I loved her more than my wife. So much that I was willing to sacrifice all that I had for her, even my life.
She was alluring; the kind of beauty you saw and got transfixed. She was every man’s dream, and a lot of men wanted to have her. They worshipped her and the ground she walked on. Even though she wasn’t faithful to me, I still wanted to be with her. In fact, I felt lucky that she chose to share a part of herself with me.
People said I was under a spell, some said that the witches in my village were using her to play roulette with my life, but I didn’t care. I loved her, and it was all that mattered to me.
The other woman massaged my ego and made me feel like a king whenever I visited her. She made me do things. Because of her, I took risks I normally wouldn’t dare. Also, she did things my wife would never do, and it made me desire her more. I was past caring what anyone thought about me, not even my wife, Faith.
Faith was a good woman. She would cook my meals, do my laundry, take care of our kids and perform her duties as a wife, but in all these things, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more and only one person could fill that need; my other woman.
Faith hurt deeply each time she saw the distant look in my eyes as we laid together. She knew she wasn’t enough for me, and it hurt her more because she had tried her best to heal me, but there was no way she would win me back over the other woman. Her tears no longer moved me and I could hardly wait to be out of her sight.
All I longed for was to be in my lover’s house, wrapped in her warm embrace as she made me feel like a man. Her man. She satisfied me in ways Faith couldn’t. I wanted her all to myself, but she would have none of it.
“Harun, I am not yours to keep,” she would say. “These men you see want me just as much as you do. I have to fulfil their desires too.”
Those words, as bitter as bile, would hurt me deeply, but I knew I had to put up with her decision. To me, it was better to share her with those other men who were not better than me, than not have her at all. So each time I went to her parlour, I wore an air of arrogance.
The other men in her house do nothing but sweat profusely in the air-conditioned room and shout on top of their lungs at the desktops. I couldn’t tell if they did it to gain attention or jinx each other’s games. All I wanted and cared about was to keep my calm, win and be their king. I had to make her proud of me. She had to see that I was better than those hoodlums who patronised her services.
One fateful day whilst in her house, I was determined to win every single round of any game I played. I furrowed my brows in determination and I rolled up my sleeves. I glowered at any man who got close to me because I didn’t want them to rub off their terrible luck on me. Then the games began.
With each round, my determination increased, and my hunger for more wins soared. The more I staked a bet on a game, the surer I was of a win. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost. I could see her in one corner of the room. Her arms folded on her bosom, and her eyes were fixed on me. My hands shook and my throat felt dry suddenly. I had to prove to her that I wasn’t a loser like the other men. So I played more games. This time, I was more strategic with my choices.
Whenever I lost a game, she would encourage me to stake more. She said that she knew I would do great eventually. She would remind me of all the other times I had won and I would stake more and more just to please her. I could feel my blood boiling with excitement as sweat ran down my back and wet my armpits.
As always, to massage my ego, my lover would give me a subtle smile and whisper in my ears, “Harun, you can win this round. I believe in you.” And like a moth is drawn to a flame, I rolled up my sleeves a notch higher with pumped-up emotions and ego. And I staked higher than the last round.
The endless cycle of win-some-lose-some continued until I was down to my last dime. I had emptied my wallet and account — because she said she believed I would do great. So on this last round, I waited for the result with my heart in my mouth. Towards the end of the game, she said to me, “You should have staked home-draw instead of home.”
Like water dousing out a fire, my morale went low and a devastating pain gripped my chest. Just then I saw the result. LOST GAME. I was left with absolutely nothing. A sudden aura of emptiness overshadowed me and I felt ice cold. The other woman touched my shoulder and walked away. I watched her walk over to a man who was screaming his victory on top of his lungs.
I no longer had any money in my bank account which meant no food for my family, and the fulfilment of our landlord’s threat to throw us out of his house. Worst of all, my lover was no longer interested in me since I had nothing to offer her anymore.
The other woman had betrayed me despite the fact I had given her my head on a platter of gold. She had left me stranded with the pieces of my life falling from my hands and I couldn’t blame her for my foolishness. She had enticed me with promises of quick wealth, and I had fallen for her deception.
Her name was Gambling and I wish I had never met her.
PS: To read my article on Writer’s Block, click here.