Jeal.ou.sy noun \ˈje-lə-sē\ an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has
We’ve just finished classes for the day and I’m walking through the car park as usual. It’s the third Thursday after the “Aisha” incident (yes, I’m counting) and he still hasn’t breathed a word of her to me. I’ve let it go because my chance to ask him about it is long gone and it’s not like the information would be of any real value anyway. But I’m still curious. The last two weekends, I have been at his house, more specifically in his bed, like I suspected I would. I have to admit it’s been a wonderful two and half weeks. We’ve gotten even closer and he seems a bit more serious and intense than he was before. It’s so bad that I haven’t even noticed that my boyfriend has missed his usual Saturday night call three times in a row. I guess he’s been just as busy as I have been – more like distracted in my own case (*blushing*). If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I still have a relationship with that young man but I don’t want to be the one to break things off. Besides, there’s no hurry. He’s in the UK for now and can’t see me.
I finally spot Danladi by his car, leaning almost nonchalantly against the hood. I wonder how he manages to get downstairs so quickly every day. We share our customary hug and chat for a bit. We’re not going out today, because I need to get home early. Mum’s dragging me to church with her, which is probably good for me since I seem to be possessed by this man.
“I really wish we could spend time together today” he says.
I smile and peck him lightly on his cheek. “We spend time with each other every day remember? We see in class, we see after class, we see on the weekend, among other things. Besides I’ll see you tomorrow and probably on the weekend again.”
“Yes to tomorrow. But I’m not around this weekend.”
This is news to me, so I pause slightly, trying to search my memory for any previous mention of him not being around this weekend. He might have said it and I missed it in all my ‘sex-citement’. But I’m fairly certain that he hasn’t mentioned this before.
“Where will you be then?” I ask, feigning disinterest.
“I’m going to Abuja. I leave tomorrow evening. Have to go see the wife.”
“Oh. Ok.” I can feel my heart rate go up. He’s going to visit his wife. I can’t explain why that bothers me. I guess it’s because he hasn’t gone in the 5 months or so that we’ve been seeing each other. It has been easy to assume that he never sees her. Or does he?
“Is she ill?” I ask, looking at his face for a sign. What type of sign, I’m not sure, but I’m looking anyway.
“No she’s not.” He says on a sigh.
“So, why are you going to see her then?” I regret the words as soon as they come out of my mouth. I also know I’ve overstepped as I watch his face cloud over. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” I touch his arm and will him to look at me.
“Asher, I can’t change the fact that I’m married. You know that. I haven’t seen my wife in almost 6 months but we agreed that I’d come to Abuja once every two months.”
“I understand Danladi. Please forgive me. What time is your flight tomorrow?”
“It’s at 5pm. I was hoping you could drop me off at the airport? That way, I get to say a proper goodbye…”
I smile. Actually, I’m fairly certain it was more like a huge grin that spread across my face.
“Of course I can drop you off. It’ll be my pleasure.”
He leans back on the car and pulls me between his legs, his palms resting on my hips. “Thank you.” And we share a quick kiss. I’ve gotten used to his PDA habits these days, especially since I can’t do anything about it. My course mates have at one time or the other seen us acting all lovey-dovey and Yvonne has even teased me about it on a few occasions. I’m just thankful that they don’t know that he’s married, otherwise I don’t think they’d all be so accepting of the situation.
I pull away, conscious of time but also pensive, the fact that he’s off to see her still playing on my mind.
“So will you be in class tomorrow?” I ask
“Yes, I’ll come in the morning. Then go home to get my bags and come back in a cab when your own classes are over. Then we can head out.”
“Ok. Sounds like a plan. I have to go now though. Don’t want to risk getting back late.”
“Sure love. Drive safe. See you tomorrow.”
We share another hug and I get in my car and drive off, watching him watch me go. I’m jealous. Of his wife. It doesn’t matter that he’s spent the last five months with me. Nor is it important that he’s only going away for the weekend. I’m the one who’s been keeping him happy while she’s there in Abuja, not paying any attention to her husband. Who marries someone like him and leaves him by himself in Lagos???
