ICE AND FIRE

I cautiously rang the doorbell with Rose holding tightly onto my hand. I could no doubt hear her heart pounding heavily. I knew this was going to be tough but I convinced myself that I was up for the challenge. No one could even fathom that Rose was in such trouble. Not even me. As much as I was the one convincing her to empower herself, I did not think that she would manage to get herself in such grievous mistake.

My best friend Rose has always been the quiet type. A push over for every Tom, Dick and Hurry. She rarely complained. And when she did, it was for my ears only. She was her father’s only child. Her mother had passed away while she was still a toddler and the sole responsibility of raising her was left to her father and maternal grandmother. She was raised delicately, getting everything she ever wanted. But instead of being spoiled like most of us, she ended up being a delicate flower.

Then love happened. Billy was the name. He was every woman’s dream guy. And Rose fell in love like no one’s business. Deep down my spine, I felt like Billy was not good for her. He smelled trouble. But I could not shutter her based on mere assumptions. So I hoped and prayed that this fling would end soon but to no avail. I was never comfortable with this relationship but as a good friend that I was, I kept my mouth shut while trying to nab him in trouble. I even went as crazy as faking being drunk and knocked on his door. I overworked my female charms for him to notice me. Nothing happened. So I gave up. Maybe, just maybe, he was not the man I thought he was. So I let the two love birds to continue with their rendezvous.

As the door opened, Rose almost bolted. I managed to get glued on her hand and that helped the situation. Billy’s aunt opened the door for us and went back in without even saying hello. That was aunt Magdalene. A no go zone especially to trouble makers like me. She was the true definition of woman of steel and she was feared by everyone. She rarely smiled and one gaze from her always made people fidget. She cared less about what people thought and said about her. She was wholly concerned with her own grandeur.

We followed her stealthily with Rose breath becoming vigorous by seconds. I pressed her fingers reassuringly to try and calm her but this was not working for my fingers were trembling more than hers. I cursed the moment I accepted to accompany her here. The craziest thing was that I couldn’t even remember if she asked me to come with her or if I had invited myself like I always did. I was the annoying sister who always followed Rose around. Wherever she went I followed like a guardian angel. Her mouthpiece who always spoke in her defense. In fact, Rose could not do anything without asking me first. Well, except this mess she was in. if she had asked me first, we would not be here at all. Part of me wanted to tell her this, and shout at her and knock the stupidity out of her system. But the other part knew that this was the time she needed me most. This was not about me showing her the latest fashions to try on, or me giving her, her first drink, or taking her to a disco. No, this was way serious.

It was funny how people always said that I was ruining Rose’s life. That I was a bad influence to her. Yet, through everything that I taught her, she never lost herself. Nor did I ever let her get in trouble. In fact, when trouble came calling, I fully took the blame. More so, I never told her to do anything I wouldn’t do. But here we were. No one would exempt me from this. Every finger would point at the unmarried, callous, uncouth and no good friend who the decorous Rose would not get rid of. But I was going to stand my ground. For better or worse, I was going to be with her all the way.

We were met with a sad gaze from Billy’s mother. I felt her pain but I could not help her. No one could help her. What was done was done. At the rear end sat Billy and aunt Magdalene, glaring their eyeballs at us as we meekly sat down. Disgust was vividly written on Billy’s face as he looked at Rose. His attitude led to a dried up holier than thou sanctity which cushion the very behaviour he sets out to shatter. Catherine, Billy’s mother, did not waste time on pleasantries; it feels wrong to call it so.

     “We have to save this marriage.” Catherine finally broke the silence. “I have called all of you so that we can get to the root problem and see how we can save the both of you,” she said pointing at Billy and Rose.

 I could feel Rose squirming and I reached out to hold her sweaty palm. She took a pillow and covered her hand then tightly held onto me. I almost broke down. This was my best friend that was undeniably in a mess but none of the people surrounding her had the right to point an accusing finger at her. After all Billy had made her pass through, no one ought to blame her for what she did. If I were in her shoes, I would have strangled him in his sleep. Some people would even commit suicide. But my ever mindful and loving friend held on and tried to keep her family together. With little or no complains at all.

