“You are jealous of my relationship. That’s it. You want him all to yourself.”
This is not going as expected.
Shit. Where did I go wrong? What do I do now? What is about women and relationships that makes them lose control? I swear we dig our own graves, and in special circumstances we actually bury ourselves so deep in the dirt and literally cover the dirt over our dull minds. That’s the situation I believe I am in and I see no way out of this unless I beat some sense into her head. I look at my best friend of over ten years and frown.
I should never have told her the truth.
The truth hurts and obviously she cant handle the truth.
Birds of the same feather flock together and Chipili and I are no exception. We are similar in almost everything, everything being I like what she likes from fashion to the type of men we date; our personalities are similar – the accept it we are strong or walk away because you can’t change us. Strong in short. We are the funny, smart and take over the world type of ladies so it was destiny pushing us to stay together.
It made sense we would be best friends. We met during UNZA orientation, right on the queue to paying school fees; she was alone standing behind me looking bored as we waited for the office administrator to show up. It had been a long morning and I knew it would be an even longer afternoon at the rate school was going – slower than a snail. I too was bored, so I opened my mouth and told her something funny and the rest is history. We did everything together, we took the same courses, we shared a room at a boarding house in Kalundu, we went out together, we studied together, key word is together. You get the point, we were stuck at the hip as besties. And even after we graduated four years later Chipili and I stayed close, our friendship remained rock solid; she was my confidant and I hers; life was perfect. Nothing could hurt me with her at my side.
We moved in together when we both found jobs; Chipili was in the banking industry while I was in the Insurance Industry and it was like we picked up from where we left off as boarding mates. It was absolutely perfect. And it was during my first year of employment when things changed, when I met Chawezi. He was the Reinsurance assistant manager at my office with a bright future ahead of him; the ladies man with the smile to prove it; medium height, slim, black short hair, brown eyes that seemed to make the ties he wore legend in colour. I had a huge crush on him, and all the late nights at the office did not do much to crush the crush instead it grew. We got close, too close, and during one of our late nights at the office, lips merged and a spark was born, for me that is. I told no one about the kiss, not even my best friend Chipili. Why? Because Chawezi was a secret I didn’t want the world to know about until it was time. Not to jinx it and all. Our kisses blossomed into well more kisses and promises of maybe we should take it further. And then one weekend, kiss crazed Chawezi called, he wanted to visit me and I figured him finally meeting my best friend would be the perfect thing. And meet her he did, their flame was instant. He was drawn to her like a moth to a flame, a fly to a bug zapper, water on dirty skin. They clicked and they fell in love. I was happy for her. For him too, after all we had never laid anything in stone about our status. And besides who forces love right.
Their love blossomed right in front of my eyes. The perfect match type of love. For four years it grew. It was beautiful and the feelings I had once haboured for Chawezi diminished into the abyss. I was over it and happy, and besides I had my own share of happiness with Nawa, my boyfriend of almost a year. Life was fine. Or so I thought. Somewhere along the way I had gotten so lost in my life revolving around work, school and my relationship that I failed to see the signs of trouble coming. Trouble that came in the form a man with a chip on his shoulder called cheater. I had ignored the first sign, deliberately, because then it would mean that something was horribly wrong with the relationship I had watched grow.
Chawezi had come over to see Chipili one weekend and it just so happened Chipili had gone home to the farms to see her parents so I was home alone. I invited him in like the friend I have always been. We remained friends even after I had resigned from the company and started working for another company. There were no feelings lost between Chawezi and I since I got to see him every other day at our flat anyway. I noticed he was drunk even though it was mid day and he claimed he had no idea Chipili had gone home. One minute I was talking to him and the next thing the man had me pinned against the wall trying to force a kiss. I managed to push him away and kick him out of the flat before I proceeded to call Nawa and tell him what happened. Nawa was livid. I was disgusted by his act but I pretty much assumed it was because he was drunk. So as a good friend, I never told Chipili. She was happy with him and one simple mistake was not enough to tell her the story so that she would break up with him. Instead I decided to avoid him. Whenever he would sleep over, I would sleep at Nawa’s and if Chipili invited me for a function he was going attend, then I would stay away from him. Chawezi did me a favour and stayed far away from me. And Ms Chipili did not notice a thing. I guess when you’re in love you never see the other people around you giving you the signs of danger ahead.
A month after the drunk kiss incident, I was having dinner with a colleague at Chicagos when I saw Chawezi with another woman; four of his friends were drinking with them. Chawezi and his mystery woman looked cosy, too cosy to be friends, too clingy to be related; I watched them till I left and in that time I realised that Chawezi was in a relationship with the said woman, if the random kisses, holding hands and escorts downstairs were anything to go by. To tell Chipili or not to tell her was the question and I decided not to say a word. Maybe the woman was a clingy cousin, “Cousin Ni Ndiyo,” cousins make dozens kind of thing. It plagued my mind for a week before I let it go; plus Chipili had told me Chawezi had hinted he wanted to meet her family for “Talks;” and as her best friend I supported her and forgot about the woman. Happiness was in to air. My bestie would be getting married soon. Sometimes life doesn’t want you to be happy so it adds in clues to a bad game of guess the future.
