” I married a married woman.”
Chris says as he looks at me. He puts out his Marlboro cigarette, uses his cool mint breath spray then moves closer.
” Sorry about that. I smoke sometimes. Easens my pressure, ” he says.
“I don’t mind but be sure to light us a fire with the remaining pieces to keep us warm just in case it gets colder,” I say.
The park is calm. Just a few people doing stuff that people do. Walking dogs, jogging, cuddling, and some loners sleeping. Probably dreaming that they bought the whole country and that everyone else turned into an avocado. And they will go ahead and pick the ripe ones and when just about to make some guacamole, a bird poops on their face. They will then wake up to some tax for breathing fresh park air.
Chris is in a white polo shirt, khaki pants and converse. He is tall, about 6feet two, bald and has a silverfox goatee that makes him look older than thirty three. He is head of cyber security in a New York based company and doubles as a basketball player for his company.
One day while still in Kenya, he goes to church. To see God. To talk to him. Then he sees a girl, seated two rows in front of him. She is petite, her hair held in a bun and in a free flowing dress. This one would go to heaven- the dress! He chooses to see God again so he fixes his eyes on the cross. For a second, he focuses. The preacher talks about a verse that says “ask and you shall be given….because if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” He sees the black pleated skirt again. He leaves God and goes to ask for her number after church service.
He is given.
It is in this church that they later wedded.
He who finds a wife, finds a good thing. He found Jenny.
“Like any other relationship, we had salty days. But with time, you realize that one sleeping facing the door and the other the wall, doesn’t solve a thing.”
They were soon blessed twice. He got his job and they were pregnant. One was however short-lived.
“We had a still birth. We have never given out the baby’s clothes. Its room is still as prepared as then. It’s cleaned and the bedding changed often. I still don’t know how to cope five years later.”
He asks for a minute, walks around, smokes then gets back. He hasn’t had closure. You can tell. You can see.
So Chris was employed back home. His pay was just enough to cater for bills and a small surplus for emergencies and Jenny’s chamas. Chamas are a good thing. They give your wife money to give you. He wanted better. He wanted to invest, he wanted a good life for his family. Greener pastures painted his head green. He couldn’t stop thinking of where he would make better. He applied for many jobs in vain. Then this one time, he opened his mail, thinking it was one of those many useless mails from John Doe, 45, in Daadab looking a companion or some Rosey Smith who wants to transfer billions of dollars from her father’s accounts in the U.K. He opened, and he had been hired. With a good package and better allowances. He could afford to build a house and comfortably have some luxury.
“So I left the country for this job. I wanted my wife to have the best. But I also wanted our commitment to remain solid. I came home twice a year, sometimes quarterly but I called or messaged daily. I wanted things to work.”
Life abroad was not easy. Juggling work and basketball was tough. Missing home, family, friends, eating rats, frogs and raw vegetables…it was tough. He would become sick during winter. He always thought he was drying up and dying and always wanted to be back home. But work, wife, future.
Things started changing months after he left. She stopped picking calls and would respond to messages days after he sent. Like any other good husband, thinking that the wife was badly affected by the still birth, he flew back. Jenny would leave the house and come back late or not come home at all and give no explanation for it. She would soon do no house chores and answered him as she deemed fit.
Then she accused him of cheating and fussed about it.
” So who is the girl?” she asks.
“The one you are seeing now,” she adds.
“Where? Si I have you, so another girl for what?”
“Aargh don’t pretend. You can’t be in the states and have none? Every one abroad has a keeper for the season,” she goes on.
“Jenny stop it.”
“Ooh, stop what? If you were in Kenya I would be picking hotel room receipts from your trousers.”
” Are you insane Jenny? Why would I…?”
“Oh shut up. We know you men. We know how you behave. We know. You think we don’t know? Si even Martha’s hubby went hapa tu Dubai and got another woman…we know you.”
She pulls her dera up to her waist and sits on the chair. Still shaking her body and making faces as she bites her lips and taps her feet.
“All men are dogs!” she adds.
She then told his friends, the church, her mama mboga…everyone, that Chris was cheating. You know how extra we women can be. We will lick soil, swear by our grandmother’s bum yet we are the cheats. Just perfecting expertise in making the other party look bad so we thrive and cheat in peace.
” I was sure of myself. I was not cheating. I was also certain that Jenny’s behaviour was no longer because of the baby. This was years later.”
So he carried the cheating husband tag for awhile as he decided on what to do. Had he wanted to hack Jenny’s gadgets, he would have. He just chose not to, but she was pushing him to. He however convinced himself to wait a little longer.
“One day, I took her laptop, went to the search history and I was prompted to delve deeper.”
He hands me his phone, an email is open. It has tonnes of screenshots. Part of them as below.
” I slept with my boss now I can’t stop thinking about him.
I slept with my boss but now he is ignoring me.
Slept with my boss he is now acting weird.
Ways to make your boss laugh
Kissing a HIV person
Early signs of HIV
After how long is HIV detected in the body?
Does PEP stop HIV?
Ginger tea after unprotected sex
Places to have lunch secretly with new boyfriend
Dating a workmate
How do men know sweet vaginas?
What makes a great vagina?
Do men love squirting women?
How to end a pregnancy at home
Where can I have an abortion?”
I look at him uncertain of what to say next..
It was obvious she was cheating. Not only with her overall boss, but with someone else. Both for position and power. Her marriage no longer mattered. Our health wasn’t an issue. The emotional investment was of no value.
” Tell me you said something to her,” I say.
“No, nothing. Not even to date.”
