I had barely taken two steps towards the direction of my room when I saw Charles walking into the lobby with a woman. Another woman! With his right arm wrapped round her waist. They looked like two lovers oblivious to the world around them. I cleared my throat loudly to catch their attention. As soon as he saw me, he removed his arm and the bunch of keys he held in his other hand dropped.
“Hi On..On..Onome ”, he stammered. I was too shocked to move. My eyes went from Charles to the lady standing next to him. If looks could kill, she would have died on the spot from the hateful glare coming from me.
Charles is my best friend’s husband. Ngozi and I grew up together, we were not only neighbours but our families went to the same church. We attended the same secondary school and ended up studying Economics together at the University of Lagos; we were practically sisters. We did everything together, from sharing each other’s clothes to passing notes to each other during church services and getting into trouble together. We shared the same bed space in Moremi hall in Unilag, till we got an apartment to rent. People called us twins. We told each other everything, I mean everything. We both knew each other’s ATM pins and Facebook passwords. Ngozi was a part of me; I think our friendship could be likened to David and Jonathan’s friendship in the Bible.
I was in Abuja on an official assignment; official assignments outside Lagos were a welcomed break from the depressing Lagos traffic. It was an opportunity for me to unwind because I got to stay in expensive hotels and working hours were not as long as it was in the office.
Ngozi and Charles started dating when we were in 2nd year, while he was in final year. They had the perfect relationship. Charles was every woman’s dream. He was not only good-looking but also Mr Romantic. I remember all the poems he wrote to her, their never ending phone conversations; how he lavished her with expensive gifts. I remember the party he threw her when she turned 21; it was the talk of campus for months. I envied them because I was single; I couldn’t help feeling jealous because he stole my best friend from me. All she talked about was Charles this, Charles that.
It came as no surprise when Charles proposed to her as soon as she completed her NYSC*.Their wedding ceremony was so emotional, they both wrote their vows and you could see the love radiating from their eyes. I was genuinely happy for her because she seemed to have found the love of her life.
They were such a happy couple and I loved going to visit them. Ngozi would gist me about how blessed she was to be married to Charles and he constantly talked about his Nkem* as he fondly called her. They were not only lovers but best friends. So you can understand my shock at seeing Charles with another woman in a hotel. They had only been married for 9 months! Besides, Charles didn’t look like the type of man to cheat on his wife. I mean, in all the years we were on campus, Charles was never known with another woman, even after he graduated, he came to Unilag almost every weekend.
I walked past Charles and his side chic without saying a word. I needed some fresh air because the air suddenly felt choked. I was so furious, I had to tell Ngozi! I brought out my phone to call her, but couldn’t get through to her; network was bad as usual. I was about to try again when the gravity of my action dawned on me.
Should I tell my best friend that her darling husband is cheating on her? That I just saw him with another woman? I believe she deserves the truth. I don’t know if I can hide this from her, even if I succeed in hiding it, for how long? I would be torn with guilt.
On the other hand, I don’t want to be a home wrecker because Ngozi would be crushed, that would be the end of the marriage. Should I keep quiet and pretend it never happened? Like they say ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’ and just pray she finds out herself one day or never find out.
My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of my phone. I know who is calling me; she is the only one with a different ring tone.
*NYSC- National Youth Service Corp- A compulsory one year of national service for Nigerian graduates.
*Unilag- University of Lagos