Miniskirts and Sexual Assault: Is it really a Moral Issue?

miniskirtOver the years, there have been numerous stories of girls and women getting stripped to the bone on the streets of Zambia for dressing indecently. Many people have called this type of dressing  ‘indecent exposure.’ But what really is indecent exposure?

The full definition of the phrase ‘Indecent Exposure’ according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is; intentional exposure of part of one’s body (as the genitals) in a place where such exposure is likely to be an offence against the generally accepted standards of decency.

Here, I am tempted to define the term ‘genitals’ as it seems to be very cardinal; when used as an adjective, a genital is something of, or relating to the sexual organs…I presume I don’t have to go into details and define what sexual organs really are.

There have been split opinions on whether these attacks on the unsuspecting females were justified or if there could have been better ways of addressing the problems instead of resorting to mob justice. I am not in any way going to place judgement on how people choose to express themselves by what they wear, however, my issue here is about the manner in which certain people have taken it upon themselves to execute public judgement on such people and the justification they feel is deserved of such conduct.

I have visited many social media feeds and have seen the same people previously condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa out-rightly celebrating the public humiliation rendered on women who had not been wise enough to dress appropriately for the setting of time and location in their personal missions. You cannot use the excuse of morality when you are trying to correct a wrong with another wrong – herein lies the difference between stupidity and morality.

When girls or women in Zambia are accused of ‘indecently’ exposing themselves, it usually means that they either wore something very short (dress, skirt or a blouse/top) that was too revealing. The question then is; why is such dressing considered indecent over here?

Is it a matter of law or simply a socio-cultural issue? Some people have argued for the former and others for the latter but I strongly suspect the scales tip more towards the latter. However, neither the Criminal Procedure Code Act CAP 88 nor the Penal Code Act CAP 87 of the Laws of Zambia clearly defines what constitutes indecent exposure and the punishment for offences, but rather, it is implied. I was looking for documents that might define – according to the Zambian Law what truly constitutes ‘Indecent Exposure’ but I couldn’t come across any in such a short time. But I am not a lawyer, perhaps experts might advise. However, I did find other sexual offences that are clearly stipulated in the Penal Code Act CAP 87, Chapter XV – Offences against Morality such as rape, incest, indecent assault, abortions, etc…but the issue of indecent exposure is not greatly touched here, if touched at all.

Section 137 of the same Penal Code provides for the following;
(1) – Indecent Assault – Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any woman or girl is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
(3) Indecently insulting or annoying females – Any female who is found in any building or dwelling-house or in any veranda or passage attached thereto or in any yard, garden or other land adjacent or within the curtilage of such building or dwelling house – not being a public place…
(a) For the purpose of and from motives of indecent curiosity gazing at or observing any woman or girl who maybe therein while in a state of undress or semi-undress, or
(b) With intent to annoy or indecently assault or insult any woman or girl who maybe therein;

Is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year

Many officers of the law such as judges and other prominent lawyers have been reported urging the police force to arrest anyone (mostly females) for indecent exposure but i am not sure if there is any document that specifies how long an outfit should be to constitute indecent exposure…which by the way refers to the exposure of one’s private parts. If you have to strip someone to see their genitalia, doesn’t that in itself mean that they had been covered in the first place? Shouldn’t society really find another word or phrase to describe women that wear very short things but still manage to cover their genitalia because I think indecent exposure doesn’t quite cut it? How about ‘exposure of body parts that lead men into the temptation of sin…?’ I bet this one will have every woman covered up from head to toe because let’s face it, a woman’s body weather covered or not can lead most men to sin. And why not, when their brains where programmed to think about sex every so often! I know of certain parts of the world where it is culture to have women covered from head to toe yet reports of gruesome rapes are very rampant over there. Who is to blame for that?

However, what amazes me about our judicial system is how well laws against indecent assault have been laid out and actually how many cases of such have been successfully prosecuted. Of the many women that have been beaten, attacked and stripped naked on the streets in town, how many of those attackers have been charged? The fact that not many of them if any at all have faced the wrath of the law is what has led to the continuous practice of such behaviour against our women folk.

There is no law that justifies or pardons the outright commitment of a crime as a means of preventing another one…or could this be an absolute case of the insidious limitations of criminal law with respect to the actus reus and mens rea – where the girls/women get punished (although through mob justice mostly) for indecent exposure while the perpetrators of indecent assault are left free simply because there is no charge against entertaining immoral thoughts even when in this case, those thoughts have been acted upon?

Other people have argued that miniskirts and other revealing clothes should be condemned because they go against the country’s code of being ‘a Christian Nation.’ This declaration on its own would make one jump to such conclusions as Christianity being the only religion legally practised, however, there are also other religions operating legally. It has never been an issue whether there are some people who prefer having no religious inclinations at all but as long as they are in Zambia, they ought to live by Christian standards. I am not sure if the fundamental human right of Freedom of Religion had any play when the country was being declared a Christian nation.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18; everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Right now, I am looking for that section that allows for people to have the freedom to not belong or conform to any religion and to hell with the consequences of Judgement Day and Armageddon! I am sure there is an exception right here in the details of the UDHR that must not have been considered when our beloved nation was declared a Christian Nation. Is it the nation that is Christian, or is it the people? My argument here basically is; it is not right to judge others and impose your own beliefs on them. Hitherto, we come to the socio-cultural issue which seems to be the driving force behind the attacks on girls/women.

It is a fact that Zambia is to a very lack extent a conservative nation glued to its history and national heritage. We take pride in our culture and heritage because that’s what makes us who we are. However, this is not to say that we are a national immune to civilization or that international relations have had no impact on us, heck no! For every nation to survive and still hold its pride, it needs culture. Many people have accused the West of imposing its traditions and practices on developing countries but I stand to argue this one in respect to this aspect of culture.

bushmenBefore the influence of the outside world, our people in Africa used to only wear animal skin which covered specific parts of their bodies and for some women, the breasts where not covered at all! This is part of our culture, our history and every now and then we still see this being practised during traditional ceremonies…women still parade in public wearing extremely short skirts exposing their huge buttocks and baring their boobs and stomachs as they dance seductively to the drums of the land. This is our culture; it is part of our tradition.

So tell me again, who taught that teenage girl that it’s okay to bounce around half-naked in public? Is it that European Model on the cover of a fashion magazine or could it be that aunt she saw performing during a traditional ceremony? Let us not be hypocrites! People from the West had clothes on while our ancestors pranced around half-naked in animal skin. The only thing they might have imposed on us are clothes and not nakedness. We were doing very fine by ourselves being naked until some fellas somewhere decided to completely cover us up. Even one of the most civilized cultures of all time in Africa – Egypt, the women there were not completely covered up, if not for their well-adorned girdles which left little to the imagination, they would have been practically naked.

As time would have it, Zambians and Africans at large have evolved over the years and have embraced the Western culture of wearing cotton, silk, polyester and the like so much that they have forgotten it was something they adopted! However, the issue right now isn’t necessarily about where clothes came from, I think the major issue is time and location. I think this is where most of these girls/women have gotten it all wrong and ended up having a really bad day.

There are certain parts of the country where one can walk in broad daylight wearing very skimpy or tight-fitting clothes and no one, or most people won’t throw them judgemental looks…places like Manda Hill or Arcades. And it gets worse at night, individuals you would otherwise see decently dressed during the day wearing clothes that even certain women from a certain ‘industry of the night’ would stare at in envy. This takes us back to time and location. It seems the brains of humans are structured like that; to easily accept something during a particular time and place but completely condemn the same thing another time and place. This is human nature. It is the culture of humans at large.

Whereas it is possible for one to be sexually aroused by what they see, there is no law that permits anyone to attack or sexually harass someone simply because they found their dressing offensive or seductive. When those women are attacked and stripped naked on the streets, it is not because their attackers are trying to instil a sense of moral obligation in them. The hard truth is that they are simply a bunch of hormone obsessed males who have allowed their ‘small brains’ to get the better of them. Because the law does not allow them to touch a female without permission, they choose to resort to the closest thing that would allow them to get to her without receiving condemnation from the masses – they claim they are teaching the indecently dressed females a lesson by stripping them naked.

