(Continued from The Gambler III)
Job knows that abandoning his wife and kids is a gamble. But he is at peace with his decision. He is tired of being nagged every day. It is time he started life afresh with a young woman who can re-energize him. He takes breakfast slowly. His biggest headache now is how he will transport his clothes from his house to Fiona’s house. He is reluctant to use the little money he has on a taxi, but he has not used public transport for almost a year now.
“I need a copy of the key to the house,” he tells Fiona as he prepares to leave. He is still wearing the same clothes he was wearing yesterday because he doesn’t have a change of clothes here. He considered showering but when he remembered that Dave had probably used Fiona’s towel to shower, he dropped that idea.
“Sure, no problem. Are you leaving now?”
“Can you give me a ride to school? I have a class in about one hour’s time.”
“Unfortunately I can’t. The car developed mechanical challenges yesterday and I left it at the garage.”
“What time will your class end?”
“Lessons usually last about two hours, so I will be back in the house at around twelve. Why do you ask?”
“I wanted to know whether you will be back in time to prepare lunch. I am glad you will, because I am on leave so I can’t get lunch at the office. I will see you over lunch then, bye.”
A fresh wave of resentment hits Fiona. Is this how her life will be now? Will he also be expecting her to wash his clothes? She has no problem being his sex servant as long as he is bankrolling her lifestyle. But being his domestic servant in the name of being a wife? That is where the line will be drawn. She has to find a way out of this mess.
Job takes a boda boda to his house. He has decided that the most practical thing to do is to go to his house and carry out his clothes and other belongings before heading to the office. He is certain that by now Tabitha has gone to work and the children to school. The motorcycle drops him outside the gate. He uses his key to enter. He inherited this piece of land from his father, but it is not part of their ancestral land. That is why he does not live close to his parents and siblings. They live about eighty kilometers away. Job’s father bought this land when Job was in High School, and gifted it to his eldest son on his wedding day. Job and Tabitha pooled resources and built this house within the first three years of their marriage.
That was before Job found Fiona, or discovered gambling. Interestingly, he discovered both through Peter. Peter has always had women. Most of them are university girls who he pampers with money. One day Job wondered aloud where he gets the money to spend on college girls yet he has a family to take care of. That is when Peter introduced him to sport betting. He showed him how to set aside a part of his income for betting, and planning around that to sponsor girls.
“College girls are not expensive, especially if you are not dating them. You just need to have enough to buy beer, give them a little for hair and airtime. All you need is sex, not a relationship,” Peter counselled. The following week Job bet a thousand and won three thousand five hundred. That same weekend, Peter’s date came with a friend, at Peter’s urging. That girl happened to be Fiona. She was a first year student then. At the end of the weekend, Job realised that he had spent close to six thousand. That prompted him to increase the amount he was betting so that he could earn more.
He cannot explain how he became addicted to gambling, or how Fiona ended up becoming his girlfriend. But that is his reality now. He bets more money than he can afford, loses more than he wins but he doesn’t seem to have the ability to stop. Similarly, he spends on Fiona the part of his salary that he doesn’t on bets. Having gotten tired of sneaking into college hostels and cheap lodgings to have sex with her, he rented an apartment for her. Of course that meant that he would furnish the house, and since she was now a mistress, he would take care of her needs. She is no longer a cheap university girl who would offer him sex in exchange for a couple of bottles of beer. Between her and betting, he is usually left with nothing to spend on his family. But Fiona has been worth it. The best moments of his life have been spent in her house. She even stopped drinking and became a nice girl-a girl he can marry and be happy with.
It is ironical that his frustrations over betting and Peter’s joke about Fiona are the reasons he hit Peter yesterday. He has not gotten any information yet about his condition, but he intends to call Eric after he completes his move. The house is deserted, just as he expected it would be. He walks to the bedroom and starts unpacking his clothes from the closet.
When he is done, he has three packed suitcases. The only things he is leaving with are his clothes and shoes. He hasn’t touched anything else in the house. He carries the suitcases outside the house and locks the front door. He has already called a taxi and is waiting for it to arrive. He knows several taxi drivers because they used to ferry him and Fiona. The one he has called is one of them. Job is already imagining the shock that Tabitha will have when she comes and realizes that he is gone. He has not left even a single item of clothing in the house; not even a vest, a towel or a boxer. He is gone forever. Tabitha behaves as if he cannot leave; now she will be begging him to come back home.
She will be even more shocked when the Sacco comes to auction the house. That will certainly cut her arrogance. The taxi honks at the gate, and Job drags his suitcases there. He opens the gate, and stops for a moment. Standing behind the gate is Tabitha.
“Are you travelling?” she asks.
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
“I forgot something and came to collect it. But you haven’t answered my question.”
“I am leaving.”
“Where are you going?”
“I am going somewhere where I will no longer be bothered by your disdainful attitude.”
“What are you talking about Job?”
“I knew you would beg me to stay. But I am fed up with your arrogance Tabitha. I am moving out. You can keep the house.”
“Have you found another woman to replace me?”
“That is really none of your business.”
“If you want to leave, you can leave. But where is my car?”
“I am leaving this house to you, and it is worth way more than the stupid Honda Fit.”
Job and the taxi driver are loading the suitcases into the car as Job speaks. When they are done, they get into the car. The driver reverses and speeds away.
Job arranges his clothes in the unutilized half of the closet. One of the attractions Fiona had with this apartment was the massive wardrobe. She has numerous clothes, but she still has not been able to utilize all of it.
After meticulously arranging his items in closet, he takes a shower, dresses in a suit and leaves the house. He takes a motorcycle to the office. It will be a while before he gets used to the idea of using matatus. When he gets to the office, he finds two police officers at the reception.
“Job, you are right on time. These officers were asking after you. I had just told them that you are not coming in today.”
“Are you Job Ekera?” one of the cops asks.
“Yes I am,” Job replies weakly. He is certain that it has something to do with his fight yesterday. Has Peter died?
“You are under arrest for attempted murder,” the cop continues, while his colleague handcuffs Job.
(This is the end of the free part of the story. To find out what happened to Job and Tabitha, follow the steps below to grab your copy of the novella)
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