He sits in his house, sipping coffee. His mind is in turmoil because he has been unable to reach Salome the whole afternoon.
Suddenly his phone vibrates.
I can’t believe you would do that to me.
His mind starts racing, trying to figure out how to respond. It would be better if she would pick his calls. Better still, if they met face to face. It is difficult to reduce his thoughts to texts. He is still thinking when his phone vibrates again.
“After all we have been through, how could you?”
“Where are you? We need to talk. Face to face.” He quickly types.
But his text is ignored as a barrage of texts hit his phone. Salome is a sanguine, and she is now in a ranting mood. He knows the best he can do is just let her finish what she wants to say. You know, get it off her chest. When there is a lull of 10 minutes without an incoming text, he decides it is time to venture a call.
“I am sorry about the miscommunication today. You are getting it all wrong. Please come over to my house and let me explain,”
There is silence on the other side of the phone.
“Sal, are you there?”
He only calls her Sal when he desperately needs a favour, and he can almost feel her smiling on the other side of the phone.
“Yea, I am here. It is okay, I am on my way.”
Thirty minutes later, he is explaining his predicament to her over mugs of coffee. He decides to be completely honest with her.
“So you have gone for dates with this Susan? When did this happen and why didn’t you tell me?”
“They were not real dates Sal, we just met for coffee. And that is only because my mother was nagging me. I didn’t tell you because I was afraid of your reaction,”
“So what else happened between the two of you that you didn’t tell me because you were afraid of my reaction?”
“Okay, I am sorry. It’s just that this is too much to take in at once.”
There is silence for several minutes as each of them gets lost in their thoughts.
“So what are you going to do?”
“Marry you and hope that I can protect you adequately against my mother,”
“I don’t want to come between you and your mother,”
“You are not coming between me and my mother. My mother is coming between me and my mother. If she continues manipulating me it will be difficult to have a relationship with her, whether you are in my life or not. But I hope she will come around and start accepting my choices in life,”
“Even if she accepts me, I am going to disappoint her further. You know I don’t like fanfare, and my wedding will be no exception. I want a small, quiet wedding. But I am sure she wants a huge wedding for her only son. She will want to impress everyone. I don’t want that kind of attention,”
“I have an idea. Let us get married while she is still angry with me,”
“You can’t get married without your mother’s blessing Rutherford,”
“It would be ideal to get her blessing, but seeing how she is behaving, I think I am entitled to bypass her. Besides, here is the plan. We go to the Attorney General and get married. Later, if she comes around, we can do the traditional wedding. That is a better situation than come-we-stay,”
“So we get married without even my parents’ blessing?”
“No, we will explain the situation to your parents. Your father is a reasonable man, from the times I have spoken with him. I am sure he will grant us his blessings.”
“Sounds like a plan, but I think we should invite your mother too. Let her refuse to come, but at least she will have been invited.”
“What if she ruins the wedding?”
“She can’t. We get married privately at the AG’s in the morning and hold a small party in the afternoon. We will invite a few friends and family including her to the wedding in the afternoon. Only by that time we will already be married.”
(One and a half months later)
The wedding reception is being held at Tendora Gardens, a new place that has sprung up off Thika Road. There are about fifty guests. The presiding minister is Reverend Timothy Gitau, the elderly pastor of the church Rutherford has attended since he was a boy.
Reverend Gitau is just about to pray for the two when Alice and Susan storm in. She is taken aback when she sees her pastor presiding.
“Pastor Gitau, how can you go behind my back to marry my son illegally?”
“Hello, Alice. Your son invited me to bless his union. I was informed that you were invited,”
“Well, I am sorry pastor. You have to stop this wedding. Here is the court order,” Alice says, waving a piece of paper.
“On what grounds did you get that order? I am just curious,”
“That Rutherford is married to Susan under customary law. That doesn’t matter really. Here is the court order that you have to obey. You can’t marry these two,”
“I am sorry Alice, but you are too late. As I said, I am only here to bless the union of these two, not to marry them. They are already married. They got married this morning at the Attorney General’s office in Nairobi.”
Alice and Susan are stunned. Susan starts crying.
“Under which customary law did you get married, Susan?” a man asks from the crowd.
Susan and Alice turn to face him. It is Julius, Susan’s father.
“Alice, I do not remember taking dowry from you or your son. Who married my daughter to your son?”
“Julius, I thought you and I agreed that my son will marry your daughter?”
“We did. But at that time I did not know that this you man was not part of the plan. He approached me and explained to me his situation, and I apologized. I even promised to attend his wedding, and here I am.”
“Alice, you cannot impose your will on your son. He is an adult and can make his own decisions. I think you should respect that,”
“Alice,” the pastor starts. “You have raised a fine young man. He loves and respects you. But you will lose him if you insist on controlling him.”
Alice is like a granite statue for several seconds. Then she sighs and tears the court order she is holding. She walks over and hugs Salome. Then pecks her son on the cheeks.
“Congratulations on your wedding son. I hope you will be coming back to work after your honeymoon,” She whispers into his ear.
“No mom. I am opening my own restaurant when I get back,”
“Who will be running the supermarket?”
“Hire a CEO mum. Tuskys have a CEO who is not a family member and they are doing fine. You can do the same,”
“I have accepted your wife. Can’t you do this for me?”
“Is everything a trade-off to you mom? Can’t you be happy for me without strings attached?”
“Okay, I am sorry,”
Reverend Gitau coughs and Alice finds a seat so that the ceremony can go on. She looks for Susan, but the younger woman slithered off unnoticed. Alice sighs and claps loudly as Reverend Gitau finishes his prayer blessing the young couple. In fact, she may have clapped too loudly because everyone turns to look at her.
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