A broken home

Paul, an old bud from high school, buzzed me last Saturday saying, “Luvi, I’m organizing a small, little shindig at my place, mind swinging by? 3 pm.” That was around 11.30 am. I was holed up in a P.D {Professional Development} meeting at work that was meant to end at noon. But I didn’t have a concrete plan for the afternoon. I was toying with the idea of catching a movie in the house – alone, or getting lost in Paolo Coelho’s world of magic in Brida. A gripping reading. Beautiful, beautiful story. Intense even.

Not to appear too eager, I asked him to allow me turn it over in my head, then get back to him in a jiffy. I quickly weighed the options. A voice in my head whispered, “Luvi, you need to loosen up. It’s been a long, hectic week. You might soon turn into coriander if all you do is sit behind a laptop or leaf through pages of mystic books.” I knew the heavens had spoken. It was a wrap. So I rang him back and unequivocally told him niko ndaaaaaaaaaaaani.

At precisely half past 1, I logged off my laptop, packed my stationery and lunch box, and strung my black laptop bag across my chest and left for Kasarani area. Traffic flowed freely along the super high way that lay ahead endlessly like a curvy, dark skinned beauty. Motorists revved up their engines. Vehicles hugged her and throbbed through the sweltering heat. I struggled to stay awake. I nodded off all the way.

2.30 pm. Sports view, Kasarani.

I haven’t carried a drink – which I know is what both common sense and courtesy demand – but I make a mental note to get something a little later. {He lives right next to a liquor store anyways. Hehe}. Right now I’m freaking hungry. Hungry and sleepy.

I find Paul seeing off his chic – a cute, petite thing. He always has taste, this lad. So I quickly figure it’s a boy thing. That gives me a kick. I’m all lit up now. Because that means zero chills. No filters. No censored language. No political correctness.

I’m the first guest.

Shortly, his former classmate from law school, U.O.N’s parklands campus, shows up. We introduce; firm handshake, a moment’s eye contact. “Luvinzu.” I announce. “My name’s James,” he replies. “You look like the African version of Craig Daniel {James Bond}.” There’s a raucous laughter. He’s dark and mildly built. Not tall. He’s sporting a checked shirt – untucked – on a pair of faded jeans.

Our host doesn’t waste time. He unleashes this bottle of Jameson from under the TV trolley and plants it on the glass table with a slight thud. He pours each of us a finger. I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m hungry. Whisky and an empty stomach don’t auger well. I learnt that the hard way some time back. But most importantly, whisky isn’t just my thing. I’m a wine guy. Mostly red, and it better be sweet. Conventionally, I’m told, red wine isn’t supposed to be chilled. But to hell! I chill mine. It’s mine after all. Yeah, so I like it chilled, I would even drop in a piece of ice cube for effect. Just one, never two.

Anyway, I don’t really take that whiskey. I lick it and savour its wooden smell. That alone is enough to get me grinning sheepishly. hehe.

Paul mentions to me, as a side note, that most of his guests today will be his law school classmates. My brows arch in amusement. I know that means contending with inflated egos and big words – which are mostly Greek or Latin or whatever shit they are, but big words nonetheless that often times mean squat. I know that means a house full of poppycock from cocky guys. I know that basically means a loud house. He also tells me, rather excitedly, that Magunga could be part of the contingent. I’m excited because I’ve always wanted to meet the guy. I’m subscribed to his blog. I’ve seen him once on TV – Victoria’s Lounge.  I’m intrigued by this guy because he showed Law the middle finger and opted to follow his passion – writing – much to the chagrin of many. That’s the epitome of courage right there, folks. And he’s doing a good job. He works hard. He doesn’t sound like he has any regrets, and I know he won’t have any. Because the universe rewards courage. It gives you what you so badly want. The universe is always rooting for you. So I’m looking forward to meeting Magunga. I’m looking forward to having a good conversation with him on books and writing. I hope to get some insights on how to push my blog – seeing as he’s an established blogger himself. I hope to get to the bottom of his courage. I hope to establish this comradery, because I’m very needy {haha}. But all my excitement and hopes come to naught. Let’s just say it’s hard dealing with mega stars.

There’s a steady stream of people – all guys. Some old chaps from high school. We’re meeting here for the first time in eons. Clearly, everyone is turning out fairly right. You can tell from the shoes, and the time pieces, and the scent, and the chutzpa. Rich skin, radiant faces.

