There can be nothing more embarrassing than one of your husband’s friends, and a good family friend, at that witness your man’s weakness for the bottle. Seki, a usually bubbly mother of two is a social friend I enjoy touching base with from time to time. She’s always struck me as a discontent woman in spite of her happy disposition. In one of our usual chin-wags, she let it slip that her husband was a chronic alcoholic. “Better than a wife-batterer”, I tried to console her. But she quickly reminded me that most violent men were at their worst when they’d had too much to drink. She’d confessed that Arthur, her husband had always loved a tipple in their courting days: “And I was his good companion”, she continued. “We were all young and carefree then. It is just that, as I and all our friends grew older and settled down, Arthur didn’t want to.
“On the two occasions I was pregnant, he’d happily left me alone at home so he could do the round of the clubs. That was when I realised just what alcohol meant to him …” She finally had to face the fact that Arthur was now a chronic alcoholic when he blew their house-rent on booze. “The landlord kept on pestering us to pay an I was livid”, she said. “I felt sorry for him in the end because he was genuinely contrite. He managed to raise the money but that left pretty little for the last festive period and the get-together we had planned, so we invited a few friends over and asked them to bring whatever items they wanted to contribute to the party. Most of them brought booze and the way Arthur eyes the bottles, he looked like a kid in a candy bar!
“A few hours later, he was urging everybody to drink and be merry as he started on is first drink. The problem was that whilst others sipped theirs, he gulped his. By the time the last but one guest left, he was crashed out unconscious on the sofa. Amechi, the only guest left a childhood friend of his looked embarrassed as he watched Arthur lying undignifyingly on the sofa, snoring. `I tried to warn him to slow down but he wouldn’t listen’, he said. `How have you put up with him all these years?’ he asked. I shrugged. It was none of his business and I wasn’t ready to discuss my matrimonial problems with any of Arthur’s friends.
“But Amechi hung around to help me clear up. As I started stashing mugs and plates in the sink, he came and stood behind me. He was so close, I couldn’t even turn round. `If I were married to a lovely girl like you, I wouldn’t swap her for a bottle of beer, not to talk of falling asleep on you’ I couldn’t say a word as I felt his breath on my neck, then we were in each others’ arms, kissing. Guiltily, I realised where I was and what I was doing – I was kissing my husband’s childhood friend with him just a room away. But we’d both reached a point of no return. Sensing the urgency of the moment, he lifted me up onto the kitchen table and hitched my knickers to a side. My legs were round his waist, crossing them at the ankles, as we made fast and furious love. It was a long time Arthur and I had had any intimacy and the frustration showed.
“I kept my eyes open because I was facing the door, terrified Arthur would come in any minute. Only he didn’t – we virtually got away with murder! When we got back to the living room, Arthur was still snoring, oblivious of what just happened! `We should do that again soon’, Amechi smirked. But that wasn’t the answer. As incredible as our romp had been – dangerous, erotic – he was no substitute for my husband’s love. “We’ve had a few romps more since then but I’ve told him it had to stop. Somehow, I have to find a way of weaning my husband off the bottle …”
Easier said than done, but I wished her luck. I’ve often said it that proximity is often a death knell to fidelity. The closer your partner’s friend is to the family, the easier for them to spot your vulnerability and zero in. A most hilarious incident happened some few months ago. Fola a close friend was dead keen on Veronica who is a regular visitor to my flat. Both of them were married but it was an open secret that none of the marriages was faithful. Fola put much pressure on me that I eventually agreed for both of them to meet at my place.
They seemed to be getting on real fine as I made an excuse to dash down to get a few items before the shops closed. ‘No hanky panky, I warned as I left them! My bedroom door was firmly bolted and the house-help was left at their beck and call. I was a bit surprised when I saw the help coming to the house, clutching some inconsequential items.
‘Auntie and her friend said I should get these for them, he said. What was going on? As I rushed in, I met the pair watching the box and chatting aw3ay like old friends. “That friend of yours is a rough-neck,” Veronica said, when I picked her call the next day. My ears perked up. “As soon as you left”, she continued, He was all over me kissing me urgently and mauling me. Before I knew what hit me, he’d pinned me down on the sofa and had his way with me. When he sent your house help on a wild goose chase, I thought it was to allow us to at least kiss and cuddle and get to know each other – better – not knowing I was left alone with a rapist!” I didn’t know what to make of her tirade. Promising to get to the bottom of things, I called Fola, my friend. He was in an up-b eat mood, “you were the one who planted the idea of a quickie in my head”, he accused. “I meant to be a gentleman, but when you warned there should be no hanky-panky, I realised there was the possibility. As soon as the coast was clear, I went in for the kill …” But don’t you think you were a bit uncouth …” “Oh, cut it out. We’re both married, surely, we weren’t expecting any courtship or anything? So, I moved in too fast. But I intend to give her a romantic dinner or an expensive present soon if those would make me look more of a gentleman. At least we had fun downing the nice bottle of wine I brought with me.”
“Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse?”, I asked him. “Don’t think so”, he said, smugly. “Whatever her grouse, I’d score with her”. That really got my goat. Was he living in the dark ages? The days when sleeping with a woman as a sort of conquest is gone. These days, women are as predatory as their male counterparts. Ravishing a date at the slightest opportunity, so you could put a notch on your bedpost is just not it!