“So as I was saying,” said Monde energetically. “I’m willing to give the Blessings guy a chance. Who knows, he might just be the right man for me. Geez, I’ll be so happy the day I find a man who doesn’t want to get under my pants and dump me afterwards.”
“Welcome to the club,” Lubona said, sipping on her juice. “But with your guy’s name being Blessings, he sounds kinda genuine to me.”
“I really hope he is genuine.”
We were out having some girl time alone. Shopping, eating at fancy restaurants and gossiping to be precise was what we were doing. Right now, we were at a restaurant sipping on cold juice and having ourselves some sausage rolls, burgers and pizza.
I took a bite of my roll and leaned back in my seat. Without preamble, I said, “I finally signed the divorce papers.”
Monde and Lubona stared at me like I’d just uttered some forbidden curse.
“Please stop pulling my leg, Alicia,” said Lubona. “You can say something about my new dress if matters for discussion are scarce but please don’t joke like that.”
“Why would I joke about something this serious? Lubona, Monde, I finally signed the papers. Bob and I are finally getting divorced.”
“OMG,” gasped Lubona who left her seat just to come give me a tight hug. She didn’t seem to mind the people that were staring at her. “Alicia, I’m so happy for you! Way to go, girl. This calls for a celebration. Let’s go out partying or something.”
Only after Lubona was back to her seat did Monde say, “I hope you know what you’re doing, Alicia.”
“Are you being for real, Monde?” it was Lubona speaking. “This girl just signed her freedom papers and you here asking her this? C’mon, just he happy for her.”
“I’m certain about my decision,” I said, taking a deep breath. “Bob doesn’t love me no more and there’s no way I’m clinging to a man who treats me like a doormat by literally stepping on me countless times. I feel he doesn’t deserve my love.”
“Thank you!” exhaled Lubona in relief. “Let’s drink to our friend’s freedom.”
Once the excitement had died down, Monde shrugged and patted my hand. “I trust you to make the right decision, Alicia. I’m proud of you. I know it must be difficult to finally let go of a man that you’ve loved since you were fifteen. Don’t worry, time will heal your wounds.”
“Thanks, Monde. And I pray they heal real soon cause I want to move on with my life.”
“I’m so sorry, Alicia,” began Lubona, tears forming in her eyes.
That’s Lubona for you. Trust her to go from happy to sad to happy again. “For what, baby boo?”
“I’m sorry that my sister’s responsible for your divorce. If I could turn back time, I’d see to it that Angie not be the one to break your precious marriage. Hell, I’d like you and Bob to spend the rest of your lives together cause you’re such a beautiful couple and-” she couldn’t continue as she was now sobbing.
Now it was I who moved my chair closer to hers and hugged her. “Ssssh, Lulu. It’s not your fault that Angie be my husband’s sidechick. Neither is it Angie’s. Your sister was right the other day, I should blame Bob and only him. He’s the one who went out chasing after skirts after all. It’s just unfortunate that your sister came into the equation. Relax, I don’t hold grudges so both your sister and you are safe, so’s Bob. I like to believe my divorce is just a twist of fate which sadly, no one can do anything about.”
Sitting under a huge umbrella at the park, I watched Bob and Fred play football. They looked so cute and adorable.
Oh God, I looked up at the cloudless sky after leaving the shade of the umbrella. Why couldn’t we just stay this way for good? Why do Bob and I have to go our separate ways?
It had been five days since I’d signed the divorce papers and only a week was left before Bob and I could officially get divorced in court.
For the past five days, it seemed Bob was really trying his best to utilize our last days sensibly as he was now sweet not only to Fred but me. If he wasn’t cooking for us, we were out shopping and now we were at the park. Sometimes I wished he wouldn’t do all this. I knew I was going to cry myself to sleep upon recalling all these sweet moments once him and I were officially declared single and free to mingle.
“Enough football,” I said in a bossy tone. “Bob, Fred, you come with me. I’ve set lunch.”
Fred smiled and tossed the ball at Bob who placed a foot on it. “Thanks, mummy. I’m starving!”
After having lunch, we all decided to go swimming. The swimming was more than fun and Bob, Fred and I seemed like a perfect big happy family. Watching Bob and Fred splash water at one another made me wonder how Fred was going to react when he finally learnt his father and I were going our separate ways. Oh my, I dreaded that moment.
“Alicia,” began Bob who was behind the wheel of his Benz, driving us home. Fred was fast asleep in the backseat.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”
“You can go ahead and ask, Bob. You have my undivided attention.”
