So I lied, sue me.
You would have lied too if you were in my situation.
Here I was, having a nice drive around town with my husband when out of nowhere, my past decides to come a-knocking.
We had just left the hospital from an antenatal appointment. I was thirty five weeks in and feeling more than a little rotund. Of course my husband thought I was being silly but he was not the one with another human being growing inside him so what did he know?
To make matters worse, he decided to joke about my nose getting wider. Imagine that?! As punishment, I demanded ice cream specifically from the ice cream outlet in the mall.
There was an ice cream place at the next turn but I wanted him to drive the extra 30 minutes, in traffic, to the mall. That would teach him to make fun of a pregnant woman.
I gave my husband my ice cream order once we made it into the mall and strolled to the bookstore nearby; rubbing my belly absentmindedly as I walked each aisle of books.
It had been a while since I read but I was not quite sure what I was in the mood for. So, I decided to look at all the genres they had available.
I was looking through the Young Fiction section when a familiar scent hit me.
You know how they say scents are linked to memories? Well, they were not joking because I instantly went into panic mode.
It couldn’t be. He wasn’t here.
Before I could convince myself that he was not the only one in Nigeria with that perfume, I rounded the corner of a bookshelf and there he was: Sesugh Timothy Orga, just as I remembered him. Looking for all the world like he had just walked out of a GQ magazine, while I…
I glanced down at my shapeless blouse and protruding belly and wished for the ground to open up and swallow me whole.
He squealed my name in delight, and wrapped his arms around me before I could speak. Oh good heavens, I could have stayed in his embrace forever. His hands had always been able to do things to me; and after four years, they still could.
He pulled away and stared at my face, then gave me a once-over. “You look beautiful” he said, sadness quickly flashing in his eyes.
Of course he was lying because I looked like a whale, but hearing him say it made my heart flutter. He always did have that effect on me.
I returned the sentiment and meant every word of it. He was built like a Grecian warrior, with a smile that could bring the strongest of women to their knees.
Oh and the smell of him.
I already have a weakness for scents and smells and by Jove, the man had the gift of great selection. He wore one perfume for everyday, another for special occasions and both scents were permanently etched in my memory.
Sesugh was undoubtedly the love of my life. From the moment we met, we connected in a way that I had never connected with anyone. We were different in a lot of ways but similar in most. We finished each other’s thoughts, and sensed each other’s temperament sometimes even when we were apart. A friend of mine joked once that she suspected that we had taken a blood oath because our bond seemed supernatural.
We could even sense when the other person wanted to be left alone.
That was one of the cool things about our love; we were not love-sick puppies that felt like we had to be together every waking moment of the day. We understood the importance of personal space and gave each other a respectable amount. Sesugh had even told me once that after his ex girlfriend, he was not sure it was possible to find a woman who did not insist he call her 5 times a day, and spend every moment with her. I myself was not eager to have a man who would keep tabs on me and insist on knowing where I was at all times, no thanks to my ex.
We were a perfect fit.
Then there was his heart. He was perhaps the kindest, most generous person I had ever met. He was helpful to loved ones and strangers alike, and he constantly inspired me to be a better person.
Though he had a heart of gold, he was by no means a pushover. He was equal parts manly and thoughtful – a lethal combination that would hold and maintain any woman’s attention.
He was sexy whether he was angry or excited, annoyed or intrigued, sad or joyful. Hell, he was sexy even when he was being stubborn. He was all sexy, all the time and he was all mine.
I still remember the events that changed the course of our relationship forever.
My friend, Ene, was telling me about a guy she liked who happened to have a crush on her. When I asked her why she was not pursuing a relationship with him, she said he had an AS genotype and added that I was lucky to have found a man with an AA genotype.
My breath had caught in my throat. In all the 11 months I had dated Sesugh, it never once occurred to me to confirm his genotype. Perhaps a part of me thought that for someone with whom I had such a strong bond, genotype surely could not be a problem. Besides, he caught malaria fairly easily. Didn’t they say AAs were more susceptible to malaria?
I held onto that last thought with every fibre of my being as I quickly sent him a text message asking him what his genotype was.
He was a carrier of the sickle cell trait.
I still remember how hard we cried in each other’s arms when we ended our relationship. Bless his heart, he had actually tried to suggest that we could still make it work because the likelihood of having a child with sickle cell anaemia was one in four. He said we could just pray really hard and have no more than 2 or 3 kids. When I told him it was not always the fourth child, he suggested using medical technology for child selection but even he knew it was too much to ask.
The amount of tears I shed following that breakup was monumental.
It took me two whole years to get over him, and another year to open my heart up to the possibility of loving again.
By the time I met my husband, Sesugh was a fond memory that had been tucked deeply away.
Or so I thought because as he stood before me, staring into my eyes and asking me how I was, it all threatened to rush back to the surface.
I had to shut it down, I was already happy with my husband…MY HUSBAND!
“Husband!” I exclaimed, trying to mask the absolute horror that came over me. What if my husband walked over and saw us? Saw how my soul yearned for this man?
He chuckled a little, repeating my answer but in question form. I corrected myself and said I was fine and that I was here with my husband, who was getting ice cream for us.
He smiled and said he would love to meet him, but he was not sure if he could do so without punching him. It was meant to be a joke but my heart was racing. Dayo could not find us. I had to wrap this up and send him on his way.
I managed a small smile and said I had to go meet my husband.
He took my hand in his and squeezed.
Father lord! That action alone caused a dull but prominent throb in my pelvic region. I was carrying another man’s child for goodness sake and yet this man’s touch had me going moist.
The child in my womb kicked, as if to scold me.
He said something about it being good to see me again but I hardly heard it. It took sheer willpower to prevent from yanking my hand from his grip. I needed him to stop touching me while I still had my wits about me.
Mercifully, the squeeze was only momentary. It was as if he understood what I was not saying.
He most likely did.
He always had.
He walked away and I did not let myself look back as I turned on my heels towards the ice cream place. My husband had just walked into the bookstore so I met him near the entrance and urged him towards the mall exit.
My husband had seen us talking and when he asked who he was, I lied.
Judge me if you want but I cannot trust myself not to say more than my husband needs to hear.
I just cannot.