“He has done it again,” Lily lamented.

“Who? And what did he do?” her friend, Lola asked perplexed.

They were in Lily’s house, seated by the pool, treating themselves to a cold drink of Chapman that, somehow, Lily’s chef had finally gotten a hang of.

As far as Lola was concerned, this was a wonderful day, she couldn’t have asked for a better one. Nothing beats chilling with her friend by the pool on a sunny afternoon.

She had been sure Lily felt the same way considering how relaxed they both have been.

Lola had definitely not been expecting Lily’s outburst or the pained expression that she was trying to hide unsuccessfully.

“What is wrong, Lily?” she inquired.

Lily looked like she was struggling with tears and also second-guessing her decision to tell Lola.

Lola sighed patiently.

She was used to Lily, she knew how her friend liked to bottle up all her emotions and deal with them herself. They couldn’t have successfully kept a friendship for close to twenty years if she didn’t know her friend.

They had met in primary school when Lola had changed school. Lily had been the only one without a seat mate and so their friendship was more fortuitous than anything. However, Lola was eternally grateful for it.

Even after Lily had gotten married quite early at 21 and Lola was still single, now that they were 24, it had not in any way affected their friendship.

Lola knew Lily was not being deliberately closed-mouthed about her problems. Lily just always needed to know she could deal with them and when she felt like opening up to Lola, she did.

Others might not understand, but she understood her friend and wouldn’t have her any other way.

Now Lola was alarmed at the reaction of her friend. She couldn’t fathom who it was Lily was talking about, but if she was to take a wild guess, she would say Lily’s husband was the he that did it again. After all, Lily couldn’t be close to tears over someone less intimate.

But then again, who knew? That was why instead of asking all the questions she would have loved to ask, she was patiently perched by her friend’s lounge chair, waiting for her to open up when she was ready.

She noted Lily battled with the tears a few seconds more and then, probably the quiet understanding in Lola’s eyes did it for her, she crumbled, held on to Lola and sobbed her heart out.

Lola was shocked and horrified at the depth of Lily’s sorrow, but she was helpless to do anything than to hold on to her quietly.

When the sobs turned to whimpers, Lily looked up to Lola and said simply, “he cheated.”

Lola could admit, that was not what she was expecting. “Who cheated?” she asked, even though she already felt like she knew the answer.

“Rukeme,” Lily said with a huff as though berating Lola for not quickly catching up.

“Are you sure you are not just speculating?”

“No,” Lily answered, surprisingly regaining her voice now or not so surprising as Lily had always been emotionally strong. “This is not the first time I am catching him.”

She paused as though waiting for Lola to react. Lola knew she had nothing to say to that.

Not only was it coming as a shock that Lily’s perfect husband … or so she thought … was cheating, but that he had been cheating constantly and Lily had never said anything.

Of course, she wasn’t angry at Lily for not saying anything, she was more amazed at how Lily kept serial unfaithfulness from her husband quiet so much so even her closest friend did not suspect.

That must have taken Oscar worthy acting.

“I have caught him several times,” Lily continued, waking Lola up from her reverie. “but recently, he brought her home. Usually, he hides it from me and when I confront him, he apologizes but this time around  …”

Lily broke down in tears again and Lola drew her into her arms without another word.

When she had had her fill, she pulled away from Lola’s embrace and Lola asked quietly, “this time around, what happened?”

Lily turned helpless eyes to Lola and Lola’s heart broke. She hated seeing her friend so hopeless.

“What happened?” she prodded Lily again.

“Lola, this time around, it happened in our matrimonial bed … and I was ready to forgive him … I swear I was … if he would just tell me she means nothing like the others … but he didn’t … he didn’t … oh my God, Lola, he practically laughed at me and told me he was tired of my sorry ass.”

“In those same words?” Lola inquired, getting riled up.

“In those words,” Lily confirmed.

Lola’s face contorted in anger when Lily finished. She couldn’t help the seething rage that churned inside her.

That he had the guts to cheat on her friend was one thing, but to throw it on her face was unforgivable and then telling her he was tired of her, deserved murder.

“Tell me you inflicted pain?”

Lily’s mouth curved in a sad smile. “No.”

“No?” Lola raged. “No? Are you for real? There were no shoes around or anything? Just to inflict pain?”

“No, I was too devastated to do anything but cry and I couldn’t stand his haunt anymore so I ran out and stayed in the guest bedroom until I was sure I would not see him that day.”

“When did this happen?”

“Three days ago.”

“Three days ago?” Lola huffed. “How did you handle seeing his ugly face without wanting to kill him?” Lola was genuinely shocked.

“The next day, I went to see my Aunty and explained to her, but she calmed me down.”

Lily’s parents had passed away from an accident that also took her two brothers, when she was sixteen.

She had stayed over at her Aunt’s or Lily would have been with them.

Lola shuddered at the thought.

“Why didn’t you tell me? If not about the others, then about this one.” Lola needed to know.

She wouldn’t hold it against her friend either way. She understood Lily’s need to handle situations herself, but she still wanted to know.

“I was trying to keep my home. I was not even planning to tell you. I really wasn’t. I just wanted us to have fun, but I cannot stop thinking about it.”

“I see. So what have you decided now?”

“I am still going to keep my home.”

Lola didn’t agree that should be the answer. She didn’t even think it was possible that the Lily she knew was planning to brush infidelity under the rug, but maybe marriage did indeed change people.

“Has he apologized?”

“He won’t.” Lily sounded resigned. “Plus, maybe it is my fault.”

Lola’s gaze sharpened immediately.

“What??? How did you come to that conclusion?”

“My Aunty made me understand some things. The other day, he wanted roasted eba, but I couldn’t help him. He also told me to fry his cornflakes but I burnt it, not to mention, I don’t initiate sex.” Lily explained, totally missing the stunned look on Lola’s face.

Lola was appalled that Lily actually believed all she just said.

Lily continued, oblivious to Lola’s reaction, “My Aunty made me understand that when men don’t have what they want, they go outside. She told me how patience does it. She has been married thirty years so she must know what she is saying.”

If Lola didn’t know Lily, she would have thought the wealth of the guy was blinding her. She didn’t wish her friend bad or want to crash her friend’s marriage. That was the only reason she was quietly gaping at her friend in wonderment. She really didn’t mind if her friend decided to forgive her husband, she was after all a firm believer in forgiveness, but she didn’t think brushing it under the rug was the best idea neither was taking the blame.

It was even obvious Lily was not over it, not with her wrenching tears a while ago.

The man had been doing it for a while, so if Lily had done all the supposed things he wanted, he would have still found a way around it.

But Lola decided, that was how the world programmed it to be, keep it bottled up, endure it and have a long marriage so people can say she had a successful marriage.

But what does she know?