By Bunmi Sofola
THE more friends show the depth of their betrayal, the more shocked you are. Instead of their escapades diminishing, it grows in leaps and bounds, leaving you wondering if the word, ‘friendship’ shouldn’t be re-defined.
When Raymond lost his well paid job after the IT company he headed folded up, it was left to Saudat, his wife to financially tide over the family until Raymond found another job. “Only it took a while for him to,” Saudat said, “and his resentment at having to be kept by his wife caused a friction in the marriage. I was tired because of the stress of trying to cope, which did nothing for our love life. The grumpier my husband got, the angrier I became. I wasn’t responsible for his plight, so why should I suffer?
“Shortly after, I met Andy who was visiting Dupe, a very good friend of mine. I jokingly told her I found Andy attractive and she encouraged me to go on a date with him. She was quite aware of my problem with Raymond but I was skeptical about Andy’s tempting offer. In the end, I decided to have some fun when next Andy asked me out. It was an intense fling. We made love on several occasions until Andy relocated to another town.
“It was a shock when Raymond told me a week after Andy left that he knew about my affair, but refused to say who told him. He had too much fact for me to deny anything, so I begged for forgiveness. He looked really beaten that I felt sorry for him. It was no excuse that during the months he had no job, we scarcely made love and he was always snapping at me and the children.
“It was shortly after this that he got another job better than the one he lost. As soon as he started work, he came home at funny hours and I had this strong suspicion that he must be having a serious affair. I confided in another friend who dropped the bombshell that Raymond and Dupe had started an affair months ago—about the time she encouraged my fling with Andy. Did she encourage this fling to salve her conscience for sleeping with my husband? Mad with rage, I phoned Dupe. She denied everything but when I told her who told me, she confessed, begging me to forgive her. Like shameless backstabbers before her, she blamed it on the ‘Devil’s work.’ It takes two to tango, she said, and Raymond was as much to blame as she was for the affair they had.
“I was really gutted and I felt betrayed. Raymond showed no remorse whatsoever and it was him who told me Dupe was expecting his child. I was really bitter. So, I had an affair I was sorry for, but it was obvious Dupe set me up so she could steal my husband. A single mother, the father of her son had abandoned her when he travelled abroad.
“In spite of my protest, Raymond spent most of his time with Dupe who finally had a daughter. I refused to have anything to do with her and her child. Thank goodness all I had were two children. I couldn’t care a hoot what Raymond did. I refused to prepare any special meals for him, whatever he found in the house he ate, if he felt like eating anything that is. I was sure he was being taken care of at the second home he now had with Dupe. It has gotten to a stage where I thought of him as nothing but a lodger.
“In the end I told him I’d had it with his treating the house like an hotel, that he was free to leave if he wanted to. The flat belonged to me anyway and he would have to be the one to leave if he were fed up with our marriage. He did within the week and moved in with Dupe. He didn’t bother to even see his children and apart from seeing the two of them once or twice at parties, I had no contact with my husband. Then about two years later, Raymond turned up at the door. He looked really sorry for himself. I’ve come to apologize for the way I treated you,’ he said. He’d apparently confided in the pastor of his church who insisted he had to ask for my forgiveness and participate actively in bringing up his children. Gradually, we rekindled our friendship—and became lovers again. Raymond claimed his relationship with Dupe was a disaster but I didn’t care, I still hated her. So, lying in my husband’s arms knowing she would be seething at being abandoned settled old score in my mind. And it felt fantastic when Dupe called to see Raymond about their daughter and I shut the door in her face.
“We’re gradually rebuilding what is left of our marriage. No matter how bitter I feel towards Dupe, the fact remains her child will always be a part of my husband. For now, I feel better knowing that this time around, I’m back in control of my husband—Dupe is the one left wondering what he was up to and what the future has in store for her.
“Yet, victory has come at such an emotional price. You have a moment of madness by having a fling, and the rest of your life is restructured for ever. My marriage is not the care-free one we once had in our first years, yet we’re stronger and a bit wiser. Would I have another affair? I don’t think so. The price is too high for a woman for a few moments of passion….”