I hardly slept that night. i kept tossing until the following morning. something was nagging me at the back of my mind and i knew it wasn’t good news. but what could have been so bad that Ben couldn’t tell me in person and instead had to send that message with no any trace of emotions in it? i was yet to find out. sometimes i hated surprises especially when they heralded bad news. i was terrified of being hurt. i had so far built a wall of defense around my heart and my whole being by treading carefully on the path of life, not to hurt others and in the process not to be hurt in return.
i left for his house, it wasn’t far because we lived in the same neighborhood. i found his brother Lloyd and his ever loud girlfriend who couldn’t keep her hands off him the moment i stepped inside. i don’t know why but women have some defense mechanism that only a fellow woman can detect. the ‘keep-away-from-my-man-cant-you-see-how-much-in-love-we-are’ attitude. she relaxed a bit when Lloyd introduced me as his brother’s girlfriend.
i went straight to Ben’s bedroom and found him still in bed watching a movie.
“hie” he mumbled lazily without looking at me. i answered back and joined him on the bed leaning my head on his chest. the silence was tormenting and we sat like that for almost an hour watching a movie i couldn’t understand before he said “can you please move a bit,you are hurting me”. i quickly moved out and headed for the kitchen before i lost my mind because i could no longer bear the strain between us.
he joined me a few minutes later and stood on the door,watching me cook. i could feel his eyes penetrating to the core of my very soul. was it judgement? self accusation? as if he was not sure if he could trust himself with what he was about to tell me. i couldn’t fathom the cause of his nervousness and i felt tears misting my eyes.
” wangu how best can you take bad news?” like seriously? my heart was in my throat and he was here further delaying it. i wished he could have just nailed it and got it over with.
” just say it am sure i will be able to take it” my firm posture betrayed the shock i was feeling inside, i could feel my knees buckling against each other. the waiting seemed like eternity.
“you see, you are the best thing that has ever…” he got interrupted by Lloyd who called him. at that time my heart was hammering inside me,threatening to burst. he told me to go along with him.
i put on a smile before the two stooges who were starting to drown themselves in alcohol. seriously i never got along with his brother who kept on changing girls like underwear. i felt he was a bad influence on my man
” i need some wine, can you please go and buy it for me in town? i hope you don’t mind me and my girl getting wasted today. isn’t it babe?” she purred like an overfed cat in return. Ben suggested i escort him to town, he drove his brother’s car and we stop at an ATM and i watched him taking money close to twenty thousand kwacha. we walked the rest of the way to the liquor shop and bought two Overmeer wine caskets and a set of wine glasses all along he kept stealing glances at me and saying my name over and over and that was worsening things inside me. he paid for the things and we went to the car.
” wangu am really sorry” he started. a million questions raced through my mind.
“for what?” i asked unsure if i really wanted an answer to that.
” i have gotten back with my ex-girlfriend” he finally dropped the bombshell. i felt so numb from head to toe. it couldn’t be, not my Ben.
” so you still love her?” i think it was dumb of me but i didn’t know what else to say.
” yes. we were together at school and met here again recently” to someone who could have seen us, the conversation looked normal and innocent enough because i wasn’t throwing any tantrums, not yet.
he started the car but he remembered that he forgot to buy a wrist watch in one of the shops so he had to get back. he insisted that we go together, i walked slowly behind him feeling the pain of my high heels and feeling chilly even though it was burning.
we went inside the shop. he bought watch and saw a nice red and white floral dress that was just my size.
‘would you like the dress?” he asked me, i looked dazed and blank that he thought i wasn’t listening until he repeated. i declined this ridiculous offer, i didn’t want any skeletons that could lurk and haunt me each time i looked at that cursed dress.
we headed back to the house, it was evident these people were in a mood of partying. i went straight to the bedroom and sat in silence. my mind stopped working and i didn’t know why i still wasn’t feeling anything. a driver came to pick Ben and he left for work without saying any word to me,i was grateful in another way because i didn’t think i could have stomached any more word exchange between us. i wanted to watch a movie and went through his DVD collection, i saw an XXX rated movie and felt disgusted. i resorted to watch cartoons but i couldn’t concentrate so i decided to leave.
” Ben said he should find you here when he gets back”. Lloyd told me and that meant he didn’t yet get news of our ‘break up’ or rather of ‘my being dumped’. that at least saved the embarrassment until later.
” if he wants me, he knows exactly where to find me” i left avoiding to be interrogated any further.
i went home and locked myself. i took four painkillers and straight away i fall into a dreamless sleep until the following morning.
i took my phone and called him.
” we need to meet and talk. whatever it is that i have wronged you am sure can be forgiven. i think you owe me an explanation, you cant leave my life just like that” i applauded myself for being firm and strong without breaking up before him, i had a pride and reputation to protect.
” okay come to my place at lunch hour by then i will be back from work”. after some awkward seconds of silence i hung up.
i went to my room and took out my dirty clothes to wash. for some reasons i felt relieved from the tension i had suffered the previous day. i was hanging on to the last shreds of the strings of hope. my phone beeped signaling that i had received a new message. i checked.
” i am sorry for all this. i have already started introducing her to people, i don’t think i have anything else to discuss with you again. all the best. sorry”
Reality sunk in….