she understood Kimeu better than I did when he was ill


By Kemboi Victor

It was two months since Tina left after we had had a little fight and I could not fathom ways of bringing her back. That night I was thinking hard about her. Nebuchadnezzar, her father had always made every attempt hard for me, and it continued to stress me. Twice, when I had gone to his house in a bid to ask Tina to return, he had send his dogs after me almost biting me and once he had threatened me with a slasher when I found him slashing grass in his compound.

Responsibilities in my house had now become unbearable. House chores, especially cleaning, cooking and nursing my three years old James Bond Kimeu whom Tina had left behind despite his young age tied my hands down. He was drastically getting malnourished due to what I think was poor diet: not that I was not providing food for James Bond but it seemed I was giving him the wrong diet.

Normally, to avoid cooking and cleaning dishes, I had decided I would buy Chapati and tea instead from the tea shop daily, for lunch and supper. Perhaps this was the reason why Kimeu’s health had continued to deteriorate for that supplement missed so many nutrients except fats and carbohydrates. Now Kimeu had grown thin, his eyes popped out that you could almost see them clearly out of their sockets, his cheeks belched inwards apart from a protruding stomach that now showed evidence of kwashiorkor. And man, for those very many weeks, washing my son’s clothes wasn’t a cup of tea.

That night Kimeu was frighteningly ill. He was just crawling and crying for what I helplessly guessed was stomach pains. I felt like I needed Tina now, more than any other day to watch over him as she understood Kimeu better than I did when he was ill.

There was some medicine at the medicine box which had remained from the last time when Kimeu had got sick several weeks ago and I gave Kimeu syrup.  He kept quiet and slept silently in his bed giving me some time to think well.

For a moment I decided this was the last time I was going through this and by all means I had to bring Tina back or leave Kimeu with her, at least to save him from malnutrition. Nebuchadnezzar would rather chew me and swallow me alive than me continuing bearing the now hostile world. I had never heard from her since she left and now, I decided to go for her in the morning. If Nebuchadnezzar wanted to delete me as he had promised severally, it was better.

Luckily Kimeu Slept Like a Log

I took my phone and phoned her, hoping she would receive my call. But sadly, the phone rang and got disconnected like it had happened severally whenever I phoned her. Now, I could not understand why Tina had remained so stubborn. I therefore decided and try her when the morning came for perhaps she was already asleep being night time.

Luckily Kimeu slept like a log. And the morning came. I tried calling Tina several times. I had never done like that before and after my several trials the phone was picked. Thank goodness!

“You silly goat…” I could clearly tell this was not Tina but Nasimiyu, Tina’s mother speaking. “You gave my daughter a thorough beating and you expect to speak to her! Devil.”

That statement not only worried me but also surprised me. I had regarded those slaps I had given Tina as just light touch but now they were being explained like I had killed a human being. What if I had given her the four I had planned! I thought. Well, I knew I was wrong from what I had done but if it were not for Tina biting my fingers I wouldn’t have beaten her. I was saving my hands from being chewed by Tina.

“You should ask your Tina what mistake she committed before she left. Also ask her well, I just brushed her cheeks softly and she came running. Instead of supporting her you should rather teach your daughter to control her temper and come back home to take care of her son.”

I was so angry suddenly that I forgot that I was not supposed to be angry, and irked Nasimiyu more. She now spat more fire. She would never have beaten me physically, but her words left me feeling like a ten storey building had collapsed on me.

Do you do hard drugs at times?”

“You are not even ashamed of yourself. I have never had a stupid and confused son in law like you Kieni. All my sons except you are wise and I regret why I gave you my daughter. What pedigree of an animal are you? Do you do hard drugs at times?”

That statement made my mouth shut for several seconds. And when she was finished ranting she disconnected the phone asking me to forget Tina the way I forgot my mother’s tits.

That was not only painful but so discouraging. I realized it was getting harder and harder daily, for Tina to come back. My mind milled with so many thoughts and for some weeks I could not bring myself to believe that I was to remain alone.

I thought for long and regretted that fateful day that had led to her leaving. Actually, she had gotten me red-handed at a restaurant holding Mariana, a girl I had dated for months as a side chick. So after job, I had asked her to meet me at Stylish Restaurant for a drink. Little had I known that Stylish Restaurant was the exact place Tina and her fellow women had decided to have their chama meeting. So when Tina caught me there was no way to escape. In fact, my hands were resting on Mariana’s luscious thighs and my lips were about to steal a kiss.

I surely had no idea that by the time I was moving in to the restaurant with Mariana, Tina was in a meeting with her fellow chama women in one corner watching. She had spotted me from the time I entered, taking a solitary seat with Mariana, holding hands lovingly and lastly attempting a kiss. The restaurant had always guaranteed us privacy but that day the devil came to unmask me to my wife. And like a flash of a lightning, Tina was standing next to us and looking angrily into my eyes as I removed my lips and hands from Mariana.

I could read her face well and I could tell the drama that was unfolding. Even without thinking, I left Tina trying to seize Mariana from her seat. Man, the way I left, you could confuse me with a passenger who was nearly missing a flight. And can you imagine the embarrassment! I found myself at home thinking so hard what to do to solve the mess.

When Tina arrived she was burning with anger

When Tina arrived she was burning with anger. However, I decided to approach her and seek forgiveness. I had never accepted to be bashed by my wife but this time I was so humble. But nonetheless, Tina decided to play the-bear-with-a-wound game and sending her mouth onto my fingers and nearly crashing them.

Now tell me what I should have done if not giving her the ‘little touch’ I said earlier on. The pain that came with the intensive bite switched me on automatically and I gave her a turbulent slap with my other hand without thinking, making her scream like she had seen death. I was about to give her a third slap when she left my hand and dashed into our living room.

Now she left me examining my hand. I had to leave under the tap with running water to cool it off before wrapping it with a piece of cloth to stop the bleeding that had started. And that evening we didn’t speak to one another evermore. My Tina had decided she would be dumb even as I begged her to forgive me.

I was sure there was no supper for me that day but thank God she later on prepared it and we ate, though like no one existed in my house that day. It was hard to believe she could serve me after the wrongs I had committed but perhaps it is because of Kimeu that she decided I would cling on that luck.

When I woke up tea was at the table

The following morning she woke up as usual. As I turned severally in my bed nursing my painful finger, I thought of fully repenting my sins and treating Tina the way I had treated her four years earlier when I had fallen in love with her. I could hear her humming songs from the kitchen that seemed to mock me meanwhile but I thanked God she sounded friendlier than the previous evening. One of her lines said: pray for your enemies to live long so that while you get uplifted they would be there to see you.

Well, I knew that was meant for me but I decided to change and give her maximum love. I even decided I should bring her a gift to show my remorse before the day ended thanking God she was still around after the hullabaloo.

When I woke up tea was at the table. Coincidentally, I had woken up the same time with Kimeu and we both took our tea watching cartoons. The way Kimeu loved cartoons you could think he was born of a cartoon…Maybe I was that cartoon having beaten my wife.

We took tea peacefully. But unusually, my Tina was not there the whole session. The sun had risen and I thought she might have decided to visit her friend, Wacheke to finalize on their money matters which they should have done the previous day before the drama occurred. I really wanted to see her seriously and tender my apologies but her sudden disappearance forced me to wait until she came back. I even cancelled all schedules, except going to town to get her a beautiful dress for a gift, for that day to wait her.

But I waited and waited.  By noon, I was anxious until I decided to check her at Wacheke’s.

“She has gone to her maternal home in Kakamega,” Wacheke replied looking at me from head to toe. I sensed some hatred but I ignored. “How could she bear you? What if you infected her with these weird diseases?” she asked.

I was so embarrassed and angry at the same time. I also got a feeling that Wacheke had advised Tina to leave but I was not ready for arguments then. I just continued to listen. And she switched to the fight between Mariana and Tina at the restaurant after I left the previous day.

I had not spoken with Mariana since the previous day too but well, Wacheke said she received a thorough beating from Tina. I wondered what to tell her the next time we met. I had never told her that I was married either.

A few days later we met. She was so angry and she said she was leaving. Well, that was my prayer. And although that was so painful for her, I wanted to save my marriage.

Now from that time it has been a whole lot of problems. I have never seen Tina again and severally I have missed her. I have also had to miss job severally to stay with Kimeu at home.

end of part one


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