This was a familiar conversation for Civir. Her friends always came to her for relationship advice. But why not? She was a few days away from the tenth anniversary of a very happy marriage. She never had to worry about her husband’s fidelity and neither did he – there was no room for doubt. They were blessed with two wonderful children: Bemsen was 6 years old, and his younger sister, Mfe, was 2 years old. Her husband, Luter, was fast climbing the corporate ladder and had recently been promoted to Secretary by his company. Her boutique was also thriving even in her absence. She couldn’t have been more grateful for such an amazing husband, but she knew that to be the man of her dreams, she had to trust him.
“You should trust your man one hundred percent,” she told Erica.
“Even when he’s cheating right under my nose?”
“Ha! Under your nose.… Have you ever caught him cheating?”
“No…. But Jenny has it on very good authority that he is cheating on me.”
“You mean the same Jenny who has never been in a relationship that lasted for 6 months? That Jenny?”
“Please, her relationship history doesn’t matter jare. If anything, it tells me that she knows what she is saying.”
Civir chuckled, “Anyway sha, you came to me for advice and I am telling you to trust him.”
“Trust? Again? Really? Jenny knows this kind of stuff. I mean she’s been in three different relationships this past year and she has caught her man cheating every single time…. She knows this stuff.” Erica said, darting her forefinger at the centre table.
“O my goodness!” Civir was out of ideas at this point. It seemed like Erica was convinced within her soul that Fred was cheating on her.
“Do you remember that fat woman at the right bend down the street?” Civir asked
“No, not really. Why?”
“The fat one that always comes here looking for her cat?”
“Oh! Mrs. Kitty-is-my-everything. How can I forget her? But where are you going with this?”
“So Mrs. Kitty is going through a really bad divorce right now and like you, she had a Jenny telling her on good authority that her husband was cheating on her.”
“Was she right?” Erica asked anxiously.
Civir paused for a while. “Yes, he wa…”
“There! You see?” Erica almost jumped out of her chair excitedly.
“But with her Jenny,” Civir added calmly.
“Oh….” Erica sank back into her chair. “So my fiancé could be cheating with Jenny?”
“No! Silly…” Civir laughed. “It means that some people only want to destroy your relationship by telling you these things. The best thing to do is to trust your man in and out, especially if you are happy.”
“Trust? But you know that men are so untrustworthy,” Erica said perplexedly.
“I know. But they say that love is blind because you have to blindly trust those you love to get the best from it.”
“Hmmmm…. Okay ooo. I hear you,” Erica took her glass of juice from the foot stool and adjusted herself in the chair. She took a sip of the yellow drink and gazed at Civir for a few seconds. “So you trust Luter one hundred percent?” She asked almost in a whisper.
“Of course, I do!” Civir replied immediately.
“And you never worry that he may break that trust?”
“No! Not at all,” she coughed. “I mean, he has his flaws, but that doesn’t include infidelity.”
“What kind of bubble are you living in, Civir? He is a human being and a man for god’s sake!”
“I know, but he will never ever break my trust.”
“But what if he does?”
“I’m sure he won’t. But what if you wake up one morning and discover that he’s been lying all along. What will you do then?”
Civir looked at Erica for a few seconds before topping her half-empty glass. She cuddled the glass in both palms and took a sip. She had never had any reason to question her marriage before. Sure, she got into some intense arguments with Luter now and then, but that was normal – every couple argued sometimes – but that didn’t ultimately mean that there was no affection between them. Their love was still very strong and she was certain that Luter would never cheat on her. He loved her deeply. His eyes, actions, and even inactions proved this. Erica’s question was borne out of personal experiences. Like Jenny, she had experienced torrid relationships and it was very difficult for her to trust men again. She had caught her last boyfriend in bed with other women on several occasions before calling it quits. Civir understood how she felt, but her Luter was different. Her Luter was the one in a million, the one drop of rain in the dessert. She could bet on that. Luter just couldn’t cheat on her.
“I won’t do anything…. Because Luter would never break my trust,” she said assuredly before drinking all the juice in her glass.
“Hey, girl! Its Anna!”
“Why do you always have to say your name over the phone like that?” Civir asked, stirring the bowl of flour paste clutched to her belly with her left arm.
