If you are a frequent social media user, especially in Kenya you have probably come across the saying “Maneno ya watu wawili wanaopendana achana nayo,” which indirectly translates to “mind your own business.” I never used to take it seriously until the day my friend cut me off for trying to help her.
Juliet and I had been friends since high school. Once we finished high school, we both enrolled at the same university. Luckily, we got in and so we decided to share a room at Qwetu hostels. During the first year, we spent a lot of time together since we both had antisocial behaviours. However, by the end of our second year, we managed to make new friends which led to us only seeing each other in the evenings.
Halfway through our third year, Juliet started dating Fred. The two had met at a club in Westlands and although he was a little bit older than her, she didn’t mind. Fred worked as a graphic designer and lived a few minutes away from our hostel. Their relationship moved surprisingly fast but I didn’t seem to have a problem with it since he was good to her.
Juliet started spending a lot of weekends at his place and slowly ended up moving in with him. I knew her parents would freak out so I decided to keep the information to myself. Our friendship continued as normal except we spent even less time together. She was always either at Fred’s place or hanging out with her other friends in clubs or attending her classes.
Although we shared a couple of classes, it didn’t feel the same. By the third semester, Juliet became more of an acquaintance than a friend. I thought of speaking up but going through her Instagram stories she always seemed so happy. Therefore, I decided to give her space and occupy my time with schoolwork and my new friends as well.
Everything continued as normal until one random Saturday when she called me.
“Hey,” I said as I picked up the call.
“Hey Beatrice, can I come for a sleepover tonight?” She asked.
I was tempted to ask what had happened but thought it would be best to ask her in person.
“Yeah sure, it’s still your place remember?” I said.
Juliet had moved out but her parents still paid rent for her and sent money for utilities. Her parents lived in Machakos and would often come to visit her so she opted to leave a few things so she wouldn’t get caught.
“Okay, I’ll be there at 7 pm,” She replied and hung up.
I continued with my day and at some point, ended up taking a nap. When I woke up it was 7:30 pm and she hadn’t called or texted so I called her. She picked up and informed me that she and Fred had sorted out the issue they had. Therefore, she thought it would be best to stay at his place.
I felt a little disappointed but respected her decision and decided to go find something to eat. At around midnight, I received a call from her.
“Hey B,” She said.
“What’s going on? Are you okay?” I asked in a concerned tone.
“Fred and I had a fight, Can I come over?” She asked.
“Yeah sure,” I replied.
I got out of bed and went to the entrance of the building and waited for her. She arrived after a few minutes and I noticed some bruises on her body. Once we got to the house, she explained to me about how they had sorted their issues but then later they started arguing again. To assert his authority on the matter, he ended up hitting her and pushing her to the wall.
As a good friend, I advised her not to go back and instead to stay for a while. Luckily, she had left a few clothes the day she moved out which made things easier. A week passed by and the following weekend she informed me that she needed to go back to fetch her laptop and other belongings.
To make sure she was safe I offered to go with her. Once we got to Fred’s house, we both agreed not to speak with him. He opened the door but before he could say a word Juliet held up her hand as a signal that she didn’t want to talk. We went up to his room and started packing her belongings. After a few minutes, Fred came into the room.
“Please Juliet can we talk? I just want to apologize,” He said.
“No, there’s nothing left to be said between the two of you. You can’t hit my friend and think that a simple apology will fix what happened,” I turned and said before Juliet could say a word.
“I was talking to Juliet,” He replied bluntly.
This stirred up my anger and we ended up arguing. At some point, Juliet ended up feeling weird, so she finished packing, grabbed my hand and we left.
In the days that followed, Fred kept on calling but Juliet ignored the calls. Every time I would see her ignore his calls; I would suggest that she should block him, but she would always refuse. Eventually, the calls stopped, and Juliet and I went back to how things were during our days living together. Since she didn’t have Fred occupying her time, she would juggle between me and her friends. Although I felt bad for what had happened to her, in a way it was a blessing in disguise.
A month later, on a random Saturday, Juliet and I had planned to go see a movie at the cinema. However, she approached me in the morning and said she had other plans that evening. Furthermore, she would not be coming back until Monday. Being a curious person, I felt the urge to ask her where she was planning to go but decided to hold my tongue. She packed a couple of clothes and left at around 3 pm. On Monday morning, I had a class so I forgot to ask her what time she would come.
The minute I got to class I received a text from her asking me what time I would be at Qwetu. She was already in school and had forgotten to carry her keycard. I told her 2 pm knowing she would get there by 4 pm. After my class, I took the bus back to Qwetu and decided to cook as I waited for her.
By 4 pm she had arrived at the entrance. I went downstairs and was shocked to find her standing with Fred. Juliet greeted me as they both walked in, Fred on the other hand gave me the side eye and remained silent. Once we got to the room, Juliet rushed to start packing as Fred stood by the door. I was still in disbelief, so I remained silent. When she was done, she said goodbye and they left. That night Juliet texted me to inform me that they had arrived at his place. It felt weird but she then added that Fred had moved a few weeks back.
I replied with an “okay” and went about my business. A little later I realized she had sent another text apologizing for the way they left and Fred’s behaviour. I took the opportunity to ask her why she had decided to go back given all that had happened. As she was typing I expected her to give me a story about how they had talked things out.
Instead, she told me that involving her friends in her relationship was ruining what she had with Fred. Reading that text, I remembered the bruises she had the day she was beaten and couldn’t believe she had said that to me. I decided to give her a piece of my mind to remind her what she had gone through. The minute I sent the paragraph I noticed that her profile photo had disappeared. Checking my text, it only had one grey tick. I couldn’t believe that Juliet had blocked me just like that.
The next day, I approached her after class to talk things through, but she silently walked away. I didn’t think much about it since I knew she would eventually come back to the hostel. Unfortunately, she didn’t until the day her parents came to visit. Immediately they left, and so did she without saying a word.
At the end of the semester, I was informed by the management that Juliet had decided to switch rooms. She ended up rooming with one of her other friends the following year. Letting go of our friendship was the most painful thing I ever had to do. To make matters worse, they ended up breaking up after graduation. Even then she didn’t think to reach out to me. After that incident, I decided to leave people’s issues alone.
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