I kept my palm on my mouth and fought back the tears and scream that was trying so hard to break free. I almost felt like a child whose favorite toy had been destroyed for no reason. I went back into our bedroom, got my bags and car key and left the house immediately. I did not hear footsteps behind me nor David nor even Vanessa calling out to me while I was leaving. Slowly I was getting erased from my own home. The first person I thought to call when I got out of the house was Mr. Francis so I dialed his number and waited for his response. When he picked on the third ring, the tears that I had been holding back came pouring like a tap and I wept bitterly while screaming; “I’m done with everything.” Mr. Francis promised to come get me at a place he told me to wait for him so I waited in my car and hit the steering wheel several times in anger. I truly loved David but why was what we had going to end that way. I later got a call from Mr. Francis, letting me know that he was around so I directed him to the exact place I parked my car and waited for him. Now my head was placed on the steering wheel when I heard a knock. I looked up and saw Mr. Francis knocking on my window so I opened the door and he told me to come out. I came out and immediately he held me in his arms really tight. A hug that I had longed for from David for so long. The kind of hug that made me feel at peace with everything and made me almost forget all my worries. I felt guilty for embracing the hug that way and thinking Mr. Francis was my protector. He wiped my tears and told me to get in the car at the passenger’s seat while he drove to his house. He had a driver bring his car home so he told me not to worry. For the first time since I knew Mr. Francis, I stepped into his house, a beautiful duplex where he welcomed me and told me to sit on one of the comfortable sofas he owned and also where he told me to talk to him. I narrated all that had happened and he came and held me very close with my head almost buried in his chest.
Later that evening, after he had consoled and got me to rest, he served me some spaghetti that he had prepared while I was asleep on the couch. As soon as I felt a tap and opened my eyes, I saw him in a casual shorts and shirt, holding the tray of food. Once I sat up, he pulled a stool that was beside me and placed the tray of food on the stool. He helped opened the fruit juice and poured some into my glass cup before I muttered a thank you. I sighed in relief and felt like my face was swollen from crying for hours.
“So what do you want to do?” he finally asked.
“I can’t take this anymore. I want to leave him but I still love David.” When I said this, I noticed a drop in his expression.
He looked like he was sad from my statement than sad for me. I didn’t feel like talking about David nor my marriage, at least not then so after a brief silence and into my meal, I asked;
“What about you and your fiancé?”
“We are okay.”
“It doesn’t sound like it.” I muttered under my breath.
“I’m sorry. I just said it doesn’t sound like you guys are okay.”
“Oh! We are fine. We just had an argument and that’s it.”
“Oh! Okay. I hope you guys sort it out.”
After I was done eating my meal, he took the tray from me, went into the kitchen and got back after a couple of seconds. He came and sat down again without saying anything. He was staring me and making me very uncomfortable so I spoke out and told him it was time for me to leave. I thanked him for everything he had done for me and said I had to be on my way since it was getting really late. He looked at the time and advised me not to leave as it was already very late but I insisted on going anyway. He asked if I was going back to the house and I told him I was going to check into a hotel until I sorted myself. Of course, he said that it would be a waste of money and that I could stay at the guest room in his house instead. I disagreed with him but after much persuasion, I finally agreed and so he showed me to the guest room where I stayed for the night.
A night turned into days and a month later, I was still under Mr. Francis’ roof. I did not expect to be temporarily living with him but it turned out that I did. I had gone back to the house when no one was around to pack a few of my things. This was after I told David that I had a lawyer who was representing me in the whole divorce process. I also went over to my parents’ and told them about David, Vanessa and everything that I had been keeping from them, ensuring that I didn’t leave out any information. I even let them know about my decision to go on with a divorce and surprisingly they didn’t get so upset about the decision even though they were upset that my marriage had turned out sour. They were definitely mad at David. My mother cried for me as I told them all that had happened and said a prayer before I left the house that day. David took it lightly when I told him about the divorce. I expected that he would say he wanted me back but not a single statement of wanting me back came out from his mouth. I accepted that our marriage and our relationship was truly over. At the other side of the table, my relationship with Mr. Francis or Francis as he preferred grew each passing day. I didn’t like that I was staying in the house of a man who was engaged to someone else but each time I brought the topic about me leaving, he insisted that I stay, I just couldn’t understand why. He told me that his fiancé was all the way in London and wasn’t getting back soon so I need not bother about it and to be honest, I took it very well and didn’t bother about it.
One day, I was working on some documents in his living room when he came back from an outing with a gift for me. This happened during the weekend so I had been home all day. I remember him coming into the living room where I had been seated, smiling like a small boy whose mother got sweets for him on her way back from the market. I didn’t know why he was smiling so I asked and he brought out a little box from the small bag he had been holding and handed it to me. I looked at the box that looked like an engagement ring was inside but certainly thought it couldn’t be a ring. He already proposed to his girlfriend who is his fiancé and he definitely couldn’t be thinking of giving me a ring too. I opened the box though out of curiosity and found a very beautiful diamond necklace. Puzzled, I asked if he got it for his fiancé and he said no so I asked again who it belonged to and he pointed at me.
I raised an eyebrow in shock and asked why he had to go get something as expensive as that especially because we were nothing but friends. He asked if it was wrong to get something for a friend and I shook my head. After challenging me, I accepted the gift in clear suspicion. I already sensed that maybe Francis liked me but I had given him cues that indicated nothing was going to come out of our friendship.