I ducked as the cup hurtled above me, disintegrating against the marble wall.
“What the…are you crazy? You could have killed me.”
“Sorry Jack, that was meant for your egotistic excuse of a man friend over there.”
“Why I ought to…”
I was in the middle of them now, struggling to restrain this burly man from pummeling me as he hurled insult after another at Tina, who wasn’t helping at all by using this time to challenge Patrick’s ego.
“You ought to what? You ought to what Patrick? You want to beat me now? Beat me up, I dare you!”
I could feel his breath quicken as he pushed harder to get past me.
“Shut up Tina! You’re not helping!”
“Naah! Let her talk. She’s feeling bold today right? I’m gonna teach you how to stay in your place.”
I snapped, throwing him back so hard he hit his head against the wall on his way down.
“What the f#$k man?”
“You, need to calm the heck down! Walk it out.”
“But she went ahead to…”
“I don’t care Patrick. Teach her how to stay in her place? Dude that’s just too far!”
He was soothing the bump at the back of his head now, his eyes on Tina who had flared at the comment.
“Just imagine. And he calls himself a man. You’re a coward, what kind of a man would treat his lady like a…”
“You on the other hand need to shut up.”
I had gone and done it…opened Pandora’s Box. I knew that Tina was the worst person to pick a fight with, especially when she was already riled up. The fact though was that once she started, she was never going to stop, so it had to be nipped at the bud, whatever the cost.
“Excuse me? What did you just say to me? Now I know you didn’t just say I should shut up…I called you here to support me and you’re taking his side. Of course, it’s obvious, you’re just like him. Cheating on your girlfriend… You would do the exact same thing to Yolanda, and that’s why you’re here giving me all this bull and I just…it was your plan all along right? To make me look like a fool. I knew it, I just…”
“Tina! Tina! Girlfriend, are you listening to how crazy you sound right now…what are you talking about our plan? You think I enjoy being called here every time you guys decide to get drunk and act stupid? You guys have a kid for heaven’s sake; it’s about time you frigging grew up already.”
Patrick was getting up now, silently seething, his rugby muscles tightening as the vein in the middle of his head deliberated popping from all the throbbing that it was doing.
“This stupid b…”
“Patrick! If you’re gonna keep being disrespectful to Tina, I’m gonna press charges against you. Don’t push me!”
He went dumb. I respected the fact that he knew my word was always that, my word, no joking around.
“Yeah, he’s gonna press charges against your stupid a…”
“Oh hell no, there you go again with that word, boy you just better…mmmmh…I just feel my blood pressure rising, you know what? I’m just gonna keep quiet because I don’t wanna send myself to hospital. God knows this dead beat won’t pay my bills while I’m in there.”
I was really trying to stay level minded but she was making the process a lot harder for me. She always knew how to push our buttons ever since we were kids.
“Really Jack? I’m supposed to take this s*&t from her?”
“Language man, language!”
“Don’t talk to me about language, talk to this b#$*h about language, what’s up with you woman, were you raised in a barn?”
She was up again, flailing her arms, her bangles jingling and braids flipping back and forth.
“Oh you want to talk about how I was raised? Why don’t we talk about how you momma gave birth to the dumbest most…”
I had had enough of this. I had to do it.
“What the hell Jack, put me down!”
“No! You act like a child, you get treated like a child.”
“Wha…this is female belittlement…it’s…it’s gender danger…what do you call that thing where you treat women like they’re lesser than men?”
She was fighting me, hitting my back and flailing her legs as she hang from my shoulder.
“So I’ll see you tonight for the game?”
Patrick called from the house, massaging his jaw from where Tina had kicked him on her way out.
“I’ll be here at around 10.”
I said as I threw her into the back seat of my audi, locking the door just in time to see her give Patrick the finger; both actually.
“Jack…make it 11.”
“Hey, she’s your problem now. You play peacekeeper, you get to tame the beast…Just saying.”
And with that he was back in the house. It was times like this that I regretted not taking up Yolanda’s offer to cut ties, change our number and pretend no one was home whenever they came around to raid our fridge.