensed my quiet demeanor and glanced sideways at my sad face.
Pushing his laptop down to the bed, he turned to me and propped his head up with his elbow, “I feel more alive when I’m with you.
You make me feel important. With her, she doesn’t let me be the man that I want to be, she’s controlling, too serious, yes she is a loving mother no doubt, but I don’t feel connected to her, it is you I’m happy with.”
He lifted my chin with his finger and kissed my lips. I didn’t argue any further. How could I when it felt so good? I relaxed my mind and kissed him back.
I went back to the hotel the next day after my kids had gone off to school, and Dapo and I went downstairs to the restaurant to have breakfast. I hadn’t eaten anything because he had asked me to come on an empty stomach. He said he wanted us to have breakfast together. I thought it was very romantic.
We sat enjoying our food when his phone started to ring. He looked over at it and ignored it. It rang again and again. I grew concerned and looked at him questionably.
“It’s my wife. She’s been questioning me about money leaving the account. I don’t want to deal with that right now.”
“Does she know about us?”
He shrugged dismissively.
His phone rang again, and he switched it off this time, continuing with his meal. I felt like I had him to myself. It was a good feeling.
We went back to his room, and he got into the bathroom for a shower.
His laptop was sitting on the bed. I decided to play with it a little. I turned it on, and a mail popped in almost immediately.
I hesitated, then opened it anyway. It was his wife, warning him: “Whatever you are doing, you better end it because if I find out that you are cheating, I will destroy your life.” I shut the laptop immediately and relaxed into the bed, pretending like I hadn’t just read that.
He came out of the shower and took me downstairs to the hotel’s boutique for shopping. When I was done picking out the things I wanted, he offered his ATM to the cashier, but the POS machine declined it.
He tried a different card, and that too got rejected. Then, beginning to feel frantic, he tried all four of his cards, and each one was denied.
He turned to me, appalled, “I think she’s canceled all my cards!”
I shrugged to maintain my cool. I didn’t like this. “It’s okay. I’ll pick up the bill”
He took a step backward, and I could see how embarrassed he was. As the cashier took my card and inserted it into the machine, he stepped aside and made a call. His voice was raised as he spoke to whoever it was that he spoke to.
I just knew it was his wife.
I didn’t hear the entire conversation, but he looked like a hypnotized man when he got back to me.
Whatever it is that she had said must have gotten to him.
I suggested going home, and he didn’t object. He asked me to return the following day, which I did.
“I’ve been trying to call her, but she keeps forwarding me to voicemail,” he announced the moment I walked into the hotel room.
I could tell he was genuinely worried. It felt weird and uncomfortable seeing him pace the floor like that.
How come he felt so worried over what she did? I thought I was what mattered to him. Why then did he care whether she picked up his calls or not?.
I lowered myself into the chair, and he continued to pace the room, redialing her for the umpteenth time.
“She could leave and I’ll never know where she goes, she could take my kids and I’ll not be able to do anything about it.” He shot his gaze at me. “I can’t let that happen!”
I sat there watching him. I didn’t know what to say. It felt uncomfortable, but I let him keep trying her number. Maybe if she picked and they talked, things would go back to being normal between us.
He finally stopped pacing and dropped onto the bed, clenching his hands together.
He looked up at me. “I have to go back home tonight. My wife is smart, and there is no telling what she would do next.”
I swallowed hard. It stung that he cared this much. I had ignored Mike’s feelings for his, put Mike on hold so many times, and not given much care about our constant arguments, all for Dapo’s sake, yet here he was, losing his cool over his wife.
As much as I hated to admit it, she appeared to be his priority.
I nodded and stood up with my handbag, which never left my side. I hadn’t said a word since I got into that room, and he didn’t even notice.
He got up and pulled the door open for me.
I wanted to burst into tears, but I was going to hold it in until I got to my car. At the door, I embraced him, turned around, and began walking downstairs. The tears flowed freely with every step I took.
Mike wrote to me the next day from Abuja. He informed me that his wife had stumbled upon our conversations and that it would be best if we didn’t speak or see each other again.
I was appalled. I couldn’t believe it!
What happened to the love he had so freely professed to me? What happened to every moment we shared?
Could it be that I had wasted my time?
As I sat there in my kitchen, shedding regretful tears and reflecting on it all, he called me.
Thinking he had changed his mind, I quickly answered the call, only to be met with the spluttering of a female voice, “Ashewo! idiot!! You don’t have shame! And to think you are a mother, I will deal with you, ode!!” she lashed and hung up immediately.
I wanted to die.
The chair suddenly felt hot and uncomfortable, so I slid down to the tiled floor and wept, feeling utterly dismayed.
Mike came home two days after. I was watching TV in a bid to distract myself from the pain that was cutting through my chest when he walked into the house.
“Funke!” He called angrily as he marched into the house and to where I was seated.
I faked a smile and rose to greet him when he held out his phone to my face. “What the hell is this?!” he spat.
I almost passed out as I saw my nude photos staring me back in the face.
I received the phone from him and scrolled through. There were photos I had shared with Dapo and some of our most intimate chats.
She must have found my husband’s Facebook account and sent all that to him.
I dropped to my knees and began pleading.
“I gave you everything! I loved you!!” Mike was saying.
“I don’t know what got into me, babe I am so sorry,” I rubbed my palms pleadingly.
“I can’t even look at you right now. Let go of me!” He yanked my hands off his leg and sprouted past me.
I wiped the tears off my cheeks and flipped through the papers once more, Mike was divorcing me, and he was asking for custody of our girls, claiming that I was incapable of taking care of them.
My heart felt so broken. I was losing my marriage, yet Dapo was over there still with his wife, who was dealing with me, and he was allowing her to do these horrible things to me.
It all seemed like a nightmare, a nightmare I had to wake up from…
My phone was ringing. I picked it up, wondering who the strange number could belong to.
“Hello?” I spoke into the handset.
“Good morning. We are calling you from Sage hotels. We have some men here that just came in from the UK. They need your services.”
“Are you not Funke?”
“We have your pictures and contact address here for escort work. That’s why we are calling.”
“Ehn?! What sort of rubbish talk is that?! Do I look like a prostitute to you?”
Then it hit me, Dapo’s wife, again! That woman was not normal!
“Please I am not an Escort,” I yelled and hung up the phone.
I dialed Dapo’s line; I needed him to stop his wife. She had destroyed me enough. He didn’t pick up, I redialed him severally, and my call eventually went into voicemail.
My phone rang, but it wasn’t him calling me back, it was another strange number.
“Hello Funke, this is Uyi grand hotel. we have some men here that—”
“I am not a prostitute!!!” I yelled and flung my phone against the wall.