I met Liv at a tech seminar in Abuja; where I was one of the guest speakers. She had approached me, complimented me on my brief speech, talked a bit about the future of technology, and exchanged contacts. We saw a couple of times before I popped the question. It wasn’t rushed or anything, and the rest is history.
Setting aside the bottle, I stared long and hard at the wedding band on my finger, wondering if Liv had it on when she screwed Laurette and frowning at the thought. I wondered how something small symbolised a life-long commitment, and how easily it can mean nothing.
The knowledge of her betrayal was supposed to ease my pain, yet I hurt even more. I thought about the swell times, the fond memories… Everything revolved around her, there was nothing I could think of without her in the picture. She was my everything. I knew she said it had nothing to do with me, but I couldn’t help thinking if I had triggered something to make her do what she did. Had I become so distant, so far apart, she couldn’t express her emotions or had I been so hard to talk to?
I remembered the first time she introduced me to Laurette, I recalled apologising for being late because the meeting I’d ended, I remembered Liv gushed on and on about Lauretter long after she had gone. Truth be told, Laurette was pretty and accomplished in her worth but I hadn’t spared her a second look because there was no need to. I had Liv, she was my queen. I still couldn’t believe Liv had been with her thrice!
I remembered the Sunday she first told me about her betrayal and how I had walked away stunned, not wanting to hear more because everything seemed to have lost meaning, perspective and form. That was the last time I met her till this evening, over six weeks ago.
I heard my phone vibrate in my pocket, without looking at the screen, I received the call, “yeah.” I sounded drowsy.
“I’m not home,” I lied when I recognised the caller’s voice. I didn’t want company. “Come on man, I know you inside.”
“Taribo, I’m not home,” I responded.
“I know you there. Just open the darn door, will you?” he retorted.
I went mute, “come on man, let me in, will you?”
“Fuck!” I said after a while then let him in.
“Just look at you, drinking all by yourself,” he told me, sighting the bottle in my hand.
“There is nothing like drinking all by yourself,” I replied raising the bottle in the air.
He removed his coat and sat on the floor beside me.
“I’m sure you know why I’m here.”
“I’m certain you are going to tell me,” I responded.
“Liv asked me to check on you.”
“Did she now?”
“Yes, she did.”
“Taribo, I’m a grown arse man. I don’t need you babysitting. I’m hurt, not fragile.”
“Exactly the response I was expecting.”
“What does that mean?”
“That you are actually vulnerable right now.”
I sighed. We were quiet for a while.
“You know,” I began breaking the silence, “We finally had the talk,” I told him.
“How does that make you feel?”
“I don’t know man. I thought I had everything right. I thought we were it, I never thought I’d ever be here. I thought we were perfect. I felt she was content you know, happy with me, happy to be where we are now and now,” I paused, “Now, nothing makes sense, everything seems to have shifted and everything I believe has just, crumbled. I don’t know if I can ever trust her again. I don’t know if I can ever be enough for her. I feel hurt, I feel deceived and it hurts because-” I paused
“I mean, I can’t believe I am saying this but I-”
“But I still can’t picture my life without her. I still love her. Weird right?”
“No, not really.”
“You know, she says she is sorry, and she wants us to be together. She says she wanted to experience something new, something different and she couldn’t do that with me.”
Taribo said nothing. I took a gulp from the bottle and continued anyway.
“I really thought that knowing the reason would make me feel better, I felt knowing would give me some clarity that it would be enough to ease the pain I feel. I don’t feel better, it still hurts because she made the choice without giving me the chance to prove whether or not I could give her whatever it is she wanted to feel with her lover. She decided without asking me and that was selfish of her, very selfish because by -God, there were distractions, there were more than a handful of opportunities for me to explore, to want to feel some emotional connection with someone else, even fulfil some kinky sexy fantasy…” I wanted to take a gulp from the bottle when Taribo snatched it from me.
I sighed. “That explains why you are here. She asked you to check on me, didn’t she?” She always told Taribo to check on me when she couldn’t.
“As much as I dislike being the intermediary, I see why she asked me to.”
I scoffed, “yeah yeah, whatever,” I told him.
“I am worried about you man.”
“Can I have my bottle back?”
“Taribo, I wasn’t making a request.”
“There is no way I am giving you the bottle, you have consumed more than 80% of the content anyway. Look, I am not good with pep talk anyway, and I am not going to pretend I know how you feel because I don’t. I know Olivia made a mistake-”
I started laughing at the word mistake, not that it was funny but I somehow found humour in it. “Yeah, you really suck a this Taribo.”
“At least I was able to put a smile on your gloomy face.”
“I would really like Sage Taribo to go on with his pep talk.”
“Look, I know I am at my wit’s end here but if you can find it somewhere in your heart to forgive her, and move past this, that would be great for you and Liv. I know every relationship has its challenges and the love you both feel should be able to keep you and her above these challenges no matter your differences. If you ask me, I suggest you see a marriage counsellor or therapist. Do you have some edibles here?”
“Always the hungry fella.”
“Hey come on, I was about to prepare something when Liv summoned me.”
“Help yourself out,” I told him, smiling sheepishly.
“Your refrigerator is empty, your cabinets are empty! What do you feed on anyway?”
“You really need to burn the calories once in a while. Anyway, I ordered the egg and chicken fried rice, is that okay with you?”
“When did you do that?”
“A few minutes ago.”
“Cool. I am so hungry.”
“In about eight minutes, it should be delivered.”
“While we wait, we need to get you out of this mood.”
“Where is your gaming controller?”
“Your PS pad”
“Oh, uh, I’m really not sure where I dropped it but you should check around the TV set.”
“Seen.” He smiled, “prepare to be slain.”
“You have never won.” I retorted.
“Well come on and get slain. I’m sure you will blame the fact that you’d lose on being tipsy.
“I’m not tipsy, even with my eyes closed, I’d still win.”