Get Part One HERE
By Kemboi Victor
Everyone seemed to have made a great discovery about me. Reverend Nyakundi could not believe that I could lay my hands on my wife while Rose seemed to have discovered the other side of me. As for Kim, he affixed his eyes on me as if he had started doubting that I was his father, crying whenever our eyes clashed.
The morning had suddenly become melancholic and somber, all my plans being quashed completely. A chance never came for me to launch my ‘attack’ on Rose and instead of going to work; we were now going to hospital.
Rev. Nyakundi comfortably sat at the backseat of the car with Rose, and started to interrogate me over the fight. I could tell that he was blaming me so I deliberately decided to shift all the blames on June hoping to clean up my name. In my mind, I was not going to taint it for the sake of June who had been the main problem in my house. She had to be the villain and me, the hero. First, I narrated the previous night’s story, making sure to be as bitter as possible and as sinless as a new born baby. And just to make the whole story sound very serious, I made sure to exaggerate some facts, especially of the early-in-morning drama when June had lost her temper on Rose.
Nyakundi was dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe that June and beer, were inseparable like the object and the shadow in sunlight. He also couldn’t believe that she had started the fight which had seen her breaking her leg.
He nodded in surprise, making whistling sounds and looking at June with disbelief as I unmasked her. Like I had wanted, I succeeded in blaming and blemishing her. However, I was worried of the injuries she had sustained from the cut of the knife on her thigh, and the broken limp. The deep cut on her thigh continued to trickle out a lot of blood, without stopping.
I started the car and raced out of the compound hurriedly hoping to reach Medson Hospital in town within twenty minutes. However, the jam on the road could not allow us to move fast. It was that time when people were going to work so the traffic was so heavy, cars moving together on the road like a colony of ants migrating; moving with a snail’s speed.
We stayed there, moving an inch and stopping to wait for another short move. It took us thirty minutes or so to get out of the jam and by the time we arrived at the hospital, it was some minutes past 8:30am, and June was heaving and breathing deeply in pain. Her dress and the blue and yellow flowery shawl which Rose had covered her with had now soaked with blood and turned black and dry due to clotting. She would not stop groaning.
She was put on a stretcher and pushed to the surgery room upon our arrival. We followed her but shortly, we were told to wait outside to allow doctors do their work. We therefore decided to sit at the corridor on a bench as we waited.
“She will be well,” the doctor in charge said, and we all said ‘amen’, led by Pastor Nyakundi who started his discourse with me again, from here.
“Brother Thomas,” he called me, “I want to advise you like my own son. Beating your wife is not a long term solution; but communicating with her can bear results. Talk with your wife…” he continued. I could tell that he was starting his pastoral programme on me. I faked a smile, waiting for him to give me Bible verses to condemn me so that I could walk away to avoid the condemnation and the boring preaching.
I wasn’t ready to discuss with him my early-in-the-morning fight with June as I had already regarded it a family matter. After all, what did he know about my wife that he wanted to tell me anyway? What much did he know about my family issues? And if that is not enough, what was he doing with us at that hour of the morning?
Something in my mind told me to walk away. I shot up like I was not aware he was talking to me and I faked laughter and started walking along the corridor. However, he also followed me, I think not aware that I was avoiding him and his sermon.
He demanded me to ask June to forgive me. We could settle the matter once and for all, he said.
Okay, I promised. And shortly before he could continue, he got a phone call. My eyes glanced on his screen and I saw it was Mr. Nyikal, the church Vice Chairperson. I hoped he wasn’t going to tell him wherever he was and why.
He received it excusing himself and started walking away slowly, until the fence. For five or so minutes he continued speaking until I decided to go back and give company Rose and Kim. I could also use this little time to bring up last night’s topic, and tell her about my admiration. I decided to forget June for a short while, to complete the mission I had begun last night.
I had very good plans as much as that was concerned, today. I remembered that she had once talked about her desire to go back to college and so, I felt I could use this to win her. I resolved to guarantee her fees and time to go to school and study.
