April 9th, 2013
I tossed and turned all night, livid about the fact that my brother and best friend have played me for a fool, all this while.
When morning came, I didn’t even bother calling Phillip, or Idara, to ask any questions. To be honest, I didn’t even care what nonsense they would say. Probably more lies! Even though I wouldn’t have taken Akunna’s words as gospel truth on a given day, I knew she wasn’t lying about this.
Once at work, I went to the ladies’ toilet, and made a long distance call to Diana. I wanted to know if the katakata had already burst.
After the initial pleasantries, and questions about how she was doing, how the shopping was going, hope she wasn’t stressing herself, blab bla bla, I had to come out with it.
“So, have you seen my friend? Has she come to get her stuff?” I asked, trying to sound casual.
“Oh, you mean Idara? Yes, she was here last night. Such a lovely lady!” Diana exclaimed.
I managed a strained laugh. “Oh, really?”
“We had such a good time yesterday! She had so many funny stories about Phillip!” Diana said, laughing as if remembering one of these so-called funny stories. “I didn’t know she’s been your friend for that long!”
Friend. Some friend!
Satisfied that there had been no bomb explosion, I wrapped up the call, and immediately called my brother. In a flat voice, I told him about the condition I had met Akunna in, and how she has agreed to the terms of our counter agreement, on the condition that he makes himself more present in her life.
“Is she a joker?!” my foolish brother retorted. “She doesn’t think I have better things to do than…”
“Look, can we end this stupidity, once and for all?!” I exclaimed, in a tone that shocked even me. “The girl has finally agreed. All she is asking is for a few hours of your time, a few days a week! It is not too much to ask! I think we have even gotten off easy! Even Diana would understand why Akunna, a pregnant woman, would want some form of support, especially now that she is so vulnerable! All hands have to be on deck, to make sure that your son isn’t born before he should!”
I heard the smile in Phillip’s voice. “My son?”
I had to smile, in spite of myself. “Congrats Daddy! It’s a boy!”
“I’ll make the hospital arrangements now.” Phillip said. “And…I’ll see her as soon as she’s moved there. Aint no way I’m going to Isolo!”
I rolled my eyes and hissed. Don’t be annoyed oh. Island boy! As if the Festac where you grew up isn’t more out-of-the-way than the Isolo.
“Meanwhile!” I just had to ask. “You and Idara?”
“What about Idara and I?” he asked, with a hint of defiance in his voice.
“Apparently, you two didn’t just have a brief fling?” I asked, half hoping he would deny it.
“That Akunna! Her mouth honestly needs a padlock!” he muttered.
I shook my head and laughed, humourlessly. “So, it’s true. And neither of you thought it wise to let me know!”
“There was nothing for you to know! We didn’t owe you…or anyone…any explanation!” he retorted. “We were two adults, with an amazing physical, emotional, and spiritual connection!”
I laughed again, and would have clapped my hands, if I wasn’t in a work environment. “Spiritual fa? So, how come you kept her as your side chick? If the ‘connection’ was so strong, why didn’t you wife her? I know Mom would have loved the idea of having an Efik daughter-in-law! Why didn’t you make an honest woman of her?”
Phillip kept quiet for a while. “Anything beyond that would spoil what we have.”
It took a few seconds for it to dawn on me. “Have? Have??! Present tense??!”
“Look, I’m not cheating on Diana, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Phillip snapped. “But Idara is still my closest friend. She is still my prayer partner. I still talk to her everyday!”
I felt the blood drain from my face. “Are you kidding me right now?!” I shrieked. “So, you expect me to believe that you two aren’t sleeping with each other anymore?!”
“It’s hard to sleep with someone on another continent, isn’t it!” Phillip said, sarcastically.
“My friend, shut your mouth, and don’t try to be smart there!” I yelled, not caring about the occupants of the other toilet stalls. “So, what happens if you go to London, or if she comes to Nigeria? We should all hold our breath, and pray you two don’t reignite your ‘physical’ connection?!”
“Faith, I love Diana! I would never do that to her. She is my everything! I guess I didn’t love Akunna enough to be faithful to her, but I would never do that to my wife!”
“You don’t think she would be just as hurt about the fact that you are still having an emotional affair with Idara? That Idara is your ‘closest friend’ and ‘prayer partner’? You think she’ll be happy with that?”
He had no response for me, and, in anger, I terminated the call. I sat in the cubicle, for a few more minutes, wanting to call Idara, to give her a piece of my mind. But I decided against it. Her actions have shown that we’re not as close as I thought we were. So, there’s really no need, wasting my breath, with the ‘why did you’ or ‘why didn’t you’ conversation. I’ll just conserve my energy to make sure my dim-witted brother doesn’t spoil the good thing he has.