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(Continued from Ordinary Man I)
At 34, Sarah has seen all of her friends, who are also her age mates and former classmates at the University, get married and start families. In her circle of five, the first one to get married was Ruth, who got married at 26, a week after they graduated. She had been dating a male classmate of theirs, and together they now run an architectural firm in Eldoret. Sarah and another girl called Agnes were the only ones in the group to hit 30 while still single.
After most of the other girls got married, they joined hands in trying to find husbands for Sarah and Agnes. Perhaps that is why Agnes soaked in the pressure. And pressure wasn’t just coming from their circle of friends: parents and other relatives, other members of their respective churches and technically almost every acquaintance they had, made it their business to remind them that their biological clocks were ticking.
Sarah had watched and listened for months as Agnes worried and fretted about age. Agnes had been convinced that no one would marry her if she hit 30 while still single. Her 30th birthday was the most depressing, and there is nothing the other girls could do to cheer her up. Fortunately for her, she found a boyfriend a couple of months after that and she got married a month after her 31st birthday. By the time Agnes got married, Ruth already had two children (now she has three).
Unlike Agnes, Sarah has over the years refused to be publicly pressured, and she usually laughs off their suggestions. Around the time Agnes got married, Sarah started joking that she wanted to dedicate her life as a single woman to the Lord, like the Biblical Apostle Paul. Her friends believed her, and that became the standard line that she uses whenever anyone asks her when she is getting married. In private though, her pillow tells a different story. Before she met David, she would fret and cry herself to sleep every other night. The real reason Sarah was not in a rush to get married, even though she desperately wanted to, was the conflict in her heart: the dichotomy between what her logical mind wanted and what she fantasied about.
But now she has found the man of her dreams. Who would have thought that all she needed to do to find a husband was change churches? David is not intimidated by her success. He is a senior manager in a real estate firm. He did not say which one, but it doesn’t matter. They have only been dating for a week, and she will learn more about him as time goes by. There are over ten real estate firms in Shava, about five of which are her clients. He probably works for one of the other five, because if he is a senior manager in a firm she designs buildings for, he would know. Or maybe his firm is not a developer, but rather a management agency.
That thought dampens her mood slightly, because she suddenly remembers that Judy’s father runs a real estate management agency. His firm manages almost all the commercial buildings in the region. Is it possible that he works for Judy’s father? Is that why they are always hanging out together?
It really doesn’t matter. His professional life is distinct from his personal life. Even if he works for Judy’s father, it is she, Sarah, that he chose to be the woman of his life. It is she that he kissed, not Judy. Judy will just have to accept that fact and move on. And if she doesn’t, Sarah decides that she will push her away. Once she is confident that her relationship with David has reached solid ground, she will force him to cut links with Judy.
Sarah gulps her coffee, which is now cold, and goes back to her desk. She cannot think about her boyfriend the whole day; there are bills to be paid.
Judy has developed a dislike for Sarah. Since she joined the church, Sarah has stolen the spotlight from her. Sarah now leads worship regularly and is regarded as the second best worship leader after David, a position Judy previously occupied. Sarah is also a professional woman with a better car than the Mazda Demio that Judy’s father gave her. Judy calls herself an “Entrepreneur” but other than a loss-making beauty shop in Shava town, she has no enterprise to talk about. She thrives on her father’s money. The worst part is that Judy knows that David has taken notice of Sarah.
“David likes the new girl Sarah,” she tells her friends. They are sharing a platter of meat at Walan Retreat Centre in Sodi.
“That is not possible,” Angelica, one of her friends said. “We all know that David has his eyes only on you. Besides, you have done so much for him. He would not betray you like that.”
Angelica is also in love with David, and has even approached him behind her friend’s back and told him how she feels. But David told her he was not ready to be in a relationship. He did not say he could not date her because he loves Judy; he said he was not ready for a romantic relationship. That alone gives Angelica hope.
