‘TILL A MIRACLE HAPPENS’
If you looked at us from a different angle you would think we were on a date. Especially if you could not see Daisy’s face.
I am sure the know-it-alls were already manufacturing stories of me cheating with this woman. If you already heard the story from the rumor mill, I am sorry. In Kisumu, a man and a woman cannot just sit together and talk. Try it if you doubt me.
Anyway, this is what was happening:
We sat at a table closest to the lounge area (yes the cream couches) at Roan Restaurant and Bar. It was a few minutes past two o’clock on a Monday. I had preferred a late lunch meeting because Mondays are usually my meeting days at the office. On this Monday my boss was around and the status meeting had taken longer than usual because we were “setting the tone for the new year.”
Daisy was moving the fork around her plate of fries with honey glazed pork chops but seemingly without the intention to push anything in the direction of her mouth. She had barely taken a sip of the cold Fanta orange she had ordered. With Kisumu heat, I doubt it was still cold.
I smiled at her, trying to reassure her that it was alright. You know at times we writers can be very intimidating. You might think you are ready to open up but when you see the little red light from the IC recorder come on you freeze and start wondering if it’s all necessary.
A streak of tears started rolling down her perfectly made-up face. I quickly handed her a napkin. She tried a difficult smile.
“I am so sorry, I did not know it was going to be this difficult,” she said as she tried to avoid direct eye contact with me. Her gaze held in the direction of Imperial Express Hotel behind me.
“Do not worry, there is no rush. We don’t even have to do this today or do it at all,” I said trying to calm her down.
She finally started eating her food. I was worried it’s got a little cold but she seemed to be enjoying it. I was midway through my ugali -matumbo. I must say I have enjoyed matumbo at very few places in Kisumu. The most legendary one is at Cosmos in Car Wash, then there is the Tumaini matumbo and then this one at Roan. So, after all, Dave Ngiri Odira does not scream about it for nothing.
She cleared her plate. Took a huge sip of her Fanta then excused herself to go to the ladies. When she came back she was different. Ready to talk. Not sure what happened in between but ‘this Daisy’ was ready to bare it all.
I clicked record…the red light came on and she began.
“I have given this man the best bit of my life. Given him two lovely boys, been the Proverbs 31 woman. I have supported him in all he does, even sacrificing my own career for him. Then this is how he pays me,” she says putting her left index finger on a black scar just beneath her eyes.
I had not noticed it before, perhaps because of her well-done makeup or the fact that I was avoiding too much eye contact trying not to make her uncomfortable.
Daisy has been kicked out of her house by her husband. She has spent the last three days living with her friend who has been so generous.
When she was kicked out she took nothing with her other than the clothes she had on and slippers she found outside the door.
Her friend had been kind enough to buy her a few clothes because they don’t really wear the same size of clothes. She had also given her an old phone she no longer uses – a Samsung Note 6. Other friends her size had brought more clothes.
Daisy says that her husband has been both physically and emotionally abusive. He would hit her for no apparent reason. She says initially he was a perfect gentleman but somewhere along the line, he started drinking a little too much.
At times when he came home late from a drinking spree he would hit her for taking too long to open the door – never mind he had a key of his own. He would apologize the following morning and swear using his dead mother’s name never to lay a finger on her again.
He would give her money to go shopping for herself and the kids. He would buy more gifts and flowers until he stopped feeling guilty. Then there will be another incident. The apology process would be as if it was scripted, precise as a surgeon’s scalpel.
I ask her why she stayed.
“Dan, my husband was a good man. He worked hard. I wanted to help him, I prayed for him every day. I fasted. I wanted my children to have a perfect family.”
Daisy’s husband started spending the weekends away. Every time she asked about it she was given a proper beating. Her own kids feared for her. To be at peace she stopped asking. The lavish apologies ended too.
He would come home with clothes he did not leave with. She also realized that some of his clothes went missing. At first, she blamed the house help but he soon realized that it was his husband taking them away. When asked he would say he is taking them to the village but she soon realized that they were not at the village. At times he would come back from his weekend trips wearing them.
It was now obvious he had another woman. She confronted him about it and he bluntly told her he can have as many women as he can afford.
That was not all, he started paying their kids’ school fees late. He gave her less money for the house. There are times she did not pay the help for two months. He also stayed away even during weekdays, at times for weeks on end.
Daisy says she held on for the kids. She could not imagine what she would do if she were to move out. She has not worked for five years. Her husband had convinced her to leave her job. Her parents were struggling, they couldn’t help her with anything. Her friends told her to hang in there.
“They told me to do everything I can to avoid confrontations with her. Dan, I felt worse than a doormat. I envied people who even though were poor, they had happier lives. I was being emotionally and physically abused. I was never this thin, my bones had flesh on them. I was a pretty girl with glowing skin but look at me now.”
I wanted to say she is still beautiful or that she has a beautiful heart but I wondered if that would have been appropriate. So I just kept quiet and listened to her speak.
Daisy says the weekend before she was thrown out she had traveled to Nairobi for a job interview. Her husband did not know about it, she had lied to him that she was going to the village to see her parents. She was planning to secretly get out with the kids.
Unfortunately, her husband got wind that she was seen at the airport in Nairobi when she was coming back. She found him waiting for him at the airport in Kisumu.
As they drove home he wanted to know who was the guy she was cheating on him with. She had to come clean, there was no way she was going to let him think she is cheating. She pleaded with him to understand during the short trip home and when all failed she started praying.
“I cried to my God. I asked him to get inside my husband’s heart. I prayed for him to intervene in our marriage.”
She says she doesn’t know if her prayers were ignored or were answered indirectly. That evening she was beaten like never before. She says she remembers the kids wailing. It was raining so the neighbors could not even come to help. She was then dragged and thrown outside. The kids were also beaten into silence.
Her friend took her to Kondele Police station to record a statement. As we sat at Roan the husband was still threatening her demanding that she withdraws the assault charges.
She had been told a woman had moved into her house.
I asked her what next and she says she will keep praying till a miracle happens.
It’s now two months since a miracle happened. Daisy now works at a hospital in Nairobi. A Kisumu court granted her custody of the children. The husband was also ordered to pay school fees for a school of a similar standard to the one the kids went to in Kisumu.
Daisy is hoping to conclude her divorce by the end of the year.
Featured image courtesy of pexels.com