We started off as friends, but on a sad platform. We were just from burying a mutual friend. I was walking from the funeral towards the nearest passenger stage when he stopped his car beside me.
“Hey, you are from the burial,right?” He inquired. I nodded and he gestured me to hop in. His mellow tone was not one you said NO to, you just obeyed.
It was a family car that he embarrassingly gave excuses for.
“The bad smell in the car comes from some milk my three year old spilt. Sorry about that but you will get used to it by the time we get to the capital.”
“How do you know I live in the capital?” I asked surprised.
“Well, at the burial, people from the capital were specially recognized when they were asked to stand up.” He replied. We laughed at his rather funny answer.
We talked about our lost friend. Monica was his colleague’s wife. He had come to pay his last respects to her and to provide comfort to the colleague. I said I would miss Monica, she had been a close friend.
Mr Levy being the opportunistic shrewd man he is, grabbed the chance to make me a client. He was suave, convincing me how it would be beneficial to transfer my savings to his microfinance bank and I said yes. He made me see a millionaire Tracy in the next ten years.
After the burial we met more often, to talk business at first then later we found excuses to meet in the name of business. We even went to my house so that he could have a look at my payslip but I did not tell him I had had it alĺ along in my handbag, but he neither asked for it when we got to my house.
I hated the way the ring on his finger glimmered at me, as if watching me. I could not help myself. He was too charming but he also made me feel loved. It was also the way he made me feel like I was the answer to his prayers.
He loved the tranquility he felt around me aside from the stormy house he would go to in the evenings that encompassed children screaming from every corner of the house and their mother screaming louder for them to hush.
I fed him like a babe, he was my baby. I massaged him just to see the sigh of pleasure drawn on his face. He loved when I put some slow music and lie on his chest as he stroked my hair.
Then his wife found out about us. She called me. She wanted to meet me, in a public place and talk to me. I was nervous but curiosity would not allow me to take a raincheck. I saw her first, she was pretty but looked tired. She was polite and I was relieved she was not the fighting type. She ordered for two milkshakes and then turned her eyes at me, scrutinizing me like a book one is about to read. I studied her too, her eyes were covered in heavy makeup, as if to hide a crying pair.
“Tracy, you are so beautiful.” She said. I nervously thanked for her compliment.
“Levy told me about you yesterday.” She said. I was shocked. All along I thought he had been joking about telling his wife about us.
“Don’t you feel any remorse even for yourself being made a second wife?” She said controlling a dangerous emotion. I loved Levy but here was a woman making it seem so bad to be a second wife. She widened her eyes, waiting for an answer. My mind was racing, leaving Levy was difficult. It was as if our hearts were entwined.
My tears welled up and humiliated me in front of the woman I should have stood strong against. She handed me a serviette to wipe my tears.
“I am sorry but you have to live with it, we love each other.” I said.
“But he is married, young girl, find yourself another man, they are too many out there! Leave mine alone!” She beseeched with a pleading face on her. I felt pity for her and a strong sense of guilt. I was taking Levy away from a woman who loved him before. I had to stop my affair with Levy. He was not mine,neither was I his. So I nodded and said a whispered Ok.
“Is that a yes? Will you leave him? Don’t pick his calls?” I nodded, pain piercing through wishing I was her, that I saw him first. I took my bag and left.
Levy called several times, wrote umpteen texts, called my workplace myriad times. The only thing he got from me was a text, I cannot cause another woman pain anymore.Bye. I even shifted houses.
Levy could have none of it. He tricked a friend of mine into revealing to him where I shifted to. I met him inside, he knew I always hid my house key around the door. One look at him and all sanity left. We were all over each other, struggling to get each other unclothed and determined to feel the warm of each other. Then I uttered the words I knew I so meant.
“I cant lose you again.”
“Me too,I don’t want to lose you ever again.” He replied and added that he wanted to make things right for me soon before I changed my mind again.
When Mrs Levy heard about me being her husband’s second wife, she fainted. When she came to, she wailed the whole night, loudly and incessantly asking where she had gone wrong, reminiscing how deep they were once in love with Levy when they were young, just some few years ago.
For days, she sobbed. Her health deteriorated, the plump woman was now a shadow of herself and when everyone thought she was almost succumbing to death, she sprung back up. The curves started to show again and she smiled. Then she called me.
She welcomed me to Levy’s life. She confessed to me she would not cry herself to death again, her children needed her more. She still loved Levy and since he had been honest with her, she would respect him for that. He still provided for her and the children. He had not stopped being her husband by marrying me. So, she urged we work together as co-wives.
“After all this is Africa, an African man’s field is too big for one wife to plough, isn’t it so, sister wife?” She stated, surprisingly in a contented tone. I was put at ease at her conclusion to accept me.
We lived in separate houses, he spent more days in mine, but she never seemed to mind. Then I fell pregnant, he was elated. My co-wife heard the news and took the news well. There was no hint of sadness neither was there exaggerated delight although Levy commented she had silently sobbed that night but he did not know why.
I delivered twins, a boy and a girl. Life changed henceforth, the quiet house was choired by frequent cries of newborns with colic. I slept many days with my eyes open soothing them to sleep. Sometimes they woke each other up and I would start all over again. Levy disappeared.
I had been wrong to think he was at my co-wife’s place all those times he did not show up at night, to escape the deafening noises by my children. When the twins were one year old, he called us, his two wives, for a meeting at my house.
“Her name is Susan. She will be my third wife.” He announced. My legs became stiff as if stuck on ice. My eyes were filled with blur, but what hurt most was the heart, it was as if a hot knife had passed across it.
My co-wife smirked at him and clapped her hands in jeer. I wanted her to be angry, to stop our husband from hurting us, to yell painfully with me at the heartbreaking announcement. Only I had forgotten, she had grown a thick skin.
“Levy, what will other men have if you take all their women?” She sarcastically commented and left the house swinging her hips to a song that only her knew the beats. I looked at Levy and got the strength to pounce at him, throwing fists at him and and asking why he would do this to me. He pushed me away remarking that I had no choice but to accept it then he disappeared into the night.
I was left in a haze. My tears that day would fill a jug. Levy was no longer mine. The realization was wounding. It would have been better to experience a physical pain and not that kind of pain where one cannot take painkillers for.
For months, I cried, I lost weight and one of my twins almost died out of extended derpression if such a thing exists. I locked myself in my house, not willing to meet any human.
They said I would get better with time, just like the first wife had, but I never did, I am still a distressed woman. I am not like Levy’s first wife, hers were tears of pain, just pain. Mine are tears of pain, regret and foolishness. If only I knew the the agony of one’s home being wrecked, causing another woman to cry. If only I knew I wasn’t Levy’s first love and I would never be the last, if only. But it’s too late now.