I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books
I looked up at the ceiling and for the third time that day, tears rolled down my cheeks and I sobbed like a child. I didn’t even bother wiping them away. I wasn’t in any physical pain as I was on pain medications. However, my heart was broken. I kept asking God why. Why was I on that hospital bed again? Why was I the one experiencing such pain and misery? I mean where exactly had I gone wrong in life?
I looked down at my foot elevated in a cast and I remembered that accident. I remembered the panic, thinking I was going to die. It seemed to last forever and was misery all the way down. I don’t remember anything else after that apart from waking up in that lonely hospital bed heavily sedated.
I was still lost in my thoughts that I didn’t even see him come in but there he was. He stood at the door watching me looking sad with tears threatening to fall down. He looked so helpless and I could almost feel his pain. He was the man that I fell in love with seven years ago.
I remember when I first met him. Like all romantic fairy tales, it was one of those days when everything just seems to go right. I was at Pirates Beach in Mombasa just seated at the hotel having a drink and looking out into the ocean. I love the ocean so much and have always found serenity in that. I was completely taken away by the beautiful sight in front of me.
“Can I please join you and may be you can share your happy thoughts with me? I heard a voice say to me.
I looked up and found him already seated down next to me. He was good looking. He had those eyes that just take you in and make you get lost in them. He wasn’t devastatingly handsome but I must admit, he was good to look at. He had that easy smile and the kind of eyes that just draw you in.
“My name is Morris…Morris Otieno”. He quickly said as we shook hands.
I was still tongue tied and had to struggle to even find my words.
“Rachel Mukami but people call me Ray or Rayray…” I Mumbled.
Oh dear God. That was a dumb introduction!
Now why did I tell him the nickname? He must have thought that I was a dork. However, he didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact I was rewarded with one of his huge smiles. We ended up spending that evening together at the oceanfront, talking and laughing like two old friends. Morris was quite the gentleman. He was funny, attentive, engaging and I quickly found myself drawn to him. Honestly, at that moment, the only thing that I would have changed about him was his tendency to yell at the waiters and do this irritating finger snapping thing to draw their attention.
The next few months were like a dream come true. It’s really amazing when you find someone else who shares the same interests as you. We both loved to travel and had jobs that allowed us to do that. It was wonderful seeing the world together. We also had a love for art and so spent time in galleries, art shows and museums. We also enjoyed the same old black and white movies. Seriously, if this not a fairy tale then I have no idea what is. I fell in love fast with Morris and even started dreaming of a future together.
8 months after we met, he popped the big question. He went all out organizing a romantic dinner at our favorite hotel at the Coast. There was a band playing and of course he went down on one knee. I said yes so loudly that I am sure the Eskimos heard me. That is how I became Mrs. Rachel Otieno.
I enjoyed marriage life; I loved being a wife and simply adored Morris. Soon enough, we had our first born and nothing could be better. It was at this point that Morris convinced me to become a full-time mum. He made enough money from his stock broking job and to be honest, I wasn’t really making much from my teaching job. I thought it was so romantic that he wanted to be the sole provider. I especially thought of what Steve Harvey says in his book “Think like a man, Act like a lady”. A good man should be a provider like Morris!
However, It was exactly after 4years of my wedding bliss that my perfect world started falling apart. I remember that evening very clearly. I had made his favorite meal, Ugali and fish just how he liked it. Brian was away at his grandmother’s house and so we had the whole place to ourselves. I lit the candles and played some good soft music all in an effort to set the music right for my husband and I to spend a romantic evening together.
I heard his car drive up and quickly rushed to check the mirror. I looked good. I eagerly waited for him to come in. He walked in hardly looking at me and even ignored my greetings. He went straight for the sofa and collapsed on it. I thought to myself that he simply was too tired so all he needed was a good massage and some food. However, drawing closer to him, I stopped dead on my tracks. They say that women are all secretly great detectives and sometimes can pick a scent faster that the sniffer dogs. Well the scent of cheap perfume almost knocked the air out of me and I knew immediately. My husband had been with another woman!
“Who is she?” I demanded with my hands akimbo, glaring at him.
