In his rage, he felt an innate restraint but overruled it. After all, Adriana had been at this for far too long. She had foregrounded her virginity and rated it above all virtues thus lording it over her parents even. Eric would not have said a word but for Adriana’s tugging at his shirt that night.
“You’re a saucy, finicky mistress!” Eric bellowed.
“You shouted at me?” That was Adriana.
“You deserve it.”
“That’s ungentlemanly of you.”
“That was unladylike of you.”
The argument raged on. Both of them were surprised because that was their first serious open fire at each other anywhere ever. What’s more? That’s on the street and on Christmas Eve. And why today of all days, now that their marriage was less than four weeks away? Going by their marriage counselor’s advice, however, it was the best thing to have ever happened to them so they let themselves go. According to this counselor, it’s not healthy to marry them if they had never had an open confrontation in their twelve year relationship. According to the pastor, a failed relationship was better than a failed marriage and that a strong conflict during courtship was good to test the tenacity of the relationship and its stakeholders. So they fought on.
“I did not realized that misogynist in you till now,” that’s Adriana’s jab.
“Peevish, saucy mistress.”
By now, tempers were risen evident in the passionate articulation and pitched voices, their chocking on saliva and hate, not to talk about the embedded belligerence in every syllable, word and layer of meaning unit in their exchanges and the spurt of antagonistic paralinguistic units deemed unprintable. Initially, neighbours, and all thought they were joking again; they always teased each other like school boys or better still Commonwealth Hall or Katanga or ATL guys did. The whole area had known this boisterous to-be couple for loud jokes and rated them high.
“Adriana, you fool-oo”, that was Eric.
“Don’t be silly, my baby,” Adriana retorted but smiling.
“You be yawa kraaaa. What be your beef ryders?”
“You be fool waa, you Eric.”
“Who fool pass you?”
“Like I for listen my parents la.”
“Abi e no make too late, you fit lef me even rydee norrrrh”
“I go marry you today, tomorrow and whenever.”
With their return to pidgin, everybody thought they were joking. That was indeed a lull in the storm: the last calm. Onlookers in the Airways Residential Area, Haatso were surprised but not shocked at these youngsters. They came together again, chatting, teasing, talking, touching, yet oblivious of what they were later to do with each other.
“Let’s go inside,” Adriana pushed.
“I have a visitor”.
“I want to meet him”.
“Yes, whatever. Now!”
But what was her interest in seeing this visitor? Indeed there was a visitor in the room, Adriana’s bitterest “rival” and Eric in his maturity was just preventing a clash by playing his peacekeeping gentility. He advised her to keep her calm but it did not work. He assured her that there was nothing to hide about the visitor and that at the appropriate time they both would see her and there would be peace. She would not take any of that.
“I can’t take this anymore. You think I’m a fool?” she resumed.
“And there was silence.”
“You impatient b….”
“….bitch, bitch, say it and be free.”
“Don’t pre-empt me.”
“You called me a bitch.”
“Well, I never knew that. You knew you’re a bitch and you so called yourself on my behalf.”
“I thought you’d deny it.”
“You know yourself better than I do so if you say you’re a bitch, why deny you are?”
“Besides, you’ve never told me a conscious lie. So you are a bitch. Thanks for the new knowledge.”
“So you know how to hurt with your tongue.”
The tempo reached a crescendo but Eric kept the calm of his head. He gave moodless answers only. Adriana was now acting as if possessed, shouting and cursing even in Spanish.
“After all I’ve done for you.”
“Eres un tonto.”
“Talk. I want you to talk.”
“I don’t take orders from you now.”
“You’re ungrateful. You, you’re ungrateful. I’m the only one who can tolerate you.”
Adrianna’s phone rang; it was indeed a diverted call. Eric’s father was on the line from Cyprus. Adrianna acted her nicest to the old man and later handed the phone over to Eric. The old man had only one message for his son after all the prelims. According to the old man, Eric’s neighbors said he [Eric] was playing Kantata with his future wife outside. Eric was just advised to be the man with few words so should it become necessary to eat back his words he wouldn’t need help. The line went dead. And there was silence. He was already being wise before a wiser counsel arrived. That’s one thing he unconsciously learnt from his father though. Now he was prepared for the worst, steeling himself against silvery speech.
Adriana went to her car in an angry gallop, rummaged through the gloves compartment and yanked her copy of Eric’s keys off a bunch. Eric remained silent. She sallied past him in anger. When she got to the gate, the security officer asked Eric if he should let madam in. She, without waiting for an answer, strode in, and from the hall could scent a woman’s cologne and thought she knew who used to wear it . She rushed back for the camera in her car. Eric looked on. When she got to the gate, Eric did the last bit but that effort was just a drop in the bucket.
“Don’t call me.”
“Don’t’ say I did not warn you.”
“You cheat. You’re just buying time.”
She opened the door and burst in, Rambo style. The bedroom was empty but she heard water running in the bath. She saw a woman’s make up kits all over, and undies and all. She quickly affixed the most powerful external flash and auxiliary lens to the camera and held it at the ready to capture anything that came out of the bathroom into her viewfinder.
And there she came, captured, …stark naked! She took a look and that was indeed her bitterest “rival”, and not Evelyn as she had budgeted. This rival proved to be older and more powerful in all departments of warfare. Adriana stood transfixed until she received a slap.
……………………….to be continued