I saw a picture of Zach and a woman in a passionate embrace. Disbelieving I scrolled up and down the page, there were more pictures; the camera was facing him and there was no denying it was him. While the lady’s features were blurred.
I couldn’t believe it. The caption said the pictures were taken last night. Was that the urgent appointment? To kiss another lady in a club?
“Mary Anne, relax. They must be an explanation for this. It might be; I don’t know, promo shots or something.” Clara tried to calm me.
“Yea, or something.” I replied coldly. I wiped tears which I didn’t know when they fell off my face, and started the car. Without a word I drove back to the shop.
“You sure you are ok?” Clara asked me when we were about to enter our shop.
“I’m fine.” I replied.
“We could do this some other time.”
“I AM FINE!” I screamed at her. I drove us here didn’t I? Why should the world stop because Zach is cheating on me?”
“Mary, you don’t know that for certain.” Clara protested.
“Haba Clara! Give me some credit.” I dropped my bag in a corner. “He said he had a meeting when he left. Meeting, not photo shoot.” I counted of on my fingers. “You saw those pictures, you are a makeup artist; does that look like professionally done makeup for a shoot?”
“There might be an ex….”
“Yes, there is, and it rhymes with teaching. Please, let’s ignore Zach’s iss for now, I need to concentrate on my new showroom. This here will be the lounge,…”
“What is your problem? Why do you want me to dwell on somebody who apparently doesn’t consider me. Zach is somewhere having the time of his life and you expect me to be unhappy because of him?” I shouted.
“No, not unhappy.” I just don’t want you bottling up emotions.” She replied calmly.
I walked away and walked round the showroom.
“What side will you prefer?” I asked her when I returned to where she was, typing furiously on her phone. I bet she was updating Susan.
“I’m left handed.” She replied, watching me warily.
That made me laugh.
“Seriously? You’re watching me like I’m on suicide watch? For a man?”
“You are behaving strangely.” She pointed out.
“Forgive me, this all is new. I don’t know the protocol behaviour when a boyfriend cheats.” I quipped.
“And you discover.” She added. “When a boyfriend cheats and you discover.”
“Whatever!” I picked my bag. “Let’s go for ice-cream. Can Susan come?”
“Lemme ask her.”
“Let’s go abduct her.” I left Clara behind to lock up.
Over ice-cream, we; Clara, Susan and I murdered Zach, and buried him. And I ignored his calls twice, on both phones. That spelt ‘guilty’ to me in block letters. Zach never called twice at once, for him to do that? guilty as charged!
Ice-cream made everything better. We went home to break the news to our elated parents, and a mini-party ensued. My elder brothers even came over when they heard the news.
And so the days passed, Zach didn’t make any more efforts to contact me, and pride kept me from attempting to contact him. Instead I googled him in between working on my showroom.
I refused to talk about it, not to my girls, I refused to even think about it for fear of having to define the state of my relationship with Zach, even to myself.
I did realise one thing though; a mixture of anger and pride is it’s own depressing adrenaline.
I worked twenty-two hours a day, I worked with the craftsmen pimping our place by day, and designed and sewed at night. Did it help? Not so sure.
Two weeks after I got the showroom/Zach’s escapade was made public, the showroom was ready.
The foreman was showing me(Clara had a client) around when Zach walked in.
He angrily looked from my elated face, to the foreman’s animated face and walked away.
“Zach!” I called to him, following.
I caught up with him as he was about to leave.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“So this is why you didn’t take my calls?” He retorted hotly.
“I didn’t take your calls because of your infidelity, your very public….”
“And you couldn’t pick up your phone, to hear my side of the story?”
“Pictures say a thousand words.”
“Really? Okay.” And he walked away.
I let him go.
“Is everything okay?” The foreman; Buchi asked from behind me.
Startled out of my reverie, I replied; “Yes. I am good. We’re done here right?” I asked.
“Yes we are.” He replied.
“Aite, I have your check in my purse.” I retrieved the check and handed it to him.
“Thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome, and thank you.”
“You sure you will be okay alone?” He asked from the door as he was about leavong.
“Yes, I will be.” I replied.
Why was everyone asking me that question?
Alone with my thoughts, I made a snappy decision; Zach and I needed to talk. I called him, he answered on the second ring.
“Where are you?” I asked him.
“Driving home.” He replied tersely.
“I’m on my way.” I locked up and drove to his house.
This was my first time of driving to his house, the view looked different with me behind the wheels.
He was helping himself to a bottle of water from the fridge when I walked in. He didn’t acknowledge me, just settled into his favourite couch, his poker face in place. I sat adjacent him.
“Okay, I’m here. Tell me your side of the story.”
“No, you initiated this meeting, so I guess you want to talk.” He replied staring into space.
“I don’t believe this, you accused me of not giving you the benefit of the doubt. I’m here to listen to your side and you don’t want to talk?”
“Talk about what? Is that supposed to be an issue? For goodness sakes am an entertainer, that could have been a fan, or promo shots. Am I supposed to explain myself every step of the way?” He raved.
I couldn’t believe this, this was his take on the whole issue?
“Really? I’m supposed to ignore pictures of you getting frisky with a female in a club?”
“So because you assumed I cheated, you went ahead to cheat?”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“I have seen your car in that parking lot every day this week. Is that dude my replacement?”
The absurdity of the accusation made me laugh.
“Go ahead, laugh. I’m happy I’m making you happy.”
“Zach, that guy was my foreman. Clara and I are the new owners of that shop. And don’t distract me. This is about you and your infidelity. Who was that woman?”
“You got a shop? And didn’t tell me?”
He sounded so hurt, I felt guilty. This weakened my resolve.
“Yea, it was the day after the car, the day I saw those pictures.” I explained, searching his face for emotion.
“Did you stop to think, how could I go from your parents’ to another woman’s arms? If according to your theory; that was a love embrace?”
That’s a thought!
“So who was she, what was the picture about?”
“I won’t answer that question until you are ready to trust me. So, tell me about the shop.”
I didn’t need to be asked twice. By the time I left for home later in the day, we had made up, without him telling me what those pictures were about.