(Continued from The Green-Eyed Monster I)
Judith feels like crying as she heads back to the dining room. Why would Moreen do that to her sister? Judith knows that Doreen will be crushed if Joe does not show up, and that is what Judith suspects will happen. He wouldn’t have the guts to show up and switch fiancées last minute, would he? That would be catastrophic, and would humiliate both families.
Judith knows she cannot keep quiet, so when she gets to the dining room she gestures Janet to follow her outside. She leads the older woman out to the garden, where nobody can eavesdrop.
“I think we have a problem, Mama Doreen.”
“What is it Judith?”
“I have just come from Moreen’s room. I had gone there to wake her up and tell her to come up for breakfast.”
“Before I knocked I overheard her telephone conversation. She was speaking to someone she was calling Joe. I soon realised that it is Doreen’s fiancée.”
“The gist of the conversation is that she, Moreen, has been having sex with Joe. And now she was threatening him against marrying her sister. She actually told him that if he comes she will tell everyone that she is pregnant for him.”
“Are you sure about what you are telling me, Judith?”
“Yes Mama Doreen. I overheard that conversation very clearly. Actually, when I finally knocked, the first thing Moreen asked me when she opened the door was ‘how long have you been here?’ That can only mean that I wasn’t supposed to overhear the telephone conversation. I am really afraid of what this might do to poor Doreen. She will be emotionally crushed. What shall we do?”
“I will call Joe’s father right away. Let him confirm from his son if what you heard is correct.”
Janet dials her prospective in-law’s number.
“Good morning Barasa.”
“Good morning Janet. I hope everything is alright. It is unusual for in-laws to talk on a morning like this.”
“I also sincerely hope that everything is alright. But I have overheard my younger daughter…”
“I thought your girls are twins?”
“Yes they are, but Moreen is twenty minutes younger than Doreen. After Doreen left the womb, Moreen decided to stay in there for a while. Doctors almost did an emergency CS on me to get her out, but she finally followed her sister out.”
Barasa laughs heartily. He is a very jovial and charming man, and is the chairman of the Board of Deacons of the church that both families attend. Janet is the treasurer if that Board, Bruce is the chairman of the men’s fellowship while Barasa’s wife Faith is the secretary of the ladies fellowship. The Mwantegas have known the Barasas since the latter joined the church ten years ago. Barasa is an accountant and his firm is the Mwantegas’ publishing firm’s external auditor, while Faith is Bruce’s colleague at the University of Nairobi, although she teaches political science.
Before the Barasas came to Nairobi, they had been living in the UK. When they came, they left their two children Joe and his elder sister Chantelle behind. Both were students at the University of Liverpool. Joe came back to Kenya three years ago, but Chantelle is still in the UK, although she left Liverpool and now works in Glasgow, Scotland.
Doreen is more active in church so it was inevitable that she would meet the chairman’s son first. She was the leader of the youth group when he came, so she is the one who helped him integrate into the church. It did not surprise their parents when they learned that the two were dating. Moreen attends Sunday services with her parents, but that is all. Citing pressure from work, and before that school, Moreen doesn’t attend midweek services or meetings of the youth group or any other church meeting beyond the Sunday services. Janet did not even think she and Joe knew each other.
“Anyway, as I was saying, I overhead Moreen talking to Joe on the phone. It appears that the two of them have been having a sexual relationship, and she was blackmailing him into not coming to pay dowry for Doreen. I heard her tell him that if he comes she will tell everyone that she is pregnant for him. Naturally, I couldn’t hear your son’s end of the conversation. Can you confirm from your son if what I heard was correct? These children might embarrass us if we are not careful.”
Janet has decided to tell him that she is the one who overheard the conversation so that he can take the matter seriously.
“This is shocking! But let me talk to Joe and then I will call you right back.”
Joe is a nervous wreck. He has no idea what he will tell his parents, especially his mother. Is Moreen serious or is she bluffing? That girl is usually a little crazy, and that is why he has always liked her. She is the one who made the first move on him, but he cannot deny that he has enjoyed their secret affair. But the fun they have been having is now coming back to bite him. He always thought that he would marry Doreen, the nice, quiet girl who is so much like his mother, but continue sleeping with her wild twin sister on the side to spice up his life.
