(Hey folks, remember I am launching my first hard copy novel, The Preying Shepherds, on 23rd April, 2022. The event will be at Eton Hotel, Thika. Kindly grab your ticket by paying Kshs. 1500 to buy Goods Till Number 297264. I encourage you to register early to help me prepare for the event. Thank you for the continued support.)
Bradley is in a good mood as he drives to work. It is a bright and sunny morning. It rained all night, but the morning came with sunshine. At 37, Bradley’s life is on an upward trajectory. He has been married for ten years to the most supportive woman on earth. There was controversy when he decided to marry her, largely because she was an uneducated orphan. At the time she was working as Bradley’s elder brother’s house manager, and his parents and siblings were vehemently opposed to his decision to marry her. Their son and sibling was a graduate, and there was no way he was going to marry a form two drop out. That would be an embarrassment to the family.
But Bradley was in love. Cess was and still is a beautiful and very pleasant woman, Godly to the core and very intelligent, her level of education notwithstanding. She had been in his brother Philip’s house for five years, having been hired when Philip’s last born Kyle was a year old. The twins, Jane and June, were three years old. Cess had taken charge of the home like her own, and by the time Bradley married her, the three children adored her. Bradley suspected that the real reason Philip and his wife were opposed to his marriage to Cess was because they did not want to lose her as their domestic manager. He even suspected that they are the ones who incited the rest of the family.
But Bradley put his foot down and insisted that he would marry her, whether the family liked it or not. Bradley did not even have a job at the time. He had just completed his degree in economics, and he did not have a job. He was supposed to be joining the family business, but his involvement with Cess complicated that plan. Bradley would have wanted to get married to Cess the “proper” way, by visiting her uncles and paying dowry and then doing a church wedding. But his parents and siblings refused to support him, so he moved in with her in a rented two room house in a shady part of the local market. His father insisted that he would not get into the family business for as long as he was entangled with the “illiterate social climber”.
Bradley’s family is not poor. In fact, they are aristocrats in the region. Bradley’s great grandfather was a paramount chief in the colonial era and a loyalist during the battle for independence. He was a ruthless brute who acquired substantial wealth by terrorizing his subject and collecting undocumented taxes. As a result, all his children were well educated, including Bradley’s grandfather, who had a stellar career in banking. In 1978, Bradley’s grandfather quit his banking job to get into agriculture. He acquired a hundred and twenty hectares of land and started growing barley, sorghum and millet. He secured a contract with EABL and for fifteen years he was one of the leading suppliers of the brewery.
In 1993, however, the old man and his sons decided to open their own brewery. It was an audacious move, challenging the top dog in the industry for a share of the market. But the old man knew he could count on his six ambitious sons, who he deployed into various roles in the company. It bore fruit, and Matinoo Breweries Limited is a household name in the region. It hasn’t been able to get a national outlook, but in the six counties in which it operates, its three beer brands and two spirits sell better than EABL’s and Keroche’s.
The old man died in 2004, and Bradley’s father Michael became the CEO of the company. All his five brothers and their children work in different management roles in the company, which is in three industries now (manufacturing (brewery), agriculture and real estate. When he graduated, Bradley had also expected to follow the same path; he would have started as an intern at the brewery, then he would have been rotated to the farm and the real estate before returning to the headquarters to learn management. When his father and uncles were satisfied that he understood the operations of the company completely, he would be dispatched to one or the other of three arms of the business to start working his way up. That is the path all his siblings and cousins have followed.
But his choice of a wife made him an outcast.
Bradley started at the very bottom with his come-we-stay wife Cess. She adapted better to a life of poverty because she had known poverty and suffering before getting a job at Philip’s house. Bradley on the other hand had been born with a silver spoon on his mouth, and the only hardship he could recount is being forced to live in a tiny apartment when he was studying in Glasgow. Cess is the one who helped him get used to a life of poverty.
But he adapted well. Finding a job was difficult, because everyone in the local town was afraid of his family. Everyone knew he has been cast out, and since the family controlled the local economy, nobody wanted to touch him. Cess washed people’s clothes and managed to put food on the table and pay rent for a couple of months while Bradley tried to secure employment.
Eventually, just when Bradley was making up his mind to go and try his luck in the city, an old friend of his grandfather called Joel decided to hire him. He was employed as an accountant, even though he had not studied accounts. The old man told him to learn from the hotel’s other accountants and to do CPAs. His starting salary was Kshs. 40,000 net, which is more or less what he would have gotten as an intern in the family business. But the family would have given him a car and a house. That was not a problem for Bradley. He was ready to chart his own path. He rented a two bedroom house for ten thousand, which allowed him to finally move his family away from the slums. Cess was already pregnant at the time.
Two years after Cess gave birth to their third and last born child, Bradley suggested that she goes back to school. They had had one house help in six years, and she could be trusted with the child and the household. The other children were in school, one I grade one and the other PP1. Cess enrolled as a form one student at a local day school and after four years she managed to get a B-. She is currently a university student, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Bradley intends to bring her into his business when she graduates.
The last thirteen years have been good. Bradley rose from an accountant in the hotel to be the head of finance, to the COO and finally the old man Joel promoted him to the CEO position as he eased into retirement. Three years ago Joel decided to sell the hotel, and he gave Bradley the first priority. Bradley secured a loan from his bank and bought out the old man. Business has been good, and last week Bradley renegotiated the loan and secured more funds for expansion.
As he cruises to his office at the hotel, his future is looking as bright as the sunny morning. He defied his father and the family and he did not become as destitute as they probably thought he would. Later this year Cess will graduate and join him in the business- the same woman he was told he cannot marry because she was illiterate. His children are 12, 10 and 8 years old; the first two are in boarding primary schools, and the last born is in a day school. They still have the same nanny, Joyce, now a twenty nine year old woman. His life is stable.
After Bradley parks his car, he realises that he has forgotten his laptop at home. He drives back. When he gets to the house, he hears moaning sounds like someone is making love. He wonders what Joyce is up to. She has been with the family for about eleven years, since she was 18, and she has never given any indication that she would bring a man to the house while they are away. She is a respectful and very religious young woman. She certainly wouldn’t bring a man to his house, would she? Bradley’s first instinct is to call his wife, but she is probably in class, and anyway, it would take her a while to get to the house.
He decides to investigate.
He is even more perplexed to learn that the noises are coming from the master bedroom. The audacity of this woman! He will have to take a video for his wife to believe him; because otherwise she will not believe that Joyce is capable of this. Cess will be shocked.
He opens the door of the master bedroom furiously.
“What do you think…”
He stops midsentence because the woman on the bed is not Joyce, but his wife Cess. And the man she is making love to is none other than his brother Philip, Cess’ former employer. Philip is also the man who vehemently opposed Bradley’s union to Cess thirteen years ago. Here he is now, naked on Bradley’s matrimonial bed, with the same woman he trashed years ago.
Image by Victor Vote from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/crying-crying-man-sadness-cry-sad-4670799/
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