By Edith Ohaja
Gbenga stood with trepidation before his bedroom door. It was not the fear of what might be going on behind that door that filled his heart with dread. It was the fear of what any negative discovery he might make would do to his marriage that had made him halt.
He stood there as if transfixed and wondered how he and Funke had got to this point – a point where he was playing private eye in his own house. They had been very happy when they got married three years back. Their relationship was built on trust in each other and a deep faith in God. He frequently swore that his wife would never cheat on him, that such a thing would be inconceivable to her. But his friends told him to save his oaths, that it was unwise to vouch for any woman (wives and girlfriends included) that you were not with 24/7. Such a position seemed extremely cynical to him.
Even his disclosure that he met his wife a virgin did not change their stance. Some of them suggested that a lot may have changed since that first encounter. He was horrified at the implication and attributed it to jealousy. They envied his special bond with his wife and sought to belittle it and drag him down to their level, he thought.
But Funke’s recent strange behaviour had given him cause for concern. She was making some long calls at night and she was hiding in the bathroom to make them. He knew because he had checked her phone after the last two occurrences.
To make matters worse, she had received a text message that morning saying, “I’ll like to come to your house this afternoon. Let me know when the coast is clear,” to which she had responded, “Come by 2 o’clock. Gbenga will be at work then.”
He detected this because he had formed the habit of checking her phone the moment she turned her back after he learned of her night calls. He felt ashamed about this but let his suspicion and curiosity call the shots.
He was devastated. There was no question of giving her the benefit of the doubt. She was holding a tryst right behind that door and it probably wasn’t the first time. Perhaps, his friends knew all along that this had been going on. Maybe, it was even one of them in her embrace right now! How foolish he had been, he thought.
A sound at the front door broke into his reverie as the clock app in his phone announced 3 o’clock and he turned. Upon retracing his steps to the living room, who should he see walking in but his wife!
“Wow, what a surprise!” she exclaimed in her usual cheerful manner. “What brings you home by this time of day?”
When he kept staring at her without a response, she asked, “Are you alright?”
Then she added, “Do you want something to eat?” moving towards the kitchen with the fruits she bought from the vendor down the street.
Gbenga remained where he was, trying to process what had just happened. His emotions were in a whirl. He was torn between relief and anger. He was also thoroughly confused. He had arrived early enough to catch her in the act, he believed, but she hadn’t even been there in the first place. Had he misread the whole situation or had she sensed he was onto her and rescheduled the rendezvous?
More importantly, what should be his next line of action? Should he confront her immediately with what he knew or should he bide his time to get more concrete evidence like the name of her lover and people who knew of the relationship? If he chose the first option, what would be her reaction? Would she deny the whole thing or flare up? If he chose to wait, would he be able to stand the suspense and act normal?
Realising that trying to weigh these options immediately would only make his head spin faster, he decided to play it by ear. Going into the kitchen to help his wife prepare lunch, he vowed that he would not allow any man to snatch her from him. She handed him a tuber of yam to peel while she checked the meat she’d brought out of the freezer to thaw before leaving the house earlier.
As she worked at the sink with her back turned to him, he couldn’t stop watching her. She stood at 1.62m. (5ft. 4in). and had a muscular frame because of her passion for playing soccer and lifting weights. She wore mostly knickerbockers and T-shirts, but today she donned mauve-coloured dungarees on a pink, short-sleeved shirt. He fondly dubbed her ‘my tomboy’ and although she wasn’t what most people would call beautiful, in his book, there was none fairer. As he gazed lovingly at her, yam forgotten, he strengthened his resolve.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Funke was visibly uncomfortable and made no move to open the door. However, upon the second ring, she marched out of the kitchen grumbling, “Stupid boy! Na now be your 2 o’clock?”
That didn’t sound good at all, so Gbenga decided to follow her only to see his errant brother-in-law, Kolade, sauntering into the living room.
“I thought I warned you not to come near my family again unless you repent?” he exploded.
“I have repented, Uncle, I have repented and cult boys wanted to kill me,” Kolade replied. “Sister Funke has been praying for me. She told me to come earlier so she can take me to her pastor for deliverance prayers, but I was held up in traffic.”