” I’m I ever getting re-married? I don’t think so. It’s not for everybody. I’ve done it and it’s quite something.”
That is how Jim swore years back. I swear by avocados all the time then use them on my hair and face. Dang. Jim too. He had had two failed marriages. Besides, he was not in the mood to raise more children.
“Goddamit. Kids don’t give a rats armpit that you were drunk last night and got home in the a.m. They want you in a onesie looking like a walking mouse and playing like you just had some redbull.”
Jim is a football agent and a Dj. He is of average stature , bespectacled and a silver-fox. Divorced after 22 years of marriage. He has 3 kids. Zee, Jan and Zy. He lives with 3 nannies-each to a child, a chef and dogs. You can barely tell he is 47. He looks younger. But these kinds of people. You never ask them about the secret. They will make you eat and drink grass.
He ushers me to a gazebo at the corner of the compound. It has food and drinks. I’m curious about his marriages.
“I married Rami for 10 years and had 2 kids. Then Nilla for barely a year. Had one child. Rami woke up with a headache one morning. She took pain killers, went back to bed and never woke up again. She died. We weren’t happy. We were about proving points.”
His phone rings. It is a confirmation for travel. He has been booked to Dj at a private yatch party in Dubai.
“Nilla. I met her in Maroc. On the day I was leaving she cried. That had to be genuine. Who cries two days after they meet? There must have been a connection. I flew her in and married her at the attorney.”
One lazy Sunday afternoon after a travel, his laptop hanged. It probably didn’t want to come back home. Maybe because no one is celebrated at home. Looks like it got banged often and it wasn’t happy. So the laptop freezes and it refuses to restart, and it can’t be jumpstarted. So he does the obvious ; asks Nilla for hers for a quick job.
You know the obvious saying about what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, yadayadayada…Jim wasn’t looking for a thing. He had guessed a few times that it was there but he did not want to confirm it. Some things are better not seen. But a message popped. Her whatsapp was connected to the laptop.
“Hey. Longtime. Miami, 12 days. Paid trip. You can have anything in exchange.”
The number was not saved and Nilla was pregnant. Benefit of doubt maybe? You know these mannerless men who get your wife’s numbers from person x and decide to message? Or those prisoners! They needed to eat more cabbages and soup. Damn.
“Hey Nilla. Paris? Louboutin? Channel, Jimmy Choo? Name your prize. Keep me in the know, will plan your ticket.”
He goes silent for a minute.
“Nilla. It was her. My Nilla. How could I not have known? I got her in Maroc. She probably was at ‘work’.
He went to the room. His Nilla was very pregnant and falling asleep. He asked if she was okay and kissed her good night. He assured her that he loved her and that he couldn’t wait to have the baby-he meant it. Why would you suspect a kissing husband to be looking at your whatsapp messages? So Nilla slept.
“I locked myself up in the study room. I was sweating. I was crying. I punched air. I prayed and hoped it was a lie.”
But he wanted to be certain. He sat and composed himself. He read message by message. His Nilla baited rich married men. She blackmailed them. Fake pregnancies and threats to tell their wives. They paid for silence handsomely. She also joined rich men for pleasure in exchange for luxuries that she would later encash. She took photos on travel and on her fake instagram profile, where she baited the who and who, she was an influencer-smart ho-sister.
In her recent messages, she told her suitors that she was under intense training but would find time to fly down in a few months so they could catch up. Women lie. They could easily kill everyone including the message recepient in their lies. These little things!!
“You went to sleep? In the same bed?”
“Of course. I tossed and turned. I was sick.”
“You, didn’t want to kill someone? Something? Even a mosquito?”
“Haha. That night was long!”
“Who faced the wall that night?,I ask
“You should have put her next to the door so that if a thief or lion came in, she would freeze and confess so you protect her! Aaargh you killed the vibe.” I say.
“Life moved on normally. If anything, I showed her double love. I wanted my baby. I had to be carefull “
On discharge, after Zy was born, Jim gave Nillla afew dollars and an airticket. He thanked her for Zy but told her they were done. He was not going home with him.
“She cried. She said it was the devil. But I din’t know how the devil looks like. It would only be fair to show me a blue fat round thing in a tie smoking cigar and say ‘this is it. This is that devil that made me do things.’ I would have considered. I had made up my mind. I gave strict instructions to my security not to allow her. They wanted their jobs so they adhered. She wrote to me a few times on mail saying she was sorry. I had had enough.”
But he had bought property in Maroc in her name so he was sure she would not suffer. He just didn’t want her with him.”
He wasn’t a good man either. He acknowledges. The universe has a way of clapping back. Maybe Nilla was his karma. Rami, while alive, cheated. Jim was never present so she did it and hoped he would never know but he did and decided to cheat back because why not? He wanted to show her that he knew and that he was qualified in the game. He never asked her but he did it as well.
“I flew in babes for sex. Sometimes just fly someone in and be away from home to make Rami angry knowing she would never ask me. “
It became a habit. He had the money.
“But what’s a plane ticket if I will have a gorgeous girl for the weekend? 5000 miles or so was nothing.”
