Get Part One HERE
“Some girls are funny sweetheart.” I continued. “Their eyes do not go beyond their noses. Their minds refuse to think when they see a rich man. When they see a man with a good car even if it is a car for hire, a good house, even if it is a rented house; their minds go off like a candle extinguished…Now I guess the rich Ndegwa is responsible for her broken leg. I also doubt if he even provides for her. Did you see how she’s been beaten mentally, and physically? That is the same girl that had made me look like a street urchin and she was a queen. In fact I still hate myself because of Gloria but at least it looks like she has started to pay for her sins. Malipo ni hapa hapa tu duniani.”
Sheila laughed me off. After the laughter she advised that I find a forgiving place in my heart for Gloria.
“After all you’re married and happy anyway. Or…you still love her…more than me?” she joked. And why was I overreacting anyway?
“I have forgiven her sweetheart. Now you and Marlene are the only ones I care about.”
I overheard Sheila speak on phone at the kitchen one early morning as I left the sitting room on my way to work. If I am not wrong, she was trying to solve a disagreement between her and maybe a colleague in the office, who has always been backstabbing her during her maternity leave.
“Nilioleka mimi and you know I don’t like drama. After you lied about me, after you betrayed our friendship which took us time to build, after backstabbing me to make yourself happy, you now want me to be your friend again, so that you can follow me and take my husband again? For your information, he is my world so don’t try poking yourself here for I will surely disgrace you this time round. Umenizoea aje?”
I could tell my wife was surely angry and curiously, I returned to find out who was giving her this kind of pressure. I was already boiling in the nerves and wanted to crush this enemy.
“Who’s this disturbing my only one early in the morning?” I asked, and when she saw me, she hung up, and walked towards me.
“What’s the anger about this early morning sweetheart?” I asked again.
“No, don’t worry honey. I will try solving it alone. But if it gets tough, I will invite you into it. But it’s not a big issue. It’s a long time friend trying to vex me…but don’t worry, I am fine and happy sweetie. Go to work, don’t get late,” she said. Her phone was ringing. The screen faced me and I saw who was calling. It was Gloria.
I did not hear from Gloria for the next one month that followed and Sheila never told me what the ‘disturbing’ phone call was about. I guessed she solved the problem. But up to now, I understood there was something between Gloria, Ndegwa and my wife, and I could not exactly know. I tried once asking her but she laughed it off and reminded me that curiosity killed the cat.
I decided to stick in my lane. But I had several questions unanswered. Why did Gloria appear embattled and deplorable? Did she really have a job? Did she even get married to Ndegwa or people had lied to me? And what even confused me more is that from the day we left the hospital, Sheila would ask when Gloria would visit us.
I never understood why she was so interested in her all of a sudden, but she would say she was just interested in welcoming her, except one day when she loudly pitied her for being beaten by her husband.
One day in my busiest schedule at the office, my secretary called saying there was a woman at the lobby wanting to see me.
“Tell her I am not around, or I am busy. At least be creative, Dorcas,” I quickly told the secretary. She hung up. But shortly later, she called saying that woman called Gloria, together with my wife Sheila both wanted to see me urgently.
Shock and curiosity descended on me.
“Okay let them in please.”
“I hope we are not disturbing you sir,” Gloria said after entering office. It was the first time she was calling me ‘sir’. I remembered the day before our break up when she had told me there was no light in my life because I was always broke day in day out. Behind her, my wife stood smiling sheepishly. And now, I did not completely understand this chemistry.
“Now you two must solve the riddle in my head today. What’s going on between you two that you are hiding from me?” I asked as I invited them to sit down.
“It is the reason we have come sir,” Gloria said after they sat. Sheila was still quiet.
“Great. How is your leg?” I asked.
“Imepona kabisa. Natumai mu wazima nyumbani pia. I am okay now. I hope you are also fine at home?” she said.
“Kabisa,” I said proudly swinging my executive chair, and stealing glances at my laptop screen severally pressing some keys on the keyboard unnecessarily, and smiling while I spoke, wondering where these two met.
“Why don’t we have a cup of tea somewhere tuseme mengi, I am sure you two have a lot to tell me,” I said. I wanted to listen to them keenly somewhere better, where we could laugh and share much.
“Won’t we be breaking your work schedule?”
“Oh no, I am out in few minutes even,” I replied.
“That’s okay then. We want to tell you something that I know has been in your head for months now, darling,” Sheila now spoke for the first time and the other one smiled.
“Okay, kindly wait for me shortly at the secretary’s office. She will serve you with a drink of your choice as I finish up today’s business in twenty minutes, then catch up with you twende mahali mniambie hii miujiza.”
“Okay,” Sheila said and they left smiling. I asked Dorcas to treat them well.
Half an hour later, we were at Sweet Fries where we had coffee as we talked.
After some few niceties Gloria spoke.
