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Three is a crowd: Things fall apart

(Continued from last issue)

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.

DIANE

Once I knew I had achieved what I set out to achieve from the visit to my parents’ place, I quickly made my exit, using the excuse of needing to get some last-minute back-to-school items for the children.

The short visit was really simple Business 101 – once the deal has been sealed, leave before the target changes his mind; I knew I had twisted my father’s arm on this one, and did not want to dally about and give him time to reconsider his position.

After leaving, I was on tenterhooks for hours, waiting for a response or reaction from David when he heard from my father and figured out what I had done.

However, the hours dragged by with no word from him, and when by eight I still had not heard from him, my sense of nervous anticipation waned and was replaced by a growing rage at the suspicion that the reason for his silence was that even though he had no doubt been in contact with my father, that had not stopped him from going to her; and now angry and insulted, I turned my attention to the second part of my plan and picking up my phone, I scrolled through it for the screenshot I had of David’s transfer of money to some random woman.

Finding it, I hesitated for only a moment, and then my eyes narrowed and with a grim, steely determination, I took a deep breath, found her number, and pressed ‘send’.

The ticks alongside the message soon turned blue, indicating the message had been read, and once again I felt that nervous anticipation of a response or reaction, but yet again, the minutes ticked by without a reply.

Her silence reinforced my suspicion that David was with her, but this time, instead of being angered by the realization, I smiled slyly at the thought of my message interrupting whatever they had been doing, and the havoc it had no doubt wreaked.

DAVID

Seething and resentful over how the discussion with Diane’s father had gone, I turned down my mother-in-law’s invitation to stay for dinner, insisting I had to leave as it approached eight that evening.

I was mad that Diane had actually run to her father over a car, but even more so, that yet again she had succeeded in getting her way, and with the way I was feeling, even the thought of sitting in the heavy rush hour traffic was preferable to having to fake a smile and act polite and respectful around her parents.

Once I hit the road and was alone and free to brood over and stoke my dark mood, rather than waning, my anger only increased, and in a sudden impulsive need to strike back at Diane. Even though I had told Julie I would not be stopping by the apartment that evening, I decided to head there rather than go back to Diane.

It was probably the smartest thing to do, I told myself, as in my current mood, I was more than likely to throttle Diane the minute I saw her, and things were bad enough between us as it were, without adding an assault to the fray.

Besides, I did not need to use my hands to hit back at Diane; knowing her, a far more effective way to get my revenge was not to fight her, but to stay away from her. The more I thought about it, the more certain I was that going to the apartment rather than the house was the best move; for while Diane was busy messing up our marriage, I might as well take the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with Julie.

Even though she had acted like everything was alright between us when I had last seen her – apart from her questioning if there was anything going on between her sister and I, which I still found offensive, I knew I had been a bit harsh with her when she had asked me for money, and comparing her sweet accommodating reaction to Diane’s spiteful one when I refused to get her the car, I now regretted how hard I had been with her, and resolved to make it up to her tonight.

Who knew, if all went smoothly, I might even decide to spend the night and hit two birds with one stone; I could make it up to Julie, while getting my revenge on Diane at the same time. Just the thought of it made me smile.

JULIE

I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the message I had just received, but it felt like forever, as my mind went back to all the times I had sensed something off between David and Sandra.

It all made sense now; the awkward silences between them when I walked into the room, Sandra’s attitude change, the way David had gotten so worked up when I asked him about her, and above all, the shopping she had done the day she had spent a night at our mother’s place, when she returned with a new hairstyle.

I had worried then that she had gotten the money from some older man messing around with her, but now it turned out that it had been from David! How could I have been so blind?

I was so taken up with my thoughts and pain that I did not hear the knock at the front door, or the sound of a key turning in the lock, and it was not until the door actually opened that I realized I was no longer alone.

Speak of the devil! Standing there, the top buttons on his shirt undone, looking smug and comfortable, was David. Torn between an urge to lunge at and attack him, and another to scream at him to get out, I did neither, and just stared at him wordlessly, my body literally trembling with all my mixed, pent-up emotions of fury and pain.

It took a second for David to realize something was wrong, but when he did, he quickly shut the door behind him and hurried to my side.

“Honey, what wrong? What’s happened?” he asked, his voice full of concern as he moved to embrace me.

The physical contact shook me out of my frozen inaction, and pushing him away, I literally leapt to my feet.

“Get away from me! Don’t touch me!” I screamed, tears now freely coursing down my cheeks.

He stared at me in shock and confusion. “What’s going on?” he finally demanded. His look of puzzlement, like I had suddenly run stark, raving mad, only infuriated me further.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you tell me that! I begged you to tell me if there was something going on between Sandra and you, and you lost it and acted like I was crazy for even asking! Meanwhile, you were busy sending her money, yet when I asked you for money, you gave me a long winded lecture about all your other financial obligations; so, you tell me David, what’s going on?”

I shouted, throwing my phone with the incriminating message still open at him as I did so.

margaretwamanga@yahoo.com

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