By Kemboi Victor
I peeped out through the glass paned window of my house and my eyes flashed on the gloomy weather outside. The rain hadn’t stopped yet and the day had partly been swallowed by the night. Inside, Kim, my two year old son was ailing and crying.
It was about seven pm and I was worried that his condition was worsening. It could even be worst at night. He had not stopped crying since I arrived home thirty minutes or so earlier, his fever shooting up every minute, making me more worried.I only looked at him being held at the couch by Rose, the nanny, at times touching his forehead to feel his fever, praying that he got well.
“He should be taken to the hospital Sir Thomas, please,” Rose suggested feeling deplored, I saw sense in her sentiments. Kim needed treatment.
I asked my wife June to come home from town quickly so I could go to hospital with her as Rose remained at home. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be seen despite her being aware of Kim’s illness which had started in the morning before we had gone to work. What was worse is that she wasn’t picking my calls.
I guessed she was at the club drinking like she had been doing during normal days, and possibly, she had ignored me to enjoy her beer. Alcohol and she were inseparable and she would always carry a bottle of beer in her purse and frequently visit the bars and clubs for more. She would never come home after five until she took two or three bottles of beer at the clubs in town.
Unlike when I met her four years ago, June had completely changed into an irresponsible and careless woman she never used to be. All I blamed was her love for beer which had only started with curiosity a few years after we started dating. She had been so curious with life, and had wanted to try ‘everything’ a youth could try before marriage, partying and night clubbing being among the things she wanted.
Well, I didn’t like that, but I didn’t restrict her from enjoying herself too. I believed that she was going to change one day. In fact, she had promised to stop it after marriage, saying she was very aware of the consequences of alcoholism.
Two years after we started dating, we got married and moved to Islamic Estates in Eldoret town. A year after we were blessed with a baby boy, Kim. Now, I waited for her to drinking, but she didn’t. Beer became her best friend and she would not miss to pass by the club almost daily after job, to “activate her nerves”. She would ignore my phone calls, speak and shout at me rudely.
Today, I guessed she had gone to drink and was awareof the talk I had for her. I was angry and she had possibly sensed it, and ignored my phone calls.I regretted having a woman possessed alcohol as a wife.
Thoughtful, I sat at the couch hoping she would arrive and accompany me to hospital.
Twenty minutes later she had not arrived. I decided to try my last chance. This time round, she picked it ranting.
“Why would you feel insecure with me? I am an adult and I know what I am doing. You think I am with other men or what?”
“I know you are at the club but you need to be at home now. Don’t argue with me,” I said.
“But I am in a meeting and I know I should be home. I warn you: stop making my life difficult eeh,” she said with rudeness. I decided to ignore the rudeness in her voice and convey the news nonetheless.
“But are you aware Kim is sick?” I said boringly.
“Oh, okay my husband…sorry…I am…right…on my way home, stop calling me every now eeh,” she replied obviously caring less, as if to mock me. Now I sensed that she was drunk alcohol had taken the better part of her.
She arrived about thirty minutes later with a taxi and like a stranger she knocked at the door twice, and then kept quiet outside. I opened the door and realized it was her. I guessed, she had feared to enter the house because in her mind, I would beat her up as I had done, when she had come home like this, few weeks after she had given birth to Kim.
Something was amiss with her anyway. She smiled and winked, the way she would do when she was drunk, and marched forwards after noticing my calmness. She embraced me, and held me on my waist, attempting a kiss me in front of Rose. In the process, I inhaled the smell of beer from her breath. And trying to avoid her kiss, I took my step back, away from her, and returned to the room annoyed, leaving her at the door.
I sat at my earlier position and stared her as she staggered in, and onto the couch at the other side, still smiling uncontrollably and winking, not in her senses.
Now I confirmed my initial assumptions right. She was from a meeting like she had told me on phone: of course with her fellow drunkards at the club. I wondered why she had lied to me.
For some minutes I was unable to speak, feeling like punching her.
I wished she could be in her full senses so I could teach her a lesson. However, for now I decided not to argue with her since Kim was in need of an urgent attention.
Apparently she had not even heard Kim’s cries even though Rose was holding him on the couch she had staggered onto. All she was doing was smiling like a fool. I wondered what type of a woman I had. A bitch so stubborn and uncaring like the devil; so harsh like a storm and irresponsible like a pig… I felt angry for this, more, at her alcoholic habits.
