When Zach touched his wife, she didn’t respond as he’d expected. Instead, she asked him, “ Zach, what do you think you’re doing?” This happened one night five years ago. And for a man, such a question can emit varied feelings, ranging from silence, anger to confusion. If you’re a man, you must have come across a woman who asked you this question. At first, you lacked the answer because you were confounded. You wanted to ask her, “What the fuck do you think I am doing?” but you didn’t because this was a crucial moment, and if you fucked up you would have slept with a hard on. I know men know how excruciating that feeling of an erect member that refuses to back down after a besieged effort is.
“This is my wife; I was taken aback when she asked me what I was doing.” Zach says. “What were you doing?” I ask him as a matter of a joke. He laughs boisterously as if he figured what he was doing that night was foolish. “I wanted to have one for the night. We had gone two weeks dry fry so I was having all the energy and lust for her.”
“Two weeks dry fry, huh!” I say. Apart from hearing it in restaurants, I’ve never imagined that dry fry could mean a dry spell. “Is it the nature of marriage for couples to go two weeks without sex or you were just not feeling it?” I ask him.
He tosses two small ice cubes to his drink and takes a swig.
“Once you’re married, you get used to each other. It can become boring. And that’s where the problem is. People start losing interest in each other, seeing the intrinsic value in each other on a different, low perspective that does not include uniqueness, everything becomes casual. So there are days you can go, even for months without sex. But largely, marriage is a trap if you’re not for each other,” he says before he takes another swig.
There is a smell of nostalgia hanging over the air around us. I can see a certain look in his eyes that depicts of remembrance of things that happened long ago, probably pertaining to the incident.
Since I don’t know anything about marriage, I keep quiet. I don’t know how it feels to be married, to have a wife or a husband, or even how it feels to share the same bed with someone everyday for 10 years, for the rest of your life even. It sounds boring and the thought of losing my freedom to someone scares me. Imagine you being used to sleeping all over the bed, and then you marry. This means you start learning sleeping discipline, enjoying only a certain way to sleep. Even more menacing is that you’ll introduce a foreign fart smell into your bedroom. I hear that when couples get used to each other they fart anyhow. What if your partner’s fart smells like rotten eggs? Have you ever imagined that shit! It weakens my joints.
Zach was married for five years. In those five years, the couple managed to sire two kids, twins. Let’s call it a double blessing. People aren’t getting twins no more because the kind of wickedness we engage in nowadays promotes us to bad books, and His Highness the Almighty decides that we don’t deserve such blessings. So we can say that Zach and the wife had God’s favour. It was a sign that God was with them and that they were thankful for what He was doing for them.
At the time, Zach worked at a small start up, one he’d started with his buddy. They were putting in everything in it to see it rise because there is a certain joy in creating your own company and running it that you don’t find when working for someone. You don’t give it your all when you’re working for someone. I mean why should you work tirelessly and it is not your company?
When the twins came, Zach had already spent most of his savings to put the startup on its feet. He’d hoped that by the time of delivery, things would have spiced up and that he’d have time for his family. That is how bosses think… that if I put up a business, I’ll have free time to do my things. I can hire someone to work for me so that I can let the money work for me. In so doing I can have time to attend my other businesses.
The dream worked for him since he was an ambitious man. He still is. “Things really worked for me that year. We made 2m in a month. I had never run a venture that could bring in such money in a month before. So it was a breakthrough for me,” he confesses.
“And how did this affect your marriage?” I ask him.
“Money is good. Money…. Money is good,” he says, in a deep manner as if it is a realization he made. “Money can soften or even melt cold hearts. It can plant smiles on people’s lips. It is what makes people shine. And for me, it made my family the envy of the neighbourhood. At the time, I was parking (anybody else still using parking to mean reside in this era?) in some kaplot. People were living fairly. Not middle class, not so poor. When money started coming in, I bought my first car, gave my family a good life. People in the kaplot started talking… you know how people can be. Mara he must have stolen the money, mara he took a loan, people start perceiving you differently. Some stop talking to you, others talked to me suspiciously. Kumbe people don’t like seeing others prosper. Once you break the status quo you become an outsider.” He shakes his head.
