Right Under His Nose
We had sat there for a while talking about everything and anything but what brought us here. When Dave* called, he had said he had a sensitive issue that he wanted us to talk about. He had told me to suggest a private place where we could talk without people eavesdropping. For a moment I wanted to say we drive to Hippo Point or Dunga Hill Camp and one of us would get into the other’s car and we could have the conversation and drive our separate ways but I somehow settled for this place. I did not know what this ‘sensitive conversation’ was about, so a ‘private-public space’ was okay for me.
In my line of work, we are trained to be very sensitive about private meetings. I wasn’t sure if this “sensitive” stuff was about work or a personal issue. Either way, I was not going to take chances.
Dave was my boy, the kind of boy who would generously contribute to the M-Changa funeral kitty if I were to die. He would drive up with my other boys to The Ranch the evening before my burial and stay awake till morning telling stories as they sip 21- year old single malt whiskey. None of the conversations would be about me or the two distraught women I am leaving behind. Perhaps they would talk about their friend who has merged his law firm with another British firm, maybe about the other friend’s new Mercedes-AMG C 63′ Sedan teasing him about where he would drive such a low car. The other friend who is bewitched with SUVs will tell him he has just bought himself an expensive women’s car, that real men drive V8s and Range Rover Sports. He would swear to take the car back to the dealership on Monday. They will talk about the weather, wonder if they will get stuck in the morning if the skies make good their threat to open up. They will talk about Olivia’s short dress. Heck one will even have a theory that Olivia and I used to date – that would be the only reference to me in their conversation.
That is how close I and Dave were before this day. At least what I thought of it. We have never had a one on one meeting. We have shared a daram at Barcadia, sheltered under the main dais at Kisumu Showground when the skies opened up after a rugby match, we had shared a bottle of whiskey at a wake for the dad of a mutual acquaintance.
It was getting darker, I had said I would be home by 7 PM but it was now 7.15 PM and Dave had not opened up.
I was about to ask to see him another time when he looked over his shoulders on both sides before lowering his head with his eyes locked into mine. It was as if he wanted to see through my soul as he poured his heart out. They say someone’s eyes are the windows into his soul.
We were seated at a corner at the Buzz Bar at Acacia Hotel. If you ask me it’s one of the most private spaces in this town.
You know a man is about to say something extremely important when he looks over his shoulder to see if someone is watching or listening. Just that this time Dave did not have to. Behind him was nothing but the wall paneling. He still looked through – not once but over both shoulders. I guess it was reflex.
But that did not surprise me as the words that came out of his mouth next.
“Dan, Mitchell* is cheating on me.” He paused for a moment, perhaps to see how I would react to it. Maybe trying to figure out if I had heard anything about it.
I did not know how to react or what to say. You know when a fellow man comes up to you and tells you their wife is cheating, it has taken them a lot of courage. This is a conversation a man would rather have with his close woman friend. Not their boy unless they are accusing you. No, he was not thinking I had anything to do with it. At least I became sure of that when he uttered the next sentence after the ten-second pause that seemed to have lasted a century.
“With another woman.”
I did not know how to react when someone tells me their wife is cheating, leave alone cheating with another woman. I had heard tales of women in Kisumu having secret sex parties but had always dismissed it as the usual idle talk of social media. I have never been the one to take things I see or read on social media too seriously. Most importantly, I have learned to mind my own business.
Dave has a job I would describe as a ‘good job’ by all standards. He is mostly stationed out of town but he is always around on weekends. Hangs out at Barcadia and Roan once in a while. His wife has an equally good job at a bank. She is mostly in Kisumu unless for the few times she travels with the girls or when she is going on vacation with her two kids. She does not go to Barcadia or Roan – maybe Aqua Bar at Acacia for a glass of wine with the girls on a Friday.
They own their Kisumu house. Their two kids go to a private school most Kisumu parents in their income range take their kids to. Dave pays for both their fees even though the first kid is not his. The wife had him before they met, and when he decided to love her, he loved her with everything she came with.
