Literally, everything crumbled in front of me as I struggled to pull my head out of the mess to stay afloat. It would only be for a few days and everything would go back to normal. Our plans would remain intact. Until things simmered down and we would revert back to our plans.
Mani and I have been friends longer than I can remember. I hate to attach a number to it, but our friendship blossomed into an affair two years ago, and we lived in a bubble. Everything was working out perfectly fine according to our plan and hopefully, things would fall into place sooner rather than later.
His marriage has always been a stumbling block to our affair, regardless of the great friendship I enjoy with his wife. He married Joy while we were still friends, I remember correctly, how jittery he felt on his wedding day because I was one of the bridesmaids. Our friendship had strengthened all through the years on campus because we had seen each other through rough patches, the highs and the lows.
When Vezi, their firstborn daughter was born, I spent most nights at their place, helping Joy around the house, nursing the baby and preparing their meals. I enjoy this strong bond with all of their children. They call me Aunty Pauline, write me cards on my birthdays and give me Christmas gifts. No one would have imagined that an illicit affair was in the offing, between Mani and me.
Mani came to my house one evening, perturbed.
“Mani, what did she do this time?” I asked.
“It’s not Joy, it’s the car,” he answered gently.
“What happened to sweetie?” I asked. We called his car sweetie because he practically adored his car more than anything else in this world. He would describe the features of his Mercedes E350 more than anything else. Only his car, Arsenal and F1 racing could conjure up such passion and emotion from him.
“I used it as collateral for the loan to start up the Fast-food business and you know how that panned out. I might lose sweetie,” he replied tears welling up in his eyes. I took him into my bosom and comforted him, wiped his tears silently.
“It’ll be fine,” I whispered. I have always been Mani’s velvet cushion for as long as I can remember. Dating back to campus, when his relationships failed, he’d run to me for solace. It was during these tough times in their marriage when he ran to my corner for safety that we ended up getting intimate. It felt divine. Like it has been a long time coming, and when he held me in the dead of the night, I knew I wanted to sleep with him again, even if it went against everything I believe in. He left around 4 am, and the night felt cold. He came back again the next night, and I watched him under the red lights as he undid my bra, softly touching every inch of my skin and making love to me.
So that night, like all the other times he came to me with issues, we made love before he announced he needs to get back home to his family. Joy was pretty upset about the situation, so he needed to speak to her about it. He texted me late into the night, informing me that things with Joy had escalated rather too quickly and he wishes he had stayed longer, I give him peace.
I watched how desperate Mani was to salvage Sweetie from being auctioned, and I thought that would be the perfect time to be his Messiah. He had come to the house as usual, and after we had sex and I told him my plans to help him.
“I can take out a loan for you, to save sweetie from a possible auction”, I announced.
“Yes. I just want to be your peace, Mani.”
He kissed my forehead, and whispered, “I should have married you. You are my soulmate.”
Those words ignited a fire in me that went aflame in his presence. It started to feel as though Joy was my competition, something I never felt before and things were starting to get awkward between the two of us. She never suspected anything, and I wondered if its because she didn’t think that I was woman enough for Mani. All of a sudden, I wanted to prove that Mani liked my cooking more, or that he spent more time with me. Something, anything to pull out a reaction from Joy. None was forthcoming.
My payslip enabled me to get him a loan worth Kshs 1.3M, even more than he required and I gladly deposited the money into their joint account. It was a desperate move to show Joy that I was in fact, more important to her husband, but she instead thanked me for my kindness. Joy’s failure to notice my desperation did not stop Milly from noticing my sudden change of attitude. Milly is an on-and-off friend and we’ve had quite the friendship. We’ve fought about virtually everything, men for the most part.
She quickly pieced together pieces of evidence of our affair and ran them by Joy was very displeased by me. She called me that evening, sounding rather normal to invite me for dinner. I put a call to Mani was unavailable but wasn’t alarmed because I imagined he’d probably still be at work.
The room was rather too hot when I stepped in and Mani’s face communicated that everything was not alright.
“You have been sleeping with my husband. Your best friend? For how long did you think this lie would hold?” Joy asked as she locked the door. I directed my eyes to Mani, who looked away, leaving me to my troubles.
“Mani? What is this?” I asked.
“He’s not even looking at you, answer me, woman!”
“Joy, please let me out,” my voice trembled.
“Your friend asks you for help and the best you can do is screw him in exchange for the money? You made my husband cheat on me!” Joy screamed. I was looking at Mani, hoping that he would spring into action to come save me like I always have, but he was motionless.
“I did not sleep with Mani because I lent him some money. That was of his own free will,” I respond.
“Bitch stop with the lies! You have been lying to my face this whole time. What makes you think I will believe you now?”
“Joy, let me out!” I scream. She casually opens the door, sneering loudly.
“I don’t want to see your face ever again. Not next to my children, my in-laws, my husband or my home, you fickle-minded home-wrecker. Out!” I breathed heavily as I struggle to get Mani to look at me, but he didn’t. I left, tears running freely from my eyes.
I have been waiting for Mani to reach out for weeks now. The morning of the incident, I received my termination letter, stating that the company was going through a tough time. I also wanted to discuss the statements made by Joy about me seducing him in return for the loan but it has taken longer than expected. That night, I thought he was too scared to speak up for us, for our love, though it’s clear now that he never stopped loving Joy. Now, I wish he had talked about the loan repayment plan instead because as it seems, they don’t care about paying me back. Not when Joy is convinced that Mani cheated on her because he needed money and she has probably forgiven him for that.
With my job gone, I risk losing everything I have worked so hard for, on top of my relationship with Mani, and my friendship with his children and family. What hurts more, is the fact that my family got wind of the story and castigated me for it. I miss the children, I miss Mani, It’s even worse now with all the stress piling in.
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