Now I believed strongly that she was going to get into my fix if she heard this. What else did she want if not education, money and a wealthy husband? I maneuvered next to her and smiled happily. She also smiled a bit. Now, I felt my chance had showed up so I skimmed her properly, seized her with my eyes and sat with her. I felt more attracted. Out went all my fears and like I wanted to touch Kim who was on her thighs, I took her fingers and daringly started the talk. For better or for worse, I said to myself. Then I murmured to her that I wanted to find another wife to take the place of June.
“Really?” she asked and took her hand away.
“Yes, Rose. I desire a long term relationship, so much with you,” I told her keeping an eye on Pastor Nyakundi. He was still speaking on phone, as if he was communicating with God telling Him about my case with June. I guessed he wasn’t going to return soon so I decided to bait and hook Rose, with these dreams I had for her. I wanted to be quick and to the point.
But Rose looked at me and turned her face away. Somehow, she hadn’t expected me to preposition her. She moved an inch away and said, “I…I…am sorry sir Thomas, you deserve a better person than me. In my own view, it would be unwise for me to break your marriage.”
“But you are not breaking any marriage,” I said.
“What if people say I organized this fight in order to separate you and June? I am even worried that the genesis of this fight is me?”
“But I was just protecting you from an undeserving slap,” I said although Rose was now becoming uneasy.
“Please, Tom, walls have ears so let us stop this conversation, please. Your marriage could break yet it could be rekindled. I beg you in the name of God, let’s just leave it.”
“But … but…”
“Aki Thomas, listen to me. It’s dangerous,” she said and rose up to leave with Kim. She stood outside near the entrance with a few other people who were also standing there and enjoying the sunrays which had beamed there, ignoring me. I knew my mission had failed. But, I decided to go back to her some other days soon.
I rose up and started walking to the room where June had been taken but shortly I realized that Nyakundi had returned and was standing a few strides from where we had had our conversation. He must have heard us, that’s why Rose was so nervous as I told her the words of love. It is she that had seen him first before getting up and leaving me. Poor me! Ashamedly, I found myself sweating on my nose, feeling the shame.
Nyakundi smiled and ignored my worries. He said he had been speaking with Mrs. Mutembei, our church’s People’s warden. He had told her about the incident which he had gone to help separate June and me that early morning. He said they had resolved to visit us in the evening, as part of church mission, and also to wish June quick recovery.
“Stay well Brother Thomas,” he said, and went in to the hospital, I think to check on June. He came back shortly, saying he was leaving for a meeting at the church.
As he went away I found myself thinking about the implications of the supposed-to-be meeting. I saw a night full of judgment. Supposing they come, what would I explain about the fight. What if Nyakundi told the members about my conversation with Rose?
I also remembered that I had never stepped my feet in church for roughly two months. What then would be the reason behind this? The questions became so difficult for me to mull over. But no matter, I encouraged myself. Bad times come and go and complex issues come and pass.
Now left alone we didn’t continue speaking. Someone else could be hearing us, we laughed.
We stayed at the hospital for about three hours. Then eventually the nurse came out pushing June on a wheelchair. She had been plastered. Kim looked at her and ran to her. My mind was no longer at peace, especially when I thought about the meeting Nyakundi had organized for me, how I had crippled June to protect Rose who had turned down my request on her, and how Nyakundi had overheard us.
No one seemed to be giving me a peace of mind. Not June, not Rose, not Kim, not Nyakundi. I looked at Rose and June, and took Kim’s hand and followed them.
I could tell that June was not going to walk for two or three months without crutches. I asked her how she was feeling but she kept quiet. In return, her eyes streamed out a tear, each. Now I wondered what she was thinking in her mind. Was she cursing me and wishing me bad luck? Who knew, she could possibly be thinking of divorce or even finding a better husband. I didn’t understand whether she was still holding on the words she had told me before we came to hospital or she had changed.
Time will tell, I said to myself and entered the car.
We drove smoothly along the highway. But no one spoke with the other in the entire journey. The silence was so loud that I started thinking about my actions more deliberately, and more critically. I felt stupid. But now I decided to let them know about the church’s impromptu visit. I knew June wasn’t going to feel good with that too having failed to go to church for a longer time than me.
“What?” June asked, as if in surprise.
The evening came and a delegation from church: Pastor Nyakundi, Mr. Nyikal the church’s vice chairperson and Mrs. Mutembei, our people’s warden arrived.
We took dinner together as we exchanged niceties. June had decided to rest in bedroom because of her plastered leg. My mind wasn’t at peace as there has never been a meeting like this in the past, in my house. I felt ashamed. About an hour later, June was helped to the sitting room by Rose so we could start the healing process. She sat on the couch next to me and placed her leg on the table. Nyakundi prayed and told Mutembei to speak on their behalf.
She started softly, “We thank you for the food and the warm welcome Brother Thomas, God bless you. Secondly, we heard that mamaa is unwell, and we decided to pay a visit to this noble family…” This phrase touched the bottom part of my heart. It skipped twice as I started thinking about the shameful fight. However, I continued listening. “We haven’t seen you for about two months too in church, which worries us. You know the Bible says when one sheep gets lost, it is better to leave the ninety nine and go looking for that lost one. We don’t want to see our sheep getting lost and keep quiet, so we came. We believe the fights you had in the morning had been scheduled for by God, so that good things would come out of it.”
I could tell that Mutembei was slowly delving into the matter using parables and a lot of words. Was I not the sheep she was talking about? Well, people say sheep are foolish and our fighting could have made us fools in the face of Mutembei. Had she used that statement as a point of reference to the Bible really or she was just referring me as a fool, a sheep for beating June? I asked myself.
“We heard about the fight in the morning and you being our member, we felt it was wise to come and pray together, and exchange some pieces of advice,” Mutembei said.
“We all know that marriage isn’t easy but nonetheless we should learn to forgive as the Bible commands us to…we have come here to rescue a capsizing ship and make you forgive one another. Worse could happen if we sit and see your family being torn apart. We know the challenges you have been going through…But all in all we all hope you will forgive one another.”
June looked at me and some drops of tears came down rolling on her cheeks. I looked at her and wondered.
“…Pastor Nyakundi has told us everything and we shall not repeat. What we have come here for is forgiveness. Will you people forgive one another?”
We kept quiet expecting any one of us to speak, until Mutembei directed the talk on me, “Thomas, you are the driver of this house, are you ready to forgive your wife?”
For several minutes I kept quiet, and then said, “Yes.”
“Good, and you June?”
June gazed at me and several seconds later she said, “Yes, I am. He is my husband in good times and bad times. And I know I have wronged him a number of times. For now, I have decided to change just for him alone. I have decided to resign from job where I have friends who have pulled me down; and be a good wife and a good mother of my home. Honey, there is nothing you have done to me. So there is nothing to forgive you…”
“And the beatings I gave you? Am I forgiven?”
“I know you didn’t intend. I forgave you in the morning,” she said.
That came like a surprise to me. Had she really said with her lips that she was quitting her job and that she was forgiving me? Well, I hugged and soothed her. I felt like our relationship and marriage was strengthening. Despite that I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen, I decided to start life again with her, and wait for that to happen, knowing that June wasn’t going to go anywhere with her broken leg for two or three months as the doctor had said to her. I now started feeling like I had given her an undeserving treatment yet she was willing to change.
The church’s mission seemed to have born good fruits. But the biggest assignment which we had was going to church regularly. We agreed to begin it again. Then, we continued chatting until late at night when Nyakundi and his team left as we surrendered to bed.
Rose now started smiling whenever she saw us. She gave me a thumps up. The day a monkey dies, all trees become slippery, so as the Swahili proverb say. As for us, our trees had brought us to the ground again.
Copyright © Kemboi Victor