His wife was having an affair.
The sick feeling of disgust that knotted his stomach swam upwards and threatened to choke him. Forcing air through his mouth, Sunny puffed in and out, beating back the surge of nausea. His chest was so tight that he massaged his hand in circular motion over it to loosen the constricting pain. Then he balled his fists, stilling the temptation to beat them into something. Juvenile display of anger wasn’t his thing. He preferred rational thought and a calculated course of action.
But Onyi was having an affair.
The pictures that had come out of the unmarked brown envelope lay separate on his table. The envelope itself he had found stuck to his windshield wiper after he’d received an anonymous call to go out to his car and pick up a present.
“Hello, Sunny Douglas. There’s a present for you. Go out to your car and get it.”
That was all the caller had said and with the voice being somewhat muffled, he hadn’t been able to recognise it. At first, he’d considered it a prank call, but sheer curiosity had pulled him out of his office and into the company’s parking lot and stuck between his windshield wiper and the windscreen, was the envelope.
And inside the envelope, a few minutes later, he’d found the pictures. Pictures of Onyi with another man. There was no telling who the man was as he had his back to the camera in all four pictures.
They weren’t damning pictures, Sunny allowed as his mind, less troubled than his heart, started to decipher the situation. They were sharing a drink–a bottle of wine and two glasses were on the table. The man sat to her left, his left hand across her shoulders and his head leaned towards her. One picture had his head buried in her neck.
Sunny’s stomach roiled all over again as he stared at that particular photo. A man was kissing his wife’s neck and she had an adoring look on her face. And in another picture where the man seemed to be nibbling on her fingers, her eyes were more clouded with passion than with love.
A woman aroused.
A woman with desire plain on her face.
Had she gone from there, where ever it was they were at, to his bed?
Had he made love to her and she moaned as she surrendered her body to him?
Had she called out his name, like she sometimes did his, when she reached orgasm?
What was his name? Who was he? Sunny scanned the pictures, stared longer at one, trying to uncover the identity behind the cropped, slightly brownish hair. He couldn’t recall anyone with brown hair, and the colour was a little odd since the side view that showed his ear revealed a dark skin.
Brown hair on a dark skinned man, would that be natural or tinted? He couldn’t tell, but he couldn’t imagine Onyi accepting to be with a man with tinted hair being the down to earth, unaffected woman that she was.
But he had never imagined that she would let another man hold her, kiss her neck and nibble on her fingers, had he?
This thought, one that slapped pain somewhere between his chest and ribs, rolled his thoughts away from the unknown man to why Onyi would be cheating on him.
How long had it been going on?
Had they even gone as far as sex, or was it just secret meetings that involved stolen kisses?
Why was she with him? Why was she cheating on him?
Pain made it hard to think past the confusion that swirled around his mind. Sunny gathered the pictures, shoved them back into the envelope and took them with him out of the office. He needed air to clear his mind, to think… to decide what to do.
“I’m heading home, Blessing, and would not be back until tomorrow.” He said to his personal assistant.
He didn’t head home though. First, he went to the hotel where Onyi was manager to inquire if she was there. After the confirmation that she was, he drove out of Asaba to the bank of the River Niger at Onitsha, and chose a spot at a small eatery, to sit and ponder.
He still didn’t know what he was going to do by the time he entered the house at six fifty-five p.m. later that day.
“Hey, baby, you’re a little late today. I tried calling you but your phone was switched off. Battery dead?” She gave him a kiss on the lips and slipped her hand through his, guiding them towards their bedroom.
The kiss had made him stiffen as the image of a head buried in her neck flashed over his eyes.
Sunny struggled to shove back the memory and the spurt of anger it carried on its wake. He wasn’t going to snap, rage and lash out. That wasn’t the way. That wasn’t his way.
“No, my battery wasn’t down.” He wasn’t going to lie either. “I turned it off because I needed some quiet time to think.”
“Think about what?”
He stared at her, trying to see if anything was different about her. Surely there would be changes on a woman having an affair with another man.
But he saw nothing. Her complexion, the shade of light brown wood, was still the same, smooth, spotless and glowing. Her face, oval and long tipped at the chin, still carried the usual sheen of the lightest makeup. And in her eyes, he could only see concern. Concern borne out of her affection for him.
He wanted to believe what he saw, to believe the pictures had lied. “About us. I feel like something is wrong with us.”
“Something is wrong with us?” She cocked her head to the side, crinkles of a puzzled frown knotting her forehead. “I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
Please, don’t lie to me, his heart begged. But his mind wondered if he was prepared for the truth and if he could take it. “I don’t know exactly what I mean. Are we all right, Onyi? Is there something you want to tell me?”
“Something like what?”
She looked genuinely baffled. Her eyes were looking into his and did not flinch. Can someone tell a lie while looking into another’s eyes? he wondered. He couldn’t. He had never been able to lie while meeting someone’s eyes.
“Something like anything I might have done to hurt or offend you.” He had to have done something to push her into the arms of another man, right?
“What are you talking about, Sunny? I don’t understand.”
The look of utter bafflement didn’t change. Was she pretending? Of course, she was pretending. She’s been pretending for God knows how long and playing him for a fool.
“You don’t understand, do you?” If she wanted to lie and pretend, he could too. “No problem, we’ll forget it. At least, for the moment.”
“Ah… okay.” She gave him one last baffled stare before turning to the door. “I will go set the table for your dinner.”
“No, thanks. I’ve had something to eat already.”
She shot him a startled look. “You’ve eaten already?”
Her expression of shock didn’t surprise him since he rarely ate out without her. And he hadn’t this time either. But a man whose wife has probably welcomed another man into her bed didn’t play with his life.
“Yes, I have.” He turned away and started undressing. “I will just have my bath and go to bed.”
“You won’t come out to watch TV?”
“No, I won’t. I’m quite tired.”
“Oh. Well, all right. I will go take care of things in the kitchen and then join you soon.”
The moment she exited the room, he stopped the pretense of casually taking off his clothes and lowered on the bed, closing his eyes as anger and heartbreak sank their teeth into him. His wife was having an affair and lying about it.
Well, she couldn’t very well tell him about it, could she? Sunny asked himself, sifting through his muddled mind to cling to sane thought. Had he expected that now he knew, she would come clean? Possibly, he’d somehow hoped that would happen. A clean confession because she’s been caught.
But she didn’t know that he knew, did she? She still thought him the fool she was cheating on.
It hurt. The curl of pain in his gut tortured him. He wanted to cry out. No, lash out. He wanted to bellow, curse… demand an explanation. He wanted… something in him wanted to hurt her as she was hurting him.
Sunny opened his eyes, rubbed his fingers over them to stop the sting that begged to shed its pain. But he needed to know more, to be absolutely certain beyond doubt. Someone had sent those pictures, he wanted to know who. He wanted to know too who her lover was.
And above all, he wanted… no, needed to know why.
Network problem was a hindrance to bringing the first part of this story yesterday. Hope you enjoy it now.