Everything seems perfect. All the preparations are set. Jesse and Judith are only waiting for the big day, their wedding day, which is happening this coming Saturday. Jesse is a little nervous because he has been a bachelor for quite a while. How much will marriage change his way of doing things?
Judith is, of course, a wonderful woman, and Jesse is deeply in love with her. The past year has been fulfilling with her in his life, so it is only natural that they should make the situation permanent. Jesse is funding the wedding himself. He loathes the idea of begging, especially for something like a wedding which he considers a luxury. Fundraising for medical bills and school fees is okay, but he finds it strange that people find it okay to beg others money for holding parties. Because to him, weddings are parties. The getting married part costs only a token.
Jesse gives generously to education and healthcare fundraisers, but never to weddings. He may give a token one thousand or two thousand shillings, and even buy a gift for newlyweds, but will never give a substantial amount of money.
This philosophy has landed him in trouble before. He was meant to get married seven years ago, at the age of twenty-five. The intended bride was Carol, his college sweetheart. They had started dating while in the first year of college and so one year after graduation seemed like a good time to tie the knot. They were in love, and they had landed good jobs. Why wait?
But the wedding itself brought the first crack to their relationship. Carol wanted a huge wedding. Jesse was not opposed to the idea, but they could not afford it. He refused to wipe away his growing Sacco savings to fund the wedding. He also refused to convene a fundraising committee for the wedding. And to him, taking a loan to fund a wedding was outrageous.
Eventually, they agreed to wait a little longer and save for the wedding. But the cracks had formed.
These cracks would widen into enormous gulfs the more Carol’s girlfriends got married. And they all seemed to get married at once. Of course this pressured her, but that was not the primary source of the final rift.
This was caused by Jesse’s blatant refusal to contribute towards these weddings. He did give his usual token one thousand or two, but Carol was a member of these wedding committees and wanted to be seen to support her girlfriends. Jesse’s argument was simple: they were saving to fund their wedding and therefore could not afford to use the same money to fund other people’s weddings.
The grapes turned bitter during Grace’s wedding. Grace was the last of the girls to get married if you discounted Carol. She had a budget of 2 million shillings, but she and her boyfriend only had a hundred thousand. The other girls in the clique and their husbands together pledged sums that totaled to a million. To belong, and to save face, Carol pledged a hundred thousand. Forty thousand for herself and sixty for Jesse.
When she told him what she had done, he calmly told her that he wouldn’t pay. She hit the roof. Tears flowed. He was called names. An advisory committee of girlfriends was convened on WhatsApp and it reached the conclusion that Jesse was hopelessly stingy and should be dumped.
So the tightfisted son of the soil was dumped the same day.
Jesse smiles as he remembers this incident. Over the years his stingy nature has helped him to establish a healthy portfolio of investments. He has rental properties scattered across his home county, a couple of farms that have proved profitable in the last two years and two restaurants in Nairobi. He still works at the same consulting firm he joined as a Graduate Trainee after graduation. Only that now he is the Deputy Director with a net monthly salary of over half a million shillings. At only 32, the corner office is within his sights.
And he can now afford to afford to fund his 1.5 million wedding without help, even from Judy. one and a half a million is, of course, a conservative amount for a man of his stature, but he still does not believe in unnecessary displays of opulence.
He has dated other girls over the years, but after Carol, he has never really been in love until he met Judith. Some of the other girls hardly lasted beyond two coffee dates. Judith felt right from the moment he started dating her. He met her through his best friend Eric. Actually, he originally thought Erick and Judith were dating. But they both denied it whenever anyone mentioned it, insisting that they were just friends and colleagues at work. Jesse wasn’t the only one who was not persuaded.
So although he liked her, he kept away.
But Erick got married last year. He met a woman online, proposed to her within a month and married her three months later. Jesse thought it was a risky move, but even he has had to admit that Erick got it right. Zuhura is a lovely woman. Warm, pleasant and very intelligent. And she is obviously so in love with Erick, even a year later.
It is after Erick’s wedding that Jesse ventured to ask Judith out. One thing followed the other and they are now set to walk down the aisle this Saturday. Quite naturally, Erick and Zuhura are their best couple. Judith is a sanguine who has a knack for making every situation light. He enjoys her company…
With this thought hanging, he stands up, puts on his coat and clears his desk. He should surprise her. He knows she is home because by now her routine is inked in his head. She insists on spending Monday evenings at her house alone reading. But it is a week to their wedding so he figures he can break the rule and surprise her.
He bids his secretary goodnight and exits the office. He walks to Text Book Centre and picks three books she has been drooling over for the last couple of weeks. He then buys flowers and drives to her house. His biggest battle, he knows, will be to stop her from carrying these books to their honeymoon.
Was buying them even a good idea?
The guard at the gate waves him in and directs him to a parking slot. He climbs the stairs to Judith’s first-floor apartment quietly. He has a key to the apartment and intends to surprise her while he is already inside.
He turns the key on the lock very gently and slides into the corridor. The design of the house is such that someone sitting in the sitting room cannot see the corridor. Jesse tiptoes across the corridor. He can hear murmurs and imagines she is on phone.
She surprised him this way last month, bringing him his favourite tie…the one he is wearing today. Today is his day to revenge.
At the edge, he peeps into the sitting room, ready to shout surprise! But then what he sees sends a chill down his spine, and his heart nearly stops. There on the couch is a naked Judith, and an equally naked Erick, right in the middle of a steamy, carnal session.
Is this why she has been insisting that “her Mondays are sacred”? Jesse’s mind is in turmoil, and he does not know what to do. Should he confront them or should he sneak out again and leave?
(Continued at The Devil’s You Know II)
Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/active-african-african-american-4010905/