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Embers of a Dying Love

Chijindu, my love,

When I got your call after six years, I felt my heart stop for a moment; it was both a thing of ecstasy and intense pain to know that you were finally back in the country, as you said you would. You’d asked to see me, and although I was a married woman, I’d readily agreed to meet with you—to catch up on how our lives had turned out.

I was even doubly happy that you chose to meet me in your house and not in a restaurant or hotel room, where I might have been spotted with a strange man. Thank you for that, although you did not know then that I was married.

The day I saw you again after those years was the first day I truly took out my time to look good after getting married. Who would I look good for again? My husband rarely noticed me, and whenever he did, it was to continue his futile efforts at getting me pregnant. So I had taken my time to look good, making up and choosing the most beautiful dress I had.

And when you opened your door later in the day, the look of absolute wonder, adoration, and naked desire in your eyes had left me breathless and pleased with my efforts. We had such a great time together, talking about everything—your time in Poland for studies, your job as a consultant software developer for a big firm, but when the conversation steered towards my life, I’d carefully skimmed through the details, telling you that I had finished youth service without telling you the course I studied. Thankfully you had let it slide.

Throughout the time we talked, there had been this charged sexual atmosphere between us; it was as if both of us were scared of making the first move, which might be a wrong one. But then you had unconsciously reached across me to retrieve the TV remote and your elbow had brushed against my taut, sensitive nipples. My moan had been involuntary, believe me, but it was all you needed to crash your luscious lips on mine, making me to throw away all reasoning.

We’d ended up making love on your couch; it had been glorious, the way we each took and gave everything time had denied us. Then you had carried me to your bedroom, and there, you unlocked secret pleasure spots in my body, spots I never knew existed (like the back of my knees).

I guess I had to be thankful that I woke up before you, because if I did not, I would not have found out the truth, a truth that helped me to realize that although we loved ourselves back in secondary school, six years was enough to turn us into different individuals, into people with different goals and futures.

When I woke up, I’d stared at you, marveling at how time had favoured you with glorious beauty; it was like the stuff of dreams watching you take heavy relaxed breaths. I’d wanted to know every detail about your life in Poland, so I went to the first place I could get information—your phone. Thankfully you still had your conviction that passwords were not necessary for you, because you did not want a situation where there would be an emergency and no one would be able to unlock your phone.

Going through the pictures of your life in Poland had made me wistful, and for a moment I regretted my decision not to apply for that scholarship with you. But then again, how could I have afforded the travel expenses?

I did not know that the sight of a particular picture could make one dizzy with inexplicable pain, but that was exactly what I experienced immediately I saw the picture of you with the woman, hands interlocked, faces radiant with joyful smiles as you both smiled into the camera. It could have been any picture, she could have just been an ordinary friend, except that she was wearing a wedding gown and you were on a three-piece suit. Yet the fact that burned my soul the most was seeing that she was a white woman who was at least sixty years old.

After that painful discovery of the secret part of your life, I’d quietly crept out of your house, and like a stray fowl that suddenly remembered itself, I ran back to the safety of my husband’s house. You had called me tirelessly, but I knew that I shouldn’t talk to you again, because it was the right thing to do: we were both married to different people, and it was best we went our different ways.

I wish I could regret what we shared for the three hours I was in your house, but I cannot, not when I have a part of you growing inside me, reminding me of my one and only true love. Yes, I will keep the pregnancy, although it is not my husband’s; he had been told by the doctor that he had no fertility problems, so it wasn’t hard convincing him that the child is his.

I should not have reached out to you, but I wanted to tell you that I am grateful that you helped me to restore the love my husband had for me. I am now the sun in his life, something that I thought I could never be again. Do not try to contact me, because it would be fruitless; marriage is a sacred union, and we should respect the sanctity of that union.

It was nice seeing you again, really it was. But this is where I say goodbye. Forever.

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