Today’s publication is a sequel to The Bed which remains one of the most read articles in my blog’s short history. A big thank you to the reader that chose to ask my opinion on this issue. I won’t say your name.
I will tell you two storiess. The first is heart breaking while the second is just a natural case of happenstance. We spend a whole lifetime planning and painting fantastic imagery of our future but sometimes [if not always], fate has a different plan. Some call it Murphy’s law. I call it life. One will never be experienced in matters of the heart. The script changes constantly and heartbreak is the constant threat that always lingers in the dark episodes of our existence.
My friend Lilly got married at 25 on a sunny friday morning. It had just rained the previous week and the landscape everywhere looked beautiful and colorful. Her parents were very happy and proud. By then, it was an open secret that Lilly had fought the ‘good fight’ and was now being betrothed a pure and virgin bride. To cap it all off, Sam, her boyfriend of 5 years was also ‘pure’ and free of scandal. If this marriage was a garment, the tag must have read MADE IN HEAVEN on the collar.
You see, they’d both met at church and had similar tastes in almost everything. They both believed in the sanctity of a romantic relationship. They had made a covenant with God, their parents and themselves never to engage in sex before marriage. On this morning of their wedding day, tears rolled down the cheeks of almost all that were present at the plush, well manicured gardens. It was a sweet union. When the minister pronounced them man and wife, they kissed romantically and it was evident they had ran out of breath in the tight grip their love, diligently earned. And as the young maids showered confetti and rice on the love birds, the young ladies present at the wedding fell into a swoon and could not hide their envy. It was beautiful.
It’s been 6 months now and Lilly is crying in the kitchen while making dinner. On the kitchen table lies the lovely red roses that Sam sent to her office earlier during the day. She’s crying because she doesn’t know what to do. Sam has always been a good man. He makes her feel special and Lilly is sure he loves her. But this is not the reason why she is crying. She is sad. There is something about Sam that she can’t get out of her chest. Since they got married, they’ve only had sex 3 times and they both hated it. It was short, painful and devoid of all emotion that should ideally come with making love. Sam preferred to turn of the lights while they were at it and cautioned her against making any noises. Needless to say, the sex was over in the blink of an eye and he was snoring at the far end of the bed in no time. He seemed not interested in making love and this made Lilly feel inadequate and worthless. In the morning’s after, he wouldn’t touch her or kiss her good morning and was out of the house before first light. It felt like she disgusted him after sex.
She feels wasted for all those years she kept herself pure for marriage. According to Sam, sex ‘is not everything’. He prefers to cuddle and watch a movie over a nice meal. What I’m trying to say is, Sam has never had a chance to ‘practice’ and is therefore not confident with himself. He is a proud man and will not pause at the possibility of learning the art of making love. What a classic case of marriage made in heaven and a bed made at the carpenter’s. For now, Lilly is holding on.
“It’s only been 6 months” she consoles herself. She shudders at the thought of living like this for a lifetime. Meanwhile, onlookers look at Lilly and Sam with envy wishing they too, had a marriage as blissful as this one. They look so cute together! MADE IN HEAVEN.
Meanwhile in downtown Nairobi,there’s a couple fighting at the bus stop. It’s Sharon and George. They call each other names and cuss loudly and in a short while, they are arrested by city council askaris and bundled in a waiting ‘cage van’. They’re charged with disturbing public order and fined a hefty amount each. After working together to contribute the sum, they’re let out in an hour. Once out, they kiss and make up and are laughing in no time. It’s been 10 years on and off in their relationship so they’re used to this. Marriage is an issue that none of them wishes to discuss. They both believe that once they get married, the fights will get worse and they might end up splitting for good. In their opinion, marriage just complicates things.
Sharon and George have a great sex life. They both love exploring and learning new stuff. Weather in public or private, they show their affection fearlessly and passionately. They’re also addicted to what the new world calls ‘make up sex’. So most of their fights have a happy ending and are therefore petty. They play and live as if it’s always their last day alive. At the bus stop, they were fighting because a pretty girl had said hi to George and Sharon had a hunch that the two had slept together before. Women can tell these things you know. Other than these ‘small’ misunderstandings every now and then, Sharon and George are generally a happy couple. They could live on sex alone, or so it seems. Each one of them has tried a different dish on several occasions but it seems this one still suffices at the end of the day. A wedding can wait. For now, they can love freely and work on their ‘imperfect’ relationship learning and changing. In the meantime, the bed is the least of their worries. They’re doing just fine.
These two cases are just a a few that caught my eye. I have also seen many instances where both approaches have worked and the couples have enjoyed long healthy relationships. Most of us have been brought up on rules based on morality and religion but somewhere along the way, we get to realize life is real and very practical.
And finally, there are two people somewhere in the world who feel it is time to make a bold move. Be careful what you wish for. Everything has a price. One big question though; will you shop around and test before you buy or will you buy first and test when you get home? In both cases, the shop DOES not accept returns for goods once sold. Both scenarios have advantages and disadvantages but most of all, they are real. For once I hope you will not base your decision solely on religion or hearsay. For this one, just do you. And as for the guardians of religion and doctrine, maybe it is time you engaged your flock in discussion and reason. I believe more lives can be changed positively this way.
