All throughout my life, I’ve had this complicated “make friends but keep no friends” theory — not because I’m antisocial or hate people, but because I feel very inclined to guard my heart against betrayals and other treacherous acts.
I had just enrolled in a tertiary institution for a two-year course when I met my roommate, Anne. Surprisingly, my friendship with her grew deeper. We had meals together, had classes together, read together, and looked out for each other whenever we went on dates. She even helped me clean up a course mate’s lab note that I accidentally sat on and smeared with period blood. (Gross, I know.)
I was dating a guy named Rafe at that time; he was the centre of my universe. We did all the late calls, silly texts and everything else that’s synonymous with young lovers. All his friends knew about me and all my friends knew about him.
One day, I had an impromptu evening class that clashed with the date we had planning, so I needed to call him up immediately to prevent him from waiting for me. I had run out of calling card money, and without thinking twice, I borrowed Anne’s phone and called him.
Subsequently, Rafe called through Anne’s phone a couple of times after that, claiming he couldn’t reach me on my phone. I never for once saw it as a big deal, knowing Anne and I had become besties.
I went on vacation for about three weeks, and during that time, I noticed that Rafe was calling less. He no longer seemed as excited as he used to be. I felt him drifting away gradually, but I ignored the signs and kept giving excuses for him in my head, allowing my instincts and brain to take the passenger seat while my foolish, drunk-in-love heart wheeled me on.
When I was back in campus, I noticed that Anne started acting a little odd, doing things she normally wouldn’t do, like excusing herself to take calls outside the room, having a password longer than the Atlantic Ocean, and a lot of other shady things. She was more glued to her phone, guarding it so much that I knew she definitely had something up her sleeves.
I rarely fully trust friends, but Anne and I had developed a kind of sisterly affection for each other, and I didn’t want to be nosy. I kept my observations to myself, patiently waiting for when she’d speak up or slip.
And she eventually did start slipping.
Anne was always spearheading visits to Rafe’s place, even when I didn’t feel like going; she would convince me, nudging me ahead subtly. I knew something wasn’t right when we were getting dressed up to go see him — she’d put on heavy makeup, and dress like she was on a mission to attract a man. I dumbly allowed her to come with me on several occasions because I thought Rafe would never be interested in her.
However, I was sniffing around for anything that might confirm my suspicions that something was a little off.
A few weeks later, Anne had stepped out to run a quick errand, leaving her phone behind. I didn’t intend to snoop around, but her phone beeped. When I looked at the screen, the text was from Rafe.
I couldn’t believe he was texting her. I got inquisitive and typed in her password that I’d watch her input a thousand times. That's when I found out that they’d been seeing each other since my vacation, and she had sneaked out to visit him several times right under my nose.
I felt betrayed and disrespected. How could Anne? How could Rafe? I held my emotions from running wild and put up my best act like nothing happened when she got back.
I wanted to confront them, but I decided to watch them some more and see how far they would continue with the deception.
One of Rafe’s friends who I'd befriended, Melvin, hit me up one night, saying he had something he needed to tell me. From his hesitant tone, I knew what he was going to tell me, so I braced myself. He told me how Anne had been a bad friend and that he found out about their secret relationship after Anne turned him down when he asked her on a date.
I told Melvin I knew about it, and he was shocked, wondering why I hadn’t confronted Anne and broken it off with Rafe. I told him to calm down and act like we didn’t know and he did, reluctantly.
One evening, toward the end of that semester, my friend Nneka called me up for a girl’s night out. I agreed to come, and so did Anne. All the while, I had been acting very cool with Anne — no confrontations, no fights, no accusations. I needed to teach them a lesson.
While we were out, Nneka started giving a speech on how far we’ve come as friends, how we stood up for each other, made mistakes, cried together, laughed together, and experienced a lot of life-changing activities. Anne sat glued to her chair, fidgeting, biting her nails, and looking on in oblivion and heavy guilt. She looked really pitiful, like a kitten that got drenched in the rain. I had the urge to reach across and give her a high-five in the face with a chair, but I had decided no dumbass unfaithful man was going to turn me into a monster.
Nneka’s speech must have moved Anne, because afterwards she explained to me all that transpired between her and Rafe, blaming it on the devil. She looked up at me, expecting me to hit her, scream, cuss or just do some mad stuff, but I just sat there, looking at her with a sly grin on my face. When I eventually admitted that I had been in the know for weeks, she was terrified.
But although I was hurt by what they did, Anne had stood up for me so many times. Our friendship was more beneficial to me than my relationship with Rafe. I chose to stay friends with my bestie — she wasn't worth losing over a slimy man. I won’t allow one bad thing soil everything else between us.