April 22nd, 2013
It’s true what they say about love meaning never having to say you’re sorry.
All through the train ride to Golders Green, and the bus ride to Idara’s house, I was beside myself with nerves. It was as if the trance caused by the cloud of anger had lifted, and I was finally seeing clearly. Of course, I don’t regret doing what I did, because it had to be done. I just wish it hadn’t turned out as ugly.
But when I got to her house, and she opened the door, it was like none of that had ever happened. She had greeted me with the usual “Hey, how far now!”. I had walked into the house, as I would normally have. I had made myself comfortable in the living room, as I normally would. And she had gone to fix us a meal, as she normally would have.
It wasn’t until we were eating the rather delicious meal of semovita and okra soup, that we finally quit the chit chat, and went straight to the point.
“Was I the reason they rushed their wedding?” she asked.
“Partly.” I answered truthfully. “But it was more because Phillip didn’t want to leave the UK without making a firm commitment to her.”
“I see that I was wrong about him not loving her,” she remarked. “The love was literally jumping off the screen, when I was looking at those pictures.”
I looked at her closely. “Babe…I know a lot has gone down. And I’m sorry if I hurt you…”
She smiled sadly. “I understand, Faith. You were looking out for your brother. I can’t expect you to have stood up for me, when I hid this from you for so many years. That was my mistake. I know if you’d known about us before, you no for allow any other babe enter the picture!”
I laughed. “We for don unseat Akunna tey tey!”
Idara joined in the laughter. “At least 5 years ago!”
When the laughter had subsided, I had to ask the question that was weighing on my mind. “But why didn’t you? Why did you decide it was best not to tell me? You know Mom and I would have been over the moon, if we’d known you and Phillip were together.”
She shrugged. “We…or rather…I was just waiting for the right time. I kept waiting for when he would dump Akunna, and then we would make the big reveal to everyone! I kept looking forward to when I would be able to ‘surprise’ you with the news!”
“For 12 years?” I exclaimed.
“One year kept rolling into the other. Phillip kept on promising me that he would leave Akunna…but he just never did…It was always one thing or the other. Her supposed suicide attempts didn’t help matters either.” she laughed bitterly. “And even when he was cheating on her with other girls, foolish me would laugh along with him. Me too, I would be listening to the gist. In my mind, him cheating on Akunna meant he was detaching from her, and coming to me. I should have realized I was also being played for a fool, with every one of those girls.”
“And when Akunna got pregnant?”
“He had actually already ended things with me by that time.” Idara admitted. “When he met Diana, he was still with Akunna, but he told me that he had met someone special, and would be leaving Akunna for her. Of course, I didn’t believe that. This same Akunna he hadn’t been able to leave for so many years? I didn’t believe that some random girl would suddenly make him able to do that. And when Akunna got pregnant, it kind of confirmed my thoughts. So, even though we were no longer ‘a couple’, I thought it would only be a matter of time before I got him for good,” she paused for a while, and I saw her struggling with the tears welling in her eyes. “I will never forget the day he told me had left Akunna for good…despite her pregnancy…and that he was back with the woman he had told me he’d fallen for…Diana. Even hearing him talk about her, I knew she wasn’t like any of the other women. But I refused to accept that. When I found out that Diana is well-to-do, it was easier for me to believe that he was after the money. That made me determined to get him back, by any means necessary!”
I nodded as I listened to her. It all made perfect sense to me now.
“Phillip was supposed to have come to London a week before he did…just when Diana was admitted. But I convinced him to shift his trip by a few days…and you know why? I knew I was ovulating last week! If you and your friend had not come to the hotel that night, or over here the next day, babe, I for don dey carry belle now oh!”
“And you would have been one of 3 women carrying his child!” I retorted.
“At least, it would have gotten me in the queue!”
I shook my head and rubbed her hand. “Babe, you don’t want to be in that kind of queue. You want your own man. There’s nothing better than that!”
“But where do I start?” she asked, as tears rolled down her face. “For 12 years, Phillip has been my all…my everything!”
“There was never anyone else?” I asked, shocked.
She shook her head. “He has been the only one. My first…and my only.”
As she cried, I held her in my arms and rocked her, consoling her that there was a better man waiting for her out there. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for her to see that now, but my honest prayer was for it to happen sooner than either of us thought.
When the tears abated, we started talking about every other thing. I told her all about Ebika’s health issues, my possible state of unemployment following my outburst to my ED, how unprepared I am at almost 27 weeks of pregnancy, how I came here to rest and shop for the baby but have succeeded in doing neither. And, just as she has done for so many years, she gave me advice, and assured me that everything was going to be okay.
Before we knew it, it was almost midnight. Going back to Hammersmith was ruled out, so I made myself comfortable on her bed, as I normally would have done, and had the best night’s sleep I’d had since I got to London.