“I did not lie to you, Morris. Oscar and I broke up,” Consolata says and starts sobbing.
Morris pauses. There is nothing that melts his heart faster than the tears of a woman. He knows that if he marries a manipulative wife then he is toast. He will do whatever she says immediately the floodgates open. For that same reason, he contemplates walking away. If this is the way it is going to be, then as her husband he will be in trouble. But he can walk away now and dodge that trap.
But he finds it impossible to walk away and leave her sobbing. So he sits down again.
“Why didn’t you tell me that part?”
“Because I didn’t think it was important or even wise to discuss my relationship with my ex on our first date. But my relationship with Oscar has been dead for a while now. He is simply never there. He spends most of his time at work. I get to see him on Sundays, but even then he is there but not there, if you know what I mean. We used go to church, usually the 8 am to 10 am service, then we go to his house where he spends the whole day on his computer working while I flipped TV channels trying to keep myself busy. I got tired of that routine and stopped going to his house. So we agreed to be having a date every Thursday. It happens, but it is usually rushed because Oscar has to get home and work. And when we talk on phone, he is either working or too tired to talk. I got tired of all that, Morris. But I didn’t have the courage to leave because he is all I have had since I was a teenager. I have never dated anyone else. But interacting with you in Jedidah’s room for the past three days opened my eyes. I realized I could not hang on to Oscar forever. I need to have a life of my own. That is why I broke up with him today before I came here,”
“You broke up with him today?”
“What if he promises to change and begs you to go back to him? Won’t you leave me and run back to him? I mean, you said he is the only one you have had since your days as a teenager,”
“I am your girlfriend now, Morris. If this relationship doesn’t work, trust me it will not be because of Oscar,”
“Okay Consolata, I hear you. This relationship we have here is maturing too fast. We have had our first fight seconds after we started dating,” Morris says smiling. Consolata relaxes and smiles.
“I am sorry I messed your evening,”
Morris places his hand over Consolata’s.
“No you didn’t darling. You probably made it worthwhile. The way we are starting this relationship is rather unconventional, but I admit I like you already. But you need to meet Oscar and end this relationship properly,”
“I thought you were afraid that I would run back into his arms,”
Morris laughs softly.
“Maybe it would be in my interest if you run back before I invest too much emotion here,”
Consolata pulls out her phone from her handbag. She has many missed calls from both Oscar and Jedidah’s mother. She decides to call Oscar directly.
“How did you know they would be together?” Oscar asks Jedidah’s mother.
“I am an old woman son, but I am not foolish. I could see the way she was looking at him. She likes him a lot. Unfortunately he wasn’t paying attention to her because he seemed to be so in love with this daughter of mine. I have stayed with her in this room for three days and I thought she is a good girl. I did not think she was capable of cheating,”
“She is not cheating mother, assuming she is dating this Morris guy. She broke up with me today,”
“Poor boy I am sorry,”
“I guess I am at fault mother. She has been very patient with me for years. I guess I have spent so much time at work and took for granted the fact that she was always there. Now that she has broken up with me, I realize I should have spent more time with her. But I have a question. You said this guy wasn’t interested in Consolata, and that only Consolata was interested in him. Why did you still think they would be together?”
“Because girls today know what they want, and go for it. It is not like the olden times when we would sit and wait to be noticed. I think the only thing that was holding her back was the fact that Jedidah here was her friend,”
“My daughter was stupid enough to chase away that nice young man because of a thug she says she loves. And when Consolata tried to reason with her, she got kicked out as well,”
“Why do you think she was genuine if she wanted him for herself?” Jedidah cuts in. Her mother shakes her head as if she has never heard a more stupid question.
“Because, my daughter, she loves you enough to have been willing to forfeit her feelings for him. But you could not see that,”
Oscar looks at the two women and smiles. He has never met Jedidah’s mother before today, but the woman is so warm that he feels as if he is talking to his own mother. He hasn’t even been close to Jedidah, although he knows her because she is Consolata’s best friend. And here he is at night, in a hospital ward, talking to them like old friends.
“I can’t believe I am losing Consolata,” he says after a long pause.
“Listen son. Life always gives us second chances. When you get your second chance, do not blow it,”
“Do you think she will come back to me mother?”
Jedidah’s mother looks at the young man sadly.
“If what I saw is real, then no son. She is not coming back to you. But you will get another nice girl. And when that time comes, do not blow it. That will be your second chance,”
“I don’t know if I can survive without Jedidah, mother. She is all I have known since childhood. I have never dated any other girl,”
His phone vibrates as he is talking. It is Consolata calling.
“Hi princess,” he says pressing the phone in his ear, as thought that would bring her closer to him.
