(Continued from Torpedoed by a Male Charmer)
I am hardly seeing the road as I hurry home. I have covered my head with a lesso
to hide my teary eyes. Tears are flowing freely down my cheeks as I cross the
murram road. Suddenly a strong hand holds me, and I simultaneously hear the
screeching of brakes and an angry driver hurling insults at me.
“Just let her be and go where you are going,” a firm authoritative voice tells the driver. I do recognize the voice. My guardian angel is Charles.
“Elosy, are you okay?” he asks me, concern written all over his face. I nod, unable to stop my tears. “Let me walk you home.”
I do not have the energy to argue him, so I allow him to hold my hand and walk me home. I am surprised at the gesture. The Charles I know would never be caught holding the hand of a woman in public. We walk in silence. He seems to appreciate my need for silence.
When I get to my house, I open the door and we get in. I do not have the energy to prepare tea for him so I just slump on the couch. I am still not speaking, and I am hoping he will get bored and leave.
“I think I should prepare some tea for you. Do you have milk?” he asks, once again catching me off-guard. Charles cooking for me? Wonders will never cease. I nod, and he disappears to the kitchen. He knows where the kitchen is because he lives in a staff house, just like I do. These houses have the same design.
As I wait for the tea, I silently wonder whether men like Danny are worth the trouble and the pain. A man like Charles may be rough around the edges, but he is solid and dependable. He is a man that can be depended upon. Perhaps I should cultivate a friendship with him and get to know him better. Maybe I will discover that he is not a chauvinist at all; maybe I have been judging him a bit too harshly, based on the false standards that Danny set in my life.
He comes back with a flask of tea and two cups. As we drink, he tells me his life story. Just like me, he grew up in poverty. He tells the story with such humor that I cannot stop myself from laughing.
“I did not imagine I would get to the University. Even secondary school was not guaranteed for me. I thought I would end up as a peasant farmer like my father, married to a fellow school dropout and struggling to bring up eight children in abject poverty because my wife would be as fertile as my mother and would pop babies every other year. I suspect that that is still my destiny, that is why a rich girl like you wants nothing to do with me,” he says laughing.
“I not a rich girl,” I protest, and I feel obliged to tell him my story, having listened to his.
I grew up in Shava County, but not in Sodi. I grew up in an even more remote village called Zolote. I was a timid and very naïve girl. Before I went to the University, I had never been anywhere past Messa. Mother said I had been to Shava town as a baby, but I have no recollection of that. All I remember is that we once took my brother to Messa where a bus was taking him to National Music Festivals in Mombasa. My brother Dave cannot sing, neither can he narrate poems. He just rode on a choral verse that his school won by a fluke during the district and provincial festivals both held in Shava High School. The prospect of meeting girls appealed to him more than the choral verse.
All I wanted was to finish form 4 and move on with my life. I would get a C+; that I was sure of because was working really hard. I had topped my class from form two. Once, many years ago, a boy from our school managed a B-. He was still a legend when I was a student. But his legend had been somewhat dimmed by the fact that he did not get fees to go to college, so he sells miraa at Zolote market. Those days even a B- could not get you a slot in the University via the Joint Admissions Board (JAB). You needed a B of 65 points for that, and that was if you were a girl. Boys needed a B+ of 67 points.
Sometimes I dreamt about getting a B-. The year before I sat for KCSE, JAB admitted girls to public universities with B- of 59 points. That filled me with hope. Maybe I would become a secondary school teacher. But I did not like dwelling on that fantasy for too long. Ever since I joined Zolote Day Secondary School, the top student of our school had C plain. But I knew I was better than them and that is why I was confident that I would get a C+. I really wanted to be a primary school teacher, but I knew my parents could not afford college fees.
So all I wanted was to finish school and study tailoring and dressmaking at the local polytechnic. I would be a dressmaker in Zolote market. Then I would get married to a calm and strong Christian man.
The only thing I was worried about in relation to marriage was the process of getting babies. I wanted to ask my mother about it but I did not want to discuss bad manners with her. I was the Christian Union chairlady, and some discussions were simply out of question for a spiritual leader of my stature. How could I even be thinking about it?
My mother was the treasurer of the women’s group at our local church, so she would have been shocked if I had asked anything of that nature. My father was a church elder and they were proud of my devotion to the church. If I asked my mother about making babies she would think I was backsliding and would give me a lecture on focusing my thoughts on school and Jesus. I would be humiliated. So that idea died there.
I knew girls in my school who were doing it. Some even dropped out of school because they were pregnant. But I could not ask them about it because I was their spiritual adviser. Discussing bad manners with them would be scandalous. Eventually, I asked my grandmother. She laughed and said I should not worry about it. That I would probably be asleep as it happened.
“Babies are made by men,” she said. “Your job is to carry them in your womb.”
She had sighed dramatically then added:
“Those thoughts are disturbing you because you are not a proper woman. I can help you become a woman.”
I had been horrified. I knew she was talking about getting the cut, yet our Pastor had said it was a sin. I should not have asked a heathen for advice. When my grandmother saw my horror, she laughed so hard that she nearly choked on the tobacco she was sniffing and chewing. I never got to get the cut, because I went to the University, the place where I met Danny and became a mother.
When I finish narrating my story, I realize that Charles has been listening too keenly to my story, even though I have tried to tell it with a light touch. He is looking at me intensely and his eyes seem to be boring into my soul.
“Is Danny the father of your daughter?” he asks.
“Did he break up with you today? Is that why you were crying?”
I nod, gloom once again sweeping over me. I wish I could forget him forever.
“I always thought there is something special about you, Elosy. Now it is clear that there is a connection between us. I am the calm, strong Christian man that you wanted as a child,” Charles says. “I think the Lord is speaking today. You are destined to be my wife.”
“We barely know each other Charles. Let us at least be friends first, and then we will know from there.”
“Can’t you see?” he asks, crossing over from his chair to sit at the edge of the couch where I am sitting. “The voice of the Lord is speaking. We are destined to be a couple. There is no need to waste time.”
“I don’t know Charles. These things need time…”
He is speaking with so much intensity that I am suddenly feeling unsettled.
“Who are we to question the voice of the Lord?” he asks hotly. Then he wraps his hands around me and starts fondling me. I try to push him away, but that only makes him even more aggressive.
“Please Charles, don’t do this to me,” I beg. But he is not listening. The gentleman who prepared tea for me is gone. Charles has become like a possessed animal. As he tears away my clothes, I try to scream. But he covers my mouth and nose with one large hand.
“If you make any noise I will kill you,” he growls. I am now very frightened. Charles is a strong man, and is very capable of executing his threat. There is no doubt in my mind now that he will rape me. But what will stop him from killing me after getting what he wants?
Image by Martin Alfonso Sierra Ospino from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-model-sunset-sunshine-young-5561498/
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