It was a Friday night. What started as a simple business get-together was turning out to be something else. Most of the business executives had left after taking a few drinks and some barbecue but Sydney was still around with three other colleagues at work. He had taken four bottles of beer already and was going on to the fifth and his colleagues kept urging him on. He couldn’t resist it. He had promised Frema, his wife of four years that he was going to stay away from the bottle and for the past six months, he had done so. But tonight, the temptation was so strong that he got carried away. After his sixth bottle, a lady approached their table and introduced herself as Mina and as if it was planned, his three other colleagues left the scene and Sydney was alone with her. Mina started whispering sweet nothings into his ears and before long he was in one of the hotel rooms with her, having the time of his life. Time was around 12.30am.
He woke up with a jolt around 3am, slightly sober and was shocked at what he saw. There he was, naked with a woman he didn’t know. He searched frantically for his phone and found it somewhere around the pile of clothes he had taken off earlier when he was about to pounce on Mina. His heart raced when he saw 18 missed calls from Frema and one voice message from her telling him that their three-year old son, Junior had a running stomach and a high temperature. He dressed haphazardly and pushed Mina out of the way when she tried to stop him and headed directly for his car. He was slightly tipsy and drove in a reckless manner and within forty-five minutes, he was home. He panicked when he entered the room and found Frema cuddling their sleeping son with tears in her eyes.
He felt so guilty and went to kneel down before them and asked “What happened to him?”
“Get out of my sight, you philanderer,” Frema shouted in a very fierce tone.
Sydney was taken aback. He had never seen Frema like that ever since he met her. She looked angry as well with malice in her eyes.
“A business get-together turned into women hunting, huh?” she continued. “Sydney you are so mean. Your son is seriously ill at home and you choose to party and chase women around. Didn’t you promise to stop taking alcohol?” she cried out.
“I didn’t see the call earlier. I’d have rushed here,” he defended himself
“Nonsense,” Frema yelled. “I can see you are still drunk so you are spewing out gibberish. Is that an excuse? Do you know when I started calling you?” Frema shouted with all her energy.
She had never spoken in that manner to him ever since they got married but tonight, she couldn’t control her emotions. Sydney scrolled through his phone and realized she had been calling since 11 last night and there was a received call from her around 1 am. He gaped out when he saw it. Probably Mina answered that call, he thought. He then realized the source of Frema’s anger and the manner in which he was addressing her but he tried to justify his actions.
“Frema, I understand your reason for being angry but that shouldn’t give you the right to speak to me that way,” he said sternly.
“I will speak to you any way I want, Sydney. You have made me like this. You left home yesterday in the morning, telling me you had a get-together after work and that you’d be home latest by 10.30 in the evening. I prepared dinner and waited for you but you never showed up. Junior started feeling very sick and I kept calling but still couldn’t reach you. You know how dangerous this area is and how risky it is for me to go out all alone with the boy. But I did. I went out all alone in the middle of this chilly night to the hospital. And of course, if you had repaired my car after it broke down weeks ago, it would have saved us this trouble. But you chose to save that cash to spend it on alcohol and other women. While I was desperately trying to reach you, you were in the arms of another woman. And she had the guts to speak rudely to me when she answered the phone. I have nothing to say Sydney. Absolutely nothing,” she lashed out and walked out on him and climbed the stairs with their son still in her hands.
Sydney followed her.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she asked. “You better go back to that woman,” she continued.
“Frema, you’re being rude to me. I won’t tolerate such behaviour from you,” he replied.
Frema continued walking and entered Junior’s room and locked the door behind her. She laid him to bed and went out of the room to find Sydney standing at the door, fuming with anger. She walked out on him.
“Frema,” he called out after her.
She did not turn. He reached for her and before Frema could say any word, he slapped her. Frema cried out in pain and horror.
“You slapped me?” she cried out.
“Yes, and I won’t hesitate to do so again if you dare speak to me in that manner and walk out on me again,” he added.
He was really angry and had this evil look in his eye. He looked scary and ready to fight. Frema stood rooted to the point in shock. She was outraged and scanned the room to find an object to hit him with and run out since she couldn’t fight him physically. Sydney was tall and well-built. Frema was petite. Her eyes fell on her pair of platform shoes which she had worn to church the previous Sunday behind her. They were arranged by the door to their bedroom. She headed for them and before Sydney could react, hurled them one after the other at him and ran down the stairs. Sydney was so angry and had lost control of his mind.
He chased after her and before Frema could reach for the door knob, he hurled one of the coffee tables in the room at her. It hit her in the head and within seconds, she was lying lifeless on the floor in a pool of blood. Sydney started sweating and shook her several times in the hopes of waking her up but to no avail. Frema was dead. He had killed her with his own hands. He put his hand on his head and wailed.
If only he had controlled himself right from the beginning of the business get-together. If only he had kept his promise to Frema and hadn’t drank all those bottles of alcohol. If only he had exercised patience and hadn’t hit her first. She wouldn’t have retaliated and he wouldn’t have thrown that table. Then all this wouldn’t have happened.
Junior had woken up in the midst of all the noise and was crying. Sydney saw his whole life come to an end, right in front of him. He picked up his phone and dialed…………
AN HOUR LATER
It was the break of dawn and family members, news reporters, photographers and the police were at his residence. There was so much noise and confusion going on. The family members of Frema were wailing and it increased more when the body of Frema was conveyed into an ambulance to be sent to the morgue. The photographers were taking snapshots of the scene while the news reporters were interviewing the family members and neighbours of Frema and Sydney. The police was maintaining order as lots of people had flooded the residence to catch a glimpse of what was going on. In the midst of it all, Sydney sat in handcuffs with his head bowed in shame. His eyes were swollen from crying and the backlash he had received from some of the neighbours, some of Frema’s family members and his family members. He was being interviewed by some of his family members and some police officers.
After minutes of being questioned, he was escorted by some of the police offers to a car amidst hooting, curses and insults from the crowd. As he sat down, he saw Junior through the window in the arms of one of his aunts. He was staring at him with confusion in his eyes. It was so clear that the little boy didn’t understand what was going on. He looked pale and sad. Sydney couldn’t help but shed tears; tears of regret. His family was apart. As the car sped off, all he kept thinking was, “If only I had controlled myself.”