(Continued from In Sickness and In Health II)
When Fancy wakes up, she has a slight headache. Perhaps it is because of all the crying, but she cannot help thinking about the tumor in her breast. Has the journey to the end finally begun? She turns in order to wake up Kenneth but is surprised to find that he is gone. Imagining that he has probably stepped into the washroom, she calls his name. But he does not answer. She steps out of the bed and switches on the lights. Her clothes, which were on the floor when she passionately hopped into bed with her best friend of seventeen years, are now neatly folded and placed on a chair. She takes them, dresses and steps out of the room. She had wanted to request him to get her painkillers from the hotel’s reception desk, but she might as well get them herself, as she checks whether he went to the restaurant for a late night snack.
She is at the bottom of the stairs leading to the restaurant when she spots them. Kenneth and Geraldine are holding each other in an embrace, with their lips locked in a kiss. Her heart skips a beat. Kenneth has always been a magnet for girls. Even when he had nothing, church girls were still attracted to him because of his looks and his musical abilities, not to mention his charming personality. As success and money started flowing in, more and more women started becoming interested in him. But Kenneth has always been faithful; he has never given Fancy any reason to lose trust in him.
Kenneth has always made it clear that she has full access to every part of his life. They share an office at the workshop, and their offices at the showroom are next to each other. She can always use his phone without seeking his permission. She knows all his ATM PINs. There is no way he would cheat and she would fail to know. His attitude towards her has remained the same since that first day when they made love in Fancy’s employers’ bedroom. If his attitude has changed, then it has been for the better. Kenneth is a loyal and very affectionate husband.
Why then is he kissing another woman? Is it because she is dying? Has he decided to replace her even before she begins her descent to the abyss of death? If there is a woman who has made her insecure in the seventeen years she has been married to Kenneth, then it is this Geraldine. All the other women who have wanted Kenneth in the past, whether for his looks or for his money, have been subtle about it. They have at the very least respected his marriage, and have not made any moves in her presence. Some have been sending him inappropriate messages and photos, but they have no way of knowing that she, Fancy, has access to Kenneth’s phone. After all, most spouses protect their phones from each other with multiple passwords.
But Geraldine is brazen. She has shown Fancy nothing but open hostility and contempt. She gushes and flirts with Kenneth openly, even in Fancy’s presence. She is crazy, Fancy is certain. But she is also intelligent and manipulative, and Fancy has often feared that Kenneth might fall for one of her many traps unknowingly.
That day seems to have come.
Fancy was already heavily pregnant when she got married to Kenneth seventeen years ago. They had not made love again since that first day, but that once had proven to be enough for Kenneth to prove his weird theory about making babies on a king-size bed. The pregnancy caused a lot of disquiet at Golgotha Worship Centre. Kenneth and Fancy were suspended from taking Holy Communion, and Kenneth was suspended from his role as the worship leader. Kenneth would probably have been banned from playing the keyboard, except that he was the only one in the church with that skill.
Fancy was targeted with scorn by many of the church members for “making our brother stumble.” She was an outsider, and everyone assumed that she had seduced the very religious worship leader into sleeping with her, hence the pregnancy. But she also understood that part of the scorn, especially from the younger women, was driven by jealousy. Many of them had Kenneth on their sights.
Kenneth was a broke carpenter then, but it was obvious that he had a promising future. Of course nobody would have imagined that he would become as wealthy as he is today, but he was a skilled, hardworking and responsible young man, and that is all most of the young women in that congregation would have wished for. At the very least, it was obvious that he would be a man capable of fending for his family. As Fancy came to learn later, there was intense rivalry amongst the girls in the church even before she came into the picture. That would have explained the bloated worship team. Almost every single girl over the age of seventeen wanted to be in the worship team, no doubt to catch his attention.