He saw it work for his father. His mother, just like Doreen, is a sweet family woman. Her ambitions are tied around her family. She is a professor, but she has always been willing to follow her husband. When he lost his job in the UK, she willingly gave up her tenure at the University of Liverpool to come and start afresh with him in Nairobi. There is nothing controversial about her, she never raises her voice, never disagrees with her husband in public, and even in the house, she is very subtle in the way she disagrees with him. She massages his ego and makes him feel like a king. But that has never been enough for him. He has always needed some excitement. That is why he has always kept a mistress. In Liverpool he had a mistress called Annie Caxton. She was a cigarette-smoking, beer-consuming white woman with a foul mouth; unprintable cusswords were always at the tip of her tongue. She worked with their father at Wesley & Scott Associates, a medium sized audit firm in Liverpool. If Faith put stability in Barasa’s life, Annie Caxton blasted that stability to smithereens and ensured he was always on perpetual edge whenever he was with her.
Whether his mother knew about Annie, Joe is not sure. But he and his sister Chantelle knew about her, and she (Annie) shaped their lives. Chantelle swore that she would never get married. To her, her mother was getting the short end of the stick, so she is determined to live life on her own terms, unchained by societal obligations such as marriage and parenthood. She wants to live a carefree life like Annie Caxton. Joe, on the other hand, realised that he could have the best of both worlds: he could have a stable family with a good Christian woman like his mother and still live a separate carefree life with a wild woman like Annie Caxton. He found both women in daughters of the same woman, born of the same father and on the same day; in Doreen Joe found his mother, and in Moreen he found his version of Annie Caxton.
But there is one fundamental difference between Moreen and Annie Caxton that he is finding out today. Annie did not want to get married, and she did not care for children; Moreen has just declared that she wants to settle down with him. Yet he knows that a marriage between him and Moreen cannot work. They will drive each other insane by the end of the second day of their honeymoon and probably kill each other before the end of that week.
But how can he escape his current predicament? He is still pondering his problem when his father enters his room.
“What is that nonsense I am hearing about you impregnating Doreen’s sister?”
“Who told you?”
“Their mother told me. Like seriously son, how could you? We are Christians…”
“Spare me the lecture dad. I am just like you.”
“What does that mean?”
“Moreen is my Annie Caxton. Yes, I knew about her dad, so don’t do that holier than thou nonsense on me. Just help me fix this.”
Barasa suddenly looks subdued at the mention of his European mistress. How long has his son known about this? He sighs and looks at his son directly in the eye, man-to-man.
“There is only one way to fix this problem.”
“Get out of the country immediately. You have a long term UK visa. Just sneak out this compound, buy an air ticket online and go back to Britain. You can join your sister in Glasgow or you can go back to Liverpool or you can wash dishes in London; I really don’t care. Just get out of Nairobi. I will handle the situation here.”
“Should I switch off my phone?”
“No. But don’t answer any calls; not even your mother’s. From here I will call Janet and tell her I can’t find you in your room and you are not answering my calls, so I cannot confirm whether you impregnated your fiancée’s twin or not. After that I will have to tell your mother, and everyone will start looking for you. What that means is that you have less than ten minutes to get out of here. Just wash your face and walk out of the gate in that short and T-shirt like you are going to the shopping centre, hop into a taxi and disappear. If you can’t get a flight to London today, I suggest you fly to Kampala or Dar-es-Salaam and catch for your flight to the UK there. If you wait in Nairobi someone might recognize you, because you can be sure that within two hours your mother will tell all her friends that you are missing.”
“Thanks dad,” Joe says with a smile. “You are the best.”
“I just did that because you had the common sense not to tell your mother about Annie when you found out. Now we are even. From now on you handle your female problems on your own. Is that understood?”
Joe rises and embraces his father, before the older man walks out of the room.
(To be continued on Tuesday)
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/red-nike-shoes-man-person-2176129/
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