By Mwalimu John Okoth
Growing under the tutelage of my surrogate father, now grounded by old age, he often told me in our local language, “Wuod omera, kata jaber machalo nade, kik inind gi chi dichuo wadu.” Loosely translated to, “My brother’s son, however beautiful, never get to bed with a fellow man’s wife.” This statement has kept me off the most tempting traps of my life as a young man, this particular episode included. Truth be told and I must confess this, married women and men come out as the worst culprits in illicit relationships involving singles and the married.
Last semester exams
This was our last class of campus before sitting our last 4th year exams. We had been group members for 4 years, but we rarely came close at a personal level. She had this ring on her finger that kept people away. It was needless to ask for some like us. On this fateful day, it had rained heavily and I offered to give her my hoodie to cover her from cold and her hair being rained on. Jokingly, she suggested that we go to my place and give her tea. I lived off college and tea or “tea” was not a problem.
Cup of ‘tea’
Over a cup of tea, we started a very hot discussion, hotter than the tea we were finding difficult to sip. I wanted to be set free. So, I had to know if my visitor was TAKEN or TAKEN FOR GRANTED. It turned out according to her that she was none of the above. She was very single and hoping that she meets her “missing rib,” a sub-degree before the main degree. I was happy. Lorine, not her real name was a result of God’s fine artistry. Just the rare opportunity of walking with her made my neighbors to wink at me in profound approval.
Drizzle became rain
The drizzle had intensified. My heart silently prayed that the god of such moments would convert the drizzle into heavy torrents and dusk, pitch darkness to immediately follow. From her actions, she was saying the same prayer. This was confirmed by her statement, “Get me an extra bed. I am spending here!” I was happy but I could not just enter into such frenzy without confirming my deepest fear and suspicion: Lorine being another man’s lady.
It was bed time. She left me on the table, went behind the curtain, removed all she had on and went to bed, waiting for me. All the time she touched her phone, I mastered the pattern and had sworn that I was to get CRUCIAL INFORMATION from it before embarking on any exploit. She switched off her phone and slept off with my promise that I would wake her up when done with the “job” I was doing. So that we could “sleep.” She was asleep, whether deep or not, what I knew was that she was safely unconscious.
Switched her phone on
I got the phone and switched it on. My worry was how to get the pin but being an airtel line, I was lucky to find a see me through password. I went to the most recent conversation. A thread with the identity, “Sweet Daddy” caught my eyes. According to this conversation, Lorine was switching off her phone to read. Lorine had been briefed about their sick daughter. The husband had expressed his love for her and how he was toiling day and night to make her comfortable and satisfied.
Onto the gallery. Wonders of wonders. Unprintable pictures of a woman getting cozy with her soulmate. Actually, Lorine, in the conversation, had missed her man’s touches so much that she was to go home, Eldoret, that weekend to be with him. For a moment I wondered what purpose my touches were to serve, being Thursday, just a day to the day of the so much missed touches.
I picked the number and copied it on my phone. I went out to undertake this daring exploit. I wanted a heart to heart talk with SWEET DADDY just to establish a few facts. Don’t judge me here please. Like an accident rescuing personnel at an accident scene, I queried Maurice, his real name, to know more about this “accident survivor.”
“Lorine is my lovely wife. We both have three kids. She is in school to further her studies.” He explained to me. He went deeper into even things I didn’t ask him. He appeared apprehensive and eager to know why the late night call and the scary questions.
“I am sorry for calling you at night. I had actually picked her purse, your number is in one of the documents and wanted you to tell her that John picked her purse.” He gave a deep sigh of relief. I had talked to Maurice , Lorine’s husband.
Going back to the house, I woke her up. I reprimanded her, chided her and when I told her to go to her room and to be faithful to Maurice, she was shocked. She looked at me with deep hatred. She picked her items and stormed out of the house. I offered to escort her to her place. I instructed her to keep the phone shut lest she made Maurice suspicious. I told her to tell Maurice that she had misplaced her purse and didn’t know where it was. I opened up to her and told her what and why I did it.
The following morning , Maurice called me to appreciate me for picking the purse and that the wife would come for it. Lorine hated me. She swore never to talk to me. In our last group work, she showed me the highest level of insolence. I felt proud of myself and walked head high. Her friends who got the distorted story from her hated and chided me the more. WE LOST OUR FRIENDSHIP BUT DIGNITY GOT A CHANCE.
(Mwalimu John Okoth is a teacher of English at Nyang’ori high)