Against this backdrop, the intense hatred they felt for Fancy was therefore not surprising. The one thing that kept Fancy going was the fact that Kenneth stood by her side and even defended her. Even when he was suspended from his role as the worship leader, he accepted the punishment with grace. He did not try to deny the pregnancy or to shift the blame to her or to the devil. Their pastor was supportive too, even as he meted out the punishment. He took them through repentance counselling, a program that he had designed to reintegrate people such as them back to the congregation. They completed the program successfully, and they were both readmitted to communion on the wedding day. Kenneth was subsequently reinstated to his role as the worship leader.
Fancy and Kenneth settled in a rented double room after the wedding. The double room was an upgrade from the single room that Kenneth had been renting before the wedding. With two incomes, they could afford the double room and the basic necessities of life. Fancy’s employers allowed her to continue working, and since their last born was now a school going child, they allowed her to work for them during the day while going home to her husband in the evening. She did what she had been doing before: washing clothes, mopping the house, dusting surfaces, cooking and cleaning dishes. She continued even after she gave birth. Fortunately she gave birth normally, so she did not have a surgical wound to worry about. They gave her three months of paid leave, and allowed her to come with her child to work when she resumed work.
Fancy and Kenneth continued attending church services at Golgotha Worship Centre and Kenneth continued playing the keyboard and leading worship. Fancy became an active member of the church congregation. She joined the ushering and hospitality department that was headed by the pastor’s wife.
It is through Fancy’s employers, the Kamaus, that their blessings began to flow. They had liked her so much that they saw her as their own daughter. To support her young family, they recommended Kenneth to their friends who needed carpentry services. But the big break came when one of Kamau’s friends decided to resign from his job and starts a school. He wondered whether Kenneth, who had made household furniture for him, would be able to make quality furniture for the school. In terms of skill, Kenneth was certain he could. But he would need capital to handle the project because he would need a larger workshop, assistants and lots of materials. Fortunately, the client agreed to pay him three quarters of the money upfront, which is the money he needed to get the job done. He was paid the balance, which was his profit, after he completed the job.
That job marked Kenneth’s transition from a broke carpenter hawking his services door-to-door to an entrepreneur with an increasingly successful furniture business.
The Kamaus released Fancy to join her husband’s business. They even encouraged her do CPA modules, so she is the one who has been handling the finances of the business for years. Although she studied at home and did the CPA exams as a private student, she completed the course and is now a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA-K) and an auditor. In addition to helping her husband run the furniture business, she has also been running a small audit firm for the last eight years. She does her audit work in her office at the showroom.
Today, seventeen years later, Fancy and Kenneth are doing well financially. They bought a piece of land and built a nice home. They have two cars, and their children are in good schools. They still attend the same church, although Kenneth no longer plays the keyboard nor leads worship. That is now done by younger people. Kenneth and Fancy are both members of the Elder’s Board at Golgotha Worship Centre. They pay their tithes faithfully, give their offerings generously and actively help the poorer members of the local community. There are many children that they have paid school fees for, and many people whose medical bills they have settled.
Why then is this happening to them? Why did she get cancer? Why is Kenneth falling into the arms of a seductress?
Fancy runs back to the hotel room and locks herself in. She weeps desperately. Kenneth has been her support system for the last seventeen years. If he abandons her now, how is she going to approach death? Death in itself is terrifying, but coupled with betrayal it becomes a monster. And if Kenneth marries that woman Geraldine, what will happen to her children after she is gone? Fancy can hear Kenneth pleading with her to open the door, but she is not interested. She saw them kissing, and that image is stuck in her mind.
She sits on the bed and weeps until she starts feeling nauseous. She walks to the bathroom but suddenly starts feeling dizzy. As she vomits into the toilet basin, the nausea and dizziness increase. She tries to rise so that she can open the door, but she collapses onto the floor. Now she is panicky. She doesn’t want to die alone. Kenneth has betrayed her but she needs him now. She tries calling him out but no sound comes out of her mouth.
She summons all her strength and tries to rise, but she collapses once again and then everything turns black.
Image by Nenad Maric from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/door-open-wooden-the-next-doorway-1089638/
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