Amanda shifted uncomfortably in her seat, her face suddenly pale like she had seen a ghost.
“What…what do you you mean he’s erm…married?” She managed to say, stuttering her way through the words.
The men stopped smiling when they saw the effect of their revelation on Amanda. One of them looked at me and then Amanda and cleared his throat.
“Adam has been through a lot in Congo. His family is not exactly what you can call opulent and he had to work part time to pay his way through medical school.” He paused, looked at his friend who nodded and then he continued.
“All through this difficult time, he had a girlfriend from a rich family. By rich, I mean she could afford many things Adam couldn’t even dream of buying and she supported him in every way she could. He made a promise to marry her when he became successful.” He paused again. Amanda was shaking visibly, tears threatening to run down her face. On a normal day I would have pulled her out of the club and driven her home, preferring that she speak to Adam rather than listen to gibberish from strangers but these men seemed to know him so well and I was curious to know the truth about Adam Waddhiya.
“When Adam came to South Africa, he came with the intention to find greener pastures. He lost his eye in an accident in Congo and part of the reason he came to this country was to do an eye replacement surgery. His very first salary he earned here was sent home to his mother to pay what you people call Lobola- the bride price for his girlfriend. There was a traditional ceremony afterwards and that’s the one we attended because we happened to be in Congo”.
Amanda raised her eyebrow. “But Adam wasn’t there.” She said. “I remember I was with him the weekend he got his first pay.
The man speaking to us nodded. “He wasn’t there, true but his family represented him.”
“So it was a wedding in absentia? That doesn’t count anywhere in the world, does it?”
The men looked at each other and smiled. “It counts in Congo.”
We all sat staring at other people in the club for a while before the two men apologetically announced they had to leave. “We are sorry for ruining your evening” they said.
As soon as they walked away, I turned to face Amanda. Before I could speak, she burst out laughing. I frowned and looked around to see if anything was funny; no one was paying us any attention.
“Mandy, you think this is funny?” I asked, confused.
She nodded. “Don’t you see what’s going on here? It is all a setup!”
At that point, I became even more confused than ever. “A setup? By who?”
“Adam of course! He paid those men to tell me that cock-a-bull story to test my love for him” she said laughing. “I should have known it the moment they sauntered towards us.”
I felt like shaking her violently! What on earth was she talking about? I took a deep breath and stared at her straight in the face. “Mandy I am very sure those men did not come up here to make up some story about Adam. Firstly, how would they know to come to you? Adam doesn’t even know we are hanging out here today. Secondly, that seems too elaborate a story to make up, don’t you think?”
She appeared thoughtful for a while, a smile still tugging at her lips. I was beginning to think she was drunk. “Perhaps you’re right.” She finally said.
I breathed a sigh of relief. “You have to call Adam and speak to….”
“But you know…” she cut me off mid-sentence. “Adam has told me on several occasions that his congolese brothers wouldn’t like to know he’s dating a South African because they don’t like South African women. It is very possible that those men are lying Diney and I’m not going to let some trivial BS come between me and my man.”
I stared at her incredulously as she ordered another drink. I started to wonder; was this true love? Was it obsession or was it just plain denial?