“So I moved from the kaplot to a plot a year later,” he continues.
“Was it because of your neighbours or?” I ask him.
“Partly yes, partly no. In that one year, I had made enough money to buy myself a plot and build my family a home. You know money was coming in at a terrific speed. I knew that there would come a period when things will not be as rosy, so I had to take the opportunity and build a home while there was money. So I did. I made myself a three bedroom bungalow in Kikuyu and my family and I moved in half a year later.”
“So at what point did your marriage begin to have a shakedown?” I ask because that is why we are here. I had met Zach accidentally. He had placed an order for a laptop and a phone, a package he asked me to deliver to Sigona Golf Suites in Kikuyu. When I got there, after a hectic time figuring out the place, I met him and we got on talking about things that men talk about- nothing of things. Women, football, politics and the likes.
Then it came to the part where I was to show him his laptop and phone, as is part of the business, so that he can confirm that they are working and that indeed, it is genuine and it is what he’d ordered. We got talking more on the subjects of electronics. Somewhere I told him that before anything else, I am a writer. That piece of information intrigued him. I gave him a link to my blog before he said he‘d give me feedback.
It was almost three months down the line when I received a call from him. To be honest, I’d forgotten him, because that’s how my mind is, short and fucked up. But I do keep contacts for a long time. He asked me for my email.
The email introduction is what drew me to meet up for an interview.
“What do we say to the ones that leave? What do you do when she leaves without a word and never to come back? What do you do when you bump into her with a better man?” The email introduced. Immediately I knew this was going to be a great story.
This time we meet in a quiet place at his home, not the one he’d built in Kikuyu for the family but a new one in Kisaju, Kitengela. When I walk in, because I don’t have a car, and can’t afford an uber yet, the smell of grandeur hits me. I suddenly feel small. I shrink with not fear but with dissatisfaction with my life. I feel that I am surviving, not living. I throw my eyes around, taking in the beauty and the monster house standing before me. I only think of one word, spectacular!
“My marriage died the day my company went under. It was a sudden death. I was shocked to discover that there was nothing between us anymore, not love, or kids or money. There was a wide gap with not even a loose string to hold two ends together. We both realized that we were not for each other. She did first, I did realize later, when she had left.
“I fell into debt, a huge debt when a consignment happened to go bad before we could deliver it. I scoured all my savings to try pay off our clients as I didn’t want to see my ass smoked to jail. I fear jail. I was literary left with nothing. The only consolation was that I was not paying rent, otherwise I’d have been thrown out into the streets because my wife was not working. I even gave my two cars away to pay the debt. The situation deteriorated over time, and for a period of seven months, I lived from hand to mouth. Nothing was forthcoming.”
“Then one night I came home, stressed and tired. All I wanted was a tight hug from my wife. And some sex to ease myself out of my thoughts. When I touched her, you know how you do these things when you want to bang, like beginning to rub her gently, or touching her in areas you know that will arouse her. I was there, like a hunter thirsting for a kill when she asked me ‘Zach, what do you think you are doing?’ She even called me by my name.”
I laugh because I can totally relate. Any living man must have passed through a woman who asked him what he was doing when all he wanted was to have a good fuck. “How did you react?” I ask. His glass is now empty but both of his hands are around the glass as if it is his support.
“You know how it feels. At first, you cannot believe what you just heard because you know that she knows that you want to have sex. So you don’t answer, the fuck she knows you want her badly. Why is she asking silly questions. Something was wrong that night, something had changed and it didn’t start that day.”
We’re seated in the balcony, a cool breeze brushes our bodies gently. Outside, the Nairobi’s two suns are shining brightly. I can feel how angry they are as they blaze hot. Zach leaves shortly to fill his glass from the mini bar at the ground floor.
When he comes back, he changes the story. I don’t mind because change is inevitable during story telling. Some people might feel vulnerable telling stories, it is possible for them to reach a point and pick a new trajectory, one that doesn’t make them feel naked. Safety first.
“She left. She went with my kids. She stopped taking my calls. She blocked in fact. At the time, I was in tremendous stress so somehow I felt that she’d slightly unburdened me. It was a silly thought but I did entertain it. I didn’t want my kids to see me sad and wiped out every time I showed up. I was lonely but it was also refreshing. One thing I didn’t know, however, was that she was never to return.”
