It was 10.50pm. Leke had fallen asleep after the pastors left. Dinner had been a slow ritual graced by the clinking of cutlery on plates, light chatter, and an uneasy Leke, who chuckled nervously at all their jokes— even the ones that were drier than harmattan-crisp leaves. All night, he waited for the important discussion, but it never came.
I did that—I destroyed his career.
Sure, now I had to tell him. Maybe Jare would do the same—tell his wife. He'd put us out of this misery. That woman. They were the problem—Leke and Jare’s wife. If they could be erased from the picture somehow...
A feeling gnawed at me—the strange feeling that the day would end in chaos or at least end in a state akin. I had deleted the video from Leke’s phone. The pastors were on their way.
Why were they coming? Had they seen the video?....
I waited for the storm, but it never came.
Leke came home, a tired smile on his face as usual. He asked about my day. I had nothing to say. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and the dryness tickled my throat. He smiled, planted a kiss on my forehead and headed into the bathroom to take a shower.
Once the water started running, I scrambled into the room, searching through his discarded clothes. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t under the bed either or in the wardrobe.
Where was it?
I met Jare at Fitness and Soul—the new neighborhood gym. It was a Tuesday evening, a day before Leke and I would mark our fourth year anniversary. I had walked into Fitness and Soul for the first time, completed my registration forms, received my free heart rate monitor and paid an exorbitant fee. The heart rate monitor wasn’t so free after all. I decided on an equipment that looked like an escalator. My thighs started burning almost immediately, my heart fighting not to fall out of my chest. When I was sure my calves would fall out under my knees, I got off the machine. Panting and out of breath, I checked my watch. 6 minutes—that would have to do...
I held on to the headrest of the keke napep driver, as he fell into as many potholes he could wiggle us into. Another five minutes of this pothole-plunging, and I'd be at work. Every other minute, the woman who sat next to me--dressed in the ankara iro and buba, and a matching head-tie towering on her head in a messy, rushed do--would slap the headrest. “Slow down. Napep. Slow down."
The young man seated in front groaned in solidarity. I had hoped for a short nap in the napep.
"Ani, slow down!" The woman slapped the headrest again.
That nap was not to be. I stifled a yawn and let the tears tease out of my kajaled eyelids and mascaraed lashes, careful not to rub my eyes into a vampire eye make-up smudge. I had hardly slept a wink; and by the time Leke got into bed, I realized I was still awake.
Someone had seen us.
Jare and I.
I tightened my grip on the headrest and my free hand poked my phone screen with its thumb. Calling JRK. Jare's phone rang out through my ear plugs. My ninth call.
“We don reach.” The driver called above the rumbling engine. His bony arms maneuvered the napep to a stop.
I unfolded myself out of the three-wheeled wagon, paid the driver and proceeded towards the tall, blue glass building which was Jade Towers, and which housed on the sixth and seventh floor Theta Communications, my place of employment for the last eight years. Just then my phone buzzed in my bag.
My heart skipped a bit. Jare...