Continued from Masseuse of the Wallet I
Nick follows the lady to what has to be the second floor of the building. She leads him through a corridor that has doors on both sides, and opens the door marked 2A. It turns out to be a bedsitter. The room is not spacious, but it cannot be described has tiny either. There is a 4×6 bed there, draped in white bedding. There is an orange curtain. There are clothes hanged on the wall above the bed. There is a sink and a small fridge on the other side of the room, but there is no evidence of cooking. The shelves above the sink are empty; the usual items that a person who cooks has, such as packets of rice and flour, cooking oil and spices are not there. There are no utensils in the room. There is a microwave above the fridge though, which suggests that the lady buys food in disposable containers, stores it in the fridge and then warms whenever she wants to eat.
“Welcome,” the lady tells Nick. She has removed her shoes on a small mat inside the room, which prompts Nick to do the same. He walks in and sits on the edge of the bed. He is already starting to come to his senses, remembering that he is a married man and a father of three, when the lady locks the door and strips naked. She pushes him onto the bed and starts undressing him.
“I need to go,” Nick tells the girl, whose name he has learned is Barbara. He has just woken up, having fell asleep after having sex with Barbara. He has just remembered that he needs to go and find a house. And then go to the village to get his family. He is still lying next to Barbara in bed though. “What is your MPESA number?”
“What do you need my MPESA number for?”
“To pay you for the services. I have really enjoyed myself.”
Barbara sighs deeply.
“I am not a prostitute, Nick. I brought you here because I love you. I wanted to share my life with you.”
“But you said that if I paid…”
“I only said that because I knew if I told you I was in love with you, you would not believe me. But it is the truth, Nick. I am deeply in love with you.”
“But you hardly know me Barbara. I don’t think you have ever seen me before today.”
“You have never heard about love at first sight? That connection that is usually instant? That is what I felt. The moment you walked through the door of the barbershop, I knew I was in love with you. You don’t feel anything for me?”
She snuggles closer to him and starts stroking his back. She knows that he is not thinking straight with her naked body pressed against his, and therefore he will be easy to manipulate.
“I do feel attracted to you Barbara, but I am a married man. I have a wife and three children.”
“You live with your family here?” she asks, obviously disappointed. One of the reasons she decided to make a move on him was because she sensed that he was new in Murang’a. Even his accent is not Kikuyu. Perhaps Embu or Meru. Most likely Meru. A man foreign to Murang’a was attractive to her because it means he would be easy to manipulate. The men who frequent the local bars know her too well. She has seen the wedding ring, but concluded that if he was foreign to the town, then his family was probably back in the village he came from.
“My family is in the village, but I am planning to go for them tomorrow.”
“Where is your village?”
“Mitunguu in Meru.”
“Do you have to go for them? You can support them from here while they stay there.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because I want to be your town wife, baby. I love you so much. I don’t mind sharing you with your wife. But I also want to be yours darling. I will make you the happiest man on the planet.”
She kisses him lightly on the lips. Nick sighs. Barbara is a beautiful woman. She is a woman Nick would ordinarily consider way above his league. She is a well maintained, high class woman. His wife Mercy on the other hand is good woman, but she is a village woman with unkempt hair, a body that smells of sweat and smoke and a rough skin. Making Barbara his second wife would be a major upgrade in his life. But there is guilt in him.
“I am a Christian, Barbara. I cannot have two wives. I am already feeling guilty about what we have done.”
“But why can’t you have two wives babe? Abraham, the Father of faith, had Sarah and her servant Hagar. And God approved. Jacob, the man who God called Israel, had four: Leah and Rachel, and their servants Bilhar and Zilpah. David, the man after God’s own heart, had many wives. His son Solomon had a thousand…there are many other examples in the Bible.”
Her knowledge of the Bible perplexes Nick. He would not have expected it from someone like her. But who is “someone like her”? She has already told him that she is not a commercial sex worker. So why is he judging her by that standard?
“That is in the old testament, sweetheart. We live in the new dispensation. The new covenant is in the New Testament. That is where we are told that a man should only have one wife.”
He has called her “sweetheart” without realizing it. Barbara notices and it pleases her greatly.
“Are you a Bishop?”
“A church elder?”
“Then we are safe. The standard for one man and one wife only applies to Bishops and Elders, if you read Paul’s letters to Titus and Timothy. The rest of the men are allowed to have multiple wives. Please sweetheart, stop making excuses. There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits our love. Unless it doesn’t exist in the first place. Tell me you don’t love me and I will leave you alone.”
