A girl I used to know
Wanjiru and I left the hospital and walked to the main road dejected. I could not explain the things I was feeling inside. There was anger there, and I did not know where to direct it. My small sister was suffering from ulcers and I couldn't take the pain from her. The hospital had said no. Gone were the days when Sisters treated natives for free. Hospitals were now businesses; a separation of church from government. The message was clear. We love you and God loves you; but you must pay Caesar what is due to him.
It was almost noon and far to our left we could see Nyeri Town busting with life. There were a few cars and bicycles on the streets, and hundreds of people stomping the dusty pavement. A silly idea crossed my mind and I slowly turned away from the hills and the women picking coffee in the distance. Wanjiru looked surprised but nevertheless followed me.
"Where are we going?"
"To see Martin," I said casually although my heart was thumping hard. The thought of seeing my boyfriend excited me more than I dared to admit. He had played me a fool again, and that ate my insides like a cancer. I wanted to know. I had to know why he had deserted me.
"But he hasn't contacted you in a long time?" Wanjiru said, sounding alarmed. "What makes you think he wants to ..." She stopped herself as a look of pain crossed my eyes.
"One day you will fall in love little sister, and you will understand its power. Love makes us strong, but it also makes us weak. I want to talk to Martin. I want to know why he’s refusing me. I just want to know what's going on. If he doesn't want to be with me, then I need to know that before I go crazy."
Wanjiru seemed to agree with that argument and said nothing. It was a thirty minute walk to town and the sun had burnt black spots on our skin by the time we made it there. I was thirsty and hungry but we didn't have any money. Maybe Martin would buy us food, or give us money to get us home quickly. As a lawyer Martin had more than enough money to spare.
We walked through the main street and weaved our way through crowds of people. There was only one main street in Nyeri Town which branched into smaller avenues. Most businesses including hawkers were on this big street. People walked on the pavement and in the middle of the road, and this was okay. The drivers honked loudly and everybody ignored them.
We walked into an alley, away from the throngs of people and hooting traffic. The buildings here shielded the sun and it felt cool. The array of offices and warehouses was hard to miss.
"Is that Martin’s car?" Wanjiru suddenly asked, pointing at an old white Peugeot parked next to other cars outside a building.
"Yes," I said, sounding alive. “I’m surprised you remember it.” Every fear and doubt in my body evaporated in that instant. Coming here had been the right call, and seeing martin would put to rest the doubts in my mind.
We walked up a short flight of stairs and walked into a carpeted reception area of the Muhondu Lawyers Firm. The secretary asked for our names and purpose of visit and we told him that we were Martin’s friends. She smiled and told us to take a seat.
There were two other people in the waiting room. They wore ties and looked like clients waiting to be served. I made a point to cut my stay short, but then again that would depend on Martin. If he wanted to spend more time with me then who was I to say no.
The receptionist brought me a glass of water and made me question my own appearance. I was pregnant and covered in dust. There was sweat in my hair that made me look as though I had come straight from a bath.
“Thank you,” I said and took a long sip. “You want some Wanjiru?”
The receptionist took the glass back with a smile and disappeared down a dim hall. Five minutes later she reappeared with a long face.
"I'm sorry," she said. "Mr. Martin is very busy today and won't be able to see you."
Her words were loud and clear and yet I sat confused. "Did you give him my name? We can wait a little..."
"I gave him your name Wangechi," the lady said looking uneasy. "I'm so sorry. His calendar is full. It’s a busy time of the year. Maybe another time."
"I have to leave?" I said in a whisper. "I'm carrying his baby and he won't see me?" I couldn’t believe what was happening and yet a part of me was very much aware of the possibilities – the pages in my life not turning.
The receptionist looked sad and seemed to be affected by the situation she was in. I didn’t want her pity but I knew I would break if I stayed a little longer, and so I stood up with a lot of effort, my seven month pregnancy suddenly very real.
Wanjiru pulled me outside before I could make a scene. "Let's go home Wangechi," she said in an effort to comfort me. "We have a long walk ahead."
I heard what she said and followed her, but I could not process what had just happened. I wasn't just any girl, I was the mother of his baby and he had refused to see me. It hurt a lot.
"You should just forget about him Wangechi," Wanjiru said softly as we walked through the parking lot. "All that man ever does is hurt you. You are happier without him."
I wanted to forget him. Like I had done many times before – try to use my mind to find escape. But I couldn’t. Today was different because something inside me told me that it was over. Martin did not love me the way I loved him.
I suddenly looked up and saw Martin's car and something twisted inside me. I wanted to hurt him as much as he had hurt me. As a lawyer, he had used me, and then tossed me aside. I was not the girl he married, I was the girl he had a thing with - once. I was a mistake.
I started walking towards the car.
"What are you doing Wangechi?" Wanjiru asked sounding worried.
I saw the stick on the ground and picked it up. Being pregnant gave me an awkward posture but I was determined to regain control of my life. I had loved him but he had not loved me back and that left me vulnerable. I hated being weak and if I didn't do something about it, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.
I swung the stick and smashed the left headlight of Martin's car. There was no alarm but the shattering of glass was loud. A few windows opened and working folks searched the parking lot to make sure their cars were okay. I took a few steps forward and smashed the second headlight.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Someone yelled.
"It's her boyfriend's car!" Wanjiru shouted. "He's a big time looser lawyer!"
I could hear them and yet they seemed to exist in my subconscious. My breathing was labored as I walked around the car, I couldn’t believe what I was doing.
“There’s a crazy woman in the parking lot!” A voice yelled.
I almost chuckled. Crazy woman. I was the crazy woman.
A blue shirt dashed through a door. I knew it was Martin before I looked up: the height, the well jelled hair and yellow tie, his persona of calmness shattered. He stopped near the car, raised both hands and pointed at the broken glass.
“What are you….”
He couldn’t finish the sentence. His eyes shifted over the different parts of the car as he inspected his precious possession. And then finally, he saw me as though for the first time and stopped. I smiled and saw fear in his eyes.
I raised the stick and smashed the rear light.
"Stop Wangechi!" Martin yelled. He ran over to me and snatched the stick from my hand. He wanted to push me but saw my belly and held himself back.
I searched for his eyes and studied his face. He tried to look away but I didn't let him. I made him squirm under my gaze. I searched there long and hard for a sign... a sign that this was the same man I fell in love with. I saw nothing. "Goodbye Martin," I said, turned and walked away.
“Wangechi!” he called. The words were full of pain and regret. He knew he had hurt me, but most importantly, he knew I was lost to him forever. He didn’t want to be with me, but he also didn’t want to hurt me. I knew that now. That he was a coward who couldn’t tell me the truth. Because of him and his silence, it had come to this – a place in life where love turns into something very cold.
Behind me, Wanjiru followed looking proud.
"Good for you girl!" Someone yelled from a top floor office.
It was a great feeling for me; the twists and turns of life, the triumphs and failures. I was back, my character finally defined by my strength. This time I would do it right and put my baby.
Off to AFRICA
My book A Whisper in the Jungle has been picked by a publishing company and approved by the board. It has been scheduled for release soon.
The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen
Without God, what are we? What do we have? What is life...