A good friend is like a priceless treasure. Hard to come by, unquantifiable and damn near impossible to find but once you do, you’ll be pushed beyond your known limits and go on the grandest of adventures.
Kosi looked up in shock.
‘Shut up! Just shut up and listen.’
His mouth opened, a retort on his lips, before he closed it again.
‘Ok. I’m listening.’
Hope took a deep breath and then let it out.
‘It’s been weeks! Weeks! This sour mood of yours has gone on for too long. You snap at almost anyone that tries to talk to you, even your work efficiency is dropping.’
Kosi just stared at her. He could almost see steam coming out of her ears. The last time he had seen Hope that angry was when she was arguing with the wedding planner about wearing a Tuxedo and being his best man.
‘Hope could you…’
‘No! I told you to shut up and listen.’
Kosi went quiet again.
‘As your friend, even though you were cold to me the last time I tried to talk to you about it -and believe me when I say, I decided never to bring it up again- you’re sour mood made me change my mind and now I’m obligated to get the answer out of you one way or another…’ she said, staring at him, hands folded, ‘…or at least get you out of this useless funk you’re in.’
They were both silent as they watched each other. Kosi, sitting on the chair facing his desk, Hope, looking down at him from across his desk.
‘Can I talk now?’
‘I’m honestly fi…’
‘If you disrespect me by saying you’re fine, I swear to whatever deity, new and old, that I’ll punch your windpipe so hard only dogs will hear you speak.’
Kosi grabbed his neck as though he could physically feel how painful it would be.
Hope smiled, ‘I’m glad I’ve made myself clear. Now tell me, what’s the problem?’
Kosi let out a sigh. ‘It’s Eva.’
‘It’s always about Eva. Tell me something new.’
‘I think she’s having an…’
Knock knock knock
They both turned towards the door in unison. It opened to reveal the office clerk.
‘Sir, I have the site plans you asked for.’
‘Thank you Tope, just drop them on my table.’
There was an awkward silence as Tope walked into the room, dropped the Site plans on the table before finally, quietly, closing the door and leaving them alone once more.
‘Let’s go somewhere more private.’ Kosi suggested.
Hope glanced at the door. ‘Yeah, let’s.’
‘Good thing my house isn’t that far from the office.’ Kosi joked as they got to the door.
He unlocked it and they both went in. Hope immediately took a seat on the couch and Kosi came to join her.
‘Now, talk to me.’
Kosi let out a sigh, ‘I think Eva is having an affair.’
Hope laughed long and hard. ‘Seriously, what’s wrong? Did someone die? Has the boss been giving you a tough time? I know he can be like that sometimes but we both know he’s a chilled guy.’
‘Damn it Hope! I’m serious. Why would I joke about something like that?’
Noting the seriousness of his tone, she went still and just stared at him.
Kosi hung his head, his elbows rested on his thighs, his hands clenched together.
‘Yeah. My wife, my wife of two years is cheating on me.’
‘Are you sure? This is a serious allegation.’
‘You think I don’t know that?!’ He screamed, turning to face Hope again. ‘You think the thought of someone else sexing my wife doesn’t…’
The words were caught in his throat and he scrubbed his face with his hands.
‘Shit! I knew it. Damn it from the first day she mentioned Ebuka was in town I suspected something would happen.’ He confessed as he relaxed on the couch, his eyes staring blindly at the ceiling. ‘I asked her at the time. I was straight and honest with her about my feelings. I asked her if it’ll change us and she said no. She said no but see. See what’s happening.’
‘How did you find out?’ Hope finally asked after a little pause.
‘About, a week or two before you came into my office… that day I was cold to you.’
‘She came in home late that night, her eyes were puffy. I knew she had been crying. I asked her what was wrong but she said she’s been stressing over the shipping case she’s handling. It was an obvious lie. She has handled tougher cases before but I didn’t push that day. I felt she would open up to me as time went by, so I didn’t prod. I wish I did. God, I wish I did.’
He used his palms to cover his face. His voice sounded strained, evidence of the pain he felt.
‘Since then, she sort of, became closed off. A bit distant.’
‘You know that doesn’t mean she’s having an affair.’ Hope stated, her voice had become softer, gentler. ‘Do you have hard evidence that she is? Proof?’
‘Hard evidence? If it were any harder I might die.’ He joked but neither of them laughed.
‘What next? What do you plan to do about it?’
‘What can I do? Force her to talk?’
‘You’re telling me, that you have a strong belief that your wife is cheating on you and you haven’t done anything about it? Are those baby rattles hanging between your legs? Man up!’
Hope stood up from her seat on the couch and punched Kosi’s arm.
‘Oww! What did you do that for?’ Kosi demanded as he sat up, rubbing his arm.
‘Are you a man or are you a wussy?!’
‘See, I don’t have the energy. Just leave me alone.’
He relaxed on the couch again. Hope grabbed him by his shirt collar and pulled his face to hers. They were merely inches apart and for a brief second, Kosi’s eyes were on her lips before refocusing on her.
‘Right now Ebuka is banging the life into Eva and you’re sitting here wallowing in self pity?’
Kosi’s eyes went cold and dark.
‘Don’t what? Tell you the truth to your face? If you don’t want to hear it then do something you wimp.’
She let go of him and circled the couch to stand behind him.
‘…Or Ebuka will.’