But that is not all. David has been to Angelica’s house twice. She invited him for dinner both times. The first time he did not stay long after dinner. They kissed and made out on the bed then he left. The second time he stayed the whole night, leaving early in the morning while it was still dark. That night he made love to her, and told her for the first time that he loves her.
Although he still insisted that he was not ready for a romantic relationship, he did tell her that she was the first woman he had slept with, and that he would ‘make their sin right’ by marrying her “at the appropriate time”. But he beseeched her not to tell anyone what they had done because “we will get in trouble with the pastor”.
Angelica does not like Judy. She acts as though they are best friends, calling each other ‘sweetheart’, ‘dearie’ and ‘hun’, but she finds Judy to be arrogant and overbearing. And she hates the way Judy clings to David, even though it is obvious that David doesn’t love her.
Judy is used to getting her way. She is the daughter of a wealthy real estate mogul and she is not accustomed to being denied anything. Angelica, together with the other two girls Carol and Mercy, like hanging out with Judy because she foots the bills. Whenever they eat out, Judy pays. She even sponsors the occasional “all girls” trips to Nairobi, Naivasha or Nanyuki. They ride in her car, and she pays the hotel expenses. Even when they go out on days like today, Judy will pay and later drop all of them home. The three girls get wonderful Instagram photos at no cost to themselves.
Angelica, Carol and Mercy discovered Judy’s weakness and like exploiting it to the fullest. In spite of her father’s wealth and her high- class upbringing, Judy needs to feel important, which is why she pampers her three ‘friends’. In return, and to keep the taps flowing, they sing her praises and make her feel like a goddess, even though they do not particularly like her.
“Yes, it is true. Another friend of mine saw them having dinner at Hotel Shava last evening. My friend even took photos and sent them to me. When David and Sarah left their table, my friend followed them to see if they would go home together.”
“Did they?” Carol asks.
“No, but he kissed her on the lips before she got into her car. My friend took a photo of that too but it is grainy because the lighting in the car park is not very good.”
“We need to teach that woman a lesson,” Angelica says. She is furious too. She cannot believe that David bypassed her and went for the new girl.
“Yes, I know that,” Judy says. “The question is how?”
“Forget about Sarah,” Mercy chips in. “Just get pregnant for David and he will be forced to marry you. He works for your father doesn’t he?”
“Yes, he does. I actually got him the job.”
They all know the story. When David joined the church, he was a poor graduate. Judy decided immediately that she wanted him, so she arm twisted her father into giving him a job. It is probably one of the reasons why David tolerates her, the other being that Judy lavishes him with gifts. She bought him a car for his last birthday.
“That is not a good idea,” Angelica says, alarmed. She doesn’t want to lose David. Not to Sarah, and certainly not to Judy. Mercy and Carol do not know that she has slept with David once. She kept her word and did not tell anyone. “To get pregnant you have to seduce him into having sex. And David is not that kind of a man. Plus, can you imagine the scandal that will erupt in church if you get pregnant? Pastor Richard might even excommunicate the two of you.”
“No he won’t,” Carol says. “The worst that will happen is that they will be suspended from the worship team for four months, then the pastor will pray for them and ‘return them to the fold.’ But since Judy’s father is the single largest tither in church, even that suspension might not happen. Depending on how Judy plays this, a quick wedding might even be organized for them before the pregnancy begins to show.”
“Men are all the same,” Mercy chips in. “And if David kissed Sarah last night, then that means he is not an exception.”
“Actually,” Judy begins. “I like Mercy’s idea. David and I have been sleeping together for a couple of years. I will spend the night at his place tonight and lie to Dad and Mom that I am with you guys at Mercy’s. I have a spare key to David’s apartment so when he gets home he will find me at his place, all ready for him. All I need is to do is to stop using the pill and within no time David’s baby will start growing inside me.”
Judy does not notice the shock on Angelica’s face.
Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/man-black-victory-joy-achievement-3483205/
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