(Continued from A Woman Scorned IV)
Catherine treats the news of her husband’s death with indifference. To her, it does not matter whether the brute dies or lives. He is dead to her. Has been for a very long time. She watches the news with mild disinterest. She chuckles when the reporters describe how he was gored by a bull. For some reason she finds the fact that the bull, as the Bishop liked to call himself, was killed by a real bull. Hilarious. She can imagine his fear when he discovered that he had an adversary more fierce than the police he was running away from. The world is indeed a funny place. A millionaire pastor, a man used to fine things in life, holidaying in whatever country he wanted with whichever woman he wanted, dying in a cowshed like a lost mongrel. Perhaps it was God’s wrath falling upon him.
She is watching the news from a hotel on Mombasa Road, where she has been since she survived the accident. She is watching the analysis with mild amusement when there is a news flash: Bishop Titus Nkanasa Takes over as the Acting Presiding Bishop of Divine Miracles Tabernacle.
“That was fast,” Catherine mumbles to herself. She doesn’t like Titus any more than she liked her husband. She has always known that he wants to sleep with her and that the only reason he did not make a move was because he was afraid of the Bishop. And for a good reason. Kithinji would probably have had him killed.
Catherine knows that Titus is just as greedy as Kithinji, and that he has always been envious of Kithinji’s wealth. The Bishop paid his people well, but he still made insane amounts of wealth from the church. And Catherine knew that Titus always wanted more for himself. She could see it in his eyes. If Kithinji were a better man, or at least a better husband, she would have warned him to be wary of his assistant. But he was a brute so she just decided to watch things unfold.
The one thing she is proud of from her marriage is her children Leo and Vanessa. Vanessa is a journalist and works for the BBC. She was initially stationed in Nairobi, but could not cope with her father’s drama. She (Vanessa) had him arrested once after he beat her (Catherine) but Kithinji bribed his way out and threatened to kill her. That is when she asked for a transfer and agreed to go to Kabul, Afghanistan. Anywhere was better than her father’s house. She asked her mother to go with her but Catherine chose to stick with her husband. She did not want to be a burden to her daughter in a foreign land. Vanessa is now in Bueno Aires, Argentina.
Leo was another case altogether. He was a rebellious kid in his teenage. He bore the brunt of his father’s violence. In response, Leo started playing truant in school, starting taking alcohol and using drugs and started fooling around with women-not just girls his age, but also adult women. Kithinji had a married women arrested for sleeping with Leo when he was thirteen, but the story ended in embarrassment for him because Leo denied ever seeing the woman. Without evidence, the police were forced to release the woman. She promptly sued the Bishop for defamation, and he had to part with a couple of millions to make her drop the suit.
When Leo was sixteen, he fought back when his father hit him. Kithinji almost killed him. Catherine sensed that that fight was not the last and sent the boy to her mother, his grandmother. Catherine’s parents are rural folks. They are devout Christians, but the quiet type devoid of drama. Leo fell in love with the village. He and his grandparents became very close. He stopped using drugs, stopped fooling around with women and he got smitten by a girl in the village. Instead of asking him to leave the girl, his grandparents encouraged him to come in the open about it. They even somehow convinced the girl’s parents to agree to the plan because according to them that was the only way they could stop the two from fooling around behind their backs. That surprised Catherine because she can still remember Hezekiah, her father, unleashing dogs on Kithinji when he came to visit decades ago. She was twenty at the time and in college. Maybe that incident is what taught him a lesson, because although Kithinji didn’t visit again, she became pregnant with his child a year later and bore Vanessa. Hezekiah threw her out and she moved in with Kithinji. Two years later she was pregnant with Leo. Then she caught him cheating and her parents took her back. They were surprised a few years later when she said she wanted to marry the father of her children-Kithinji.
In spite of his romantic relationship, Leo’s grades in school improved dramatically. On his seventeenth birthday, he declared that he had gotten born again so that he could “be like grandpa”. He completed form four at the top of his class and with a straight A. He told his grandparents that he wanted to go to Bible School, so they enrolled him to St. Paul’s University in Limuru.
It is while he was at Bible school that Catherine encouraged him to make peace with his father. It was difficult at first, but Leo had matured and managed to put up with his father’s eccentricities, temper and pride without losing it himself. Kithinji was provoking him intentionally, but Leo, under the guidance of his mother and grandparents, refused to take the bait. The old man came around eventually, and when Leo graduated, he threw him a big party and appointed him as the youth pastor.
Leo refused at first. He may have made peace with his father, but his opinion of the man had not changed. He was still convinced that his father was a hypocrite and that Divine Miracles was nothing more than a money minting scheme and wanted nothing to do with that church. He wanted to take up a job with a mainstream church, perhaps Presbyterian or Methodist, and get himself posted to a rural church.
But Catherine convinced him that his father’s church too has souls that need redemption, and that it would actually be a good thing for him to take up the job and bring change from within. Leo agreed and since then, Catherine has been grooming him to take up the leadership of the church one day. The one thing she knows about her son is that unlike his father and the hyenas around him, Leo is sincere about his faith.
Leo married his high school sweetheart shortly after graduating from Bible School. The Bishop bought them a house in Ruiru as a wedding gift, and that is where they live with their two children. His father’s death would have been the ideal time for Leo to take up the leadership of the church, but Titus is one step ahead. She will have to call Leo so that they can move with speed and wrestle the control of the church from Titus. She knows Leo does not like church politics, and that is why she will have to take the lead on this one. She has waited for so long to see her son restore the church to God. She cannot allow a marauder to snatch away the opportunity at the very last minute.
She is just about to call Leo when fresh breaking news emerge from Meru. The Bishop is alive and well.
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