“It’s the latest trend. Besides my name sounds much better coming from my mouth.”
Civir chuckled, “Whatever. So what’s up?”
“Is your sweet Luter home?”
“No, he left for a workshop in Calabar. Why?”
“How about your kids? Are they home?”
“No, I just dropped them off at Grandma’s” Civir dropped the bowl on the kitchen table and tasted the paste with her finger.
“So what are you doing now?”
“Wait, Anna. Is this a job interview?”
“Abeg answer the question jare! What is your own sef?”
“Erm…nothing sha. I am just….”
“Great! Oya come and open the door.”
“I said come and open the door!” Anna shouted and hung up.
“Why? Hello! Hello!!” Civir smiled and walked over to the door.
Standing at the door like a movie star was Anna in quite an ensemble: a big curly blonde weave, a pair of dark shades, bold red lipstick, a statement necklace, a skin-tight red mini dress, a black leather jacket, a pair of tall heels and a glowing light skin. “Wow!” Civir exclaimed. “What is the occasion?”
“Wow! You are a real housewife,” Anna replied and pointing to the earplug in Civir’s left ear added, “So you have finally found a way of washing dishes while answering the phone abi? Bravo!”
“Haha…. Come inside, Anna.” Civir said walking away from the door. Anna walked in, flung her purse on the sofa and headed for the kitchen. She walked over to the table and dipped her finger in the bowl.
“You’ve always been a good cook,” Anna said after she had put the finger into her mouth. Civir smiled. “Now, go inside and dress up like a spinster. We have a wild night ahead,” she added.
“Don’t tell me that you forgot about today?” After a few silent seconds, Anna knew for sure that Civir had forgotten. “Today is Mimi’s bachelorette party!” Mimi had been introduced to Civir by Anna who had met Mimi through their boyfriends at the time. Both relationships hit the rocks, but their friendship only grew stronger.
“Oh! Really? Just hold on a second let me get dressed,” Civir said and turned hastily to walk out of the kitchen.
“Take your time. Women need to take their time to look good!” Anna screamed to Civir who was already out of sight.
Civir came out a few minutes later in a cream gown and a scarf tied so accurately and tightly that not a strand of hair could be seen. Anna, who was still scooping from the bowl with her finger, began to laugh uncontrollably. “What are you wearing?”
“You can’t see with your eyes again, abi?” Civir snapped.
“Sorry, you really do look lovely,” a smiling Anna said, walking towards Civir at the kitchen door. “It’s just that you look like a mother going to a PTA meeting or something. Today is not the day for that. Today, we are having a wild, wild night that will involve a lot of partying. You don’t party in beautiful gowns, you party in outfits like this,” Anna turned round to show Civir the type of outfit that was appropriate for wild nights. “So, we are going into that room and we are turning your spinster switch back on. Oya, follow me!” Anna grabbed Civir by the wrist and dragged her into the bedroom.
The club was a lot different from what Civir was used to back when she was a spinster. It was a lot more crowded; there were a lot more LED lights; the music was much louder; the clothes skimpier; the dance steps raunchier. But it had the same feeling. It still made her feel safe enough to unleash the demon she had locked away for good.
She had met Luter at a club actually. They were both law students at the same university and had gone out to celebrate the successful end of a session at a club after the law dinner. She didn’t remember much but she remembered that she was so drunk that Luter, a stranger at the time, had taken her home. When she woke up the next morning in her underwear, in a strange apartment, and saw a bare-chested man in the room with her, she was terrified. She had dragged the duvet to cover herself and crouched on the bed. It took a lot of convincing and the testimony of a female friend of Luter to make her believe that he had been a perfect gentleman. She had changed her clothes and not Luter, the friend had assured her. To apologise for wrongly accusing him, she promised to take him out. He wouldn’t let a woman, his junior at that, pay for his meal so he asked her out instead. He had always wanted to do that, he said, he just never had the courage or opportunity. Now that she was open enough to him, he could finally take her out. One thing led to another and they were joined in holy matrimony five years after she had been called to the Nigerian Bar.
Walking through this crowd of young and energetic people made her feel young again. Anna was already at the bar, drinking and chatting with the barman. How she got there so quickly completely eluded Civir.
