Not Again

I watched them from afar. Both good looking, well groomed, they seemed perfect. She certainly looked happy. And that’s saying a lot. Keke hasn’t been happy in awhile. Since that stupid Kene incident. But that’s a story for another day.
I watched them with a heavy heart. You see, Keke and I, we’ve come a long way. At first glance, she seemed to have it all, a face that stayed perfect no matter the expression or time of day, a body to die for though she never hit the gym, legs that went on forever. She’s not exactly a rocket scientist but Keke can hold her own in almost any gathering. Great smile, charming personality (maybe a little crazy atimes but that’s part of her charm). Caring and motherly, she seems to be the total package. But Keke isn’t perfect. One would say Karma may actually have a hand in what she’s been served so far in the guise of love and relationships. Keke is a straight up tease and an incurable flirt. Until she fancies herself in love. Like now.
Barely a week ago, she introduced this one to me. Oh I had already heard an earful. Jerry this, Jerry that. I knew she was in love. She glowed, she seemed really happy again, plus she dropped the usual crowd of admirers like hot potatoes. I was curious,of course. Keke had sworn she was weaned of love after the Kene mess and no one who knew the story blamed her. None of us would forget Kene in a hurry. So I was excited when she suggested dinner, a double date of sorts. Keke likes cheesy stuff like that.
That day, I dragged Ray out on a rather cold Friday night. My baby isn’t big on double dates not to mention double dates where he doesn’t know all the people involved. But hey, for me eh? Of course he came and wore a smile to boot. He was late, Jerry I mean. Keke said something about him meeting us up because he had work or something like that. No worries, we ordered, played catch up a bit, Ray and Keke got along famously, of which I’m glad. They mean a whole lot to me, my best friends.
Then he walked in. I have to admit, Keke knows how to pick them, physically. Very handsome, charming, ready smile for everyone, the word that came to mind was smooth. Too smooth. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. He was engaging, maybe even sensed my reserve because he paid special attention to me, refilling my glass even before Ray could get to it and all. Then again, Keke probably told him I was her best friend, the one he came to meet. He offered to pay at the end of the meal buy Ray wouldn’t hear of it. I was uneasy still. He felt… phony. I shrugged it away tho. Hugged my friend and winked with a subtle thumbs up. She wasn’t fooled tho. The next day, she asked why I didn’t like Jerry. I told her I never said so. Then I told her it doesn’t matter, there’s nothing wrong with him that I know of and since I’m not looking to date Jerry, I really don’t have to like him that much. Of course she wasn’t pleased but she was too in love to dwell on it for too long.
Just yesterday, I placed my finger on what was off about Jerry. It was far off. Even I, with my cynical ways didn’t quite envisage the twist.At the drug store the other night, close to my work place, I spotted Keke’s Jerry. He seemed right at home there. They knew him well anyway, the sales girl was addressing him” Oga Jerry, this one no be artesunate but I no go lie for you, e work pass artesunate. “. He was holding a rather cute three year old that won’t stop bawling. At that point, a pretty young woman walked up to him and said “Junior stay with daddy o, I don’t have your strength right now.” They had a mock struggle over who gets to keep the child and he kissed her (on the lips) while still holding the child. I froze on the aisle where I stood before the bawling child made me notice him at the counter. I waited till they left before I made my way to the counter. While paying for my drugs, I couldn’t resist. I asked the cashier as casually as I could ” shey na oga Jerry wife be that?” he responded ” yes ma, she fine abi?” to which I simply said “yes o.”.
Here I am now, watching Keke smile into his eyes. The wedding band I spotted at the store was gone now. We went to the movies together. I didn’t know he’d be joining us, Keke told me at the last minute, making me an unwitting third wheel. Do I tell her? Of course I had to tell her. I was done watching this charade at my friend’s expense. I’m walking briskly now to catch up with them, not sure exactly how to say what needs to be said ” When do you plan on telling Keke about your wife. Don’t forget your son when the time comes o. I also hope you plan on telling them about Keke, because I don’t see any other way you all can come together as one big happy family” I blurted out.
We’re going home now. He didn’t deny it. The look he gave me was priceless, a mixture of confusion, anger, shame and some other emotions I couldn’t make out. If he could hit me tho…Keke on the other hand waited, perhaps for him to deny it. I don’t know why he took so long to respond. Perhaps it was the surprise element. Anyway, we’re walking in silence, Keke and I. She’s crying quietly but I know better than to reach out to her now. Maybe she’ll really be done with love this time. I hope not. Love can be beautiful, and I’m thankful to and for Raymond, he’s the reason I believe.

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