Anyway, I stopped concentrating on her and requested Rose to come with me to the hospital. After all she was the only one useful in the house, apart from me. I decided to take Kim to the hospital, and then later after returning, I would spend time with June to seek answers for her indecent behavior.
I wanted to give her my last warning. Or better still, cane her. If she wouldn’t promise to change, I resolved, I would send her packing the following morning. Did she marry me or I married her? I fumed.
Rose took Kim and we got in the car shortly. I wished I had marriedsomeone like her five years ago instead of June. Of late I was falling in love with her and I wanted her to replace my horrible, terrible wife. As I drove she held Kim as if she was Kim’s biological mother. I looked at her and smiled, which made her to smile too, making me to feel at ease, my anger slowing down. After the smile, she touched Kim on the forehead to feel her temperature after the smile.
“Don’t worry my dear, he would be attended to shortly,” I said. It seemed I was now shocking her. The only person she knew I could call ‘dear’was June who was drowning in alcohol, home.
Dr. Sebedayo started his examinations on Kim in a short while, and started to interrogate Rose as he took notes.
My mind again went back to my wife: I was ‘lucky’ to marry a beautiful bitch, a witch, a dog, and a disaster of a human being. Absentmindedly, I started clicking angrily making Dr. Sebedayo to ask what was disturbing me.
“Nothing,” I said. Rose looked at me, pity clearly written all over her face as Sebedayo prepared to give Kim an injection which made Kim to start crying again and more painfully after the injection.
Few minutes later Sebedayo handed Rose some bottles of syrup and sachets of tablets as she tried to silence Kim. He gave me a list of the drugs to buy at the chemist next, saying Kim was suffering from malaria. He should be returned for his last injection the following day.
For a little more time Kim continued to cry but a sweet silenced him few minutes later. We went back to the car and off, we drove out of Dr. Sebedayo’s clinic.
“Don’t you think my wife is a bastard, Rose?” I suddenly asked Rose as we joined the highway. She tensed somehow shocked with this question, and tried to ignore it.
“No, but why do you ask sir?” she asked.
I felt like a small god for her. I hated it.
“Uuuh…well, never mind…but just call me Tom, or Thomas if you don’t mind. Stop this ‘sir’ thing,” I said, putting on a little smile to show that I liked her. She reciprocated with a shy smile.
“Well, Thoma… Sir, in my view I think your wife is a bit un…un… “
“Unfair, right?” I helped her to complete this word she had started but had feared to complete. She looked at me, possibly worried, and then back to Kim who had fallen asleep so quickly. I admired the level of compassion she had for my child and felt more attached to Rose than June.
We arrived at the CBD shortly and headed to the Afya Chemist. Being late in the evening, there were few cars on the road, and almost none at the lots. I jerked my car simply in one of the lots near the chemist and before I got out, I looked at Rose, now much in infatuation than in admiration. I felt like prepositioning her.
“I want to thank you for being so good to my son…I…I…” I stammered and stopped speaking, looking at her, unable to speak more. I would have told her how I was feeling, that I loved her. But so unfortunate, I feared.
“Don’t mind your wife. I can take care of Kim like my son…when Madam June is not around.”
I appreciated and kept quiet. I opened my car’s door and stepped out. But again, something returned me.
“Do you mind me buying you a small gift, Rose?” I asked.
Rose gazed at me and became numb.
“Don’t refuse…just say yes please,” I said, smiling.
She nodded: okay.
“Okay, I would be back shortly. Stay with Kim.”
Then I left. The breezing cold outside was freezing and I could feel it inside my shoes, with my toes and on my palms; and the tip of my nose and lobes of my ears. No matter, I walked quickly to the chemist and bought the drugs, and went to the supermarket.
I entered the supermarket and stood a near the entrance trying to think what gift could fit Rose. I didn’t know what I wanted to buy for her. I walked round the shelves but found nothing worthy for her.
At last, about twenty minutes or so later, I found myself at the clothes section. Yes, I nodded. A dress plus a flower could send her my heartfelt gratitude so well. I picked the best my eye caught: a yellow dress I was sure she would love, and went to the flower section and picked a rose flower, marched to the cashier happily, made the payments, and stepped out of the supermarket hurrying.
