Holding my breath, a nervous wreck as he slid my panties down, worried about my inexperience. Am I going to please him? Then he stopped. I said to myself, “This is it.. He knows..he’ll leave me”. I asked with utmost fear “What is it?” but he said nothing. He just looked at me, very deeply as though he saw my soul and said “I adore you, Christine”. In that instant, all my fears melted away.
I woke up the next morning not sure of where I was. Looking around me, slowly the events of last night came flooding my mind. Michael had treated me like I was royalty. Even while doing unspeakable things to me, he found a way to make me feel like I was the luckiest girl on earth..
Oh Lord. I slowly massaged my temples, as though that would make me forget. “You’re awake mi amor” he said, walking into the room with a tray of breakfast delight in his hands. He knows me too well, I thought. I smiled up at him and before I could find my voice, he leaned in, kissed my forehead and whispered “Thank you for last night, mi amor”. Those words. What did they mean?. In that moment, I felt like my work here was done and he had told me that in the sweetest way possible. Why does he call me “mi amor” anyway? I hated it. I’m not one for endearing nicknames but I never found the courage to tell him this because I knew it would hurt him. He had spent a year at a culinary school in Spain but that was the only Spanish I had heard him speak. He called everyone “mi amor”, his maid even. Everyone was tired of it but no one said anything.
“Thank.. Thank you? ” I stuttered. My voice failing as usual. His very presence weakened me. I never knew what to say. He looked at me intently and said “Yes, thanks, mi amor. Last night was special to me. Was it special for you ?” he asked. I gently nodded. He smirked as though giving himself a pat on the back and replied, “Of course, it was”.
I started at the croissants he’d made and realized I had lost my appetite. He must have sensed it as he slowly took the tray away from me and planted a kiss on my lips. I lay back knowing what was to come. He took off his robe and I closed my eyes, reminding myself of how much I loved him. Hoping the thoughts of how good he made me feel would numb the pain as he took me for the umpteenth time. I had lost count last night.
“Wake up, mi armor!!!.. Christine!!!! ” I woke up, startled, almost falling out of bed still wrapped in the cum-stained sheets. “What is it Michael? ” I asked, and then he looked at me and said the words. The words I would never forget. Those words that haunt my dreams till this day .
“You have to leave, mi armor, my wife is on her way”….“yo.. Your.. wi.. fe?” Why does my voice always fail me in times I needed to show strength?. “Yes, my wife Christine.. You have to get dressed” ,he said as he threw my clothes to me while looking for something very intensely on the floor. Christine? I thought to myself. We’ve gone from “mi amor” to Christine? “My shoes are in the bathroom” I managed. Easing his burden when I realized that’s what he was looking for.
In the four months we dated, Michael never told me he was married. But In that moment, as I tried to gather the remains of my dignity one underwear after the other, I realized I had been foolish. Of course he was married. Why else would someone so perfect want me.
Short, somewhat beautiful, naive me. I was 19 years old. 5ft 6″ tall and really light skinned. But I never got crazy male attention. Maybe because I wore no makeup and I hated dresses as they showed my legs, a part of my body I was very insecure about.
Guys my age never looked at me twice but for some odd reasons, older guys couldn’t seem to take their eyes off me. I had concluded that my dream of marrying a young handsome man was far fetched and I told myself I’d settle for his not-so-old father. But Michael had changed that. We met in a supermarket close to my school and he said he couldn’t take his eyes off me the moment I walked in.
I remember that day vividly. I wore a sweatshirt with “University of Lagos” inscribed boldly across it on faded denim pants. My hair was wrapped in a bun and I had smeared my sister’s lip gloss on my lips before leaving just to make her shut up about me not putting an effort to be pretty. I walked in, got a shopping cart and started making my way through the aisles, picking just my personal effects off the shelves while mentally calculating the price before I got to the counter. I passed by the provision aisle and I had to pause. My eyes fixed undecidedly on a jar of nutella. Did I really need it? I asked myself. Deciding against it I walked to the counter, emptied my cart and waited for the cashier to attend to me.
“I saw you look at this” a cool, deep voice said beside me. I remember hearing the voice and I thought of Yul Edochie, the Nigerian actor. I turned and there he was, the most handsome man I had seen that month. He was tall, dark skinned and bearded. I didn’t pay attention to his eyes. I was stuck on his beard. I stared at it as though it was dripping of glorious sweet smelling male essence. I later realized that was just his cologne. I let my eyes wander to his fingers. No ring. Sigh.
“What? ” I said as I snapped myself back into reality. “I saw you look at this and I thought I’d get it for you.. I hope you don’t mind ” he said, holding up a jar of nutella. I wanted to refuse but then I thought of my sister, and the names she’d call me once I tell her the story and I said “Oh.. Thank you”. “No.. Don’t mention.. It’s my pleasure” he said. I forced a smile and returned my attention to the cashier who gave me a weird smile as if she was trying to communicate with me as a female. I ignored her expression and brought out my money to pay. “Please, let me” he said. That voice again. I was ashamed of how wobbly my knees got when he spoke. But I kept it under control. He probably knows my sister and wants to ask of her, I thought to myself. Why else would he be so nice?
“You really don’t have to”, I started to say.
Then I thought of my sister again. This girl will kill me, I thought to myself. ”..But thanks ” I completed. He nodded saying nothing as he handed the cashier wads of 1000 Naira note.. I looked around to see what he bought that’d cost that much but all I saw was a bottle of wine and perfume. Oh. My sister, Francine, would like this guy. I carried my bag and started walking out of the supermarket.
I felt him follow me and silently prayed he’d leave me alone. “Can I give you a ride? Where are you headed? ” I turned to tell him I’d walk since my hostel wasn’t that far. “Oh” he said, looking like a lost puppy. “Can I have your number then? Please? I’d really like to see you again”. I wanted to tell him no and return his money to him but there was something about the way he talked. His aura. I also thought of how happy my sister would be.
“Sure” I said, as I stretched out my hand gesturing for his phone. He dialed my number immediately and it rang in my pocket. “Had to confirm”, he said smiling. I nodded and turned to walk away. He offered to give me a ride again and when I refused he said he’d call me later and drove off. I boarded a taxi and went back to my hostel excited about telling my sister what had happened, I went straight to her room but met her absence. Disappointed I went back to my room and laid on my bed thinking of him till I fell asleep.