By Francis Ewherido
My book, Life Lessons From Mudipapa, was unveiled a year ago. To commemorate the first anniversary, I serve you this excerpt:
Every year, Mudipapa’s company sent staff to their parent company in Switzerland for training. He had attended a few of such trainings and always used them as opportunities to have holiday sessions with EseOghene (his wife). Once he even went with the whole family. On this particular trip in 2002, Eseoghene had just had Omo, so she could not accompany him. The training went very well.
During the training, he became friendly with a beautiful, round-faced colleague from their South African operations. She was a divorced mother of two, but still well-shaped, except for her big bum which was slightly disproportionate to the rest of her body. On the last day before returning to Nigeria, she invited him to get into town with her to try some delicious local cuisines at a restaurant she had visited during her previous trip.
Everything looked straightforward enough. Mudipapa was to meet her at Room 503 on the fifth floor by 7:30pm. When Mudipapa got there, she was still in her bathrobe. He excused himself to come back by 8pm to enable her dress up. He hoped their 8pm reservation at the restaurant would not be cancelled. He was by the door on his way out when Chantelle called him back. He turned and that was all he could remember.
When he regained his bearing, he was lying beside Chantelle, exhausted. “That was not bad,” she said in her deep South African accent. Mudipapa was quiet. “Mudiaga, any problem,” Chantelle asked, concerned. “I have never done this before,” he confessed. “Done what? Had sex?” Chantelle asked confused. “No, cheated on my wife,” Mudipapa clarified. “You can’t be serious,” Chantelle managed to say, as she laughed aloud uncontrollably. “Sex means nothing to you guys from Nigeria. In South Africa, Nigerians sleep around like dogs; they are fun loving people and take very good care of the women…”
Mudipapa rose to look for his clothes that were scattered all over the room. As he was dressing up, Chantelle got up from the bed and held him. When Mudipapa beheld Chantelle’s body for the second time, he lost it again and tumbled into bed with her. Both of them slept off exhausted thereafter. Mudipapa woke up after midnight, hurriedly dressed up and stole out of the room.
Back in his room, the deeply religious Mudipapa could not sleep. “How could I have allowed Chantelle to enchant me,” he said to himself. Then it hit him: he had just had unprotected sex with a woman he was not familiar with her HIV status! What if she was HIV positive? He briefly dismissed the thought when he remembered Chantelle’s fresh and flawless skin. Then he remembered that some HIV positive people looked perfectly normal, even better looking than non-carriers. “What if I get home and EseOghene wants us to make love? We have been off love making for months now because of Omo’s difficult pregnancy.”
He would find a way to dodge sex with EseOghene until he had done an HIV test. He quickly put on his lap top to cross check. His heart sank when he found out that a person could have HIV for months before it is detected by tests. His mind was in turmoil. It was now 3am. His flight was 9:45am. He decided to pack his luggage. He could always sleep during the flight, he reasoned.
Done with packing, sleep would still not come. He recalled the events of the previous night. He had let down his guards; that was why 19 years of absolute marital fidelity came crashing down. From the beginning, Mudipapa knew marital fidelity and infidelity were choices and he had decided to be faithful. But he was acutely aware of the weakness of men. As a rule, he never stayed alone with another woman in a room if there was privacy. Ignoring that rule was what led him to end up in bed with Chantelle. But Mudipapa was a very frank man. He admitted to himself, even if grudgingly, that sex with Chantelle was mind blowing. The only times he enjoyed this kind of sex with EseOghene was in the first 10 years of their marriage. Sex with EseOghene was still okay, but now routine and no longer earth shaking. They needed to re-jig their sex life, especially now that Omo was out of the way.
Telling EseOghene about the incident was out of the way. She would definitely forgive him; she loved him that much, but it would put a knife on some of the cords that held them together, the most important being trust. She would be devastated, she would feel betrayed. “Do unfaithful husbands ever admit their infidelity to their wives,” Mudipapa wondered. Then he remembered his promiscuous university school mate, Joshua. Before God “arrested” him, he often said that, ‘If your girlfriend catches you with another woman, even in bed, deny, deny and deny.’
That ashawo ‘bastard,’ thank God, he has repented and given his life to Christ,” Mudipapa sighed. For the first time since he stole into his room, he laughed. Just then his intercom rang. “Don’t tell me you want to leave without telling me goodbye, softy.” It was Chantelle on the line with her unmistakable South African accent. “Don’t worry, I won’t invite you to my room again; I will meet you at the reception,” Chantelle said, laughing at the other end.
“Witch” was all Mudipapa could mutter after dropping the handset. Just then, he checked his watch and realised it was almost 5am. His eyes were heavy and his head was pounding too. He decided to check his blood pressure. Systolic was 165, while diastolic was 102. That was high! He decided to take his BP drugs.
Chantelle gave him a peck on the cheek with a mischievous wink at the reception, shoved her complimentary card into his hand and told him to get in touch when he got back to Nigeria. Wincing, Mudipapa again said “witch… who will contact you” from underneath his breath. As soon as he got into the cab, he tore the complimentary card. He did not trust himself to refrain from contacting her. “This woman is hot; I want no more temptations,” he murmured. “Excusez-moi, monsieur (excuse me, sir).” it was the cab driver. “Ne t’en fais pas (Don’t worry),” Mudipapa responded.
Then Mudipapa remembered an incident when he was wrongly accused of rape at age six. Some teenage boys then stripped him naked to examine his manhood and concluded that Mudipapa could not have committed the rape because his penis was flaccid. Mudipapa roared into laughter: “Clowns and inexperienced ignoramuses masquerading as experts, do people maintain erection after sexual intercourse?’’ He said to himself aloud. At this point, the cab driver turned, concerned, “excusez-moi, monsieur, j’espère que vous allez bien?” (Excuse me, sir, I hope you are alright?). “Je suis désolé, ne me dérange pas,” (I’m sorry, don’t mind me), Mudipapa mumbled in halting French. Mudipapa spent the rest of the trip to the airport in deep thought.