Dave does not describe himself as a saint. He has had a few rendezvous. He has been caught a dozen times but he says it was just meaningless sex with these ‘young bloods.’ His wife had cheated too – I mean, they were a typical Kisumu family.
This, as I came to learn, was different. His wife had not just cheated but left him. Left him for another woman. Left with the son she came with. She did not care about their son or maybe she did not just want to fight over custody knowing how well connected Dave is with the city’s best lawyers.
He says they had been good for a long time. She seemed happy, nothing seemed off other than the numerous trips with the girls. In the photos from the trips, he had seen that his wife was particularly close with one woman. He knew her. She had been to their home a couple of times, both when he was home and when he was away. As far as he was concerned she was her best friend.
The woman was divorced. She had got a beautiful mansion in Milimani from her ex-husband as part of the divorce settlement. The husband had kept the children. Once in a while, she visited them in Nairobi.
Dave did not know her ex-husband. She came into their lives after she was divorced.
Dave became only curious when one of her wife’s lady friends told him his wife was having an affair. She did not divulge the details but since Dave knew this particular friend had been interested in him before he took it with a pinch of salt.
He, however, thought about it more. To confirm this he decided to buy his wife a pre-valentines gift. A brand new iPhone Xs. His wife was not so good with gadgets so she asked him to set it up for her. He went through those processes iPhone owners go through when setting up their expensive gadgets giving it to her every time it required a password or when it asked him to set the device password. She could not suspect anything, but in the process, Dave downloaded one of those phone spy apps you can buy online for $10.
Interestingly, the makers of these spy apps say on their websites that the apps are ” intended for legal uses ONLY. It is a violation of the law to install surveillance software onto a mobile phone you do not have the right to monitor.”
Fact is they know that most people are not using the apps to spy on their children but rather on their spouses and Dave here was one of them.
Over the next four days, Dave would uncover things that shook every single thing he believed about his wife. The affair had been going on for over three years under his nose. The friendship he thought was normal was a little more than that. They had had sexcapades or whatever it is women who sleep with each other had even on their very bed. They professed their love for each other on WhatsApp texts calling each other “wifey.”
Dave would not take it anymore, on the fifth day he came home and confronted his wife of ten years. She did not even deny it. She became livid, asking what right he had to spy on her phone. She threatened to sue him for breach of privacy. She was screaming hysterically. She went to the bedroom, packed a few bags banged the sitting room door and walked to her car, started the engine and drove off. She did not go far, she came back three minutes later like she had forgotten something. Dave, the kids, and their house help were still standing confused in the sitting room. She walked straight to the kids’ room without saying a word. Packed her first son’s clothes, came down the stairs and dragged him by the arm to the car and drove off. That was the last time Dave saw either of them. It was now three weeks.
I asked him “how can I help?” Like the doctor from New Amsterdam – the medical drama series.
Dave opened the sling bag that hung across his chest from the left shoulder. He took out an envelope and slid it across the table towards me. Inside it was a bundle of cash. I did not count but from how it looked must have been Ksh. 100,000. There was a flash drive too.
He knew I was a blogger and he wanted me to help him expose the woman who had stolen his wife.
I Instantly slid the envelope back to him. I told him I can’t. I saw his broad shoulders shrink. Perhaps he thought that if I exposed this woman his wife would have no choice but to come back to him. He looked like he was ready to forgive her, but he also looked like he wasn’t ready to admit that another woman would steal his wife from under his very nose.
As Kisumu people would say ‘atatembea wapi?‘ His boys would never look at him the same way. Drinking with him would be like wasting fine whiskey. What good is a man who loses his woman to another woman?
He stared at me as if to plead. I felt his pain.
” I can’t begin to imagine what is going on in your head. I am really sorry Dave, but I have a policy of only using my blogs to either build people or make people care about certain things. I cannot use that same platform for something like this.”
It was now way past 8 PM, I paid both our bills and excused myself. My women were now worried because it’s unlike me to get home late on a weekday.
That evening I drove home with my car stereo off – very unlike me. I could not help but think about Dave and his son and what they were currently going through.
Featured image courtesy of Adobe Stock.