Damilola couldn’t contain her excitement as the announcement that the flight she and Anu were waiting for was about to land. She watched as the airplane came into view and begin its descent from the sky onto the runway, her heartbeat quickened in her chest. She scrounged her hands together gleefully in anticipation. He was finally here! She hugged Anu happily in her joy that he was going to be with her in some few minutes. She didn’t have long to wait and another ten minutes saw him walking towards them from Arrivals.
Immediately he stepped into sight, she rushed towards him and tried to envelope him in a heartfelt hug but he brushed her aside, a slight frown marring his handsome features. He squeezed her hand instead and softened the blow of the rejection with a smile. Damilola found her enthusiasm dampened a bit but she was undeterred, mentally reminding herself that he was a shy person and hated public display of affection. The only acknowledgement he made of Anu was a smile before they all left for the waiting car while Damilola chatted nineteen to the dozen to cover what would have otherwise been an awkward silence.
Anu had agreed to drive them as if they were a newly married couple and would steal glances at the two lovers seating at the back seat, flashing Damilola a smile whenever their eyes met. She couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as excited as Damilola, one would think that he wasn’t the same guy that had insisted to come down from America to see her and talked with Damilola almost every hour of the day over the phone and all social media platforms available at their disposal. Anu tried to keep her mind on the road and not on the strange behavior of her best friend’s boyfriend. Maybe his silence had to do with her presence? Or perhaps he was tired from his flight, who wouldn’t be with the way Damilola said he worked so hard. Unknown to Anu, the same thoughts were running through Damilola’s mind as she wondered why he was so cold and unresponsive to her. He must be tired, she chided herself silently and snuggled closer to him.
Damilola stared at her reflection in the mirror and smiled at her reflection. She looked good but she couldn’t help worrying whether she looked good enough for him. Did he still like her smile? Did he still find her charming and attractive? Maybe she should have gotten a manicure before he arrived? This hair looks so old, she thought as she adjusted her curls so that it fell in loose waves over her shoulder. They had been apart for two years and although they had talked every single day of the two years, she couldn’t help feeling something was missing. She ran a brush through her hair one more time before going to sit on the bed to wait for him to finish having his bath. Her eyes strayed to his phone lying on the dresser and she picked it up instinctively. A part of her felt like going to his messages but she decided against it, it was best to let sleeping dogs lie, hadn’t she learnt that from her last two relationships. His gallery was a much more harmless place to check on how he had passed the last two years.
She laughed at a picture of him cooking in his boxers, there was another of him snowballing and then the third picture hit her like a bombshell. It was a pretty buxom black woman in nothing but panties posing sexily in the same kitchen he had been cooking in the first picture. Damilola swallowed involuntarily as her thumb slid across the screen of the phone to the next picture and this time the other woman was smiling at her seductively with the panties gone. She had her middle finger up and her tongue dangling out. Damilola dropped the phone as if it was suddenly too hot to the touch and dashed at the tears that had quickly found their way to her eyes. The wheels in her head turned and her mouth suddenly felt bitter; she didn’t need to be psychic to know that Gbade was cheating on her. Our perfect world is not so perfect after all, she thought wryly. She heard the shower going off, a signal that he was done in the bathroom and she tried to compose her features so that none of the raging emotions she was feeling inside showed, she couldn’t let it bubble to the surface just yet.
Gbade came out of the bathroom and smiled at her warmly, his warmest since his arrival but his smile only made her feel cold. Should she confront him? Should she ask him about it? Who was the woman? What was her name? What was she doing in his house? He didn’t seem bothered that she was with his phone, did that mean he had nothing to hide or he simply didn’t care? If he didn’t care, why had he come down to Nigeria because of her? The thoughts chased themselves around in her head and Gbade must have noticed that she was suddenly not as excited as she been before.
“Are you alright? You look angry?”
With a quick bright smile, she assured him she was alright. “Just a bit tired from having to wait at the airport for so long.”
“You shouldn’t have come out so early though, I wish you allowed me take a taxi or something. You have outdone yourself with that meal I smelled when we came in.”
Damilola had cooked him his favourite dish hours before she headed to the airport as a welcome home treat and he had said he would get to it as soon as he freshened up.
“It’s nothing really, you know…” the shrill sound of the phone cut her off and she looked down at the phone in her hand. Mirabel! Could this be the other woman? She studied his expression closely, trying to read his facials as he took the phone from her and began talking in clipped tones to the other person over the phone. His answers were short and from her position on the bed, it sounded strained. The alarm bells were ringing in her head, why couldn’t he talk well to this person? This must be the other woman.
He wouldn’t meet her eyes as he talked and immediately he dropped the phone, Damilola found herself asking, “Who was that? I thought nobody knows you are coming to Nigeria?”
He shrugged and muttered something about an overzealous colleague, walking out of the room to prevent any further questions. He was barely out of the door when the phone rang again, and she sat on the bed, straining her ears to listen to the conversation. His voice was a bit hushed and Damilola found herself tiptoeing to the bedroom door to listen. He was saying something about being with the other woman,
“I will call you when I have privacy, I am with her now. You really need to stop calling me.” The hurt welled up again and this time, the tears spilled out of her eyes. She dashed at them with her palms angrily and headed for the bathroom to splash water on her face so that he wouldn’t know she had been crying. She wouldn’t let him see her cry. So she was the Nigerian girlfriend? The girl to come home to? Perhaps she was just another name on his list of conquests? Had she been foolish in love these last two years trying to keep a long distance relationship? After she was sure she was calm enough to face him, she came out of the bathroom and went to the living room to watch him eat his food.
“Can I see your phone?” She finally blurted, unable to resist the urge any longer after she had been sitting for some minutes. His stare was a second too long before he indicated she could take it on the table where it laid. Grabbing it like a prized possession, she went straight to the gallery.
“You look so funny cooking though,” she said with a forced laugh, feigning mirth at the photograph as if she was just seeing it for the first time. He looked at her and smiled before quickly taking a sip of water, averting his eyes. When she got to the incriminating photo, she turned to him with a questioning look in her eyes.
“Who is this?”
“I didn’t take the picture!”
Damilola snapped then. They might have been apart two years didn’t mean she didn’t know when he was lying, she stood up and stared at him in anger, her eyes flashing.
“How stupid do you think I am Gbade? You have a naked woman in your kitchen, the same kitchen you were cooking in. She has on nothing but undies and do I need to remind you I didn’t even ask who took the photo? I bloody asked who she is? Don’t insult my intelligence!”
He stared at her sheepishly, the guilt written all over his face, his hand paused with the spoon of rice and plantain. He dropped the spoon and bowed his head slightly. There was silence in the room.
“Why Gbade? Why?” He reached for her but she moved back before dropping the phone and headed towards the door.
“Dammy…wait. Hear me out. Please!”
Read episode 2: CLICK HERE
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