“Some things are only real if you believe in them” Unknown Please follow the story
“Every man is a bachelor out of his wife’s sight””
This story is fiction, and the characters are products of my crazy imagination. Please enjoy the short story.
That was me, on our honeymoon night.
There I was sprawled out on this expansive king size bed with my newly wedded wife in this stylishly luxurious and expensive hotel somewhere in the heart of Lagos mainland. It was the first day of our honeymoon. I had stayed a bachelor for too long that I considered all the folderol of the marital rites and glam a wanton waste and an unnecessary fuss.
After all the colorful exuberance, loud music, and gluttonous merriment, we are left all to ourselves with the peaceful sound of our own breath punctuated only by the low hum and rattle of the cooling vent of the central AC.
I loved the coolness of the room, the white bed sheets and duvet, and the welcoming scent of freshness. The whiteness of the bed was almost blinding and irresistibly inviting.
Yet sometimes I wonder if the bedsheets could be in another color; say black or even velvety red; would that be more alluring?
I watched my wife sleep. There was peace written all over her tired body. There was no rapid fluttering of eyelids, no discomforting nasal sounds, just a lady who despite the months of preparation for our wedding deserved to leave behind all the worries of the event for some real rest.
It was 11pm on our first night together as husband and wife and I was still awake. Perhaps trying to get used to the idea of being married.
Then the bed side phone rang.
You know that low dull shrill sound that you would hear in a busy office where dozens of phones are buzzing constantly?
I turned to look at the black box with disgust. Why would anyone call our room at this time of the night? We already paid for our three-night stay and we certainly didn’t order for room service.
When it rang the second time, I stretched my arm carefully so I wouldn’t stir my sleeping beauty. I grabbed hold of the damn receiver, placed it to my ears while I listened to the caller.
“Yes please” I made sure my irritation was undeniable. Why would anyone call me by this time?
“Good evening sir” the voice on the other end appeared to be troubled. He spoke really fast as though aware that I could drop off the phone any minute.
“I am very sorry for calling you at this time, but there is someone here who wants to see you”
“Who?” I wondered, almost alarmed.
No one knew I had planned to stay at the Birsmark Luxury Hotel. It was my closely guarded secret, because I wanted it to be a complete surprise to my wife. An old friend of mine had recommended the hotel to me after he had spent several nights there on honeymoon just months earlier.
I loved to work with referrals. Who doesn’t?
I trusted his judgement completely and made the reservations weeks ahead. As we arrived the hotel, I was glad I made that call. The luxurious suite and the impeccable service lured us into the considering paying for a week-stay.
But we sure couldn’t afford it.
“It’s your wife sir?” The voice on the other side seemed to trail off into a whisper. As though trying to avoid a nasty situation.
“My wife is here with me in the room. You have the wrong number” I put the phone receiver gingerly back on its cradle without listening on to the caller as his voice faded into hisses.
That was when my wife stirred.
“What was it?” she asked turning to look up at my face.
“It’s nothing baby. Go back to sleep”
I quickly dismissed the call after wondering how the guys at the reception could muddle up their guest list by calling the wrong rooms. Nigerian customer service can be so disappointing, I started to think.
I pulled the duvet closer as the room got colder snuggling to share body warmth with my wife when the phone rang the second time. This was barely three minutes after the first call.
I turned to look at the phone in disgust. Whoever was on the other side would suffer the indignation of my vituperation.
“HELLO, and why are you calling me again” I was clearly upset and wanted the caller to know.
“I am so sorry for calling you again sir, but the lady here says she is your wife, and she wants to see you. Sir, she is making a scene downstairs and we are having trouble managing the situation” this wasn’t the voice that called earlier. The caller wasn’t mincing words and he sounded rudely brief in speech.
He continued. “ Sir, is your car the blue Honda accord in the parking lot?”
“Well yes” I stuttered
“And your name is Mr. ehr….” I could hear shuffling of papers. “Mr. Peter Okon?”
“Yes please” My voice trailed off as I started to imagine what could really be happening.
Could this be a prank? There was no way anyone else could be aware that we were staying at the Birskmark.
“What is going on?” my wife’s voice punctuated my thoughts.
“Its nothing baby, I will handle” I tried to reassure her. But she rested her weight on her elbow as she watched me intently. Her eyes peering through my face with invisible rays of light.
“Sir, are you there?” the voice didn’t wait for an answer “Her name is Kemi and she insists you come downstairs……….”