Bob cleared his throat and uncomfortably said, “What finally made you decide to sign the divorce papers?”
I flinched. I wasn’t expecting this particular question. To be honest, I myself didn’t even know the answer to it. “I don’t know. I just signed them to set you free. You seemed so uncomfortable in our marriage, it’s like you were drowning in the ocean. I couldn’t see you in that state so I just shut my brain and signed the papers. That’s how I much I love you, Bob.”
He swallowed. “I don’t deserve your love, trust me. But I just want you to know that divorcing you had never been my intention. I was merely a victim of circumstances. But one day, I know you’ll learn why I had to do what I did and I hope it won’t be too late for you to forgive me.”
“I hope so too.”
I had just finished bathing Fred and was now dressing him up in spite him protesting he was old enough to bathe and dress himself but he was my only son and to me was still a baby. Holy cow, he’d always be my baby.
It was already past 8 PM so pajamas were the appropriate outfit for him. I was done dressing him and was now brushing his stubborn hair when Bob walked into the room, closing the door behind him.
“Hi champ. Hello, Alicia.”
“Hi,” Fred and I said in unison.
Bob sat on the edge of Fred’s bed and sighed. I sat beside him and placed Fred on my laps. I knew it was now time we told Fred everything. Jesus Christ, I really hated putting my son through such emotional and psychological trauma. He was too young for all this.
Bob tried to be as sweet as possible. “Fred, there’s something your mother and I want to tell you.”
Bob shut his eyes and opened them again. This was definitely difficult for him to do to.
“How do I put this? Um, your mother and I can’t live together anymore.”
“Why?” asked Fred almost immediately. His face registered utter shock.
“Because of some issues that we seem not able to sort out. I just thought it’s best you know before we go to court and all that cause there you’ll be asked to pick a parent whom you’d like to stay with. Of course the other one will be paying you visits even though you won’t be living with them any longer.”
“So that’s why you where asking me who I could pick between daddy and you, huh mummy?” Fred accusingly asked me.
Oh boy, that was over a month ago. How could he still remember? I stole a glance at Bob who was looking at me like I’d just robbed a bank. His incredulous stare sent me on edge. “Bob, it’s not what you’re thinking. I wasn’t brainwashing Fred or doing anything of that sort, believe me. I’d just asked Fred whom he’d pick out of curiosity. I know I shouldn’t have asked him such cause it seems so biased of me to do so, I’m sorry.”
“Relax, Alicia. I’m not judging nor accusing you. It’s fine.”
Fred was saying. “Not to be rude, but I’m sleepy and would like to sleep. Good night.”
“Good night,” said Bob, getting up and kissing Fred on the forehead.
I remained and tucked Fred into bed. I usually told him stories so as to soothe him to sleep but he said he wasn’t in the mood tonight. Once he was finally asleep, I pecked his cheek and turned off all the lights. Fred was a sensitive child and I only hoped this divorce thingy not take a toll on him.
Exactly a week later, the much anticipated and dreaded day of mine and Bob’s court hearing arrived. I woke up early in the morning, took a shower and dressed up. I needed to look presentable so I settled for a long white summer dress, black pumps and white pearl studs. I tied my hair in a bun and applied a touch of make up as my scars were almost completely diminishing. Bob prepared himself too and Mulenga saw to it that Fred was ready as well. Bob, Fred and I had breakfast together even though we all barely said a thing. Once we were done eating, Bob gave Fred his car keys.
“Champ, go unlock the car as mummy and I tag along.”
Fred nodded and got the keys from his father. He then went outside to do as he’d been told. As I was about to leave the house, Bob grabbed my right arm so that we now stood face to face.
“Alicia, whatever happens today, I want you to know that if I’d have things my way, you’d be my wife in this life and the next, if there’s one. By the way, I wish you all the best of luck.”
“Good luck to you too, Bob,” I truthfully told him. “I wish you and Angie a happy and prosperous marriage.”
Upon mention Angie’s name, Bob went ashen faced. It was almost as if he wasn’t for the idea of marrying her. Anyway, him and I would be divorced in a few hours time so whatever happened to him was no longer my business.
There was awkward silence for the next thirty seconds.
I broke the silence. “Let’s get going before we end up running late for our own hearing, that would be embarrassing.” I heard myself laugh.
Bob smiled. “Yeah, it would.”
Even as we stepped over the threshold, I knew a long and hectic day lay ahead of us.