“Of course I love you babe…”
Barbara kisses him deeply in the lips and presses her body even harder against his. She can feel him get aroused again, but she doesn’t want to waste any more time on sex. She has to make a move quickly and entrench herself in his life, before he learns who she is and changes his mind. If she moves in with him, it will be difficult for him to kick her out, even if he later learns who she really is. If he turns out to have lots of money, say for instance he is a wealthy businessman, then she will stick to him like a leech and will behave like a model Christian wife.
If he has money but not lots of it, for instance if he is a teacher, a clinical officer or someone with a modest salary, she will still be a model wife, but will continue seeing a majority of her clients. But she will have broken away from the shackles of that pimp Henry, and whatever money she will make will be hers and hers alone. She will be discreet of course. She will no longer operate from this room. She will have to find a quiet way to continue using her body to make money, even if it means going to Nairobi now and then to meet clients in hotels during the day while Nick is at work. The most important thing right now is to get a place she can call a home. It will be hard for him to drop her if she plays her manipulation cards right.
If Nick turns out to be a broke wannabe, then she will drop him like a hot potato and wait patiently for another male prospect.
“Let’s go to your house babe,” she murmurs, biting his ear lightly. “I want to prepare your dinner tonight, and spend the night in your arms.”
Mercy is not an insecure woman. She trusts her husband completely. As a BOM teacher, Nick worked in the same staffroom with beautiful women, including some very young and naughty lassies. Mercy knew very well that while she was enduring the searing heat of the kitchen, some of these lassies with manicured hands and powdered faces were flirting with her husband. She always knew that while she was smelling of smoke and soot, the women her husband was spending his days with wore sweet smelling perfumes. Her fellow cooks tried to plant ideas in her head, especially the male cooks who were making moves on her, but she has always trusted Nick. He has never given her a reason to doubt him.
Still, for some reason his move to Murang’a made her uneasy from the start. She cannot explain why, but she was not comfortable with the idea of her husband moving so far away. She did not voice her concerns, however, because of two principal reasons. The first is that since she did not have any concrete reason, she feared that would come off as petty. The second is that she knew they needed the money. As a BOM teacher, Nick was earning seven thousand shillings. As a cook, Mercy was earning three thousand shillings. In total, therefore, their household was surviving on ten thousand shillings. Moving to a place where he would be earning forty thousand shillings made a lot of sense. Their lives would be more comfortable. Still, Mercy was not comfortable with the idea.
The one thing that gave her hope was the fact that Nick promised that he would come for her at the end of the month, and that they would be living together as a family from the second month of his employment. He told her that once she got paid, she should quit her job because he would be coming to fetch her. He confirmed that yesterday, and after she got her pay cheque she told the principal that she was quitting because she was joining her husband in Murang’a.
She spoke to Nick this morning and he told her that he would pay for the house in the afternoon and then get an evening matatu home. They would travel to Murang’a tomorrow. Mercy has already packed their stuff, and she called a guy with a canter, as he had instructed her. But Nick is not picking up his phone since early afternoon, yet it is now evening.
She tries again, and finds that the phone is off. Mercy is now worried. Could something have happened to him? It is unusual for Nick to go off the radar like that. It is 10pm, and the children are asleep. They stayed up until 9.30 PM, hoping to see their father before they go off to bed, but they soon dozed off one by one.
Mercy now starts worrying what might happen to her and the children in case something unfortunate has happened to Nick. Can she fend for the three children all by herself? With a salary of three thousand shillings, she was managing quite well as a single girl. She was living with her parents, and used to give them two thousand shillings for the family expenses. She would keep a thousand to herself. If push comes to shove, she could always go back, of course. But it will put a strain on her parents even if she surrenders the entire three-thousand-shilling salary to them. She will be going back with three extra mouths to feed.
Life has been hard even with Nick supporting them. It will be unbearable if something has happened to him. Mercy tries to push these dark thoughts from her mind. She tries to convince herself that perhaps his phone was stolen, but the anxiety doesn’t leave. Eventually she calls her mother-in-law. Mercy and Hellen enjoy a very warm relationship.
“Let’s pray,” Hellen says when Mercy explains to her the basis for her fears. Hellen leads her daughter-in-law in prayer and then encourages her to keep the faith.
(To be continued on Wednesday)
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