(Continued from No Vows Broken I)
“What did you say? What am I to you?” Kendi asks, stunned. She has raised her voice for the first time in fifteen years, without even realizing it. For fifteen years this man has been using her and now he wants to discard her like used toilet paper? But Mutwiri doesn’t even bother to answer her; he sidesteps her and starts walking towards the carport.
“And if I don’t?”
Mutwiri pauses and turns around.
“What if you don’t what?”
“What if I refuse to move my things?”
“Then I will just throw them out when I come in the evening with Lillian. I might even kick you out of my home altogether if you decide to act stubborn. You should thank me because I allowing you to stay so you won’t struggle to find food or accommodation. If you continue working hard Lillian and I might even consider paying you a salary like other house helps.”
He starts the engine of his car and drives out. Kendi opened the gate before she went to collect the eggs, like the “faithful servant” she is. As she watches the taillights of his car disappear around the corner, tears start rolling down her cheeks. Is this what her life has come to? Did she work so hard in school to end up as an unappreciated concubine?
She leans on the wall of the porch and cries. When she sees the messenger getting into the compound to collect the eggs, she quickly gets into the house and continues crying. She wills herself to stop sobbing when the messenger greets her; she answers his greetings from inside the house trying her best to keep her voice level.
She doesn’t have the energy to continue with her house chores, so she decides to go and take a shower. She suddenly feels old; she is only thirty three years old, but she feels as though she is sixty five. She realises that for the last fifteen years she has never sat down to think about her life. She has just been going through the daily routine like a prisoner. All the dreams she had as a young girl dimmed and then died along the way.
So what now? Is she willing to spend the rest of her life serving this Lillian?
Kendi knows that the decision she makes today will spell out her future. If she curls up and moves to the guestroom as Mutwiri ordered, he will never respect her. But what options does she have? She has no money, so she cannot rent a house. She walks to the bathroom and takes a shower while still thinking. As she is looking for something to wear, she sees her “Sunday-best” clothes and that gives her an idea.
Mutwiri is a very religious man-he insists that they go to church every Sunday. He actually claims to be saved although Kendi knows otherwise. Mutwiri joined Vibrant Pentecostals Fellowship twelve years ago and was elected as the chairman of the Board of Deacons a year later. He has held that position since then. He is very close to Reverend Tom Kinyua, who Kendi thinks is a very sober man of God. Perhaps she should go and talk to the Man of God, and ask him to talk to his friend.
The thought re-energizes her, and she quickly dresses up. She can’t call ahead to find out if the pastor is in his office because she doesn’t have his number. She will have to risk it. The church is not far away. When she goes there on Sundays with Mutwiri, it takes them less than five minutes in his car. But since she is walking, it will take her about fifteen to twenty minutes. She puts on her favorite dress and rubber shoes, locks the house and goes to the town centre, where the church is.
She doesn’t care what the chicken or the farm workers will eat. And that freedom is liberating.
When she gets to the church compound, she goes straight to the pastor’s office and asks to speak to the pastor. But Reverend Kinyua’s secretary, Beatrice, is hesitant.
“He has people in there,” she says cautiously.
“No problem, I will wait.”
“I don’t think it is a good idea. Can you come tomorrow? I will schedule an appointment for you at whatever time will be convenient for you.”
“No Beatie, I have to see him today.”
“Okay. I will just tell him you are here.”
She takes a phone from her desk and talks to the pastor. Minutes later, the pastor walks out.
“Sister Kendi how are you. It is such a pleasure to see you.”
Before Kendi can respond, another person emerges from the office.
“Who is tending the home while you sit here like an idler?” Mutwiri asks. “What will the workers eat? Did you even feed the chicken?”
“Calm down brother,” Pastor Kinyua says calmly. “If she came all the way to the church to see me it has to be something serious. Go back to the office and wait for me. I will take a stroll around the church with Sister Kendi and hear her out.”
“No, pastor. Since he is here, let us go to the office. What I want to talk about has everything to do with him,” Kendi says as she strolls to the office, whose doors are open. Inside, she finds two women. One of them is Pastor Kinyua’s wife Sabina and the other is someone she does not recognize.
“I am sorry, Mrs. Pastor. I didn’t realize I was interrupting something.”
“Of course you did!” Mutwiri bellows. “You can’t go into people’s offices like a fool. Do you ever use your head? No wonder you cannot amount to anything.”
“I am not going to allow you to insult me anymore, Mutwiri. I have had it up to here with you,” Kendi replies defiantly, pointing at her neck. “You have been using me physically and sexually for fifteen years and you think you are just going to push me away like a piece of garbage?”
Mutwiri sighs dramatically.
“I already told you that what happened was a mistake, Kendi. I am not going to marry you. You work for me.”
“You are realizing that now? And what do you mean I work for you? How much have you been paying me for the domestic work? And for the sex?”
“Look, Kendi. I don’t have time for your drama. Lilian and I were having a pre-marital counselling class because we are going to get married at the end of the month…”
“Pastor you knew about this?” Kendi asks, facing the Man of God. “And you have even been conducting premarital class yet you have been calling me Mrs. Mutwiri for the last twelve years?”
“He told me that you had agreed to part ways and since you have never been formally married, there was no need for a divorce.”
“And you didn’t see it fit to ask me? Or to take us through the marriage counselling sessions that you are always talking about?”
“Just get out, Kendi,” Mutwiri growls. “If you do not want to continue working and living in my house, just go and pack your things and leave. When Lilian and I come home in the evening, we want to find you gone.”
“Are you moving in together?” Pastor Kinyua asks.
“Yes. I already told you that.”
“But that is ungodly.”
“Has it become ungodly now? I have been living with Kendi for fifteen years now and it has never been a problem. But if it is Lilian is suddenly a problem? Give me a break, Kinyua.”
“I am only repeating what scripture says, Mutwiri. Sex before marriage is a sin. When you joined this church you introduced Kendi to me as your wife, so I had no idea you were not officially married. And since you have been living as man and wife, and even have a child together, marrying Lilian will be an act of adultery and I want no part of it.”
“So what are you saying?”
“The premarital classes will have to stop today, and I will not officiate your wedding. And if you insist on living with Lilian, then I will have to ask you to vacate your position as the Chairman of the Deacon’s Board.”
“Very well, pastor. I will vacate the position because I can assure you that Lilian and I will live together from this day onwards, and we will get married at the end of the month as we had planned. I will just find another pastor to officiate the wedding.”
“Okay, that is settled then,” Pastor Kinyua says seriously.
“There is one more thing, Pastor,” Mutwiri says sarcastically.
“What is that?”
“I don’t know if you remember, but I am the one who donated this plot to the church. In fact, the title to this land is still in my name. I am also the one who donated the bulk of the money for the construction. Since I am no longer a member of your church, I want you to leave before Sunday. Find somewhere else for you and your miserable congregants to worship at. I want to use my buildings. Let’s go back to work, Lillian,” Mutwiri says, and storms out, hand in hand with his girlfriend.
Image by Charlotte 202003 from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/bible-christian-jesus-religion-2989425/
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