He paid tickets, booked hotels and bought the girls luxuries.
I tell him that he needed not to fly me in. I was there. He just needed to shop till I dropped. He laughs.
“Tatu, If there is anywhere I want to be, is with my kids. I messed up. I can not change the past, but wont do it again. I thought money was everything. When I lost Rami and Nilla, I became empty. I missed a connection with someone. Money never bought that.”
“Don’t you think the play field is fair? You ruled Rami’s world with your women, then landed Nilla, who used you as a stepping stone to a richer life?” I ask
“I hate to say it but the universe serves you what you give,” he adds calmly.
He gulps his cocktail and smiles.
“But after I changed, God rewarded me. He gave me Redd.”
I move closer. I want to slap the birds and shush them from chirping. This is the part of the story that you don’t want to miss. If Redd is not a golf stick or a luxury car, it is a woman.
“When I told my momI had met the one-another one, she asked me to do something normal at least for once. I had never done anything by the book anyway so she had a point. Redd is 30. 17 years younger than me.”
I have more of a problem with his moustache than the relationship. If he trimmed that moustache, he would look more handsome. Doesn’t it cover in beer frost? Does Redd see how messy it looks? And what was that age gap again?
“A lot of people don’t understand that age gap relationships can be genuine. They always think that there is something else going on, he says looking at me as one of those lots of people who say.
“Isn’t there more to it?” I ask
“You too? Jeez. You suck,” he says.
“Jim, money, riches…I know there is no book to cap it at lesser years but why?
“Tatu stop. I would hate to go that road. I did my homework well. I trust Redd.”
I figure he is getting agitated. Not the best thing. I could easily be kicked out before eating to my full. So I shut my mouth. At least for the food.
“So what do your friends say? I say, forgetting I was to stop and eat.
“Interesting chaps. They seemed unfazed but if they want to come over, they ask if Redd would need a cardiac arrest team just incase…we oldies have things happening any time”
There’s a kid running towards us. It’s Zee. He looks bothered.
“Papa, papa, call Redd. I need a haircut. Tomorrow is school and she promised to take me for the cut. If I go to school like this, teacher will write in my diary.”
Today’s kids! What is writing in a diary? Write! Infact fill all pages! For as long as you are not beating me, do whatever. Permission granted.
The kids took part in choosing Redd. They liked that she didn’t look like a scarecrow so she would make a gorgeous mom during school events and she didn’t call their dog a dog. It is a pet not a dog. And also, her top did not end on top of her navel. It was a good sign. Tells you who dad had brought before.
There was a problem.
Redd wanted a child of her own.
Jim had had a vasectomy after Nilla got pregnant.
“We have to reverse the vasectomy,” he says biting his lips
” Wait. So your tubes or whatever are cut and blocked then you tell the doc, aargh you guy, I changed my mind. So they sew them back together?”
“Haha yes. That is exactly it,” he chuckles
“Hold up. So someone, probably a guy, gets comfortable with your testicles and you remain comfortable? Oh these doctors! They feel every inch of things. Then they look at you like they never saw. Hypocrites.”
“I tell you! So yeah, they have to sew them back.” He adds
“Who does that?”I ask
“Me. Watch me,” Jim responds laughing.
“Will they need a bra for a while?-your testicles,” I ask holding the strap of mine.
“Uuhhmm, hold for a while…we can do a small cupsize. I promise. Victoria’s secret? Nayomi, La Senza?”I ask. He laughs. Heaven must be a place I will see through the eye of a needle.
Redd drives in. Jan and Zee run towards her and jump on her.She hugs each and pulls them close. They have their moment. One help picks her bag and another brings Zy. She looks like what Jim has been looking for-the one. She swings Zy around kissing her and comes to the gazebo. She says hi and kisses Jim.
Could she have eaten his moustache? That moustache. There is no way you would kiss Jim and walk away without hair between your teeth.
A bit of baby talk happens with Zy occassionally calling her mama.
“How is it, the blending in, the May-December relationship, what people say…”I ask.
“People? What people? They always talk whether you please them or not. There is no formula to being a step mom. You just mother to your best without bias. It is work. Jim keeps me sane.”
She acknowledges that in furture, when older, she maybe the caretaker in the relationship but what matters now, is that they both still have energy to parent so they will take a day at a time.
Zee calls her out. She has to leave. She says something to Jim and bids me bye. As she walks, her tall, average frame dissappears slowly.
“I love her. She makes us complete,” Jim says as Redd walks away with Zy.
The pessimist in me is awake. It’s probably drinking busaa (local brew).
” What if she is not the one? You know, the final one, actual one, true one, that one, the it…What if? “
“I will have a grand wedding with Redd. She deserves it so we are planning it.”
“Another what?”he asks
“That thing. Now it’s a wedding?What if it doesn’t work Jim?”
“If it doesn’t, I will stop there. I will give Redd what she wants and have my peace. I ‘m certain though that this is final.”
” What if you woke up and she was an avocado? Suddenly so full of herself and feeling like the only thing in the world? Feeling like quails never existed before them? What if?”