The sound of a mooing cow wakes her up rather gently. It is better to be woken up by the elements of nature than the home theatre of fellow campus students who neighbour her house back in Kakamega. It had been one of those nights she slept like the baby sometimes she wishes she could be all her life. You know adulthood is hard. It had just been a year into adulthood and she felt like she could sell it for the price patkoo. The things she had seen and experienced as a young adult are worth 35 years in our parents’ generation, perhaps. She slowly turned in bed in an effort to discover a hidden lump of sleep so she’d proceed with the slumber. The cow moos again and she tells herself that someone should now go and milk that mama. But maybe the mooing of the cow was the cow’s way of saying it feels like that day and the days to come would be very long and shitty days.
(Read the previous episode here.)
The turn in bed was successful but the loading of more sleep was cut short by a sudden feeling of nausea. It was rising fast up her gut like the fountains of a hot spring. The speed at which she left the bed was faster than those days in high school when the deputy principal would storm into the dorm haunting those who overslept after the morning preps bell. The way to the toilet had become a highway. Anyone who would show up in her way would be run over and who knows what else. It didn’t take any longer than two minutes, then she sat on the floor.
Her mind then started to boot officially. It had been working on safe mode in between when she dashed out of bed and when she last emptied the contents of her gut. The successful booting of her mind followed a system analysis of what had just happened. She had thrown up and it was in the morning. Lately, she had noticed that she was getting quite bigger but never having drawn to a conclusion until the events of that morning. She touched her tummy and the shock that followed after she had processed those symptoms made her choke in her own saliva. “I’m pregnant!” She whispered. Just then, a tear dropped from her left eye. She can swear she hadn’t felt that tear coming although yes, that was the cloud that showed the sign of the heavy rain of tears yet to come.
I cannot believe I’m pregnant! It’s impossible. My life is about to take the sharpest turn ever.
But I must tell Eli.
Later that night, she locked the door of her room and sat on her bed. She scrolled up and about her phone, pinned her earphones to her ears and waited.
“Eh Hello?” She said.
“Hi Kat,” A guy on the other end of the line said.
“Hi Mjango. Mambo?”
Kat has an inner circle of friends and Mjango happens to be among them. She gets a male POV from him whenever she’s having trouble with matters of the heart. And whenever he needs a female POV, she is usually either one call away or a few doors away. Kat has this saying that when you date a guy for example, just know you’re dating his best friend too and the vice versa is just as true. Because everything that goes on between couples, both of them would secretly summon an emergency meeting with their best friends. Funny enough, whatever is brought to the couple’s table as a form of resolution is highly likely to be the resolution developed by the best friends. But here is what best friends say after giving their advice, “That’s what I think but now, you make your own decision so that in case things go to hell, you won’t say I misadvised you.”
Mjango said, “Poa sana. It’s been a minute.”
“Yea and si you know when I call you, there’s always something worth talking about,” Kat said.
He said after a giggle, “Gosh! What kind of shit did you land yourself into?”
She sighed, “I think I’m pregnant.”
“Yea. You heard me right.”
“But how Kat?”
“I really don’t know…”
“How sure are you?”
“I threw up this morning, I had morning sickness. That’s when it dawned on me that I have also become rather big lately. You know those body changes?”
“How can I have been friends with you for that long and not know some things?
She giggles, “So yea. I have reason to believe that I will be having a baby soon.”
That’s how Kenyans respond to shocking news; by saying Wah! Or ‘Ngai!’ And when you hear that, just know that you’re in more than deep shit; you’re in a septic tank mjango!
He asked, “Is the dad the guy we both know?”
“Eish! Mjango you of all people know that I have never been with anyone else.”
“Well, it priceless to be sure. So does he know?”
“No, not yet.”
“And don’t you plan on telling him? You should, Kat.”
“I will but not now. I have already started making peace with the fact that I’m expectant. In fact, I would have told him by now if it was not for the cold air between me and him now.”
“Here goes another problem, I’m listening.” Mjango said.
“He has been acting so awkward lately. Like he doesn’t feel me.” She said.
“I’m not surprised. I don’t mean to rub it in but I’ve always told you that the nature of the mistake you did with Dosi is too heavy to be swallowed.”
