When the dam bursts and the floodgates are opened, comfort and understanding are like a salve on an open wound.
Benjamin just stared at Eva in confusion.
‘Eva calm down. Please, you’re not making any sense.’
Eva just kept crying and not knowing what else to do, Benjamin stood up from the couch to sit next to her. He cautiously placed his arm around her hunched shoulders and when she didn’t shrug him off, he pulled her into his chest allowing her to cry.
‘It’s okay. Everything will be okay.’ He cooed.
He continued this while rubbing her back until Eva’s sobs quietened. Benjamin looked down to see Eva facing forward, remnants of tears still in her eyes.
‘Are you okay?’
Eva pushed up off of Benjamin’s lap.
‘Yes I’m fine. Thank you.’ she replied, turning away from him.
‘I’m sorry for breaking down like that. It’s just been a really difficult month for me.’
‘No. Eva, you have nothing to apologise for.’ Benjamin said softly. ‘I know it’s none of my business but I’m worried about your mental health. Could you please tell me what is wrong?’
She didn’t utter a word in response.
Still nothing. Benjamin sighed.
‘I know we didn’t start out on the best of terms but I’m hoping that you could give me the chance to be your friend.’ Benjamin said as he stood up from the couch. ‘If you’re sure you’ll be ok, I’ll see myself out.’
He was on his way to the door when Eva’s phone started ringing. The look on Eva’s face made him stop.
It was almost like she was in a different place. She suddenly became stiff as she stared directly at her phone, her arms shaking. Benjamin turned his attention to her phone and saw a single name as the caller, Ebuka.
The phone kept ringing for a few seconds more before the call ended. Benjamin moved closer to Eva, ‘Eva?’ He called but she didn’t answer. He sat down beside her and put his arms around her shoulders. Her skin felt cold. He turned her face towards him but she was looking through him. He called out to her loudly, ‘Eva! Snap out of it!’ Eva blinked once and then twice before her eyes finally settled on him.
‘Benjamin?’ She glanced at her phone but Benjamin held her chin and pulled her face towards his. ‘No. Look at me.’ Eva stared at Benjamin, hint of tears in her eyes. ‘Ebuka.’ She cried.
‘Is Ebuka your husband?’
Eva’s face twisted in disgust and Benjamin took that as a no. Benjamin let go of Eva’s chin and released a sigh.
‘Could you please tell me what’s going on? I want to help but I feel helpless. It’s not a feeling I’m comfortable with since it’s my job to help people.’ He added with a small smile. Eva turned her face away and then turned back to face him, a sad smile on her lips.
‘Ebuka is my former classmate. He’s the one that helped create a rift between me and my husband, Kosi.’
Eva looked away from him. Benjamin watched Eva carefully, noting how her hands balled into fists and then released. Whoever this Ebuka is, she seems to habour a lot of emotion towards him.
Kosi sat on the bed of his bedroom. His hands supporting his jaw as he starred out his bedroom window. He remained that way for five minutes before finally getting up. He tightened the towel around his waist and went straight to his closet. After rummaging through his clothes, he pulled out a navy blue T-shirt and blue jeans.
‘Babe could you please iron…’
He turned and quickly scanned the empty room before letting out a deep sigh.
‘Yeah. That’s true. Eva left.’
He placed his clothes carefully on the bed, took out the iron from the closet, plugged it in and slowly started ironing his T-shirt.
‘I wonder if I can get used to this…’ he mumbled to himself as he continued ironing.
Immediately after, he put on his clothes and went into the kitchen.
The kitchen was clean. The plates kept in their proper place, the floor and counters cleaned and the bin, empty.
He took out a plate of beans from the freezer and placed it in the microwave to defrost. He set the timer for 15 minutes before going to take a seat on the dinning table. The silence was loud. Kosi brought out his phone and started playing a game he had installed a week after Eva left. It served as a good distraction on most days but other days, it didn’t. Today was ‘others days’.
He rubbed his face with his palms and scratched the back of his head. When he noticed he had been staring at his screen for three minutes without playing, he chucked his phone back in his pocket and went to check on the spaghetti. Seven minutes remaining.
‘Arghhh! Why is time so slow today!’
He stopped the timer on the microwave and took out the spaghetti. The body of the bowl was hot to touch but when he removed the cover, the middle part was still frozen. He switched off the socket of the microwave, left the bowl of spaghetti out and headed out the front door.
Once out, he fished the house keys out of his Jean pocket and locked the door. Then he walked to where his car was parked, stared at his car for a few seconds before deciding to walk instead.
‘I need to clear my head.’
By the time Kosi got to his office, he was sweating and looking more irritated than he was when he left his house.
He sat on the seat by his desk, the picture frame of he and Eva on his desk caught his attention. His eyes filled with longing as he picked up the picture frame, his fingers gently caressing Eva’s cheeks.
‘Hey. You okay?’
Startled, Kosi dropped the picture frame. It fell on the floor and the glass frame shattered.
Hope said rushing to help Kosi pick up the pieces.
‘Don’t worry. Just… just stay right there… on the other side of the desk.’
Hope rolled her eyes and sat on the seat facing the desk. She crossed her legs and folded her arms watching Kosi pick up the pieces and carefully placed everything in his desk drawer. He let out a sigh and rubbed his face.
‘What do you want?’
‘Is that any way to treat your…’
‘Let me stop you right there. I don’t give a rat’s ass about how I should or should not treat you. After that damn stunt you pulled…’
Hope stood up from her seat, her expression intense.
‘Do you know how humiliated I felt?! Watching Eva throw herself at you like that?!’
Kosi stood up as well from his desk.
‘You?! Humiliated?! You tried to seduce me in my fucking house! With my wife in the very next room! Are you crazy?!’
‘Seduce you? You make it sound like we never had sex!’
Kosi rubbed his face and moved to the window.
‘That was one time.’ He said in a low voice.
‘And you expect me to just forget about my feelings and emotions and watch you be with Eva?’
He moved away from the window and turned to face Hope once again.
‘I don’t expect you to do a fucking thing! What’s the point?! Eva left me!’
He fell on his seat, exhausted, drained.
‘She fucking left me and she has every right to do so. I failed her. I failed my wife.’
He covered his face with his palms. His elbows resting on the desk.
Hope placed her hand on his arm and Kosi jerked away from it. There was hurt in Hope’s eyes at his reaction to her.
‘You know, you never told me what was so special about Eva. I’ve always been there. Always. But still you chose her. Even now, she left you but you’re still so hooked up on her. You’re still choosing her!’
The more she spoke, the tears began to flow down her cheeks. Kosi looked away, his expression pained.
‘Please Hope. Don’t. Don’t cry.’
Kosi made no attempt to comfort Hope even as the tears kept flowing. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath before letting it out.
‘So that’s how it is?’
Kosi turned to look at her when he heard her voice. She nodded her head and tightened her lips.
‘Hope, you’ve been a dear friend to me and I’m grateful for that but Eva…’
She shook her head.
‘Save it. I don’t want to hear you, see you or speak to you ever again.’
Without saying another word, Hope got up from her seat and walked out of Kosi’s office.
‘Shit! Shit!’ Kosi said as he swivelled his seat to face the window. ‘It was inevitable but… it doesn’t make losing my best friend any easier.’
Kosi stood up and walked to the door to lock it before resuming his position on his seat facing the window.
‘Eva. Please. Come back to me.’