I had this terrible dream the night before. We were sitting at a restaurant with colourless walls but tall walls nonetheless. He was browsing through the menu, and I was pre-occupied with my twitching eye. It felt like a rock was trapped into my eye (as one tends to feel when fluff gets stuck onto a contact lens) and no matter how many times I pet my eyelid, the itchiness remained. As time went by, Dima continued to stare at the menu, unable to decide what to order, and I grew blinder, unable to fix whatever it was that irritated my eye. Suddenly, I felt restless. I looked around me and one by one, the fixtures and fittings of the restaurant kept disappearing. First gone, were the paintings hung on the colourless walls. Then, the chairs and tables followed. Scared as I was, I nudged Dima with my elbow and asked him what was going on. He ignored me and kept staring at the menu. It was as if I wasn’t there. I pushed my chair back and stood in front of him, urging him to look at me, but nothing. He was stupefied, staring at that damned menu.
“Dima, look at me,” I yelled. In vain. I used my finger to caress his face but it was cold and lifeless. He was frozen in his seat.
I must have cried in my sleep forcing me to wake up because that’s the last scene from my dream which I remember. The next thing I was in Dima’s arms. Tightly held in his warm, homecoming embrace.
I wanted to warn him that something was going to happen, something not necessarily good. But I was reluctant. The role of a modern-day-“Casssandra”-prophet didn’t sit well with my usual positive and upbeat personality. But everyone has a dark side, and although well aware of mine, I wasn’t keen on revealing it to Dima just yet. In retrospect, I wish I had. It could have saved him the trouble that followed.
On Sunday afternoon when Dima asked me to get ready for a night out, I didn’t think much of it. He regularly called me at the mansion at the last minute to get ready for a night out. Usually, it was for things he was obliged to attend like charity events or informal business meetings. This time though, there was an urgency in his voice, mixed with hesitation or a faked calmness that I identified but chose to ignore.
So, like a good wife-to-be I was ready to go by 10:30pm. I waited for him at the lobby, dressed in a long, blood-red chiffon dress, wearing my hair on the side. I had the usual flutters in my stomach because I hadn’t seen him since early that morning. As I took my seat next to him in the car, he gave me a quick kiss on the cheek followed by a heavy sigh. Instantly, I was alarmed. Something fishy was going on.
“Is everything, OK?” I took his hand in both of mine and it was cold. He must have been outside shortly before meeting me.
“Of course,” he lied. I hated that he lied to me. I made a mental note to address this point at a later stage.
“Then what are you so anxious over, Dima?” He twisted in his seat, revealed a bitter smile and turned his face away from mine. He ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up ever so slightly, and then spoke a couple of swear words in Russian.
“When we arrive at the club tonight, I need to you stay with me at all times, Bella. Are we clear on that?”
“Of course. Where else would I be?” I pointed out the obvious but I remained curious as to what brought this on.
“You may see people you know there, and you may think it’s safe to stay with them rather than me.”
“People I know, Dima? Are you for real? Who would I know so well at a Russian club, that I’d leave you to be with them?”
“Bella, Mr. Colson will be at the club tonight.” He spoke slowly and I sensed that he was preparing me for more interesting information.
“Really? Baldy is in Moscow? What is he doing with Nasty-Cassy in Moscow?”
“It’s not surprising that you haven’t heard, Bella. It’s been a secret for quite a while…”
“What is?” This story was taking turns which I did not anticipate.
“They’re together, Bella. As in… dating. For many years, now.”
“You’re joking!” I was stunned. Mr. Colson and Nasty-Cassy a couple? This is ridiculous. The guy’s happily married.
“I think you’ve got it all wrong, Dima. Mr. Colson is happily married to Mrs. Colson and I’ve been to their recent, well, it’s been two years, but fairly recent vowels re-affirmation party.
“Not sure why they throw these parties, especially when they clearly know they’re shams, but I wanted you to know before we go what the deal is.”
“Thanks, honey. I mean, it is surprising but it’s not really my business so if he wants to fool around he can do so. I don’t even work for the guy anymore.”
“Thank heaven’s no, sweetheart.”
There was more to the story than he let on. Dima couldn’t care less for Baldy’s alleged affair with Nasty- Cassy. Before I could elicit more relevant information, his phone rang and soon he was lost in another conversation I could barely understand. His hand was now securely holding mine and he stroked my palm with his thumb. I couldn’t wait for this silly outing to be over and for us to get back home. There was only one way I could stop missing him and it entailed stripping.