You stand there when the storm comes. You smile at her. You make promises of assurance. She calms down. You look at her and see the green in her eyes, and you set your camp on her conscious.
In your solitude, your blankets rise in your bachelor den every morning and you wish you had your palm on naked skin that is not your own. You choose her skin and you say it is love.
So, you corner her to leaving the natural warm love of her home and she obliges. Now she puts her head on your chest every night and you put your hand on her bum. You pinch it like a loaf of bread, and you happen to think that she likes it. Look at what you are about to do with your own hands…
The storm clears and what is left are the cheers. Your friends congratulate your bequest. Now you have to stay with her because of your street credibility. Your blankets rise in the morning and you no longer want her to be the one to put out that fire, no, you want to have your palm on another less complicated and less attached naked skin. This fire leaves no witnesses. It will consume you, pull her from the edge and consume her too.
She remembers when she broke the news to you, even clearer than you do. She remembers how she observed you and noticed even the tiniest of mistakes because she wanted you to be a good father to the daughter she carried on her belly. The daughter you had put in her; the one her parents had warned her about. They said, finish your studies Muthoni, then you can let him sweep you off your feet, but she never listened. Instead, she followed you to the four corners of the world where the party happened every night. However, she made you promise, she told you not to put a baby in her because she was not ready and you listened. Then she started getting sick in the morning and you did not know what had happened or even when it had happened.
You stared at the pregnancy test when she came out of the bathroom, and you held it by the tip because you considered urine disgusting. You should have been ashamed of yourself but your pride knew no bounds. No wonder you had the audacity to suggest to her to take the Cytotec pill. Kill the baby growing inside of her like a bloodthirsty hound. We live in a country where abortion is illegal but everyone does it, so it remains in the law books so that God can be kinder to us. We are hypocrites but we are still better than you because you started seeing her as a burden from that moment on.
You told her to place her head on the pillow because your chest was getting tired. You came home late and you found her asleep in a pool of her own tears. She was considering doing it, taking the pill so she would be your favourite all over again. Cross the bridge against her parents and her morals for the second time, for you and your immature antics. Look at her when you tell them, tell them all that she was the warmest place you knew yet you turned her cold. Cold as your soul.
In your stunted illogical defence, you had not signed up for this. All you wanted was a jewellery to hold your arm at the end of year company parties and make you feel important. What you would have preferred was a random ass to pinch and then remain alone in your own immaturity. There were options, but you wanted the one who was green and unaltered.
You watched her from your bed as she got ready on Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Saturday, she went to brunch with her friends and on Sunday she went to church with her other friends. Both days, she asked for your VISA cards and you and your philanthropy told her to get whatever she liked. Initially, it was because you thought you loved her but then eventually, it was because you snuck in your other girl and smashed hurriedly on your bed. The bed you shared with her. You said excuses to yourself, you told yourself that you were at liberty to do whatever you wanted because you were not held beneath the bonds of marriage. She should have known when she brought you pizza and a new pair of boxers in the evening the atrocity you had committed where she would put her head.
She will catch you, one of these fine days. Red-handed and you will plead what any man pleads at that moment, guilty of being a man. Then it will dawn on her like an avalanche that you are worth nothing, not even the sacrifices she had made for you. She will recall what her parents had told her, and she will ground her teeth with regret. I told you this fire would consume, render everything to ash and there will be nothing you could do about it.
Before she gives you her reaction accordingly, she will go down on her knees in the bathroom and remember the day she thought you smelt weird, some kind of woman spray, and she ignored it. The same night, she tried to get it on with you but you could not get it up. She should have known that the poor fella was exhausted from being turned all kinds of directions by women that were not you.
She will put a knife on her lap and contemplate putting all this pain burning in her chest to a culmination but then, even the gods will not let her because her story will just be beginning. She will put the knife back and gently pack her clothes as you watch spraying apologies in blunt insistent words that will be hugged by a dead cold wall. She will have made her decision, the only one that she will not let you make for her.
And you will sit there in the darkened tomb of your impending consequences, the low light from the bedside lamp throwing a ghostly shadow of you on the wall behind you. You will have hit rock bottom, but even then, you will still have a long way to go before the abyss. Your mistakes will unfold in front of your eyes and you will realize that you are a mess and worse, you made her a mess too. A soul that had been so pure filled with giggles and cute inexperience will now be desolated, sad and perhaps, cold like your own.
You will shudder, your breathing will sound irregular and your hands will be shaking like a twig on the footpath of a wild beast gallop in the Mara. You are a man. You can’t let anything put you down. You will pour yourself an astringent drink without any sweetness in it. You will gulp it down with no ice or lime. You will then gulp another and another and get high as mortgage premiums. Then you will call the horny girl again, the one that made the one with your daughter inside of her leave in ruin, and you will get along with your business.
After that, there will be Agnes, Tasha, Anna, Lydia… And others you will not recall their names. The only one that will be consistent will be the whisky glass you will be having on your hand to calm your nerves every time your hands feel shaky. The alcohol will help you relax but with every girl, you will need a little more alcohol. You will spend a lot of your money on it, and you will start losing weight. Slowly at first, then quickly and because you are a reasonable man, you will put the drink aside and you will see a doctor who will prescribe anti-panic pills to you and advise you to deal with your shit.
You will attempt to deal with your shit.
You will dial Muthoni. The first one will go unanswered. The second one too because she will be wondering why in the fuck of fucks you would be calling her, after all that time. She will answer the third one and your voice will crack like light dry twigs in a bonfire such that it will surprise her and you too. You will clear your throat, you will try to sound husky and confident but even her will notice that you sound broken. She will almost pity you. You must be a wreck.
You will enquire whether she kept your baby and she will correct you and tell you it’s her baby. Hers only because had it been your choice you would have sucked the baby out gruesomely when its head had started forming. You will swallow bitter saliva but you will be glad she kept the baby. You will ask how she is doing and she will hesitate before saying a rushed okay. You will genuinely want to know how she is doing but she will be a hard nut to crack. Not as easy as when you had first met her.
The conversation will be short but you will have many others after that. You will discover she is struggling to stay afloat financially and you will transfer all the money you have to her accounts. You will have learnt the important lesson no one teaches you, the lesson of putting other people’s needs before your own, and your pride. You will lay your transgressions before her and she will advise you to get tested. You will be lucky.
Both of you will struggle with the idea of whether or not you could mend the ties you already considered to be in the past. She will wonder whether she will ever be able to trust you. She will calculate her emotions those nights that you will be late and whether or not she will believe when you say you were late at work. She will wonder what she would tell her parents this time and her growing Daisy. Daisy, with cheeks so soft like the inside of a rose. She will play with the idea that you could have what you used to have before the world came crumbling all around her. She will cry, it will be in a first in a really long time because she learnt to be strong, not for her but for her Daisy. She will remember crying every night on her side of the bed when she was with you. She will not want to go back there.
You will swear and put a tattoo on your skin to remind yourself that you would never betray her. You will look at yourself in the mirror and you will almost punch yourself for being stupid. It will be your turn to cry and regret. You will have realised that what you set out to look for never existed. The thrill of having multiple girl unattached sexual relationship is as miserable and unfulfilling as it sounds.
You will be so certain that she will be the one you wanted and ever will. She will string you along for a year and another probably being advised by her mother to see whether you will tire and fly away. You will not. She will let you see Daisy and you will fall in love at once with her rosy cheeks that look like her mothers. You will get fond of them and they will get fond of you but you will not touch either until two years are over and that will be when she will walk down the aisle in a cream dress and not white because the church does not like children out of wedlock, or rather, does not forgive as easily as people. She will have her mom and her dad as her support system and before they hand her to you they will tell you not to break her heart again.
Daisy will throw flowers and give the world her smile generously and everyone will fall in love with her.
You will look at her eyes over the veil and it will dawn on you like a shooting star in a dark night. Something you will wish they told you before you messed up so much. Something that could have saved you ages ago had you known. That love, love is not a feeling. Love is a decision.
Feature Image by Gathige