When face to face with our very own mistakes and misunderstandings, the anger washes away like cold water down a parched throat and the only emotion left is Shame.
‘Can’t you just leave me and my wife alone in peace?’
Kosi unconsciously had his hands in fists at his sides. After everything he and Eva had gone through because of him. All the lies and half-truths. The pain of seeing and noticing the tell-tale signs of cheating, Ebuka has continued -even now- to spend quality time with Eva, his wife. To plague their lives with his presence.
Especially now that she’s barely clinging to life, a position he put Eva in. Hope was right, it’s not his fault that Eva is struggling to wake up, it’s Ebuka’s. If Ebuka had never met Eva at whatever ATM machine she said they met, our marriage would still be perfect and Eva wouldn’t be lying on this hospital bed.
And I wouldn’t have had sex with my best friend.
Kosi allowed the anger to fuel his mind. Letting go of his anger towards Ebuka would mean facing his affair with Hope and he wasn’t ready for that yet.
Ebuka, who was leaning over Eva, slowly lifted his face to see Kosi. He looked directly into his eyes without saying a word and kept his hand on Eva’s. This gesture infuriated Kosi even more.
‘Since you came into our lives it’s been like living inside a tornado! Everything! Everything has gone horribly wrong and it’s your fault!’
Kosi, who was standing at the entrance of Eva’s hospital room, now entered fully.
‘At first I was understanding, I mean, you’re just a secondary school classmate. That’s what she said but then she started keeping late nights and you bought her a phone. A phone? Why would you even do that? Don’t you have any shred of decency? How and why would you go after another man’s wife? Now see, look at Eva. Just look at what you’ve done. I swear to God if Eva doesn’t wake up…’
‘Yes? Finish that statement. What will you do?’
Ebuka said it with such a calm tone. It took every fibre of Kosi’s being not to shout at Ebuka. It was already past midnight and he didn’t want to be thrown out of the hospital for any reason but seeing Ebuka just sitting there with a smug look as though he belonged there, by Eva’s side, made his blood boil.
‘My wife and I could tell each other anything but she started keeping secrets because of you. You!’
‘That sounds like a you problem.’
‘What? That’s not true. It’s because…’
‘Spare me. If your wife -like you keep pointing out- started keeping secrets from you then it’s simply because she didn’t feel she could trust you. Ergo, a you problem.’
Kosi stood there in stunned silence. He shook his head as if by doing so, Ebuka’s words would bounce off of him.
‘I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make it seem like it’s my fault.’
‘I’m not trying to do anything.’
Ebuka replied. He relaxed on the chair but his hand remained fixed on Eva’s.
‘Hope? Who’s she? Your shrink?’
‘That’s none of your business.’
Without saying anything more, Ebuka returned his focus to Eva.
‘Mi amor, wake up. For me.’
Kosi marched towards Ebuka and pulled his hand away from Eva’s.
‘Why can’t you just get out of our lives for good. Go back to Spain or wherever it is you came from. Better still, why not start now by getting out of my wife’s hospital room!’
Kosi stood speechless. One word was all Ebuka said but it carried a huge punch.
‘What do you mean “no”? I have every right…’
‘No. I have every right to be here because I’m paying for her medical bills.’
Kosi remained quiet, realisation dawning on him that it was indeed Ebuka that brought Eva to the hospital.
‘Look, I can reimburse you for…’
‘Never in your life, touch me. The next time you do that, I won’t be responsible for my actions.’
The look in Ebuka’s eyes caused him to open and close his mouth like a fish. Ebuka wasn’t sitting anymore, he stood. Kosi had to raise his head up a bit just to be able to look him in his eyes. In that moment, Kosi felt like a sheep staring up into the eyes of a lion. Well aware of its fate but held in place solely by fear.
‘Also, in case you didn’t notice, this is a hospital. It’s late. The last thing anyone wants is the overbearing clang of a noisy cymbal.’
They were mere inches away from each other.
‘You see that woman lying helplessly on that hospital bed? That’s Eva. My childhood crush. Do you know who she is to you? Your complex. You don’t even know what you have.’
‘Yes I do! It’s your fault that she’s…’
‘Will you stop with the finger-pointing already?! Grow the fuck up. We aren’t in nursery school. You are the reason she’s on that bed. You kicked her out of your house, in the middle of the night, not caring where she would sleep because of your stupid complex.’
‘No! It’s not my fault! You both were having an affair and…’
Ebuka immediately let out a deep throaty laugh which surprised Kosi.
‘An affair? Oh damn, I wish. I wish we got that far. Believe me if we did, we won’t be having this conversation. She would be mine already.’
There was a look of pure confidence in Ebuka’s eyes. Like he believed what he said and Kosi’s jaw dropped.
‘But… I thought… the kisses and everything?’
‘Don’t get me wrong, I kissed her senseless and her body felt like water balloons against my touch but she never let it get any further than that.’
Even as the words escaped his mouth, he knew Ebuka wasn’t.
‘You’re so absorbed in your own personal issues you’ve managed to convince yourself that you’re a victim.’
Then Ebuka took a menacing step closer to Kosi causing Kosi to take a frightened step back.
‘… from where I stand, you’re not the one barely hanging on to life on a hospital bed. But then again… I’m in such a foul mood I could grant that wish right here, right now.’ Then Ebuka tilted his face to Kosi’s ear and whispered, ‘I’ll even make it seem like an accident.’
Kosi stood unmoving as Ebuka retreated from him and resumed his seat by Eva’s hospital bed.
‘You’re welcome to join me, she is your wife like you so pointed out. I can extend that courtesy tonight.’
Kosi zoned out as the realisation that Eva never cheated on him began to sink in. He was ecstatic. Noticing this, Ebuka shook his head and focused his attention on Eva. Kosi’s joy however, didn’t last as he began to recall all the things he had said to her over the past few months…