She never allowed me to make love to her, not even once. I never understood why and I could not force her into it for the fear of losing her. And she would not hesitate to tell whoever cared to listen that she was my one and only heartthrob, which was true.
“Even during my youth service…are you listening? I nodded and he continued.
“During my service year, she came to visit me twice or thrice and not even then did she allow me to make love to her. I was worried that I almost called it quits with her but I never wanted my efforts to be in vain. I could not believe, neither could I understand why she treated me like that. When I asked her about it, she said that the time was not ripe for that. ‘Dirty nonsense’ as she called it. That made her to ask me if I wanted her for sex or for keeps. Because of the weight of that question, I could not disturb her further, after all sex was not my priority.
“When I finished youth service, about four years ago, I instantly got a job with this bank and it was while here that I did my master’s degree in Business Administration. Are you with me?” he asked.
I heaved a sigh. “Yes, darling.” I replied. “Go on, I am all ears.”
“When I finished my service, she was already in her second or third year in the university. Even then, she was still a timid mice as far as sex was concerned or so she feigned. She would not just allow me to make love to her.
“It’s a lie. That’s not possible. You are trying to cover up. “I blurted out.
“It’s true. Believe me. When she finished last year, I got her a job with this bank and she assured me that she would marry me. That was okay with me because I loved her. In fact, that was the reason she adduced to that indiscriminate display of sexual naivety, she would never make love until she got married. That she was reserving her body for me or whoever she would marry.
“In fact, it was because of her that I was reluctant to let you into my life. I just did not want to create problems for myself, although she was miles away then, and that is why it took me long to give you the nod to marry you. When I saw that she was no longer forthcoming, coupled with the tyrannical effect of distance (she works in Lagos), I finally decided to admit you into my school of love, “We gave a coincidental chuckle.” Because I could no longer wait for a millennium before my seed flowers into fruition…I hope you are listening?”
“Yes, I am. Go ahead or have you finished?” I quizzed.
“No, I have not. The night the printer bought our invitation cards for the wedding was the night she resurfaced in my life again. I was transfixed to see her. Remember, when you met us, I told you she was my distant cousin. Did you notice the way I stuttered, you still remember, right?” I nodded again.
“I am sure”, he continued. “It was because of the trust you had in me that you did not question me further.
“Before you came that night, I had already made love to her. And if I was surprised to see her, I was more petrified and perplexed to discover that at her age of 24, she was still a virgin. Beside the bruises I sustained which kept me away from you for sometime, that night, the bedsheet became a battlefield for blood and seminal fluid. That was why I didn’t let you wash it but you did not understand. You still remember?” I nodded.
“That night, before she left, she had cried. She said that I had no patience, this and that, that I had betrayed her when she saw the wedding cards. And there was nothing I could do to dam the flow of tears. Dejectedly, she left and I was lucky she never threatened me with anything. I began to regret painfully that I made love to her.
“Sure?” I asked. He was almost shedding tears himself.
“Yes. To help her assuage the emotional pain I suspected she felt, or was actually going through, I had to travel to Lagos to see her under the guise that I was going on an official assignment. That was the lie I told you. I just hope you will forgive me.” He said. His tears caressed his cheeks and I felt for him. I helped him to clean the tears and said “sorry”, he nodded.
“I went to see her subsequently again twice and could not help but make love to her on those two occasions. I know I have betrayed you but I will want you to forgive me. His face, a wrinkled mass of flesh.
“No problem, go on,” I said. “We all make mistakes.”
“When I travelled to Lagos last week, she told me that those previous encounters yielded fruits and she was pregnant. I begged her to get rid of the baby by all means, but she did not succumb. She said she could never compromise her baby for my selfishness. I knew that was the best way to blackmail me, so I begged her the more but she refused. I gave her reasons that even if I was to have a baby outside wedlock, which I never intended, it must be when I had had one or two from you and not before then, but she stood her ground. And now the whole world would think that I cheated on you because you are not productive and that is why I had to make another woman pregnant. You are very rich and virile, I know.
“Now, the pregnancy is about seven months old, according to her. I don’t know how I can beg you for forgiveness because I know I have selfishly stepped on your toes. And he began to weep profusely like a hungry toddler.
“Don’t worry,” I consoled. I began to shed tears myself, not for his precarious condition but that he had betrayed me.
“I am sorry, Prisca.” He managed to say between sobs. “I did not mean to hurt you, I am sorry.”
“But you know it’s not fair.”
“I know, Prisca. That is why I am asking you to forgive me.”
I had forgiven him then, after all, the other woman lived far away and if there was anything, it was her burden, not mine.
I did not know the devil that gave me the loquacious apple who began to spread it around. I thought I was confiding in my friends but they advised me otherwise. It was one of my friends who made the realization dawn on me that if I ever allowed the baby to come to this world before I gave birth to my own, the child whether male or female, would play domineering role over my kids and that would be very unfortunate and the aftermath grievous for me. I reasoned along that line and I became convinced that what she told me was the bitter truth. The fear of my husband stopped to exist in me, I almost succeeded in killing the baby when he was four months old. How was I to know that the little life had a spirit and it was that his spirit that boldly and timely intervened to save his soul.
When the baby was living with me, my husband was still ignorant of my mischief.
With that conviction, I took the devilish path to demolish the baby through all avenues open to me but I ended up killing the mother instead. The mother died about eight months ago, two months after the birth of the baby, who turned out to be a boy.
Helpless and hopeless, as he felt it down on his bone marrow, my husband became emotionally deflated that the baby’s mother died at a very tender age. Without exaggeration, he was dead inside and I knew it.
Right from that day, tentatively, I had dubbed myself a murderess and the name had come to stick. It was not as if the ghost of my husband’s mistress haunted me but I could not control my thinking. More so, the baby was brought to me to be taken care of. They failed to understand that I could kill the baby the way I had killed the mother. Anyway, they were ignorant of what I had done then.
…to be continued