I could vividly remember it was our final year at Fourah Bay College, when my beautiful, smart and talented BFF (Best Friend Forever), Maraitu met a guy she was head over heels about. She was over the moon in love with this guy. As they say love is in the eye of the beholder, for me I couldn’t understand why she was so crazily in love. It would have made sense if this guy was her first love but he wasn’t; so what’s the reason for the fuss? She would literally talk about this guy 247/365.
However, I finally get to meet this guy and to give credit where it is due, this guy seemed to be really caring and thoughtful. He was also tall, good-looking with a perfect athletic body.
The guy was seriously a ‘bonbon’ to the eye. The first time I was introduced to him, I kept watching him till my mind unconsciously drafted away in lust. I was lost in lust!
Mariatu and I were like siamese twins; we’d been inseparable for the past four years since we entered the university.
We spend weekends together, we alternate whose house we would hangout and chill for the weekend. During the past four years we’d had our fair share of boyfriends along the way, but we always remained true to one another in the name of female solidarity and never allowed a male to put us asunder.
But I knew Patrick was trouble. He wasn’t just a distraction for Mariatu, he was the one. We had our final exams to study for and they paced their time together, kindly including me on dates as often as they could.
When Patrick’s parents invited Mariatu to their home to meet the girl of their son’s dreams, I was invited along as well. They all seemed akin and fond of her.
Patrick’s mum was telling funny stories about Patrick growing up and we were all laughing and having a good time. When Patrick’s father confided in me that “Mariatu was the girl Patrick would marry”, I felt a sporadic pang of jealousy.
I had never before felt jealous of her, because I loved her unconditionally as my best friend. While she was tall and light-skin, I was confident with my figure eight figure. I felt we were both pretty in our respective ways.
Our final year exams ended on a high note, with both of us doing very well. However, Mariatu had first class so we all went out to celebrate. Patrick was so proud of her and gave her an 18 carat white gold diamond ring. Seeing this I was green and blue with envy.
A month later a scholarship Mariatu earlier applied for came through. She was offered a full Masters Degree scholarship at Griffith University in Australia. I did not get the scholarship I applied for, but was accepted for a Masters Degree programme at Njala University. At first I was sad that we’d be separated, but then I remembered how envious I had been feeling lately. I reasoned some distance between us might be a good thing.
Patrick was inconsolable when he found out about her offer, as he’d just accepted a new job in Rutile and this was to be the start of a rewarding career for him. They spent every living moment together leading up to her departure for university. I was left out of their plans. I felt sorry for myself and missed my best friend.
The time soon arrived for Mariatu to leave Patrick and I behind. Patrick was as lost as I felt, and he started to spend more and more time with me and my family.
I saw this as my opportunity and turned on all the charm. I was always so grateful to see him, we often chat about Mariatu latest messages on Whatsapp and posts and pictures on Facebook. One day I hinted that she’d met a fellow student she was pretty interested in, and I showed him the picture Mariatu and the fellow took, which was posted on the guy’s Facebook page.
This broke Patrick’s heart, but I had no conscience. I knew that I wanted him for myself. I was prepared to go to battle and lose Mariatu’s friendship for him. It was a self over friendship equation, and the quotient of deduction was I; so call me egomaniac it’s just the primitive nature of man.
They exchanged a few heated emails, with Patrick accusing her of cheating on him. She invited him to go on conference call on Skype so they could sort out this misunderstanding.
He asked me for advice and I lied blatantly, telling him Mariatu had treated all her past boyfriends this way.
He believed me, as he reasoned I knew her best, and broke it off with her. I could tell her world had crumbled. She called me to chat and Patrick answered the phone. He was firm when he told her that it was really over between them and revealed that he was interested in me now. At last, I was victorious!
I cut all ties completely with Mariatu, changed my mobile number, moved in with Patrick and warned my family that I wanted nothing more to do with Mariatu.
A couple of years later we got married and Patrick supported me through my course in Njala. Over the years we had two children who both look so much like him.
A year ago Patrick had a trip to go to Australia, and I instantly thought of Mariatu. It had been 12 years since we had seen her. We discussed it and both felt that if she were still living in Australia, we would have no problem seeing her again.
I found her email address and we began to chat. She was now a successful doctor practising in Sydney and was very happy to make contact with me again. When she came to Freetown in December, Patrick and I decided to invite her over to meet our children.
When she walked in the door, she lit up the room with her beauty, grace and wonderful energy and I remembered just how much I missed her.
She looked amazing, skin lighter in complexion than before. She’d done very well financially, far better than we had.
Next to her, with the rush of life and the exhaustion of motherhood, I felt like a wilted flower. I was envious of her lifestyle she was planning a winter break to America. I realized that I’d missed out on her company all those years and could see how much Mariatu lived, played and worked with vitality. I was envious and impressed at the same time.
Our children instantly fell in love with her too. Our young daughter asked her, “Why don’t you have children of your own? You would be a fantastic mum.”
To which Mariatu replied, “I’ve not met the man to spend the rest of my life with yet.”
I looked up at Patrick then, and saw his eyes soften. I can’t help feeling responsible for destroying their hopes of a life together.
I really hope they never find out how I lied.
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Friday November 04, 2016