“Then there is Mr Spider. He weaves tales of deceit. He will lie to get what he wants even when you know he’s lying. When he catches you in his web of deceit, the more you struggle to leave, the further inside you get sucked.”
Bikozulu: The Lacoste of Samburu
The first time she ever saw him, he was preaching in a matatu in 2006. A Githurai 44 matatu. She boarded them on her way home everyday after work. She worked as a clerk in a real estate company along Ngong Rd. On a good day, she would board the 14 seaters because they were more orderly, timely and customer friendly. A good day was a day when money was not an issue. The 44 buses were cheaper and so on this particular day of the not so rich season, she secured her favourite spot; the seat next to the window just behind the conductor’s.
(Read the previous post here.)
The closest she had ever come to a man was her father and one brother who was younger anyway. She was brought up in a Catholic family and she never lacked a rosary in her bag. An arms reach away for the times her spirit self would want to hold some prayers. Her mind had wandered off to nothing in particular. Perhaps just reflecting on how the day was and just how much more she’d want from life.
It was brought back to the physical reality when her ears caught the sound of a voice that one, was not familiar in her journeys with Githurai 44 buses and two, was too stunning a male voice not to capture the attention of her 22 year old girly self. She turned to take a look. He wasn’t standing very far from her since the pulpit for all preachers in buses is just next to the door. Perhaps it’s safer there in case anyone hurls a shoe at him in rejection of his gospel or his call out for sadaka.
She had never seen him before. Not that she has been paying attention to the men of cloth who choose matatu passengers as their congregation. But as far as she took note, all the men she has seen preaching in matatus are quite elderly. As for him? He looked young. Didn’t he have dreams or chics or both to chase at his age? His age that ranged between 28 to 30 in her silent approximation. A good looking chap like him preaching in a matatu to tired passengers turned congregants?
See, that short duration of time that she took to analyse him shocked her when she snapped back to her senses. She had never thought of a guy before. Not even taken time to think as far as their age and worse, his voice! She felt like it was a sin so she switched off immediately.
She didn’t know what romantic love is. The furthest she had ever gone with love was the love of God and family. Nobody in her life had ever told her, “I love you.” Neither has she ever heard her own parents say that to each other. Like it was a statement only said by people who did not go to church.
That made the puzzling even heftier. Because she caught herself playing back his voice from time to time. The realisation that he had slipped into her pot of thoughts was scaring the hormones out of her. The realisation that he was not leaving that pot that was now boiling like a breweries of blood in hell scared her even more than the boogie man would.
She thought she should never board a Githurai 44 matatu again just to resist the impending temptation to think about him more than he has already stuck in her mind for reasons she did not know.
She grew up with a thought of being a nun. Her up bringing taught her that a big contributor to sin was boys or in this case, men. She had seen her friends who were swayed away with a few sweet words from boys and most of them ended up with teenage pregnancies. A disgrace to the church and to parents, she believed. To cap it all up, it was all about the fear of what engaging with men would bring.
On the following day, she didn’t board a 44 bus. But the day after she had to because her fare was just enough for a bus. Contrary to her expectations, no one even showed up to preach. And so was the following two days. So she thought gladly to herself that the Lord had taken away what would have probably been her first biggest temptation.
One day it was raining cats and dogs, no, infact the whole animal kingdom after work. She was the last one to board the bus only to discover that all the seats had been occupied. She would have been forced to wait for the next bus which meant more rain on her but just when she was about to give up to fate, she felt a hand tap her. She turned. The hand was pointing to an empty seat which she had been offered out of courtesy. It was a big relief that she didn’t even think about whether it was worth taking or not.
After she had sat was when it hit her. Normally it wouldn’t because it was just a seat like any other. But for some reason it did. She realised that for the first time in a long time, she had not sat at her favourite spot and instead, she had sat somewhere else yes, but on the same seat she is used to seeing the preachers sit just before they begin their calling for the day.
Had she known how to cuss by then, she’d say, “Damn!” or “Holy sh*t!” or something else much heavier than that mjangos use recklessly nowadays. They are as ordinary as greetings today.
She turned and looked. The one who had offered her a seat didn’t leave for another bus but stood next to her, now clearing his throat to start a sermon. It was him! There was no escaping from this one. There was no switching off from the young preacher’s sermon today. And by the way, she tried to so hard to dismiss the thought of him because she was a Catholic and look, he was a protestant. Or is there somewhere priests hold masses in matatus? And besides, how would she dare set eyes on a priest whose matrimony is only with the Lord? At some point in that journey, she wished he was a priest.
He was irresistible already and as if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of his sermon he would turn to look at her. In a manner indicating that, “I offered you my space so that makes you my best congregant today. Ama namna gani?”
The next time she boarded the bus, she realised the conductor didn’t charge her. He skipped her as if no one was occupying the seat she was on. After the conductor was done collecting fare at the back and was now proceeding to the front, she was this close to calling him and report herself for not being charged. She must have quoted under her breath, “Jesus said give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Just then her eyes met with the young preacher who was now saying, “Yesu alisema umpende jirani yaki jinsi unavyojipenda.” She stopped and sat back. He has already paid her fare.