“I guess I’ll just have to live with that. I’ll carry his baby for him hoping that’s one of the things that will make him realize how much I love him,” Kat said. She was on the verge of tears.
“I feel you dear. Well, if there’s one person that will stand by your side through this is your mum. Be prepared to lose the favour of being daddy’s girl for quite a long time. Tell Eli because he deserves to know. Express that you’re only letting him know. It’s upon him to decide what to do. But again, be prepared for anything. Anyway, you told me he got birth control for you. How could it have failed?”
“I don’t know Mjango!”
“Okay, I got to go, but you can only be 100% sure when you get tested. So get that test, then we’ll know.”
The male POV in my life says that I should be prepared for anything. I guess there’s only one way to find out what anything means.
Watching news has always been a tradition for Eli. In fact, if a guy cannot afford to miss the news, then ladies that is not a boy anymore. Start picturing him as the father who would come to the living room after washing away the stresses of the day in a hot shower – no minute later than 9PM. He’d then bark to the kids, “Wekeni news! Na hio remote muweke hapa kando yangu.” You’d then serve him a hot dish of ugali and some bitter herbs in the name of mboga while he watches. Let anyone make a mistake of making noise while the news is on. By 9.40PM, he is either done eating and dozing off or unfortunately for the kids, on a bad day he’d be awake and that’s when he’d remember they do go to school. “Leteni homework hapa nisign. Na ifwatwe na diary na report form.” Then you as a wife and a good mother would dismiss yourself from the scene because you cannot stand watching the fruit of your womb being switched on the butt by the love of your life called their father. Funny enough, when it’s your turn to switch them for a fault you found them guilty of, you wouldn’t think of pitying them. The man of the house would then come to bed feeling more of a lion than just a male cat. If your prayers get stuck on the roof of your house that day, you will be the next person he will prey on behind closed doors and a dark room the kids call mum and dad’s bedroom.
Eli, however, was still at the stage of watching news only and going to bed. Perhaps cooking for himself in between. That night he must have been making himself ugali and bitter herbs. He had been eating food made by people who cook to be paid. The one person in his life who cooked for him not to be paid but as an expression of love and responsibility had not stepped into his house for two months now. Though he couldn’t admit it, he felt like a lion void of pride. A king without an empire. A farmer without a farm! If you ask me since I’m a man as well, I bet he had missed being a farmer more than anything. You know digging is an important part of a farmer’s life. It doesn’t matter whether he is digging while looking forward to sowing and reaping or just digging for the love of digging. But all he wants to do is dig! Hehe.
He pinches a chunk of ugali on one hand and collaborates it with bitter herbs as he shifts his eyes on the news on TV and his phone on the other hand. News stopped being news and the bitter herbs became nearly poisonous when Kat texted him on Whatsapp and broke the news she had held for 24 hours since she found out.
Kat: Hello Eli.
Eli: (After debating with himself on whether to reply) Hi Kat.
Kat: I know you will ask me to go straight to the point, so let me save you the energy.
Kat: I’m pregnant.
Eli: With whose child?
At that point, the rest of his hunger was fed by disbelief and shock.
Kat: You mean Eli I’d be stupid to tell you that I’m pregnant if it was not with your child?
Eli: I think so far I have seen you being capable of so many things Kat.
Kat: Okay then. Now I’m telling you that it’s your child. You know I’ve not been with anyone else but you.
Eli: Ehe! Says the girl who serviced another man with a blowjob. How can I be sure that it didn’t go past that?
Kat: Eli I didn’t have sex with anyone else but you.
Eli: I don’t care about what you say. I will go to bed tonight knowing that that’s not my child in your f****** womb! I’m smart enough to know that this is your way of earning my attention. It’s what immature campus girls like you would do.
Kat: If you call loving you immaturity, then yes I’m immature. Even though I still have something in my heart for you, I can take care of this kid alone. It will be my source of joy after you being the reason for my sorrow. I don’t need you in order to raise my child.
Eli: Say whatever you will. But this proves how naïve and how much of a slut you are! Go get pregnant with every man you meet. Get out of my sight bitch!
Kat: Don’t worry. You won’t have to worry about me no more. Just do me a favour though, don’t come claiming this child in future. Goodbye Eli.