Rose had moved in with Billy immediately after her father’s demise, three years ago. I did not prevent her because I knew that she was heartbroken and my friendship was not enough to console her. But this proved to be a wrecking ball with endless chains of Billy disappointing her and eventually becoming a carousel affair. To see that Billy was looking at her like she was not important killed me. I had so much hate for him.

       “Mum, nothing is going to be saved,” Billy blurted. “I am so done with this promiscuous woman. She has done nothing but embarrass me.” Shouted Billy. “How can I tell my friends that a woman I call my wife is three months pregnant yet I have not known her for the past five months? Tell me, where do I hide my shame? I have been with Rose for three years yet the first child she brings in is from another man?”

      “Billy,”

  “No mum. Let me put this girl and her stupid friend where they belong. All this time, she has been telling me she cannot sire a child with me because we are not officially married yet she is busy gallivanting with different men out there. They say men are dogs, what do we call her? I don’t want to see her in my house. She can go and stay with her harlot friend.”

I had heard enough. No one had the right to talk to me like that. I stood up ready to fire back like a pro that I was, but Rose pulled me back down and whispered, “this time, I have it under control.” I flashed at her bewildered. Rose, get things under control? Wonders would never cease. I looked at Catherine who was staring at me. She knew I was a wild one and was expecting that reaction from me. She gazed at Billy who was now seated and being pet by aunt Magdalene. It was a wonder that aunt Magdalene had been quite all this while. She has never been one to sit back and watch silently. Catherine sighed and continued cordially.

       “Well, let us stop pointing accusing fingers. Truth be told Billy, Rose has forgiven a lot of your misconducts. All this time we have been having cases about you, and you always pleaded with her to forgive you. It’s now your turn to extend the forgiving hand.”

          “Save it mum. Where has it ever been heard that a woman goes out of her matrimonial home? This is Africa for heaven’s sake. This is the reason why I have not married her yet. I knew she was no good.  And now I am glad that I made that decision because I can never live with such a loose woman. I am pretty sure this good for nothing friend of hers introduced her to the many men she has been sneaking around with; but no worries, aunt Magdalene already found me a girl well brought up that is fit to be my wife. This marriage is over and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

We all knew why aunt Magdalene was here now and why she was so quite the whole time. We had expected that she would be pointing fingers and cursing Rose as she always does, but she had done something worse and was contented. Billy was almost right about one thing though; I did not introduce Rose to the baby daddy, but I had been persuading her to quit the marriage before it was too late. I had foreseen this marriage not working out but I hoped Billy’s mother would come in and help the situation. She was such a peaceful and loving person, the complete opposite of her sister.

I did not see the reason she was still hanging on to Billy when it was clear that he did not love her anymore. He had not gone to her place for something as simple as introducing himself to the kinsmen that he was the person staying  with their daughter; let alone paying her dowry or even showing interest in the same. He had forbidden her from working claiming that he will be the sole provider, but all he did was cheat on her with every skirt that passed his way and kick and curse her whenever she complained about anything. This was no marriage but hell on earth. I thought I had managed to convince her until I was hit with this bombshell of her carrying another man’s baby. The funniest thing was that she refused to tell me who the baby daddy was but instead said it will be revealed at the right time.

“Billy you should not forget that you also have a son living with me. Rose forgave you this and many more. I am not saying that what she did is right, but we should work towards remedying this. Even if it means getting professional help; and Magdalene, instead of helping this kids mend their differences, you are helping to tear them apart?”

 “Mum,” Rose finally spoke up. And in a calm voice as if nothing of importance was going on. I could swear there was a smile on her face.

 “I have listened to all of you speak and now it’s my turn to say something.”

“You don’t have a voice here. In fact, you should go pack out your stuff from the house and move out,” blurted Billy, looking all fierce and disgusted you might think that he was the saint of all saints. Rose just ignored him and continued like he had not said anything; and I know it killed Billy because one thing he really hated was to be ignored. Rose knew that.

 “As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted,’ she said looking at Billy. “ I have gone through a lot in this marriage. In fact, I am not even surprised that Billy did not regard this as a marriage at all. As my grandmother used to say, marriage is a broken national anthem that we have to sing; so I sang mine with pride because the real shame lay under the fact that many people warned me about Billy but I gave them a deaf ear. Sharon,” she said looking at me. Oh yeah. Am Sharon by the way. “I know about the day you pretended to be drunk to try and see if he will take advantage of you. The only reason he did nothing was because I was in the house all along. That is the day I knew beyond doubt that apart from my daddy and grams, you are the only other person I could trust my life with. Even though I was around, he still could not control himself. I could see right through him from the way he was looking at you. As stupid as I was, I still did not take that as danger. I stayed numb.”