The moment I entered the car Rose was listening to some light music from my car’s stereo. I switched on the interior lights and looked at her for few seconds. She appeared more beautiful. Indeed, she was a rose: light in skin tone with nice curves and curled hair. I quickly compared her with June: she was a smart, kind and reputable girl. She had only dropped out of college due to fees problems unfortunately.
I gave her the gifts. With surprise, she took them. She opened the bag I had brought the gifts with, looked at the gifts and said ‘thank you’. I felt great. Plus, my My son was already asleep in her hands. I felt like kissing Rose but gosh, it was time to go home. What Rose had done today, I thought, would see me ignoring June like trash.
We arrived home few minutes later. June was now asleep at the couch. A bottle of whiskey and a glass sat on the table. Obviously, she had gone on drinking after we had left. I no longer felt like talking to her for now. In fact, Rose and I were not going to wake her up. If she wished, she could die there.
We marched past my sucking sleeping drunk wife. Rose put Kim to sleep in his bed, and there, I was decided to profess my love for her. I looked at her and for some seconds, I was dumbstruck. But I gathered courage.
“Would you be offended if I said something you might not like, Rose?” I asked, fear taking the best of me.
“So long as it would not hurt Madam June or Kim, say it,” she replied.
I stuttered, unable to speak again. Lastly, I told her never to mind what I wanted to say. I would tell her the following morning, I told her, and she left my room. Minutes later, she returned with food. She served me rice and potato soup which she had prepared initially. I realized that I was so confused so I remained silent to enable her finish the service. A minute later she left.
There and then, with determination, I resolved to invite her to the seating room in the morning so we could take breakfast together while I tell her the whole story. I was sure June, who rarely took tea, possibly because of her high level of alcohol consumption, would be leaving early enough to enable me to fulfill my mission. As for now, I slammed the bedroom door to close, and started eating. June continued to sleep at the coach. But who cares? I would eat and sleep.
Kim woke up at night, at 3:17 am. He started to cry. I noticed him early enough and right on time I held him softly to make him quiet. I switched the lights on too. There was some milk in the thermos flask which Rose had brought him while she had brought me food so I poured it to a cup and fed him. Goodness, he kept quiet and started to play.
Though feeling so sleepy, I had to stay awake, until he slept again. June came in shortly; now sober, but guilt written all over her face. Perhaps she had heard Kim crying from the seating room and realized she was not in bed.
“I am sure you are not speaking to me today…” she said.
I maintained my sulkiness, overly annoyed with her. She tapped severally on my back after some few seconds no response, and to dissuade her, I wished her a terrible night.
“Okay,” she said and climbed on bed, covered herself with the duvet and faced the other side. She pulled Kim to her side, kissed him, held him and slept. As soon as Kim slept, she also snored. In as much as that was hurting me, it was giving me a chance to sleep. I ignored her again and slept.
I was the first to wake up after Rose in the morning, few minutes to seven o’clock. After bathing, I walked to the seating room and read a newspaper I bought the previous day, as I waited for Rose to bring my breakfast.
Unexpectedly, June woke up and followed me shortly. She quickly prepared herself for work too. When she was ready she came to the seating room. She went to the kitchen and came with a flask of tea. She removed two glasses from the cupboard, and poured tea into them, and welcomed me for breakfast. Then she marched back to the cupboard, removed bread and jam and started to spread jam on the slices with a knife.
It had been so long since I saw her do this and I wondered why she had thirst for tea today. Was she about to repent? No, I guess she took a lot of beer yesterday and she is very hungry or she is about to die and is ready to make her last confession, so I thought.
Meanwhile, I realized that the plans I had for myself and Rose were about to die. Yet I wanted to tell Rose about my feelings so badly.
I only watched as June put jam on bread, wishing she had left. She called Rose and asked her to take care of Kim, until she returned from work, promising to be back before midday. I didn’t believe her either.
“Honey,” she called me afterwards. “I want us to talk, I am very sorry for what I have been doing,” she said. But it was not the first time she was saying this. She had been telling me like this whenever she wronged me so I didn’t even take her seriously. For now I wanted Rose so madly. I gave June a dry look and decided to show her some little disrespect to make her leave me with instance. I smiled at Rose like I was flirting, and then asked her how her night was.
“Good,” she replied. She also smiled back and continued, “Thanks for the gift, Tom.”
“Always welcome,” I replied.