“She is married and has kids,” Anna screamed over the loud music once Civir got to the bar. “So give her something really strong to take her out of her mum and wife zone.”
“You are terrible,” Civir said to Anna and went on to order Martini. “Where is everyone?”
“They are in the VIP over there,” Anna said, pointing to the balcony. “I just want to get you warmed up for what is to come. You have been out of the game for way too long.”
The VIP lounge was damp with blue lighting. The mellow music playing harmonised with the laughter and indistinct voices echoing from the many booths in the room. Booths that looked like round huts that had been built halfway without roofs facing each other. As they walked past the first booth, Civir’s eyes met with a middle-aged man, probably over forty, who immediately winked at her, almost impulsively. The man was with another of the same age whose left hand was on the thighs of a skinny light-skinned girl in a flimsy blue dress and a big afro, and his face in her small breasts. He, this man with his face in a woman’s breasts, was married: she could tell from that shiny thing on his annualry. Only heartless men undeserving of love could cheat on their wives. “Thank God for my Luter,” she whispered to herself. This was exactly what Erica had been trying to say, she thought. She quickly took her eyes away and walked over to the next booth were Anna was already asking why there were so few drinks.
“Wow! What did you do to my friend? You look so good!” Mimi exclaimed when Civir reached the booth. “Come and sit next to me as my P.A. for the night. You are the only one who is in the prison that I will enter tomorrow.”
There were three other ladies with Mimi sitting on either side of the C-shaped sofa: Erica sat beside Anna to Mimi’s left and on the other side was Jenny and another lady, Bisola, a friend of Mimi’s from work. They hugged and exchanged pleasantries with Civir complementing Jenny’s tight strapless gown noting that even though she needed Jesus to get into the dress, she would need the entire heavenly host to get out of it.
“Shebi it is because you don’t look like my grandmother today that you have mouth to talk abi?” Jenny retorted while touching the pearls on Civir’s black sequinned mini-dress to a particularly wild laughter from Erica who almost spilled her drink on her ankara dress. “You look really nice sha. I want to yab you but there is nothing to yab.”
Erica kept laughing. “I am sure that Anna had to drag her out of that cream dress,” she said.
“How did you know? I literally dragged her out of it…. so old school!” The laughter went on.
“Abeg jare. It is…” Civir was interrupted by Erica and Anna who chorused ‘Luter who bought it for me’ and laughed hysterically. Civir smiled. “Whatever. That dress is beautiful. And very expensive too. It would have been a waste to bring it to this party,” she said and immediately whispered an apology into Mimi’s ear for the comment. ” I will wear it tomorrow at the wedding with my Luter and steal the show!” she concluded.
After a few more jokes about Mimi’s ex-boyfriend who had suddenly wanted her back when he found out about her marriage; Anna’s last fling with a fresher from the state university to which she responded that “Qualifications are utterly useless in the bedroom” and sipped her drink; Jenny’s last boyfriend whom she had caught using her ATM card to buy things online for his side chick; Erica’s growing suspicions of her boyfriend; and Civir’s out-of-this-world happy married life – Anna took a spoon and tapped on her glass a few times. The ding-ding-ding commanding their attention, she got up and proposed a toast to start the night. “They say that thunder and lightening are strongest when it is about to stop raining. In this vain, since the rain of Mimi’s spinsterhood is about to subside, we are going to be more spinster than we have ever been. Can the church say ‘amen’ to that?” They chorused a loud amen.
“I didn’t hear you. Can I hear an amen to that?” They shouted ‘amen’ even louder. Anna repeated it one last time and emptied her glass, “Oya, the party don start!” she declared and reached for her purse. She removed a sheet of paper containing the list of activities she had arranged for the night and announced to everybody. There was clubbing, going to a strip club, sitting on strippers, and kissing random people. Of course, Civir didn’t expect anything less from Anna. She had said it very clearly, “It will be a wild, wild night.” Civir didn’t even know that there were strip clubs in Lagos until this wild night.
The programme couldn’t start, however, because a friend of Mimi who had been invited was yet to join them. She was on her way, she had texted Mimi, the traffic was really bad but she was close. Mimi on her part was adamant that things be put on hold pending her arrival.
Stay tuned for [Chapter 2] Next Friday, meanwhile enjoy your weekend!…