“Can your husband do the things I can do to you?” Daniel teased as he rose to get some water after an intense lovemaking session.
“Well, I can see you have no modesty!” I responded watching Daniel as he walked back to me with with a mischievous smile on his face. Looking at him I wondered for a minute why I had left him for a more stable life and a more stable man as my friends often referred to John. John was my husband but I didn’t need a second opinion to see that Daniel had miles on him.
“Do you have to leave? Stay a little,” Daniel said after seeing me try to pick up my things scattered in the hotel room.
“We can do this another time, for now, I need to get back in the house before John does.”
“Oh come on…One time for the road?” I couldn’t resist.
The whole marriage ideal is overrated. That was a realization I came to understand after spending five years in a marriage that had become as stale as yesterday’s bread. Ironic because if you had once told that the fire between me and John would die down I’d have told you that you were barking up the wrong tree.
Yet here, I lay on the bed reminiscing the moments of passion I’d just shared with my ex-boyfriend.
Four hours ago, I had left him in the hotel and I had rushed home hurriedly just in time to cook for the kids and lay out the clothes my husband would be wearing to work the next day. I was a dutiful wife I agree, but I needed to feel more than just a housewife.
This entanglement between me and my ex wasn’t even a month old. It had started as one of those things you never thought you needed, but since they looked so good and you needed to scratch an itch, the only question that came to mind was why not?
What had happened to us? I wondered as I looked at John, my husband who sat in his leather chair in our bedroom. Tonight he’d come home early to find me doing some house chores as usual. After dinner and putting the kids to bed, each of us headed to the bedroom as we had done for the past month. Separately, in a bad mood and tired. Yet here he was so immersed in his book that only an apocalypse could break his focus.
I watched him intently, analyzing the lines that were now visible on his face, the muscles that had contracted from the many years of diligent employee service sitting down and the belly that replaced the abs that had made every girl swoon.
We had become the folks we once feared. A couple too engraved in life worries that now lived like college roommates rather than husband and wife. We were straight out of a bad comedy show, I sighed at the realisation. We rarely talked and visiting a therapist was something John wasn’t interested in, and he wondered why we should use our hard-earned money to cry in front of a stranger.
Should I tell him that I was cheating on him I wondered? Would that spark a reaction? Not once had I thought that John had turned cold sitting on that chair in the same position and reading the same type of books he normally seemed to hold dear than his family. He might as well be dead or a ghost because it was very easy to miss him whenever he sat on that chair. Him, the chair and the books had become one and just like a ritual, after disconnecting from the seat he would rise, then come to bed and in a foul mood that communicated he was out of bounds.
Was I cheating to spite him? Yes and because I was afraid that he too was seeing somebody. I thought of it as cheating in advance so I could not get hurt whenever John would come around and agree to pay enough to cry in front of a stranger.
He smiled. A blissful smile like one of those you make when you’re too engrossed in your bubble to realise someone around could be watching. He realized it then turned to check if I had seen him. I averted my gaze immediately as I feigned fatigue and asked him if he would be using the lights for long because I needed to get some sleep. But what made him smile so much each time he looked at his phone? I couldn’t get past that thought and the puzzle that was the password that locked his device. Right then a thought crossed my mind.
I sent him some files which I already had the printouts.
“Honey, I’ve sent you some files. Can I have a look from your end to see if you got the right ones?”
Before he could think about it, I walked over to where he was seated pretending to confirm what it was I’d sent him, while I secretly looked at the password that unlocked his apps. The problem was getting the chance to use it. I mean, how could I when his phone had become attached to him like his third palm. It was his source of euphoria and I couldn’t blame him because I had mine too. But at the very least I wasn’t too public about it or was I?
Time for him to wake up from the chair had reached and so he stood up then aimlessly walked towards the bathroom. I was too tired to stay awake and my thoughts were endless. So I covered myself and went to sleep.
I woke up at 2 am to find our bedroom cold and dark with only the spaces between the drawn curtains as the source of light. John lay peacefully beside me with his hand resting on the phone. It seemed like he’d slept chatting with only God knows who and planning only he knew what. That’s when I remembered I had a way to open the Pandora box that was staring right back at me.
In slow movements and gentle leaps, I walked to his side of the bed, blew on his face to see if he was asleep then gently slid the phone out of his palms. He was fast asleep and even if my snooping awoke him, I could always feign care and reprimand him for sleeping with all the harmful radioactive rays that emanated from the phone.
Finally, I had it in my hands. I didn’t pause before I put in the pattern and that is when all that was hidden came to light. Pictures of a nude woman confronted me and right below was a video. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It would have been okay if there were many pictures of many women but in front of me was a folder for this woman, which he named his “sexy thang”, and a video preview that let me in on everything I needed to see.
With a slap, I woke John up who arose confused and wondering what had hit him. “Who is this?” I asked and without giving any time for him to come up with the cliché about privacy I asked him to call her.
I was raging mad.
“While I stay at home to cook for you and the kids, this is what you do to me?” I was throwing the pillows on the bed at him.
“Baby let me explain,” he said.
“How dare you!” I was so mad.
“It’s not what you think, Babe it would never happen again,” he told me looking worried.
“How long has this been going on and who is she?” I wanted answers.
He said, “She is just a workmate.”
“Did you come home after seeing her?” I was ready to fight somebody.
Questions were flowing in succession and I couldn’t stop wondering for how long I’d played the fool.
I was going on about the sacrifices and all the hardships we’ve gone through when I heard sobs and him saying that he loved me. Only a donkey could fall for those crocodile tears so without any prior thought I blurted that I too was seeing someone.
I still remember the look on his face as he stared right back at me with tears reverting and composure regaining as if he’d just been revived. ‘How could I do so? Who was he?’ I could see he was shocked and he had many questions. ‘Since when?’ But before he could say anything I assured him that all is forgiven since we were even.
I didn’t prepare for what came next. We were arguing and shouting each trying harder than the other one to justify why our cheating was okay. I argued for loneliness while he claimed neglect. There was no end to it and so after exhausting our energy, tears and most of the early morning hours arguing, we started to prepare for the day that was upon us. John needed breakfast and it would only be a few minutes before our two kids rose up for school.
The cheating issue would have to be revisited. Because the problem at hand was preparing our kids for school and making it to the end of the day, without taking any drastic actions. Was this the end? Only the night would tell if we had the courage to stay married, entangled or if we would get a divorce.