Let it be known that there’s definitely more to a relationship than just sex. There is love, work, money and family to consider too. However I chose to talk about sex because it’s what no one wants to talk about in honesty.
Remember, as you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
His face shows that he died a very shocked man. It is now 8am.
Sit back and I will tell you why Kimani is lying dead in a trench right in the middle of Africa‘s largest slum.
Yesterday at 8 am. Valentine’s day.
Kimani got to work a very happy man. It was Valentine’s day and his wife was finally coming home. He had missed her dearly and after six months the least he could do was wait a few more hours till she showed up. He greeted his boss happily as he passed to collect his scooter and begin the day’s deliveries. Among his first assignments on the log was a letter to deliver to a Mr. Shah in Westlands and another one to a Udi Djembe at lodging house in Eastleigh, 1st Avenue. This would be an interesting day. The lodging at 1st avenue was famous for infidelity escapades. It is where old men and women took their ‘sidekicks’ for ‘meetings’.
And so off scooted a happy Kimani to Mr. Shah in Westlands. On his carrier was Shah’s letter and Udi’s huge-heavy-suspicious package. On his way, he stopped at the supermarket to buy a present for his wife. A red and white teddy bear with the inscriptions ‘I Love You’ embroidered in the little animal’s shirt. He only had 200 shillings to spare and so this bear was top of the range. It was the first time he was going to buy his wife such an expensive gift. Now he only had one more item to buy. Flowers. The colorful plastic flowers. All his adult life, Kimani had always wondered why you’d buy a woman you love flowers that would wither in a day. Plastic ones were cheaper and long lasting. One could even wash them if they got dirty!
He found Mr. Shah’s address easily but was disappointed when no one answered the bell. he knew what it meant; he’d be forced to come back later. That was going to ruin his plans. Kimani decided to go round the house to the back of the house assuming that Mr. Shah would probably be in one of the inner rooms. There he was on the patio with a group of suspicious looking characters. It looked like they were in an argument but they all went quiet when they saw him. Kimani introduced himself as the delivery ‘guy’ and proceeded to hand the letter to Mr. Shah; evidently the only asian in the group. On opening the letter, Mr. Shah’s face turned into a red and angry knot.
“The letter is blank!” He cried. ” Where is the letter you were supposed to deliver?” Now the attention was on Kimani.
“That’s what I was given to deliver to you” whispered Kimani in a scared voice, “Is there any problem?”
Mr. Shah now rightfully refered to as ‘The Shah’ ordered one of his mean looking goons to accompany Kimani back to the parcel collection point to sort out the ‘issue’ and make sure they come back with the ‘letter’. Now Kimani was really scared. He’d done everything just as his work log had stated and now this? He couldn’t understand. Before they left the compound, Kimani requested the Shah to allow him to deliver the Eastleigh parcel enroute to the office. He obliged. So off went Kimani to Eastleigh, behind him was the goon following in a dark tinted car.
When he reached the lodging house, Kimani untied the parcel and proceeded up the stairs. It was heavy. Hanging in the air was the heavy distinctive smell of sex and damp-unhygienic-space.
“This must be the most vile whorehouse in all of the city” said Kimani to himself as he reached the fourth floor. He knocked lightly on the door assuming his client would be in the middle of business. It took a long minute before the door was answered. What followed will never be understood clearly. There standing naked in the door was Kimani’s wife! In the confusion that followed, Kimani dropped the parcel, breaking it and spilling the content therein. A white powdery substance. He slapped his wife the same time a heavy fist shot out from within the house and caught him in the temple. Ude Djembe. A huge beast of a man with the bloodiest eyes he had ever seen. Kimani ran down the stairs in terror and shot out of the building screaming with Udi and the goon hot on his heels.
Later one witnesses would tell the police that it must have been a drug deal had gone sour, while another swore that Kimani had been found with another man’s wife. Rumour, heresay and confusion.
It is now 8am.
It is raining and onlookers in the sprawling Mathare slums are puzzled why a man tied by rope on a scooter, is lying dead in a trench. It is even more peculiar that his face is still twisted in shock. One couple in particular (seemigly in love) can’t seem to piece together why the dead man is still clutching on to a teddy bear. I personally think God made rigormortis to freeze one’s final moment in death so the living can learn from it.
Kimani’s wife could not live with the fact that he was poor and couldn’t buy her nice things. Her plan was to dissappear, make enough money then go back to Kimani and make his life better. Now she can’t live with herself. That is why she is hanging from the ceiling of room 4G of Gituamba lodging in Eastleigh’s 1st Avenue, dead by suicide.
Love is denied expresion by poverty – Wallace D. Wattles
No one knows what was supposed to be in Mr. Shah’s letter. No one has an idea who Udi Djembe is, or why a box full of cocaine was to be delivered to him. All that, doesn’t matter. It’s the dead delivery man and his dead unfaithful wife that matter.
This story is dedicated to my sister and partner in crime Marcie Mugendi whom I love to death. She says I’m a good story teller. Well here’s a story for you little sister.