This is the longest I had heard Rose speak in front of an audience. It was like a different person was standing in front of me, but I loved it. Damn, I was a good teacher; of course I was giving myself credit for her total change of personality. Truth be told though, what Billy had made her go through was enough to change anyone. It was amazing how Rose had held on; she never broke down, except on my shoulders of course. I was brought back to reality by Rose’s voice which was becoming more confident by the minute.

 “I came here today for the sole purpose of knowing how Billy really felt about me before I make this huge decision. Billy here is busy calling me a cheap woman because I am carrying another man’s child when he doesn’t have one but three from different women and I forgave them for all of them. He says he has not been with me for the past five months yet we are married. Ask him how that is possible. Sharon tried to warn me but I was adamant on saving my marriage. Now I have just noticed there was no marriage at all, just a boot camp. I was prepared to take it all in and forgive you for everything until the day you first laid your hands on me. I knew that a coward like you would never stop hitting me so I found plan B. Sharon you remember Jeremy?”

I had one friend in particular; Jeremy, who I knew loved Rose for sure. He had been head over heels in love with her since our collage days but of course Rose was too busy to notice him because of Billy. I had made them go out for a few dates and I was hoping for some romance. Jeremy was one person I knew would never treat Rose like Billy did. He genuinely loved her and there was no doubt that he respects everyone he interacted with, regardless of gender. He was the opposite of Billy. If he was the baby daddy, I had nothing to worry about; she had made a good decision. I sighed and continued to listen to this total stranger who had possessed my best friend.

  “In Jeremy I have found a partner, a friend and true love. He asked me to marry him and we are already planning our wedding.”

 We all gasped. Wait a minute, wasn’t I the best friend? The only friend for that matter. How don’t I know about this? Jeremy had told me that he would want to marry Rose if she would let Billy go but nothing about a wedding. The gasp on Billy’s face was priceless. I could literally pay to have that as my screen saver but the happiness was nullified with Catherine’s sadness. She looked like she could break down in tears. She sighed and finally spoke.

 “I knew this was going to happen. My son had a good woman by his side and managed to destroy that just like everything else in his life. I do hope that Magdalene’s so called wife would be able to be good to you as Rose has. My daughter, I hold no grudges if you have decided to call it quits. All I pray for you is good fortune, God knows you have really tried to be good to my son but he is too thick to even fathom that. Tell me, is Jeremy the father to your child or is there a chance that it’s my grandchild?”

 “No mum. I am not a loose woman and I cannot lose my dignity like that. Jeremy has respected me all this time and he has not touched me at all for I was still someone’s wife; or so I thought. Before making this decision of leaving I wanted to see if there was a chance I was making a mistake. And I knew that if I told Billy that I was leaving, he would do his theatrical and I would fall for it. He would change for one week then life would go back to normal. I had to do what he has been doing to me and see his reaction, so I faked my pregnancy.”

The reaction in that room cannot be put into words. My ever quite friend had fooled everyone including me. I should have known. I should have known that my straight up Rosemary would never stoop so low as to sleep around let alone get pregnant. Part of me was happy that she was not pregnant but the other part haunted me for not knowing her and what she could or could not do. But I was glad that she had gotten rid of the Billy mess without me having to drag her by her hair. Now I know you want to know how Billy reacted. He did not react, he fainted. Rose and I walked right passed him and went our way.

We had to celebrate this. I took credit of helping her get rid of that looser and I was even more happy that she took matters in her hands at last. Billy had tasted and taken granted of her ice phase, he was now facing the fire side. My friend was a combination of ice and fire and one had to decide what side one wanted her to unleash. So as I lay in my warm watered Jacuzzi, headphones in my ears and a glass of wine at the side, I was all smiles at the race Rose had run. The little man cub had just become the queen of the jungle. I am a good teacher, I give myself that. Yet I still can’t help but wonder whether I had helped a friend or destroyed a family.

Published by Eudia

i have a passion in telling stories, its the bit writing that am worried about

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: