Ten Things His Mother Told Me: Number 3

Number 3: Talk It Over

Number Three: Communicate Frequently. When you are together, try to talk over issues that concern you. Never bottle things up ... Speak up and move on. 

SOURCE: Microsoft Images

SOURCE: Microsoft Images

An initial rush of emotion flooded her, like waves crashing against the shoreline. A quiet storm begun brewing inside her at his quiet 'hello' and she had trouble catching her breath. The din of the party faded into background noise and the heat working its way through her body wasn't due to the temperature in the room. It took some doing, but Chiaka finally managed to wrestle her breathing into submission as she stared at the man standing in front of her. The initial shock gave way to a flurry of questions, each racing quickly through her mind, not even waiting for an answer before the next one came. Demanding. Urgent. 

What is he doing here? How does he know Dave? What should I say? Does my hair look alright? 

Well, some more urgent than others. 

She tried to remember the last thing she had said. It wouldn't do to appear flustered by his sudden re-appearance in her life. After all, she was married to a wonderful man and had a beautiful son. Drew...No, Andrew had no hold over her. Not anymore.

What was the last thing she had said?

"So, how have you been?" That was a safe enough question.

"I've been great", he said, eyeing her speculatively. "You look great."

"Thank you." She cast a smile in his general vicinity and turned to go. "It was nice seeing you again, Andrew. Take care."

His lips moved in a mirthless smile "You used to call me Drew."

"Hmm. Yeah, I used to" she said pointedly, waving as she walked away. I need to get out of here. She didn't want her past to come blundering into the new life she was building with her family. Obinna knew about Drew, but only in bits and pieces. Chiaka had tried to give him all the sordid details but he had stopped her.

"Baby, everyone has a past. I don't need to know all the details. What you've told me is enough. I love you and you love me...that's enough."

She knew then that he was the one. And she wasn’t going to let anything or anyone wreck her well-ordered life.

***

“Who was that guy?”

What? In the middle of wrapping her hair for the night, Chiaka turned, brush in hand and her long hair only half-way done.

“What guy?” she asked as she tried to figure out her answer. It was silly for her to feel so guilty. She hadn’t done anything wrong. Yet, the feeling had clung to her for the rest of the evening as she chatted with Jules and danced with Obinna. An acute awareness of Drew’s presence had loosened her tongue. Determined to show that she had moved on quite nicely without him, Chiaka talked more and laughed louder than she usually did in public. Jules cast her a couple of puzzled glances, but she had resolutely ignored her. Nobody would know how much seeing Drew again had affected her. Especially Drew. Covert glances around the room told her that he had kept his distance, firmly ensconced on the other side of the room, chatting easily with a group of people.

Why did Obinna have to bring him up now, when she had spent the last few hours trying to forget she had ever seen him? 

"He's the one I told you about..." she said in a subdued voice. Even though she had told Obinna about her ex, it still felt uncomfortable to talk about him. Idly, she wondered if there was some kind of etiquette for discussing previous intimacies with one's husband.

"Oh."

Obinna watched his wife as she sat at the dresser, brush in hand, hair in disarray...almost as if she had forgotten what she was doing there in the first place. During the party, he was preoccupied with the secret he was keeping, trying to figure out how to tell his wife about his job. He still had another paycheck coming and they had some savings, but he needed another job as soon as possible. All his efforts had so far yielded no results and he was getting worried. Though distracted by myriad thoughts, it was impossible to miss her encounter with that guy...Andrew? Drew? Whatever his name was. A hot streak of jealousy flashed through Obinna as he remembered his wife's stunned reaction to the man...how her mood had suddenly changed after their quiet exchange. Usually on the quiet side, she had become garrulous, her laughter ringing over the loud music. If he didn't know better, he would have thought she was drunk. Now, her behavior made sense. He had made his peace with her past. He thought they both had. But her reaction said otherwise. Why was she so affected by him? Was it just the discomfort of seeing an old flame, or was it something else?

Silent, Obinna watched his wife as she regained her composure and continued brushing her hair, wrapping the long lengths around her skull in circular motions until it lay flat like a skull cap. She quickly tied a scarf around her hair and climbed into bed beside him. As she smiled and reached for him, the questions nagged him: Who was she thinking about, even as she lifted her face for a kiss? Unable to resist, he pressed a kiss to her lips and her ardent response sent heat through him. Even as he lost himself in her, he couldn't lose the image of her standing, lips parted, skin flushed, staring up at a man he had never met who had somehow taken up residence in his head. 

To be continued... 

Onyih Odunze

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