Suffice to say, the very men perpetuating these attacks on the streets are the same ones who throw insults and demeaning comments on every possible woman that passes by. I cannot count the number of times I have been sexually harassed or felt insulted by the comments thrown by these thugs on the streets dressed as men. I have never walked around town half-naked or with major parts of my body exposed. If anything, I take extra precaution with how I look and what I wear to avoid this group of ignorant buffoons from hailing sexually offensive comments at me. However, that doesn’t seem to stop them!

This is something that goes on almost every day, women are made feel negatively about their own sexuality or lack thereof and they are subjected to sexual harassment in many forms every single day. There is a section of the law as outlined above that provides punishment for such offenses but honestly, how many of such cases have successfully been prosecuted? These officers of the law are busy throwing instructions around to arrest those suspected of indecent exposure but it would be nice if they would also be strict even on those committing offences like indecent assault.

Even in my most nun-like outfits, I have had men strip search me with their eyes or totally strip me naked with their comments. It is not because I did anything to warrant their wrath. I refuse to take responsibility for the ‘hornyness’ they can’t seem to control. I shouldn’t have to apologize for how beautiful I look or how good I look in my clothes. It is not my responsibility to help you control your sexual urges. You owe it to society to keep a morally incorrupt mind-set instead of blaming your genes and hormones for your behaviour.

That aside, I think it is also the duty of females to protect themselves from possible attacks that are sexually related. Just like one would avoid passing through a narrow dangerous street in the night all alone, isn’t it better to apply the same wisdom when we are about to go out in public? Provided, you might have a gun on you for protection, but aren’t there any other options you could take to avoid paying a higher price as a consequence of your actions? Yes, we have the freedom to wear whatever we want, but if this freedom will put us in the line of fire, isn’t it better to do everything in our power to keep ourselves from harm’s way? Sometimes, it really pays to ‘dress for the occasion,’ we cant all be Lady Gaga.

Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed, as I have illustrated already that dressing modestly will stop certain men from sexually harassing women on the streets. Unless men take it upon themselves to correct their behaviour, women will continue to be vulnerable in society. If people are so concerned about instilling moral behaviour in girls/women who dress indecently, how about starting by adjusting their own moral campus towards the right direction and approach this matter the way it should be handled? Stripping them naked is not the corrective measure necessary here; I believe that as a ‘Christian nation’ that we keep emphasizing we are, there are better ways of leading ‘such’ women towards the ‘right path.’ Who are you to render punishment on them when just the other day you snatched a phone from my hands! Drop the act, just because you have become so dame good and sinning and hiding it doesn’t make you any better than the rest of us.

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A Paradox of Sorts

stripper

Destiny…
Is what she thought when she saw him by the counter
She could have given him all flavours of love to his hearts desire
Hers was an assortment of pleasure and things of fantasies
But his heart was not to be taken

Agony…
Is what he recalled of their first encounter
Without trying he had set her heart on fire
But his thoughts were only of lust and ecstasy
And his heart could never be shaken

I AM AFRICAN, I AM NOT POOR. YES, IT’S POSSIBLE!

Oh wow, here we go again.

africa-713336_1920I am extremely AFRICAN…and yes I am not poor or malnourished and I can speak about three other foreign languages. No, I wasn’t forced into an early marriage, I married out of love and yes, that college degree is as real as the architecture on Donatella’s face. My vagina is perfectly in place, nobody ever tried to mutilate me thank you very much for asking. I don’t have ‘THE HIV’ hahahaha….’the HIV’…this one always gets to me, yaba.

And I think I know just where to place that verb and subject in a sentence without stuttering along the way. Oh yeah, my sister is dating a man with surprisingly lower levels of melanin on his skin than us but it’s not for reasons you might think. Our family doesn’t need rescuing; we actually donate to charities of our own every now and then. Ah, let’s not forget, that President of Africa they told you about in school, he doesn’t exist! Yes, it’s true! THE HORROR!!!!!!

Enough about my grievances.

I really don’t know who to blame for the way some foreign folks think about anyone that comes from Africa. Could it be just sheer ignorance on their part or did Africans, on their own volition make the foreign folks believe that they are always in deer need of saving be it emotionally, biologically, physically, socially, economically and whatever else you can think of? Most of the times I have become friends or gotten acquainted to someone from ‘another world’, I am amazed by the shock they seem to register on their faces when they get to know me a little better. You can literally see their huge ball of prejudice and ignorance burst into bubbles. It’s horrendous!

After my recent unfortunate encounter, I found myself wondering – who is to blame for all this; the Geographic Channel, the History Channel, the NGO’s, our governments, or ourselves? This is a very big issue and someone needs to take responsibility for it and get on straight to fixing it before someone gets struggled in their own web of ignorance.

I have heard of experiences from many Africans who have travelled to foreign countries and have been subjected to treatment stemming from people’s ignorance. The pitiful looks on their faces, for some the disdain, others the –don’t-get-close-it’s-a-plague kind of treatment. And Ebola really didn’t help things these past few months – an insufferable and nefarious disease this one. Thank God it is slowly fazing away without touching the rest of the countries in Africa or the world at large. Did you know, The USA actually had cases of Ebola and Zambia (an extremely African country) didn’t!?? You say?? Indeed.

But who’s responsible for the misrepresentation of all Africans and who is to correct this heinous error? They say charity begins at home so let me start on a national scale; our own governments! I should state that this is merely my opinion and I am not in any way presenting it as a fact. The tendency by many Africans to elect into government people that lack merit but only out of loyalty is one of the things I am holding responsible for how people elsewhere regard us. How is it possible that for so many years we have been boasting of natural resources, the copper, the gold, the land yet we do not own any of it? They are mostly in the hands of other people and we rely on them to show us how to run them. Now let’s not get all xenophobic…international relations are imperative especially for developing countries like Zambia. However, I feel that there is need for some major reorganization in terms of managing our own resources.

It could be a fact – to some extent that we lack the capacity to run our own affairs but when are we going to start building the foundation so that in future, we can possess the means to do so on our own? I get totally embarrassed when our states men travel long distances to get medical attention in other countries and the embarrassment levels reach even higher heights when they return their bodies in bags and not in some fancy seat in the first class section of some fancy airline. It’s embarrassing. The questions I keep asking myself are; since when have government representatives been getting sick? How much does it cost to cover all the possible expenses of that patient and his whole entourage?

If we were to put all those expenses together, couldn’t we possibly afford to build our own state of the art hospital where these people can be taken to when they fall sick? I will not even begin to talk about the health of almost everyone we put in positions of power. It is not as if we don’t know the truth. Our problem is that even when we know that we are making a grave mistake, we continue with our plans and then spend the rest of our lives on our knees begging God in prayer expecting a miracle. These days, such miracles come with a price tag and they do not bear the face of God.

It is true that I am not in any position to know or even imagine how a country is run, but unfortunately, I have been put in a seat that requires me to suffer the consequences of how that country in question is being operated – whether good or bad. I have found myself in a position to see first-hand how much is spent on allowances for government officials who are sent out to perform duties that they were initially put in their positions to do yet some of them have refused to perform those duties when they felt the allowances where just too low or the lodge they were booked into was not to standard. Now picture in your head the kind of universities or hospitals we would have if we were to cut off on all those fancy allowances we seem to spent on unnecessarily and yet we proudly raise our heads during meetings and call ourselves ‘developing countries?’ For how long are we going to be a developing country? The shame. The shame.

I am of the belief that sometimes for one to succeed, he or she must suffer a loss or make some kind of sacrifice. I am not looking at the big picture right now, I am simply looking at parts of that picture that are visible from where I am sitting and what COULD be done to change some things. If there are ways we can avoid all that donor funding, the huge debts, and the like…if it meant going hungry as a nation for three days so we could correct these things and set ourselves on the path for stability, couldn’t we do that?

