"Why didn't you tell me that we were going for a planned date?" I demanded to know amidst sobs.
We had just gotten into the filthy hotel room not really some sleeping room and I could not believe that this was where I was supposed to spend the night. I looked at the bed with stained sheets clearly indicating that someone spent the previous night there but they had not been replaced.
The floor was untidy and the entire room was stuffy. How poor can I be in choosing my friends? I thought to myself. All along, Leah was trying to explain something that I could not even hear as I got carried away by mixed emotions. I was angry at her, disappointed with myself and furious at those two men. Maybe I should not have trusted her as my friend in the first place or maybe I should have remained back in our room instead of following her to the market.
I had seen a big sister in Leah as she was through with college and I was in my second year. She was mature and we could spend time at work laughing and sometimes drinking from her wise counsel. But then, not every person who is older than you deserves the role of your elder sibling.
Saturday was a market day and also our day off from work. So we could spend the better part of the day wandering in the market without necessarily buying. We would then visit a nearby river just to relax and gossip about the week's happening and discuss our male colleagues especially one who insisted that he was a virgin at the age of 32 years. After weighing all the possible sides of the story, we would always arrive at one conclusion: he is a virgin indeed.
On this particular Saturday, it happened to rain heavily before we left the market and we had to wait a little more. This was a new town to me and so I hardly knew anyone unlike Leah since the town neighboured her rural home. She had introduced me to some of her friends among them one man who seemed to be in his early thirties. Baba Ben as Leah always referred to him didn't seem to be a bad man either and so I added him to the list of my friends. Whenever he was around the town, the three of us could have tea together discussing about work and the weather.
"Baba Ben says he is on the way coming. Let's wait for him and say hi before we go back" informed Leah.
There was no harm saying hi to a friend, I thought. And since I had nothing to lose and it was yet to get dark, I accepted. Within a span of five minutes, Baba Ben arrived. This time not alone but with another male figure. But still, there was nothing to worry about since I was with Leah and she knew them both.
The two men were ferrying some goods to a nearby shopping centre that was only a 15 minutes drive. So we had a deal: we accompany them to drop the goods, and they would drop us at the gate as they went back home. The deal was sealed and we boarded the car.
Good enough, I was very familiar with the shopping centre that we were to drop the goods. However, Baba Ben continued driving fast even after we had reached the centre. I am doomed. I thought to myself.
"Kwani tunaenda wapi tena?"(Where are we going) I asked Baba Ben.
"Relax, we are getting there little girl" he responded.
I became stubborn and insisted that I had to know where we were going. Baba Ben then told me that it was the next shopping centre and so I calmed down. All this time, my sister Leah was silent but I did not want to judge her silence. She must have been really worried, so I thought.
We got to the next shopping center but he still kept on driving and now my emotions changed from anger of a breached agreement into worry. We were fast approaching a thick rainforest and I had heard all the tales of people being killed there. Are they planning to kidnap us? Just incase they kidnap us and my family starts looking for me, what will happen?
"They are your friends, ask them where they are taking us!" I commanded Leah.
You should have heard her shaky voice as she asked them but this time they just remained silent.
I thought of calling my mum, brother or sister but then I felt that I would only make things worse as they would only blame me for being reckless. How many times have I warned you to be careful when relating to strangers? I would figure my mum asking with a disappointed face.
"Hey sweetheart, I am in a vehicle and I am not sure if these guys will kidnap or hurt us. Just incase I go missing, you know what to tell my mum" I texted my high school best friend as she knew my family so well and they knew her as well.
By this time, we had passed like five shopping centres and lucky enough the forest as well so I had calmed my nerves. I was now ready for anything and I thought it was time for me to pay for all my recklessness. So long as they do not rape us, I am good. I consoled myself.
Finally, we arrived at the planned destination and it was already 8:30 pm. So now we are at some new place, I am safe because I can now run away but then, I only had 50 shillings in my purse and this would not take me back. I had relatives nearby but then how do I start calling them at night and asking them if I could spend the night at their place?
After ranting for like five minutes with no success, they called Leah and talked for a while. She then came back and told me that I should not worry since they had agreed to pay for a room where we could spend the night and be safe. I was so helpless by now and the only option was to cooperate. They led the way and we followed.
Oops! It was a bar. I had never set my foot inside a bar or even a pub. I got confused and nauseated by the smell of alcohol and I thought of crying out loud. But then again, I believe noone should see my tears unless someone is dead. So I had to spare my tears until we got to the sleeping room.
What if someone who knows me finds me here in the bar? What of my reputation?
"Utakunywa pombe gani?" Baba Ben asked.
If I opened my mouth, I would spit poison and it would be dramatic. So I chose to remain silent.
Ugali beef was served to us and they had it accompanied with a bottle of Tusker or Guiness. I guess they look alike but anyway they had one of them. We were also served with a bottle of one litre of Fanta soda. I really didn't feel like eating but I had to since I was ravenously hungry. For the Fanta, I do not take cold drinks at night but they had to feel the pain. I had it opened, sipped once and left it.
Before we went to our sleeping room, the guy who accompanied Baba Ben called me aside.
"Why are you so angry little one? Didn't Leah tell you that we were coming for a date here? I am sorry if she never did because we had made good plans to come and have some good time together"
Before he could even complete the statement, I had gone back to the table and taken the key from Leah. I got into the room, sat on the floor and weeped uncontrollably unable to believe that my best friend could do such a thing.
I have never felt so vulnerable.
Monday, 15 January 2018
Was I supposed to feel sorry for Mike Muruthi? Not at all. This was all that he deserved. He had paid for his mistakes but unfortunately his mistakes had affected their innocent baby.
My palms were wet with sweat and my heart was pounding so hard that I sensed he could hear it. There were only three more people and we would be next. What would we tell the counselor? That I want to abort our child? There was no sense getting rid of a life just because it’s father is an irresponsible man. I thought as sense started building up in my heart of hearts. There still remained some shreds of humanity inside me and I was not ready to live with guilt for the rest of my life for killing. I had heard those stories of mothers of aborted babies being haunted by their spirits, and I didn't want that to happen to me.
Mike on the other hand pretended to be so calm but I knew he was as nervous as I was or even more given that he was the cause of all this drama. He stole quick glances at me and faced the opposite direction as soon as I noticed it.
“Next” the counselor said as a young man came out of the room.
“I have something to tell you before we get in” said Mike Muruthi as he grasped my wrist. I had no more business with him so I did not respond. Nevertheless, he continued with his monologue.
“You may not believe me and you may never forgive me. But never forget that I love you. I have always loved you and I will always love you. It is our son with Rita that brought us together but not love. It is you I love Sonie, take it or leave it. Let’s get in now”.
What kind of love hides such important details? This was just another of his big lies and this time I would not fall into the trap again. He can go rot in hell with his so-called love for me. I thought as I pushed the door open.
A youthful, beautiful woman probably in her early forties ushered us in with a broad smile and showed us our respective sitting positions. We sat facing each other and I wondered why she had settled on such a move. I looked at my phone to avoid facing him while he pretended to read a newspaper on the table. For like two minutes, the counselor said nothing but just stared at us and smiled at herself in a seemingly foolish manner. I was already regretting of visiting the place and before I could gather enough courage to match out, she cleared her throat.
“Hello, from the look of things, I can tell all is not well. Who goes fast?” She asked.
“Me” shouted Mike as he stood to narrate his side of the story but the lady ushered him to remain seated. He narrated the whole story beginning with Rita and how they had made out during a leavers’ bash but he was not to blame as they were both drunk. It was his first time to drink and he could not even remember what exactly had happened. When Rita’s parents knew she was heavy, Mike had been forced to take Rita as his wife when he was hardly 19.
Mike had even contemplated suicide and he battled depression for five months. His parents had been so bitter and his father had vowed that he would not pay his fees to join college. His elder siblings scolded him every day and it was his mother who offered to support him morally. His mother took care of the baby and its mother when Mike was in school. Mike however had to find his own means to finance his education given that his mother was only a housewife and then she used the little money she got from chamas to cater for the baby’s needs.
You should have seen how he shed tears and then all of a sudden began to sob as if seeking sympathy. He regretted all that he had done, was remorseful and was willing to start all over again. Can you imagine that? He was so sorry that he had hurt my feeling and betrayed my trust. However, if I forgave him and gave him another chance, he would officially divorce his baby mama and take me as his legal wife. Of course I would hear none of it. He would even change his bank account's next of kin from his mother to his soon to be legally wedded wife!
It was now my turn and I made it clear that I would never forgive him and I had stopped loving him. I would keep my baby and he was not allowed to ever be near my baby. He would never even have the chance to see the baby even after it’s born. I wished him well with Rita and their son and promised to forget him completely.
“But I have the right to see my baby and even bring him up. Are you nuts or something?”
“Once I am dead, you will have the rights. But as long as I am alive, the only rights you have is those of Rita and your son. I will know how well to bring up my baby” I retorted.
This would be the end of our story. A story of love and betrayal but a story that would later give me a a son. And Ben Clark would be his name. I banged the door as I left the room while Mike followed. But we would never meet again. Months later, I had got used to leaving without him and my belly kept on bulging. No one in my family would know it until the baby was born. If they have to skin me, I would let them do so after my baby had been born.And if they wished, they could as well skin both of us.
On the last quarter of my pregnancy, I got news that Rita and Mike had been having endless wrangles and during one of their many fights, Rita had stabbed Mike to death. She had later hang herself in their bedroom back home in Murang’a. And just like that, their son had been orphaned. Was I supposed to feel sorry for Mike Muruthi? Not at all. This was all that he deserved. He had paid for his mistakes but unfortunately his mistakes had affected their innocent baby. But no, I still have some shreds of humanity in me that deeply cares for him. Unfortunately, we can only meet in heaven and there I shall let him know that he is forgiven.