“What did you do?”
“There is less you can do when someone leaves you. It means that they don’t want you, so why force it? Maybe she was with you for different reasons. People nowadays go into relationships for various reasons, mostly for various needs. Some want financial aid, others emotional support, others to grow their dreams, others for trophy love, and few end up in relationships because of friendship. My wife was with me for other reasons. There is no reason to doubt that she was not my true friend. There is something she wanted in me but when she couldn’t find it, she left.”
“Did it make you mad that she left without telling you?” I probe. A housekeeper interjects politely asking if I need something. Of course I do. Man cannot live on juice alone! She brings well-cooked chapatti and beef stew. We pause our conversation and talk about other things. I ask if the laptop and phone I sold him are working fine and he says he’s not experienced any problem at all.
“At first I felt worn out. Life was dealing me blows. One after another. I was at a point where nothing else could jiggle me. I had gone through my worst. Her leaving was not the worst, it was better than her asking me what I was doing when all I wanted was sex. It didn’t bother me so much. Weeks before that, things had started escalating, her contempt towards me had started budding small horns. She had started seeing me a lesser man. Only one fucked up moment and I was a devil, she wanted to crucify me. Really, I was glad she’d gone.
“Later on things became better so I wanted her to come back. At this point, I discovered she was no longer talking to me. She had blocked my number and no communication was going through. I went to her parents but they told me they didn’t know where she was.
“I resumed my life and hit the grind hard. I paid my debts and was on my feet again. It took me two years to be ‘a man’ again. One day I am chilling with a buddy in a joint along Mombasa Road, having happy ones for the weekend, smiling to my success. Guess who walks in? My wife, walks in tagging along another man, clutched to him like a parse worth a million dollars. Behind are my twins. My wife doesn’t see me but I do see her.”
“Pardon me, after how long is this?” I interject.
“This is five years down. I haven’t seen my kids or my wife or heard from them. I couldn’t believe it you know. I am hit by a wave of a mix of excitement and confusion. But I walked up to my kids and hugged them. They were confused as well, as if they were wondering where I had been for all this long. I created a scene but it felt good seeing my kids once more. They had become so big and had changed.
“I greeted my wife and her new man. We exchanged words and asked to talk to my wife for a minute. Her man say he didn’t mind being present. All I wanted was to know how I can get to see my kids. The new man, who I learnt was Jason, was a reasonable man. He led us to a table and we agreed to set up a meeting and talk about the kids.”
“What did you think of Jason?” I enquire softly. I know the fucked up feeling that comes with seeing your woman with another man.
“At first I was jealous… I mean my wife was beautiful. I couldn’t imagine seeing her with another man. So at first I felt that Jason is the jerk that lured my wife to leave me. But after interacting, I realized he was a gentleman, reasonable, mature and very open-minded. We met later and stroked an agreement that I get to see my kids any time I want. I think he was a better man for her. He had all the qualities I lacked and he deserved her. We are good friends now. I see my kids often, they come over on weekends, and sometimes I pick them up from school. Life is good.
“What a reconciliation! Any plans to get married?”
“If someone that we go along comes along then I can consider marriage. Now I have a girlfriend. She is lovely. I’ll see how it goes, if it leads to marriage, well and good, but marriage is not a priority right now. I just want to be happy, with or without marriage.
I am planning to raise 60k (Kshs) in the next 15 days to help me in a certain issue I am facing. My plan is to sell 20 laptops and 10 phones during that period. So I am going to sell laptops on offers. If I sell a laptop for 28k, I am going to sell it to you for 25k.
What I want you to do is help me sell one. If you need a phone or a laptop, kindly reach me. If you’re okay, reach out to your friends that need them and direct them to me.
In our stores, we have refurbished (Ex Uk) laptops, new macbooks, new iphones, (ex Uk) iphones 4s,5s,5c,6,6s and other phones. We do delivery to any part of Kenya.
Kindly help me reach this goal. Spread the message.
Call or whatsapp 0716503589.
If you have a story that you feel needs to be heard, write me a brief email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?