And then we have ourselves as Africans to blame. Here I am talking about two major things; 1: Being lazy every day and expecting our governments to perform miracles. 2- Those people we see in the streets rushing to tourists or anyone with a ‘white’ colour to their skin begging with impunity. I especially despise those kinds of people. Let me focus on the laziness part first. Here’s an example; you live in a small community and for over twenty years you have had no running water whatsoever. Every time news crews visit your location, you cannot wait to air out your grievances to the government. Without shame you look into the cameras and scream ‘the government should look into this!’

I think that we lack the self-drive to make things happen for ourselves, always waiting on someone else to do things for us. There are so many ways one could think of to get water to that village only if they put their heads together. Even if it’s gonna be dirty water, just get it so that when next the camera’s come, you can proudly ask the ‘government to compliment your efforts because it’s their responsibility as well as it is yours.

Recently, there has been talk of the government installing surveillance cameras on the streets and much of the response has been, ‘you wait, these are Zambians, they will steal them the very first night they are installed!’ And we all have been saying that without shame. Well, shame on us people. I don’t know if we have a natural inclination towards self-destruction but we have somehow managed to render ourselves poor and incompetent by our own hands. All that vandalism, the dirty streets and dirty towns…we are responsible for all of that. Imagine what would happen if people stopped throwing their rubbish anyhow. Then we wouldn’t be crying to the government to come clean up our streets! It’s like what they say about love, you first need to love yourself before anyone else can love you or before you can dare love another. That’s just how things work.

We do not need Barrack Obama to send his people to teach us about what diseases we are likely to suffer if we continue throwing our rubbish anyhow. The truth is that we already know but we are too wrapped up with being rescued by others while we cover our faces crying about poverty and what-not.

On the second part – black folks approaching white people on the streets to beg for money. Forget all people with disabilities and let’s focus on that one man with fully functioning body parts. If there was no white person passing through, he would have approached me to beg for money but the minute he sees a white person, there he rushes. Here’s my issue; I am naturally offended and embarrassed by your sheer laziness, and you going ahead to sink in the brain of that tourist that that’s how Africans are only makes my blood boil to a record level. If anything, I would rather you approached me for assistance and leave that person alone. I always imagine the stories the tourists take back home concerning the many instances they get ambushed on the streets for a dollar or two. It’s preposterous. It should stop.

And then we have NGO’s, the TV channels and the movies authored by foreigners who have only heard about Africa from third parties or lived in one African country. I am tired of seeing the image of poverty being that face of that malnourished kid from Africa on white people’s TV’s. For your information, we also have very fat poor people in Africa. The issue here is that this is what people outside Africa are constantly seeing whenever someone says the word ‘Africa.’ Oprah Winfrey visited Africa – motion or still images of her feeding or carrying a sad and sick looking kid. Modonna visits Africa – same story.

When Hollywood celebrities donate, they don’t donate to a country, a foundation, or a cause, they simply donate to Africa. The face of HIV is Africa and this is because of the many mushrooming NGO’s all dressed up in humanitarian uniforms and painting our nations as disease-ridden ones simply because they are greedy. And where do they even get those figures from?? Sadly, this is what kids overseas grow up seeing and hearing and these are the kinds of people I meet and they shyly ask me if my vagina is intact.

It is not nice when we are greeted by all this prejudice just by virtue of being African and it needs to change. This change should start from home. For all those people seeking donor funding or wanting to borrow, please save us some dignity. Yes there are a lot of poor people in Africa but when presenting those figures and showing those images, try to put some smiling faces and health looking people because it’s very possible for one to be hungry and still afford to smile for the cameras. It would also help to find alternative means of empowering poor people instead of feeding them so that eventually they can stop depending on others.

For those people outside Africa who might not know, maybe because they had no chance to or because they were raised to believe otherwise, not all Africans are poor. Yes, most African governments are poor but it’s not all of them. We have water, electricity, judicial systems, cars, cinema’s and very good looking houses and mansions over here but you will not get to see such on tele because ‘it doesn’t sell well.’ Television stations need those ratings and some greedy folks back here at home need the funding to keep coming.

As Africans, we should take a larger chunk of responsibility for how people perceive us out there. We need to change the way our brains function and learn to love ourselves more. Let us not wait on people to pave the way for us. If we want to see change, we should work at it and make sacrifices along the way. I reiterate, “charity begins at home.” My government might lack money to run the country successfully but on a personal level, I think I have worked hard enough to rise above the ‘poverty’ line. And I think my country will too if everybody resolved to see that most needed change.

Why do you want to get married so desperately?

wedding

This is a question I always get tempted to ask some of my friends but I have never really found a way to say it out loud in a much nicer way…if there is anything like that. However, there is another important question I think people forget to ask; why get married at all?

For the latter question, there are well coloured responses like; procreation, sense of belonging, companionship, a show of real love and many other such reasons. I believe it is this group of reasons that hold (to a certain extent) valid reasons as to why one should start panicking when they reach a certain age and are still not married. However, there is another set of factors that people are not so proud to say out loud but they have put these reasons at the top of their list so much that they would do anything just to have someone they can call husband or wife.

One of these reasons is simply that, ‘everyone in my circle of friends or age group is getting married.’ This embarrassing reason is coupled with pressure from friends and relatives who question you for still being unmarried when you have reached or passed the ‘right age’ for marriage. To hell with falling in love or being emotionally ready for such a huge commitment, they are simply informing you in a round-about way that something is wrong with you!

Sad to say but women tend to feel the pressure more than men. They have two battles to fight – nature and society, and it leaves them paranoid to the bone! Even before a guy officially asks you out on a date you are already picking out colours for the wedding theme and what you will wear for the kitchen party. Some women become so wrapped up in their need for marriage that they have no patience for a prospective suitor who isn’t yet financially stable or feels uncomfortable talking about the number of kids he wishes to have on the first date. It is this rush that forces them not to see the potential in a person that could have probably made for a great spouse in future.

Another reason why some people are in desperate need of marriage is financial dependence. Some time back this used to be mostly a problem for women but these days, there is a certain class of men that have convinced themselves too that getting married to a financially independent woman means that they don’t have to hustle for money at all. I cannot even begin to stress the disadvantages of such an arrangement. Unfortunately, I have seen women throw themselves at men that are financially stable and have ignored all other aspects of their personalities or habits. They choose to spend the rest of their lives at the mercy of someone who will not by any means empower them but leave them financially dependent forever. Whether happy or unhappy, such people will stay in the marriage simply because they cannot imagine going back to their old lives.

For some men, it’s when they leave home and start living on their own that they become desperate for marriage. Companionship might not even be on the list, but the need to have a multi-purpose machine that can cook, clean, as well as provide sexual pleasure is all that matters. These kinds of men think that maids are expensive, but they always get shocked when they discover the true cost of marriage. A man that isn’t emotionally ready for marriage but still does so simply because he needs a maid with benefits is exactly the type of man that makes for a terrible husband…and an unhappy woman.

There are too many people out there that are married and miserable but they can’t get out because they fear judgement from society or having to start all over again with some other stranger who might just turn out to be an exact replica of the devil they are already married to. The truth is that it’s very possible that you might be very happy being single. I sincerely believe that there are genuinely happy single people out there. In this modern world, there are so many things one can do to keep from being lonely. Now, I am not saying that there is an absolute substitute for human companionship; I am simply saying that some things can wait.

The kind of loneliness you are likely to feel married to someone that you don’t really love or doesn’t really love you back is on a much greater scale than if you were lonely all by yourself. Forget all that stuff about crying in a Benz compared to crying on a bicycle; eventually you will need to get off. The question is, where will your feet land?

What some people might not realise is that the only reason they think they need to get married is because of pressure around them and the need to live according to society’s expectations. However, once you sign that paper that binds you to someone else forever, those people that caused you to get into that situation will not be there to help curb your problems when they occur.

