She turns in her bed, restless. She rolls over, pulls the duvet up to her armpits. Then she rolls again and covers herself fully. She turns and faces the wall. Then she turns again and lies on her back. Finally she gives up on sleeping and switches on the light again. She picks the book from the bedside table and removes the bookmark where she placed it 5 minutes ago. As she turns the page, she realizes she does not know what is on the previous page. So she goes back. She does this a couple of times then finally gives up on reading. Again. The book isn’t the problem. Quite the contrary. Michael Palmer is one of her favorite authors. And The Fifth Vial is as interesting as a book can get.
But the butterflies in her stomach will not let her. The electric currents doing dances in her stomach. She is anxious. Or nervous. Is there a difference between the two anyway?
She switches off the light again. Then she lies on her bed, staring blankly at the darkness. What should she do?
She wonders if she is making a mistake. He is a fine guy, that is for sure.
Oh Lord, why is this so difficult?
Then her phone vibrates. Him.
“How was day?”
“So what did you say about going for dinner with me tomorrow?”
Jeans knows that Andrew will expect an answer at their next meeting. And rightly so. It has been over two months since he asked her to date him. And she has been dodging the issue.
“Thing is, I am not very good at random plans.”
“Okay. Give me a date then”
“I will tell when I am free then we can go. Fixing a date is too restrictive”
“Jean, if you do not want to date me then just say so and I will disappear from your life. I am getting tired of playing games.”
She considers this statement for a while. It could mean that he doesn’t love her enough. Didn’t the pastor say that a man who truly loves a woman chases her and does not give up? But then what Andrew had told her last week made sense. That she wasn’t a child. She was an adult woman who could make up her mind whether she liked him or not. And that she is. A 28 year old woman. Engineer by training. Running her own catering company, which is doing very well.
And she likes him alright. He is tall. Good looking. She likes his taste of clothing. He is confident, yet not patronizing. He is a Christian. But he is modern…whatever that means. She is uncomfortable with the fact that he allows her pay the bills sometimes. And he has no qualms telling her when he is broke. Like 2 weeks ago when she invited him to an event and he said he was broke and couldn’t afford the entry fees. And when she offered to pay for him he accepted. But to be fair, he is not mean. Whenever he suggests a date, he pays. And every now and then he gets her a thoughtful gift. But didn’t Pastor Samantha say during the last session of Jerusalem Girls that a man should always foot the bill? That girls should avoid men who don’t flinch at sharing responsibility because it shows they are not good providers?
Plus he is too ordinary. In other words, he is predictable. Like he doesn’t make her heart do somersaults. He does try to make her happy. And yes, she is happy. But there is no excitement.
She thinks about her mother. A good woman. Her father provided alright. They had never lacked any material thing. And her mother had enough for her luxuries. But her father completely dominated her. His word was final. She does not want to get into such a marriage. She wants a man who will respect her opinions. Otherwise why did she go to school?
But she also wants a good Christian marriage. And Pastor Samantha had said for a marriage to work the man must take his place as the head. And this entails providing for her material needs. Emotional needs. Spiritual needs. And generally giving her a sense of security. And Andrew looked like they type she had been warned against. The type of man who wants to share his responsibility with her.
She thinks about her aunt Sarah. Sarah and her husband Obadiah have been married for about 12 years. They are happy, as far as she can tell. But their marriage is also ordinary. They are both high school teachers and helped each other build a home. They bought their shamba together. They built their house together. In other words, they pool finances and do what has to be done. But there is no romance in their marriage. Just an ordinary couple, happy in an ordinary way. And she suspected that is what her marriage with Andrew would look like.
She thinks about the men she has dated before. Mike was a replica of her father. A tough workaholic who spoilt her with anything she wanted but who thought her opinions were irrelevant. He had even started dictating to her how she should run her company. He simply did not think she was good enough. She shivered as she remembered the day he cut her to pieces with his words in a Bible Study just because she had disagreed with his opinion. That was the day she had dumped him.
Hosea was quite the opposite. He did not think he was good enough. And so he was insecure. This led to frequent fights until they broke up.
Miriti was the deal. He was the romantic version of Andrew. He was everything she had wanted. Except that he was short. She could not get over the fact that she was the same height as he was. So she had not really dated him. She had toyed with him for a couple of months before he got fed up of chasing her and left.
Then Philip. Oh Philip. He was intelligent. Like he simply dazzled her with his knowledge. Yet he listened when she talked. And he valued her opinions. Plus he paid for all their dates. He was spontaneous and he made her blood rush in her veins. She was deeply in love with him. She was ready to marry him. But he never asked. Because as it turned out, he was married.
“Let us talk tomorrow Andrew. I am really tired right now”
She sighs. Andrew is a good man. But is that enough? Why can’t Andrew be Philip? Like, a honest version of Philip?
She rolls over in her bed. And sighs for the millionth time.
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Image courtesy of The Daily Mail