June looked at us, I think feeling confused. All that time she had been looking at us unable to interrupt us. I am sure the mention of the gift kept her more perturbed until her mood changed from happiness to anger. She asked, “Thomas you bought a gift for this miserable and useless maid yet you haven’t bought me anything even once? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
I laughed because I was trying to imagine who was miserable and useless between June and Rose. And did June deserve any gift from me really? Never, I decided to tell her, “Well, if you aren’t aware, Rose is a rose for this house. She is better than you a thousand and one times. If your brain was fine, you would have known that you are the one that is miserable and useless. The problem is your brain that has been corrupted with beer.”
“Did you say I am miserable, Thomas?” she asked angrily, rising up and standing in front of me like she would hit me. Well, if she tried, I would crash her instantly.
“In fact, you are a menace, a big fool, a lunatic,” I replied.
“Ooh, I see, I will teach you a lesson today,” she said turning to Rose, “You must be responsible for this. You husband snatcher, you are leaving this house today,” she said angrily, pointing a finger at Rose and moving towards her like she would slap her. But, I stood up for her defense. Rose took a step back frowning.
“Don’t even try anything stupid on her. As a matter of fact, it is you that shall leave today carrying those lessons with you. By the way, I’d rather be single than have you again as my wife.”
Now that made her to slap me. A big mistake! I have never been slapped in my last fifteen or so years. Instantly, it seemed like my hairs had stood up like those of an angry cat; and my muscles had been put to full activation. The real ‘war’ began and I slapped her severally on both cheeks with both hands interchanging like they were controlled by a computer. I slapped her until she was unable to speak, or maybe breathe properly as well.
I stopped suddenly to allow her to recover. She stared at me helplessly as I prepared myself for round two which I decided to use blows. One heavy blow on her stomach sent her on the floor and the next time I saw her few seconds later, she was nose bleeding.
Rose tried to come for her rescue but I warned her very sternly and she scrambled away through the door and disappeared.
I removed my belt, seized her from the floor and started to beat her with it.
She tried to escape, but unlucky for her, a tablecloth got the heel of her shoe, and she fell down near the cupboard where she had been putting jam on the bread initially. She screamed louder, holding her left leg as if in much pain, not being able to get up. The flask, the slices of bread and the tea glasses fell on her too, but she did not manage to push them away. She glanced at me as I went toward her, and screamed helplessly.
The door was suddenly opened after a short while and Rose, with Pastor Nyakundi, our church pastor and neighbor dashed in and grabbed me. They pulled me away from June who was now groaning on the floor.
I noticed that June’s leg was not moving again. I guessed she had a dislocation. I also realized that the moment she had fallen down, the knife she was using to spread jam on bread had cut her on the thigh. Blood was trickling out of her body like she was sprinkling blood on the floor.
Rose helped her up as she cried more painfully, squeezing tears from her eyes. Here, I realized her leg was broken. I felt stupid. I had overdone my anger. Her skirt was now torn and both her face and thighs were filled with blood, her leg not being able to support her on the floor. The marble tiled floor was also filled with blood, tea, bread and broken pieces of glasses. The entire seating room was so disorganized.
“What is wrong with you two Brother Tom,” the pastor asked. I got worried and helped Rose hold her up.
Ai-ai-ai-ai-ai…” June cried and we helped her walk directly to the car. It was obvious that she also needed medical attention.
“Thomas, are you aware that this is against the law, and you can be charged in a court of law?” asked Pastor Nyakundi.
“I know,” I said.
“You must apologize to your wife right now,” he said, looking at me sharply as if to dare me. Well, he was my pastor so I respected him.
“Honey, I am sorry. Forgive me,” I said.
June glanced at me and cried more, wanting to lean forward. I moved forwards and she took my hand with hers, and said, “Honey,” she said whimpering, “I have wronged you, I have been rude to you, I have always disgraced you with alcoholism…I…have been irresponsible,” she started to cry, “…I deserve it…yes, I deserve it,” her sobs became more intermittent between her words. “Please forgive…I…will…never…hurt…you…again. I…will treat you as my husband…and…take care of Kim. I…am sorry honey for putting you to a lot of stress…”
The pain in her voice almost tumbled my tears. I held her in the front seat of the car, and hugged her, and closed the car’s door. Rose rushed inside and returned shortly with Kim. All of us entered the car and drove to hospital.
“Now, don’t fight again from today, God hates it.” Nyakundi said.
Continue to PART TWO here
©Kemboi Victor 16/06/2018