The banter picks up. The conversation is grown up. Jim is impressing me with his eloquence and depth of perspective in matters feminism and politics and relationships. The feminism conversation was especially more intriguing because there was this guy, another high school bud, and a lawyer of course, who is a sworn traditional African man, but goes quiet whenever he locks horns with them feminists. Because he’s wise enough to know that you can’t win such fights. Most I know guys are.

There was now energy radiating around the room. Some chics had now popped in. One had a 1.5 year old boy. I secretly cringed at that. Perhaps it’s the latest fad in our malleable millennial social fabric. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to expose their kid to a roomful of whisky going round in paper cups, loud music and X- rated conversations.

Because the paper cups had caught this kid’s attention, and you could see him stare admirably at guys sipping away, I poured half a cup of sprite walked to him with a wide smile and handed it to him. He grabbed it with both arms. A smile on his cute face. I felt cheesy. I motioned as though to take him in my hands. He quickly rose up, obliging. I carried him to the kitchen where some guys were preparing beef stew.

By the way, I had picked this rnb playlist from the 90s, dusted it and now it was pulsating from the speakers tucked away in the corners of the spacious living room. Less clutter means more space, hence cute living room. This is what Paul’s living room is. Minimum but quality furniture.

In the kitchen, we got lost in this animated conversation about absolute truth in a relationship or marriage. Like, should there be absolute truth in a union? As expected, opinion was sharply split own the middle. Strong opinions. And a tinge of feelings too. {Amazing how guys catch feelings very easily today. Everything is emotive; politics, religion, relationships,… anything}. So there’s a guy who, I think with the help of whisky, opened up about how his marriage tumbled…

Listen to this;

He’d gone to shags to monitor the progress of his poultry project and stuff. He met this chic, a long lost childhood friend, and “before he knew it”, he cheated on his wife.  During migwatos, the condom burst. So he had the thing main. Or, natural sweetness, if you like. After the afterglow, he thought about his wife and one year old girl in consternation. He convinced this chic that they should go test for HIV the following day.

Next morning at the VCT centre, after the formality of counselling by an elderly lady, the chic grew cold feet and back tracked on their agreement. There’s no way she could be coerced, the elderly lady told the guy. Of course the guy tested negative. The chic tested separately and her results remained confidential. The mama couldn’t divulge. She gently pointed out that it could have been unprofessional of her to do so.  She referred him to this yuppie male doctor to prescribe drugs with stringent instructions to be used for 30 days. The guy was thrown into a spin. How could he use these drugs in the presence of his wife? He had open up to the doctor – man to man. “I’m married,” he said. “My wife will know I cheated. My goose is as good as cooked. On the flip side, I just can’t return to her and carry on as if nothing happened. I would be putting her in danger of contracting this thing. It would be insensitive and unfair of me.  I have a one year old girl. I don’t want to render her an orphan this early. And I just can’t introduce condoms from the blue. She’ll question. Most importantly, I love her. I love her with my life. Please advise me on how best to handle this.” I could almost see the doctor adjust the knob of his tie and take off his glasses. Biting his lips. Drilling our guy’s eyes with his… “If you love her, go and tell her the truth,” he mumbled.  The guy walked away, defeated. His head down, his shoulders shrunk. His prescribed drugs in his jacket’s inner pocket. Life had suddenly lost its meaning. Life had suddenly become one horrendous nightmare.

He travelled back to the city that night. He feigned a headache on arrival, much to disappointment of his eager wife. He asked her not to go to work the following day because “they needed to talk.” I mused at the change in role play there… “Headache”… “We need to talk”… haha.

The following morning, with a heavy heart and teary eyes, he laid the bones bare to a flummoxed wife. He owned up. He bit the bullet, so to speak. He did what many men cannot do. Yes, not even the bearded alpha males oozing machismo. He expected the worst. He expected her to pack her things and storm out. She didn’t. Though thoroughly hurt, she stayed put. She professed her unconditional love. But she kept asking “why.” Why became a song in that house. The guy patiently apologised over and over and over again. “I loved her a lot more,” he said. He was subjected to a six month dry spell. And another two of protected sex. All this while, she faithfully accompanied him to those check-ups.

When the ordeal was over, they didn’t last a year. She cheated. It was the end of them. The difference here though was that she didn’t disclose the affair, he busted her. “She wasn’t remorseful,” he says. “I tried to salvage my marriage, but my efforts amounted to zilch. I have this hunch that my owning up might have led to her cheating. Perhaps we’d be together today if I hadn’t told her. Perhaps I should have stayed in shags for a month to complete that dose before returning to her and keeping my big mouth shut…”




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