February 11th, 2015
We stood there in silence for a few minutes, before I decided ask the obvious question.
“Is this the same Toun?” I asked in a voice I could barely recognize as mine. This voice was cool and calm, and several decibels lower than the real Faith’s.
“Baby, it’s not what you think…” he stuttered
“Yes or no?! Is it the same Toun?” I snapped, in a volume I was more accustomed to.
His silence was enough answer for me.
“How long have you both been in touch?” if looks could kill, he wouldn’t be alive to answer that question.
“So I have to ask you the same thing two times???” I snapped again.
“Toun has always been a friend, Faith.” Patrick finally responded.
“What do you mean by ‘always been a friend??!’” I asked, in that weird cool and calm voice again.
He exhaled deeply, before telling me how he and Faith had kept in touch, and had been exchanging e-mails right from when she left Nigeria. He had told her all about me, when we started dating, and when she had gotten engaged herself, he had been one of the first to know. When she had given birth to each of her 3 children, she had sent pictures, and when we were getting married, she had been very happy for him, and had sent her best wishes. But a few years ago, when she got divorced…
At this point, I had to laugh.
“Oh, she’s divorced?” I repeated incredulously. “How convenient!”
“Faith, please just keep quiet and listen!” my husband yelled.
I raised my brow in disbelief. Who was supposed to be doing the shouting here?!
He continued saying that was the first time he had agreed to meet up with her. He had always avoided seeing her on his previous trips to the UK, but after her divorce, she had sounded so miserable and desperate for a friend that he had agreed to meet up with her.
“But nothing happened, Faith! I swear!!” he said, sitting beside me. “All we ever do when we meet up is talk. She was in a very abusive relationship, and she really has nobody around her to talk to.”
“So, you are the ex-lover turned confidant, abi?” I asked, looking him square in the eye.
He made to answer, but then changed his mind. I could tell he was suspicious it was a trick question. Smart move on his part…because it was!
Shaking my head, I rose from the bed, and went to the bathroom to shower. As I caught sight of my enlarged stomach, I had a clear flashback of the lovely Toun. This was my most vivid memory of her. It was one of the few times she hadn’t been with her Siamese twin, Patrick. She had been descending the stairs of the Faculty, and she had been wearing a short denim shirt dress. She had left her long hair to cascade down her back, and her fresh light skinned legs were on full display. It was like they pressed the pause button around me. Everyone, male and female, had been frozen to the spot, staring at this specimen of God’s creation. She didn’t even look human. She looked ethereal.
Even after Patrick and I became an item, no matter how beautiful I thought I looked, all I had to do was remember that image of Toun, and I would immediately start feeling like one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. I never did voice this insecurity to Patrick…I would have died first! But it ate at me for years…until it slowly started to fade away, and by the time we got married, I never even thought of her.
I sat on the toilet for ages…totally emotionless. I couldn’t cry. I just felt totally numb. With Toun back in Patrick’s life, there is no telling how secure I am in this marriage. He might claim nothing has happened…but I’m sure this is only physically…and that’s if it’s even true. Whilst he might not yet be sleeping with her, he is most definitely back in love with her. The Patrick and Toun that I remember can not be anything like ‘just friends’. They had/have way too deep a bond for that!
I must have been in the bathroom for longer than I thought, because by the time I got back to the bedroom, he was already fast asleep. I lay on the bed, but my eyes were wide open. I didn’t even close them for a minute all night.
As soon as day broke, I got off the bed, got dressed, emptied the contents of the only piece of hand luggage we’d carried on the floor, and threw in a few of my clothes and personal belongings. Once done, I stepped past the clothes discarded on the floor (mostly Patrick’s), and walked out of the room.
Five star hotel or not, there is no way I can stand being anywhere around him. Thankfully, there was a tube station a few feet away from the hotel, so I walked there, bought myself a travel card, and set off to my friend’s house in Golders Green.
I need to be as far away from that man as I can possibly manage!