‘’What?!” Michael scratched his head and searched for a pen, or book or something that was not beside him. He sat back on the couch and adjusted. Hadassah moved from the edge of the couch and sat in. Her mouth was wide open.
‘That can’t be true! Are you sure of what you are saying?’ Michael asked.
‘But you two have always looked happy together.’ Hadassah spoke softly. She seemed confused. She wanted to ask many questions at the same time. How can two people look happy together and suddenly there’s an affair? How do things like this happen? One moment your life is pretty, the next, it is no longer a pretty picture.
Bolade picked a tissue and cleaned her tears. ‘I’m 100% sure.’
‘And how did you find out?’ He calmed down a little and wriggled to maintain eye contact with her.
‘The messages on his phone and his chat history with the slut confirmed it. And there are photos.’
‘Are you really sure about this? He asked casually and passively. ‘I mean, those may not be strong enough to conclude he is having an affair, you know.’
Bolade stared hard at Michael. There were a lot of insolent answers she could give him but she controlled herself and looked away.
Hadassah cast a chastising look at her husband before moving closer to Bolade on the couch to pacify her. Bolade wasn’t crying but the tears were streaming down uninhibited. ‘I’m sorry to hear this.’
‘Nothing prepares you for it.’ Bolade brought out her phone, clicked on Images and showed Hadassah. ‘Those are their pictures together.’ She simulated a smile. ‘All the many official trips and nonstop monthly management meetings. While I slaved and keep the home together, he was philandering and having fun.’
Hadassah put her hand over mouth as if to still the scream inside her. Mrs Bolade collected the phone and scrolled down to screenshots of their chat history. ‘I’ve been a fool.’
Hadassah couldn’t keep her mouth closed.
Michael tiredly watched the two women and waited. From the look on his wife’s face even if the accusation was true, she was being too dramatic about it. But then, if the drama helped Bolade to feel better it was worth it.
When none of them spoke, he volunteered. ‘Madam, I know your husband loves you and I doubt if these allegations are true.’ He paused. ‘Please permit me to ask, have you confronted him about this?’
‘No. Because I don’t know how to…I don’t know if I can stand to hear his explanations or excuses.’
‘So we really don’t know for sure if he truly is having an affair then.’
Suddenly, Hadassah got up, in frustration, and practically pushed the phone in her husband’s hands. Michael was taken aback at his wife’s arrant behaviour. But she felt she needed him to be on the same page with them and stop skirting around the issue when there were enough evidences confirming this adulterous relationship.
Reluctantly, he collected the phone, knowing he had been cornered and forced to look. His wife stepped back to watch his reaction. And he could feel the heat of the two women’s eyes on him.
Arms akimbo, Hadassah waited to hear what his next comment would be. Mrs Bolade waited too. When they couldn’t read his expression, they hoped he would voice his feelings. And they were ready to wait till he spoke.
He sighed and lifted his head from the phone. One could almost hear a pin drop.
The two women waited. It looked like everything else depended and rested on the next comment that would come out of him. They waited. He had been quite vocal about the sanctity of the marriage covenant. He had never failed to speak and stand for the right of the woman. It was what brought Bolade to him in the first place. It was the reason she waited this late to see him.
Bolade’s eyes were dry now. The fact that Michael was clueless about what to say amused her and probably dried her tears. He was their unofficial marriage counsellor. And she had never seen him so oblivious like this before. Either he was shocked at his friend’s behaviour or none of the values he laid claims to was real. But she told herself, no matter how long it took him, she would wait for his first response. His countenance was confusing. She couldn’t tell what the repeated running of hand over his head meant. She didn’t know what to make of the couple of sighs he had let out so far. And she apparently didn’t know what he was looking for on the seat because nothing was there.
‘What do you want to do?’
What?! She heard him quite alright, she just couldn’t believe that was all he would say after all the long silence. Having seen the pictures and the chat messages, that was all Michael could say – ask her what she wanted to do. She shook her head in disappointment and looked at Hadassah. Hadassah took the cue, collected the phone from him and went back to her seat.
‘What do you want me to do, sir?’ She threw the question back at him fast and sharp. She locked eyes with him and waited again. And it was obvious Michael was not expecting the dart.
‘I don’t know why Tunji would do this…’ He stammered, ‘I have to confess I am shocked. I am going to call him and find out what all this is about.’
Was he dodging her question? ‘What would you want me to do, Michael?’ She asked again.
‘Do you think he knows that you know?’
‘Except he is dumb, he should have guessed.’
‘Don’t talk about him like that, he is still your husband.’ Hadassah cautioned. ‘I know you are hurt but…’ She pleaded.
‘I haven’t said anything untoward, Dee.’
‘I will suggest you don’t say anything to him for now, until I get a chance to speak to him.’
‘And when will that be? Because I don’t know for how long I can keep acting like everything is okay. I can’t live with this pretense.’
‘And please, let his phone be, stop snooping.’
‘I didn’t find out by meddling with his phone.’
‘So how did you get all these details?’
She paused for a second. ‘I don’t think that is important right now sir. The fact is, Tunji is committing adultery.’
He swallowed. ‘I will call him tomorrow so we could talk.’
‘I will expect you to, Michael.’ She got up. Hadassah followed suit. ‘Thank you.’
The two women walked out and left Michael to his thoughts.
‘I’m sorry for how my husband was tonight.’ Hadassah started immediately they were by Bolade’s car. ‘He’s had a long day and I can tell he is very tired.’
‘Hmmn…I see.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘No problem at all.’
‘I can assure you he will help sort this out and you will have your husband back.’
‘Hmmn…I don’t even know if that is why I came or if that is what I want.’
‘You can’t give up like that…’
‘Tell me,’ she stepped forward towards Hadassah, ‘what would you do if you were in my shoes?’
‘Hmmn…’ she obviously didn’t see her coming, ‘…first…Michael won’t do such a thing… I mean, I trust him. Secondly… I don’t know really…I will…’
Bolade cut in. ‘It’s been a long night, Dee. Thanks for your time. I’m sorry if I deprived you two of some well deserved rest.’
‘Everything will be fine. Go home and rest.’
‘Home?’ She laughed. ‘I don’t have a home anymore. And I’m not sure where I’m driving to from here.’
Hadassah opened her arms and hugged her. Bolade let it out and wept.
‘Ten years! Ten years and this! Things will never be the same again. It will never.’ She cried more and after a while, she pulled away. She entered her car, started the engine, didn’t say a word and drove off. Hadassah just watched till she was out of sight. She couldn’t move.