Someone Else’s Fool by Ima Abraham was submitted in March 2022 to Challenging The Writers Writing Contest #2 based on the writing prompt: The main character is betrayed by an important person in their life, but by the end they have reconciled, which in turn makes their relationship stronger than ever.
It was the third time she was picking up her phone to read the text.
I’m sorry. It’s true
She felt numb. Just five months earlier, she’d been betrayed by her best friend and wasn’t completely over the friendship ending, now, another of her fears had come true. Her boyfriend was seeing someone else.
The happy sounds of glee coming from a group of children playing outside the cyber cafe momentarily distract her. On any other day, the sight would’ve brought a smile to her face but all she felt at the moment was gloom.
Enya’s Only Time disrupted the silence of the cafe. It was her ringtone and she threw an apologetic glance at a guy sitting by the table adjacent to hers. Phones were supposed to be put on silent mode inside the cafe. For a brief moment, she found herself wishing it was her boyfriend even though he was the last person she wanted to talk to. She was disappointed when she noticed it was an unsaved number and it took her a couple of seconds before she realised it was a familiar number.
Why on Earth is Udy calling me? She wondered.
6 Months Earlier
Pearl woke with a start. She’d had a disturbing dream for the third time in a row. A cursory glance at the wall clock in the corner of the room told her it was 9:13 p.m. Still groggy from sleep, she glanced around the room, aware of a nagging feeling at the back of her mind. It took her a few seconds to place what was troubling her. Udy, her best friend turned roommate, was nowhere in sight.
She immediately reached for her phone, feeling apprehensive. It was unusual for the girl to stay out so late at night, except when she was over at her boyfriend’s and as far as Pearl knew, B.J. wasn’t in town.
She started to dial her number when the key turned in the lock and Udy walked in with a slightly worried expression on her face.
“You’re finally awake.” She murmured, tossing her bag on the bed before settling into the only available chair in the room.
“I just woke up.” Pearl replied. She briefly thought of asking about Udy’s worried expression before deciding against it, if it was important, surely she would tell her. Rather there was something else she needed to address.
“Where did you go?” She questioned.
“B.J’s” Udy replied hastily.
Pearl wasn’t surprised. Udy had been dating B.J. for over a year. Although she tried not to get involved in her friend’s relationship, she’d never been too fond of B.J. She believed her friend could do better, but had refrained from explicitly saying so. It was a sensitive issue for Udy.
“I didn’t realize he was even in town.” She tried to sound casual though she was feeling a tinge of worry for her friend. B.J. was the kind of guy that seemed to attract trouble and although he always eventually weaselled his way out of it, she had never been comfortable with him. Long before he’d started dating her friend, when she was just a fresher in the University, she’d met him and had even had to consistently ward off his advances. About a year later, he went after her friend.
Pearl had tried a few times to discourage the other girl from being too invested in B.J. but had eventually backed off when it was obvious Udy didn’t care for her opinion on the subject. Udy, who was known to never give boys much of her time, was quite smitten with B.J., a fact that annoyed Pearl to no end.
“There’s something I have to tell you.” Udy announced.
“I don’t like the sound of that.” Pearl remarked as a frown took shape on her face. She had a bad feeling about whatever was about to come out of Udy’s mouth.
Udy hesitated, chewing her nails. It was something she did when she was uncomfortable and it only made Pearl all the more worried.
“Udy, what is it?” she probed.
“B.J. will be coming to stay for a little while.”
“Wow!” She exclaimed. The news was more aggravating than she’d expected. She had come to be living with Udy two months earlier, after being kicked out by her landlady. A 3-month strike had pushed the end of the semester further from the normal schedule and her rent had expired. Although her father lived about 30 minutes away from school, their relationship had been strained since he remarried and she only went home during the holidays, when it was unavoidable.
“What’s wow?” Udy snapped.
Pearl raised her brows at her friend’s tone. Her comment didn’t warrant the reaction as far as she was concerned.
“Sorry, I’m just stressed.” Udy apologized, letting out a dramatic sigh. “That his landlord is giving him wahala again.”