I don’t know about other cultures but if you are an African woman, it’s better to stop admiring or envying the life of your married friends on social media. As women, we are trained from a very tender age to never broadcast our marital trials to the public. Therefore, what is seen on social media or on the outside is never the whole picture; that’s simply the cover page. Granted, marriage is very good, I should know…so far I have experienced the good way more than the bad but this is probably because I married out of love…and I believe that both of us were mentally ready at that time to make such a commitment and stick to it.

There is no harm in being single and waiting for the right time or ‘right person.’

Only give in to pressure if it’s possible to hold all those pressuring you accountable when the time comes.

Unhappy marriages can lead to unhappy people, unhappy children, and a society filled with unhappy people. The ultimate result of this is exactly what we see in society today; people constantly shooting each other or plotting to murder one another.

Taking Chances

Even when they know they will wither and die, flowers still bloom.

Even when they know they will all die, humans still eat.

And even when you know your heart might get broken, you still dare to love.

They can turn off your light but that wont make theirs shine any brighter.

Fear is only but a figment of your imagination.

Open the door and check, there really is no monster in there.

Take chances, the worst that could happen is you die….but that’s inevitable.

CHRONICLES OF MY MOTHER: CHAPTER THREE (3) – THE UNHOLY CASE OF KAFULA AND DANIEL

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

 

Diary entry: 22nd August, 1997

Today I had one of those sessions that have the potential to send you straight to hell just by listening to someone speak. Dear Lord, wherever you are, I hope you can look kindly upon me.

Kafula…oooh, what a woman!

She is not very different from the many women that have walked into my office before and humbly sat down in that chair only to rain shock unto my old soul.

“I am in a pickle Aunt!” Kafula declared. “You remember you asked me what would be the cause of my regret in future.” She said, “I think I have finally found the answer…and the devil really played a fast one on me this time around because I didn’t see it coming.”

Today’s meeting with her was not our first, obviously. She had come to me three years ago to seek relationship advice when the man, who is currently her husband, proposed marriage to her. I still remember how confused she was the day she narrated to me how the two of them had met….

*                       *                           *

The weather was just perfect for a Sunday morning. 21 year old Kafula touched her chitambala again to ensure it was still in place. There was no way she was going to risk revealing her loud blonde weave to the new pastor from Washington D.C who was to be introduced in church that day. There was electricity in Kafula’s movements as evidenced from the stares she was getting from the opposite sex as she walked the short distance from her home to her church. She was excited, and it showed on her youthful and beautiful face. She made it a point to royally wave at familiar faces along the way. There were certain perks to growing up in a middle-class neighborhood. Despite the clothes that seemed to threaten her very womanhood into oblivion, she was still a sight to behold.

Kafula was just about to enter the church hall when she felt her phone vibrate in her hand bag. There was only one person who could be calling her at that time. She still had about twenty-five more minutes till service started so she walked to a corner outside the church to take the call.

“What’s up boo!” She probably thought she was whispering, but her excitement betrayed her. She looked around to see if anyone had heard her but she was in the clear. There was only a man standing a few feet away with his back to her. He was talking to an elderly woman who seemed completely taken in by whatever the tall man in the well cut and expensive suit was telling her.

“This is me waking up, imagine,” said a male voice from the other end of the line. “I haven’t called at a bad time, have I? …I think you still have about….”

“Yeah, still got about twenty more minutes so we can chat. What time did you even sleep last night?”

There was a long sigh first and then, “I think that was around 03…you know how I hate Labour Law. That fool only talks too much about himself in class and doesn’t teach a thing so we have to find all the data for ourselves. I managed to find an old essay online and spent most of the night going through it. I think I am ready to ace that test tomorrow, babes.”

“And when you do,” this time she managed to successfully whisper, tilting her head further into her shoulder. “I think I will also be ready to let you taste something even sweeter.” Kafula’s hand was absent-mindedly making circles around her breast.

“Hmmm hmmm….” She heard someone make a play of clearing his throat and quickly looked up. She wasn’t sure whether to cover her whole face or her mouth but in trying to decide, she sent her phone flying to ground as she caught a glimpse of who was standing in front of her.

She had never seen him before, but she could guess from his suit and his looks who he was. He was very good-looking and had an air of elegance and charisma about him that only made her blush even more. What was a young sexy man like that doing coming all the way here to Africa to be a pastor? Kafula thought to herself.

“Well, are you going to continue standing here Sister, or go in and get ready for today’s sermon?” His voice was something to die for. His American accent only served to deepen his already masculine voice. Fortunately, his tone was neither menacing nor disapproving and the huge smile playing on his face helped ease Kafula’s embarrassment at getting caught talking dirty right in front of the church.

Blinking profusely and internally searching for her tongue, Kafula managed to let out a few words. “You must be the new Pastor from America….” She was debating whether to extend her hand in greeting or not when he put out his and waited for her to reciprocate, still smiling. He must think I am some naughty child in need of deliverance, doesn’t he? She thought as they shook hands.

“Yes indeed I am. You can call me Pastor Daniel Jackson. And what’s your name?”

“My name is Kafula.” She was quick to provide. Finally, her tongue back in full service. “I am very sorry about…” she looked at her phone in embarrassment. “It’s not what you think….”

“I do not think it matters what I think as long as it well with your conscious and with God. C’mon, let us go in before we are late.” He motioned for her to go ahead. Kafula took the aisle and searched for Melinda in the already filled-up church. She spotted her childhood friend and now college mate immediately in their usual sitting place, furiously waving her hand in the air so as not to be missed.

“What took you so long?” Was the greeting Kafula received from Melinda. “You know very well how special today is. Even the people that haven’t been to church in ten years have finally shown up today. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or if I should judge them. They have no shame.” Melinda was one year Kafula’s junior in age and the girl was never one to hesitate when it came to speaking her mind. She believed in speaking the truth even if it would hurt the recipient and she expected all her friends to treat her in that regard, always.

Kafula looked behind her to see if the sexy pastor had followed her but he was nowhere in sight. There was a look of disappointment in her eyes. “Who are you looking for?” A very curious Melinda asked, her gaze following the direction her fiend had just been searching.

“Let me tell you all about it after the service. All I can say for now is that I feel like the ground should just open up and swallow me. I.am.so.embarrassed!” Kafula covered her face with both hands as if the act itself would wipe out the past few minutes.

That Sunday, the moment the service was done, Kafula was more than ready to grab her handbag and run out of the church. But just when she thought she was in the clear, she bumped right into the masculine frame of Pastor Jackson at the church entrance. He had a wild smirk about him, as if to say, I have caught you in the act, again.

“You really don’t like me much, do you?” A visibly embarrassed Kafula said while her friend Melinda stood to the side, visibly gawking at the handsome 30 year old pastor.

“Quite the contrary Sister Kafula,” replied the charismatic man. She almost laughed at the sound of her name from his lips. He remembered my name!” A little voice screamed inside her head. “Since I am the new head pastor here, I have plans to implement a few programs for the youths and I thought you might be the perfect candidate to be in charge of one of them. I have someone coming through from the RFL tomorrow evening; I would really love it if you were part of that meeting. Of course you are free to invite your guardian to the meeting since this will be on-going and will take up most of your free time.”

“Don’t worry Pastor, she will definitely be here,” replied an excited Melinda.

Kafula threw her friend a warning look that sent her locking her lips in silent. “It sounds like a great program if it has to do with the RFL…but I have to think about it first. You see, I am in my first year at college and….”

“Even better!” Pastor Jackson said. “This will definitely be good for your resume and it won’t get in the way of your studies whatsoever. Ask your parents to accompany you tomorrow and I will try to convince them about why this is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.”

Kafula had just known him for a couple of hours, but he had a way with words that would even convince a blind man he really saw the blue giraffe that had walked by. She did not know it then, but she had already given him access to the most intimate of her thoughts in more ways than she could have ever imagined.

