By Nkarenyi Ukonu - Nigeria
NKOLIKA, Chinyere and Njum were very good friends. Their friendship dated back to their primary school days. Besides the fact that they were classmates, the trio who resided with their respective parents just a few metres away from each other in the city's government reservation area were well known to each other's parents even though no bond of friendship formed among the parents. It was normal for the girls to take turns to host themselves in their respective homes on weekends. This tradition continued until they got to secondary school but this time only on holidays since they attended a boarding school. By this time, their friendship had become tighter with the core values of friendship, respect, love, courtesy, confidentiality, integrity, trustworthiness, beliefs etc defining their very essence and togetherness. It became very difficult for anyone to come between them no matter how hard they tried. Even though they made friends easily with others, it was nothing compared to what held the three of them together.
When it was time to get into the university, they not only unanimously chose one which was far from home, they all chose to study science related courses. While Nkolika chose to study biochemistry, Chinyere opted for dentistry and Njum felt she would be more at home with Botany. They excelled exceptionally well in their studies drawing admiration from all and sundry who saw them as unique based on their friendship and how good they equally were at their studies. Everyone subsequently labelled them the three musketeers. To further crown their uniqueness, the three graduated in flying colours emerging the best graduating students in their various departments. Not wanting to be out of each other's reach, Chinyere prevailed on her father to help out in making sure that they were deployed to the capital city for their national youth service corps and within a year of staying in the capital city, everyone who was closely or remotely associated with them knew that it would only take death to separate the three jolly good friends.
They all decided it was best they settled in Abuja to start a new chapter of their lives there. They got lucrative employment in their various fields of endeavour and got a four bedroom duplex they moved into. Life continued for them on a roller coaster. At the end of each month, they made it a priority to visit their parents even if only for a few days. The issue of marriage became the most talked about issue each time they visited and they resolved to make it a priority even though they had no one they were seeing who could be considered serious enough. One day while eating out at a fancy restaurant their gaze was fixed on a man who walked in to have lunch. He was tall, handsome in a rugged way, in a pin stripe suit suggesting that he could either be a banker or a professional. He had just the perfect body shape for a man and couldn't have been more than 35 years. The trio took in his appearance including his dark brown shoes which Nkolika whispered to the rest bore a Salvatore Ferragamo signature.
When he eventually sat, his mannerism, the way he made his order and everything combined, a discerning person could tell that he was polished. Well his presence meant the end of lunch for the three friends as they were simply taken. Njum broke the silence first, saying she liked him, was her perfect kind of man and would give anything to speak to him. Nkolika re-echoed Njum adding that he suited her better as she was the one who was light skinned of the three. Only Chinyere whose open admiration of the stranger kept her speechless. Shortly before 'prince charming' finished his meal, Njum was already by his side introducing herself, offering him her number and asking for his which he did even though he was taken aback at her boldness. The other two made sure they waved at him before walking out of the restaurant. Rather than drive home, they leaned outside the car they came in, discussing the man who they now know as Alex, courtesy Njum. Mid way into their conversation, Alex walked towards his car which was parked by theirs.
To say that their hearts skipped a bit seeing him up close would be putting it mildly. He greeted Chinyere and Nkolika warmly and exchanged numbers with them. All three had his number and he had theirs. Nkolika and Njum were the first to call him, although at separate times and without the knowledge of the other. They were literarily throwing themselves at him but knowing by hindsight what they wanted, he politely turned down their offers of dates, choosing to remain just platonic friends with the two. He was surprised that for the next few weeks he kept exchanging phone calls with the two. Chinyere never called. He soon began an affair with Nkolika and shortly after, added Njum. The two soon found out he was seeing them intimately and a fight broke out between the two girls as they accused each other of going behind the other to proposition Alex. Still they continued to see him, one refusing to back down for the other. As far as they were both concerned, the other was a shameless boyfriend snatcher.
In all of this, Chinyere wasn't pleased with how bad the friendship between her two good friends had degenerated. Even though she wished that Alex had eyes for her alone, she never the less found the way her friends went about getting the supposed man of their dream, shameful. She soon bumped into Alex and in a weak manner protested about how he had made her friends debase womanhood and urged him to stop seeing them because it was tearing their friendship apart. Alex tried to explain his disinterest in them, laying the blame at their doorsteps. From that chance meeting, Chinyere and Alex soon became an item, she found him irresistible and damned any consequence of her action. They were soon at each other like a house on fire and of course all hell was let loose in their home. The other two turned at her like a cat on a mouse but by now, she was past caring. She soon moved out of the duplex into her own mini flat so she could have some peace and concentrate on growing her relationship with Alex.
Six months into their relationship, Alex proposed to her, she was elated. They met each other's parents and started to make preparations for the wedding. It didn't take a soothsayer for her two friends to know what was amiss. They threatened fire and brimstone as they saw Chinyere's action a betrayal of their friendship. Chinyere has told them both to let her be as it was the same Alex they threw themselves at that proposed to her and not the other way round. But her friends are prepared to shed blood should she and Alex proceed with their wedding arrangements.
How best do you think this issue can be resolved?