(Continued from The Administrator)
Doctor Patrick Makau is preparing to attend his ex-wife Edna’s ceremony. She is officially handing over to another pastor, and from what he has heard, she is headed to Nairobi. He knows that he messed up and is not welcome at the ceremony. His wife does not want him there, and Elosy, the woman who made him separate from his wife, doesn’t want him there either.
But he wants to go because he hopes his children will be there. He needs to talk to them, and this seems to be the only chance he has. Once their mother relocates to Nairobi, that will be it. He does not even know what he was thinking when he started sleeping with Elosy. He and Edna had a strong marriage for twenty two years, before he threw it all to the wind because of the charms of that woman Elosy and her daughter Alice. For the better part of last year, he was not paying fees for their two children, who are both at Universities in Nairobi. All his resources were going to Elosy and her daughter. Edna had not complained. She simply took loans at her Sacco and paid fees for both of them.
Now those children do not even talk to him anymore. His son Cyrus stopped talking to him the day he learnt about his affair. It was to be expected. Cyrus has always adored his mother. He is actually studying theology at St. Paul’s so that he can become a pastor like her. Patrick and Cyrus always had as solid a relationship as any father and son would, but Patrick always knew that Cyrus subconsciously loved his mother more.
Rita, on the other hand, is a father’s girl. She is studying medicine like him. He has always been her hero. When she learnt that they were divorcing, she came to him and demanded answers. He told her that they were divorcing because he longer loved their mother and wanted to be happy with another woman. She seemed to understand, or rather seemed indifferent to the whole issue, and continued to talk to him even when her brother wasn’t. To her credit, Edna did not poison the children against him. She did not even tell them, or anyone, that she had caught him in a threesome.
Patrick’s relationship with Rita collapsed when he failed to pay her med-school fees because his money had been squandered by Elosy and her daughter. That is when she stopped talking to him. Rita can keep a grudge: she blacklisted his number and blocked him on all social media platforms. That hurts him more than anything else.
Patrick’s path crossed Elosy’s on the induction day: the day Edna was officially installed as the parish minister of Makara Parish. The parish hosted a dinner for the leaders that evening, and Patrick found himself sitting next to Elosy at the hotel. Naturally, a conversation ensued.
Patrick was surprised when Elosy told him that she was the mother of three adult children, which would put her at the same age as Edna. But Elosy looked, and still looks, way younger. In fact, when Patrick later met her daughter Alice, he realized that mother and daughter seemed to be age mates.
Elosy has a trim body which she maintains by obsessive dieting. She is also very particular about her dressing and make up. Edna is a minimalist when it comes to make up, and always dresses in formal skirt suits. She is warm and motherly, and looks every inch of her forty four years. While Edna’s dressing is formal and dignified, Elosy’s is stylish and classy. Elosy prefers figure hugging dresses that barely touch the knee. She uses elaborate makeup from lipstick and lip liner to eye shadow and mascara. Her perfume is enough to make any male enthralled.
Looking back, Patrick realizes that she started manipulating him that first evening. She had prompted him to talk about himself by sharing tidbits about herself. By saying how abusive her late husband was, she had cleverly guided him into talking about his own marriage, especially the perceived weaknesses of Edna. She had seemed to enjoy this line of discussion, and for the better part of the evening they discussed their partners in low tones. Except that hers was supposedly dead, and his was living. She mournfully told him how lonely she was, and how she wished she was in Edna’s shoes. If only Edna knew how lucky she was to have such a loving husband, she said, she would not take him for granted.
It was too late when he learnt that he had been duped; that Elosy had never even been married.
But that first evening Patrick left the hotel feeling like he had been getting a raw deal in his marriage. He could not get Elosy out of his mind. By the time he and his wife Edna drove to their new home, the parish house, Patrick was already tired of his marriage. He waited until Edna went to bed then video-called Elosy.
She was in bed when she picked the call, her nightdress revealing more of her body than the dinner dress she had been wearing earlier. The fact that she picked the call in bed made it worse. She kept shifting into provocative poses. By just looking at her image on the phone, Patrick had felt an instant desire to lay with her. And for the first time in twenty two years, he knew he would cheat on Edna.
He did not wait. He asked Elosy if he could come over and keep her company for a while, and she replied in the affirmative. He went to his bedroom and told Edna that there had been an emergency at the hospital and that he had been summoned.
“But you haven’t reported yet,” she had said sleepily.
“I know, honey, but a child is dying and the other pediatrician is unwell. I will not forgive myself if I report on Tuesday and find out that that child is dead.”
“Okay, honey, but take care.”
He took the car and minutes later, he was in Elosy’s arms.
He regrets the events of that day now. He wishes he had not gone that first time. But all that is in the past now, and the damage is already done. He sneaks into the sanctuary and follows the service from the back. Usually, he would have followed the induction service from the front, seated beside his wife. But Reverend Edna Makau, though still bearing his name, is no longer his wife.