Three months later, Kafula’s two year relationship with her boyfriend Andy was on the rocks. The two had been having constant fights like never before and there was no denying the constant tension between them.

“All you ever talk about is Pastor Jackson, Pastor Jackson.” Andy complained one day. “Do you know that you sometimes even call him Danny? Who the hell calls their 30 year old pastor by their first name? Are you sure you haven’t already surrendered your gold to him?” Andy threw his girlfriend a look of disgust, scanning her from head to toe. Suddenly, his collage room which he had always considered big was too small to contain the two of them. Kafula was already on her feet ready to throw whatever she could get her hands on at him before walking out.

“What are you trying to say Andy?” She retorted. “How many times do I have to tell you that nothing is going on between the Pastor and me? Since when did you become so insecure?”

“Since my girlfriend who loved me to the moon came to me one day and told me that her pastor said that I am a bad influence on her and she should break-up with me if she is to attain everlasting life. And as if that is not enough, my girlfriend,” Andy deliberately emphasized the phrase, “…is gullible enough to believe that God actually came to this pastor in a dream and told him that she was his soul mate. Tell me, would you be feeling secure at all if you were me?”

“I never said that we should break up Andy. I merely relayed to you what the pastor told me.”

“You don’t need to actually say the words for me to get them. Everything you’ve been doing ever since that man came into our lives has been suggesting a break-up. You don’t call or text, you are always grumpy or absent-minded whenever we are together, if you are not with him then you are constantly on the phone with him. It’s like I don’t exist to you anymore. Right now you have no right to make me feel as if I am being paranoid. That is very unfair because you know very well that I am saying the truth. All I need is the truth from you, not this cat and mouse game you’ve been playing with me lately. Do you want us to break up or not?”

The silence that followed was enough for Andy to sing all the verses of the National Anthem backwards. “I would be a fool to still hold any hope for us if your silence is anything to go by. Get out of my room right now Kaf before I do something to you I might regret.”

“But Andy….” Kafula stammered.

“Oh, so you finally have something to say? C’mon, say it now, I’m waiting.” He went to sit on the bed, his arms resting across his chest. He didn’t need her to say anything else to validate his fears. That bus had already gone and somewhere in Kulima Tower, a conductor was very pleased.

“What you said…” Kafula stammeredall through her speech. “Well, I really don’t know for sure…but…but…what the pastor said…it really got to me. Ever since he told me, I have been thinking and thinking. What if I ignore him? Wont God punish me?”

Just listen to yourself Kafula?” Andy cut her off. “For the past two years I was under the impression I had the most intelligent woman by my side. The Kafula I know wouldn’t be standing here telling me she believed the words of a wanna-be prophet instead of using logic to assess things. These people calling themselves pastors are busy feeding you fables and presenting them to you as gospel truth and you are not wise enough to tell them apart. I am telling you, God does not appear to men and deliver useless messages like that. This has nothing to do with God. Just tell me that you were flattered when he told you that he traveled all the way from the States just to meet with you after God had come to him…in a dream? Do you think you are the only he is feeding such stories?”

“I trust my pastor, Andy; he is a man of God. I won’t have you say such horrible things about him. I have always known you have little faith. I just didn’t know it was this serious. You are right, I have already made up my mind,” she spoke with conviction this time around. “I do not wish to continue this relationship. Of course I am flattered that a man like Pastor Jackson has shown interest in me and wants to marry me. What red-bloodied woman wouldn’t? I have heard him speak the word of God in church and there is no doubt the spirit of God resides in him. That is the kind of man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I am really sorry that things turned out this way between us. Until Danny, I truly believed I was in-love with you. I am truly sorry.”

“Yeah, so am I.” These were the last words that Andy said to her. Six months later, he heard through his friends that she had dropped out of college and gotten married to the charismatic Man of God. He knew it was time to move on.

^                 ^                 ^

What Andy didn’t know was that just a week before Kafula’s wedding to Pastor Jackson, she had come to my office to voice her confusion over the men in her life.

“There is a part of me that thinks that this is too good to be true and that I might end up regretting the choices I have made.” Kafula said, not hiding her worries at all.

I had my own concerns over her decision to get married so soon but while I was busy debating how to relay the message without hurting her, she beat me to it. “I know that we haven’t known each other for a long time but I feel as if I have known him all my life,” said Kafula. “I feel like I have known him all my life.” She repeated. “He makes me feel…different…nice.” She was literally blushing.

“Do you believe that he genuinely loves you?” I asked.

She nodded, “I have no doubt about that.”

“And how do you feel about Andy, your ex?”

“I used to think that I was crazily in-love with him until I met Danny. I don’t think I have ever felt this way for anyone before. This truly must be love.” She proudly announced.

“So, tell me again why you came to see me my dear?” I asked.

“Well, I heard from a friend at school that you are really good at helping someone get a piece of mind.” I couldn’t help laughing a little at that. “You see, ever since Andy and I broke up,” Kafula was saying, “I have been feeling a little guilty. I want that guilt to go away before I get married to Danny. He doesn’t deserve this.”

“Why do you feel guilt over Andy?”

“…I really don’t know,” then she paused, scanning the roof of my home office. “He was really a great guy. Even though I told him I wasn’t yet ready to have sex, he was very patient with me and never pressured me or anything. Despite his challenging classes, he still made time for me. He is a really good guy and I can’t help feeling bad about how I treated him.”

“Are you perhaps confusing the feelings you still have for him for guilt?” She was more than ready to refute my theory but then I cautioned her, “I need you to really think about this before responding.”

I could tell she was having a hard time sorting out her feelings for the two men. She obviously didn’t seek me out for guidance. She just wanted me to tell her what she wanted to hear so she could have a free mind.

It took her about two minutes to come to a conclusion. “I really don’t know…I am really confused,” she admitted. “There is no way my feelings for him could disappear suddenly even if I am now in-love with someone else. After all, we were together for two years and we knew each other long before we started dating. So isn’t it understandable that I might still feel a little confused about my feelings for him? It hasn’t even been long since we broke up, don’t you think?”

“Is it me you are trying to convince, or yourself?” I looked at her keenly.

She didn’t reply immediately. I am sure her mind was busy at work somewhere. And then, “One thing I know for sure is that my feelings for Danny are way more than my feelings for Andy.” She revealed.

“…and, are you sure those feelings are indeed love and not just sexual attraction? I have heard that he is a very good looking man.” Kafula was smiling and blushing all at once.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with sex…although I have thought about it several times. He is even the one who has kept on insisting we do nothing intimate until the wedding.”

“That is very noble of him.” I said. It was meant to be sarcastic, but obviously that was not how it came out looking at the proud expression on Kafula’s face.

I had my own feelings about the man but I was not about to impose my suspicions on a 21 year old riding high on an oestrogen wave. She was in a better position to see things for how they really were and there was nothing anyone could tell her that would make her change her mind. And what if the pastor’s intentions where truly genuine? There was no way of confirming that or anything else otherwise. “I know why you came here to see me,” I said. “But I am not in any position to give you the response you so desperately want to hear. I would only advise you take your time to get to know each other…get to know more about Pastor Danny and where he comes from, his family and other things like that. As it happens now, the only thing you know about him is what he has told you. I understand that trust is essential in a relationship…but it is also not a crime to question certain things sometimes. Try to find out a little more about his background and what sort of family he comes from. When you marry someone, it is not just them you marry, but their family too. So try to find out about that as well.”

“He said that he has no family. He grew up in an orphanage. He even showed me a picture of him and his siblings at the orphanage when they were young.  He had a tough life after leaving the orphanage so he lost contact with most of them. Only two of his close friends will be coming but that will be only a day before the wedding.”

“That’s quite unfortunate…about his life I mean. Do you think that there is a possibility you might regret your decision in future?” I asked.

“When it comes to love, there is always a possibility of regret aunt.” She replied confidently. “Love is a risk we all take and we never really know the end unless we allow ourselves to succumb.” I was amazed. Perhaps I should have been the one sited in her chair and not the other way round.