I can’t believe that is the kind of guy I wanted for a future husband. I can’t believe that I am in love with a monster!
On the following day, Kat hosted her friend, Sheila. The level of depression she had was too high for her to stay alone. Sheila was in her house by sunset. She found Kat lying bed looking sorry and rubbing her tummy.
“Will you cook supper? I don’t feel like cooking.” Kat said.
“It’s okay. I came with spaghetti and meat. Kwani are you sick?” Sheila asked.
“Not really. Sheila, I’m pregnant.”
Sheila takes a seat by the bed. Another case of disbelief.
“For real? Does Eli know?”
“Yes. But he disowned it.”
Sheila shrugs, “What do you expect anyway?”
“What do you mean?”
“Si it’s what you’d expect since he already has another child.”
Kat sits up, “What! How did you know?”
Sheila said, “I thought Joleen told you. Haiya. Let me get myself out of this. I’m going to cook.”
I am more motivated than ever to take that pregnancy test. I think I need to be sure because this is getting messy! The son of a gun has been lying to me all along yet he has a child with another woman! I’d make my future with a man who has half of his income going to child support?
“I can’t believe you Eli!” Kat said.
She even didn’t start with any form of greetings.
“Had I known you were calling to scold me I wouldn’t have picked,” Eli said.
“Then too bad for you. Why didn’t you tell me you had a kid and a baby mama? You’ve been fooling me all this time! And persecuting me for one stupid mistake yet you have a kid somewhere?”
He felt like he’d shit his pants, “Who told you that?”
“Oh meaning it’s true. Aha! How nice Eli! That explains why you were so quick to disown me when I said I was pregnant. Well, guess what, you have just been exonerated from a second burden. I took a pregnancy test and it turns out that I’m not pregnant. It was just the effects of birth control. I hope you’re happy now.”
“I…” Before he could finish Kat hanged up.
I had promised myself that I was so done with him. Having shared my life with him and his failure to do the same when he was supposed to – made him a criminal in my life. But promises are meant to be broken, aren’t they?
After one month, he texted her on Whatsapp.
Eli: Could you please come to Nai? I’d like to see you.
Kat: Why now?
Eli: I’d like to make it up to you.
Kat: If you really want to make it up to me, you should be the one to come. I cannot come to Nai.
Eli: Okay can I come this week?
Kat: What about your work?
Eli: I’ll get an off on Friday. So I’ll travel on Thursday night and be there by morning if that’s okay with you.
Kat: Okay. But you know I’ll need some things for the house since you’re coming.
Eli: I’ll send you some cash you buy whatever you need.
Kat: Not I, it’s we need.
Eli: Haha. Okay dear.
That is what happens when a man realizes that he has been having a jewel all that time. Sometimes you have to show a man what he is going to miss when he begins to mess around. When you feed his ego by staying around even when he rubs your face on the ground, he will always see you as indispensable. Whenever he is hungry, he knows where he will find food. Whenever he is angry, he knows where to get a punching bag. Whenever he needs to relieve himself, he knows exactly where to take a shit. But dare one day to deprive him of that food or that punching bag or that toilet seat. That’s in no other way but by walking out the back door. That means walk out on him slowly without making a show of it. He will wake up one morning in need of those things and that’s when it’d dawn on him that you are gone, but not long gone. However, go in a manner knowing that he might not come running after you. But if he is a good man, he will look for you and take you back through the front door.
My front door is here!
Kat welcomed Eli to her house warmly. He was the greatest visitor she had ever hosted in that house.
You should have seen that house mjango. Cockroaches had been exterminated, you could use the floor as a plate to eat and even the toilet bowl was whiter than some of our teeth. She knew that this was her chance to claim her man. The laws of love declared that none of his flaws mattered any more. Even his neighbours knew she was having a very important visitor. Nobody would come knocking in any manner with some of them hoping they’d find her in her nightdress. Speaking of nightdresses, ladies in case it has never crossed your mind, from today start knowing that the sexiest clothes you can ever put on for a man is your nightdress. Why so? You may ask. Because men are not blind not to know the stature of those night dresses. Would you walk out on the street with a nightdress? The kind that today’s fashion designers make? No, right? That’s what makes them the sexiest then aye.
