I feel like I’m walking on air. Being with Andy might have been a mistake, but right now all I feel is pure bliss. I am not going to focus on the negative. I’m just going to bask in this glorious feeling a little while longer. Reality can wait.
Sneaking out before he woke up, and making sure there was no trace of me left in his apartment did give me painful flashbacks. However, that is on me, and I did it out of habit. All the booty call mess is in the past – he said so himself, while we were making love.
I can feel it, things are going to be different this time. He really wants to be with me. I have newfound hope for things to turn out differently. I so want things to go my way for once; I think I’ve earned a break from the universe constantly smacking me down.
I am going to avoid telling Tumi about last night, if I can help it. I want to float around in this bubble for as long as possible. I know Andy and I will have to talk about it more, but until then, this cosy little bubble is home. Speaking of home, I can’t wait to spend my Saturday in bed. I must say as little as possible to Tumi, and head straight there.
When I walk into our kitchen its empty, which makes me think that Tumi is out. But I hear voices coming from the living room so I head there to say a quick hi, before disappearing for the rest of the day. I enter ready to gush fake pleasantries – but choke on my words instead.
My mind stops functioning; I’m dumbstruck in the doorway. Why in hell is Zama sitting on my couch right now? This must be some sick joke! Maybe Andy told her about last night and she is here to kick the shit out of me!
But, “Hi Hlohlo. How are you girl?” she says, springing to her feet and pulling me into a hug.
“Lihlo, not Hlohlo. You can call me Lee or Lihlo – nothing else.”
I am nauseous and literally about to throw up all over her expensive dress when she pulls away awkwardly. I’m not going to apologize – she was the one who decided to be overly familiar.
“Right, Lihlo … sorry. Do you have a moment to talk?” she says, wearing an embarrassed look on her face.
“You’re here to see me?”
That’s confirmation: she knows I screwed her man and now she wants to beat me or throw me onto our coffee table.
“Yes. I was just telling Tumi that I need your expertise.”
Why is she smiling so much?
“Uh … okay, how can I help?”
“Oh, you want to get straight to the point. That’s great. Well, you know Andy better than anyone. So, I was hoping you would help me plan a surprise birthday party for him.”
This is just fantastic. Karma is definitely playing games; trying to catch me with my guard down before it can bite me in the ass. I sink into our couch, defeated, and she sits right next to me, perched like a tiny bird.
“You want me to help you to plan a surprise birthday party? For Andy?” I say, staring into space.
“Yes! Please say you’ll help me.”
“I … no … I mean, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I’m not opposed to begging. Please! You’re his good friend. I’m afraid that I will plan something he will hate. Please say yes. I need your help.”
How do I say no without making her suspicious? But … maybe she should be suspicious. Then she will go to Andy with her worries and he’ll break things off with her.
Okay, I sound crazy, even to myself. If she does suspect anything this is a smart move on her part. You know the saying … to ‘keep your enemies close’, or whatever. Also, how do I say no when she’s looking at me like some weepy, adorable Disney character?
“Okay … I’ll help.”
“What? Really? Oh my god, you’re saying yes?”
Did she expect me to say no? I probably should have.
“Yep, I’m saying yes.”
Oh yay, she is hugging me again, very awkwardly this time. This is definitely a big mistake. Talk about digging your own grave. I sure love to self-deprecate.
“You won’t regret this! You’ll see – we’re going to have a blast. Okay, let me leave you to your Saturday. I want to go be with Andy before I have to leave town. I’ll be away for a week, and when I return we can go look at venues.”
Oh Zama, I have a feeling we will both regret this. “Yeah sure. Just text me with all the details once you’re back.”
“Great! Alright, I’m off. Bye Tumi. Thank you so much Lihlo.”
Tumi waves and I walk Zama to the door. Once she is gone it all feels like a bizarre dream. I make my way back to the living room in a confused daze. What just happened? And what does this mean for me and Andy? Clearly, his relationship isn’t over. I don’t know why I thought I had a chance with him. Why do I do this to myself?
I’m so caught up in throwing myself a pity party I don’t realize Tumi is talking to me.
“Lihlo. Lee! Can you hear me?”
“What was that?”
“I asked what all that was about. When did you and Zama become friends? Also, why did that bitch wake me up at the crack of dawn?”
Tumi is exaggerating; no way Zama got here that early and waited until I came home. But I’m not even sure what happened, so how do I explain it to my nosey roommate?
“I have no idea. I’m still processing it all.”
“I’m surprised you said yes, what with you having had an affair with her boyfriend.”
And there it is. She couldn’t wait to mention that, I bet. I’m surprised she made it through my whole exchange with Zama without making suggestive comments.
“Anyway, where have you been, and why are you only coming home now? I was sure we came home together. When did you leave?”
What do I say? Should I tell her? Tumi can be a little judgemental but for the most part, I know she has my back. She offers advice and a welcoming shoulder to cry on. I’m just afraid she’ll look at me differently if I tell her now, after the whole debacle with Zama.
“I just went out for a drink with a friend and decided to stay at her place.”
That was not convincing. She’ll see right through me, and then I’m done for.
“Tumi – just a friend! And I’m beat, so let’s talk later. I want to take a long nap.”
“You sneaky little …”
“Lihlonele Khoza, tell me you didn’t just agree to help that woman plan a surprise party, when you just came from sleeping with her boyfriend!”
The truth came out sooner than I expected.
“Tumishang Monaiwa, I don’t see how any of that is your business.”
How dare she judge me? I had no idea Zama would be here this morning. And I didn’t exactly plan to sleep with Andy.
“Oh baby no! Say it ain’t so! You wouldn’t be that stupid!?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. And I didn’t plan for any of this to happen.”
“Lee, no! How could you stand here making small talk with that woman, with whatever nastiness you and Andy were doing last night still lingering on your breath?”
“Look, I didn’t want things to turn out this way.”
Words fail me because I don’t know how this went so wrong so quickly. My pretty little bubble blew up in my face. How am I back in this position again? Why am I this person?
“Why were you even with him Lee?”
“He asked me to come over to talk. He is dealing with stuff about his dad and wanted to speak to me because I understand the situation. And one thing led to another. You have to know I only went over to comfort him.”
“You are not that stupid. You know damn well things always escalate with you and Andy.”
“I really don’t feel like being lectured.”
“He is going to hurt you. Again.”
“You think I don’t know that? Do you think I didn’t try to talk myself out of going to see him? I know I’m at risk of being broken to pieces. But … but he has a hold on me, and for the life of me I can’t shake it!” I say hysterically.
She quickly takes me in her arms as though the distance between us is unbearable. She gently rubs my back and I give in to the comfort she is offering.
“I know you love him. I’m just afraid that you’ll be the one to get burnt when this all blows up.”
“That’s my fear too.”
She pulls away, gives me a sad look, sighs, and leaves me standing there, soaked in self-pity.
Maybe I should distance myself from this whole thing and spare myself the heartache that is bound to hit me hard? I have no firm idea of what I should do; or how to do it.
What I know for sure is that every inch of my body wants to be held in Andy’s arms while my mind screams: ‘Run bitch, run!’
Tell us: Has this ever happened to you – falling in love with a ‘good friend’ who is taken already? What did you do? Pursue it or drop it?