“Besides,” Kafula added, “he did say that God revealed to him that I was his soul mate. I believed him.”

“Let’s do hypotheticals…hypothetically speaking, if you were to regret in future, what do you think would be the one thing you wish you had known or avoided today? Or, let me rephrase…what do you think would be the cause of your regret?”

She paused to think about this one before replying. “The devil,” she said. “The devil always has a way of ruining good and pure things so I can’t really tell which route he might use to get at us but I will always be prayerful.”

“That’s a good response Kafula.” I said and made preparations to end our session.

*                       *                           *

 

“What do you mean you have found the answer?” I asked the young lady. “Did something happen?”

“Not something, someone, to be more precise.” She said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“My husband, he isn’t who he said he was. I only found out the truth yesterday, after I discovered his affair and he found out about mine.”

Now there was something I wasn’t expecting. “Wait a minute, you mean the both of you cheated on each other that early in your marriage? I don’t know about him but what’s your excuse, Kafula?”

“At first I also thought I was a Jezebel kind of woman just like you are thinking right now, but not anymore.”

“There is really no excuse for cheating on your spouse Kafula, especially if it happens only three months after the wedding.” I tried to reason with her.

She laughed, but sarcastically. “I might have been the one who ‘cheated,’” she raised her fingers as if to literally put her words in inverted commas. “But he is the biggest cheat of them all. It turns out, our marriage wasn’t even valid to begin with.

“What do you mean by that?” My walls have heard and witnessed crazy things, but each new day always seems to bring with it a whole new flavor of sin.

“My husband…oh, I can’t believe I am still calling him that after all that happened!” She pulled a disgusted face. “It turns out Danny is already married and I am the other woman.” She dropped the bomb.

“Dear Lord,” I said. Yes, it also happens to me. Sometimes I get so shocked I run out of words too.

“You remember last time, I told you he had invited two of his close friends to our wedding? Well, it turned out that one of them was actually his wife.”

“But why did she come to the wedding if she was married to your husb…I mean to the pastor?”

“Wait until you hear the whole story then you will understand just how sick this whole thing really is. I feel like going for surgery just to have all my insides flushed out. Just after the wedding….”

*                       *                           *

The day after the wedding, one of Danny’s friends had gone back to the States while the other had remained behind to stay with the new couple. It had been brought to the Jackson’s attention that Hilary had no home to return to in America as notice of repossession had been served and there was no place to call home. Wanting to please her husband, Kafula had persuaded him to let Hilary stay with them since that was as close to family he would ever be. Only two months had passed after the wedding when Danny started keeping late nights away from home. In a dramatic turn of events, the interest he had shown in her before the wedding had suddenly waned. It was as if a switch had been turned on…or off and a whole new person was born.

Kafula couldn’t believe just how things had ended up taking such a dramatic turn. She had envisaged a wild night of uninhibited sex on her honeymoon but her new husband would not hear of it. He feigned illness that night. Kafula woke up the next morning to the sound of her husband packing and getting ready to check them out of their honeymoon suite.

“What are you doing honey?” A confused Kafula immediately came to full consciousness. “Are you packing?”

“Yes,” he answered nonchalantly. “I have some visitors from Cameroon who arrived earlier than scheduled. I need to attend to them. They are very important people and likely to bring more funding to the orphanage. I really can’t miss this opportunity honey…we can’t afford to miss this…” he moved in closer to her and planted a kiss on her lips. “I know this isn’t good but I promise to make it up to you as soon as they are gone.”

“When are they supposed to leave?” She asked, her lips tight in a pout.

“They are here to ensure that everything is set up nice and running smoothly before the official opening.”

“And how long is that supposed to take?”

“…say…about three months? C’mon, get up right now before we miss our flight.”

Kafula wanted to complain but his flight announcement distracted her, as was intended. “You already booked us a flight out of here?” She found herself asking.

For the next three months, Danny worked non-stop and rarely came home. Kafula was still impatiently waiting for her first night with her husband and she still couldn’t believe that she was already three months in marriage and still a virgin. There were times she truly appreciated the company of Hilary otherwise she would have died from boredom. The two of them stayed up in the lonely hours of the night chatting. Hilary would tell Kafula stories of Danny growing up and his life in the US and Kafula would tell her new found friend stories of her childhood, all the way to when she met Danny.

One night Kafula had been worn out from crying after her husband had mercilessly rejected her, again and went off on a supposed business trip. She had been so wrapped in in her emotions that she cried herself to sleep on Hilary’s laps. At first, she thought she was dreaming; after all she was a sexually starved woman. She could feel a soft hand caressing her face before slowly moving downwards to her arms. She could feel the tingling slowly move to her breasts and she wanted to be touched there. As if reading her mind, the buttons on her blouse where loosened and her whole breast was cupped into the gentle hand that went right to work. When she moaned, she knew it was no dream and her eyes immediately flipped open.

“Hilary!” She almost jumped up from his embrace but he held her down.

“Shh…” He held a finger to his lips. She had never noticed before just how good looking of a man he was because she was so enamoured by her husband she had no time to look at other men. But there he was…for the first time she could clearly see his eyes, blue they were. From where she was lying, she had the best view of his face, and his lips. He had the best lips she had ever seen on any man. His long hair that always made him look so feminine fell on either side of his cheeks. There was nothing about the look in his eyes that said anything about femininity. The eyes, piercing through her body and tearing her into total nakedness were those of a man hungry for a woman. Without saying a word, he told her exactly what he wanted to do to her…and he did.

She made no effort to stop him.

That night Kafula had touched the whiskers of temptation and fallen into the chambers of everlasting lust. Not once did the thought of her husband come to mind. Without shame or resistance, she had allowed herself to be taken in by the unspoken charm of a man she had not once considered a man. She had allowed him to drive her to a world she had never been and he did so with pleasure. It was only when she awoke the next morning and found herself sleeping in her own bed that events of the previous night started playing in her head, and then the guilt sunk in. She looked around the room for signs of her husband but there was nothing. Then she paused, how did she end up in her bedroom? Did that night really happen or had she dreamt it? Then she noticed the clothes on her. She had clearly allowed someone to strip her naked in the night yet her clothes were all in place.

What is going on? She wondered.

Kafula ran out of the bedroom and headed towards Hilary’s bedroom but he was nowhere in sight. She shouted his name across the house and finally got a response when she went downstairs. “In the kitchen,” she heard him shout and quickly rushed there. Hilary was in his usual somewhat feminine look; short-shorts, pink apron on top of a tight t-shirt and his blond hair was tied in a neat pony-tail. This couldn’t be the same man that had awakened things in her body she never imagined she possessed, could it? She could still feel him inside her, a feeling so strong she wanted to hold on to it for eternity. That feeling…that feeling couldn’t have been a dream.

“Good morning Mrs J,” he greeted her excitedly. “Figured you would wake up hungry…you had such a rough night after all.”

“Do you know what happened last night? I seem to have….” Kafula scratched her head in frustration. “Last night…did we….”

“Calm down love,” Hilary waved his hand as if to brush off her worries. “You cried so hard last night after that unfortunate episode with Danny and then you fell asleep. I kept talking and talking only to later realise that you had fallen asleep on my laps. I thought about laying you on the couch but figured you might get a headache so I took you to your room…hope you don’t mind.”

“Is that all that happened?”

“Yeah, that’s about it,” Hilary replied nonchalantly. “Juice or tea?” he asked.

For a moment, Kafula stood in the doorway of the kitchen starring at Hilary as he worked, looking so carefree.

Weeks had passed and Hilary carried on as if nothing had happened between them until Kafula finally convinced herself that she had dreamt the whole thing. One afternoon, Kafula was at work supervising the employees at her restaurant when she got a call from Melinda. The two of them had not seen each other after the wedding as Melinda had to go back to campus to continue her studies while her friend stayed behind to run her new home.

“Am on my way to your place,” Melinda announced excitedly.

“I’m not home right now sweety. How far are you?” Kafula asked.

