(Continued from Deceitful Sons of Adam III)
Brian offers to drive me back to campus. I am emotionally messed up. I have loved Ibrahim for three years now, and my life has been centered around him. And then in a couple of days my world is turned around, and I am no longer sure what kind of man I have been sleeping with. How is someone able to live a double life for years?
“How do you have such a man as your best friend?” I ask Brian.
“You are forgetting that I didn’t know you existed until last night. I have always thought Ibrahim is weird, but I never thought he would take advantage of anyone.”
“Why did you think he was weird?”
“On one hand he is very religious, going to church, wearing a turban and stuff like that. But on the other hand he doesn’t have a problem with this weird arrangement he has with my sister that allows him to sleep with other women while they are still dating. Those two issues just do not add up if you ask me. At least I know my sister is a little crazy, so nothing she does surprises me. But Ibrahim has always been more grounded.”
Grounded. That is the word. One of the reasons I got so attracted to Ibrahim was because he appeared so mature and solid in the faith. He gave my young mind more than enough reasons to trust him. He was always so patient with my juvenile tantrums, and he helped me to mature so quickly in the three years that we were together. Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see all the red flags that I missed. Even after three years of having sex with him, Ibrahim still introduced me to his friends as ‘a friend’. Everybody in the Friday fellowship we used to attend knew me as his friend, and quite a number of brothers asked him to hook me up with them. He always smiled and told them to try their luck, which would then push the burden of rejecting them to me.
In fact, in church he introduced me in the early days as ‘my younger sister’. He said that it would stop people from asking why we always drove in together every Sunday; in other words, he did not want the saints in church to know that we were living in sin. That story stuck, and everybody in that church knew me as Brother Ibrahim’s sister. It did not occur to me until now that it would have been impossible for Ibrahim to marry me in the same church where everybody knew me as his sister.
Finally, Ibrahim and I never went out on dates in public places. We spent most of the weekends inside his house, and if we ever went out, we would go on drives to the outskirts of the city. We never went for dinner and lunches like he did with Purity. We took photos together, but he forbid me from ever posting them on social media.
Brian allows me to use his bathroom to shower. My anger towards him has cooled, so I am no longer in a hurry to leave. He seems to be a decent man. He has already given me a painkiller and the pounding of my head has subsided. He is no longer naked; he has found a pair of shorts and a T-shirt to wear.
Brian hands me a clean towel and points to the door of the master bedroom’s bathroom.
“On second thought, what is the point of bathing if I am going to wear the same clothes? Maybe you should just drop me in campus so that I can take a shower there.”
“Don’t worry, I can find you something to wear. My wife was about the same size as you are.”
“Are you married?”
“So you are divorced? Did you cheat on that woman? Or did you leave her so that you can be freely sleeping with drunk girls in parties?”
For some reason I cannot quite understand, I can feel my anger rising against Brian once again.
“Just shut up okay?” he explodes with sudden anger that quietens me immediately. “I would never have cheated on Yvonne. And if I slept with you yesterday, it is because I actually like you and thought you did not deserve to be Ibrahim’s sidekick. I was hoping we could get to know each other better and maybe have a meaningful relationship. When I told Ibrahim that you are mine now, I meant it; unless you turn me down.”
“What about Yvonne? Where is she?”
“She is dead. She died in the same accident as my parents. My parents were coming back from overseas, and she and our two kids went down to the airport to receive them. On their way back, a lorry lost control and rammed into them from behind. My dad and the kids died on the spot. Yvonne and mom died in hospital, one week apart.”
There are tears in his eyes now, and my heart melts. I move closer to him and hug him tightly. I cannot imagine the pain that this man has been walking through for the last two years. Having your entire family, from your parents to your wife and children wiped out is catastrophic. I am not sure how it happens, but after that hug we find ourselves in bed, and this time I am a conscious and willing participant.
We shower together, and I wear a beautiful chiffon dress that had once belonged to Yvonne, Brian’s deceased wife. It took quite some persuasion from Brian for me to wear it. My reservations had nothing to do with the fact that it once belonged to his deceased wife. I was more concerned by the fact that it would be the first non-pleated dress I would wear since I stopped wearing school uniform.
“Come on Joyce. Not wearing a pleated dress is not a sin. There is nowhere in the Bible where it says that people should wear pleated dresses.”
“I don’t know Brian. This is how I have dressed all my life. This is how my people dress.”
“I know, but you are only going to wear it in this house. When you get to the campus you can remove it before anyone sees it.”
I am just about to tie my headscarf around my head when Brian coughs.
“Must you have the headscarf over your head? I mean, you have beautiful hair. Must you conceal it?”
Brian and I prepare breakfast together. Compared to Ibrahim’s house in Lang’ata, Brian’s house is enormous. The kitchen alone is larger than Ibrahim’s sitting room. We laze the morning away swapping childhood stories. I feel weird without a pleated dress and without my headscarf, but as we talk I quickly forget all about it.
Brian tells me about growing up in Buruburu and later in Karen. He had a comfortable middle class upbringing. I tell him about life on the other end of the spectrum: growing up without knowing where the next meal would come from, going to school barefoot and without school fees. But I also tell him about the joys of my childhood: playing with the other kids, dancing in church, enjoying the warmth of family.
Brian drops me at the campus in his BMW, one of the two cars he owns, and our relationship begins just like that, out of drunken sex and betrayal by the man I loved. I am not sure whether I love Brian, at least not the way I loved Ibrahim. But I am scared of being single, and he looks like a decent man. I am sure I will grow to love him with time.
My chiffon dress and lack of headscarf catch Mary’s attention and I am forced to tell her the truth.
“You can’t jump from one relationship to another, Joyce. You should give yourself time to heal.”
“He is a good man, Mary. He is not like Ibrahim.”
“How do you know that? Because you had sex with him twice-the first of which you cannot even remember- and he told you a lot of sweet nothings? How is that different from Ibrahim?”
Mary is painfully proved to be right about two months later. I have been seeing Brian almost every other weekend, the same way I used to see Ibrahim. Except that we now don’t go to church, and we go out often. But I spend Friday and Saturday nights in his house.
When I fall sick one Tuesday morning, the first question Mary asks is, ‘have you seen your period this month?’
The implication of the question shakes me to the core. Later in the day, Mary helps me to take a pregnancy test and it turns out to be positive. I call Brian at around three in the afternoon. He doesn’t pick, so I text him.
“Hi babe, we need to talk.”
“What’s up? Sorry I couldn’t take your call. I am in a meeting.”
“I am pregnant.”
“How is that my problem?”
“Babe! How can you ask that?”
“I am sorry Joyce, but we both know you like prostituting yourself. That baby could be anybody’s. Maybe it is Ibrahim’s or maybe it belongs to the boys in your campus that I know keep you busy during weekdays. Do not bother me again. If you ever call me I will block you.”
I don’t know what to say in reply, so I stare at the phone in disbelief. I am stunned-too stunned to even cry.
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