I liked GalPal a lot. Even so, I’d never pictured her as more than a very close friend; at least not right up to the instant we were in each other’s arms and both sober. However, that inaugural session in my room was interrupted by Angela, that self-styled enemy of mine who had previously been my friend. She sneaked in, and when we discovered her, she ordered GalPal to leave. To my great surprise mixed with outrage, GalPal left immediately, falling just short of saluting and yelling “YES MA’AM!”
Angela and I remained staring angrily at each other. “What’s your problem?” we asked each other. Then we started a shouting match. If I wasn’t shouting I may have heard what she was shouting but I told her that it wasn’t my fault that her boyfriend (“Lucas”) was so intimidated by me that he thought I had already beaten him up.
Women can multitask! They can be shouting at you and listening to what you are shouting at them at the same time. Apparently what I said struck home because Angela’s tone changed and she said, amidst much index-finger jabbing in many directions, “This has nothing to do with Lucas. This is about GalPal falling for you when all you’re gonna do is mess around with her head just like you messed with [The Ex]!”
The full impact of her accusation threw me off balance. Admittedly, my smug style of attack was shaken to its foundations. In fact I retreated in disarray. And she had mentioned The Ex. I was dumbstruck.
“Yeah, think about that, and by the way,” continued Angela, talking fast, as she headed for the door, “Lucas and some of his buddies from the gym are wondering where you live; they’ve asked me a few times and I’m not sure where you stay.” There was an uncomfortable edge to her statement to add to the already confusing fact that she was standing in my room talking about not knowing my room.
I smelt blackmail in the air and rose, brave and defiant, to the challenge: “So what! What are you really saying, HUH?!”
Angela became smug and fixed me a hateful smile and clarified, quite corrosively, “I’m just saying: if you ever get clever about MY GalPal, I’ll get very clever about where you live. Kaputsch?”
The stench of blackmail overwhelmed me; its bombardment bowed my head in shameful and dishonorable defeat.
As she marched out in a flying rage, Angela banged the metal door. I stood cringing for a while, and thinking, and wondering. Then I got on the phone to Uganda.
The dial tone sounded again and again, to no end.