We were all drunk.
Or maybe I was drunk and they were tipsy because drinks were nothing new to them.
We sat in each other’s company having ordered pizza on Maria’s dime and we asked ourselves questions about life and the universe and period cramps.
What would it look like for a man to deliver a baby with his –
“Hell no!” Kay snapped, waving her arms around like a mad woman. “Do not put such images in my mind! Ngiyacela!”
Maria kept pushing the agenda while I laughed myself into abdominal spasms and tears.
We drifted into talks of shop and what topic we could use for our research next year.
“You know what pisses me off?” said Kay. “Is that fourth year has to happen. It’s a fucking redundancy!”
She was pretty much hanging off the edge of the bed, trying to see what was under it, all while holding her drink without spilling it. Maria burst out laughing, flipping through the channels, watching both the news and Wrestlemania.
I lay stretched out on the bed, my legs resting on Kay’s bottom, something that she liked apparently.
“I just wanna be done with that department and those people,” I said.
“I don’t get how you’re passing and yet you hate it.”
“With fifties,” I reminded Maria. “I’m passing with fifties. That’s hardly an achievement.”
“And I don’t get why we have to be put through this crap though. It doesn’t even prove that we’ll kill it out there,” said Maria.
“What’s this book about?”
Kay pulled out a book from under my bed that sat inside a bag I’d reserved for that purpose.
“Read the jacket.”
I didn’t summarize. Summarizing made it all too damn simple. The whole story was much cooler than the synopsis.
“When I get published, will you read my stuff?” I asked.
“I’ll watch the movie,” said Maria.
“You know I’ll read your shit,” said Kay.
“Were you guys a thing?”
Kay sat up so fast that she spilt her drink and then ended up tumbling off the bed.
We all burst out laughing, with Kay lying in a pool of her fallen drink, her shirt soaking it all up. Why was everything all the more funnier when you were drunk?
But then we sobered up and the question hung in the air.
“Nope,” I said. Kay nodded her head as she rose to her feet and pulled off her shirt and tossed it on the floor before heading to my wardrobe.
“You are a mess, ntombi,” she said, looking at the disarray of my wardrobe.
“And I don’t give a bloody shit,” I grumbled.
“But they were saying that you guys were a thing,” Maria pushed.
I looked back at Kay where she was looking for something to wear. The girl was fit. She had an excellent back structure. And I thought maybe it would have been smart to use her as a model back in the days when we were doing Anatomy.
“Who was saying?” she asked.
“BoSihle and them,” said Maria. Kay pulled on one of my plain black t-shirts and dropped low to pick up her glass. She used her shirt to mop up the mess she’d made and tossed that in the sink before she poured herself another drink.
“He has a big mouth,” she said, venom in her voice. I was surprised by this. I thought that she didn’t care who knew, simply because she was open about her sexuality.
She looked at me and I shook my head before I looked back at Maria. “No,” I said. “We weren’t a thing.”
Maria nodded her head, clearly realizing that she was stepping into some rather murky waters.
“I wanna kiss a girl,” she said next.
My eyes immediately darted to Kay and hers flickered away from mine.
But she simply dropped down on the bed and placed my legs in her lap.
“Maybe go get my ex,” she said. “I’m pretty sure she’d oblige.”
I stared at her. “What is wrong with people!” I snapped. “Why do they hurt each other like this?”
“Yours doesn’t hurt you,” said Maria.
“He did,” I said, shaking my head. I poured myself a glass and took a long sip. “His best friend – or his only friend or whatever, is his ex. This chick called Hilda.”
“Did he sleep with her?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Before us, I mean.”
“Then her pussy game is real –”
“Shut up!” said Kay to Maria.
“It’s true though,” she said. “Either he sees her like a sister or she gave him the best damn sex of his life. And since they fucked, ain no platonic friendship there, girl.”
I shook my head, feeling my mood sour.
“Why else do guys stay tight with their exes? Tell him you don’t want him seeing her, uzobona!”
“Okay,” said Kay, rising to her feet. She took Maria’s drink from her and set it on the table. “Maybe you need to sleep it off.”
I sat there, staring into the liquid in my glass. It had been almost gold before, but now it was a rich burgundy, having been made that way by the Coke I’d poured into the glass.
“I’m sorry,” she Maria, her voice shaking as she wobbled to her feet. Kay was already guiding her to the door and I couldn’t bring myself to reassure her that she was forgiven.
I had wondered, always wondered, hadn’t I?
How the hell was it possible for people to be friends after they’d been together in that light?
And to know that he had wanted it to be more than just sex with her was…
She was the one that had gotten away.
Kay appeared in my sightline.
My eyes snapped to hers.
“You good to drive?”
“Yeah,” she said.
I knew that we were being foolish and extremely reckless getting behind the wheel in our current state but I needed to see Dominick.
Kay remained silent as she navigated the nearly empty roads to his apartment block in Sandton and it was damn near excellent that the guard let us pass simply because he recognized me.
We parked in the visitor’s lot, which was outside and under the open skies and for a moment, we simply stared up at the tall building in front of us.