“First Melchi, I called you here to ask for forgiveness. I regret my actions and what I said to you before our break up. It has been a long time but it still haunts me to date. I don’t really know what got into me but please, please forgive me…” She started.
Then she went on… “When I learnt of your engagement with Sheila, who used to be my best friend at the university I also got jealous and ruined my relationship between me and her. Yes, I was in marriage, but in a toxic one which always reminded me of how you treated me so well during those days…Anyway, I thank God my friend Sheila has a good heart and we have at last solved our differences.
“I am sorry to report to you that the Ndegwa Jude that married me was Sheila’s boyfriend before I backstabbed her and took Jude away from her. Actually, my relationship with her was poor because I married her lover who ended up maltreating me, while my ex boyfriend treated her with the love I would have received if I had stuck to you.”
How she ended marrying Jude and how I came to marry Sheila was a riddle to me, but I realized this was what had made Sheila confused and disturbed whenever she heard of Jude. I didn’t mind asking anyway. Hearing the past mistakes can spur problems where problems didn’t exist.
“So you were friends?” I asked.
“Yes, we were in the same university, in the same class, and lived in the same room before Gloria threw the spanner into the works,” Sheila said.
“How?” I asked.
“She dumped you and took my Jude.” And she stammered … “Then since she learnt that I got married to you, she has been asking me to talk to you to forgive her, at least for friendship, and I have always feared to speak to you about it… I also doubted she would woo you back since you were both lovers in the past.” My Sheila loved jokes anyway. We laughed for seconds.
“So from the time I met you, you knew Gloria was my girl in the past?” I asked shocked.
“Yes, but God made it look like vengeance and you came back from Korea, saw me, loved me and married me,” she said, and I laughed.
“Why did you hide all this from me then, yet we were married?”
“What if you got angry, and the way you have been bitter of Gloria. How would you have reacted if you knew Gloria was my campus friend? Won’t you have concluded that I was part of your break up?”
I laughed again. Maybe I would have thought like that anyway but now I loved Sheila and guarded her jealously.
“Is that the reason both of you were behaving like mad people the day we met at the hospital?”
Sheila laughed. “Yes, since Gloria learnt of our relationship, she never wanted you to know about our relationship. But after we talked several times on phone she was bold enough to ask to be forgiven. And she wanted me to be the mediator.”
I kept quiet, wondering how I even didn’t see Sheila when I was dating Gloria. Then after sometime, spoke.
“Don’t mind Gloria. I forgave you long ago. In this world you don’t live with grudges, you might die early of stress,” I said and smiled. “Tell me about Jude then? I hope he is well…”
The mention of Jude landed on Gloria’s ears like a sharp razor entering her skin. She didn’t want to speak. But at last she narrated her story.
“I am filing a divorce,” she said. Another shock!
“Why?” I asked.
“When I got married to Ndegwa, trouble started. He would beat me up, do all bad things to me, come home late, engage in extra marital relationship, and even rape me— I wondered how a man rapes his wife —, doesn’t provide for my children and never supports me totally. All he wanted from me was sex and only sex.
“He said he bought me with dowry and he had every right to my body and could do anything he wanted with it. I have gone through hell tolerating him. The day I met you at the hospital I had come to treat a broken leg which broke while Jude beat me up. Actually, I have broken several bones in me because of that idiot. I recently broke my arm because of him, now my leg. I have escaped his knife severally but of course you can see the scars on my face and hands.
“If I undress you will see more…Now I thought if I continued behaving the submissive woman role for more, he will kill me. My parents took me back home last month, and I am filing for a divorce now. I guess that idiot is at home. I heard of late he comes home with different women each day. Isn’t he an animal?”
I could tell she was angry and I pitied her a lot.
“Why didn’t you leave early?” I asked.
“I still wanted to persevere. But when I saw that he was not going to change, I decided to leave. I lost my job eight months ago after I was admitted at the hospital for stress after another incident that saw me out of work for nearly a month.”
“But all shall be well, don’t worry. You need to find another job then. You cannot stay jobless and you have children to provide for.”
“Yes, that is true, I have applied Msaada Bora Microfinance bank; I am waiting to hear from them.”
For a moment I smiled. I could help her overcome her challenges. Actually, Mr. Juma, the manager at Msaada Bora Microfinance bank, was my friend, and an ex-classmate. I knew if I talked with him, Gloria would be employed.
“You should have told me. The Human resource manager there is my friend. Pengine hii kazi ungekuwa umepata kitambo,” I said and promised to help her. Then we spoke and spoke until evening.
Gloria got a job at Msaada Bora Microfinance Bank few months later and from then, she has been visiting us. She is always grateful and feels happy whenever she meets me. And now, we live as best friends. She only says Marlene would have been her daughter if she hadn’t been stupid and greedy!
© Kemboi Victor