(Continued from Betraying the Sister Code)
“Go and lock the door,” Christy whispers to Richard, who is already dozing. He is lethargic after emptying himself during the explosive session that reached crescendo a few minutes ago. Richard doesn’t feel like leaving the soft nest that is her body, so he takes his time. Before he get out of bed, the door flings open and their two boys get in.
Kyle is not prepared for the sight before him. His mother is naked, next to Rick’s dad, who is equally naked. Her head is resting on Rick’s father’s chest, and one of his hands is wrapped around her. They are both sweating.
Christy and Richard suddenly sit upright, and upon realizing that they are naked, dive for the covers. But by the time they cover themselves, the boys are gone.
“We are in trouble,” Christy says.
“Yes we are.”
“What are going to do?”
“What is done is done. I already told Rick that what he saw the first time was a mistake. Whatever I say after this will have no effect.”
“I could talk to Kyle.”
“And tell him what? That this is a mistake like I told Rick? How are you going to explain the fact that you did not leave this room when I went looking for Rick?”
“You are assuming that Rick will tell him the whole story.”
“My boy is the one who brought your boy here. How do you think he is going to explain to Kyle how he found out what we are doing?”
“He could say that he was coming to see his father.”
“That won’t work. After Rick found us the first time, I went looking for him in their room, and found Kyle alone. So Kyle knows that there was a first time and a second time.”
“I am so scared Richard. What are we going to do?”
“We are going to have fun while we are here. We will worry about Kenya when we get to Kenya.”
“That is easy for you to say. You have nothing to lose. Alexander will kill me if his son tells him.”
“You are the one who has nothing to lose Christy, while I have everything to lose. Alexander is a liability to you. If you walk away from him, you will actually have gained. He doesn’t help you in any way other than making your life miserable. And because your husband is so irresponsible, there is even a chance that your boy will not tell him what he saw. Dot, on the other hand, is my whole life. I share the hospital and everything that I own with her. If she divorces me, my life is going to become very twisted. But what can I do? What is done is done.”
Christy is sobbing softly, so Richard hold her close and rocks her to sleep.
Christy spends her nights in Richard’s room for the rest of their stay in Rome. A routine has been established. She and Richard take dinner with teachers. After which they make a show of going to their separate rooms. Christy goes to her room shortly after dinner, while Richard stays behind discussing politics with Rick’s male teachers.
The boys also retire early. They normally go to bed shortly after Christy. Both of them are not talking to their parents. In fact they are doing their best to avoid them. At around midnight, when everything is all quiet, Christy sneaks to Richard’s room, which is on a separate floor from the others. They spend the night together and she leaves again very early in the morning.
They agreed to take the precautions so as not to annoy the boys further. They agreed that if any of the boys visits any of them after midnight and before five in the morning, they will pretend to be asleep.
Richard is sure that Rick has not said anything to Dot because he (Richard) talks to her every evening and she sounds like her usual self. Dot is not a very good actor. She doesn’t know how to mask her thoughts and emotions.
Rick and Kyle keep to themselves for the rest of the week. They talk very little to other people, which is strange because both of them are bubbly sanguines. They talk to each other, but it is no longer fun and games. They are both deeply hurt by their parents. Kyle is particularly hurt. He has always held his mother in the highest regard. As he told Rick, he probably wouldn’t have minded if she had found another boyfriend and left their father. Because he loathes his father Alexander. But he would never have imagined that his mother would betray auntie Dot like that. Apart from his mother, Kyle’s favorite person is ‘auntie Dot’. Similarly, Rick has always adored ‘auntie Christy’ like a mother.
Rick and Kyle play with an intensity that no one has seen before. They have won every game since they came, and not because the Italian kids are not good. The Italians are actually better than any competition back at home. But Rick and Kyle have become monsters on the court.
By the time they catch the flight back to Nairobi, Italian coaches and managers are drooling over them.
Dot notices the change in her son and his friend almost as soon as they step out of the plane. She hugs them tightly.
“What’s up with you, my boys?”
“We are fine ma,” Rick says, trying to smile. That makes her even more convinced that something is wrong. But she doesn’t press. He will tell her at his own time. He always does. She hugs her husband tightly then gives him a deep kiss. She doesn’t notice Rick and Kyle looking on with disgust. But she does notice a certain stiffness in Christy when she goes to hug her.