So, earlier this morning I was shopping in GAME when I saw Chawezi. Assuming he was alone I almost wanted to greet him, make amends and build a bridge, fix our friendship or whatever was left of it. Almost. Then I noticed he was with somwone. The Chicagos woman. Funny how Chipili told me he was busy working earlier and yet here he was in GAME shopping for stuff with his “very clingy cousin”. I decided to play it smart and take pictures. And of course they gave me the perfect shots. They held hands, they kissed – cheeks over and over again, pulled at each other’s shirts playfully. It was quite clear they were an item and I had all the proof I needed. All I needed to do was tell Chipili and I decided I would do it in the evening.
Two glasses of wine and dinner hours later, I sat Chipili down and told her what I saw. I expected tears. Maybe even a few insults, lots of screaming, maybe break a glass or two and lots of crying. Instead she kept silent and looked at me before she laughed.
“You are jealous of my relationship. That’s it. You want him all to yourself.” She said.
And all hell froze over.
This is awkward.
I look at her heavily powered face, one would think she has no pimples on that skin but alas foundation works wonders. Her long light brown- weaved – hair matches her eyes in shade, her red lips that I have seen more smiles on is not smiling now. Why did I decide to tell her? Well, she is my best friend. I will do anything to make sure she is safe. I would want to know if my boyfriend was cheating on me; and if my best friend was the one to tell me then I would be grateful. But then again that’s my view and not everybody else’s view of life. Maybe I should have kept it to myself. Now she’s angry and thinks I am jealous of her and her Chawezi. Now that I know the truth I now understand what happened the day he tried to kiss me. Chawezi knew Chipili had gone home. She had obviously told him and he knew I would be home alone. He had come to see me. I am more disgusted than ever. I look at her and I feel pity for her. If she can’t accept the truth and wants to stay with him, then that’s her choice.
“You know what?” I start. “Forget it.”
I get up from the sofa and walk to the kitchen.
“You think I don’t know about you and Chawezi?” She says aloud.
I stop and turn to look at her. What the hell is she talking about?
“I know you liked him before he started dating me.” She says. “It must have hurt you that he chose me huh? Is that why you are trying to break us up? Jealousy? Four years worth.”
Huh? Did she just imply I am have been lusting after Chawezi for four years? Wow. And here I thought I threw my feeling for him into the trash.
“Wow. Break you up? Are you serious? Are you listening to yourself?”
“You are obviously jealous because he wants to marry me.” She yells.
“Well then by all means. Get married. Be happy.”
“Chawezi loves me. He would never cheat on me. He never has. He never will.”
She obviously has never caught him I think. He is so good at his game that she’s never noticed he was playing her like John Mayer plays his guitar and women.
“You are right. He wouldn’t cheat on you. He loves you so much that he is proud to show his woman to his friends as well. He is kissing her in public and clearly enjoying himself.” I say.
Her hurt look breaks my heart. What a mean thing to say but let’s be honest she pushed me into the corner. She accused me. She surely must know he’s cheating. There were signs all over. Or maybe her type of love is truly blind.
“Where did you see him?” She asks calmly.
“Chigacos some weeks ago; and today in GAME.”
“Today? But he said he was working.” She argues.
It hits her then. He lied to her. Well he’s been lying to everyone. How long has he been doing it? Weeks? A month? A year? How long?
“What do I do?” She asks.
“Well, talk to him. You should ask him what he’s been doing with her whoever she is.” I whisper.
She nods her head and I see tears falling down her cheek – messing her makeup. This is what I did not want for her. To see her cry. She is such a sweet person. She is my best friend. She does not need this kind of drama in her life. Damn Chawezi. I walk to the sofa and sit down next to her and pat her back and she sniffs.
“Are you sure it was him?” She asks. “Very sure?”
Is she surely still hopeful about the man?
“Yes. I am sure.”
“I should go and see him. I should talk to him.” She says as she wipes the tears from her eyes. “I have to confront him.”
“You can do this tomorrow.”
“No. I gotta get this done tonight. I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t do this tonight.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” I ask
“No. I will be fine.”
She stands up from the sofa and walks to the bedroom. She comes out some minutes later, her face looks perfect, her makeup back to perfection. She picks up her car keys from the table and looks at me.
“I will be back soon.” She says.
“You will find me. Call me if you need me. I will wait for you.” I tell her.
