I was once married; married to a beautiful woman. She is an architect and she comes from a well-to-do home.
We met in London some twenty- five years back but did not start dating until we ran into each other at a family friend’s wedding, here in Lagos.
It wasn’t love at first sight; she was weird, so I was cautious.
I say ‘weird’ because she just never did things that women generally did and I think that must have been what endeared her to me. She was not frivolous, didn’t like makeup, wore her hair natural, kept her fingers short and nail polish free.
I liked that about her. She wasn’t a tomboy, no, she was still very much a woman, just one who didn’t bow to conventions. She enjoyed robust debates about feminism, feminist things, you know, stuff like that.
Gradually and because we moved in the same circles, we became friends then from friends, we became lovers and then decided to get married.
We have a handsome 13-year-old son to show for this.
I am not an architect but I studied Town Planning, so give or take, you know we will generally have the same circle of professional colleagues, move in the same large circle because we share the same passion.
I had no reason to think there would be any problem with my marriage until five years ago after we had been married for 15 years.
My wife took a keen interest in one lady we met at a dinner. This lady is not a Nigerian, she is Kenyan, an expatriate staff of a multinational here in Lagos. She is the sort of woman I may have had an affair with if I wasn’t in love with my wife. She is nothing like my wife. Pat, that’s her name is petite, whereas my wife is tall and dark. Pat is feminine; she wears makeup, she wears wigs, nail polish, all the womanly stuff.
I was at first surprised at their friendship because, these two were total opposites. I didn’t get it at all. But they became almost inseparable after just like three months or thereabout. Pat moved into our guest room, because she said the apartment her company rented for her was being renovated, though a hotel had been got for her but my wife invited her to stay with us. It was no problem since our son is in the boarding house.
No problem. I like Pat, not romantically but for the fact that she was good company to my wife. Pat had very strong opinions about men, you know those women who think all men are idiots, yes, she was that type but on the whole, she was generally a fun person.
With Pat around, I didn’t feel guilty about leaving my wife at home most nights to hang out with the boys since there was someone with her. So, it was a winwin situation for all three of us.
But I was the one who began to loselose. Many weekends, they would have planned one outing or planned to do one thing or another excluding me. I didn’t think much of it at first, after all, I spent many evenings with the boys, so no biggie but after a while, I began to feel they were deliberately leaving me out.
Planned trips to Tarkwa Bay, planned weekends to Abeokuta, planned parties with friends that I also knew…my wife would say she thought I had other plans. I became the third party in our marriage instead of Pat.
But you see, me self, I didn’t help myself. There were series of things that should have alarmed me but I didn’t see the signals. Like one day, when I came back late, I found them on the couch; both half naked. I assumed they had both taken a bath and changed into their nighties after the day’s work and had fallen asleep in front of the TV. Nighties can be flimsy; you know; I didn’t think it odd.
On another occasion, I could have sworn they were kissing in the kitchen but it was a hug I caught them giving each other. I joked that day that they should have called me to be part of the hug, a group hug.
They didn’t laugh, these women!
One night, a little after midnight, my wife left our room to go to Pat’s room and she was there till the next morning. When I asked, she said Pat was having a hard time and needed a shoulder to cry on.
I was there like mumu and they were busy making love.
But to be fair to me, even if I wanted to think it odd, my wife had never given me any reason to suspect she was gay.
We both don’t have anything against people being gay, we have a few friends who are gay, so… really, you get me? I just didn’t see this train coming.
Then seven, maybe eight months after Pat left our apartment; yes, she stayed with us for one month but even after she left, my wife was either visiting her or she was at our place or we jam one way or another. Anyway, one day, my wife said she was leaving me.
No fight, no trouble, just that she didn’t love me anymore and wants to move in with Pat.
Just like that!
I swear my dear, even then, I had no inkling as to the true picture, they say ‘the wife’s always the last to know.’ I was the ‘wife’ in this situation. My wife had the decency to tell me she had been having an affair with Pat right under my nose and she was moving in with her, to Lekki.
I was stunned. You mean I accommodated your lover under my roof?
You mean you are leaving me for a woman?
You mean all of the 15years of marriage is a sham?
You mean you’ve been gay and you kept it from me?
I hated her!
I hated her for the life she chose! I hated her for leaving me and our son. (today we share custody of the boy)
I hated that I didn’t even see this coming. I hated that my friends knew, everyone in our so called circle knew about their relationship, I was the only one who didn’t see it!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande)