Monday, 24 February 2014
I am seated at the porch of my house trying to recall the events of this tedious day. Georgie is on a trip to China. As I saw him off at Kisumu International Airport in the morning, I remembered how he began his political career.
By the time we were starting our marriage, he had just graduated from Kenyatta University with a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Structural Engineering. He was 25 and I was 20. He soon afterward began his engeneering career. Five years later, however, his career took a swift turn, just when I had given birth to his first born – Tony. He developed interest in politics. I tried to dissuade him from moving that direction, but he insisted, and when the 2002 electioneering period came up, he threw his hat in the ring for the position of our area member of parliament.
I would later learn that he had earlier on built friendship with our community’s kingpin, thus losing was avertible according to the structure of politics in this land, and was not an option on his table. He did not even exert much pressure in his compaign for the second term in office.
By the time he was lauching his bid for the gubernatorial post in 2013, he had already upgraded our home back in Seme and built another bungalow in town, the one I now live in. When I tried to question the source of his kitschy wealth, he boasted that it was from his various investments and well-lived political career.
The elections were done and – as you know, dear sister, he won with a landslide against his opponent such that even though there were claims of irregularities, they were settled out of court.
It has only been six months since his victory, and two months since we came to our new home in town. Back in January, I noticed a rather unlikely change in his manners. Sincerely, he used not to be this excessively uncaring and secretive husband until I remember, dear sister, when he came home one day with a black shoulder bag on his back, stuffed to the gills. I thought that maybe he had decided to do some shopping for the kids. But, oh woman, I was wrong – he went straight into his meditation room and did not come out till morning.
When the sun came up the following day, he plodded out of his room, weak and weary as if he had been fighting a ghost the whole night. I prepared his bathwater and after he had bathed and took breakfast, he dressed up and went out hurriedly. He did not even close his meditation room. So I decided to go in and check for myself what items he had in the bag. I was shocked; I found a heap of dirty olid clothes stuffed in the bag – not just socks, nor shirts, nor trousers, nor innerpants, nor ties, nor vests… and oh my, even a pair of brassieres! I became furious all of a sudden as I perceived that he was breaking our marriage vows.
At midday, I went about washing his clothes with a whale of bitterness grinding my bowels. After washing, I sat down and wrote a letter. “Dear Georgie,” I said, “I was surprised to find a pile of dirty clothes in the bag you came home with last night. But, more disturbingly, I am sorry to say, I find it suspicious that you had a pair of brassieres in the pile. I’d not like to make any conclusion, but I demand an explanation for it, dear.”
Writing letters had always been our way of settling disputes in the presence of our kids. When he came back home that evening, I took the letter together with his bathwater to the bathroom and placed it on the window stool. The stool is always high from the ground and so we knew the letters would be out of our children’s reach.
After he had taken his supper and left, I went into the bathroom to confirm whether he had read the letter. And yes, I found it torn apart, an indication that he had read but was not happy with it.
When he came back later that night, I made an effort to ask him directly while we were in bed. It was my first time trying to settle a dispute in bed and I did not like it.
“My Lord, did you find the message I left you in the bathroom?” I asked, turning to him.
“Of course I did,” he answered, showing little concern or surprise.
“I have nothing to say.”
“Does that mean you had no idea what was in that bag?”
“I did, but I’d rather not talk about it.”
“So… should I assume that nothing just happened?” I gently stroked his moustache.
“Yes. If you don’t mind. Please.”
“These little foxes… theses little foxes will ultimately destroy our marriage,” I said turning away from him.
He said nothing more that night. The following day, I stuffed back the clothes into the bag and took it to his meditation room. Thereafter, I never saw the bag in the house again and I did not question its absence.
Afer seeing him off at the airport today, I decided to go to Moderncare to check on Pastor Anthony. I found his health slightly improving. He was receiving water from a tubing.
“Pastor Anthony…,” I called, sitting on a stool beside his bed. He slowly turned his head towards my direction.
“Mrs Argwins! Oh my goodness!” he hissed, smiling with difficulty.
“Yes, it’s me. How are you feeling this morning?”
“I’m fine. I’ll be fine. Thank you… . Thank you for coming… and for doing this. They told me,” he replied, breaking at some point.
A nurse came to his bed and gave him an injection. “He needs some sleep, miss,” the nurse said, then turned again and looked at me properly. “My lady!” she exclaimed in low tone, surprise indicating on her face. “Oh my! It’s you. Oh, I’m so sorry, I thought I was just speaking to anyone.”
“It’s fine. Just don’t… don’t draw the distinction line. Address me as you would a fellow. How’s he doing?”
“Well, as you can see, he’s obviously improving, not as he was when he was admitted last week. I’m told you’re taking care of his bills, huh?”
I nodded and replied, “He is my pastor.”
“Wow, that’s kind of you to say,” she said. I wondered what she meant. Was I saying the sick man was my pastor an act of kindness or the fact that I was paying his hospital bill?”
“What’s your name, by the way?” I asked.
“Juliet,” she responded and began scribbling something in the notebook she was carrying.
“Well, Juliet, please ensure he’s up on his feet, and whatever reward you need, I’ll avail it, provided it’s within our abilities,” I said, almost tearfully.
She stopped and looked at me for a second, and then said, “Oh, he means the world to you, I see.”
“Yes. He does. He salvaged my marriage.”
“Did he? How?”
“Well… I guess that would be a story for another day. Allow me,” I replied, standing up and pointing at the doorway.
“Okay, my lady. We’ll do whatsoever we can within our professional experience to resuscitate his health. Thanks for checking in.” She made a slight slouch.
I nodded and left the room. When I went back to my husband’s car, I found Tiger seated calmly on the driver’s seat. My blood ran cold and I remained standing next to the car, utterly nonplussed.
“Come on inside,” he urged.
“Where’s my driver?” I asked.
“You want to know?” He pointed at the passengers section of the car. Then he extended his hand and lowered one of the windowpanes for me to see. I bent and saw the driver tied to a chair and taped at the mouth.
“What the… Hell no, I’m calling the police,” I broke out and began searching for my phone in my handbag.
He removed a pistol and pointed at me. “Come into the car. Now. Or else I’ll shoot you down,” he ordered. I thought about running away and screaming, but figured out that it was going to cause unnecessary chaos and put the workers and patients at Moderncare in danger. So I got into the car and sat down close to him. He then started the engine and we left the compound.
“Why are you doing this? Is my husband using you as his stooge?” I asked when we were now on the road.
“No. I’m protecting you. Didn’t I tell you to stop going there?”
“You know I have a patient in there. What are you doing protecting me with all these threats? Who told you I needed protection? Look at what you’ve done to our driver.”
“I don’t mean to hurt either of you. You don’t understand.”
“What don’t I understand? That you had been a thug before you started playing this good-boy-bad-ass game?”
“A thug? Who told you that?”
“Nobody. I do my own searches.”
He kept quiet.
“Who really are you, Tiger?” I asked after some time.
“The messenger who came to your house last time.”
“Now… does that even answer my question? You’re stoic. Tell me, by the way, did you have anything to do with Edith’s death?”
“No. Absolutely not. If you knew me, you’d know I didn’t.”
“Then why is everyone pointing the accusing finger at you?”
“Who is everyone? You call yourself and Faith everyone?”
“You see, Tiger, something’s weird about her death – not the manner in which she died, the fact that it happened barely a week after you told me to stay away from them. Then my husband too… .” I stopped, guessing that I might be opening up to an enemy.
“That part. Your husband… he did what?”
“Nothing. I was just becoming excessively emotional.”
He did not say anything. I noticed that he was becoming uneasy and restless. So I kept quiet for the rest of our journey. When we arrived at home, he stopped the car in front of the gate and made a loud beep for the gatekeeper. The man quickly opened the gate to its full width. Tiger walked out and went to the back of the car. He opened the boot and brought out something. “Come out and see these,” he beckoned. I stepped out of the car to have a look at what it was.
“Look at these,” he said holding up a pair of scissors, a suffocating tape and a sharp knife in front of me. “Where do you think I got these from?” I stared at the objects speechlessly. “I found them in the pockets of your damned driver,” he went on. “Tell me whether and why you’d still trust this murderer.”
I did not reply. He opened the back seat’s door, untied the driver and pulled him out. Then he untaped his mouth and kicked him hard at the back. “He is lying,” said the driver as he went sprawling onto the ground.
“Oh my God!” I held my breath.
“You’re fired,” said Tiger.
“What?” I exclaimed. “What have you just said? What authority do you have to fire my husband’s driver?”
“It’s not called authority. It’s called permission. Your husband and I have been friends for long, in fact brothers, I’m glad to say.”
I watched in fear as the driver gathered himself up and lunged forward to fight Tiger. But, suffering catfish, just like a light piece of paper, or even a feather so to speak, Tiger thrust him away and he flew up into the air before landing onto the ground like a bag of corn. And Tiger was just about to add him a hard kick when I shouted, “Stop! Stop please. Don’t kill in front of my home. Let the man go, my gate is already open.” He stopped and grunted, then went back into the car and drove into the compound. I walked in and the keeper, who had all along been watching the scene with gape, closed back the gate.
Tiger stayed at my porch for the remaining half of the day and only left when Tony came back home. We did not speak much. I served him lunch at the porch and spent time with Harriet in the kitchen.
As I conclude this entry, dear sister, I have to say that I am now even more afraid of Tiger than I was before. What if he finds me alone in the house one day and rape me? I told the gatekeeper not to allow him in any more until my husband comes back. I am so sick of him and this drama he keeps building around me and my family, and I badly want him off my property.