It all started with a little dinner with friends.
No, I don’t think that was where it started. But that was the Trojan horse that piggybacked the remaining issues.
Diane was a great cook and a good host, she loved doing most of these things and sometimes I thought she was just lonely but what do I care, I enjoyed the meals.
During these dinners, we played games and drank a lot. Now, Diane has a house help who is not noticeable but not in a bad way; she is as quiet as a mouse and does not have a memorable face. Apart from getting things like napkins or drinking water, she did not do much during the dinners, we did not see her much or I did not see her much.
On this particular day, everything felt normal; we ate and played games, laughed, and made small talk, mostly gossip from our workplaces. My husband often said I turned into a tattletale when I am around them.
I met Diane in my first year at the University and we grew apart in the second or third year when she met Sarah. I was really jealous then, we were so close, we shared everything and I knew I would do anything for her except kill somebody. I could not say the same about Sarah, she was a social butterfly and sometimes it was hard for her to keep up with all her friend groups and sometimes she neglected Diane. I might be quiet and seem a bit aloof, but I am very observant, and as such, I saw how unhealthy Diane’s relationship with Sarah was. I never approached her about it, I was very mad at her; how dare she leave me for someone who could not commit to her?
One day while I was in class, Diane came to me crying and blubbering. I could not understand what she was saying until I managed to quieten her. She was upset about how Sarah treated their friendship. I could not comprehend everything she was saying because I was too busy reeling in the fact that nobody could be there for her as much as I could. We became close again and Sarah was a closed chapter for a month before she surfaced again. I was extremely mad but I have never been one to have a very obvious emotion. I got to understand from different situations that Sarah and Diane were a package deal, I would not be able to have one without having the other so I went with it while secretly hating Sarah, and sometimes I felt the feeling was mutual. Being the social butterfly, Sarah somehow led us to Ama and Samuel. I liked Sam, he was the only one I thought shared the same feeling I had toward Sarah and he was the one that paid attention to me. Ama, on the other hand, did not care much about any other person, I did not blame her; if I were that pretty, I would not care much about anybody but me too. I liked Ama and tried to get close to her on a few occasions to get Diane jealous. While Ama did not care if we talked or did not talk; I mean, she was available but she did not care much to reach out when the next person does not, the plan to make Diane jealous worked.
Diane was a spoilt, lonely child who loved to control situations, I knew she getting jealous when it felt like we were drifting apart was not because she loved me but because she needed to be at the center of all things. I was okay with that, I still felt important nevertheless.
We all left school, still friends and even though we drifted to get our lives together, somehow fate brought us back together and we had these dinners twice every month with our respective spouses and Ama with whichever man she thought deserved her attention that month. We had grown in different aspects but I knew somehow they were all still the same kind of people, waiting for the trigger to show their real selves.
That night at some point each person left to use the restroom as usual. While we were playing card games, Diane said she was not feeling well and went in to lie down, I offered to drive out and get medications and her husband offered to stay with her till I got back. Every other person kept playing games till I got back.
Diane has been trying to conceive, she is the only one in the friend group without a child and I cannot imagine how lonely it must be for her. Even though these dinners leave me drained, I still go because I understand how it must be nice for her to have people around once in a while.
I came in with the medication, I sat with her for a while and decided to pee before joining the rest.
That was when I saw her house help whose name I later learned was Ruth. She was on the floor with the curtain cord around her neck. I did not need an expert to confirm she was dead, I have seen a dead body before and that was definitely what it looked like. I screamed and everybody came rushing.
She was murdered by someone inside the house that night.
There were different reactions, Ama threw up just outside the restroom and I remember thinking facetiously who was going to clean that up since the person who was supposed to do it was lying dead.
Diane was a mess, she was on the floor crying. Samuel was panicking and his wife was trying to quieten him, it was such a pathetic sight. Ama’s newest catch was holding her hair back in case she wanted to go again; I am sure he was looking forward to a night of intense lovemaking and not seeing a dead body. Sarah stood, hands folded and expressionless, her husband was pacing. I felt like I could not do anything other than stare at every other person who was not the dead body. Someone among all these people killed this girl and I wondered who was inhumane enough to do that.
My husband called the police and like that, Pandora’s box was opened.