We both looked towards Ruth simultaneously with Sandra still holding on to me. I gently removed her hands and fully turned towards Ruth. I was lost for words. I only ended up stuttering without making out any words.
“what is she doing here?” Ruth demanded, walking towards Sandra ominously.
Sandra, who said nothing seemed to be so complacent as she rested her buttocks on the bonnet of her car looking amusingly at Ruth. I intercepted, preventing Ruth from reaching Sandra as she appeared to be ready to engage in a brawl.
“calm down! I will explain everything to you when I come upstairs,” I said, holding Ruth’s hands. She let loose somehow and left a hot slap on my face. Her finger entered one of my eyes so I abruptly left her to tend the eye.
She bounced on Sandra who was too sophisticated to fight and held her by her blouse .
“leave my boyfriend alone!” she yelled into the night, tightening her grip on Sandra and dragging her blouse with her whole strength.
Sandra only struggled to loosen her firm grip in vain until I intervened with a an eye closed. I held Ruth and pulled her off Sandra but she succeeded in tearing Sandra’s beautiful yellow blouse, exposing her red brazier.
I carried Ruth from behind into the compound as she yelled, kicked and struggled to break free. I struggled to push her in and shut the gate. She banged on it radically, yelling on top of her voice.
“go to your husband, adulterous bitch. Go to your husband and leave my man alone!” Ruth shouted.
I held on to the gate with my back, exerting all my weight so Ruth won’t open it and cause mayhem.
“please stop this madness. I’ll explain things to you when I come inside,” I pleaded in a low tone.
“Mike! Open this gate! Open this gate!” she yelled and banged louder on it.
Sandra rushed to me, covering herself with the piece of her ripped blouse.
“please, I have to go. I will call you” she said, moving back towards her car.
I was confused. First, I wasn’t comfortable with her leaving by this time of the day, and secondly, I wanted to escort her to ensure her safety, but I can’t with Ruth around. Before I could make up my mind, she has already entered her car and reversed speedily. I let go of the gate and Ruth fell over. She spontaneously stood up running towards the car, yelling curses and throwing stones that couldn’t reach the car that was already far way. Mum and my brother were already downstairs, same with some neighbors in the compound whose attention was called by Ruth’s rascality.
Ruth came back, looked at me and then ran inside. Mum who looked lost came and enquired the reason for the brouhaha. I was too down to explain, so I said, “it’s…it’s Ruth”
“Ruth did what?!” mum yelled.
“it’s Ruth,” I repeated.
Just then, Ruth rushed out with her bag, stopped in front of me. Looked at me from my head to my toes in a contemptuous way, hissed and dashed off into the night. I ran after her. Mum was busy shouting behind me, “hold her! Hold her!”. I caught up with her, she struggled to break free, yelling, “leave me alone!” but I held her tight. By then, mum, my brother and neighbors had already joined in. We all collectively tried to reason with her not to leave that late. But she kept struggling to break free. I had to lift her up and drag her into the compound as she yelled and struggled. I managed with all the strength I could gather to bring her in before she started crying.
“I want to go home, please let me go.” she said, crying while sitting on the floor.
Mum summoned me into the sitting room later when the frenzy has died down. She wanted to know what happened. Ruth whose eyes were red from crying sat quietly at the edge of the couch with a hand on her jaw looking the opposite direction from us. I had to speak. Judging from Ruth’s countenance, she wasn’t going to say anything.
“the lady you saw at the hospital came this evening to report something to me…” I said.
“…This night?! It’s past evening, it’s midnight!” Ruth interrupted in a furious tone.
I paused, looked at her then continued.
“so, Ruth came downstairs and misunderstood the whole thing,” I concluded.
“liar!” Ruth interrupted again, standing up. “ask him if he’s not dating that married woman? Ask him if he has not been sleeping with her!” she yelled, sat down and started crying.
The married part caught mum’s attention. She looked at me in a malicious way.
“Mike! Tell me the truth. Is what she’s saying true?” mum asked.
“actually, it’s complicated,” I said.
“uncomplicate it Mr man!” mum barked.
“well, she’s not married!” I finally answered.
“Liar! Liar!” Ruth said, standing up.
“you told me she’s married, that you are with her because of the money. Right now you want to deny it Mike…why? Why Mike?” she said amidst tears.
I didn’t know how to change the story because it was a complicated one. I wasn’t in the right state of mind to reason out a swift lie, so I allowed them swallow me up that night.
Mum lashed me in front of Ruth like a kid and later asked me to make a promise before everyone that I won’t meet with Sandra again. This was a very difficult thing to do, because all the while I have been aching to call Sandra and know if she arrived safely. I ended up keeping mute.
“will you say something this boy?” mum barked.
“mom I can’t. Remember Peter is still In the police custody and Sandra is the only one who can help with the money we need for his bail,” I said.
This statement paralyzed mum. But she had to speak in favor of Ruth whom she had grew fond of.
“God will provide the money. Just stop seeing that woman. Now, apologize to Ruth right now!” mum commanded.
So, I apologized to Ruth, kneeling in front of her. She grumbled and hesitated for a while then eventually hugged me.
To be continued…