‘I know what I’m doing. Really!’, Kally insisted to me as I turned away from her to pick up my mobile that had just started to ring. This discussion was beginning to bore me. How many times have I had this conversation with her? All with the same conclusion. It’s not like I don’t love her. I do. Like a sister. It’s just that she has this very annoying habit of rushing headlong into silly entanglements that ultimately leave her in tears and my shoulders wet. The phone call is so short that it can’t save me from Kally’s continued insistence on her ability to handle her ‘affaires de cœur’.
* * *
Kally and I met in secondary school. Even back then she had more boys paying court. Some people are just the life of the party and that was Kally. Flitting like a butterfly. I still find it funny that even then we easily slipped into the roles of the comforter and the comforted. First there was that sweet, shy, geeky boy whose name escapes me now. And rightly so because Kally only paid him minimal attention until the class lothario J- started to hang around. So sweet geek sulked like a sad sap until it became obvious to him that all was lost. To be fair, he didn’t stand a chance with a queen bee like her. J- was there for a while with his sweet tongue and petting ways but he had to move on. After all, some other flowers had begun to bloom and she was old news. It didn’t really last that long, to hear tell of it but that weekend was the first time she cried to me. I sat there patting her awkwardly and wondering how I’d get my weekend reading done while my shoulders ached from the heaving of her sobs. The girl I saw on the Monday afterwards caused me to marvel. Gone were the tear tracks and runny nose. A face artfully presented with powder and lip gloss- the only allowed forms of make-up – greeted the world that morning. Though we now sat beside each other, she in her barely there mini skirts and me in my knee length, a-line. We talked more while she continued her flitting.
* * *
I now turn to Kally to stare at her in that unique look of disbelief and disapproval that I have developed specially over the years to express my feelings in situations like this. It has never worked in the past and it is highly unlikely it will start to now but it is my last resort. Her latest in the long string is really no better than the others – a man separated from his wife. Apparently, his wife has temperament problems. She has been in a rage calling my friend at all hours to warn her off and insisting that she will stop at nothing to be rid of home wreckers. I have begged, pleaded, threatened, told ghost stories… all to get her to stop this affair that everyone knows is unlikely to end well – everyone except her, that is. She is having a date tonight with him at the Hotel Presidential. I have a date tonight too though nobody so flamboyant. Just my steady of a few months. I’m going to be late and I really like him and I don’t want to be late so I make the appropriate noises and excuse myself hoping to make all my preparations and arrive in good time.
* * *
It’s been two days since I spoke to Kally and it isn’t really like her. She usually calls with details about her life and needs no coaxing for us to set up a girls’ timeout. I like her for that – most times – when I don’t have pending projects… or dates. I pick up the cell phone that failed to bail me out that day and dial her number. Switched off. That’s odd. She usually has two spare batteries and she cannot bear to be out of reach. I guess I’ll drop over at her house on my way back from work but I can’t help wondering…
I’m driving down the road that leads to her apartment and thinking – not for the first time – how a girl with such good taste in all other areas of her life can have a broken chooser when it comes to men. As I pull up to the house, I notice that the lights are out. She works from home so I wonder how this is possible. Nobody is home. And the gateman cannot give me any information except to tell me that he has not seen madam for the past two days. I decide then to call on her mum at the family’s house and it is there that I finally get to hear what has happened. Kally was found dead in a hotel room at the Hotel Presidential that very night. She was discovered by room service that came in to deliver the order she had made a few minuites before. Nobody remembers anyone else entering or leaving that room. Her date has an alibi that he was having a reunion with his wife that night and his wife backs him up though how she wouldn’t I can’t imagine. He says he called her to cancel the date and the times on her cell phone check out with his statement. The police have ruled it as murder by a person or persons unknown. But in this country who will investigate further? The case will just die. I know it. I remember Kally telling me about the threats that his wife issued and her disbelief that something would come of them. I fear they have something to do with my friend’s death. But who will believe me?