Before them was a bottle of wine and two glasses that night. They sat in bed talking while washing their guts. He took that chance to confess a few things. He said that having a baby mama was not in his plans at all. He, however, decided to own up and they agreed he’d support the upkeep of the child but she should not interfere with his life. He wanted to settle with someone he knew he loved. Someone he knew suited her. And to him, she Kat was the one he had seen a future with. She is everything he has ever wanted in a woman. She is pretty, just as smart and has the qualities of a good wife.
Later she would ask herself whether he really meant what he said or it was the wine speaking. But all she is sure of is that she was so touched and drunk that she became horny. And just like it was meant to be and even her neighbours expected, they got down to it. It had been long. Even the wine in him confessed that it had been long. You know even a farmer can tell that the farm hasn’t been dug in a long time. Even he feels kind of rusty if he doesn’t dig in a long time.
By the time the juices of his lust and even her lust were all dried up, Kat was convinced that she was not going to let that man go. No reason would make her do that.
Once again, I was wrong and this time, very wrong!
“Who is calling you at this time? It’s 3AM.” Kat says.
Eli is seated by the edge of the bed. She had seen the caller ID was Essie. He ignored the call and returned to bed saying, “It’s my aunt.” In their story, these two have really used their aunts as scapegoats eh!
He left for Nairobi on Sunday morning and this time, he flew back from Kisumu Airport. The weekend was over but the evidence of it goodness lay plainly on their Whatsapp statuses with pictures of their outings and their last moments at the airport.
The glitter on her face faded immediately when she woke up on Monday morning to a friend request on Facebook. It was not a friendly friend request. It was a fishy one. Her name was Essie. Her profile picture was a selfie with the man she had called the love of her life.
“Eli you said she was your aunt!” Her voice sounded shaky over the phone. She had seen things threaten her relationship but never another woman.
“You don’t have to worry. She is just a friend,” He tried getting the ball out of the pitch.
“Huh? Nice try. A friend who says that I should leave you alone because she is the mistress number one. She is even staying at your house. Eli are you for real?”
“Listen, she came to Nai to work and she didn’t have a place to stay. She is a waitress in a certain club in town.”
“Really waitress? Of all the women you could pick you picked a waitress? This definitely sounds like a girl you picked in the club. Those clubs that you go with your friends every Friday.”
“Stop exaggerating Kat. And you’re being too paranoid.”
“I have to be paranoid Eli! How do you expect me to be cool with the fact that you stay in the same house with another woman? You come here and make love to me yet you have a woman waiting for you in your house? She is not even pretty! A 23-year-old looking like a 30-year-old. Surely Eli, you stooped that low and yet I’m here?”
“Now you are being rude. She is not ugly. You should stop listening to her and listen to me. Don’t even talk to her anymore,”
“You expect me to listen to you even when she is saying she has been in your house for close to two months now? All this time you have been having someone to ‘shikilia’ with then you come here telling me that you missed me? That my honeypot is the only one and the best?”
“Kat! Please stop being dramatic. She will leave soon. Leave that to me. You still got me.”
“I don’t think you understand how this works Eli. Enough is enough. It’s either me or her. I cannot put up with your shit no more. Even I have a life to live and if I can’t live it with you alone, I’ll leave. So choose, she leaves or I leave!”
“Just give me time, I’ll deal with it. And I have to get back to work.”
“There is no more time to give Eli. I feel like you have been punishing me for the silly mistake I once did. Haven’t I done enough to prove that I love you? Am I not good enough for you that you’d get someone to ‘shikilia’?”
“Hey Kat, I need to get back to work. Let’s talk later and I’ll do away with her just give me time.”
“Listen! I don’t care whether you are at work or in the toilet. Just tell me whether you really love me and I will sure as hell leave you in peace!” She said.
“You know…” He began.
“You know what my ass! Tell me Eli! To my face, do you love me?”
“You know what? If you want to leave, then leave! You are not even humble! And I’m too good for you. If you can’t give me time to sort it out, then you can as well go.”
“With all honours Eli. This is the end of us. I’m leaving!” Kat hanged up.
You were the valentine in my life.
But now, I hate you, Valentine!