It comes out rather unexpectedly, about a month later when Rick gets into a fight with his parents. Richard had already assumed that he is off the hook, although his son Rick is still withdrawn and not his usual bubbly self. Rick has been offered a scholarship by an Italian University in Rome. He can study whatever course he wants, provided he plays tennis for them.
Rick wants to go as soon as he does his KCSE later in the year. His parents want him to go to an American University, perhaps Harvard or Princeton. But he would have to wait for his KCSE results to be released then go through a lengthy application process, with admission not guaranteed.
“Just be patient. We will get you to a better university in the US. Don’t you want to stay with mommy a little more before you leave the country?” Dot asks tenderly.
Rick hesitates, his heart softening. But then Richard ruins the moment, trying to assert his parental authority.
“You are under 18, son. You need our guidance,”
“I don’t need your guidance,” Rick retorts rudely.
“Rick you can’t talk to your father like that. What is wrong with you?” Dot asks, shocked. What happened to her sweet son? What happened to him while in Rome?
Rick does not apologize. He and his father glare at each other.
“You are going nowhere until I say so,” Richard says authoritatively.
Rick smiles sarcastically.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go to Rome, dad? Kyle has gotten the same scholarship. You and Ma Kyle can take us then you can be having sex every night the way you did last month. Or you think I don’t know she used to come to your room even after we caught you the first time? I was always on the stairs, watching your door. Hoping she wouldn’t come. Hoping that even if she came, you would turn her away. But every day you opened the door and let her in. You cheated on mum, then you lied to me that it was a one-time mistake. Wait, have you told your wife that you were sleeping with her best friend when we were in Rome?”
Dot gasps and holds on to a chair for support.
“Is it true?” she asks her husband softly.
Richard’s mind is racing. He could lie. But that could end disastrously because first, it will alienate him further from Rick and second, Dot will know it is a lie anyway. They have been married for over eighteen years so there is nothing about him that Dot doesn’t know.
He could also admit it and ask for forgiveness. But how will she react? Will she forgive him? She could walk away from their marriage. In the end, he doesn’t have to say anything. His hesitation sells him out.
“So it is true,” Dot says, sinking into the chair. “Oh God, what did I do wrong? Is that why she finally accepted to quit government service to come and work at Beeline?”
She starts sobbing and Richard moves to console her.
“Don’t touch me! Move away from me!” she snarls at him. He backs away. Thank God the twins are in Nairobi with their grandparents for the holiday.
Rick, who has been watching the drama from half way up the stairs, walks down the stairs and wraps his arms around his mother.
“I am so sorry Ma. I did not mean to hurt you,”
“You did not hurt me son, your father did,” she replies, wiping away tears with the back of her hand.
Since she came back from Rome, Christy cannot get Richard out of her mind. She has never felt so loved. It has been a month now and her body aches for him every day. The first thing she did when she came back was to quit her job at Shava Hospital so that she could work at Beeline.
That decision has many benefits. Her salary is now much higher than what she was earning at Shava Hospital, plus she is now closer to Richard. They have had sex only once since they came back from Rome, in his office. She sneaked into his office that day an found him working late. Both his wife and his secretary had left for the day. That was the first week after they came back. Since then she has not been able to sleep with him. She has been in his office on many nights, but sex has not happened because he said he had tough deadlines to beat. So they would chat briefly then she would leave him to finish his work. On three occasions he did kiss her and fondle her, so even though he has not slept with her for the last three weeks, she knows he still desires her. And so she believes him when he says that pressure from work is what is getting in the way of intimacy. He is such a hardworking man.
She wonders how having him to herself every night would feel like. She is tired of having to sneak around hiding from both Dot and Alexander. Dot is her friend, but she doesn’t deserve Richard. She doesn’t know how to treat him right. While in Rome, Richard told her that he often works late just to avoid being home with her because Dot is so quarrelsome. She doesn’t cook, so they often have to buy food from hotels. And she has denied him his conjugal rights for two years now. What kind of woman is that? She, Christy, will take care of him. She will pamper him with love. She will personally cook his meals, wash his clothes, massage his body and passionately make love to him every night.