“About thirty minutes I think. I just got off the bus right now.”

“Cool, then I’ll start off from here right away. You’ll find me home. I can’t wait to see you!”

Kafula was surprised to find her husband’s vehicle parked at home when she opened the gate. He had been gone on his usual trips for over a week already. She wasn’t expecting him back till Tuesday the next week. Excitedly, she parked her car next to his and rushed into the house. Wanting to surprise him, she tip-toed upstairs to his study where she figured he would be preparing for Sunday’s sermon but he wasn’t there. She then headed towards their bedroom and slowly opened the door. She finally found him, all covered up and snoring as hell. She laughed to herself as she went to uncover his head. “Sleepy head,” she teased him and planted a kiss on his forehead.

Not wanting to disturb him, she turned around to leave the room only to turn right back around when she saw thought she saw an outline of another figure next to her husband. She threw off the beddings immediately to reveal two naked figures of her husband and Hilary whose long legs were wrapped around him as if for dear life. No sooner had the meaning of the revelation sunk in than the two men bolted straight up in bed, both in utter embarrassment. Daniel was the first one to get out of bed to try to calm down his wife who stood frozen on the spot, her hands covering her mouth in disbelief.

“I can explain this honey,” he tried to touch her but she flinched and the look in her eyes screamed for him not to even dare. She started backing away from the room and the moment she was outside, she ran downstairs sobbing, one hand pressed against her heart as if to keep it from exploding. But she was already on fire. By the time it took Daniel to put on his boxers and chase after his wife, she was already outside getting back into her car and ready to speed off, if not for Melinda who chose that particular moment to appear right in front of the car, arms stretched with a huge smile on her face.

“Guess whose home?” She shouted excitedly. However, it only took a split second for her to realise that her friend was not in the mood to play catch-up. Just then, Daniel appeared from the house, almost out of breath and in nothing else but his boxers. A shocked Melinda almost missed her breath as her hands went straight to cover her eyes, dropping her small luggage bag to the ground in the process.

“Get in the car right now Melinda or I will leave you!” Kafula shouted as she hit the gas. Melinda was wise enough to not ask any questions and got in the car. While Kafula kept her sight focused on the road ahead, Melinda took the time to look behind them and saw Hilary also come out of the house, but unlike Danny, he completely had no clothes on. She could see Danny say something to him in anger and his hands immediately went to cover his nether parts. The whole thing looked comical and Melinda couldn’t help laughing despite the situation. He is quite packaged that sissy fella, wow, was what was running through her mind. When she turned back around, she could feel Kafula’s glare and she quickly apologized. “You have to admit the whole thing looks ridiculous Kaf.” She stifled her laugh. “But then again, it can’t be like that from your end…right?” She patted her friend on the shoulder.

A week had passed when Kafula finally decided to confront her demons. She checked out of the hotel and drove back home to confront her husband. There were still a lot of questions she needed answered and as long as things remained like that, she would have no peace of mind. The two of them had probably already forgotten she existed and went back to shagging each other as if they had no care in the world. She couldn’t let them have that.

The first person Kafula ran into when she entered her house was Hilary. He was sited in his usual spot in the sitting room, his long legs stretched out on the sofa. It seemed one week was enough for him to recover from the bolt of embarrassment he had felt that day because he was smiling at her as if they were the best of buddies.

“Where is Danny?” She threw him a stern look. She was in no mood to play games with anyone.

“He’s at church for his usual counselling sessions. He said he would be back later in the evenings.” Hilary replied, slowly losing hold of his act. Before he could say another word, Kafula was already on her way upstairs. “He already knows…Daniel, he knows everything.” Hilary barked from behind her.

She told herself to just ignore him but for some reason, her body and mind seemed at odds with each other. She reluctantly turned around to face her enemy. “What is that supposed to mean?” She asked.

Hilary took steps to cover the distance between them. He stood just a step below her and with one hand holding on to the stairway rail; he leaned in closer and whispered in her ear, “…what happened between us that night….”

Kafula held her breath. “I don’t understand what you are trying to say.” She was truly confused. As if to confirm her worst fears, Hilary started stroking her hair with his free hand, tilting his head from side to side in her face and every now and then leaning in even closer as if to kiss her. This whole time, his eyes were fixed on her lips and nothing else. He could not see the petrified look in her eyes otherwise he would have stopped to help her to a seat.

“I don’t…know…what….” Kafula was more than ready to feign ignorance but reality had finally sunk in.

“There is no way you could have forgotten your very first time… and with me.” Hilary could not let her have the luxury of doubt, “you seemed to have loved every second of it. I still get hard every time I look at you after our special night.” He was still playing with her hair.

“Get the hell away from me you pervert!” Kafula tried to get away from him. “I think you have overstayed your welcome in this house. Get the hell out of my house right now before I call the police.” She tried to break away from him again but he held her in place by her shoulders, this time using both his hands. His strength always seemed to take her by surprise.

“I think you should really reconsider how you treat me from now on love,” He instructed, in a very controlled tone. “I am the only one who can get you out of this mess you so carelessly put yourself in.”

“I would rather die than seek any kind of solace from you.” She gripped his arms hard and pulled them off of her. If she didn’t know better, she would have read sadness in his eyes but she was not going to be fooled by him anymore. She was back on her voyage upstairs when she felt him right behind her. She was just about to turn around to ward him off when his arms went around her waist and he held her tight in an embrace from behind. She violently tried to set herself free but she was no match even for his slim frame.

“Just hear me out this once, Kaf.” He pleaded, but Kafula would not hear any of it.

“Get off of me before I do something to you that we will both regret!” She yelled, but Hilary still kept the position.

“I will not let go until you hear me out,” he insisted, resting his head on her back. “I know what was done to you…what we did to you is unforgivable….” His voice was almost breaking.

“Wait a minute,” Kafula interrupted. “Don’t tell me you’re crying?” She scoffed. “Aren’t you taking this act a bit too far Hilary? The cat is already out of the bag. Everything is done now. Can’t you get it? Save those crocodile tears for someone else who’s going to fall for such rubbish.”

“I really don’t blame you for thinking that.” Hilary tried to hold back his tears but it seemed they had a mind of their own. “You still don’t know the half of it Kafula. There is nothing about this that is even close to what you might be imagining. Daniel isn’t going to let you go despite what you found out.”

“What?” Kafula asked, trying to turn around to look at him but only managing to put them both in an awkward tight position.

“I will let you go now since it seems I have managed to get your undivided attention.” He let her free and stepped back from her. “How about we talk in the living room?” Without waiting for her response, he took the few steps back downstairs and into the living room, back in his spot.

“What do you mean Danny has no intention of granting me a divorce?” Kafula had followed him and was now sitting on the other side, facing him. “After what you two have done, there is no way he would expect that I would stay quiet and continue with this charade of a marriage. I will take him to court if I have to.”

You see,” Hilary got up and went to sit next to her. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” He said nonchalantly. “Danny is no fool. He knew that one day you would find out and so he made sure to have leverage for when the time came.”

“What leverage are you talking about?” A very perturbed Kafula asked.

“There is a video….” Hilary paused for effect. “…of you and me…that night.” Kafula almost jumped out of her seat.

“You are joking, right?” She kept praying that it was only a dream, a very bad dream. “This is just a way of threating me, isn’t it?”

“If you don’t believe me, then you can go in his study and open his safe. I have his password; I don’t mind sharing it with you.”

“Just what is he planning on doing with that video if I don’t corporate?” Kafula looked defeated, but she knew the fight was far from over.

“You don’t need me to tell you that,” Hilary said. “You are a smart woman. You can figure it out on your own.”

“What have you people done to me?” Kafula cried. She furiously tried to wipe away the tears but they kept coming. “I trusted you guys, both of you.” She said whilst crying. Hilary tried to get closer to her again but she pushed him away from her hard. “And you,” Kafula continued, raising her head up to look him in the eye. “You are even worse than Danny. You took advantage of me in my most vulnerable state and went on with life as if nothing ever happened. As if that wasn’t enough, you filmed the whole thing!”