I spend the rest of my drive home thinking angry thoughts towards a woman I don’t even know and then while in church with my mum, my angry thoughts shift to Danladi. Why on earth did he even come after me? What kind of irresponsible man has a wife in Abuja and starts dating a girl in Lagos? How do I know that he hasn’t lied about not having been with anyone else since he got married? He seems pretty comfortable with the whole thing, and except the Aisha incident (which he still hasn’t told me about) he’s managed to keep me a secret from his circle of friends – I’m assuming he has a circle of friends.
That night, in a fit of annoyance, I call my ‘estranged’ boyfriend. We chat for a while, him updating me about what his UK experience has been like so far, me talking about French school (minus Danladi of course). We laugh a lot and I’m reminded of the reason we started dating in the first place. But try as I might, I can’t find the same intensity of feelings I had for him before he left. Maybe I should just tell him that I’ve found someone else. That way, I have one less thing to deal with my guilty conscience about. We eventually get off the phone and I drift off into sleep.
The following morning, I wake up bright and early and get the gateman to give my car a good clean, inside and out, since I’ll be carrying Danladi in it later today. My car definitely doesn’t compare to his sleek BMW, but I might as well make sure it’s fit for him to ride in. I get to school, we have our usual morning catch up and then our midday lessons, and I count the minutes until it’s 2pm. As soon as class is over, I call him to tell him to head my way. He’s already on the road and in another 10 minutes, he arrives.
He steps out of the cab and I see that he’s donned a cream coloured dashiki and trouser set and he’s holding one of those Hausa-type mallam caps folded in his hand. I’ve never seen him in this get-up and once again I realise that he has a whole other life that I’m not really a part of. He puts his very stylish piece of luggage in the back of my car, gets in the passenger seat and gives me a quick peck. And then we go.
Getting to the airport doesn’t take too long. Traffic is very light. At the airport, he asks me to find a parking space instead of dropping him off.
“You have to see me off. I won’t let you off so easy.” He says with his usual lopsided smile.
I park and we walk into the departure hall together. He finds the check-in counter, gets his boarding pass and then takes my hand.
“I’m back on Sunday afternoon. Can we do dinner in the evening?”
I’m feeling very flattered about the fact that he wants to see me so soon after he gets back but a picture of him in bed with his wife flashes unbidden in my mind and I falter.
“I’m err, not sure. I don’t like to get home late on Sundays.” I can’t look him in the eye as I’m saying this. All I can think is that he’s going to her. For two days (technically, less than two days), she’ll have him all to herself and I’ll be here, waiting for him.
“I want to see you when I get back Asher, even if it’s for a minute.”
“You’ll be tired from you trip. I think you should rest. We’ll see in class the following day anyways.”
“No. I want to see you. On Sunday. After I get back.” His voice is firm, discouraging me from arguing any further. “Don’t worry about her. I’m with you because I want to be with you. And that’s not going to change in two days.”
I look up at him then, into his earnest, black eyes and it occurs to me that I might actually be in love with him – this man who has taken over my thoughts, my body and my whole existence. In that moment, I make up my mind to stand by what I want. And I want him. I want the joy that he gives me. I want the passion that he has awakened in me. I want the excitement that I feel whenever I see him, whenever I’m with him. I want him. Period.
So I nod. And give him a half smile. “Call me as soon as you arrive then.” He pulls me into a hug, kisses me on the lips and then on my forehead.
“I will.” He says, and then heads towards the gates.
I watch him walk away and wait to see if he’ll look back before he disappears. He turns round after he’s cleared security and waves at me. I blow him a kiss. He can go to his wife, if responsibility or duty demand that he does. He can sleep with her if he needs to in the time that he’s with her. But in the end, his daily life is here in Lagos, with me. So he’ll be back. And I’ll be here…