LATELY, Iâ€™d been regaling CTB with tales of the escapades of some of my darling friends in recent months – especially in the last few weeks when a couple of them had virtually burnt their fingers with the spouses of their â€˜bits-on-the-side.â€™
A few weeks after one of Lilianâ€™s annual birthday bash , when she almost got into hot water when Rex, her husband, who travelled showed up, she went to Jake, her lover and the â€˜co-sponsorâ€™ of her party.
He had conveniently disappeared from the scene as soon as he saw Rex, to avoid any embarrassment. â€œIt was the first time we would have a decent chat after the party,â€ Lilian explained, â€œand we were theorizing on what could have happened if weâ€™d been caught red-handed by Rex when Jakeâ€™s wife virtually burst into his office.
Iâ€™d seen her vaguely at one or two parties, sullenly looking my way as if daring me to say something untoward. But, what could I have to say to her? I scarcely knew her, though her face looked vaguely familiar. â€˜Good afternoonâ€™, she snapped as she breezed in and sat down on the chair next to me, almost breathing fire.
My guards were instantly up. Jake started making a semblance of introduction when she cut in: â€˜l know senior Lilian now, she was four years ahead of me in secondary schoolâ€™. No wonder she looked familiar. I instantly remembered she was one of the pests that were always making trouble in the school dorm in those days. She was constantly being punished by her seniors, myself inclusive.
â€œHow was I to handle this tricky situation? I tried to make small talks and, in fairness to her, she tried to be polite until she suddenly asked; Senior Lilian, what are you doing in my husbandâ€™s office?â€™ She made me feel so old by her â€˜seniorâ€™ tag even though Jake is only two years older than I am.
I didnâ€™t have an immediate answer but Jake quickly told his wife I was a friendâ€™s sister.Â `I know whose sister she is,â€™ she sneered, on the verge of being rude. `That still doesnâ€™t explain why she is here. I also heard of her 50th birthday bash and the role you played in it. If you donâ€™t mind, Senior Lilian, I want to have a word with my husband. I think you should leave.â€™
I was shocked but it was obvious on whose side Jake was as he squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. I stood up in anger and as I left, Jakeâ€™s wifeâ€™s threat rang after me: â€˜Donâ€™t bother to show up here ever again. I have people watching you, and if you donâ€™t want any embarrassment, hands off my husband!â€™ It was a very humiliating experience. I didnâ€™t know how I made it to my car!â€ Lilianâ€™s experience jogged the memory of a few friends whoâ€™d experienced a similar â€˜affrontâ€™. Ini recalled some years back when sheâ€™d gone to a thanksgiving party of a boyfriend whoâ€™d survived an attack by armed robbers.
â€œI donâ€™t often like to dine with the enemy,â€ Ini said, â€œso I told Bob I wasnâ€™t interested in making his wife uncomfortable by showing up at such a private party. He assured me his wife didnâ€™t know who I was, so I attended with a friend. The luncheon was self-service and as I hovered over the fried rice heating tantalizingly under a burner, Bobâ€™s wife came over, pretending to see to the effective running of things.
Ignoring her, I took the serving spoon and as I made to scoop some rice, she was at my side in a flash, pressing the spoon and my outstretched hand deep into the hot rice. I gave a painful yelp! â€˜What are you doing here?â€™ she whispered furiously into my ears, trying not to make a scene.Â `Just put down your plate and walk out or you will be in deep troubleâ€™ My friend was virtually shaking with nerves.
Unfortunately, Bob was amongst friends and didnâ€™t realise what was going on. My friend and I simply disappeared as quickly as we could! Iâ€™m sure Bob must have been told what happened but when he called a few days later, he feigned annoyance at my leaving so quickly.
I told him his wife virtually hounded us out of the party, and he sounded shocked. The swine! Of course, he later made up generously for the embarrassment but the fact remains you shouldnâ€™t take a fight to the enemyâ€™s camp. A wife is a wife, no matter how hard the husband tries to convince you the marriage is now in name only. She can never be â€˜the other womanâ€™, no matter how much in love you are with her husband – and no matter how the husband assures you sheâ€™s no threat to your relationship.â€
Iâ€™m sure it was some of these hair raising experiences that prompted CTB to invite six of my friends to a New Year get-together recently. When I protested the year was well on its way, he said there was always a reason to have a good natter.Â And any time CTB extends his once-in-a-blue-moon invitation, my friends jump.
So, there we all were in our expensive â€˜casualsâ€™ with a handful of CTBâ€™s friends trying to recapture their fading youths with clothes they must have borrowed off their grown-up sons! It was whilst the conversation verged on the antics of wives and their husbandsâ€™ girlfriends that CTB told me his wife wasnâ€™t like that. â€œHow would you know? I challenged. `Iâ€™d often tried my best to respect her by behaving like the good employee who had nothing but professional affection for her boss and his wife. She was at my wedding, remember? She even gave me one of the loveliest presents I got.â€
CTB smiled wryly. â€œYou believe that in a company as big as the one we both worked with, no one would have told my wife about us? When virtually everyone knew what was going on? Of course, she knew about our â€˜little arrangementâ€™, as she called it. She came to the office several times to see the type of relationship we had and even encouraged you to bring your ex-husband to the house under the pretext of being a caring big â€˜aunty.â€™ It was after you got married that she told me she knew I was bonking you, but didnâ€™t mind because you were a sweet lady who wasnâ€™t particularly interested in husband-snatching! On top of which you were polite and not confrontationalâ€.