I came back from work to meet my wife sitting on the verandah with her ex. Not just any ex, but Nathan. The one she couldn’t forget and always compared me to. The one that was taller, sexier and better hung; my nightmare.
They didn’t look up as I walked past.
The kids ran to me and I scooped them up and planted kisses on their cheeks. As I walk-hopped to the kitchen, they told me how their day went: Akan had an extra star for excellence in maths, Akem learnt a new stroke in swimming.
I microwaved yam porridge and chicken and ate it in bitter silence. I wanted to go to them and disrupt their little chit-chat. I wanted to call the police. But Nathan was taller than I was and probably stronger, the police would only laugh at me, extort me and add me to their stories- that- touch- the- heart files. Nah.
I put the children to bed and walked into my bedroom to find Nathan and my wife there.
“Hi, get out of my house!”
“Easy,” Nathan said holding up his hands in mock surrender and in that moment I hated him more than I knew was possible. I wanted to make him scream and squirm in pain, I wanted to wipe his memory from the face of the earth in the cruelest, slowest possible way. I took deep breaths and gripped a chair to steady myself.
“Let’s take this outside, Nikki is asleep, she needs some rest.”
I scowled at him but left the room to the sitting room and slumped into a chair. Nathan walked up to the fridge and got himself a can of beer and tossed me one. I caught it and dropped it on the side stool in front of me, “I don’t drink.”
“Then why do you have them in the house?”
I ignored him.
He opened his, drank it all in one everlasting gulp and dumped the can on the floor. “So, Victor, I have come to take back Nikki.”
“Well, for starters, she is mine. Yes I loaned her to you for a while but I want her back. I need her back. She was the only woman I have ever loved and I have spent the last eight years looking for her in everyone, everywhere. When she was right here. I want her back and I am here to take her.”
“Get out of my house!”
“Please. You have said that already and it didn’t work. I am not leaving until I get what I came for, with your blessing of course. I ll give you some time to get used to the idea and say your goodbyes. Tidy up your accounts. Have some farewell sex. Whatever. But in three days I am leaving and taking Nikki with me.”
With that he got up and walked into my guest room and locked the door.
I ran upstairs and tiptoed in to the bedroom, Nikki was fast asleep. I got into the bed beside her and stared at the ceiling long into the night.
The next morning I woke up late. Nikki was gone and in her place was a brief note on rose coloured paper:
Good morning Love,
I am off to work. I have taken the kids to Mama. Food is in the warmer in the table.
I jumped out of the bed and bounded down the steps two at a time, I was hungry and curious, was Nathan gone too?
Nathan was in the dining room, polishing off my breakfast. He belched noisily when he saw me. A volcanic rage began to bubble inside me.
“Morning Vic, I figured you could do with some intermittent fasting.” He laughed at his lame joke.
“What are you …”
“Oh this? Thanks man. Who would have known we were the same size in T-shirts. It is more of a singlet on me but whatever.”
“You will not wear my clothes and you will not eat my food!”
“Duh. Already done. But there is cornflakes if you care.”
I grabbed the cereal bowl and made a plate.
“I have been thinking, we need to find a gentleman’s solution to this problem. A mutually amicable way to let all parties leave the scene with some decorum.
Do you play chess?”
“Can you shoot?”
“Never held a gun in my life.”
I stood up and banged the table sending a table mat flying. “Look, Nat or Rat or whatever you call yourself, I am a busy man with things to do and people to see. I don’t have time for this. Don’t have time for you. And if you don’t mind I would really appreciate you leaving my house, my life and my wife.
Nathan doubled over with laughter. He held his sides and panted for a while with tear streaming down his eyes.
“Listen, you aren’t going anywhere. I called your office to tell them you won’t be coming because you have monkey pox. I am not interested in your house or your life. But Nikki is mine, she promised me she would love me forever and I did the same. So, if you don’t mind, waddle back upstairs and get dressed. We have a long day ahead of us.”
A small chill ran down my back. My hands began to itch and as I scratched small pustules appeared.
“Oh, don’t worry about the rash, it is benign, just a a little reminder of who is boss here. Hurry up.”
I rushed a bath and watched in horror as the rash spread over my chest and back. My joints ached too and the anger I felt was now a stream running through my veins like lava. I hobbled downstairs where Nathan was waiting beside the TV.
“Good. Sit down. I want to tell you a story.”
I found a chair as far away from him as possible and wrapped myself under a blanket like a mummy.
“Once upon a time, there was a young man whose parents died before he was ten. He passed from uncle to uncle until he became fifteen and ran away from home. He found a job as a house boy for an old man who paid for his education. Then he met the sweetest, most beautiful lady ever…”
“Let me guess, Nikki.”
“Exactly, and they would have lived happily ever after if the boy didn’t bungle some things and have to disappear for a while but that is history.
Now the boy has a chance to live happily ever after with his princess and the only impediment to that blissful future is you. So what do we do about you?
At first, I thought of killing you, a nice clean shot on your way home and then slicing off your ears and balls to make it look like rituals. But I thought nah, this man is a gentleman, a reasonable man, he ain’t never done Nikki dirty. He has been good.
Then I considered a kidnap. Nice and quick. One day you are quarreling over how salty food is and the next day Poof! She is gone. But where is the beauty in that? Eh? Where is the class?
So now I come to you as a man. Let Nikki go and I will walk away and you will never see me again. What do you say?”