Papa Sucrae III-By Edward Maroncha
(Continued from Papa Sucrae II)
The surprising turn of events makes Nancy bolt out of bed. She doesn’t know this man any more, and she has more than enough reasons to believe that he is capable of shooting his own children.
“Let’s go,” she tells Jeremy and Salome.
“It is okay Salome sweetheart. Some fights we leave to God.”
She grabs her car keys and leads the way out of the house. She sits behind the steering wheel of the Mazda Axela with Jeremy riding shotgun. Salome sits at the back. As she pulls out of the driveway, she stares at her husband’s Toyota Prado. Of course Wayne has a lover. The man always claims that he has no money whenever he is asked to pay for anything by his kids. Yet he drives an SUV, dresses in expensive clothes and has a swanky office in Westlands.
Nancy has seen Wayne grow from a part time insurance salesman who was paid solely on commission to an established businessman. His first job, which he got on a part time basis when they were both students, was an insurance sales job. Because he is generally a driven man, he excelled both in his studies and in his job. He graduated with a second class (upper division) degree in commerce, majoring in marketing. He was absorbed by the insurance company as a Graduate Trainee. By the time Jeremy was born, Wayne was a junior executive. When he resigned from the insurance company eight years later, he was the Deputy Chief Marketing Officer.
Wayne started his business with an insurance brokerage firm in the CBD. It made sense, because insurance is the only thing he knew. But the firm has flourished, and according to what Nancy has heard, insurance brokerage is just one of the firms that her husband owns. He also runs a real estate agency and an events company. The man is clearly doing well.
Wayne only claims poverty when it comes to his household. In church, he is known as one of the most generous men. It has always been awkward for Nancy, on the one hand being lauded for the generosity of “her family” while at the same time struggling with loans and basic necessities at home. But as is her style, she took it in her stride. She flashed the smiles, accepted the compliments and kept her struggles to herself. At 49, the finishing line is in sight. Her son is in her final semester, and she has already paid his school fees. She only has two years of school fees to pay for Salome, and then she will start getting ready for a comfortable retirement. But all that has suddenly been pulled from under her feet.
As she drives towards Ruiru town, her mind is racing. How is she going to survive? She will of course have to rent a house where she and her children will live. But can she afford it? If she takes an education loan to pay Salome’s school fees, how much of her salary will be left? Perhaps she should sell the car and use the money to pay the rest of Salome’s school fees up to the end her undergraduate studies. She has not ridden in a matatu since she bought her first car nineteen years ago, but she can re-acclimatize.
The good thing is that Salome is a government sponsored student, so her fee is roughly about fifty thousand shillings a year. For the two remaining years, Nancy will pay a hundred thousand, and she will set aside another fifty thousand for materials that Salome might need for her studies. Although the Axela is about twelve years old, she has maintained it well. She is confident she can fetch half a million shillings from it.
By the time she drives into a hotel in Thika, that idea has already cemented itself in her mind. Instead of taking a top-up loan from the Sacco, she will sell her car and that will cater for her needs and leave her with enough money on her pay slip to enable her to rent a house for her and her children to live in. If she manages to get five hundred thousand shillings, she will have enough to pay Salome’s school fees for the two remaining years and also have enough left over to furnish the house she intends to rent. She knows that finding a buyer for the car on short notice will be a tall order, but she is an optimist.
When she steps out of the car, she is smiling.
“Why are you smiling mother?” Salome asks as they walk towards the lobby of the hotel. “None of this is funny. Do we even have money to pay for a hotel room?”
Nancy pulls her children closer and hugs both of them. It is an awkward hug because both of them are taller than her, having taken their father’s height. Both of them have to lean down for their mother’s hands to reach their shoulders.
“Listen kids. When I said that some fights we leave to God, I meant it. God will fight for us. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. What we should do is to continue to trust in Him. Do not worry too much about anything, the God who feeds the sparrows will take care of us.”
“Is that the same God that dad serves?” Jeremy asks. “I mean, look at what he is doing, and he is a church deacon!”
Nancy is taken aback not by the outburst, but by the fact that it is Jeremy who has spoken. Had it been Salome, she probably wouldn’t have though much about it, because Salome is very emotional and reacts to things quickly. More often than not she talks and acts without putting much thought into it. But Jeremy is a very thoughtful young man, and if he is asking a question, then it means he has been thinking about it for some time. Nancy cups her hands in her son’s face.
“I don’t know which God your father serves, son. But I know it is not the same God as the one I serve. The God I serve is the one who has enabled me to take you and your sister through school without your father’s help. That God has never failed me, and I don’t think he will start now. Come on, let us get ourselves places to sleep. Salome, you are the only one who is still in your day clothes. I will give you some money in the morning so that you can get us decent things to wear in the morning.”
Wayne carefully returns the gun to its spot in the wardrobe. He doesn’t have to change his gun hideout because he is determined that Nancy and her children will never step back into the compound. He has just earned for the freedom he has been looking for. For decades, he has been forced to sleep with his mistresses during the day, so that he can be home by night time like a responsible husband and father. Once in a while he stays at a girlfriend’s house until late and claims that he was overwhelmed by work. Nancy usually doesn’t ask too many questions, but Salome is another devil altogether. She grills him as though he is her husband, and they always end up quarrelling. To avoid all that drama, Wayne has always made sure that he is home on time. If he has genuine work to do, then he does it from his study in the house.
But all that is past tense now. He is a free man. To celebrate, he decides to call Janet to spend the night over at his place. After all, she is his latest conquest, and the reason Nancy and her children have left the house.
“Rongai is far babe, and it is late at night,” Janet whines when she receives Wyne’s call. “I cannot get a matatu at this hour. Please come and pick me.”
“Don’t worry sugar pie. I am sending a taxi to pick you up. And as you come, buy some alcohol. I want us to make drunken love tonight.”
Alcohol is another freedom that Wayne has gained. Wayne developed a taste for wine and whisky years ago, but he only takes then when he is out of town or country. He would never dare take them in his house, where he was supposed the paragon of Christian virtue. But now he can, and he will. In fact, he will have a well-stocked mini-bar in the house.
When Wayne wakes up, he is surprised to find that the sun is up. He squints as the glare of sunlight hurts his eyes, worsening the headache he is having. He is an early riser, and has consistently woken up at 5 am since his days in high school. He becomes aware that he is lying on the floor. He looks around. The room is vacant; it is almost as though he is a newly constructed house. He rises slowly and walks around the house. It has been swept clean. Whoever robbed him did a thorough job. Nothing was spared in the house: not even his boxers or Jeremy’s old sport shoes.
There is only one thing that was left: an empty bottle of Jonny Walker that is sitting accusingly on the kitchen counter.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/black-and-white-people-man-sleeping-2600656/
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