I should let you go…
I sleep alone
even when I sleep with you.
I should let you go…
but I probably won’t.
Serena opened her door and froze for a few minutes, trapped in the sunlight streaming in around his silhouette. Steve!
“Steve?”, she heard her voice croak. Saw herself move aside to let him in.
The next hour and a half were surreal. She watched from somewhere outside her body as they sat on her couch, as he explained that he never should have broken up with her, never should have married his wife. She listened mutely as he held her hand, stared deep into her eyes and gently told her that his two-year marriage was his biggest mistake because he hated it and, increasingly, his wife. He should never have walked away from her. Serena should be his wife.
She watched as the tears welled up in his eyes, as they strolled down her face. Watched herself lean forward to rest her head wearily on his chest. Serena watched her hypnotized self lead Steve into her bedroom, looked on as they stripped each other; slowly at first, then frenzied when the fire of familiarity seared their bellies…
Serena woke up after a short nap, the stickiness of her tears and their combined sweat uncomfortable on her cheek. She raised her head from his chest to look up at him. Steve smiled reassuringly, stroking her hair slowly, gently. His phone rang then and she watched as he sprang up to search for it within the rubble of abandoned clothes. She knew instinctively that it was his wife.
He rushed into the bathroom, firmly closed the door and confirmed her suspicion. She curled up into herself, waves of confusion, guilt, shame and anger taking turns washing possessively over her.
She was fully dressed when he came out. Taking one look at her, he quickly pulled on his clothes and walked to the door, Serena trailing limply after him.
“Riri, I meant everything I said”, he told her at the door, looking earnestly, pleadingly, at her.
“I really do love you.”
That day turned into weeks, then two months. He got her a mini fridge, a BlackBerry Torch, clothes, shoes, handbags, replaced her generator. Her phone was never without a flood of love-messages, or credit. Her bank account had never seen that much action.
Serena was happy. Truly, truly convinced that she had found happiness.
* * *
“My dear, so that’s the latest o. Hmm, the guy really loves me fa.” Serena’s face glowed as she gisted her friend Ify.
The silence after her little monologue was deafening, confusing the smile that had consumed her whole body. Her face collapsed into bewilderment as she searched Ify’s face for a reaction.
“Ify, naw, say something!”
“Please naw, just talk, enh?” Serena’s face was crinkled into a mask of worry.
“Serena. Hmm. Let me speak to you as a friend. RUN AWAY FROM THIS MAN.”
“But… he really does…”, Serena began, defensively.
“Serena!” Ify shut her friend up with the genuine fear and horror in her voice.
“This man is married. If he really did make a mistake by not marrying you, that’s his business. Married o! As in, he made a promise to God to be with his wife forever!”
Ify searched her friend’s face for signs of common sense and comprehension. She ignored the scared look on Serena’s face and went on.
“Please, Seri, please! Just walk away. If you want God to let you achieve all you’re meant to achieve, please stop! This isn’t right, abeg. There’s a bigger picture of your life, babe. You deserve so much more…”
Ify trailed off, emotion and Serena’s visible pain choking her voice.
“But… I… we love… each other…” Serena spluttered through fast-falling tears.
“Honey, your own man is out there waiting for you. Please stop this, enh? Please.”
Serena’s doubts and fears finally came to light, along with her pain, insecurities and abject fear of loneliness.
Ify understood all this, as she held on to her friend’s frail, shaking body, rubbing her back, rocking her back and forth, whispering meaningless, reassuring words into her ear.
This is the story of a friend of mine. Changes have been made to the names and situations.