I grew up with Nancy. She was that kind of friend your mom would always advise you to emulate; cheerful, giving, obedient and always in church doing what the Lord says.
We went to secondary school together and found ourselves also in the same university. The freedom we had while at the university made us explore many things we couldn’t do while at home. I had a boyfriend, Andrew. I didn’t know what to do to keep him and what to do to be the girlfriend he wanted.
He left me. That was exactly the time Nancy was having a blossoming affair with the president of our church’s association in school.
Her’s was easy from the beginning. They agreed not to have sex until marriage but the guy was cheating with some other ladies. Nancy found out on several occasions and on several occasions, she forgave him but nothing changed until she changed something. One day she walked away, bringing the curtains down on her first affair.
Not too long after school, Nancy found a man who eventually married her. I was at the wedding. I saw my friend in a way I’d never seen her before. She was beautiful and the smiles never left her face. I was happy for her to have found the love of her life so soon.
When she settled for marriage, we didn’t hear from each other often but once in a while, we kept in touch. I was there for her when she had her son. Again, I was proud. My friend was no more a girl. She was a mother.
One morning, I woke up to a very disturbing text message from her; “Would you be home today? Please be there for me, I need to talk to someone.” She ended the message with a crying emoji.
I called her; “Nancy are you alright?” She responded, “I need to rant to someone. I’m going insane. Please wait I’m coming over.”
Some few hours later, she was in my room with her little son. She burst out crying; “I’m dying slowly. This marriage would be the end of me.” I was shocked. I asked; “I thought you were happy? You told me it was the best thing to happen to you.” She answered, “That was the beginning. Now, things are different. Just last night, he beat me and that was the third time he had beaten me in a week.”
I was shattered. I couldn’t believe someone could actually hit a woman let alone someone like Nancy. She went on narrating her ordeal to me. At some point, I had to stop her from talking and crying so I could put my own heart at rest. I looked at the boy, beautiful and spotless. He went around jumping and playing while his mother’s heart was on fire. Stupid kids…they don’t know anything.
We became very close again. I was the shoulder she could cry on. Most times I didn’t know what to tell her but she was ok talking to me and letting it all out. We cried together and then laughed about it some minutes later.
One night during a fight with the husband, she ran off with her boy and came to me. She spent close to a week with me and the husband never called to ask about where she was. It was during that week she told me a secret that knocked me off my feet.
She said; “I’m seeing another man. Please don’t judge me yet. Somehow, I need somewhere I can pour out all these pains and that man has been the channel. I’m using him to make my pains bearable but I love him.”
She went on telling me about all the times she had spent with the man and how the man treated her with care and attention. The only moment I saw her smiling was when we were talking about that man. I asked her, “Won’t you rather leave your abusive husband and settle with this man once and for all?”
She answered; “I wish I could but I lack the strength to do that. My marriage is barely over two years and I don’t even know if this man I’m seeing is going to be like this forever. Remember my husband was also once sweet and caring.”
Nancy was my friend. She became a sister. We both were like the soul mates wandering around looking for a home. My friend needed saving and I was the only one with the power to do that.
One night as she laid sleeping, I picked her phone up, took screenshots of all the flirty messages she had been exchanging with the man and anonymously sent them to her husband. It wasn’t easy for me to do that but it wasn’t also easy listening to the abuse my friend was going through every day.
The husband exploded like a volcano. As expected, he beat her up, threw her things out and called her all sort of names. Some few hours later he called Nancy’s parents to report what he’d found and threatened to divorce her.
Nancy was so ashamed to face her parents all alone so she asked me to go with her.
I was sad when I saw her. Her lips were swollen, her face bruised and had a series of lacerations on her arms and beneath her left eye. Her parents had no idea what she was going through until she told them that day. They were disappointed about her cheating but they were more sympathetic after knowing what she had been going through in her home.
The husband wanted a divorce and she grudgingly granted it. Finally, their almost four years of marriage came to an end. It wasn’t easy for Nancy to go back to the man she was cheating with. The shame was too much for her and as she said; “He was the reason my marriage collapsed and nothing can change that. Even if I should end up marrying him, he will still be the reason my first marriage didn’t work. He’ll be guilty and I’ll be guilty too.”
That affair with the man also ended. But one thing made me happy, she was able to put her life back together again, worked very hard to take care of herself and the kid. She was happy again and that made my heart cheer but it didn’t stop me from having guilt about collapsing their marriage.
Two years after her divorce, she got married again. The guy was our senior in secondary school. They reconnected on Facebook and after knowing each other very well, they decided to get married. I saw a different spark in her eyes after the marriage. It was as though something had been restored unto her. Some few months after the marriage, she left the country to settle with the guy in Canada.
My soul was at rest until recently something stirred up the guilt in me all over again. At church, the pastor said, “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” That quote kept ringing in my ears for a long time.
I’ve been guilty of putting asunder what God had put together. Not that I regretted it but seeing how everything had ended for Nancy’s good, I decided to confess to her.
“Hello.” She said after picking up my call. I said hello too and I told her, “Nancy, there’s a secret I’ve been keeping from you. Those screenshots. I sent them to your husband.” “What?” She screamed. “Yeah, I did. I couldn’t stand the hurt and trauma you were going through while there was someone giving you everything you lacked. I knew you wanted to leave but couldn’t so…”
“So what? How come I didn’t even suspect you. Ahuh…that explains it. Till date, I’ve been thinking of who could have done that but your name didn’t even come up for suspicion.”
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I asked her, “Are you angry?” She retorted, “Of course I am angry but why are you telling me now? You should have told me while I was there so I could have slapped your face and get your lips swollen and then make up with you later over a drink or food or something. That way, I get my revenge and you get to feel how it is like to have swollen lips.”
We both broke down and laughed. She continued, “Come to think of it we’ve never fought before. That’s not normal. This could have been our opportunity to fight and you messed it up.” We both kept laughing and laughing over something that should have made us cry.
Since then, I’ve been at peace with myself, knowing Nancy knows about my sins and had forgiven me. Nancy….What a story we both have.