“Goddammit! Say something. Tell her. Show her. Be free. Take action.”
“No. I will just gather enough and divorce,” he adds.
Chris is some type of special. Me, Tatu, busaa drinker, say nothing? How? I see a damn full stop on a message and want to know who put it there, when, why? Because I know how my full stop looks like. It is round, 0.2mm thick, usually double spaced after the last word. And here is Chris. Seeing and having leads and just being mum. Heaven is all his.
You know those “Nikuambie kitu na usiambie mtu?”
I can’t even keep quiet with those. Now have evidence and just be quiet? Heaven is for Chris.
” I needed to gather a lot more information. Who the other guy was,what they were up to…I was not going to put myself through checking her phone when she took shower. Besides, it is a password era…I hacked.”
It was clear. She had been intimate with the boss, without protection for favours at work. He ignored her and never spoke to her again.
“Chris, do you think, she was ignored because the sex was whack or because ” cat ” is as big as Narobi?” I ask.
“Haha. You had to Tatu.”
He laughs uncontrollably.
“I think it was just about time. Her sex is awesome but heck, bosses and that “cat”, he adds.
“Ho-tactics, man has had enough. Man’s got to sample other cats. Man’s hunger gone. The chase is over.” I say.
He laughs again and says I’m silly. It’s a good thing. Silly is free. Silly tastes like a cold beer in a sunny afternoon. You feel me yeah? Teetotaller, replace that beer with water. Hydration is good.
Okay, so apart from the boss, there was the other guy.
This other guy was the reason Chris felt he was married to a married woman. He seasonally stayed at Chris’s house. The house that Chris sent rent for, ate food bought by money Chris sent, used Chris’s car, slept on his bed, made love to the wife he paid brideprice for and they conceived. They conceived. They got pregnant. Those ones! Oh mahn, how could they?
Remember the screenshot on searches about the boss who doesn’t speak after intimacy? Looks like she decided on guy number two as a rebound. They were colleagues. They knew that if the boss got wind of it, they would be dismissed. The guy took up a managerial position elsewhere.
Anyway, the plan was that Jenny keeps the baby and since Chris was in the country at the time, peg it on him.
“We were not making love any more. Emotions were all over and there was a pending medical test. It was better off having no sex at all.”
This put Jenny and the other guy at a fix so they planned for an abortion. She never mentioned this to Chris. And Chris never mentioned to her. He just took his new role as a wife calmly. Cleaned, cooked, did laundry, waited for her to arrive next morning from her “boys” and opened the door for her, and also watched soap operas on her behalf. In a few, he would be doing deras.
” This left me with questions. Was the still birth our child? She couldn’t conceive after the abortion. Was she the problem or was I impotent?”
He turns to me, taps my knee and keeps mum for a minute.
“I chose to do a potency test. The child wasn’t ours. The child that I mourned non-stop for five years wasn’t mine. I’m impotent.”
It gets really awkward. The silence, the emotions, it gets ugly. Chris goes mum. He then starts mumbling and crying. I want to hug him. I want to cry with him. In a second, I barely know what to do so I let him sobber up.
“The neighbors thought I was the brother because she had a husband. They had lived together for a couple of months. Shopped together, held hands and kissed goodbye. Now this is a wife I married in church.”
Must be painful.
All the nagging, accusations, everything was just a show. It was a cover up to give her leeway to cheat.
“I found photos and videos they had recorded while having sex. They also sent each other nudes. Tell me Tatu, what do you do if you are in my shoes?”
He looks at me. Balancing his tears. He looks at the sky. Birds flying, one, two aeroplanes passing, he grabs his cigarette again. I give him time.
“Shall you and I send her nudes too? You will feel better,” I say, looking in the sky.
“Haha you again!” he taps my back.
“Chris, we can do this. We can kiss and tell then never do it again. Just for your peace,” I add.
He laughs again. It’s clearly difficult for him. He seems broken. He looks like some cracky chapo. One touch and it breaks down. You don’t want to see a broken man. No. You wish you could have have a remote and manipulate them to smiling all through. To forgetting all bad things.
“I feel betrayed. I did my best financially, tried to be available physically and did my best to ensure she is emotionally okay. It is all a waste.”
He mumbles about what women want blabla. He is silent again for a few minutes.
“I stopped sending money early this year. I have not given reasons and she has not asked. I suspect she knows. I don’t call, don’t message before she does…I’m emotionally damaged. The thought of her disgusts me.”
I hold his hand, pull him up and walk him around the park. I’m shit at making people feel better. I want to show him a meme, I want to tell him that China has not added us a loan. I somehow want to tell him that I need to go shave my fudhi but I have no better way to it.
“Chris, it shall be well. It will take time, but get your groove back. Look better, smell better, feel better as you think through again. If you a gonna divorce, do it with a few extra kilos and a smiley face,” I say.
I ask him if he played “bysho alav yu bebi. The bebi to the sun, the sun to the ona, the ona to the men….” we give it a try a few times. His smile seems abit longer than before.
He needs to go for a haircut. His mother in-law calls. She wants to know how he is doing and why he has been quiet. She says she is at their door and no one is home. She is seated at the veranda, beside her bag with ngwacî and nduma. He has to go. Mothers are good. Mothers are everything. They bring you food and bring forth daughters. The daughters though, they cook everything including husbands.
A call comes in. It is Jenny. She will be late. They have an office party for her department. If it will be too late, she will sleep at a hotel near her work place because she is female, those bad people may rape her and yet she is a wife, and she is holy. Heaven is hers.
He smiles, waves and walks away.