“Hi Oscar. I have heard that you were looking for me,”
“Yes I was. We need to talk,”
“Where can we meet?”
“Yes, if you do not mind,”
“I do mind Oscar, because it is getting late. Can’t we talk tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is fine. What time?”
“Lunch time will be okay,”
“See you tomorrow over lunch time then, sweetheart. Good night, I love you,”
“Good night Oscar.”
Charlotte drives home-to Jacob’s house that it- early. She needs to confirm if indeed he has changed locks or if he was bluffing. Even as she told the old man to get him fired, she knew that there is a possibility that he is bluffing. But she needed him to see that she has some control over him. She needs to tame him.
At last she gets to the exit leading to Jacob’s house and swings the car into the estate. The guards open the gate and wave her on. They are the same guards that were there in the morning-so Jacob was bluffing after all. She will get him his job back but only after he understands that he cannot leave her without consequences. After parking the car she changes into more comfortable clothes and starts preparing dinner.
The matatu finally stops and Jacob walks into the estate. At least today he will not have to deal with Charlotte in his house. That peace of mind will be important to enable him decide his next move. He has already decided that he will not try to get his job back-that will be giving Charlotte too much power over his life. He will just find a job elsewhere and get on with his life. He is so preoccupied in his thoughts that he does not notice the maroon Juke sitting comfortably on his parking slot. The apartment comes with a parking slot, even for tenants without cars. It is only when he gets to the door and sees lights on that he realizes that he will not be alone for the night. Half his mind tells him to walk away and let her live there if she so wishes. But the other half reminds him that he has nothing-even his clothes are in this house. He pushes the door and gets in. The aroma wafting in from the kitchen reminds him that he is starving. And when Charlotte appears from the kitchen wearing one of his T-shirts and nothing underneath, Jacob finds himself subconsciously reminding himself that having a wife in the house is actually a good thing.
“Hi babe?” Charlotte says sweetly. “Welcome home.” She moves towards him and plants a kiss on his cheek. “You must be tired. Go take a shower then come and have some tea,” she says, taking his bag from his shoulder.
He walks to the bedroom like a zombie and removes his suit. His towel and his pajamas have been placed neatly on the bed. He takes the towel and walks to the bathroom. While in the bathroom he reminds himself that he is being manipulated. This woman is acting all sweet and wifey but she can destroy him without blinking.
So what can he do? He could take his clothes and leave. But where would he go? He does not have any savings, so he cannot afford to pay rent and deposit for another house. Besides, he would be forced to start from scratch in terms of furniture and household items. Charlotte’s items may be of superior quality, but his items were not cheap either. And he does not know where Charlotte took them.
The conclusion of all this, he decides in his head, is that he will be forced to somehow co-exist with Charlotte in this house until he is able to move out. Not that he knows when he will be able to move out since he is now jobless. He puts on the pajama and remembers something. He asked a female colleague today about pregnancy tests and was told that a single line on the test is a negative. If a woman is pregnant the test will show two lines. He confirmed that on Google too. He is sure that the test that Charlotte showed him had a single line. The woman is not pregnant, she is just messing with his mind. He will get that test and confront her.
He goes to the drawer where he saw her put it and pulls it open. The test is still there. He takes it and glances at it. It has two lines. But wait, it is a different test from the one he was shown yesterday. He is sure of it. She has switched the tests because she knew he would Google and confront her. But how can he prove it?
He walks to the sitting room and sits down. Charlotte come and pours him tea. Before he can say anything she walks back to the sitting room and comes back out slicing an orange.
“You are not pregnant,” Jacobs says.
“What do you mean?” Charlotte asks, eyeing him suspiciously.
“That test you showed me yesterday. It had a single line,”
“You saw your own things babe. The test is still in the drawer. You can go and check again,”
“Don’t babe me! I know what I saw. I am not going to be your slave anymore. I am leaving,”
“And where will you go? You are jobless, remember?”
“How did you know I am jobless? I don’t remember telling you that,”
“I know many things Jacob. I know that you were fired today and that you will not get another job anywhere unless you behave yourself in this house. So sit down, drink your tea and thank God that you have a woman who loves you. If you behave yourself then tomorrow you will have your job back,”
“Don’t patronize me in my own house!” Jacob is now yelling.
“You need to calm down Jacob. This is our house now. In fact, since I am the only one working, it just might be that I am the one who will now be paying rent and feeding you.”
“You can have the house. Just tell me where you took my household items,”
“You don’t get it, do you? The only reason I tolerate living in this slum is because of you. So you are not going anywhere baby boy. I suggest you sit down, take your tea and stop whining.”
Jacob loses his temper. He grabs the knife she had been using to slice the orange and stabs her twice.
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