“It’s not too late,” said Kay into the silence. “We can leave now and he would never know that we were here.”
I looked at her for the longest time.
But Maria was in my head, screaming my questions at me and I saw my own future through her eyes. We had all thought that she was living the happiest existence with her boyfriend and yet, here she was, the victim of infidelity.
Dom had lived a very…
His life had been…
I slammed the door behind me, the car shuddering loudly at my force.
I ran to the bank of lifts and called one down, my whole body vibrating with anger and doubt and pain. I punched in his floor and stood in the golden glow of the elevator cabin, listening to the bell tick off the floors as we approached the fifteenth.
Yes, it wasn’t too late to turn back – every step that wasn’t inside that apartment was not too late for me to turn back and trust him.
But did I trust him?
Would I ever trust him for as long as she was around?
Had he ever considered the way that I would feel knowing that she was still there? Did he even think how I would feel when he’d told me that he wanted to be with her?
Was it enough to know that he had chosen me over her? But it was there in the way that she responded to me – she didn’t like me at all, so clearly it was true. She was jealous of our relationship and wouldn’t any ex-partner be, on seeing whoever it was that had replaced them?
But she spent more time with him than I did, literally.
Who knew what she said to him?
He himself had said that he was fearful of returning to that life.
He was bound by law to keep it secret…
Even his parents didn’t know about it.
And he was good at keeping secrets…
My heart was thundering in my chest and my head was pounding.
I approached the door and stood there, staring at it.
This was me – this was us!
We were honest with each other about everything.
He didn’t love her, he loved me! He’d said so and he’d shown me and he’d even introduced me to his family.
And she was his only friend.
Could I really ask him to do that? Could I really ask him to spend his days alone while I had all my friends with me and I had Imogen while he had nothing and nobody but family?
I knocked on the door.
I wasn’t going to say it.
I was just going to spend the night and be happy in his presence and remind myself that –
The door swung open and my breath died right there in my throat.
Have you ever heard those stories about people who just did things in the fugue state and had no recollection of ever having done them? Like when somebody beat somebody else into a coma or ran miles and miles, waking up far away from where they put their head down?
I was sure that this had happened to me in that moment.
It all happened so fast.
I didn’t know what I was doing until it was done and I was staring at her as she rolled to a stop on the cold floor of the foyer.
Dom appeared, crouching at her side.
I could hear my own raspy breathing in my ears.
The sound of her phone clattering hard on the floor was fading from my memory, overpowered by the heavy thud her body had made when I’d shoved her hard. She’d lost control of her footing in her perfect heels and stumbled backward, crashing into the tiled floor beneath her.
Two pairs of eyes looked back at me.
Dominick was shocked.
And Hilda was not moved at all. She did not even look like somebody who had just been hurt in any way. She looked satisfied.
She looked happy.
And I was enraged and horrified and broken at the realization of what I had just done.
I was broken.
My feet echoed off the stairs as I took them two at a time with a speed that I didn’t know that I possessed. I didn’t even stop to contemplate the possibility that I could very easily break my neck if Iost my footing and fell.
Before I even knew how, I was on the ground floor and running. In the corner of my eye, I watched the doors to one of the lifts open with a decided ringing sound that seemed louder than any other sound on earth to me.
And there he was, Dominick.
Maybe it was all the alcohol in my system, but it all seemed so surreal.
Everything blurred around the edges, perhaps because we were moving so fast.
He looked determined, his eyes damn near glowing in his face as he seemingly pushed right off the back wall of the elevator cabin, his long strides vaulting him toward me.
I think, in that moment, I was actually scared of him.
There was real fear in my chest.
I had brought harm to somebody he cared about.
And he was coming for me.
I turned my eyes back toward the doors and I ran for them like my life depended on it.
The door was already open and the car was idling.
The lights flashed bright as I darted around the car and somewhere, I heard Dominick swear out loud as he was hit with the full blast of them.
Kay slammed the car into reverse and I had to brace myself against the dash as she whipped the car around before I’d even strapped myself in.
The guard was quick to open the gates when he saw all of the commotion and I wondered if Kay would have simply crashed right through them in her bid to get us both away.
“What the fuck?!” Kay shouted.
I spun in my seat and watched in awe as Dom chased the car, running so fast, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It would take one fierce leap for him to be right on top of the car.
This went on for a few seconds but he gave up.
I saw it – the moment that his strides faltered.
He grew smaller and smaller as we sped away until eventually he was nothing but a spec under the street light in the darkness.
My heart began to tear itself apart in my chest and I felt my breath catch in my throat.
What had I done?
What the fuck had I just done?
I clutched my chest, groaning in agony, feeling the bile rise in my throat.
“Dilia…” Kay said, her voice shaky and her skin slicked with sweat like mine. “Dilia?!”
I turned slowly in my seat, tears rolling down my cheeks.
The regret washed over me like a freight train that had lost all function in its breaks.
And I screamed at the pain as it tore through my body for the love I had lost, perhaps forever.