I have recently been receiving emails and messages from some of you asking whether I still write. The thing is, Facebook uses a complicated algorithms to determine who sees what. To be certain that you will be getting timely updates, kindly joint the Sanctuary Side WhatsApp group. One of you voiced a concern that she doesn’t want to get bugged with messages all day long. Have no fear. A conversation may arise about a story once in a while, but what you will mostly be getting in the group are my (story) posts on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you are interested, kindly text me or WhatsApp me at 0105571156 so that I can add you to the group.
PS. Do me one more favor. You see that friend of yours that likes reading? Why don’t you invite him/her to Sanctuary Side so that we can grow our little community? Thanks in advance-Edward.)
(Continued from Another Woman’s Husband I)
Edith is shocked. The man she has known for close to three decades has suddenly become a stranger. Caleb has been sleeping in the guestroom and has informed her that he will do so until she moves out. If Edith was younger, she probably would have done something dramatic, probably wailing loudly and promising to be a better wife. Maybe she would have called their pastor and other church elders and asked them to intervene. She definitely would have called her mother, and maybe her mother-in-law, with whom she has enjoyed an excellent relationship. But she is fifty, and in that half a century, she has seen enough to know that there is nothing she can do or say to make Caleb change his mind about her. It has to come from him.
It is not that she is not doing the things she would have done if she was younger. She is doing some of them, but without the drama. She has cried for the last couple of days, but she has been crying in the privacy of her bedroom. She does not let Caleb, or anybody else for that matter, see her tears, except on that first day when he told her he wanted a divorce. Since then she has managed to control her tears when in public. She still intends to talk to her pastor, her parents and her parents-in-law, but she will just be informing them as a matter of courtesy, not because she will be expecting them to do anything about the situation.
The most difficult conversations will be between her and her children. Even though she is hurting, she does not want to turn her children against their father. She is old enough to know that there is a difference between a man’s role as a husband, and his role as a father. Caleb has been an excellent husband and father so far, but if he wants to stop being her husband, it does not mean he will cease to be the children’s father. If his relationship with his bride interferes with his duty as a father, then the children will decide what to do about that. After all, they are adults. Her job right now is to inform them that their parents’ marriage has broken down, without being overly dramatic about it.
On Wednesday, three days after Caleb told Edith to leave, Edith wakes up early and heads to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, as she has done for twenty seven years. She simultaneously prepares breakfast and lunch because Caleb does not take food from hotels. He prefers home-made meals so she packs his lunch for him. When the meals are ready, she packs the lunch nicely and places it on the dining table, alongside the flask of tea and loaf of bread. She also places Caleb’s cup on the table so that he can serve himself tea when he comes to the dining table. She sits down at the table, fills her cup with tea, spreads three slices of bread with margarine and after making a short prayer of thanksgiving, quickly takes her breakfast.
For twenty seven years, Caleb and Edith have always taken their meals together, which is why the last three days have been awkward. She has noticed that Caleb has been avoiding her, and stays in the guestroom until she is gone for the day. To ease the awkwardness, she has been waking up earlier than usual, so that she can leave and give him enough time to prepare for work. Caleb has been coming home later than usual these days: he probably goes to spend time with his new sweetheart after work and comes home past ten at night, by which time he is usually certain that Edith has gone to bed. Still, he normally finds his meal in a hot dish at the dining table, with his plate placed at the spot where he has sat since they bought this dining table fifteen years ago.
After taking her breakfast, Edith goes back to the master bedroom, takes a shower and dresses. She takes her car keys and goes down to the carport. Usually, she and Caleb would go down together, and he would take her in his arms and give her a kiss before she got into her car. Caleb would open the gate and blow an air kiss at her as she drove out; then he would go to his own car and drive out, closing the gate behind him.
But that routine has changed in the last few days. Edith goes to her car and places her handbag on the front passenger seat. She starts the engine and pulls up to the gate, steps out of the car and opens it; she drives out and stops just outside, and then steps out to close the gate before finally driving off. It has only been three days, but already loneliness has started creeping upon her. She always imagined that she and Caleb would grow old together, and probably die on the same night at the age of 105. Okay, Caleb is older so he would be 106.