But there are two obstacles to that: his wife Dot and her husband Alexander. Richard already said he is leaving his wife. He is talking to the lawyer who will do his divorce. So the only challenge is Alexander, her husband. And that is easy too. She is not legally married to Alexander. He has never even paid dowry for her, so she can simply walk away and that marriage will stand dissolved. But she has invested heavily in Alexander. She is the one who built the house they live in. She took a loan and got the construction done. She has also been farming on the remaining piece of land. She has food crops, chicken, four goats and two dairy cows. She had about ten goats but Alexander sells a goat whenever he runs short of drinking money. Soon he might sell a cow.
She cannot leave all that investment to Alexander and whatever woman he will bring home. Christy knows that as soon as she leaves, he will bring another woman home. She will have to get rid of him so that she inherits all of it as a widow. She has heard that an overdose of anesthesia when administered to an alcoholic can cause a heart attack. Nobody will suspect a thing. It is not that difficult to steal anesthesia and a syringe from the hospital. Even if she gets caught stealing, the hospital boss is her boyfriend.
No one will miss Alexander enough to insist on an autopsy. His parents fear him. His children hate him. Okay, except her second born son, Matthew, who is already smoking weed at fourteen and idolizes his father. Matthew once tried to beat her the way his father does, but his elder brother Kyle beat the daylights out of him and he has never tried it again.
Richard goes to the kitchen and pours himself a glass of juice then sits just outside the kitchen door. What should he do? He asks himself over and over again. He is still very attracted to Christy. While he has not been sleeping with her frequently, he yearns for her. He wishes he could have her every night, just as he did in Rome. But Dot has been his wife for eighteen years. She is the mother of his children. She is his business partner. And even though their love life seems to have plateaued and lost the spark, especially after Christy came into the picture, he knows that their relationship is anchored on deep love that has solidified over the eighteen years they have been married. Their lives are so intertwined that he knows it will be difficult to start all over again.
Then there are the children. If his relationship with Christy comes to the open, then the lives of both his children and hers will be destabilized forever. And he knows that Rick and the twins may never speak to him again if he chooses Christy over their mother.
He reluctantly admits to himself that the decision lies in Dot’s hands. He wonders what she will do next. He has decided to accept whatever she says. If she forgives him, then he will have to cut off Christy, even though it will be difficult. If she divorces him, and part of him hopes that she will, then he will hook up with Christy.
Alexander comes home drunk, as usual. His children are all sound asleep. His wife is waiting for him and opens the door even before he knocks, which is weird. She serves him hot food without his asking. Very weird. Then she starts kissing and fondling him. Weird. Since the second year of their marriage, their sex has always been rape.
He drunkenly makes love to her on the couch then falls asleep. Christy dashes to the bedroom and takes a syringe and injects him with the anesthesia while he is asleep. When she finishes, she looks down at him and smiles. Her misery is about to end. Soon she will be permanently in the arms of a man who cares about her. And a wealthy man, not this brutal pauper.
“Rest in Peace Alexander,” she says, aloud.
A movement behind her startles her. She turns and comes face to face with her son Matthew.
“Have you killed dad?” he asks, glaring at her.
Mother and son glare at each other for almost a minute. Matthew’s eyes are bloodshot, and he smells of bhang. He must have been smoking when he heard his father come in singing drunkenly.
“Why did you say ‘rest in peace’?” he demands.
“Who do you think you are, questioning me like that? Get out of my house,”
In line with their culture, Kyle and Matthew have a separate house. Circumcised boys do not stay in the same house as their mother, so parents build a separate house after their sons get circumcised, usually after Std. 8. Some parents, especially the wealthier ones, have abandoned the tradition but it is still widely practiced in rural areas.
“Get out,” Christy says, pushing Matthew out. The boy slaps her repeatedly. At fourteen, he is taller and stronger than his mother. Christy screams.
Kyle bursts through the door and grabs his younger brother, slaps him and pulls him away from their mother.
“What do you think you are doing? How dare you hit Ma?”
Kyle takes his mother and guides her to a chair. He does not see his younger brother grab a knife.
“Let me get you a glass of water Ma,” Kyle says. As he turns, Matthew stabs him twice in the stomach, and runs out.
Christy starts screaming. Neighbors are used to her screams as Alexander beats her, so no one comes. These days only Kyle responds to her screams, and he usually pulls his drunk father away from her. Kyle is a well-built seventeen year old young man, and Alexander doesn’t fight him.
But Alexander is now snoring on the couch, and Kyle is bleeding heavily. Christy is forced to go and knock doors and seek help in taking her son to hospital.
Image by Jasmin Chew from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-model-pose-sky-dress-casual-5440728/
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