Chapter Twelve: Maureen

“You can take the children for a while and spend time with them,” said Maureen.

“I live in a one bedroom apartment. You’ve seen it and it is not the kind of place they would enjoy playing around and all that.”

“They are kids. They only care about the attention you give them besides, you will get this job and that means you’ll have a better place if you so wish.”

“Maybe…”

“Belinda, can I ask you something?”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Have you thought of going back to your house?”

“You mean the house?”

“Yes, I am talking about the house where Jeff and your kids live in. It’s the house you left and haven’t been sleeping in for the past one month. It’s the house that your kids call home and where their school bus knows to stop every morning and evening. Do you need me to clarify some more?”

“No, I know what you are talking about. I am not ready to go there.”

“What about Jeff?”

“I am not ready to talk to him. I know I was hard on you at first about Michelle, but there are many more women like her out there. It’s Michelle this time but there have been others and the more I act like a fool, the more I feel hurt. Look, if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that there’s more to life than playing the perfect wife. I always thought that if I took care of everything at home then it will be great. It was for a while and then he started acting different and I started asking myself questions. I got what I was looking for and now…just don’t get into something and forget yourself Mesh, no one’s ever worth all that loss and pain.”

“You need to sort things out with Jeff.”

“Wait, are you telling me that I should forgive and forget?”

Ehe! Yes, that’s what I am saying. Before you start lecturing me again, hear me out. Listen, you need to iron things out with your husband. You chose to stay away from him and it’s reminded you that you can always get up when you fall down. You did not take his money or live under his shelter but you managed and he knows that, in fact, it probably scares him that you could walk away. All, I am saying is that you need to talk to him, yell at him or something, just to get everything off your chest and after that, you can decide what course of action to take.”

“Where is this sudden enlightenment coming from?”

“I have been reading this book by some woman in America. You know the divorce rate is pretty high there and their courts make more money settling divorce cases and all that. She talks about ‘the hurt you give’ in one of her many chapters about healing. I just tried it out on you and it seems to have worked.”

“Can I read the book once you’re done?”

“I can send it to you via whatsapp!”

“It’s a pirated book! Mesh, now you are hurting the woman’s efforts, just give me the title of the book and I will go and look for it.”

“I forgot I was talking to Saint Belinda. You need to go out, get drunk and wake up with a hangover or something.”

“There’s no way I’m going out with you Mesh. I’m too old for the club scene.”

“I know this rich friend of mine who knows how to have a good time. I’ll call her and make plans this Friday, and while we are talking about going out. Okwan is not invited. I like her, but she’s way too off in my squad.”

“You’re mean. How about we invite her and let her decide whether she’d love to come or not?”

“If she comes, she’s your headache, not mine.”

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Everything

6:00 o’clock.

He found his way home at 6:00 o’clock in the morning. He went straight to the bathroom, turned on the shower and stayed there until he heard the front door being shut.

It was the eighth time he’d done just that.

She was not counting, but who knew that every time he did it, her heart broke, a dimming of a light that wanted to shine bright. She would get to work, put on her smile and attend to clients all day. He would text once or call sometime towards the evening, “I’ll be working late.”

She would ask herself, “Working on who?” but would simply text back or answer “It’s okay love.”

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

She said it for every time he came home late…she would say it to herself, not to him, he did not deserve to see her break.

When she asked her friends for advice, some shook their head and then continued chatting on their phones and taking selfies. Some friends pitied her while others told her to hang in there. He was going through something and if she butted in, he would not resolve it. “If your man wants space, give it to him, or else you’ll lose him.”

So, she sat on her desk, called the florist outside their office building and asked him to wrap two roses…in brown wrapping and deliver them to his office…

One last time.

roses

You + I=

Round,

and around…it’s how we go.

You + I=….

stocksnap_8fligzo8ap

‘I was told,’

‘My boys saw you.’

Round and around we go…

You and I.

‘Would you like to go out with me?’

‘Would you work on this with me?’

You and I.

‘Where were you at noon today?’

‘I was told you were with some guy,

laughing, blushing…where were you?’

Round and around we go…

You + I = …

5/40

Nicole’s idea of lunch was a full plate of chips, 1/2 deep fried chicken, and a litre of Coke.

I had a serving of bhajia and bottle of water. She looked at my tray and scrunched up her nose. She reached out for a piece of bhajia and dunked it in the pepper I had. I pushed the pepper towards her. She dipped her index finger in it and licked it like mama Josephine’s brown cat. “You can have the pilipili if you want.”

“Ai, no, I will use my tomato sauce and chilli, but that bhajia pilipili is fine! You know like the hot young kids who cannot even spell Curriculum Vitae! And aki you won’t believe me when I tell you the things we go through trying to recruit people for these people who drive Range Rovers and write cheques like someone sending an sms!”

“What do you go through? Is it as worse as PR? Where I have to find out which buttons to push to seal corporate deals and the like, and worse off write statements or sweet talk journalists not to print or publish some nasty pictures that could lead to divorce or worse off death of the big guys?”

