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Friday, October 30, 2015

'I caught my husband in bed with his mistress' (1)

  • Now my home is in disarray!
This is the story of Jessica, a lady who out of the love she had for her boyfriend overlooked his murky past, with dire consequences. She fell in love with him and believed him when he promised her paradise; but in the end, hell was all she got!
"Everyone is inside having fun and you are here, just staring at  the garden. What's so fascinating about those plants?" I had been so engrossed in my thoughts, I had not noticed the man who had come up quietly to stand besides me on the verandah. He was of average height, not much taller than me with a quiet confidence about him. 
"Just taking in some fresh air. It was getting too hot in there," I told him. It was a birthday party of a friend of my flatmate Trina and as the night progressed, the party was getting more raucous by the minute.
"Yeah, I get you. All that loud music, cigarrette smoke and chatter of the guests can give one a migraine. I'm Kel by the way. And you are?"
"Jessica," I introduced myself.
 We got talking after that. He was a friend of the boyfriend of the celebrant, he told me and had been practically dragged to the bash.
"I have a very important presentation to make at the office on Monday and I need a lot of time to work on it. But Jerry said all work and no play will make me develop premature grey hair. So here I am!" he said with a grin.
"Same here. Today is the fifth anniversary of my mother's death. I wanted to have a quiet time 
 for remembrance but Trina would not hear of it, stating that my Mum would not be happy wherever she is to see me so sad," I said.
"I think your friend is right. Life is for the living; the best way to honour her memory is to live well. And talking about living, I think it's time we hit the dance floor. So, lady, can I have this dance?" he said. And taking my hand, he led me inside the house where the Kokomaster D'Banj's hit tune was blasting from the speakers...
That was how I met Kel. After that evening of the party, we became friends and began seeing each other regularly. Kel was the first man in three years I had become close to and it surprised my friend, Trina. In the past, she had set me up on dates with guys she knew but I had simply not been interested. That was until Kel came on the scene. 

A dark past
At the beginning, she seemed to like him too, stating that I must have been waiting for someone 'like him' that's why I turned down the other men who were interested in me. Then, about four months when Kel and I began dating, she told me things she said she had heard about his past that nearly ended our growing romance.
"I know you will say it's none of my business, Jessy but you are my friend and I don't want anything bad to happen to you. Kel is a nice guy and he's loving too but there's something you need to know about him," she said one night at home. I had just returned from work and I was having a late dinner.
"What are you talking about?" I asked her as I took a sip of fruit juice.
She gazed at me for a while before speaking.
"I heard he was married in the U.S when he lived there and even has a child."
"I know. He has told me about it. The boy is about seven years old and he lives with the mother in the States- they are divorced. So, what about it?" I queried.
Did he tell you why they got divorced?" she said.
I shook my head.
"He only told me they were having problems and he left and returned to Nigeria when he could not cope with the situation anymore," I told her.
"That's not the whole story," she noted. She then went on to give me the full gist of what happened to Kel while he was abroad, how he used to regularly abuse his wife physically to the extent that the police became involved.
"I learnt he served a short time in prison for wife battery, domestic violence and other offences," she added. "You know over there, the authorities don't joke with cases like that- its a serious offence for a man to batter his wife. It's unlike here where such incidences are often swept under the carpet," Trina added.
I was shocked at her words. While Kel had told me a lot about his time in the States, first as a student, then as a staff in an IT firm, he never mentioned his going to prison for domestic violence. My Kel, a wife beater? I found it difficult to believe that the gentle looking man I had been seeing these past months was capable of beating a woman, much less his wife. 
Trina assured me she had got the story from an authoritative source, 'someone who knew him from his days in the U.S,' as she stated.
That he had spent time in prison was bad enough but keeping it from me was worse. How could he do that, I fumed.
"He should have told me about it," I murmured to myself feeling upset.
"I think it's best you ask him. I can see you like him a lot and he is obviously smitten with you. I see the way he looks at you; it's the look of a man in love. But before you guys go further in the relationship, you need to be more open with one another. Keeping secrets can ruin a good relationship," Trina advised.
The following day, a Saturday, Kel came in the evening to pick me up for an outing we had. I sat him down in the living room and confronted him with Trina's story. Initially, I thought he would deny it and call it the handiwork of 'idle gossips' but to my surprise, he readily admitted to serving time in prison. 
 "I know I should have told you about it, but it's in the past, and it's a time of my life I want to forget. Some bad things went down while I was in the States; I used to drink and smoke a lot and I did some things I'm not proud of today. But I have put it all behind me. And I want you to do the same, Jessy. I'm a changed person and have put behind me my rough past. I'm sorry for keeping it from you but I felt it might affect the way you feel about me. And I don't want to lose you now that I have found you," he stated.
"No matter what my reaction might be, you should have still told me about it. I don't feel good hearing about it from someone else," I grumbled.
"I know, dear. It was bad of me. Please forgive me," he pleaded earnestly. He sounded really contrite and my resolve to take a break from the relationship, to cool things a bit, died at that moment.
At that point, I realized I was in love with him and the thought of leaving him at that stage was unthinkable. He had become an important part of my life and I just could not leave him then. Besides, as he had pointed out, it was all in the past and he was a changed person. So, who was I to judge him based on things in his life that happened years before I met him, I reasoned.

 Instead of breaking us up, the issue of his past brought Kel and I closer. Though very busy because of his job, Kel nonetheless created time to be with me. Most times, we would go on some outings like parties or visiting friends or just stay at home chilling. At a point, I was spending more time at his apartment than in my own place and Trina began to complain about my long absence from home.
"I never knew when you started seeing Kel that he was going to snatch my best friend away from me," she said one Saturday morning at our flat.
"What did you say? Who is snatching who?" I asked, looking at her wonderingly.
"Is that not what he has done? I hardly see you these days! I'm practically living alone in this house because you are never around," she stated.
 "Ha, ha ha! You are funny Trina! Nobody snatched me from you. You will remain my friend till eternity," I assured her.
 "It's easy for you to say. I don't even see much of you now. What will happen when you two get married?" she queried.
 "Who's talking about marriage? Anyway, wait till that time comes. Stop stressing yourself now over that," I told her.
 "I have to. You are my best friend. Until your Kel came and has taken over your life. Now we hardly see," she said in a grumbling tone.
 "I know your problem. You are just jealous!"
 "Jealous ke? I'm just saying the truth. And the truth is that he's nothing but a best friend snatcher!" she declared.
 I laughed and went to my room to get my dirty clothes for washing. I wanted to finish all my chores that morning as Kel was coming round in the afternoon to take me out to some where 'special' as he had put it...

To be continued

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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