By Bunmi Sofola

If, once in a while you find yourself at the crossroads where you have to wrestle with your conscience trying to deal with treacherous people who have no qualms about stabbing you in the chest instead of the proverbial back, ponder on recent experiences I had.

A few months back, a ‘friend’ called on one of his usual chinwags. We had a few drinks then I casually mentioned a business I was interested in. Virtually, wilting details of the business from me, I was mildly shocked when I discovered him in my friend’s office a few days later with a folder containing his own ‘proposals.’

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He didn’t bat an eye-lid as he glibly explained that he’d been after the business for quite a while and it was sheer luck that I ‘helped’ him prepare for his write-up. The old me would have flared up and showed her fangs. But I kept my cool.

The lady sitting in the MD’s chair was an old classmate and a very close friend. Her secretary waited for me to finish talking with the traitor before asking me to go right in without as much as a glance at the opportunist who’d been warming his chair for close to an hour. It was then he looked embarrassed, and asked the secretary if she’d taken his filled visitor’s slip to her boss.

She assured him she had and the boss would call him when she was ready for him. Now, what better comeuppance would I have wished him? Giving him a plastic smile, I went in. He must have heard our hoots of laughter as I recalled what happened to my friend. With me ensconced in the visitor’s chair, she sent for the man. He came in looking a bit pompous whilst handing over a letter of introduction from one of the directors.

My friend’s professional face was back on as she informed him that, as soon as her office had made a decision, he would be informed. Thinking he might have the last laugh, he said pointedly that he would report back to the ‘director’ and my friend said he should give him her compliment whilst he was at it! The sad bit is that most of us experience treachery such as this all the time. Do we indulge in it too? Believing that all is fair in love and war?

Shortly after this incident, I had a phone-call from another friend that Supo, an ex-husband of yet another friend had just got married! The plot thickens, doesn’t it? The gist of the story is that Riki, Supo’s ex-wife, was an incurable flirt who solemnly promised her husband never to flirt again. That, after four children, she would rather devote time to the children God had given her. But she reckoned without her long-throat.

So, when temptation came calling, she threw caution to the wind. Bold as brass, she was even writing love letters to her new find from her matrimonial home! Felix, her new man, was so smitten that he kept her love-letters. A chronic philanderer, his long-suffering wife just kept her cool, attending regular church ‘revivals’ with the hope that her husband would, one day stray back to his family.

When she accidentally stumbled on the scotching letters Supo’s wife wrote to her husband she was devastated. From the letters, she got to know Felix had even taken Riki to his mother’s! How irresponsible can you get—taking a girlfriend to a mother who knew you were a married father of four? When she told her best friend of her latest predicament, the friend was excited. Supo turned out to be the new found lover she’d been raving about.

Now providence had put the nail in the coffin of his marriage in her hands. She scooped up the letters from Riki and took them to Supo’s office. The poor man was so devastated he broke down and cried. But he knew his wife could always wrap her round her fingers if he confronted her without any evidence.

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Instead, he waited for her to give her endless excuse to get out of the house a few days later, then discretely followed her in his car. Minutes after she got to her rendezvous with lover-boy eagerly waiting to receive her, Supo showed up. That was the end of the marriage. But, Riki wasn’t fazed, Felix was a good stand-in and his mother supported her and insisted his son should make up for Riki’s failed marriage by making her a second wife. After all, if it weren’t for Felix wife’s treachery, Riki would still be married by now.

So, it was a bit of a shock to now learn that Felix had gone back to his first wife and moved out of the flat he rented for Riki. As I write, the reason for the sudden change of heart is still sketchy. Supo, who quickly got divorced from his philandering wife, got married to the girlfriend who betrayed Riki by showing her letters to Supo—a bag of treachery is what is woven around this story and only a judge—with the wisdom of Solomon would phantom who the most treacherous is!

So, dear readers, in a dog-eat-dog life, such as we live in, I think it is better to share the lighter side of life with you from time to time. We all need a bit of adventure in our lives. The most important thing is to have a fairly large circle of friends you can relate to. So, what if a lot of them laugh with you and run you down when your back is turned? Which is what happened to Bola the other day. She’d gone to a house-party where there were more females than males and the gossip was quite bitchy. She was alarmed at details of intimate secrets about friends and family that were freely traded.

“As each guest left, the knives were out for her,” she recalled “I was a bit fed-up with the two-faced attitude of the guests but I hung around so I wouldn’t be the next target. But, leave I must, so I did. When I got home, which was a few minutes’ drive from the venue of the party, I discovered I’d left my purse behind and couldn’t get in as my house-keys were in it  so I drove back. l was about to open the door when I heard another friend giving graphic details of all the atrocities I was supposed to have committed with some of my lovers in the past.

“We used to be very close until I got fed up of her vicious attitude. She was in the middle of another juicy ‘escapade’ of mine when I opened the door. She was visibly shaken. ‘What happened to you?” She spluttered, ‘did you forget something?”

The other guests looked as if they’d seen a ghost. I calmly walked up to where I once sat, picked up my purse, waved it in the air and with a cheery,’enjoy the rest of your gossip,’ I left.

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“We all gossip from time to time—a lot of good gatherings thrive on it. But, the rule is to be fair to your supposed friends. Why reveal details of confidential secrets a friend believed were safe with you? Yet, who wants to hear boring gossips except the ones that are embellished with stamps of top secrets? Like someone once observed, all you have to do is listen to different accounts of an accident by so-called eye witnesses for you to think twice about confiding in any friend.”



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