“But at least you can bribe people! You get rid of the problem. We have to prevent the problem from getting into the company. It’s like trying to prevent a virus from shutting down your computer, now if those IT guys can take years to do it, imagine a mere girl like me from Ukambani, with skinny legs and a great skin trying to say, ‘dear’ instead of ‘ndear,’it is a crime I tell you! People should not suffer like this.”

“Ghai, pole! You have to work though, no one forced you to study human resources.”

“Ouch! If I wanted an exorcism I would have called my Mother, now nipe hiyo pilipili before you take away my appetite. So, how are you with Martin?”

“I have not spoken to him and I don’t want to.”

“Aki, it’s that bad?”

“It is what it is. Tell me what should I do, from the HR angle.”

“You can file a complaint so we can give him a warning, or you can ask for a refresher training course on his job description, but let’s be honest Marjorie, what if there is more to this than meets the eye?”

Raindrops and Roses

I made something of myself.

You called yesterday.

It was a rainy day.

I made something of myself,

You wanted me all to yourself.

‘Congratulations, always knew you could do it.’

The phone was in my ear,

It’s been two years.

I made something of myself,

and you wanted me all to yourself.

How’s your wife?

How is your business?

Let’s talk about your career, hard work puts food on the table not words on paper.

Who wants to read about love when they are hungry?

Get a real job, use the education you have.

I made something of myself.

Now you want me all to yourself.

No thanks, I still write. These words will one day host a party,

like raindrops on roses.

Niko kwa jam, nacome.

Ruth knew the flats looked good but she would have worn the converse instead. It was cold and wet as she made her way to Pizza Inn before one.
She couldn’t believe they were finally meeting.
It was too much too soon but she wanted to know. Her mother always told her she thought with her feet while her brain was still wearing shoes gearing to work.
There was nothing special about Walter.
He was a man.
He was working like  most men in Nairobi.
He knew the streets, and knew how to use his words and smile. She had often wondered how easy it was for women to smile. If they thought of something they smiled. If they were complimented they smiled. Men on the other hand, reserved their smile for a goal. They unleashed it like a Canon ball to get what they wanted.
She walked to the counter and ordered a milkshake.
It was ten minutes past one.
She paid for her milkshake, secured a seat and then pulled out her phone to call Walter.
“Hi.”
“Hey, are you already there?”
“Yes, and you?”
“Stuck in traffic, give me ten minutes, I will be there.”
“Sawa.”
Walter alighted at Muthurwa and made his way past lots of people to Kencom. He realized he was sweating when he brushed past a woman as he was crossing the road which made him stop for a minute to catch his breath. He looked around and then straightened himself and slowed down as he walked into Pizza Inn.
He pulled out his phone from his pocket and dialled Ruth’s number.
“Where are you seated?”
“I’m upstairs.”
“Sure,will be getting there. What can I get you?”
“Am good, maybe a vanilla milkshake.”
Walter approached the counter and placed his order and then paid the lady. He made his way upstairs looking around hoping to spot Ruth before she spotted him but luck was not on his side. She smiled and rose when he approached her table.
He gave her order and she placed it on the table and reached out for a  hug.
“You look great Walter. Ulikuwa wapi?”
“Imagine kwa jam, when you called I was hapo Muthurwa thinking, I should just walk, so I was like nacome.”

Madam 07…

My day has been delightful because I was approached by two suitors and let me tell you nothing beats being proposed to while sitting in the boot of a Probox leaning against sacks of dried fish!
I made my first visit to Nyatike today and had to proceed to Sori and Muhuru Bay to visit a few schools.
I loved Muhuru Bay and took a shot of this:

image

On our way back I was granted my wish of sitting in the boot. See, I thought that I would sit there all alone with enough leg room to listen to that new song by One Direction, Perfect,see I like something light and once you throw in a word like rendezvous then am sold! So, there I am sitting and setting up my earphones for a great one hour ride when the vehicle stops and the driver picks up two guys.
They are offered seats in the boot and I sit there looking at two men thinking, “please say no.”

But they cozy up on one side and suddenly there’s nowhere to look at.

See, I learned that sitting in the boot of a Probox is not as great as I made it out to be because there’s nowhere to look at but where you’ve come from, and with unwanted company the view gets blurry if not completely unappealing.
So, before I plug in my earphones for a One Direction experience, the guy in green shoes says, “Madam, si you give me your 07 ijaber!
I thanked him and told him I was not willing to give him my phone number because I was in a relationship. He smiled and said it was all right, and then we started talking about Migori and his friend joined the conversation.

When  we got to a place called Masara, one woman seated at the front shouted at us to remind us not to step on her dried fish. I was leaning against a sack and the stench of it had become a great friend, just like the one who farts doesn’t smell the stink of his/her fart.

But the other gentleman who was with us decided to try his luck too, and he said,  “Madam, you have turned down my friend here, but listen to me, I am very light, ratong’ and in Black Beauty si together we can make very chocolate or ango’wa cha? Yes, caramer babies, what do you say Mami?”
The driver slowed down and the women laughed saying that I should accept his proposal. He looked at me waiting for an answer, but all I could think of was the smell of dried fish  that had become one with my skin erasing the cherry bodysplash I had.

My Probox adventures continue…