She walks out of the flat and I stare at the closed door in shock. Okay shes rude because she’s angry right. I am sure Chawezi will not be able to deny the truth. Maybe I should have shown her the pictures I took of them. No kufwa na no. But then again that would have caused her more pain. I will keep the videos just in case I need to show her one day or she needs them. You never know with these situations. For the umpteenth time, I am grateful for Nawa, he might not be the perfect man but at least the man has enough respect for me and I love him for it. I don’t have deal with such messes in my relationship. I lock the door and head to my bedroom. I hope all will be okay. In the end it will be best if Chipili leaves Chawezi.
Gosh I need to call Nawa. I miss him. I know he will make me feel better what I just did.
I wake up and see sunlight seeping through my curtains and I quickly get off my bed. I should be enjoying my morning but I literally run out of my room panicking and worried, Chipili never called me last night and I never heard the door open either. Did she come home? Did she sleep out? Is she alright? I find her bedroom door open and I see her standing at the end of her bed, packing clothes into a small suit case.
“Good Morning.” I say. “How are you?”
She looks at me, looks away and continues packing. Is she okay? What the hell is going on?
“Chichi. Hey. Where are you going?” I ask. “Is everything okay? What happened last night?”
She turns away, walks to her wardrobe and pulls out dresses from their hangers and carries them to the bed. She begins to fold them one by one, and that is when I see the gold diamond ring on her finger. I know it’s an engagement ring, it is gorgeous and it also means unless she met a new man last night and got engaged to him, Chawezi obviously pulled a fast one on her.
“Chipili.” I say louder.
“When were you going to tell me the truth?” She answers.
What is she talking about? What truth?
“What are you talking about Chipili?”
“Oh now you want to pretend you don’t know. Let me remind you. Chawezi came to see me on a particular weekend and you kissed him. He said you were drunk and you threw yourself at him.”
Well. Well. Well. Touché Chawezi. Well played. I did not expect this. My mouth is open but no words come out. I can not believe he told her that. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe he would lie about that. He is the one who tried to force me to kiss him. I am the one who kicked him out.
“You are my best friend. Is your jealousy that bad that you can do that to me. Plus you kicked him out when he said no. This is not your house Malama.” She yells.
I am still trying to wrap my head around the I threw myself at him. Now I kicked him out because he didn’t give me what I wanted? Wow. What the hell happened between the two of them last night?
“So you think I would throw myself at Chawezi?” I ask
“It wouldn’t be the first time would it? Didn’t you resign from Madison because you liked him but he chose me and it hurt you. You planned all this didn’t you.”
“Excuse me. I did not throw myself at your boyfriend. You know why I resigned. And it wasn’t about him. Why are you trying to twist things. He’s lying to you and you’re obviously too blind to see it.”
She packs her unfolded dresses into the bag and walks to the wardrobe and gets some of her heels.
“Chipili. You need to listen to me. I did not do anything with Chawezi.”
“Does Nawa know?” She asks.
Nawa? What does he need to know. She looks at me and shakes her head.
“Does he know who you really are? Some wolf in sheep clothing? Does he know you are after my boyfriend? Should I call him and tell him you are losing it, involving yourself in my relationship. You accused my boyfriend of cheating and yet he is not. If he was a cheater why would he propose to me. He told me everything Malama.”
She lifts her hand and shows me the ring sitting snuggly on her finger. I see it then, in her eyes. The smug look. She is engaged and happy while I am not. As if that’s what matters the most. That’s what must be going through her mind. She is better than me since she is engaged and I’m not. There is no winning this war. I would rather lose. I could show her the pictures I took, and I am sure Chawezi will have another story in mind to protect himself. I nod my head and smile at her.
“Congratulations. I hope you two are happy together.” I say.
There is nothing more to say. She won’t listen to me. She has already made up her mind about me. She’s chosen him over our friendship. I can’t believe it. Maybe in time she will see the truth for herself. In time, just not today or tomorrow. I turn around and walk out of her room.
“I am leaving for a few days. When I come back I want you gone.” She says behind me. “Pack your things and go. I don’t need your negativity in my life. You are not worth being called a friend.”
Plenty of things have been thrown my way but this is the worst. I do not turn around to face her, because if I do then she will see the tears falling down my cheeks. If I turn around she will see my breaking heart. If I turn around then I might as well tell her goodbye, our friendship is done. No. I stand in the hallway listening to her zip bags and throw stuff around. I hear her drag her bag out of her room, pick up her keys and walk out of our flat. Away to her happiness.
Was it worth it I ask myself. Was it worth it revealing the truth. Being a good friend. Was it worth it? Was it worth a friendship?
Where the hell did I go wrong?
I push the thoughts out of my mind as I walk into my room and see Nawa sitting on my bed. He looks at me and pats the spot beside him and I sit down next to him.
His hand touches my back and it is then that my heart breaks apart and my sobs fill the silence in the flat.
I just lost my friend.