But that plan is now up in smoke. Today she is running errands, one of which is finding a house. After twenty seven years of being a happily married woman, she has to find a way to adapt to life as a single woman.
As she drives, Edith’s mind is drifting. Today she is not going to work. She has taken the rest of the week off to work so that she can handle her transition to singlehood. Yesterday a lawyer showed up at her office and served her with divorce papers. She took the papers to her boss and told him the truth. She also asked him to give her the rest of the week off so that she can handle issues related to her divorce. He was sympathetic, and signed off her leave forms without asking too many questions.
She has decided that the first thing she needs to do today is to find a house. She will visit their pastor’s office later, probably over lunch, to inform him about the impending divorce. She has to tell him before Sunday, and it might just as well be today. She has decided that she will continue attending the church and serving as she has always done.
She called her parents and parents-in-law last night and informed them of the current situation. Both sets of parents proposed dinner, so after conversations back and forth, it was agreed that they would all take dinner at the home of Edith’s parents. All the four parents are alive, although they are advanced in years. Caleb’s father is the oldest at 91, and Edith’s mother is the youngest at 76. They agreed not to tell Edith’s and Caleb’s siblings yet, and Caleb’s father agreed to talk his son into attending the dinner.
Nevertheless, Edith does not expect anything from the meeting. Caleb will probably not even attend the dinner, in spite of his father’s best efforts. So Edith has decided that she will go ahead and find a house. Finding a house is not going to be a hassle. Karen, one of Edith’s friends, runs a real estate firm. When they talked last night, Karen informed Edith that they have houses that are ready to sell in Ndenderu. The project has seven units, and only two have been sold. They are selling for only five million. Edith has decided that if she likes them, then she will take one unit.
Five million is a very fair price, and there is more than enough money in the account she holds jointly with Caleb, because of the rent that rolls in every month. Edith has decided that if Caleb is keeping the house, which they built together, then she will use part of their income to purchase herself a house. She is not going to live in a rental residence.
The houses more than meet her expectations. They are spacious, and each house has its own fenced off compound. The only shared spaces are the driveways and the main entrance. She goes back with her friend Karen to the latter’s office to sign the papers. Then she heads to Equity Bank to transfer money to Karen’s agency’s account.
“I am sorry madam, but you do not have enough money in your account to make this payment,” the teller informs her. Edith checks the account number again. It is the same Equity Bank Account that she holds jointly with her husband.
“I checked this account yesterday and it had the excess of seven million shillings. I am only transferring five million, so how can you tell me that I do not have enough money?”
“This account has two hundred shillings in it.”
“Two hundred thousand?”
“No, two hundred shillings.”
“But that is not possible. I checked the account myself, yesterday.”
The teller types something on his desktop’s keyboard and stares at the screen for a while.
“You are right. Yesterday this account had seven million, eight hundred and twenty two thousand and seven hundred shillings. But this morning the other joint account holder, Caleb Nganya, moved everything to other accounts, save for the two hundred shillings.”
“Where did he take the money?”
The teller looks uncertain.
“I am not sure I should tell you…”
“I am a joint account holder in that account. Caleb is my husband, and I can assure you he did not willingly move the money. If our account has been hacked, I need to know where the money has gone.”
Edith knows that the account has not been hacked. Caleb moved the money to make her suffer. Even though she feels bad about lying, the deception is necessary to make the young teller talk.
“Part of the money has gone to a Cooperative Bank Account under the name on the account Jackline Gaceri, and the rest of the money has gone to Mr. Nganya’s account in KCB.”
Edith feels dizzy. She is not only single, but she is also broke. All the assets and investments they have made over the years have been in Caleb’s name. He is the man after all, and they were supposed to grow old and die together. The only thing they held jointly is this account, and that is where their tenants deposit rent. But she is certain that Caleb has already given them his new KCB bank account as the new rent deposit account. Caleb intends to spend the money she (Edith) has worked so hard for with this Jackline, who must be his new flame. She should have prepared for this eventually. But how could she have known that her Caleb, the wonderful man of God, would be capable of this?
“Madam, are you okay?” she hears the distant voice of the teller asking, before everything goes blank.
Image by M. Harris from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/face-african-american-black-woman-6168349/
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