Lost in Hue: The Clandestine World of Tamara Lu, Ep 3 (Hidden Lives of Wives)

My wife Tamara had a side of her that I knew nothing about up until the afternoon when I took lunch to her work and found out she had quit two weeks before. I knew most of the blame was on me because I hadn’t been paying attention to the details, little things that I really should have been noticing before then. But after that day, especially after being hit with chloroform later that evening and waking up the next morning with everything in place and not a hint of foul play, I knew that the play had to be even fouler than I had anticipated. That’s when my eyes opened. I started picking up clues while she was serving me breakfast: the way she did everything with her left hand even though I had known her to be right-handed, the way her irises appeared slightly darker than their normal mahogany color, she was even in a livelier mood and wasn’t being her calculated self.

How long had this been going on? Where did she learn how to cut oranges like that? She wasn’t even looking at them; she had her eyes fixed on me the whole time! It sounded ridiculous, but I had begun to consider the possibility that Tamara was a spy.

▪ↈ▪

I had already decided that I was going to stalk her, but if there was even the slightest chance that my wild hunch was correct, then I knew I was going to have to do everything that I could to make sure I wasn’t caught. Maybe I had watched too many movies, but the last thing I wanted was for whoever she was working for to find me and kill me in front of her. Or even worse.

For her to kill me herself.

“Miles, you’re being paranoid,” I told myself as I lifted my nose to the steering wheel and peeped over the dashboard of my 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer. I was parked on the side of the road a couple of yards away from the main gate of the apartment block we were staying at, just beyond a bend so that I was concealed by some bushes on the shoulder. I ducked my head a little lower when I saw her A-Class Mercedes hood pulling through the gate. I was hearing nothing else but my thudding heartbeat, wondering why I hadn’t borrowed a friend’s car so I could be even more inconspicuous. There weren’t many black Lancers in Lusaka – hell, there weren’t many Lancers period – so she would know something was up the moment she caught a glance of my customized import. It was too late to change the plan, so I slowly reversed a little further back until I couldn’t see the gate anymore and after that, I could only hope that she wouldn’t take an alternate route and come in my direction.

Ten seconds.

Twenty.

After half a minute passed and there was no car coming down the road, I assumed that the coast was clear and began to move forward.

Her car was nowhere to be seen.

Okay, so I dodged a bullet there (maybe even quite literally), but now, her car was nowhere to be seen! Great job, Miles. Now how are you going to find her? I sped down the road and meandered through the streets of Roma until I got to the road leading to the traffic circle at East Park Mall, about a stone’s throw from her office block, finding bumper to bumper traffic there. A quick glance at the trail of cars in front of me confirmed that her silver hatchback was not among them. I was hoping that I would never have to use any phone tracker application on my phone, having even laughed at people that did in the past, but I was getting increasingly desperate.

After downloading the app, I got a hit all the way across town in the southern Makeni farms. Huh? How did she get there so fast? This puzzle was fast becoming a jigsaw. No longer being able to afford propriety, I went off the road onto the sidewalk to get by the traffic jam, and with a sigh of audacity, squeezed myself in front of a minibus that was about to go onto the traffic circle. Ignoring the colorful vocabulary of insults that he hurled at me, I joined the swirling stream of cars and once I got to open road, I put my pedal to the floor in an attempt to gain lost ground and hoping to God that I wouldn’t get charged for over speeding.

After about thirty minutes of what wasn’t far away from Formula One driving, I finally got to the location that was indicated on the map. Okay. What now? Nothing else to do but sit and wait, from a safe distance of course.

In retrospect, I probably should have called in sick, because my phone didn’t stop ringing during the stakeout, so I decided to turn it off, and just when I looked back up at the gate with my pair of binoculars, I saw her. She was walking out through the gate wearing a dashing Neptune blue dress, but it wasn’t what she was wearing that caught my attention. It was who she was with. I had seen lots of pictures of him in the old photo albums she used to keep.

Chileshe, her high school prom date.

I took a deep breath. There has to be an explanation for this, I thought. I got the explanation when he swooped down and kissed her. All the explanation I needed.

She’s cheating on me.

▪ↈ▪ↈ▪

~Jack~

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