Hilary looked like he had just been hit by a brick. “I know, I know,” he kept repeating himself. “I might have been part of the plan from the very beginning but I stopped the moment I realised my feelings for you. Please believe me when I tell you that I had no idea he was recording us. Had I known, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the arrangement.”

“And you actually expect me to believe that?” Kafula muttered something under her breath in vernacular but Hilary had an idea of how grave an insult it likely was. He moved to position himself in front of her and quickly took her hands in his before she could move away from him. As he expected, she tried to free herself but his strength seemed to surprise her again. Her eyes instinctively went to the hands that were holding her hostage.

They were long fingers, lean, soft yet strong. Unfortunately, that realization seemed to trigger memories of their night together; the night that almost never happened but actually did happen. She could remember how he had looked that night…his scent, his eyes…his hands on her. No one had ever touched her like that before or let alone make her feel like the most beautiful woman alive. In a sudden turn of events, Kafula could see that man again standing right in front of her. How was it possible that she could have such complicated feelings for the same man?

“Your body doesn’t lie Kaf,” Hilary was looking at her nipples threatening to reap through her blouse. “And your eyes are telling me how much you want me…” his hands where caressing the side of her eye while his head leaned in as if for a kiss.

“Aren’t you supposed to be gay or something ?” Kafula found herself asking, her shaky voice betraying her show of confidence.

“I am the kind of person who doesn’t look at the sex of a person to fall in-love with them.” Hilary confessed.

“Ah, so you are actually in-love with my husband…yet you claim to be in-love with me.” Kafula took the opportunity to quickly free herself from him and went to stand by the window, putting as much distance between them as possible.

“Technically speaking,” Hilary sat on the arm of the sofa she was sitting on, his arms crossed over his chest. “Daniel isn’t really your husband. He is mine…married for six years already.”

“What nonsense are you sprouting now?” Kafula wasn’t about to be dragged down the deception road again.

“You can ask Danny if you like, he will probably tell you the truth since everything is all out in the air now…and, he has something to ensure your silence, forever.”

“What can that be? I have no secrets….” Before she should finish, she realized exactly what Hilary was talking about. “…the video.” She was shell-shocked. “That bastard, he wouldn’t….”

“Oh yes he would,” Hilary confirmed her worst fears. “He is the kind of man who would do anything to survive, and I mean anything., well, maybe except murder.”

“But why is he doing this to me? Why me?” There was no missing the anxiety and disappointment in her voice. All along she had thought she as the most outstanding woman in the world because out of them all, the most eligible bachelor had chosen her and not anyone else.

“Because of your money…your family’s wealth, to be specific.” Kafula’s parents owned one of the largest local chain stores in the country and she was the only heir to that fortune.

“Dear God,” Kafula said. “So all of this is for money? Does he think that my father will let me lay a finger on that money while he’s still alive? Wait a minute…he is not planning on killing my father now, is he?”

“Danny might be a bigamist, but he is no murderer.”

“Easy for you to say.” Strangely enough, Kafula found herself relaxing a little. “So is that why you are pretending to be in-love with me as well, because of my money?”

Hilary laughed. “I grew up very poor so I have always loved money, and you just happen to have a lot of it.”

“Should I applaud you for your honesty?” Kafula said sarcastically.

“I never said that that was the only reason I love you. I am just fortunate that it is part of the package that comes with you but it never even crossed my mind the first time I realised I had fallen for you.”

Kafula was starting to feel uncomfortable again. “I don’t want to talk about this again…your feelings. I think I have heard more than enough today….” She was getting ready to leave. She picked up her handbag from the floor but Hilary was already in front of her, blocking her way.

“I have a way to get you free from Daniel and make sure he doesn’t use that video against you?”

“Let me guess,” Kafula said. “You will only help me if I accept your feelings?”

Hilary was shaking his head in disagreement. “No, I intend to help you whether you accept me or not. I happen to be a sucker for love.”

“And what happened to that love with my…with Danny?”

“I don’t know…. I don’t know who changed between us but something or someone definitely changed. All I know is that, talking to you…spending time with you has made me realise exactly what I need in my life. I never planned on falling in-love with you Kafula. It just happened…and that night between us, that changed everything. I haven’t been able to think about anything else.”

“I take it you were thinking about me while you cuddled up with Danny after a steamy session a few days ago?”

She didn’t miss his look of guilt. “I needed Danny to tell me where he kept the video of us…you and me and the only way to do that was…you know….” He shrugged his shoulders.

“And did you find out…where he kept them?”

Hilary smiled. It seemed she was going to accept his help after all, but what about his love? He wondered.

*             *                  *

“I take it you accepted Hilary’s feelings for you?” I asked Kafula. I really couldn’t tell what she was thinking. She was like a time bomb, just waiting to explode.

“I don’t know what to do aunty. Although Hilary managed to help me get rid of Daniel by threatening to expose the videos of them together, I am still not sure about my feelings for him. What’s worse, I ran into Andy a few weeks ago with his new girlfriend. I thought I had gotten completely over him a long time ago but seeing him with someone else…it didn’t make me feel good at all. I could tell by the way he was looking at her that he was in-love with her because that is how he used to look at me.”

“What you feel for Andy isn’t love per se. I think it is just jealous…which is natural to feel towards people that we once cherished. Realising that those special feelings he ponce had only for you have now transferred to another person can leave you feeling like you lost something. However, instead of dwelling on the past, it is better to move on with your life. I am sure Andy must have felt the same, if not worse when you left him but look at him now. If you truly loved him before, then you will let him move on with his new life while you try to bring some order to your own love life.”

“I guess I needed to hear that from someone else.” Kafula said, looking a little defeated. “Melinda has said something in those lines before but I thought it was only because she didn’t like me and Andy together. But you know what still bothers me about all this drama with Danny? I still find it hard to accept the fact that he was once a woman. I mean, everything about him seemed so masculine. I even saw him naked and…” Kafula threw her head into her hands.

“There are a lot of procedures one can undergo to change like that and modern medicines are helping to speed up such progress. Although it is not very common here, it is not like that where he comes from.

“So where is Hilary right now since Daniel went back to the states?” I asked.

“I doubt if Danny went back to the States. He is probably in another country in Africa trying to trap another desperate and gullible girl like me. Good luck to whoever that is.” She said. “As for Hilary, he is staying with one of the many friends he managed to make for himself during the period he’s been here. That man could get along even with a serpent.” She was smiling proudly as she spoke.

“You like him, don’t you?”

“Me? No!” She vehemently denied it with her voice but her body said something else. “He really confuses me.” She finally admitted. “I can’t really tell whether he is a man or a woman…what with his long hair, his weird clothes sometimes…and he also likes men! How can I possibly go out with someone like that? And what’s worse, I don’t know if I should trust him or not.”

“At least he has told you exactly what he wants from you but as for the issue of trust, that is not something you can teach someone to do. It is obvious you like him too but you are not sure of his intentions. Why don’t you give it some time…get to know each other first and perhaps in due time he could earn your trust or you can choose to start afresh with someone else.”

“What if I really lose him while I am trying to get my thoughts in order?”

“Then you would have known for sure exactly how much he loved you in the first place. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for you.”
“I see what you mean.” Kafula said.

“Don’t be too anxious to fall in-love.” I cautioned her. “It will happen when it wants to happen, whether you like it or not. However, it is important to guard your heart against things that only look right with the eye and not with the mind. Questioning something that seems too good to be true does not mean you love it less. It simply means you have devoted much of your precious time thinking about it because that’s how much it means to you.”

As I watched Kafula drive away from the house, I had a feeling that I would be seeing her again soon. When I got back to my office, I prayed that our next meeting would be on a good note and that she would have matured into the kind of woman any man would be proud to have. Despite the terrible decisions she’s made in the past, she is a lovely girl desperate to find a man who would have eyes only for her. Isn’t that what all of us want and need?