Her hair. That was the first thing I noticed. Beautifully twisted locks – smaller than the usual size. She must have had those kinky twists done recently. They were held together with a simple black hair ruffle at the nape of her neck, leaving her face exposed, except for her eyes, which were slightly shielded by her petite glasses. Her skin was fair; fairer than the average African, slightly fairer than mine. She was wearing a blue khaki dress which stopped just above her knees, giving ample view to her recently shaven legs. Simple white trainers finished the look. She looked good. Probably in her mid-twenties I would say – definitely not more than twenty-eight. She reminded me of a friend I had not seen in many years. I had recently given some thought to the idea of ‘tushing-up’ my wardrobe, so I started paying more attention to how other people (with looks and frames similar to mine) wore their clothing combinations.
I was in a meeting when this paragon of beauty walked into the café and distracted my attention briefly. I focused on what I was doing but I wanted to glance her way again. That was when I noticed she was not alone. Silent alarms went off in my head when I noticed her companion. He looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties, Caucasian, a little on heavy side, dressed simply in grey t-shirt and beige slacks. She had found a table for two with a view, a short distance from our group, but straight within my line of sight. She was sitting cross-legged, swinging her white trainer-ed foot gently, waiting for him as he placed their orders. They had seventy percent of my attention now as I nodded at something a colleague was saying in my meeting. I watched their body language. It told a story I didn’t want to believe. I looked around me. We were at a very secluded hotel. This was the kind of place you came to if you wanted to get away from everything…… or hide out.
I tried making excuses for them in my head or painting any scenario apart from what my instincts were saying. It could be her step-dad, or an Uncle, or maybe it was a work trip, you know, a business meeting of some sorts. The gentle brush of her fingers against the back of his hand told me to stop kidding myself. I couldn’t see his face as he had his back to me, but I was almost daring her to look in my direction. There were no other Africans around so she must have noticed me. They were still at the table when we got up to leave. One of my colleagues leaned into me saying “did you see what my eyes were seeing?” that was it. All my excuses vanished. This was not an innocent meeting.
To be honest, they could have simply been two people having lunch together; or so I kept telling myself, but there was something just not right about the picture they painted from where I was standing. As we drove back into town, I kept thinking ‘doesn’t she know what she is doing?’ ‘hasn’t someone told her?’ He must have a family somewhere. He probably has a daughter her age or older! I wish I knew her. I wished she would have caught my eye and seen me pleading with her not to go further. Some of you might be asking why I was so concerned. I genuinely don’t know. But once I was done admiring her outfit, all I could see in her was ‘the other woman’. My thoughts went wild in various directions. Maybe her Mom has spoken to her. Maybe her family needs help and she is supporting them the fastest way she can. Maybe she has always been attracted to the father-figure kind of guy – to fill a gap in her life. I thought of characters from some of the Nollywood movies I had watched in the past; how the people closest to you tend not to ask questions as long as you bring money or buy gifts and meet their every want. They just turn a blind eye saying ‘she is an adult. She knows what she is doing.’
There was a young lady who I took a natural dislike to. She was playing the role of ‘the other woman’ in a loved one’s life. I couldn’t get the guy to listen and I didn’t want to be insulted so I didn’t talk to her. I just gave her dirty looks from a distance.
Years later, when water had gone under the bridge, I became friends with this lady, and I took the time to explain my dislike for her in the past. “I wish someone had sat me down and told me what I was doing” was her response. I was silent. She wished she had been corrected and not wasted time on fruitless pursuits. Would she really have listened though? Certainly not if I had come with my nose of condemnation and my goody-two-shoes attitude. But how do you start such a conversation with someone you hardly know…? I’m happy this lady can trust me as a friend now, but I still wonder how things would have turned out if I had spoken to her years ago and not just condemned her from a distance.
Its easy to hate the ‘other woman’ and imagine her to be some demon sent from the pit of hell to ruin a good man, or woman ( where the ‘other man’ is involved), but the times we have kept quiet, or turned a blind eye to a glaring situation could also be classed as wrong-doing. This is not an easy pill to swallow because it sounds like I am saying we should all stick our noses into other people’s business. I am certainly NOT saying that, so don’t call my name if someone answers you accordingly.
I am saying that we should care a little deeper and let our love be real. Yes, you may get the odd insult for your care, but if God is leading you, then that’s ok. You will know what is right to do if you are being led by the Holy Spirit. So much for me trying not to preach, but you really need God to help when dealing with such a sensitive matter. Better yet, just keep praying ‘…Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil!’