She wanted to be pissed off but however much she tried, the realisation that no man had ever been that sweet to her was overpowering the church girl in her.
On one unique day, while she was seated at her usual spot, he boarded as well. He didn’t look around as if to decide where to sit. It was like he already knew where he wanted to sit. Next to her. And so he did. He was not in a tie on that day. Just a casual outfit. Seeing him like that you may never believe he was a preacher. Because anyway, he didn’t want to look like one on that day. Lest the congregants should say that the preacher has backslid from preaching to hitting on one of the unsuspecting college aged congregants.
“Habari yako?” He began.
“Mzuri. Na yako?” She responded.
“Njema. You are going home?”
If she was infected with the slaying flu she’d have rolled her eyes and said, “Of course I’m going home.” But her age in those days hadn’t caught that demon yet.
“What’s your name?”
Gone are the days when people introduce themselves to each other with two names. Instead, even Instagram handles are given as names nowadays.
“I’m glad. And I am Timothy Murimi.” He said although she knew his name already. Every time he started to preach, he’d introduce himself.
That was the day their friendship sparked. He asked for her number towards the end of the journey and she gave him. He had a flip Samsung phone and she had a Motorola. He flashed her as she alighted so she’d get his number too.
Calls were exchanged from time to time. When her dad would dare to ask she dismissed it as just calls from work. Twice she thought she had heard a baby cry in the background. He said he worked along River Road in a printing company. And that from a young age he had been called to ministry.
She fell in love with how focused he was and how he showed integrity. What she didn’t know was that that was what he showed. The devil was in what he did not show.
What she thought was love began to grow. She shared every bit of her life with him in the pace he tempted her to. Sometimes she’d leave work and head to River Road at his place of work. They’d either board the matatu together or take her out to one of the food joints along River Road. I mean, what can’t you find in River Road?
They talked about their faith. She told him what she believes and he told her what he knows is the truth. His words carried a great conviction and you’d have to be really hard hearted not to be moved by what he said. Being naïve, she was moved further than she should have. He made her believe that all what she had grown up believing was all misinterpreted and misapplied. That it was better to be of no faith at all than to believe in an inaccurate gospel.
Like any other normal human being would be, she was conflicted. She was mad at herself, her family and ultimately, God. In the midst of all that however, she could take refuge in one man only. The man Timothy. That’s how she stopped going to church.
Two weeks later she stood before her parents and said, “Mum, dad I have decided to move out.” It was a battle at first, but the reason she gave about work seemed convincing. They didn’t want to shut her dreams. So she went from Githurai to Kawangware. He offered to have her stay at his house. Which in her position, she agreed.
The conversation went like this, “I thought you live in Githurai.” She said.
“Not really. In Githurai there is a branch of our company. So whenever I go to Githurai it is that branch I go to. I have lived in Kawangware for ten years now.”
“Oh. And are you sure it would okay to stay with you in the same house?”
“What because I’m a pastor?”
He chuckled, “Can’t I help someone special to me who is in need? Because it’s not as if I am having you there as my wife or something. Si we agreed I’ll help you settle as you find a place?”
“Yes we did.”
“Besides, I think you need someone who is in close proximity to watch over you. I understand lately you have not been yourself.”
She couldn’t agree any further. All she thought of him was that he had the nicest heart ever.
The first few days of their stay together were like sacred days. No one invaded the privacy of the other. She slept on the bed and he slept on the couch. Dressing happened in the bathroom outside. Their bedsitter house didn’t offer an option of privacy. Soon, the journey to the bathroom outside would be too long for the mere changing into sleeping attires.
It went to, “Timothy I’d like to change kidogo.”
And Timothy would turn around until she was done or step out for a minute.
Soon he became too busy to wash his own clothes. He’d have a pile of clothes stuck up on one corner and she’d be irritated by the sight and stench from it. She’d offer to wash for him once and he would be so grateful for her kindness. The truth of the matter was he was just lazy.
The kindness would be requested to extend in other areas as well. For instance, he developed neck pains because of sleeping in kung fu positions. The couch had become less comfortable and especially because him being the owner of the house, he couldn’t be reduced to a couch any longer. So then came the agreement that he’d sleep next to and facing the wall and she’d sleep on the other side facing the door. The man should take the side facing the door right? But welcome to a different story mjango.
The boarder is typically half of the bed. Not long after, he felt the need to be more comfortable. Again, it was his house. And like the man he is, he didn’t want to sleep with so many clothes on. A boxer in fact, is just enough. The heat from the blanket added on to the heat of the season added to sun levels of heat by the woman sleeping an arms length away from him. “Mwanamke ni joto.” They say.
One evening he became livid because of how she had cooked that day. They had their first fierce argument. She opted to sleep on the couch after she said she would just go back to her home on first light.
Maybe it was out of remorse or maybe it was an angle. But an hour later he woke up and beseeched her to come to bed. She accepted at the fourth attempt.