Edna has seen it too. She has seen Reverend Erastus ogling at Alice’s thighs, and her heart bleeds for Daisy. She looks at the youthful minister’s wife and their eyes meet briefly. She can see that Daisy is worried, and she can understand why. But at least Daisy has noticed the danger early enough. She can choose to fight for her marriage, or she can walk away before she gets too entangled in the emotional trauma that will surely follow. Had she, Edna, been aware of what was happening in her own marriage from the start, she would have been emotionally prepared.
Instead, she was caught unawares and went through an emotional rollercoaster for the one year it took for the divorce to be finalized. It was Gatiria who told her what was happening. Elosy always had a live-in house assistant to clean the house, cook, clean dishes, do laundry, trim the fence and keep the compound clean. Gatiria was working for her then. Edna had met Gatiria months before and they had struck a friendship. Although Gatiria was working for the Parish administrator, she fellowshipped at Karomo church. She had explained to the reverend that she could not afford the contributions required at Makara Parish, and Edna had understood. Nevertheless, they remained friends, and Gatiria would on some Monday afternoons visit the minister, particularly when Elosy and Alice were away. Monday is the off-day for all parish staff, including the parish minister.
One Monday afternoon Gatiria looked troubled when she came to visit Edna as the parish house. After some probing, she told Edna that her (Edna’s) husband was fooling around with Elosy. Edna had laughed.
“That is not possible, Gatiria. Perhaps you are mistaking him with someone else.”
“No, I am not. I normally go to bed early, because I don’t like meeting all these men who sneak into that house late at night, but I am usually not asleep. I usually can hear voices. I recognized your husband’s voice months ago, and that disturbed me. I had heard him speak after your induction. I don’t know him personally, but I was disturbed for you. I liked you even before we became friends. So I delayed in the kitchen day so that I could observe him as he came in. It was indeed Mr. Patrick.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“About six months now. I think the first night he came was the same day you had your induction. I just didn’t have the courage to tell you. Plus at that time I didn’t really know you. But I today I felt I couldn’t keep hiding it from you.”
Edna had no reason to doubt Gatiria, but for some reason she felt that she needed catch Patrick red handed. So they agreed on a plan. The next time Patrick went to Elosy’s house, Gatiria would alert Edna. Elosy’s house is not far from the parish house. It is a distance that can be covered on foot.
“They don’t lock doors until after the guest leaves,” Gatiria assured her.
So two days later Gatiria found herself in Elosy’s house, walking towards the room where voices were coming from. Seconds later she found herself staring at her naked husband lying in bed with not one but two naked women: mother and daughter. Gatiria was fired the following day, but Edna hired her and she now works at the parish house.
Patrick was not apologetic and went ahead to demand a divorce.
Edna missed all the early signs, perhaps because she trusted Patrick very much. He frequently left the house late at night and came back early in the morning, and she believed him when he said that Kiromo Mission Hospital was understaffed and therefore he was required to work for more hours than he had at his previous work place. That sounds ridiculous now, but for twenty two years Patrick had been a solid companion, her soul mate. Why would she doubt him? All the churches she had served in had beautiful women. And all the hospitals he had worked in had beautiful female doctors, nurses and orderlies. But he had remained faithful.
Or had he? Since her marriage crumbled last year, Edna has been wondering whether her husband had been faithful all those years or whether she had been too blind to see the truth. She knows she shouldn’t dwell on these thoughts too much, but twenty three years of marriage, of which twenty two were happy years, cannot be erased from her memory at the press of a button.
As if nature wants to emphasize a point, she sees her ex-husband sneaking into the service. She quickly utters a prayer.
Lord relieve me of the burden of bitterness that I bear towards this man.
Reverend Erastus has found it difficult to concentrate through-out the service. The image of the girl-and her thighs-keeps of coming back to his conscious mind. He goes through the motions of the induction like a robot; his mind is not really in it.
At the end of the service, congregants come around hugging their new parish minister. He is surprised to learn that women do hug men here. He had assumed that a rural congregation would be super conservative. As the women hug him, he can feel quite a number of them squeeze their bosoms inappropriately at him, but he ignores them. His mind is captivated by only one girl.
When her turn comes, her smile makes him weak. He ogles at her figure as she approaches him and he finds himself undressing her mentally. When she gets near, her perfume intoxicates him and as she wraps her arms around him, he can feel his private parts rebelling. He is grateful for the loose pastoral robe that is covering what would have been a humiliating bulge.
Suddenly the girl is yanked away from him and slapped twice.
Daisy is smiling at the congregants absentmindedly. Her mind is on her husband, and occasionally she glances at him and sees him smiling and hugging the congregants. As the girl whose thighs he had been ogling at approaches him, Daisy can feel anger rising from within her. Her husband is openly ogling at the girl.
When the girl hugs Erastus, her Erastus, he closes his eyes briefly to soak in the girl’s presence. Daisy cannot take it anymore. She pushes away the congregant who had been trying to hold small talk with her and marches towards her husband. She grabs the girl by the hair and slaps her twice. The girl screams, and all the activities in the church stop in a collective gasp.
Image by Artower from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/african-woman-girl-model-face-4333276/
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