I wanted to shock him and catch him off guard. I knew he would either have a good explanation to allay my fears or perhaps he would lie. That cheap perfume could be explained away, right?
“Miriam…her name is Miriam”. He answered without even looking at me. I stood there in shock, thinking that I had misunderstood him. Maybe Miriam was his aunt or good friend. Or maybe she was the lady who happened to have fainted and my man had to hold her and that is how he got the perfume. There is always an explanation to these things and so I waited for one. He didn’t even seem to notice that I was there.
So I asked simply “Is Miriam someone I know honey”.
“She is my mistress, you will be introduced”. He again stated as a matter of fact!
Goodness, had he lost his mind? Was he playing a joke on me to gauge my reaction? I stood there looking like an idiot all dressed up in candle light with some Keith Sweat playing in the background.
Anger rose in me, panic too but mostly anger. I mean who did he think he was? I wanted to give him a piece of my mind and hopefully that would stop whatever madness had come over him. I started shouting and screaming until he had to get up from the couch.
There is something about being hit that paralyzes you. I didn’t even realize that he had punched me until I felt my nose bleed. My face was burning up and the side of my face felt number. I fell on the floor sobbing more in shock that pain. He stepped over me and headed for the bedroom.
I should have left that day. I should have walked out but Morris apologized. He explained about Miriam who he had been seeing for the past 5 years. We were married for only 4 years. He promised to end the relationship. However, the relationship continued and so did the fights. When I say fights of course I mean, the hitting. However, I stayed with him and I prayed that he would change. I didn’t have a job, I had a son and I loved the man, so what was I supposed to do? It’s till death do us part, right? That is what the vows say!
I learned how to be an abused woman. The wonderful magic of makeup and sunglasses disguised my bruises. I also ensured that I kept away from friends and family who like to pry. I hate when people do that. Pry! I also perfected the art of story telling. Every time I went to the hospital, I would tell stories of falling down the steps, slipping in the bathroom or a number of other normal accidents. Nobody asked questions.
I wanted to fight for my marriage, I loved that man and I wanted to spend a lifetime with him at all costs. I kept praying and trusting that things would be different. I knew that Morris loved me a lot. He really did. In his heart, he loved me and that was why he apologized every time he hit me. In addition, I had nobody else in the world apart from him so where could I have gone?
He brought her to our home. I was shocked when I heard his car pull into the driveway and then giggling followed. He had never done that before. I remember seeing her for the first time, just standing there. She smirked at me, looked at me like I was dirt. He ignored me. They then went upstairs. I was furious and quickly ran up the stairs after them. I grabbed Morris and tried to get him to face me. Was he really just about to take another woman into our matrimonial bed? Was he just about to disrespect me that much? He turned around furiously and pushed me. I remember that fall, it took forever!
I woke up in that hospital bed looking up at the ceiling. I was alone and in pain. I thought about my life, my son Brian away in boarding school. I looked at myself, almost 40 years old, no job and in a dysfunctional marriage. How did I end up being such a failure in life? There was a cleaning lady at the hospital that came to my room that day. She said hi cheerfully and had an ear phone dangling from one side of her ear. I didn’t know what prompted me but I was curious to find out what kind of music she was listening to. I politely asked her and she gave me her phone and the earphone and said in Kiswahili” skiza hiyo” as she selected a song for me and went back to her cleaning.
I don’t know how long I cried. All I remember is crying and asking God to help me understand my life and what was going on. I also asked for strength to leave Morris. I cried and prayed. The cleaning lady thankfully had stepped out. That song will forever stay with me.
“He loves me. Even when I fall beneath His will.
He loves me, oh, oh, oh, He loves me.
When my broken heart just won’t keeps still.
He loves me oh, oh, oh, He loves me.
Even though He knew sometimes I’d fall.
Yet and still my name He called. He loves me.
Jesus I’m so grateful for Your love.
He loves me. Even though I was born in sin.
He loves me, oh, oh, oh, He loves me.
Took me like I was and now I’m free again
He loves me, oh, oh, oh, He loves me” Kirk Franklin
When Morris finally came to visit, I had made up my mind. I was leaving him because I didn’t understand his kind of love and I knew I deserved better than that.
I have Jesus and that should be enough, right?