I was an energetic fine undergraduate Law student who was effortlessly intelligent, surrounded by several beautiful young single women but I ended up with a married woman, for about 7 months.
It was 7 months of excitement, perhaps one of the most amazing moments of my adult life despite having shared it with someone who was far older than me in a campus-frenzy love affair.
She was 32 years old at the time and I was 25.
In fact, when we first met, I demanded to have a look at her driver’s licence to ascertain if indeed she was the age she claimed to be. She was calm, beautiful and looked extremely young; so until our age-related conversation, I had perched her at around 24 or at most 26.
The meeting itself was fascinating: as a somewhat library regular, I had spotted her a few times at the Law School’s library with her head buried in a book.
On one occasion, I came to the conclusion that she was my year mate as the two books that sat on her table while I walked past were familiar—one of which I still remember as “Key Cases on Equity & Trust.”
I had stared at her several times in the past and therefore when I sat directly opposite her desk at the library on a typical wet London afternoon, I didn’t feel I was intruding, neither did I feel I was a stranger but I was both.
A few minutes after I sat down and aimless flipping through a book I had picked, on Thomas’ Hobbes’ State of Nature, another student who was the only person seated between my admirer, whom I later got to know as Angela, and I passed a paper to me.
I opened it and it read along the lines: “Hey stranger, you’ve been starring for days. I’ve always wondered when you would speak. BTW, my name is Angela and you.”
The note was just a conversation starter but I found it romantic and I quickly pulled a plain sheet from my then grey ‘All Stars Converse’ backpack and wrote back: ‘I am Christopher, probably Vincent too, a law student who is more interested in ambiguity embedded in Philosophy than Law—what do you study?”
For about 40 minutes, we held lengthy introductory conversations through the passing of notes to one another via this unknown middle student. I think she got fed up, so she picked her books and moved to the far end of the room.
And then I wrote my final note: “our benevolent middle-woman has forfeited her unpaid job. Perhaps, she would file a piss take lawsuit against us soon. As we wait for that, do you want to have lunch—pack your books if the answer is YES.”
After reading the note, she smiled and I saw her clearing her table—meaning she was up for the lunch. I followed; we swapped out of the entry barriers at the library with our ID cards and headed to the reception.
We spoke the first words to each other at the reception when I said: I hope you don’t mind a Chinese restaurant and she replied, I am not picky. I then said, that explains a lot—and she replied, I mean in terms of food, not whatever insane nonsense you are inferring.
She’s “smugly smart”, I said to myself.
As we walked to the car park, I brought my car keys out and immediately she said; I am not jumping into your car for two valid reasons; my African mother has advised I do not jump into strangers I only know their first names’ cars and also, I don’t even know if you have a proper driving licence, this is East London you know. So I am driving.
She drove a BMW, 1 Series and the inside was super clean. When we sat in her car, I felt good that she rejected my inaudible offer to drive mine—because my car was a mess, compared to her spotless new car.
The lunch was great and it was there that I got to know she was a Nigerian. She had a degree already from Nigeria but was embarking on a career change, hence her pursuit of law as a second degree.
During our conversation, I asked about her age and she said she was 32. I disputed that, not on any flattery grounds but I sincerely didn’t believe she was that old. She didn’t look that old.
I asked to see her driver’s licence which she showed me, a confirmation that she was 7 years older than me. But I’ve always been the person who was into older women—as I found them drama free, so it didn’t matter much.
She did not wear a wedding ring and I had no reason to suspect she was even married. It didn’t occur to me that was even a possibility. But in hindsight, I should have asked, considering her age.
I didn’t ask and she didn’t mention anything in that regard. We exchanged phone numbers and that night, we spent almost 2 hours, texting each other.
Soon, we started knocking boots. She would mostly drive 2 hours to my place when both of us did not have lectures and spend the entire day together.
Something was odd about her though. Mostly when she came around, we would order Pizzas or Chinese for lunch, after whatever amazing “us time”—she would demand that we sit on the floor to eat our lunch.
Other times, she would strip to just her underwear and head to Youtube—she would play several P-Square songs loudly, dance for about hour and after sweating, go and shower.
There were few instances she spent the time at my end. It was one of those sleepovers that she told me she was married, with 2 kids and the husband was a Pastor.
At first, I didn’t believe anything she was saying. She had drunk a glass of wine and therefore I said she was talking gibberish because of the drink. She insisted she was married—and reached for her bag to show me her wedding rings.
She went on her phone and showed me photos of her family. She gave me her husband’s church’s name and surname, which was her surname. I typed it into Google and found the husband’s church’s website.
Holy Shit! She was being real. I had been having crazy fun with a married woman and we were even at the time planning a holiday to Croatia. I was shocked and at the same time mad.
I asked how she was able to come around regularly, especially the sleepovers including being with me that every night.
She said her first degree was in nursing and she was a practising nurse so because of Law School, she was on a few night shifts each week to support herself and therefore the nights she spends with me, she’s supposed to be at work but she takes them off without her husband knowing.
She said she decided to come clean that day because she felt guilty that I didn’t know and also, she was snapped by a speed-camera a few miles to my place. Hence, the ticket would go to her house and if her husband opened it, it would create huge problems for her already problematic marriage.
It was then that tears started dropping—as she took me through what she called a “mistake marriage” which had totally robbed her of any fun she envisaged for her life and did not mirror her own conception of family life.
She was basically not happy and her pastor husband was not making any effort to remedy things. He was stiff and was against even oral sex, she said.
They were not allowed to play any genre of songs apart from certain selected Gospel tunes in their house.
That explained her “plenty dance” and “let’s eat on the floor” requests I called weird.
After a long emotionally charged conversation, she fell asleep with her alarm set to 5am—as usual. I couldn’t really sleep.
It was the last night we spent together and the last time we really held any meaningful conversations. The last time I saw her was when I was admitted to the hospital for an ulcer. She heard of it through any mate and she showed up at the hospital with fruits and other things.
We do not speak even as friends. But I learnt a valuable lesson; when it’s too good to be true, it surely is—and also ask all the relevant questions including; are you married?
I was too excited to take note of the little things that could have given her away as married. Perhaps, my inner demons didn’t care that she was married and therefore, I didn’t even evaluate that possibility.
What’s sad is; she seemed trapped in a marriage she wasn’t ever going to be happy in–because she had to always pretend or put up a personality just to please her uncompromising partner.