(Continued from Redundant II)
Lucy drives out of the compound at 7.30 am. Her car, a white Mazda Demio, was bought by Ryan last year as a birthday gift. It’s a second-hand car, but the previous owner took good care of it. Other than ordinary wear and tear of parts, which she replaces promptly, the car has never given her any problems. It purrs on the road as though it was brand-new.
She has always loved this car. But recently, after Dr. Jonas promised to buy her a newer and bigger car, she has started thinking that it is too small and too old for her liking. Dr. Jonas is her boss, the Executive Director of the organization she works for. He is a pleasant and moneyed white man, who first came to Kenya as a commercial attaché in the Spanish embassy and decided to stay.
He comes from a wealthy family back in Spain, and has established successful businesses of his own here in Kenya, so money is not a problem for him. When he resigned from his job at the embassy, his family gave him money to start a business in Kenya, and he started a chain of restaurants. He had studied the Kenyan market in the course of his work for the Spanish government, so the transition into business was not too bumpy. It is from the profits of these restaurants that he started his NGO, which focusses on feeding children from the most vulnerable communities.
Lucy has been sleeping with Jonas for a year now. For months, she was balancing her time and affection between Jonas and Ryan. Jonas has more money, but Ryan was her husband and therefore represented stability for her. But for the last few months it has become more and more difficult to continue tolerating Ryan. The man doesn’t have the resolve to go out and look for a job like a real man. He sits in the house doing a woman’s jobs and waiting for her to come home with food.
That disgusts her, and she has lost all respect for him.
Jonas wants her to go and live with him. The only reason she has not accepted so far is because she lied to him that she doesn’t have children. If she has to go and live with him, it means she will have to abandon her children. She was not ready to do that, but now she is. She has realized that the more she dilly dallies, the higher the chances of Jonas being plucked by another woman.
Lucy already knows that the NGO’s accountant, Asenath, has been making moves on Jonas. If she is not careful, Asenath will crawl into Jonas’ bed and dethrone her. No, she cannot let that happen. For some reason, Jonas decided to pick her over all the other women he has access to. She has to take advantage of that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe he will even take her with him to Spain, although he has not given any indication of leaving Kenya. But in life anything can happen.
Lucy is leaving her matrimonial house for good today. That is why she has packed her favorite dresses and shoes. She has also carried her make-up kit. She hasn’t carried everything, because she knows that whatever she needs, Jonas can buy. Ryan will just have to figure our how to pay rent and fend for himself and his children. After all, that is what real men do.
Baby Diana wakes up at 8.30. Ryan gets her off the bed and starts feeding her porridge. If there is anything he enjoys, it is being with his children. Even when he was still working, he always tried his best to create time for his children. The only problem with his current situation is his wife’s attitude, and the fact that he has no money.
But this situation has taught his several lessons. The first lesson he has learned is that he should always save for a rainy day. Never again will he be caught off guard like this. He has always heard that someone should save to ensure that he or she can be comfortable even if they are out of a job for six months. He always promised himself that he would save. But that never materialized because things always came up.
Last year, for instance, he took a loan and bought his wife a car. It was her birthday and he thought that the car was a pleasant surprise. It was. But the loan repayments depressed his pay cheque, such that he had postpone any thoughts of saving. Now, barely a year later, the bank is pursuing him because he has defaulted on the loan. His own ancient Nissan Bluebird is parked outside. Its insurance has expired and he doesn’t have money to renew. He doesn’t even have money to fuel it.
Thinking about the Nissan Bluebird gives him an idea. He can sell that car and generate some cash. He bought the car nine years ago for half a million shillings. He has maintained its well, and it has reciprocated the love. He has heard many complaints about Nissan cars, but the Bluebird has served him well.
But he knows he cannot get half a million shillings for it, even though he has maintained it well. He is selling it in distress, and that alone means he will be forced to accept a throw away price for it. He will be lucky if he manages to get three hundred thousand shillings. He needs the money though. Even if he manages to get only two hundred and fifty thousand shillings, it will be enough for him to move to a smaller house with his children. He will buy the most basic necessities, and then save some money for food. By the time the cash runs out, God will have opened another door.
“Hi babe,” Jonas greets Lucy with a smile when she enters his office. He pulls her close to himself and kisses her lightly on the lips. Jonas doesn’t care whether people in the office know that he is dating Lucy. At first Lucy used to insist on privacy because she did not want Ryan to get wind of her affair. But in recent months she doesn’t care either. And she cares even less today when she has already made up her mind to move in with Jonas.
“Hi love. I have missed you.”
“You wouldn’t miss me if you agreed to come and live with me.”
“I am ready, darling. Take me home with you tonight.”
“Are you serious about that?”
“Yes, darling. I am serious. I want to be fully yours. From tonight I will live with you. I will even marry you if you ask.”
“You are willing to leave your husband for me?”
“That’s what I said. I am now yours baby. See, I am not wearing my wedding ring today. I am very serious about this.”
“Would you divorce your husband and marry me?”
“I would, but I don’t have money to hire a divorce lawyer.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, baby girl. I will take care of it.”
(The following day)
It is a slow Saturday morning. Ryan is already up because he is used to it, but the kids are still asleep. There is no school today. Ryan slept on the couch the whole night, waiting for Lucy but she did not show up. His neck and shoulder blades are hurting because of the discomfort of sleeping on the couch. Ryan is chatting with a potential client, who is offering 260, 000 shillings for the car. Ryan put up the Bluebird for sale yesterday in the online market places, and quoted its price as Kshs. 400, 000.
So far only one person has inquired about it but he sounds serious. Ryan is resisting the urge to take the cash and close the deal. He wants to see if he can get the client to agree to 300k shillings. He sends a message advising the potential client that the absolute least amount he can accept is 350k. As he waits for a response, he checks the rest of his messages on WhatsApp.
One of the messages is from a number he has not saved on his contact list, and he decides to start with it. It has a pdf attachment, and when he opens it, he is stunned to realize that it is a divorce petition. Lucy is accusing him of all manner of things, including physical and emotional cruelty. The message was sent one hour ago. Ryan sits back and sighs.
When he continues checking his messages, he realizes that he has messages from Lucy. They were sent yesterday, and he was meant to see then before seeing the divorce papers. There are eight messages in a series, but the message is simple. She has found a better man, a man who will take care of her. That is why she has decided to leave their marriage. She also indicates that the children will now be his sole responsibility, because her new man wants nothing to do with children. She thanks him for the years they were together, and then tells him that her lawyers would get in touch with the divorce papers, when they get filed in court.
Ryan leans back and sighs. What man would make a woman abandon her children? And what kind of a woman abandons her own children because of a man? But maybe it is for the best, he reasons. At least now he will not have to buy household items, although he still will have to move to a smaller house to cut on costs. Once he sells the car, he will be able to survive until the end of the school year. If he will not have found a job by then, he will sell the household items and move to the village.
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