I see it in their eyes when they look at me. The silent judgement. The mockery behind their greetings. The snickers barely masked in their laughter. I don't care. It is the hypocrisy of their world. It is the hyporcrisy of our world that allows them to come to me when they need me or my connections and yet turn around and speak out of the side of their mouths down at me and who I am.
Who am I? I am not sure anymore. I have not been too sure for quite a while. I mean, I have not changed that much. I am still short. I am still dark. My hair still cannot be tied in a bun and my tummy is not quite as flat as I desire it to be. I still like the same foods and to most extents, dream the same dreams. Then what has changed? How can my answer be "all and nothing"? Odd, I say. Most odd.
Like this one chattering away at my side. He has been at my side for twenty minutes, bending my air in his borrowed foreign accent to- I can only imagine- impress upon me his breeding so that I can impress upon him that I will do as he desires. I don't even know what he is talking about. And I would so love to leave. What he has had to drink oozes out and assaults my senses. It is definitely not wine. Probably beer. Upperclass indeed. I feign a sighting, make a wave at the "person" and move briskly away. Would the night ever end?
"How was the party?" he would ask me later as I pour him his brandy, his voice as warm and as thick as the liquid he is about to indulge in. I would hand him his drink without an answer and he would take it, both of us careful in the way we lightly allow our finger tips to touch. In everything we do we are careful. Careful. Careful. Careful.
It's not that no one must know. They already do. It's just that for the two of us, the parts we play are new to us and it is as if we are discovering the roles as we go along. He and I. He and I. How did we become "he and I"? I am not even sure. If I ask him too, I doubt he can say. But that we have become and the moment we crossed that threshold, there was no going back.
Not that I want to. I like it as it is. No, I love it. I love it. I love this new house on the Lagos waterfront, raised on a raft foundation and fortified against the water's reclaim of the land. I love my new car. I love the trips I take and the places I go. I love the fact that I no longer have to rise in haste in the morning rushing to make my living amongst the surviving horde that is the populace of our metropolis. Now, if I don't want to, I don't awake before ten am. Spoiled, I have become. And then above all, I love him and he loves me.
I mean, what else am I to do? I have really no where to go. No one to talk to. Nothing major to do. My father has decreed that none of his name shall have anything to do with me. And sadly, they have all agreed. Even mother. Bah! That woman.
I wonder what I have done that is so bad. Why is he such a hypocrite. I am the same age as her, the one that he keeps in a house in Abeokuta. Is it not funny how it is acceptable for him to do to another person's daughter what he cannot allow for his.
And he should not be upset. Unlike him and her, he and I are married. Yes, they were once best friends. Not anymore. The birth of "he and I" destroyed all that. I wonder what will happen in six months when there is another birth.
*sigh* here comes beer breath. Will this night ever end?