Just to show how sorry he was, he cuddled with her. Who was she to resist though. She faced her side but he didn’t face his. And like the woman she is, she could not stop herself from being aroused when in between the arms of a man. Not just a man but the only man she had confided in in her entire life.Today mjangos think they can just cuddle and that would be the end of that story. Issa trap my friend!
Ah of course and like the man he is, holding a woman like that however much of a pastor he may be could not stop his manhood from facing true north!
Never had she known sex or imagined it in her life. But it takes nothing but human instincts to know what goes where and where does what and who does what. However, it would now take a higher level of curiosity, creativity, sometimes therapy or just the internet (or all of them together) to know who can do what how!
So nooky happened and she was flattered by the experience. That was it. She loved him! She wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. No more asking to turn around so that she may change clothes. No more questions about whether she would wash his clothes or contemplating over adding a love portion while cooking a meal for him or not. No more ‘But you’re a pastor’ and shit. No more sleeping while facing different directions. In fact, no more questions about whether to sleep with or without clothes.
Come to think of it, if it were not for the bathrooms being outside, there would be no more questions about who goes to bath first on days they were both in a hurry. Instead, they’d simplify things by going in together and even save time by washing each other.
No more holding back the ‘I am horny’ thought in silence. And finally, no more hiding in ‘come we stay’. For all she knew it had officially become a come we stay affair. She wanted it in the airwaves that she was married. The first step to that would be to introduce him to her parents. “It’s a plan!” She told herself.
“The first thing he said when I asked him whether we could arrange to see my parents was, “Work has become so busy.” It was okay. But I thought he would revisit that conversation like a man would.”
“So he was not a man?” I asked.
“You’re also a man, you tell me Mjango. About a month later he still hadn’t brought it up. So I decided to. This time the response was sharp. I didn’t expect a response like that. He said, “Ah Rose mimi unanisumbua. Nikona stress mingi tayari.”
I was shocked. So I withdrew. Funny enough, on the following day, I woke up to throw up. And that was it. I knew I was pregnant. I started being scared because here I was expectant with baby of a man who wanted to hear nothing about marriage. That was not how I dreamt to spend my adulthood. And that was when it began to hit me that I had gone down a road blindly.
But the fact that he was still around gave me some hope. If he would continue to be the provider and manly figure he is now even after the baby is born, then that was better than nothing.
One day he received a call in the middle of the night and he sounded terrified after he listened in on the call for a while. He woke up and sat on the edge of the bed looking all stressed. He then stood up, dressed up quickly and left.
When he came back in the morning I asked him and he said it was an emergency with one of his colleagues. He was restless for the rest of that week and I started to sense that a colleague couldn’t be the reason for such levels of discomfort. He would silently walk out at times and make a phone call.
Soon I got fed up and said, “Timothy are you are having an affair?”
“You tell me.”
“I am always here every evening after work. Where would I get time for an affair?”
“Then do you have a child somewhere?”
Silence. I read the shock on his face.
“Rose where is all this coming from?”
“Just answer me!”
“As far as I know, I would only want to have a child with you. And you know that.”
“Are you doubting me?”
“No. I’m just insecure baby.”
He drew closer and gave me a hug.
“You have no reason to. I assure you.”
I looked at him and said, “So you would want us to have a baby together? “
“Why not? I am getting a promotion at work so it would be a good time to bring him or her into our world. Whichever you want.”
“I want a boy.”
He chuckled, “A boy? Well. Okay.”
“Tell me the now happened.” I said and she went into guffaws.
“Well yes. Instantly. It was my way of making sure that he was into having a child. He didn’t know I was already pregnant. So one week later I told him I was pregnant. He was quite excited. Then he said, “Tomorrow we have to move out. I have found a new place we can live. It’s better and a one bedroom.”
I asked him why so abruptly and he said he just wanted out of that place. He was tired of it. He started to really insist but I stood my ground saying he even didn’t tell me he was looking for a new place. Kwani I didn’t have a say in the new place we would go? I said if it’s moving we would move during the weekend. No one was chasing us. At least that’s what I thought. He seemed very disappointed and I couldn’t connect why.
The following day I fell abit sick and decided not to go to work. Towards evening there was a knock on the door. I opened and went back to sit thinking Timothy was home early so he’d just walk in. But again, another knock. I went to the door. It was a lady who looked a bit older than I was. She was not alone. Beside her was a little girl. About two and a half years old.
“Habari?” She began.
I paused. Tim? Who called him Tim? I had never heard that.
“Na kwani hautatukaribisha?”
“Ata hujaniambia wewe ni nani na unataka nikukaribishe.”
She laughed. “Uko sure haunijui? Tim hajawahi kukuambia?”
I was freaking out. And I felt like telling her to stop calling him Tim for heaven’s sake!
“Ayya basi. Tutangoja mpaka akuje. Hatujatoka Githurai bure. Na huyu mtoto anafaa kurudi hosi kesho. Amekuwa admitted for one week last week but one. In the mean time, I am the reason you will not enjoy his promotion alone.”
I swear I felt the baby inside me throwing a tantrum.