“Peter, you must be very stupid so this is what you………….” The voice of a bitter lady sounded into the receiver in shocking and unbelievably loud tone. She must have grabbed the phone off the caller.
I cringed. Looked at my wife as I shook my head side to side slowly.
I held my breath as I noticed that my wife was starting to speak.
Sleep was now truly murdered. Her eyes were wide open.
“Who is Kemi?” she wasn’t asking in a friendly tone either.
Confusion was written on my face.
“Sir, are you there? sir….” the voice in the receiver continued talking till I dropped it back in it’s cradle.
But Kemi is far away in Abuja, I wondered. There was no way she could be in Lagos. She wasn’t even aware I was getting married, let alone where I would stay for honeymoon.
I had chosen my darling wife over Kemi because I noticed flashes of uncontrollable fit of anger that I wasn’t prepared to spend the rest of my life managing.
This was a bit too much to take in all at once.
I stammered in response to my wife.
“Darling…… I am sure it is a stupid mix up” I started to respond when the bloody phone rang again.
For the third time!
By now I was livid with anger. My honeymoon was starting to go horribly wrong. From day one! What could this portend?
My wife starred at the phone just as I also turned to look at the “evil black box”.
For a moment I contemplated ignoring the call, but it kept ringing with that low shrill sound piercing the peace that only a few minutes ago I had relished.
“You need to answer the phone Peter” Her voice was stern.
I reached out to pick the receiver again. It was the second male voice.
“Sir, please we need you to come downstairs to resolve this issue. The lady is uncontrollable, she is causing a nuisance and disturbing our guests.
I could hear her voice faintly in the background cussing and swearing in Yoruba.
“Ko ni da fun e…” that was the bit I could make out. There was lot of other unprintable string of words.
“Please take her out of the lobby I am coming downstairs now. This must be the case of mistaken identity” I tried to salvage some pride.
I am unable to really describe the way I felt at this time. I was angry, visibly so. But confused too, some details was just not adding up. The car, my name, my wife?
I was apprehensive too. What if it was really Kemi out there? She is reputed for her extreme madness. None that I had ever witnessed while we dated. It was cleverly disguised when we argued.
This could get very messy. I was a potpourri of conflicting emotions that my body couldn’t handle. There was even a slight shiver.
“I am coming downstairs” I declared and dropped the phone.
“I am coming with you” my wife offered visibly worried.
“No, you don’t have to. I will call you if it is necessary. I will handle this” I hoped my voice was re-assuring, because beneath the veneer of feigned confidence, my foolery was starting to stick out like a sore thumb.
If it was Kemi out there, I will slap her into fits. I promised myself. What arrant nonsense!
I quickly pulled on my favorite Nike pullover and jumped into my jeans. My wife looked on as I made my way out but I just couldn’t tell what she was thinking.
How could I tell how she felt when I couldn’t even sort out my own emotions.
“I will be back soon”
I took a look at myself in the full length mirror in my room before I opened the door.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” those words jumped at me from nowhere. I quickened my steps to the elevator.
“I am sending this woman back to the hell she came from” I reassured myself.
“And that receptionist that called me, I have harsh words for him too. Is this how they treat their guests?” the voices in my head were competing for my attention.
“How did anyone even know I was at the hotel anyway and why would they call a guest out for this reason”
The elevator bell dinged. I had arrived the ground floor and into the expansive lobby.
I had no idea what to expect but I had a mess to clean and like a MAN I was determined to kill the ghost of my bachelorhood.
The elevator door opened as though in slow motion as I squinted my eyes to see the reception which was slightly full with a couple of men. In fact all men!
I had half expected a bucket of water to be thrown at me or God forbid, even acid. My thoughts were raging faster than reality was willing to offer.
Everyone stared at me the moment I stepped out of the elevator. I imagined that they already labelled me, the adulterer, the philandering husband, a shame to all men……
They were a mix of hotel security, vigilantes and even onlookers – about a dozen of them.
“This can not be her husband na…..this guy is too young to be her husband” exclaimed one of the vigilantes with obvious irritation.
Now I was strangely relieved but still confused.
They continued to talk all at once just as their interest started to shift away from me. I was no longer an object of interest.
“Are you Mr. Peter” someone asked
“Yes please” I answered looking from one face to the other for answers.
“You are not the one she is looking for”
I was suddenly very hungry.
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